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April 2018

Onomichi Port Festival

April 28 - April 29
Onomichi Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan
Free

The construction of Onomichi Port was started in 1740 thanks to the efforts of Kakuzaemon Hirayama and it was this port that became the keystone of Onomichi's development. The Minato Festival (“minato” means “port”), sponsored by the Hirayama Shrine, is one of Onomichi's biggest events of the year and includes a parade and many other events. The highlight is the "E-jan sansa-gari" group dance contest (have a listen to the music they have to dance to here - it sounds…

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Tea harvesting and tea ceremony

April 29 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Shukkeien Garden, 2-11 Kaminobori-cho, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0014 Japan
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¥260 - ¥600

Watch young women pick the leave from the tea bushes in Shukkei-en Garden. Enjoy or cup of tea prepared with the freshly picked leaves free of charge or pay ¥600 to take part in a more formal tea ceremony in one the garden's tea houses. Tea picking  is at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm.  

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May 2018

Hiroshima Flower Festival

May 3 - May 5
Peace Boulevard and around, Peace Boulevard
Hiroshima, Hiroshima 730-0037 Japan
Free

Hiroshima's biggest annual event, drawing in many more people than even the August 6 memorial day, the annual Flower Festival was inspired by the celebrations that followed the Hiroshima Carp's first championship in 1975. Crowded, noisy, high in kitsch and overtly commercial, it does, however, pull in tens of thousands of people from near and far, and many of them do seem to have a pretty good time. In addition to all the parades, pop bands, tarento celebrities, comedians and…

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Naki-zumo Cry Baby Sumo at Gokoku-jinja Shrine

May 5 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Gokoku-jinja Shrine, 2-21 Motomachi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan
Free

What better way to celebrate Children's Day than by dressing your baby up in funny clothes and making him or her cry in front of a big crowd.   Participation is limited to babies 6-18 months old whose parents have paid the ¥5000 entry fee.

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Ji-no-hi Matsuri

May 21 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Asuna, Ohnan-cho
Ochi-gun, Shimane-ken 696‐0501 Japan
Free
Ji-no-hi Matsuri

Frenetic and colorful countryside festival that involves groups of locals charging up and down a narrow street carrying huge umbrellas. The main event starts around 3pm on May 21 and, after a break during which you can check out the food stalls, there are kagura dance performances in Kamo Shrine from 7pm. The festival continues the following day with community rice planting. Read more about and see more photos from the first day of the Ji-no-hi Matsuri here

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Mantō Mitama Matsurii

May 26 - May 27
Gokoku-jinja Shrine, 2-21 Motomachi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan
Free
Manto-mitama matsuri at Hiroshima Gokoku-jinja Shrine

Two days of events and commemorations at Hiroshima's shrine to the war dead, Gokuku-jinja, which is decorated with lanterns. Saturday, May 27 18:00 Manto-mitama ceremony.he main Shrine Hall 19:00 Around 100 women dressed as shrine maidens perform Enmusubi-no-miko-odori dances in the forecourt Followed by Miko-mai dance by full time shrine maidens Possibly other performances Lantern lit dances by the maidens for the day finale before things finish at 9pm For more on the Saturday night festivities, photos and video click…

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June 2018

Mibu-no-Hanadaue Traditional Rice Planting Ritual

June 3 @ 10:30 am - 4:00 pm
Mibu, Kitahiroshima-cho
Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima-ken 731-1515 Japan
Free

Mibu-no-hanadaue is a revived rice planting ritual said to have roots in the middle ages that is renacted on the first Sunday of June every year. The event was designated as a UNESCO Intangible Heritage in 2003 and many people now make the trip to Chiyoda in Kita-hiroshima to view it. Bulls are led through the streets to Mibu Shrine where they are dressed with elaborately decorated saddles and colorful necklaces. They are then led to a field, and after…

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Rice planting ritual and tea ceremony at Shukkei-en Garden

June 10 @ 10:00 am
Shukkeien Garden, 2-11 Kaminobori-cho, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0014 Japan
¥250 - ¥700

Re-enactment of a traditional rice planting ritual to wish for a bountiful harvest and tea ceremony at Shukkei-en Garden. The rice planting ritual and related dances performed by the Shinjo Provincial Art Preservation Committee are between 13:00 and 14:45 and the tea ceremonies run from 10:00-15:00. 13:00-13:30  Hayashida music, song and dance performance in the yuunenjyou (有年場) rice field located in the far right corner of the garden as you stand with your back to the entrance. 13:35-13:55 Hayashida music, song and dance performance on…

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August 2018

17th Hiroshima International Animation Festival

August 23 - August 27
Aster Plaza, 4-17, Kako-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima city, Hiroshima
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0812 Japan

This biennial celebration of animation is a great place to catch animation from around the world (and see Non-English language films with English subtitles) and an opportunity to talk with some of their creators. Planned special programs Yoji Kuri short films Michael Dudok de Wit program Raoul Servais short films Estonian Animation program Best of the world Contemporary Japanese animation Stars of studehts Animation for peace Animation for children Tickets: TBC URL: http://hiroanim.org

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Miyajima Fireworks Festival

August 25 @ 7:40 pm - 8:40 pm
Miyajima Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan
Free

Hiroshima's most well known fireworks festival. 5000 fireworks explode over the sea silhouetting Itsukushima Shrine's O-torii. Worth seeing, but expect huge crowds (300,000 people showed up last year) and you should get there early to avoid a fight for the prime viewing spots. For those relying on the train, a good tip for the return trip on the way back to Hiroshima is to take the first train heading in the opoosite direction (Iwakuni bound) one stop so you can…

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September 2018

Kangetsu Moon Viewing Tea Ceremony

September 24 @ 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Shukkeien Garden, 2-11 Kaminobori-cho, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0014 Japan
¥800
moon viewing tea ceremony at shukkei-en garden © Shukkei-en Garden

The end of September is the time for "moon viewing" or kangetsu in Japan and a moon viewing tea ceremony is held in Shukkei-en Garden annually at this time. ¥800 for the (more formal) tea ceremony in a tea house (honseki) ¥600 to take tea in the gardens (nodate) The garden admission fee is also required (adults ¥260) and the garden is open to until 9pm. The neighboring Prefectural Art Museum where the Da Vinci exhibition is currently showing also has…

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November 2018

Onomichi Betcha Festival

November 1 - November 3
Onomichi Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan
Free

When, in 1808, plague was sweeping through the porttown of Onomichi, the lord in control at the time ordered local shrines to perform purification rights in an attempt to ward of the disease. The rights were to be performed over 3 days and two nights and, in addition, an omokoshi portable shrine was carried through the streets with young men dressed a lion and three demons named beta, shouki and soba at the head of the procession.   Today, a…

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Ritual Fire-walking at Daigan-ji Temple, Miyajima

November 3 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Daigan-ji Temple, 3 Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0535 Japan
Free
Daigan-ji Temple firewaalking ritual Miayjima Hiroshima

Impressive and elaborate ritual that culminates in priests and members of the public rushing across hot coals in front of Daigan-ji Temple, located at the exit from Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima. For more about and photos and video of this fire-walking ritual click here.

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Ebisuko Festival

November 18 - November 20
Ebisu Shrine, 5-14 Ebisu-cho, Naka-ku
Hiroshima, Hiroshima 730-0021 Japan
Free
Ebsuko Festival

Ebisu Shrine's autumn festival marks the arrival of winter in Hiroshima. Known among locals as Ebessan after the god of commerce, surrounding stores hold sales and buy komazadare bamboo rakes adorned with gold coins and atreasure ship. You might here business owners complain that the whole thing is a racket, but you won't see a shop, restaurant or bar in the area without one. A huge barrel with mouth wide open is placed in front of the shrine to receive offerings. Learn more…

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December 2018

New Year at Gokoku Shrine

December 31, 2018 - January 3, 2019
Gokoku-jinja Shrine, 2-21 Motomachi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan
Free
Gokoku-jinja Shrine in Hiroshima at New Year

December 31 From 17:00 Ooharae-shiki (purification ceremony) & Joya-sai (seeing out the old year festival) From just after 11pm the bell in the main shrine building opens for clanging and the ceremonial sake starts to be served to the first of the over half a million people who will visit over the next few days. 24:00 Shrine maidens dance to welcome the new year. January 1 10:00 Saitansai is a Shinto ritual to mark the beginning of New Year, followed…

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Chinkasai Fire Festival

December 31 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mikasa-no-hama, Miyajima, Mikasa-no-hama, Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, 739-0588 Japan
Free

With most people living in the wooden houses, closely clustered together along narrow streets for centuries, fear of calamitous fires is deeply ingrained in the Japanese psyche. The Chinkasai on Miyajima is an impressive fire appeasing festival held on New Year's Eve. Read more about the Chinkasai Fire Festival here.  

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