Hiroshima events

Guide to Top 5 Must-See Events in the Chugoku Region, February 2018 (w/Photos)

The Chugoku region comprises Okayama, Hiroshima, Shimane, Tottori, and Yamaguchi prefectures. Due to its proximity to Setonaikai and Sea of Japan, the Chugoku region is blessed with bountiful seafood and has spectacular scenery to boot. Travelers can get a taste of ancient Japan at historic cities like Kurashiki and Hagi. In this article, we’ll introduce noteworthy events that visitors should check out in the Chugoku region.

Traditional Festivals

1. [Shimane] Izumo Taisha Setsubun Festival     February 3, 2018

Izumo Taisha is a popular shrine with over 2 million visitors per year. The stately shrine looms in front of Yakumo mountain; the main hall of Izumo Taisha claims several thousand years of history and exudes an air of solemn respect. In fact, Izumo Taisha has so much history that its origins are mentioned in “Kojiki”, the oldest text in Japanese history. Izumo Taisha is said to harbor the gods for love and happiness and is frequented by visitors seeking spiritual energy. Every year, Izumo Taisha hosts an annual setsubun festival to oust bad spirits and pray for peace and a bountiful harvest from Okuninushi-no-kami (a Shinto god). During the ritual, visitors pass through the Do-torii, which is located in front of the main hall, and toss beans (equal to the age of their family) in a backwards direction. Without looking back, visitors proceed to the main hall and pray for good fortune and, on the way back, they retrieve beans to take home. The main hall exemplifies taisha-zukuri and is designated as a national treasure. The shrine grounds exhibit many other artifacts that are definitely worth a look. We recommend visiting the shrine to pray for good luck.

Schedule

・Event day and time

・Scheduled programs during event term

February 3, 2018 from 9:00 AM

Access and address

・Location

Izumo Taisha

・Travel time and directions from closest station

7-minute walk from Izumo Taisha-mae station on Ichibata train line

・Travel time and directions from closest hub station

1 hour and 6 minutes by bus and foot from Izumo Airport

・Address   195 Kizukihigashi, Taisha-cho, Izumo-shi, Shimane Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.izumooyashiro.or.jp/

2. [Okayama] Saidaiji Eyo (Hadaka Festival) February 17, 2018


Source: festivaly

Saidaiji is located 30 minutes away from Okayama station. The temple contains numerous historic structures, such as the sekimon, nio-mon, gooshoden, and kyozo, which are certainly worth a look. Saidaiji hosts the renowned hadaka or “naked” festival — one of the three “strange” festivals in Japan. The origins of the hadaka festival are rooted in shushoe, a Buddhist ritual performed during new year’s. The hadaka festival involves a crowd of half-naked men battling to keep possession of two sacred sticks that are thrown from a window. Originally, participants battled over a paper talisman, but it was swapped for the sacred sticks about 500 years ago. In 2016, the hadaka festival was designated as an important intangible cultural asset. To say the least, the sight of several thousand half-naked men wrestling for the sacred sticks is awesome. In addition to the main event, a kid’s version of the hadaka festival, a women’s taiko performance, and Eyo winter fireworks are performed on the same day.

Schedule

・Event day and time

・Scheduled programs during event term

February 17, 2018

Children’s Hadaka Festival from 15:20

Eyo Jinku Performance from 17:40

Eyo Taiko from 18:30 and 19:30

Eyo Winter Fireworks from 19:00

Throwing of the sacred sticks from 22:00

Access and address

・Location

Bekkaku Honzan Kinryozan Saidaiji (Kannon-in)

・Travel time and directions from closest station

15-minute walk from Saidaiji station on JR Ako Line

・Travel time and directions from closest hub station

30 minutes from Okayama station on Ako Line

・Address  3-8-8 Saidaiji-naka, Higashi-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Participation for the event is free.

*People who have consumed alcohol, have tattoos, or are wearing tabi shoes are not allowed to participate. The organizers will not take any responsibility for injuries or other damages caused during the event.

Reservations are not required.

Official Website

http://www.saidaiji.jp/

Educational Events to Learn About Traditional Arts and History

3. [Hiroshima] Tomo / Machinami Hinamatsuri           February 17, 2018 through March 18, 2018


Source: fukuyama-kankoconventionassociation

The Tomo / Machinami Hinamatsuri kicks off spring in the town of Tomo. The seaside area of Tomo, known as Tomo-no-ura, is famous for idyllic sailing conditions. The annual festival brings together the whole town to display ohinasama or ceramic figurines, big and small, at over 100 locations, including townhouses and temples, in Tomo. Tomo boasts well-preserved architecture, thanks in part to the vigilant residents. Visitors may stroll through the scenic town, while cherishing the beautifully crafted dolls. The Tomo-no-ura Historical Culture Center will display a range of doll sets from simplistic to extravagant ones, including the 19th century “seven-step” set and “godenkazari”. The charming event is a harbinger of spring to the Setouchi region — attend the festival and take in the valuable doll collection and picturesque townscape of Tomo.

Schedule

・Event day and time

・Scheduled programs during event term

February 17, 2018 through March 18, 2018

10:00 to 16:00

Access and address

・Location

Town of Tomo

・Travel time and directions from closest station

Immediately by “Tomo-no-ura” bus stop

・Travel time and directions from closest hub station

38 minutes from Fukuyama station by bus

・Address   Tomo-cho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free with the exception of select facilities. Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.tomo-rekimin.org/

4. [Tottori] Chizushuku Snow Festival, February 3, 2018


Source: gazoo

Chizu is a small town located in the south-east section of Tottori prefecture. 93 percent of the town is covered by trees and only 8,000 people reside in the small town. Every year the town of Chizu hosts the Chizushuku Snow Festival. During the festival period, the whole town is lit up with the luminous glow of yuki-doro or snow lanterns. Come night fall, visitors may explore the town with a lantern in hand. Various food and gift vendors line the streets, offering local specialties like hand-pulled soba, persimmon leaf sushi, and local sake. The festival is perfect for families too, as it will have experiential events that kids will enjoy.

Schedule

・Event day and time

・Scheduled programs during event term

February 3, 2018

10:00 to 20:00

Access and address

・Location

Entire Chizushuku area

・Travel time and directions from closest station

15-minute walk from Chizu station on JR Inbi Line

・Travel time and directions from closest hub station

40 minutes by train from Tottori station

・Address  Chizu, Chizu-cho, Tottori Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Select attractions may require an admission fee. Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://cms.sanin.jp/p/chizu/kankou/event/yukimatsuri/

Family Events

5. [Yamaguchi] Bakan Takoage Competition  February 3, 2018


Source: tabico

The Bakan Kite Competition is held on the first Sunday of February at Kameyama Hachimangu, as part of the setsubun festivities. The sight of hand-made kites, small and large, zipping across the sky, signifies the start of spring in the Kanmon region. One highlight is the Mishima-no-oni-yozu, a huge kite as large as 10 tatami mats that is unique to the Hagi / Mishima area. This special kite is traditionally flown to pray for the health of the new family successor. Another must-see is the multi-link kite painted with the face of a blow fish. Many families attend this event, which announces the onset of spring. In addition to the competition, a lottery, demon dance, and bean scattering event featuring the toshi-otoko and toshi-onna (men and women with the Chinese zodiac sign for that particular year) will be performed on the day. In preparation for the kite competition, a kite making class will be conducted on January 28, 2018.

Schedule

・Event day and time

・Scheduled programs during event term

February 3, 2018

3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

*Subject to weather conditions

Kite making class on January 28, 2018

Access and address

・Location

Kameyama Hachimangu

・Travel time and directions from closest station

7 minutes on bus from Shimonoseki station on JR Sanyo Main Line

・Travel time and directions from closest hub station

40 minutes by train and boat from Kokura station

・Address  1-1 Nakano-cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.oidemase.or.jp/db/a/detail.php?id_num=35201aa0000000385

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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.