In March, mountains in Echigo are still covered with a lot of snow. Hepaticas bloom on the small hills overlooking the Sea of Japan and it seems as if those flowers announce the arrival of spring. A walking trail has been established inside and visitors can enjoy viewing the around 300,000 hepaticas growing in colonies in their habitat. The Yukiwari-so (hepaticas) Festival is held during the peak season for viewing the hepatica flowers. Sales of hepaticas and local special products and lecture on hepatica are held at this festival.
|Osaki Hepatica Village|
|Best time to see them||Early March – early April|
|Address||Nishiyama-cho Osaki, Kashiwazaki City|
This decoration is called “Tsurushi Bina” (small hanging doll) and is made in different areas of Japan. It is said that this decoration was originally made to make a wish for a child to face no adversity in terms of “clothing, food, and shelter.” Long ago, these dolls were made using the cloth leftover from handicraft work. The dolls feature different motifs such as pictures of dolls, animals and vegetables, each one of which signifies a wish for a “child’s growth” or “warding off evil.”
At the Iizuka-tei, a Tsurushi Bina exhibit is held from early April-early May.
|Tsurushi Bina of the Iizuka-tei|
|Address||5212-4 Shindo, Kashiwazaki City|
|Date||Early April – early May|
|Time||9:00 AM – 5:00 PM * Closed on Mondays|
|Entrance fee||¥310 for high school students and older, ¥150 for elementary and middle school students|
Akasakayama Park is one of the famous locations for cherry blossoms, and bustles with people who come to view the flowers in April.
Somei-yoshino cherries, double-flowered Yae, and cerasus Shidare grow on the vast grass fields, so one can spread out a picnic blanket and enjoy the views of flowers, or stroll on the path while viewing the flowers.
During the cherry blossom viewing party, the lanterns and lanterns are accompanied by lights at night, making it a fantastic atmosphere. Please enjoy the cherry blossoms of the night different from daytime.
|Akasakayama Park Cherry Blossom Viewing Party|
|Light up time||Evening – 9:00 PM|
A festival with a history over 200 years long that stretches over approximately 2 km, centering on the main street where Enma-do is located.
This is a festival that not only children, but also adults look forward to, and many people from both inside and outside the city come to see it. Over 500 street stalls from all over the country gather together at this festival. After visiting Enma-do, go shopping for the items that you like. Enma is the judge who decides whether to send the deceased to hell or heaven.
In Enma-do, there are pictures of what hell looks like and you can see a gigantic pair of pincers used for pulling out the tongues of those who told lies while they were alive.
|Enma-do (Enma Hall)|
|Address||2-7-40 Higashi-honcho, Kashiwazaki City|
A festival born in 1950, when the Gion Festival of Yasaka Shrine was joined to Kashiwazaki’s Commerce and Industry Festival. Held every year from July 24-26.
Marching band Parade:
23 elementary and middle school students from Kashiwazaki hold a marching band parade.
Street Folk Song and Dance:
Approximately 3,700 people form lines and dance to Kashiwazaki folk songs “Sangai bushi,” “Kashiwazaki jinku,” and “Kashiwazaki okesa.”
Approximately 60 mikoshi portable shrines hand-built by Kashiwazaki neighborhood associations appear at this event. The people carrying the mikoshi march down the main street.
The Great Fireworks Display by the Sea:
The fireworks display is the climax of the Gion Kashiwazaki Festival, and is a big event visited every year by more than 200,000 people.
Both the size and sound of the fireworks launched over the ocean make the greatest impact possible. In one day, 15,000 fireworks of all different varieties are launched. Some of the highlights include the “Sea Surface Mid-air Star Mine,” “100 Shakudama Set Off at Once,” “Wide Star Mine,” and “300 Shakudama Set Off in a Row.”
|Gion Kashiwazaki Festival|
|Place||Minatomachi Kaihin Park|
In olden times, petroleum was called kusozu. Myohoji village in Nishiyama-cho, Kashiwazaki is famous as a place where petroleum wells up. There are records of petroleum having been presented to Emperor Tenchi and this festival reenacts the scene of that occurring.
You can see scenes of people wearing ancient garb going where the petroleum springs up from and forming a line to deliver the petroleum to the emperor. Those who make a request, may go to where the petroleum actually springs up from and observe it there.
In the plaza of Nishiyama Furusato Koen Park, you can enjoy stage events and open-air food stalls.
|Place||Nishiyama furusato koen park|
Ayakomai is a dance handed down from generation to generation in Onadani, Kashiwazaki that dates from 500 years ago. Today, it is carried on by the Takanda and Shimono regions, but the songs and lyrics for the two areas differ. It is made up of a dance for women (kouta-odori), a dance for men (hayashi-mai) and a form of Noh comedy known as Kyogen.
At the Ayakomai Kaikan Hall, there are historical sources and wardrobe related to Ayakomai exhibited.
|Ayakomai Kaikan Hall|
|Address||4529 Onadani, Kashiwazaki City|
|Hours open||9:30 AM-5:00 PM|
|Days closed||Wednesdays, December 29-January 3|
A festival based on the folktale of “Togoro Fox” from Takayanagi-cho, Kashiwazaki City. In Japan, it is said that foxes like “aburaage” (thin fried tofu). An aburaage over 1m in length is fried, and people dressed up like foxes form lines and carry it, and dance a fantastical fox dance at the arrival place. Those who attend the festival receive the aburaage as a gift.
|Night Festival of the Fox|
|Event date||7 October|
|Place||Tochigahara and Urushijima areas of Takayanagi-cho, Kashiwazaki City|
|Time||11:00 AM-9:00 PM|
A famous park built in 1926. The inside of this park, which can be walked through in approximately 40 minutes, is covered with many varieties of tree, including Japanese red pine, azaleas and Japanese maple, and also has garden lanterns, arched bridges, arbors, ponds and an Inari Shrine. It is a famous spot for viewing autumn leaves. The season of fresh greenery is beautiful too.
At the Kimura Tea Art Museum inside the park, you can also experience the tea ceremony.
|Shoun Sanso Autumn Leaves Illumination|
|Light up time||Sunset – 9:00 PM|
A festival held every year in late November. You can buy processed salmon products and experience what it’s like to catch a salmon by hand. Reservations are necessary to experience catching salmon by hand.
|Place||Kashiwazaki Sake no Furusato Park|
In Japan, Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai) is a famous Buddhist monk. Approximately 1,200 years ago, Kobo Daishi (Kukai) stabbed his staff into the ground as hard as he could, and this miraculous saltwater is what gushed forth.
It is said that long ago, in famine times when food could not be harvested and there was nothing to eat by grass roots and tree bark, this miraculous saltwater allowed people to survive.
At the time, because salt was a precious commodity in the mountains, this temple hall was built out of gratitude to Kobo Daishi, and festivals are still held here today.
It is a snow festival that colorizes winter in Kashiwazaki.
Various events such as character show and Yosakoi performance are available.
In addition, huge mochi-making with visitors can be held, and the rice cake that you attached with the power is exceptional taste.
It is an event that children can enjoy from the elderly to the elderly.