Okuaizu, Japan

Home of seasonal tradition and events

FESTIVAL

There are events throughout all four seasons in Okuaizu. The events, most of which are manifestation of thanksgiving, are deeply connected to lives of people in the region.

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Toro Nagashi

Every year, people pay respect to their ancestors by floating paper lanterns on a river.

Toro Nagashi

Every year, people pay respect to their ancestors by floating paper lanterns on a river.

Festival Spotlight

Mitama Matsuri (in Yanaizu)
Chigo Gyouretsu・Toro Nagashi・Fireworks
Chigo Gyouretsu is a ritual that children walk in procession with lanterns in their hands. In the evening, the lanterns are floated on the Tadami river. The scattering dim lights reflected in the river enchant spectators. To conclude the event, a display of 4,500 fireworks decorates the night sky.

Event schedule: August
Location: Yanaizu, By the Tadami River
Contact: Yanaizu Tourism Association.
http://aizu-yanaizu.com/
Nanokado Hadaka Mairi (in Yanaizu)
This is a unique ritual that can be traced back more than 1,000 years. As a temple’s bell rings, men wearing loincloths run toward the main hall of Enzoji all at once. Before entering the temple, men are cleansed with water. Inside the temple, they compete each other as they climb up a rope hanging from the ceiling. It is said that by climbing the rope, men can expect prosperous year.

Event schedule: January 7th
Location: Yanaizu, Enzoji Temple
Contact: Yanaizu Tourism Association.
http://aizu-yanaizu.com/
Furumachi no Matsuri (in Minamiaizu)
Furumachi no Matsuri is designated as the significant intangible cultural asset by the local government. This is the festival to appreciate good harvest for a year. People dress in Kamishimo, a ceremonial cloth worn by a Samurai, and march in procession passing through golden rice-fields.

Event schedule: the 2nd Saturday of September
Location: Furumachi, Minamiaizu
Contact: Minamiaizu Town Tourism Association Ina Tourist Center.
http://www.kanko-aizu.com/miru/427/
Tadami Furusato Snow Festival (in Tadami)
Sculptures made of snow are displayed in various locations in Tadami. At the main exhibition area, traditional entertainments and Mikoshi are presented. Mikoshi is a portable shrine designed to be carried on men’s shoulders and to be moved around for worship. As they carry Mikoshi, people make uplifting and powerful shouts. At the closing of the festival, fireworks are set off.

Event schedule: February
Location: Tadami, An exhibition area in front of the JR Tadami Station
Contact: Executive committee of Tadami furusato Snow Festival.
https://tadamisnowfes.com/
Sainokami (in Mishima)
The National significant intangible folk cultural asset.
Sainokami is a ritual praying for prosperity. A bonfire is made with Goshinboku, a tree that is cut off specially for this occasion. The tree standing upright is wrapped up with straws and items called Onbe is also set with the tree. It is said that it brings good luck if Onbe is ignited in the evening. Some people believe that putting soot of the fire over wounds may heal them. Spectators enjoy baking rice cakes and dried squids with the fire.

Event schedule: January 15th
Location: Various spots in Mishima
Contact: Mishima Tourism Association.
http://www.mishima-kankou.net/
Lake Numazawa Water Festival (in Kaneyama)
A legend has it that a giant serpent used to dwell in the Lake Numazawa. The legend features in the water festival. According to the legend, the giant serpent was defeated by a samurai named Yoshitsura Juro Sawara. By using a large float on the lake, the battle between the serpent and Yoshitsura is reproduced as a show. Fireworks display also features the giant serpent.

Event schedule: August
Location: Kaneyama, By the lake Numazawa
Contact: Kaneyama-machi Commercial Tourism Division.
http://www.kaneyama-kankou.ne.jp/
Karamushi Weaving Festival (in Showa)
This is a rare opportunity to learn about the process of Karamushi (ramie) weaving. You can see the transformation of ramie from a fiber into a beautiful Karamushi textile.

Event schedule: July
Location: Showa, Michi-no-eki Karamushiori no sato Showa
Contact: Industrial Construction Division, Showa.
http://www.vill.showa.fukushima.jp/event.stm

Showa is the only place in the main island of Japan that Karamushi (ramie) is commercially cultivated. Characteristics of Karamushi textile are air permeability and hygroscopicity. The light-weight and strong textile has fervent fan.