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December 2017
Free

New Year at Gokoku Shrine

December 31, 2017 - January 3, 2018
Gokoku-jinja Shrine,
2-21 Motomachi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan
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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Free

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

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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January 2018

Hiroshige Ukiyo-e Exhibition

January 3, 2018 - February 12, 2018
Hiroshima Museum of Art,
3-2 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi
Hiroshima, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan
Fukagawa Susaki and Jumantsubo, No. 107 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Exhibition of ukiyo-e woodblock prints to commemorate the 220th anniversary of the great master Hiroshige. This exhibition focuses on Hiroshige's 53 stages of the Tokaido series and the seasons of Edo.

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¥150

Nanakusa-gayu at Tōshō-gū Shrine

January 7, 2018 @ 11:00 am
Tōshō-gū Shrine,
2-1-18 Futaba-no-sato, Higashi-ku
Hiroshima-shi, 732-0057 Japan

300 bowls of the healthy seven-herb rice porridge traditionally eaten on January 7. Available from 11am until they are all gone (¥150 a bowl). Read more about the Nankusa-no-sekku festival here.  

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Free

Mid-winter Swim in front of the A-bomb Dome

January 8, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
A-bomb Dome,
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan

Every year on Seijin-no-hi (Coming Of Age Day), a group of swimmers between the ages of 7 and 70 brave the near freezing water of the Motoyasu River in front of the A-bomb Dome to demonstrate Edo era swimming techniques and welcome the new year. More details here.  

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Free

Sanba Tondo Shinmei Festival, Onomichi

January 14, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sanba Elementary School,
1630 Sanba-cho
Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 722-0052 Japan

Sanba Shinmei Festival Tondo dates from the 17th centuryand is designated as an Intangible Folklore Cultural Property by the City of Onomichi. Locals bid farewell to and see off the deities who came to visit during the New Year's holiday as they return to the heavens. Men and boys carry tondo towers made of straw and bamboo on their shoulders and, after dancing to music, throw them, along with other New Year's decorations, into a fire, as an offering for…

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Free

Tondo Festival at Gokoku Shrine

January 15, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Gokoku-jinja Shrine,
2-21 Motomachi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan
tondo festival gokoku shrine hiroshima

Big tondo bonfire which lets off some huge snaps, crackles and pops, as well as some powerful heat. The fire fighters who keep things under control look very cool in their traditional gear. This is one tondo festival where you really don't have to worry about looking like a tourist. Read more about Tondo here.

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Free

Momote-sai

January 20, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Miyajima,
Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan

Ritual firing of the first arrow at Omote Shrine on Miyajima is held on January 20 every year. Click here for more info and pics.  

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February 2018
Free

Setsubun-sai at Daisho-in, Miyajima

February 3, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 1:30 pm
Daisho-in Temple,
210 Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0592 Japan

Every year on February 3 (Setsubun) a few thousand people crowd into the precinct in front of Daisho-in Temple on Miyajima for bean throwing, taiko drumming and to try and grab a bag of lucky mochi chucked into the crowd by lucky men and women, toshi-otoko and toshi-onna, with the same Chinese zodiac sign as that of the coming lunar year. See videos of this event and read more about Setsubun in Hiroshima here.

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Free

Setsubun-sai at Saikoku-ji, Onomichi

February 3, 2018 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Saikoku-ji Temple,
29-27 Nishi-kubo-cho
Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 722-0044 Japan

Lucky beans, mochi rice cakes, mikan oranges and lucky tickets for prizes thrown out into a large crowd after rituals to banish evil spirits and welcome in good fortune at Saikoku-ji Temple in Onomichi. Read more about Setsubun in Hiroshima here.

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Free

Setsubun-sai at Sumiyoshi-jinja

February 3, 2018 @ 2:00 pm
Sumiyoshi-jinja Shrine,
5-10 Sumiyoshi-cho, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0813 Japan

Have the smell of 1000 fish heads wafted over you by shrine maidens wielding giant fan to ward off bad luck in this ritual Sumiyoshi Shrine claims to date from Heian times. Read more about and see photos and video of Setsubun at Sumiyoshi Shrine here and more about Setsubun in Hiroshima in general here.  

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Free

Setsubun-sai at Gokoku-jinja

February 3, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Gokoku-jinja Shrine,
2-21 Motomachi, Naka-ku
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0011 Japan

After a cleansing ritual to ward off evil spirits and bring in good luck performed in the shrine building which includes a little bit of bean throwing, the action moves outside and a shrine priest shoots arrows at a big image of an oni demon head. Finally, there is quite a battle to grab bags of lucky beans thrown from the top of a tower erected in the shrine precinct. Some of the bags of beans have lucky tickets attached…

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