Tokai

Best 5 Guide to Must-See Events in Tokai April 2018

The Tokai region has been a popular destination for overseas travelers in recent years. The Tokai region encompasses Gifu, which was the setting for “Your Name”, an animated movie; Nagoya, a popular tourist spot; and Mie, which is primarily known for Iseshima. In addition to must-see landmarks, the area has good food and drinks. In this article, we’ll feature events in April in the Tokai region, which you should check out if you’re in the area.

Traditional Festivals

1. [Aichi] Inuyama Matsuri April 7, 2018 and April 8, 2018

inuyama-matsuri.2
source: Over Yesterday

Inuyama Castle is a Japanese castle located in Inuyama-shi, Aichi prefecture. Currently, only the castle tower (tenshu) remains standing; the tenshu at Inuyama Castle is 1 of the 12 remaining tenshu in Japan. It’s the only tower that has been certified as a national treasure. As such, make sure to catch a glimpse of the rare structure. Additionally, Inuyama Castle has been selected as a historic site by the Japanese government. The castle town that overlooks Inuyama Castle hosts the 380-year old Inuyama Festival. The festival features 13 carriages (designated cultural assets) and puppets that will perform to the sound of taiko drums and flutes. There is also a night performance, at which time lanterns will illuminate the cherry blossoms, inviting visitors to a surreal world. The festival itself is designated by the government as an important intangible cultural asset. In 2016, Inuyama Festival, along with 32 other festivals featuring carriages, were registered by UNESCO as an intangible cultural asset.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

April 7th to 8th, 2018
9:00~21:30 (scheduled)

Access and Address

・Location
Entire castle town area

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
15-minute walk from Inuyama Station

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
45 minutes on train and foot from Nagoya Station

・Address Kitakoken Inuyama, Inuyama-shi, Aichi prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free and reservations are not required

Official Website

https://inuyama.gr.jp/

2. [Aichi] Spring Dashi Festival in Handa March 17, 2018 through May 4, 2018

main_9794_LL
source: Rurubu

The Dashi Festival in Handa typically commences in late March from the Okkawa area and concludes on May 3rd/4th in the Kamezaki area, traveling through 10 areas and starring 31 carriages. The carriages are embellished with detailed carvings, sculpted by artisans, and extravagant drapes sown with gold and silver; the procession of these carriages through the towns is an impressive sight. In addition to the carriages, there are other attractions that showcase traditional Japanese culture, including a lion dance and sanbaso (a ritual dance). Further, the last festival that will be held in Kamezaki, the Kamezaki Shiohi Festival, was selected by UNESCO as an intangible cultural asset, along with 32 other festivals featuring carriages.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

March 17, 2018 through May 4, 2018

March 17-18: Okkawa area
Weekends mid-April: Yanabe, Yanabe Shinden, Kamihanda, Kyowa, Narawa, Nishi-narawa, Itayama areas
April 21-22: Shimohanda area
May 3-4: Kamezaki area

Access and Address

・Location
10 areas within Handa city

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
Areas neighboring Handa station

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
40 minutes by train and foot from Nagoya Station to Handa Station

・Address Handa-shi, Aichi prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.handa-kankou.com/

3. [Gifu] Spring Takayama Festival (Sanno Festival) April 14, 2018 through April 15, 2018

haruno-takayama-matsuri01
source: Keijiban Kurabu

Takayama Festival is a collective term for two festivals: one in the spring, known as Sanno Festival, and another in the fall, called the Hachiman Festival. Both festivals are seasonal favorites of the Hida Takayama region. The Spring Takayama Festival pays respects to Hie Shrine, which enshrines Sanno and is the local shrine for the southern half of the Takayama castle town. The origins of the festival date back to the 16th and 17th centuries; there are numerous traditional attractions including 12 carriages, called yatai, as well as 3 carriages with puppets and a parade (gojunko). Takayama Festival was also certified as an intangible cultural asset by UNESCO, as one of the 33 festivals featuring carriages.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

April 14-15th, 2018
9:30 – 16:00 (until 21:00 on the 14th)

*Note that dates/times are subject to weather conditions

Access and Address

・Location
Hie Shrine, Takayama Jinya area

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
12-minute walk from Takayama Station

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
3 hours from Nagoya station by bus or train

・Address 156 Shiroyama, Takayama-shi, Gifu prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free and reservations are not required

Official Website

Cultural and Historical Events

4. [Shizuoka] Kasuisai Hina Festival January 1, 2018 through April 3, 2018

LRG_DSC05894
source: POPdee

Kasuisai is one of the biggest temples in the Tokai region. The spacious grounds comprise a main hall, study, and priests’ chamber, along with other structures. Kasuisai is also famous for flowers; you can see peonies during the spring (2,000 stems with 60 varieties), white egrets during summer, and fall leaves during autumn. Further, Kasuisai serves shojin (Buddhist vegetarian food) cuisine, being a Zen temple. Zuiryukaku, a building within Kasuisai that is a tangible cultural asset, will host a festival to showcase 1,200 ohina dolls on 32 steps. This is the third annual exhibit. Hina dolls are an old custom and people display the decorated dolls to pray for the healthy growth of daughters on March 3rd or Girls’ Day. The highlight is the 32 step hina doll collection, which is said to be one of the largest collections in Japan. An eye-popping 1,200 dolls will be on display and is most likely a sight that you can only see at Kasuisai. It would be best to see this impressive collection with your own eyes. There will be hina dolls on display at other locations as well. Additionally, kasafuku or dangling decorations from Sakata-shi, Yamagata prefecture and 2,000 dolls from Hida, Gifu prefecture, including Hida Takayama, will be on display.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

January 1, 2018 (New Year’s Day) through April 3, 2018 (Tues.)
8 AM to 5 PM (close)

Access and Address

・Location
Kasuisai

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
10 minutes from Fukuroi Station on bus

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
20 minutes from Kakegawa Station on bus and train

・Address  2915-1 Kuno, Fukuroi-shi, Shizuoka prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Admission: 500 yen (elementary school students and younger enter for free; includes admission to the indoor peony garden and other buildings)

Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.japan-doll.jp/kasuisai/index.html

Nature Events

5. [Mie] Cherry Blossoms at Ise Jingu late March 2018 through early April

2--1-
source: Iseshima Travel Navi

Ise Jingu is a shrine located in Ise-shi, Mie prefecture. Ise Jingu is a colloquial name; the official name is Jingu. It has received attention in recent years as a place with spiritual energy. The shrine grounds have plenty of greenery and a relaxing atmosphere. The naigu area within the shrine has cherry trees, including Yoshino and yamazakura varietals, that will blossom come spring. In particular, the sanshuden area and path extending from the Uji bridge, which hangs over Isuzu River, are particularly eye-pleasing with 100 Yoshino cherry trees. The usually peaceful grounds will come alive and scenes of spring will unfold. There are numerous vantage points for viewing cherry blossoms, including another spot where you can see cherry blossoms against a backdrop of the Ise Bay. Why not explore the various spots?

Schedule

・Event Date and Time
・Scheduled Programs During Event (If Applicable)

Late March to early April 2018
Open for visitors from 5:00 – 18:00

Access and Address

・Location
Ise Jingu (naigu)

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Station
Immediately by the Naigu-mae bus stop

・Directions and Travel Time from Closest Hub Station
2 hours and 15 minutes by bus and train from Nagoya Station
・Address 1 Ujitachi-cho, Ise-shi, Mie prefecture
・Map

Admission and Reservation

Free and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.isejingu.or.jp/

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