Best 10 Must-see popular events guide in Tohoku region January 2018

Tohoku region, where you can enjoy nature. Not only nature, you also can enjoy “onsen” (hot spring), historical spots, festivals, gourmet, “sake” (an alcoholic drink) and many other things. It’s time to relax when you are here. This time we’ll show you events which are held in this region. Join these events and enjoy Tohoku!

Traditional festival

1.<Aomori>Shōwa Daibutsu, Seiryū-ji temple: Hatsumōde(the first temple visit of the Japanese New Year), January,1 – 3, 2018


Source: 昭和大仏青龍寺

The size of Shōwa Daibutsu (giant Buddha) at Shōwa Daibutsu, Seiryū-ji temple is 21.35m. Taller than the Daibutsu at Nara and Kamakura. It’s the tallest Daibutsu in Japan as a seated bronze figure of Buddha. There is a wooden five-storied pagoda which is the biggest one in east of Japan, “Kondo (main hall)”” kaisandō ( Founder’s Hall )” which built with natural Aomori a type of Cypress trees at the large ground. You can visit Daibutsu, Kondo,

“Daishido (hall with an enshrined statue of Kobo Daishi)”. From January 1st to 3rd- “sanganichi”( the first three days of the New Year) you can visit for free. New Year’s special “Goma-kito” – for wishing good health, good fortune for the new year is held.Every year more than 60.000 people visit here. Near this temple, there are many sightseeing spots such as “Sukayu Onsen”” Aomori Museum of Art”” Asamushi Aquarium”. A great area to spend your time.

Schedule

January 1st – 3rd .2018

“Shushōe, new year dai-goma-kitō”

January 1st .2018       0:00 – 2:00

January 1st – 3rd. 2018   9:30 – 15;30

Opening time / December 31, 2017  9:00 – January, 1st,2018 18:00

January 2nd– 3rd,2018   9:00 – 18:00

Access & address

・Place

Shōwa Daibutsu, Seiryū-ji temple

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

From JR Aomori Station, city bus “TO Shōwa Daibutsu” last stop gets off nearby

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

From JR Aomori Station, about 45 minutes by city bus

・Address  45 Yamazaki , Kuwabara, Aomori-city, Aomori

・Map

Admission & reservation

Free visit first 3 days of New year, January 1st – 3rd 

No reservation required

Official website

http://showa-daibutu.com/

2.<Iwate>Mōtsū-ji Temple: Hatsumōde (First Temple Visit of the New Year) January, 1st 2018 –


Source: トーバン印刷株式会社 ブログ

Mōtsū-ji temple is listed as a special historical location / special scenic victories of Japan, besides it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the end of year period till the New Year, main hall and garden are lighted up. “Joya-no-kane” (the bell on new year’s eve), First temple visits of the New Year, this temple is bustling with worshipers. This area also where snow often falls, so you might see wonderful snowy landscape. During the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day visit for free. Near this temple, there are Mōtsū-ji garden which is listed as a world Cultural Heritage, Chūson-ji temple “Konjiki-dō” (Golde hall) which is a national treasure building Nr.1 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. During new year’s period of January 1st till 3rd, more than 70,000 people visit this temple. Let’s join!

Schedule

January, 1, 2018 –

New Year’s Eve prayer: December 31, midnight –

New Year prayer: January 1, start on 8:00

Shushōe at hall: January 1 – 8

Access & address

・Place

Mōtsū-ji Temple

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

JRTohoku Main Line ”Hiraizumi  Station” 10-minute walk

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

From Ichinose Station JR Tohoku Main Line about 30minutes

・Address  Ōsawa Hiraizumi-chō, Hiraizumi, Nishiiwai-gun, Iwate

・Map

Admission & reservation

Admission: Adults 500 yen / High school students 300 yen / Elementary and

junior high school students 100 yen

※Free visit on January 1st

No reservation required

Official website

http://www.motsuji.or.jp/

3.<Miyagi>Ōsaki Hachimangū: Hatsumōde (First shrine Visit of the New Year) January,1st, 2018


Source: 仙台人が仙台観光をしてるブログ

In 1607, the construction of the present “shaden” (hall) was ordered by the wealthy daimyo Masamune Date who is a popular hero among Japanese, to worship the guardian deity of the Date family. The Shaden is brilliantly and bright colored and the oldest existing building. This shaden is designated as a national treasure. You should visit to experience the beauty of the architecture! Besides Saitansai festival during New Year, Matsutaki Matsuri festival is held on January 14. New Year’s decorations, such as kadomatsu, shimenawa, matsukazari are gathered and piled up in the shrine’s grounds. At sundown they are burned with a pure fire that is kindled for sacred events. More than 100,000 people come here to wish safe and in good health. There are also Nikka Whisky Miyagikyo distillery, kotodai-park around this shrine. So a nice mixture of interesting spots to visit.

Schedule

January 1, 2018 –

Saitansai : January 1, 2018

Access & address

・Place

Ōsaki Hachimangū

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

From JR Sendai Station Sendai city bus “To Minami Yoshinari / Kunimigaoka” about 20 minutes, get off at “Ōsaki Hachimangū mae” nearby

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

From in front of JR Sendai Station about 26 minutes by bus

・Address 4-6-1 Hachiman, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi

・Map

Admission & reservation

Visit free

No reservation required

Official website

http://www.oosaki-hachiman.or.jp

4.<Yamagata>Dewa Sanzan Shrine: Hatsumōde (First shrine Visit of the New Year) January,1st – 3rd , 2018

At Dewa Sanzan shrine / sanjinkosaiden(shaden) which worship three gods of, Hagurosan, Gassan, and Yudonosan, The Saitansai festival starts on January 1st 3:00 A,M, Besides on January 3rd, Genshisai festival is held and wish safe, good harvest, birth to a child, find a suitable candidate for marriage and more other wishes. During New Year’s days more than 50.000 people visit. In winter, Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono are closed because of snow. Only Mount Haguro, is possible to visit. When you want to visit Dewa Sanzan shrine, you have to go up 2446 stone steps. On the way, there is a “Ninosaka Chaya” (small rest place) where you can take a rest. You will get a certification that you climbed 2446 stone steps. It must be nice souvenir. Let’s try!

Schedule

January 1st – 3rd 2018

Visit Hours

December 31 – January 1st 5:00 P.M.

From January 2nd  6:30A.M. – 5;00P.M.

Access & address

・Place

Dewa Sanzan Shrine / Sanzingosaiden

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

To Haguroyama

From JR Uetsu Main Line  Tsuruoka Station,  Shonai Kotsu bus ”To Haguroyama Sancho”

About 50 minutes , Get off at the last bus stop. 5-minute walk

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

From Tsuruoka Station, bus “To Haguroyama sancho” about 60 minutes

・Address  7, Toge, Haguromachitouge, Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata

・Map

Admission & reservation

Visit free

No reservation required

Official website

http://www.dewasanzan.jp/

Traditional festival

5.<Fukushima>Nanokado-mairi – January 6 & 7, 2018


Source:じゃらん

Nanokado-mairi is a Nyohouji-temple batokannnon festival every year held at January 6-7. It used to be a barter market where you can change seafood and vegetables.

Nowadays it changes into a New Year’s market where you can buy goods which bring luck such as “daruma” (hollow, round, Japanese traditional doll modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen tradition of Buddhism.) as roly-poly toy (symbolize the overcome adversity, and recover from misfortune.), ”masaru” (toy) symbolizing getting better than last year. During this period about 100,000 people visit this temple and buy lucky goods.

Near Nyohouji-temple, there is “Kaiseizan daijingu” which is called “ Oise sama at Tohoku (Ise shrine in Tohoku)” Should be on your destination list as well!

Schedule

January 6 & 7, 2018

January 6, around 4:00 P.M –  January 7, around 4:00P.M.

January 6, start at 5:00P.M.

Amazake (a traditional sweet, low- or non-alcohol drink made from fermented rice)

free for 2.000 person

Access & address

・Place

Nyohouji-temple

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

JR Tōhoku Main Line , Kōriyama Station 15-minute walk

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

From Koriyama Station 15-minute walk

・Address  4-24 Domaemachi, Koriyama, Fukushima

・Map

Admission & reservation

Visit free

No reservation required

Official website

http://www.nyohouji.com/index.php

6.<Aomori>Tsugaru Railway stove train: December 1,2017 – March 31,2018


Source: 奥津軽の旅案内

In Aomori, a ‘Stove Train’ drives between Tsugaru Goshogawara Station and Tsugaru-Nakasato Station during winter time. You can enjoy the view of snowy landscape from the train This stove train rides special during winter for about 90 years. Daruma stove (potbelly stove) is a heated by coals. Thanks to the stove the inside of the train is warm and gives cozy nostalgic feeling. You also can enjoy cook and eat surume (Dried shredded squid) by the stove and drink sake in the train. Train attendant will guide you. When you get off at Kanagi Station you can visit “Shayōkan” (The Osamu Dazai Memorial Museum.) A famous writer’s home museum. In the Kanagi Goshogawara city. In this city, the famous “Tsugaru-jamisen” (musical instrument) was invented. There is a “Tsugaru-jamisen kaikan” where you can listen to traditional sounds of the shamisen (a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument). Great idea to combine a visit with the ‘Stove Train.’

Schedule

December 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018

Driving time(3 round trip a day)/ starts at 9:32 , at 11:45,  at 14:10

※start at 9:32 Traction with a diesel powered train、everyday drive :Saturday, Sunday and National holidays in December and December 30 – March 31

Access & address

・Driving place

Goshogawara, Aomori, Nakadomari

Tsugaru Railway between Tsugaru Goshogawara Station and Tsugaru-Nakasato Station

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

Tsugaru Railway between Tsugaru Goshogawara Station and Tsugaru-Nakasato Station

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

To Tsugaru Goshogawara Station

From Tohoku / Hokkaido Shinkansen Shin-Aomori Station

Ōu Main Line, Gonō Line about 1 hour

・Address  39 Omachi Aza Goshogawara, Aomori, Tsugaru Railway

・Map

Admission & reservation

stove train ticket

400 yen( For adults & children)

Normal train ticket /550 yen

(between Tsugaru Goshogawara Station and Kanagi Station)

No reservation required

Official website

http://tsutetsu.com/

7.<Iwate>Tōno Dobekko matsuri (festival) – January 27 & 28, 2018


Source: JR行くぜ 東北

Tōno furusato mura(Open Air Museum) where you can experience true mountain village life at locations such as farms with traditional straw work. At this museum, Tōno Dobekko matsuri (festival) where you can enjoy local sake (alcohol drinking) and all kinds of dishes is held yearly. ”Dobekko” means traditional sake. This milky white sake is made during autumn till winter. Sit surrounding “Irori” (traditional Japanese sunken fireplace), drink “Dobekko”, enjoy “Kagura” (sacred music and dance) and enjoy local dishes. Nowadays it is typical tradition in winter at Tōno.

As local foods, you can enjoy “Kamohittumi (dumpling) ”Kijisoba” (soba noodle) ”Yamame no shioyaki” (grilled fish) and more others. For the person who doesn’t drink alcohol can also enjoy “Kagura”( sacred music and dance ) or talk with the guide. You also can listen to old tales.

Schedule

January 27 & 28, 2018

February 10 & 11 / 24 & 25

March 3 & 4

Time:  11:30 – 14:00

Access & address

・Place

Tōno furusato mura Magriya

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

From JR Kamaishi Line, Tōno Station, bus “To sakanoshita” about 25 minutes

Get off at “furusatomura” nearby

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

JR Kamaishi Line Shin-Hanamaki Station about 1.5 hour

・Address  5-89-1 Tsukimoshicho kamitsukimoshi Tōno, Iwate

・Map

Admission & reservation

“Kappa plan” ( food & entry fee and tax included)  1,800yen

“Donto hare plan” (food & all-you-can-drink & entry fee and tax included) 2,800 yen

※Reservation required

Official website

http://www.tono-furusato.jp/densyou/dobekko.html

8.<Miyagi> Matsutaki Matsuri: January 14, 2018


Source: photohito

Matsutaki Matsuri is one of the nation’s largest events ending the New Year’s holiday. Decorations used during New Year’s celebrations, koshinsatsu (talismans), and other things are burned and dedicated to the shrine deities. In other areas festivals of this type are commonly called Dondo-yaki. The worshippers wear white towels around their heads, white cloth around their hips and hold pieces of paper called fukumigami in their mouths to prevent them from talking, they also hold bells in their right hands and lanterns in their left hands. The appearance of thousands of worshippers marching from all parts of the city is known nationally as a winter tradition. From January 2005, it designated as intangible folk cultural property of Sendai city. We’ll recommend you to visit this special event.

Schedule

January 14, 2018

Start at 16:00

Access & address

・Place

Ōsaki Hachimangū

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

JR Sendai Station, city bus about 20 minutes “Ōsaki Hachimangū mae” 5 –minute walk

JR Sendai Line , Tōhokufukushidaimae Station 15-minute walk

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

From Sendai Station bus & walk about 25 minutes

・Address  4-6-1 Hachiman ,Sendai Aoba-ku, Miyagi

・Map

Admission & reservation

Visit free

No reservation required

Official website

http://www.oosaki-hachiman.or.jp/festival/matsutaki/index.html

9.<Akita>Dainichido Bugaku: January 2, 2018


Source: あきたファン・ドッと・こむ

1,300 years of historical “Dainichido bugaku”. The four local communities ”osato’” Taninai” ”Azusawa” ”Nagamine” performance” bugaku” (court dance and music) on January 2, start at 8:00 A.M at Ōhirume-no-muchi jinjya(shrine) / Dainichido. “Mai “(dance) inherit the oldest style. and it is highly appreciated. Dainichido bugaku” designated as important intangible folk cultural property of Japan in 1976. Besides registrated in September 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In the surround area there are “sibarionsenmotoyu” “ Goshogake onsen (hot spring)”. After visit Dainichido bugaku, let’s go to onsen!

Schedule

January 2, 2018

8:00 – around 12:00

Access & address

・Place

Ōhirume-no-muchi jinjya(shrine) / Dainichido

・Nearest station and travel time from the station.

JRHanawa Line, Hachimantai Station 1-minute walk

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

From Morioka Station to Kazunohanawa station by bus.

From Kazunohanawa station by JR Hanawa Line about 2 hours

・Address  16 Dounoue, Hachimantai, Kazuno-shi, Akita,

・Map

Admission & reservation

Visit free

No reservation required

Official website

http://dainichido.p1.bindsite.jp/bugaku/

Event for food

10.<Akita>Hinai tori-no-ichi: January 27 & 28, 2018


Source: コトノタネ

At Odate city Hinai ground, Hinai tori-no-ichi is held. “Hinai dori (chicken)”is a special product of Akita. So this festival is related ‘ To see, To play, To eat, To buy’ to Hinai dori. It has begun since 1985 January by Hinai Federation of Youth Leagues of Societies of Commerce and Industry and it became a big event during the winter. At the main hall which is located at the center of the grounds. “Thanks festival “is held as a memorial service of Hinai chicken, or other birds and as a dedication of Kagura. Besides they show local performing art. On the special stage they throw “mochi” (rice cake) with prices to win. Catching the egg of “Hinaidori” (chicken), a competition for the imitation of the sound made by chicken

You also can enjoy local dishes from Akita, “Kiritanpo nabe” (casserole) “yakitori” (roasted chicken.) Besides there is Senbayaki (barbecue chicken) which is so popular that you have to stand in line to eat. Everything related to Hinai dori – a funny and also delicious festival.

Schedule

January 27 & 28, 2018

Tori-no-ichi parade           27        start at 9:00A.M.

Other events                 27 & 28   start at 10:00A.M.

Access & address

・Place

Odate city Hinai ground

・Nearest station and travel time from the station

JRHanawa Line “Ōgita Station” 15-minute walk

・Travel time from the terminal station of the city

Tohoku-Hokkaido Shinkansen from Morioka Station about 2 hours by bus

・Address  8 Kousintai, Hinaimachi Ogita, Odate-shi, Akita,

・Map

Admission & Reservation

Visit free

No reservation required

Official website

http://www.city.odate.akita.jp/dcity/h-sangyo/61-6768.html

Author image

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.

Book Our Night Tours!

Tokyo Bar Hopping Night Tour at Japanese Local Pubs in Shinjuku

Magical Asakusa Bar Hopping Tour - Night Crawl through Tokyo’s Historical Town

Tokyo Nightlife Tour - Explore Local Hidden Bars and a Trendy Nightclub

Osaka Bar Hopping Tour - A Taste of Local Food & Nightlife at Hidden Pubs in Namba

Shibuya Bar Hopping Night Tour - Unlock the Secret Pubs of Tokyo