Takoage and Dondo-yaki Festival

When: January 17, 2015 (Takoage from 9:30 – 2pm, Dondo-yaki from 4-7pm)*
Where: Toride Ryokuchi Exercise Park (Tone River riverbed), Toride

Takoage, or kite-flying, is a traditional new year’s activity in Japan. The Takoage festival will include a kite competition for those who wish to make their own kites. Registration for the competition will take place from 9:30-10:30am. There are two individual divisions – the children’s division for elementary school children and below, and the general division for junior high school students and above. There is also a group division for groups of 5 or more. You can enter as many kites as you like, and you will need to fly your kites when you register. The award ceremony will take place at 12:30pm. Those who do not make their own kites and do not wish to enter the contest are still free to bring a kite and fly it at the festival. The first 500 people to visit the Asahi Shinbun tent will receive a free kite to decorate and fly. There is also a free kite-making workshop for the first 100 people, and the first 300 children will receive sweets. There will also be food stalls.

In the evening the Dondo-yaki Festival will be held in the same place. Dondo-yaki is a traditional new year’s event where new year’s decorations, good luck charms from the previous year, daruma (a traditional doll that helps you achieve a goal – they are burned after the goal has been achieved), and Kakizome (the first calligraphy done at the beginning of the new year) are burned in a bonfire. Traditionally you also roast mochi (rice cakes) and mandarins in the embers of the fire. Mochi will be on sale from 3pm – get in quick because it may sell out.

*Takoage rain date January 24. The Dondo-yaki festival will be postponed to the following day if conditions are not safe for the bonfire.

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