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Events & Cultures in Hiroshima

There are various kinds of events taking place in Hiroshima, such as Japanese festivals held at shrines & temples, history-related events and new events (e.g., Kendama (Cup and Ball) World Cup, FIES (urban sports)). 
AKARI FESTIVAL / LIGHT FESTIVAL (August) -- The festival began on Peace Boulevard this summer as a new event and will be held in autumn (Oct/7~8) and winter, too.

It is a very good chance for non-Japanese to experience Japanese traditional cultures through various workshops such as Painting on paper fans, fox masks and lanterns. Bonsai and Yukata (light cotton kimono for summer) are also available.

Why fox masks? You might see, as BabyMetal is the lover. Foxes are the messengers of Inari God enshrined at Inari Shrines. Their head shrine is the Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto. It is always raked within top 5 as a must-go-spot by overseas sightseeing visitors. The belief of Inari Shrines is well known and rooted in the local communities in Japan. The mask is sometimes used for ancient dances. It has nothing to do with this event, but the painting will be good to enjoy. 

The intent of the festival is to offer everyone chances to experience Japanese traditional cultures, having peace mindsets. As you can watch in the video, many children are participating in the workshops. It becomes a way to accommodate more overseas visitors and their demands in Hiroshima at night.

Musicians are playing Japanese traditional instruments, such as Taiko (Japanese drum), Koto, Fue, etc. and dancers are performing with the music. It's really worth listening to feel Japan well.

Akari Matsuri Home page:  https://akarimatsurihirosh.wixsite.com/akari
LANTERN FESTIVAL  (August) -- A series of Peace events are taking place in August. This is one of the most impressive events held at Peace Memorial Park in the evening of the Peace Memorial Ceremony. After the 3-year suspension, the festival came back.

About 2,500 lanterns floated down with peace messages from the Atomic Bomb Dome in Motoyasu River . The most of the visitors were Japanese, as the country boarder for sightseeing is still closed to the international travelers, but it is expected to grow back to 8,000 lanterns with more Japanese and overseas visitors next year, just like the 2019 event.

First please get your lanterns at JPY800 on site, write your peace message on the paper, fit it to the frames of the lantern, then float it in the river. This year, the festival committee members floated all the lanterns on behalf, but it would get back to the original manner that you directly float yours next year.
EVENING FOR PRAYER AND PEACE  (August) -- Have you visited shrines and temples at night? They look very cool and mysterious. You can find their different aspects in this event.

7 shrine and temples run the event in Futaba No Sato district located on the back side of Hiroshima Station on August 5 every year. 16 shrines and temples were gathered to the district by the Hiroshima Feudal Lord in Samurai Era. The 7 locations are parts of the 16.

t is said that demons come along in the North East direction and enter your house through the gate. The feudal lord wanted to protect his castle from the evil demons by gathering them in the direction. The gate is called "Kimon (鬼門)" in Japanese, and the Kanji of "Ki (鬼)" for demons is exactly the same Kanji as "Ki(鬼)" of "Kimetsuno Yaiba (鬼滅の刃) / Demon slayer, which was the biggest hit amine in Japan last year. 

Our ancestors arranged thorny plants in the direction of their houses. It is for the same reason. Nikko Tosyogu enshiring Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first Shogun in the Edo era, was built in the North East from Edo Castle. It is the same reason. Interesting, isn't it?
MITAMA FESTIVAL  (May) -- It is held by Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine located at the center of Hiroshima. The very interesting programs for visitors will be Miko Dance performed by 100 Miko girls and Kagura professionally playing Japanese ancient dramas in the precincts at night. Both are very powerful, splendid and amazing.

Miko is a shrine maiden consecrated to gods at shrine, wearing white top and red skirt. You will rarely see events that so many Mikos are attending together. The Kagura was performed by Takasaru-Kaguradan, and the program contents vary, depending on years.

Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine homepage: https://www.h-gokoku.or.jp/
Takasaru Kaguradan FB:  https://www.facebook.com/%E9%AB%98%E7%8C%BF%E7%A5%9E%E6%A5%BD%E5%9B%A3-659627360872496/
TOUKASAN (June) -- TOUKASAN is one of the three major festivals of Hiroshima and also known as the YUKATA festival born in 400 years ago. YUKATA is a kimono of lightweight cotton, like a summer robe. Hiroshima people begin wearing the YUKATA from this day on. It is the summer festival to tell people of the arrival of summer.

It takes place at the first weekend every June for 3 days from Friday. The YUKATA set including the YUKATA, band and Japanese sandals is available at department stores even at $50 recently. You can get it and participate in the Japanese summer festival.

TOUKASAN homepage:   hhttp://www.toukasan.jp/omatsuri.html
CHINOWA KUGURI (June End) -- The wreath made from Chigaya grass is called "CHINOWA". It appears in the precincts of shrines (and some temples) for the last week of June. Walking through the wreath is called "CHINOWA KUGURI".

People walk through the CHINOWA three times along the shape of "8" to get rid of evils they had in half a year. Bow first, turn to left, right and left, then go straight forward to the hall.  


The CHINOWA KUGURI" is done throughout Japan. For example, in Kyoto, you'll see the wreath at Yasaka shrine, Heianjingu shrine, Kitano Tenmangu shrine, Fushimi Inari shrine, and many other shrines. The video was taken at Hirosima Gokoku Shrine.

If you find the wreath during your visit, please do not miss the chance to get rid of it and prepare for the rest of year in sound health.
SUMIYOSHI FESTIVAL (July) -- The festival is held by Sumiyoshi Shrine. People gather for Chinowa Kuguri, Hitogata Oharae, Kagura, Fireworks and Kangensai. They affectionately call it "Sumiyoshi-San", just like a man.  

Sumiyoshi Shrine enshrines the gods of sea (guardians of sailors) and has highly been supported by people working on sea business. Therefore, if you visit other towns which have something to do with the sea business, such as the fishery or shipping industries, you can easily find the Sumiyoshi Shrine there. Even in Hiroshima city, there are 6 to 7 small Sumiyoshi Shrines. 

The video shows "Kangensai" to carry the god of sea by the portable shrine loaded on the small red boat towed by the h
and-rowing boat. The gods can go out of the shrines only once a year at the festival. Please enjoy the good cruising tour. 
 

Sumiyoshi Shrine home page: http://www.sumiyoshijinja.net/
PEACE MESSAGE ~LANTERN FESTIVAL~ (August 6) -- Many people including domestic and overseas visitors from all over the world gather at the Peace Memorial Park and float paper lanterns down the river in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome. After 3 years of the suspension, it was officially announced to resume the event from 2022. It is a massive event to move you. Please watch the movie of the event held in 2019.

You cannot yet directly float the lantern by yourself this year in consideration of the corona measures. However, if you apply for the participation at the on-site reception desk (JPY800 including the lantern kit) by 5:00 p.m., the lantern festival committee members will float your lantern on behalf of you. 
DREAMINATION: STREET ILLUMINATION IN WINTER (November ~ January) -- Hiroshima city is dressed up with night illuminations in winter. The most massive decoration is the "Dreamination" held by the city of Hiroshima along the Peace Boulevard. Please enjoy the beautiful nights of Hiroshima after your private tour. It takes place during the period from mid November till early January every year, and should be very close from your hotel. Needless to say, it's free of charge.

Dreamination homepage: https://www.dreamination.com/
AUTUMN LEAVES ILLUMINATION AT SHUKKEIEN (November) -- The autumn leaves illumination is incredibly awesome and beautiful. It takes place for about 10 days at Shukkeien. As it's held by the city of Hiroshima, the admission fee is more than reasonable. You can re-use the admission ticket you used in the daytime. Please do not miss it.
FIRE WALK AT DAISHOIN TEMPLE & DAIGAN TEMPLES (April & November) -- The very powerful events take place at two temples in Miyajima, at Daishoin Temple in April / November and at Daiganji Temple in November .

After the priests walk on the smoldering charcoal, their believers follow them. If you have nothing to feel guilty about, you won't feel any heat, they say. They kindly allow any tourists to join the lines. You can confirm whether you feel heat or not. Please have them drive away your sins by fires if necessary. The line continues to walk with many participants for an hour. If you join our Miyajima tour on the same day, we can adjust the itinerary to this.
NIGHT ILLUMINATION - FLOWER FESTIVAL AT PEACE MEMORIAL PARK (May) -- The night illumination takes place at Peace Memorial Park during the May 3~5 Flower Festival.