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Summer Festivals

Author:Author unknown, Issue: July 2002, Topic: Events


Gion Matsuris Galore
There are numerous "Gion Matsuri" scheduled for late July. "Gion Matsuri" are Shinto festivals usually taking place in the evening hours and centering around the portable shrines carried of rolled along the street. Information as to exact times and locations are not given in the Japanese listings, and so you may want to have a Japanese speaking friend call ahead for details. Foreigners who have not seen these celebrations find them an interesting bit of Japanese culture, and you have plenty to choose from. Other festivals are also included here.

  • July 16, "Ninniku (Garlic) Matsuri", Ichinoya Yasaka Jinja in Tsukuba (just east of Higashi Odori, 2 lights north of Hiratsuka Odori). Tel. 64-1132.
  • July 19-21, Edosaki Gion Matsuri, central shopping district (evening), tel. 0298-92-2221
  • July 20-21, Ishige Gion Matsuri, through the center of town, with the main events being in the evening from around 6 pm to 10 pm. tel. 0297-42-3111.
  • July 20-21, Mitsukaido Gion Matsuri, central plaza area near station. Tel 0297-23-2111.
  • July 25-28, Shimodate Gion Matsuri, in front of the station. Early Sunday morning (around 6 am) , the "omikoshi" is carried through the river. tel. 0296-24-2111.
  • July 26-28, Tsuchiura Gion Matsuri through the "Menuki Dori" shopping area (route 125 between the west side of the station and Kijo Park). The parades and festivities focus mainly on the late afternoon and evening hours, but last all day. The main event will be on Saturday evening, beginning around 7 pm. A good opportunity to see traditional Japan. tel. 24-2810.
  • July 27, Ryugasaki Tsukumai Matsuri, traditional "dare-devil" type stunts on a 17 m. pole, from 6 pm. tel. 0297-64-1111.

Mitsukaido Fireworks
Friday evening, July 26, is the time set for a gorgeous display of fireworks along the Kinu River in Mitsukaido. The fireworks are to be launched from the river bank just to the north of the route 354 bridge. Tel 0297-23-2111.

Ushiku Kappa Matsuri
Focusing on the mythical character "kappa" (river monster), this annual festival is directed primarily at children. Held on the east side of Ushiku Station, it runs two days, July 31 and August 1.


Mt. Tsukuba Gama Matsuri (Toad Festival)
Sunday, August 4th, 10 am - 5 pm. This takes place around the Mt. Tsukuba Shrine and is an interesting event. Vendors of "toad's grease" chant their slogans during that time. Tel. 36-1111

Tsuchiura Kirara Matsuri During the period from Aug. 2 to 4, the shopping area to the west of Tsuchiura Station ("Menuki Doori") will be holding its annual festival. On the 2nd and 3rd, from 6 to 8:30 pm, there will be traditional dancing along the route ("Nanayuu Odori"), and on Sunday from 1 - 4 pm, you can get free rides on the tour boat on Lake Kasumigaura. On the 4th at 7:30, there will be a fireworks display on the east side of the station on the lake shore. tel. 24-2810.

Mito Komon Matsuri, Aug. 2-4. Named after the famous ruler who dressed as a commoner to go out and help his people, this festival is the main one held in Mito near the station. There is a fireworks display on the 2nd from 7:30 - 9:00, and on the 3rd from 5 to 9 pm, there is traditional dancing. The main parade is on Sunday from 2 to 6 pm. tel. 029-224-0441.

Fireworks Festivals
*Shimodate holds its "Hanabi Taikai" on Aug. 4, on the banks of the Kinu River. tel. 0296-24-2111. Shimotsuma holds a similar event on Aug. 10 at the Sunanuma Bridge with about 3000 bursts scheduled. tel. 0296-43-2111.

  • Toride Tone River Fireworks Festival A big fireworks display will take place on Saturday, Aug. 10 along the shores of the Tone River in Toride.
  • Daigo-Machi Fireworks and Toronagashi Along the Kuji River each year, the town of Daigo (near the famous Fukuroda Falls in northern Ibaraki) holds a fireworks display and "toro-nagashi", the traditional custom of floating paper lanterns down the river. This year's event is scheduled for Aug. 14. tel. 02957-2-0285. A similar event is also scheduled in Tone, at the opposite end of Ibaraki (and closer to Tsukuba) on Aug. 17 at the Highway 4 Bridge. tel. 0297-68-2211.

Karasaka Manto (10,000 lanterns)
Held during the Obon holidays on August 15, this festival centers on the lighting of lanterns. Traditionally, lanterns were lit to help guide the spirits of the ancestors "home for the holidays" before they would be sent off again into the nether world for another year of wandering. The location is the Obatake Washi Jinja (shrine) in Niihari-Mura about 2 km west of the Tsuchiura Kita Interchange of the Joban Expressway.

Kasama Matsuri
If you are planning a trip to the pottery capital of Kasama, Aug. 16, 23, & 24 is a good time to go (or to avoid, depending on your interests), and get some of the flavor of Festival ala Japan. tel. 0296-72-9222.

Ina no Tsunabi
Literally meaning "rope fire", this traditional festival will be held twice, on the 23rd at the Takaoka Atago Shrine and on the 24th at the Obari Atago Shrine in Ina-machi (both events are from about 7:30 to 9:30 pm), to the south of Tsukuba. tel. 0297-58-2111.


Matsuri Tsukuba
The first weekend in September is the traditional date for the local Tsukuba Matsuri, and this year is no exception. Held Sept. 7th and 8th, a number of interesting booths are set up and various cultural events take place through the 2 days. If the other festivals mentioned here are not something you want to take the time and effort to go to, this is your back-up option. It's always located along the central bicycle path and adjacent parks, and so it's not hard to find.

Ishioka Matsuri
One of the bigger local festivals is the Ishioka Matsuri held in mid-September every year. This year's festivities are from the 14th to the 16th, culminating in a grand parade in the center of town. This is probably the biggest local Matsuri, and is right at the end of the season. So, last chance until next year. tel. 0299-23-1111.

<< Religious Activities in English: July 2002 | Master Index | Your Daily Moment of Zen >>

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