5 Best must-see events guide in Shikoku, January, 2018

The Shikoku region has various sightseeing places including hot springs in Matsuyama prefecture, the majestic Shimanto river in Kochi prefecture, Awa odori dance in Tokushima prefecture, and art Island and Udon in Kagawa prefecture. You will enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountains and the ocean as well as cityscape where you can sense this areas great history. In this article, we would like to introduce January events in the Shikoku region to include in your Japan trip.

Traditional “Matsuri” festivals

1. Kagawa prefecture: Kotohiragu Shrine Saitan (New Year) Festival, January 1st, 2018


Source: 紅梅亭ブログ

Kotohiragu shrine, known as “Konpira-san”, is located in the middle of Kotohira-yama mountain and is for worshiping for the god of the sea. The shrine hosts a festival to celebrate the New Year and to pray for prosperity for the coming year. The “Kazoye-uta (counting song)’ will be performed at the festival to protect you from various disasters.

The long stone steps of the Kotohiragu shrine is famous; 785 steps to the main shrine (Hongu) and 1368 steps to the rear shrine. Historical buildings are located in the shrine, and lots of cultural properties and artifacts are exhibited at the museum facilities. The treasure museum displays “Sanjyurokkasengaku (portraits of Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry) and important cultural property such as “Jyuichimen Kannon zou (eleven faced kannon statue).

Schedule

January 1st, 2018 open from Midnight

Access and Address

Kotohiragu Shrine

To the entrance of the shrine: 10 minutes walk from JR Dosan line Kotohira station.

From Takamatsu airport: 50 minute by bus

・Address: 892-1 Kotohira-cho, Kagawa

・Map

Fee and Reservation

Free to enter, no reservation needed.

Website

http://www.konpira.or.jp/

2. Kagawa prefecture: Suinin-ryu school New Year’s First Swim, January 3rd, 2018


Source: さんラボ!

Suinin-ryu school “New Year’s First Swim” is held annually by the “Suinin-ryu (water flow swimming method) preservation society”, and it has been a highlight of the New Year celebrations in Takamatsu. It is held at Oomatoba beach, the birthplace of this swimming method, since 1980. And you can see one of the 13 schools Japanese swimming methods designated first cultural property in Takamatsu city. Suinin-ryu is the traditional swimming method that is taught to Takamatsu city for the past 360 years. Although the weather is cold, group members elegantly swim and perform other school’s swimming method there. This event is welcome to guests who are confident swimming in a winter ocean.

Schedule

January 3rd, 2018

10am to 11:30am

Access and address

Oomatoba Beach, Takamatsu city

10 minute walk from JR Takamatsu station

From Takamatsu airport: 50 minutes by bus

・Address: Hamano-cho, Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa

・Map

Fee and reservation

Free, no reservation needed

Website

https://www.city.takamatsu.kagawa.jp/16977.html

Traditional culture experience and events to know history

3. Ehime prefecture: Ebisu Festival, January 9th to 11th, 2018


Source: 長浜の海坊主~Run and Think~

The Ebisu Festival is a great festival of the Ozu Shrine. When the festival is held, lots of stalls are lined up to sell good luck charms such as fukusasa (blessed bamboo), kumade (rake), and masu (squared container). Lots of people especially visit on the 10th Ebisu (10th of January) for the blessed Mochimaki (raffle) which includes a big sea bream as a prize. Ozu shrine worships the god of luck, home safety and business prosperity. The Ebisu Festival of the Ozu Shrine is known as the only “10th Ebisu Festival” in the Ehime prefecture since 1871. And it became well known after the Ebisu statue was built in 1953.

The Ozu Shrine has a long history; Taro-miya, Kume Shrine, and Ebisu Shrine in Ozu city joined together to become Ozu Shrine. The shrine is located on a small hill at the eastern end of Ozu castle, and you can expect a great view of the surrounding townscape.

Schedule

January 9th to 11th, 2018 from 7am.

Inquiry needed for detailed information about Blessed Mochimaki on January 10th, 2018

Access and address

Ozu Shrine, ozu city, Ehime

20 minute walk from JR Yosan line Iyo-Ozu station.

1 hour bus ride from Matsuyama airport

・Addrerss: 417-16 Ozu, Ozu-shi, Ehime

・Map

Fee and reservation

Free, no reservation needed

Website

http://heartland.geocities.jp/oozujinnjya/ev_tokaebisu.html

Nature event

4. Kochi prefecture: Sunrise on New Year’s Day at Katsurahama, January 1st, 2018

Katsurahama Park is well known for its statue of popular historical figure, Ryoma Sakamoto, and also as a popular place for magnificent sunrises on the horizon. The appearance of the bronze statue is impressive and its as if he is thinking of a world far away. On New Year’s Day, this park is crowded with visitors to celebrate the New Year watching the sunrise from the majestic Pacific Ocean. Katsurahama Park is located in the south of Kochi city and is listed in the “100 Japan beach selections”. Around the park is also a popular sightseeing place where the Katsurahama Aquarium and souvenior shops are located.

Schedule

January 1st, 2018

Due to the early morning event, if planning using public transportation, please check transportation schedule in advance.

Access and address

Katsurahana, Kochi city

From JR Takamatsu station: take Tosaden Kotsu Bus bound for Katsurahama. Get off at the last stop.

1 hour bus ride from Kochi airport

・Address: Urado, Kochi-shi, Kochi

・Map

Fee and reservation

Free , no reservation needed

Website

None

5. Tokushima prefecture: Sunrise on New Year’s Day at Ohama Coast, January 1st, 2018

Ohama coast is a sandy beach, 500 meters in length, located in Hiwasa, Tokushima prefecture, and it is famous for its sea turtles. It is also famous as a sunrise spot, as a lot of people come on New Year’s Day. You can enjoy a Japanese drum performance during sun rise there. And if you are lucky, you may see “Daruma Asahi (tumbling doll sun)” in which the sun on the horizon appears distorted like a Daruma.

The white sandy coast of Ohama is also famous as a scenic place and has been listed in “100 Japan Beach Selection” and in “the 88 best beach in Shikoku region”. Hiwasa Castle is located on the summit of Shiroyama mountain, near the Ohama Coast, and you can enjoy great views from the observatory. You also can view the Muroto cape and Kii peninsula at Senba Sea Cliff when the weather is good.

Schedule

January 1st, 2018 at sunrise

If you plan using a public transportation, please check the schedule in advance due to early morning.

Access and address

Ohama Coast

20minute walk from JR Mugi line Hiwasa station.

2 hour bus ride from Tokushima airport

・Address: Hiwasaura, Minami-cho, Tokushima

・Map

Fee and reservation

Free and no reservation needed

Website

http://www.town.minami.tokushima.jp/

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About Shoto Hachiya

Hello, my name is Shoto! I’ve lived in and traveled many countries. Through the experiences, I saw a lot of different cultures and customs, and that made me realize how unique Japanese culture is.