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April 2020

[CANCELED] Onomichi Port Festival

April 25 - April 26
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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[CANCELED] Kintaikyo Bridge Festival

April 29
Iwakuni Kintaikyo Bridge, 1 Iwakuni
Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi-ken Japan
Free

The annual Kintai Bridge Festival in Iwakuni is an excellent way to kick off your Golden Week.

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[Canceled] Kure Port Festival

April 29 @ 10:00 am - 7:30 pm
Kure City Center Kure-shi,
Free

Every year on April 29 some of the neighboring city of Kure's main streets (centered on Kuramoro-dori St) are closed for parades, stages and, of course, lots of food and drink stalls Kure Minato Matsuri or Kure Port Festival. Two things that jump out are a local beer festival (Kure's navy beer wins many craft beer awards) and a yacht race in the harbor. The parade starts at 14:00.  

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May 2020

[Canceled] Takehara Bamboo Festival

May 3 - May 4
Takehara Historical Preservation District, 3 chome, Honmachi
Takehara-shi, Hiroshima-ken 725-0022 Japan
Free

Parades and lots of bamboo themed activities and performances in the streets of "bamboo town" Takehara's historical preservation district.  

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[CANCELED] 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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[Canceled] MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day

May 5 @ 7:00 am - 4:00 pm
MCAS Iwakuni US Marine Base Iwakuni-shi, Yamahuchi-ken 740-8555 Japan
Free

In May of every year, the gates of MCAS Iwakuni US Marine base opens up its gates to over 250,000 visitors who come for the entertainment, games, aerial and static displays, car and motorbike show and one of Japan's largest air shows. And, of course, the food. Friendship Day on the website Friendship Day MCAS Iwakuni Facebook Page Visitors who are not Japanese citizens are required to bring either a residence card or passport and to fill a questionnaire prior…

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[CANCELED] Shinjo no Hayashida Traditional Rice Planting

May 10 @ 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
Shinjo, Kita-hiroshima
Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima-ken 732-0063 Japan
Free

Shinjo's annual rice planting event is less well known than the Mibu-no-hanadaue event held in the neighboring town of Chiyoda at the beginning of June, but its tradition is just as long. The local Provincial Art PreservationCommittee has been working hard to continue the event since 1928, only ceasing activity during wartime. Known as hayashida, the ritual involves the welcoming of the  god of trice fields, sanbai, into the ground. Saotome rice planting maidens plant rice in time to music played on drums and flutes.…

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[CANCELED] Tomo Bentenjima Fireworks Festival

May 30 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Tomo-no-ura, Tomo, Tomo-cho
Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima-ken 720-0201 Japan
Free

Tomo Bentenjima Fireworks Festival in the quaint port town of Tomo-no-ura  kicks off the summer's fireworks festivals in the Chugoku region. 90min of fireworks over the water silhouetting picturesque Benten Island. Photo: Hiroshima Prefecture

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June 2020

Toukasan Yukata Festival

June 5 - June 7
Tōkasan Enryu-ji Temple, 8-12 Mikawa-cho
Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan
Free
Singer Minami Issei in Shintenmchi Park at Tokasan yukata festival in hiroshima, japan

Hiroshima really comes alive over the three nights of Tōkasan - a festival that really does feel "festive".  Join the 300,000 people who will be donning their yukata for the first time this year who take over Chuo-dori and environs to promenade, play festival games like fish scooping, buy strange inflatable novelties and stuff their faces with equally strange stuff on sticks. As well as parades and summer bon dancing, there will be taiko drumming and other performances on stages…

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[CANCELED] Mibu-no-Hanadaue Traditional Rice Planting Ritual

June 7 @ 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 Hachiman Shrine where they are dressed with elaborately decorated saddles and colorful necklaces. They are then led to a field, and…

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September 2020

Lake Shinji-ko Fireworks, Matsue

September 12 @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lake Shinji-ko Matsue-shi, Shimane-ken Japan
Free

This spectacular fireworks display over Shinjiko Lake in Matsue in Shimane Prefercture, silhouettes Yonegashima island against a blaze of color, is part of the annual Suigosai Festival and is usually held in August. This year, it has been rescheduled so as not clash with the Tokyo Olympics. The festival goes all day. Expect quite some congestion if driving.

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October 2020

Saijo Sake Matsuri

October 10 - October 11
Saijo, Saijo
Higashi-hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-0011 Japan

Become a connoisseur of Japanese sake in two days... or just get smashed.

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November 2020

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 komazarae 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 2020

New Year at Gokoku Shrine

December 31, 2020 - January 3, 2021
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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January 2021

New Year rituals at Itsukushima Shrine

January 1, 2021 - January 5, 2021
Itsukushima Shrine, 1-1 Miyajima-cho
Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0588 Japan
¥300

Jan 1 Shin-i Kenjo-shiki Ceremony (offering new clothes to deities) from midnight Saitan-sai Festival Ceremony Bugaku traditional dance performance starts at 5:30am. Jan 2 Futsukasai Ceremony 09:00 Omatsubayashishinnou Bugaku traditional dance performance 13:00 Jan 3 Genshisai Ceremony 09:00 Bugaku performance 13:00 Jan 5 Chikyusai Ceremony and Bugaku performance 05:30 Includes Batoh (Sunrise Dance) only performed once a year on this day.  

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Dezomeshiki Firefighters Expo

January 5, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Central Park- Chuo Koen, Naka-ku, Hiroshima city (opposite side of the road from the Castle on one side and on the other Green Arena)
Hiroshima, Hiroshima Japan
Free

Watch the firefighters display their skill, see their fire engines and helicopters in action.

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Nanakusa-gayu at Tōshō-gū Shrine

January 7, 2021 @ 11:00 am
Tōshō-gū Shrine, 2-1-18 Futaba-no-sato, Higashi-ku
Hiroshima-shi, 732-0057 Japan
¥300
nanakusa no sekku rice soup at toshogu

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

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Momote-sai

January 20, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Miyajima Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken Japan
Free

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.">Click here for more info and pics.  

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