Upcoming Events

3rd Annual Daigo Furusato Exhibition

When: May 3 – 6, 10am – 4pm
Where: Various Locations around Daigo, see these maps for more details
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This Golden Week, experience the history and culture of Daigo. During the exhibition a number of sightseeing facilities around Daigo, including the old wooden schoolhouse Uwaoka Elementary School, will be displaying local arts and crafts, hosting workshops, and selling food made from Daigo’s specialty products.

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Upcoming Events

Kita-Ibaraki Hitachi Otsu Ofuna Festival

When: May 2 1 – 4pm, May 3 12:30 – 5pm
Where: Sawawachigi Shrine area, the streets around Otsu Fishing Port, Kita-Ibaraki
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This historical event is held once every 5 years in the springtime in Kita-Ibaraki, and has been designated as a National Selected Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The festival boat has no wheels, and is instead carried on a wooden frame by 20 – 30 young people who rock the frame left to right as they go.

Upcoming Events

Kasama Himatsuri

When: April 29 – May 5, 9am – 5pm
Where: Kasama Geijutsu no Mori Park Event Square, Kasama

Head to Kasama during Golden Week for a pottery festival where over 200 ceramic artists, potteries, and local stores will gather in the beautiful Geijutsu no Mori Park to welcome customers to their stalls to see and buy their unique wares. The food and drink stalls are run by ceramic artists, and you will be able to enjoy a variety of unique dishes made using ceramic ware. There will also be a number of events, including a clay mask auction, a clay mask festival run by elementary school students, and a playground. Check out the PR video here.

Upcoming Events

9th Annual Koi-nobori Project in Okazeki

When: April 29 – May 5, 9am onward
Where: On the banks of the Kokaigawa River in Okazeki, Toride

Many koi-nobori (carp streamers associated with Children’s Day) will be on display along the Kokaigawa River in the Okazeki area. This year in addition to the usual attractions, there will be a koi-nobori making workshop for kids (free of charge!) and some Mongolian performances. Check out the PR video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVRUgys8kyg&feature=youtu.be

Events

April 29: Rinzo Taiko Performance, Opening Ceremony, Daichi no Odori (dance by Futaba Bunka Kindergarten), Hula Dancing, Old-time Favourite Songs, Morin Khuur (traditional Mongolian instrument) Performance, Mongolian Sumo
May 3: Maiko Taiko Performance, Nankin Tamasudare (traditional street performance), Dance Studio Az, performances by bands, Ukulele Performance
May 4: Original Parasol Workshop (300 yen), Okinawa Sanshin Performance, Ventures Meet
May 5: Performances by bands, Moonwalker (Michael Jackson Dance)

Upcoming Events

Ryujin Suspension Bridge Koi-nobori Festival

When: April 26 – May 18
Where: Ryujin Suspension Bridge, Hitachiota

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Koi-nobori are carp shaped streamers associated with Children’s Day (May 5). During the festival 1000 koi-nobori will be decorate the bridge, local specialties and wild vegetables will be on display and available for purchase, and there will be a photo contest. On May 5 elementary school children and younger can cross the bridge for free.

Upcoming Events

Ibaraki Airport Festa 2014

When: April 18-20, 10am – 4pm
Where: Ibaraki Airport, Omitama

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Come celebrate the commencement of services to Fukuoka and Nagoya at the Ibaraki Aiport Festa 2014. From April 18th, specialty foods from Aichi and Kyushu such as castella (sponge cake), karashi mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and uiro (sweet rice jelly) will be on sale in the airport passenger terminal lobby. You can enjoy a variety of local specialties from around Japan, including freshly cooked chicken wings.

On April 19th and 20th in the Airport Square specialty products will be on sale and stage events will be held throughout the day. You can also enter a paper scissors rock tournament and try to win a variety of prizes, including a pair of return plane tickets!

Saturday Events
Namegata Tourism PR
Onitsuka Sally Performance
Eiji Performance
Itako Tourism PR
Mito Local Idols Performance
Fukuoka Goodwill Ambassador PR and Scissors Paper Rock Tournament
Kiratto Nagoya Mates Tourism PR and Scissors Paper Rock Tournament
Suifu All Stars

Sunday Events
Ogawa Taiko
Omitama Tourism PR
Omitama Chindon Band
Namegata Tourism PR
Ishikawa Elementary School Marching Band
Itako Tourism PR
Bujin Soran Dragon Show
Ibaraki Airport Support Ambassador PR and Paper Scissors Rock Tournament

Upcoming Events

43rd Annual Kasama Azalea Festival

When: April 19 – May 11, 8am – 6pm

Where: Kasama Azalea Park (Kasama Tsutsuji Kōen), Kasama-shi Kasama 616-7

Cost: 500 yen admission to the park – free for persons with a shōgaisha techō (also admits one caregiver) and children under middle school age

See around 8,500 azaleas of a number of varieties in bloom during the Kasama Azalea Festival. The Kasama Azalea Park encompasses around 7 hectares and the azaleas temporarily turn the hillside brilliant red. During Golden Week a number of events will be held in the park.

Check out the beautiful scenery in this video.

 

One Day in Ibaraki

The Storehouses of Yuki

Although many know about Yuki’s famous silk “Yuki-tsumugi” (結城紬), a more everyday object seen throughout the town is often overlooked. These, of course, are the various traditional storehouses scattered about the town.

Yuki Storehouse 1

It is said that these storehouses, or kura (蔵), first made an appearance in Japan as early as the Yayoi period (300BC-300AD) in the form of simple, log cabin-style buildings. Due to the fact that the wooden kura were vulnerable to fire the building materials evolved throughout the years to include more durable materials such as plaster and stone. The use of the kura also varied across the years. During the Edo period, store-type storehouses, or mise-gura (見世蔵) also became widely built, with a storage section connected to the store built in the same style. Regular storehouses built only for storage, called dozō (土蔵), were also built during this time period.

Yuki Storehouse 2

The storehouses in Yuki that stand out most are the store-style storehouses, or mise-gura. Different that other parts of Japan, the mise-gura in Yuki were mostly built between the early Meiji period until the Taishō period. Currently there are 31 mise-gura that have not be renovated currently in use in Yuki today, although there are a higher number that have been renovated inside or that have been abandoned. Of these 31, 20 are still being used daily, and 13 have been registered as cultural property (those registered have bronze plaques posted in front of them).

Registration Plaque

There are four main characteristics that set the Yuki storehouses apart from others in Japan. Due to the great care of those who utilized the storehouses throughout the years, they are in excellent condition and well-preserved. Since Yuki was spared of any large fire, many of the buildings remain in their original states. While most storehouses have black plaster on the outer walls, the Yuki storehouses are unique by having white plaster. Finally, the Yuki storehouses rarely use the outward-opening windows on the second floor that can usually be seen on the storehouses.

Miso Store

One of the great features in Yuki is that you can visit the small visitor center located near the center of town and participate in a guided storehouse tour. Many of the storehouses are still functional today, and if you are lucky you can take a mini tour a miso factory or sake brewery on the way. Our guide was very insightful and knew a lot about the history of each individual buildings. He was also quite knowledgeable of the various temples and shrines on the tour, giving an extra insight into the rich history of the town.

Making Miso

Although many of the storehouses are still occupied today, during special festivals and events throughout the year, many owners open their doors to the public. Especially during the doll festival during the spring, many of the buildings offer a beautiful display of traditional Japanese dolls, as well as various handmade arts and crafts. Some also sell and display kimono made from the well-known Yuki silk, made right in the very same neighborhood.

I would recommend visiting Yuki to see these unique storehouses to anyone who is interested in history or architecture. They are quite a sight to behold!

Upcoming Events

14th Annual Mitsukaido Sen-hime Festival

When: April 13, 10am – 3pm

Where: Shimin no Hiroba and surrounding area in Mitsukaido, Joso City

Princess Sen, or Sen-hime, is a famous historical figure. Take a walk into the past at the Sen-hime festival where you can view a parade of people dressed in traditional clothing.

Upcoming Events

8th Annual Tagaya Period Festival

When: April 13, 10am – 5pm
Where: Tagaya Castle Ruin Park, Shimotsuma

This festival is packed with cool things to see, including a samurai parade, a matchlock gun demonstration, a portable lantern shrine, and a float contest. There will also be music on stage including taisho koto, shakuhachi, and taiko performances. Don’t miss out on this unique event!