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Events Introduced in the Site

  • Swordsmiths' Performance

    Second Sunday of Every Month

    Swordsmiths' Performance in Traditional Style

    Bizen Osafune was famous for its Japanese swords from the early period of samurai government, termed the Kamakura Period. The swords, so-called Bizen-to, occupies over 40 percent of swords registered as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Japan. The swordsmiths and other craftsmen of Bizen Osafune Sword Museum show their skills to visitors at its workshop. Japanese Sword First Forging Ceremony takes place in early January. The shinto ritual is held to pray for improving in their skills and accomplishing their duties without any accident.

    Bizen Osafune Sword Museum

    7 min. by taxi from Osafune Station or Kagato Station on Ako Line

    • Wearing Twelve-Layered Ceremonial Kimono at Achi Shrin
    • Wearing Twelve-Layered Ceremonial Kimono at Achi Shrin
    • Wearing Twelve-Layered Ceremonial Kimono at Achi Shrin
    • Wearing Twelve-Layered Ceremonial Kimono at Achi Shrin
    • Wearing Twelve-Layered Ceremonial Kimono at Achi Shrin

    December 31 to January 3

    Events of New Year's Eve & New Year at Achi Shrine

    On the night of the New Year's Eve, a lot of people come to Achi Shrine to make the first shrine visit of the New Year and New Year's Eve countdown is performed. After the midnight, the people pray for their good health and happiness for the new year, drawn up in lines in front of the hall of worship. Three Goddesses' Dancing to Japanese classical music, Children's Bitchu Kagura based on ancient myths, and other sacred performances are dedicated on its Noh stage. From New Year's Day to January 3, there are New Year's performances, such as ponding steamed rice to make rice cakes, a show to demonstrate a way of wearing twelve-layered ceremonial kimono, and traditional dance performances.

    Achi Shrine

    15 minutes on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station

  • New Year's Prayer Service

    New Year's Day to January 3

    New Year's Prayer Service

    Saijo Inari is one of the three major Inari in Japan, with a history of 1,200 years. It attracts more visitors who come to do the first shrine visit at the beginning of the New Year than any other shrines in the prefecture. New Year's prayer service is held over three days at the signal of the bell ringing out on New Year's Eve.

    Saijo Inari

    A temporary bus service is available from New Year's Day to January 3 at Bitchu Takamatsu Station on Momotaro Line.

  • Ujo Hatsuyume Festival at Okayama Castle

    New Year's Day

    Ujo Hatsuyume Festival

    On New Year's Day, admission to Okayama Castle is free of charge. Bamboo flute performance, a New Year's dancing by performers in a lion costume and other performances are seen in the square in front of the castle. Japanese traditional games played in New Year's can be enjoyed here. Rice cakes are served at noon.

    Okayama Castle

    15 min. by a city circular bus, "No. 3 Masuno Line" of "Megrin" from Okayama Station (in front of ICOTNICOT) and 5 minutes on foot

  • Early Spring Festival in Okayama Korakuen Garden

    New Year's Day to January 3

    Early Spring Festival in Okayama Korakuen Garden

    On New Year's Day, admission to Okayama Korakuen Garden is free of charge and performances of Japanese music, including koto (long Japanese zithers) performances, are held in Enyo-tei House. On New Year's Day and January 3, red-crowned cranes are released from cages, take a walk and fly around over the garden. And on the second of January, a kyogen play, which is a Noh comedy, is performed on the Noh stage twice. The New Year celebration in olden times can be enjoyed in this former Daimyo Garden.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Mochitsuki accompanied by Sound of Shamisen

    New Year's Day to January 3

    Kibitsu no Shamisen Mochitsuki; Pounding Steamed Rice into Rice Cakes Accompanied by Sound of Shamisen

    Kibitsu Shrine had a traditional event that followers, called "ujiko," made rice cakes by pounding steamed rice in a large mortar with a pestle, accompanied by the beat of Japanese drums and the sound of shamisen, long three stringed banjo-like instruments played with a plectrum, when the roof of the shrine was renewed every 50 to 60 years. Since 1973, it has been performed in the square beside the main hall on New Year's every year. In the morning of January 3, it also holds the event at which archers shoot their arrows to each direction high into the sky to pray for the peace and security of the nation and an abundant harvest for the year, called Yatate No Shinji.

    Kibitsu Shrine

    5 minutes on foot from Kibitsu Station on Momotaro Line

  • Bean-scattering Ceremony at Saijo Inari

    Around February 3

    Bean-scattering Ceremony at Saijo Inari

    In Japan, we have a custom of expelling evil spirits and to pray for good luck by throwing roasted soybeans in the evening of around February 3, the eve of the traditional calendrical beginning of spring. Saijo Inari conducts a bean-scattering ceremony at the stage set up on the elongated structure in front of the shop "Yukari" after praying for good luck and warding off evil in the main hall in the morning. Twenty thousand tons of beans packed into small bags are thrown by 750 people, including celebrities, for each group by rotation.

    Saijo Inari

    20 min. from Okayama Station to Bitchu Takamatsu Station on JR Momotaro Line (JR Kibi Line) and 5 min. by taxi

  • Hina Dolls Displayed in Nozaki's Historical Residence

    Early February to early April

    Ohinasama-ten in Nozaki's Historical Residence; Exhibition to Display Hina Dolls

    Nozaki's Historical Residence exhibits sets of dolls representing the wedding ceremony of the emperor and the empress with their servants, including court ladies. Hina Matsuri, or the Girl's Day Festival, is held to celebrate girls' growth. They have more than 200 of instruments, such as the dolls given by the Ikeda family, which was the former feudal lord family of Bizen Province, those made by a famous doll maker in the 18th century, and pieces of miniature furniture. From late February to early March, Ohina Dosokai, or "Hina Dolls at the reunion," is held as part of Kurashiki Hina-Meguri Festival in the large room covered with 100 tatami mats in its annex, named Taikado, which is usually not open to the public.

    Nozaki's Historical Residence

    Jeans Bus from Kojima Station on Seto Ohashi Line / 25 min. on foot from Kojima Station

  • Kurashiki Spring Light Festival

    Late February to Early March

    Kurashiki Spring Light Festival

    The area around Kurashiki Canal is illuminated by various lantern displays such as illuminated traditional umbrellas, Kiriko-cut lanterns and bamboo lanterns. There are workshops for making candles and Kiriko-cut lanterns. Many visitors borrow a paper lantern to stroll about the area and enjoy a magical atmosphere.

    Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

    13 minutes on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station

  • Japanese Plum Trees

    March 2

    Garden Opening Commemoration Day

    March 2 is observed on Garden Opening Commemoration Day of Okayama Korakuen Garden. It is the day when a commemorative ceremony was held to mark its handover from the Ikeda family of the former feudal lord to Okayama Prefecture in 1884. It celebrates the memorial day with different varieties of events. Fragrant plum blossoms would be at their best. Around the commemorative day, the Michelin-starred garden and Okayama Castle hold "Haru no Omotenashi," Hospitality in Spring, and offers Japanese cultural experiences such as Noh comedy, Japanese-style flower arrangement, and tea ceremony.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Yakage

    Fourth Sunday of March

    Yakage Nagashi-bina Festival

    Yakage is a former post town which has inns for feudal lords traveling to their hometown or Edo, current Tokyo, in a procession every year, court nobles, and government officials of the Edo shogunate. At the festival, participants dressed in traditional costumes parade through Yakage Shopping Street slowly, and classical dancing to music with a slow tempo are performed at some points. Paper dolls with wishes are floated down the Oda River after a Buddhist priest's prayer and traditional dancing on a nearby riverbed.

    Hokubo

    8 minutes on foot from Yakage Station on Ibara Line

  • Wedding Procession in Nakatsui

    Last Saturday of March & Following Sunday

    Nakatsui Hina no Bunka Matsuri

    It is held to celebrate girls' growth in the area around Nakatsui Jinya. The local administrator who governed this region in the Edo Period lived and worked at Nakatsui Jinya. Sets of Hina dolls are displayed at 40 private houses along the main street. The procession held in the main street is a reenactment of the wedding procession heading to Nozaki's Residence of Kojima at the end of the Edo Period.

    Nakatsui Jinya

    35 min. by bus bound for Azae from Bitchu Takahashi Station on JR Hakubi Line

  • Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival

    Around April 1 to 15

    Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival

    Kakuzan Park, or Tsuyama Castle, in Tsuyama City is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing spots in western Japan. In the castle site, (1) the view of cherry blossoms visible from the front of Kakuzan-kan on the Sannomaru courtyard and looking like a sea of clouds below a turret dubbed Bitchu Turret, which was restored in 2005, (2) the one visible at the foot of the main part of the site, termed Honmaru, and looking like a carpet of cherry blossoms, (3) the night view of cherry blossoms, and (4) stone walls are must-see sights.

    Kakuzan Park (Tsuyama Castle)

    10 minutes on foot from Tsuyama Station on JR Tsuyama Line.

  • Vecchio Bambino at Ivy Square

    First Weekend in April

    Vecchio Bambino Primavera

    A two-day charity classic car rally, "Vicchio Bambino," takes place in the western part of Okayama Prefecture in spring. Mainly European supercars produced in or before 1972 gather from all over the country and run on roads in areas such as Tsuyama, Niimi and Takahashi cities. On the first day, the course starts in Okayama City, finishing in Kurashiki through some cities. On the last day, the cars run a course from Kurashiki City to Okayama City. It would be fun to take pictures of the cars against the background of historical buildings at each checkpoint.

  • Goshinko Festival

    First Sunday of April

    Goshinko Festival

    Goshinko Festival is held by Munetada Shrine, which enshrines the founder of Kurozumikyo sect of Shinto. At the festival, the divine spirit temporally enshrined in a portable shrine which is ornamented on top with a miniature of a golden phoenix makes an imperial visit from and to Munetada Shrine, with people dressed in traditional costume. The participants walk about the central part of Okayama City in a one-kilometer-long procession and stop by Okayama Korakuen Garden.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Shishi of Maniwa

    Late April to Early November ( April 26 to May 26, July 19 to August 25 and September 28 to November 4, 2019 )

    Setouchi Triennale & Art Setouchi

    Setouchi Triennale is held in some islands in the Seto Inland Sea and ports on its coast every three years. At Setouchi Triennale, contemporary artists from Japan and other countries produce their works in cooperation with local people, with the theme of "the Restoration of the Sea," and exhibit or perform them in various event sites. Setouchi Triennale and all related activities held every year except the year when the Triennale is held are collectively referred to "Art Setouchi."

    The Seto Inland Sea

    Via Uno Port or Takamatsu Port

  • Yosai Tea Ceremony

    Fourth Sunday of April

    Yosai Tea Ceremony

    It is the tea ceremony which has over 80 years of history, honoring Yosai, or Eisai, who is described as a Zen priest born in Okayama, for his distinguished services to bring tea etiquette back to Japan and to promote it widely to the public.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Heartland Kurashiki

    In Early May

    Heartland Kurashiki

    It is a festival held mainly in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter. It is popular to watch an old-fashioned boat that carries a girl dressed in a wedding kimono along the canal. It brings back the old times; a bride traveling to her bridegroom's residence. It also has various performances, including Japanese drums.

    Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter and other places

    13 minutes on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station

  • Kibitsu Shrine's Annual Spring Festival

    Second Sunday of May

    Kibitsu Shrine's Annual Spring Festival

    Kibitsu Shrine enshrines "Kibitsuhiko no mikoto," the model of Momotaro, or Peach-boy, who is also described as a hero born of the legend of ogre extermination. The festival is held to offer delicacies collected from all over Bitchu Province to the shrine that is the supreme shrine in the province. One hundred and some dozens of followers called ujiko, following Shinto priests, walk up the beautiful corridor with a length of 398 meters, or 1,306 feet, solemnly in two lines, making an impressive scene. The representatives, in order, offer delicacies, which they themselves have prepared for Kibitsuhiko no mikoto and arranged on 75 small individual dining tables painted with black lacquer.

    Kibitsu Shrine

    5 minutes on foot from Kibitsu Station on Momotaro Line

  • Flower Arrangement Exhibition

    Mid-May

    Flower Viewing Tour at Fukiya Hirokane Family's Residence

    Various seasonal flowers, including red and white Chinese peony flowers, are displayed in the main residence, the annex across a short corridor from it, which was built to be used at a wedding ceremony of the head of the family nearly 100 years ago and has been closed except the exhibition, and the tea house on the hill across from Hirokane Residence.

    Hirokane Residence

    Taxi from Bitchu Takahashi Station on Hakubi Line

  • Achi Shrine's Annual Spring Festival

    Third Saturday of May

    Achi Shrine's Annual Spring Festival

    Achi Shrine has a history of over 1,700 years. The festival is held to pray for the prosperity of the region and the safety of its followers, and to ask for guidance to them. Ritual performances, such as Three Goddesses' Dancing to ceremonial court music and Children's Bitchu Kagura based on ancient myths, are offered on its Noh stage in the evening. Youths performing roles of elderly men and women with masks, named suinkyo, appear at many places in the downtown area near Achi Shrine. It is said that people who have been patted on their heads by them with their fans are getting healthy and growing wiser.

    Achi Shrine

    15 minutes on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station

  • Tea Pickng Festival

    Third Sunday of May

    Tea Picking Festival

    It has a history of 60 years. Teenage girl pickers in kimono pick tea leaves by hand and a hands-on experience is given to those who are interested after the demonstration. Tea picking dancing and a tea ceremony are performed as well.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Hydrangea Festival at Chohoji Temple

    Weekend in Mid-June

    Tea Ceremony at Chohoji Temple, Dubbed Hydrangea Temple

    Nearly 3,000 hydrangeas in 30 varieties have been planted in the garden of Chohoji Temple. It is famous for its hydrangeas and dubbed "hydrangea temple" as well. The flowers are best viewed in mid to late June. Visitors can enjoy a tea ceremony in its Amitabha hall around the mid-June while appreciating the paintings of hydrangeas on the sliding paper doors, which were presented by Tsuyama Castle in 1873 and are open to the public only on these two days.

    Chohoji Temple

    5 minutes on foot from Tsuyama-guchi Station on Tsuyama Line

  • Kurashiki Tenryo Summer Festival

    Saturday of July

    Kurashiki Tenryo Summer Festival

    It is the largest festival in Kurashiki City. It is known for its dance competitions on the main street, Kurashiki Chuo-dori Avenue, starting at Kurashiki Station. It also has a Japanese chess tournament at Keiken-do of Shinkei-en Garden adjoining Ohara Museum of Art, performances on Kurashiki Chuo-dori Avenue by a Kurashiki-based Japanese drum group that are active both domestically and overseas, the final of a beauty contest, Kurashiki Komachi, at Ario Kurashiki and other performances.

    Around Kurashiki Station

    A short walk from Kurashiki Station

  • Rice Planting Festival at Kibitsuhiko Shrine

    August 2 & 3

    Rice Planting Festival at Kibitsuhiko Shrine

    A dance performance by elementary school girls representing rice planting and other Shrine rituals are dedicated to the deities for an abundant harvest. On the evening of August 2, it is vibrant with people doing Bon festival dancing and night stalls.

    Kibitsuhiko Shrine

    3 minutes on foot from Bizen Ichinomiya Station on Momotaro Line

  • Shadow Picture at Summer Illumination Garden

    During August

    Summer Garden Illumination

    During the event, Okayama Korakuen Garden extends the closing time until 21:30 and it is illuminated with lamp stands and banboo lanterns after dark.

    On every Friday during the event, admission is free for any person wearing a yukata, Japanese summer kimono, after 5 p.m. Jinbei or Jinbee, Japanese-style home wear worn by males and children, is also acceptable.

    At its beer garden, various kinds of dishes and drinks are served in the lawn open space with a good view of the garden.

    Other events, including Shadow Picture Art Project at Enyo-tei House, live concerts in the lawn open space and a cocktail bar at Kakumei-kan Guest House, are held as well.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Okayama Momotaro Festival in Summer

    First Saturday of August & Following Sunday

    Okayama Momotaroh Festival

    Cheerful dancing, called Uraja Dancing, are performed by local young people in unique costume, in various places, including a part of Shiyakusho-suji Avenue where traffic regulation is carried out by the police in front of Aeon Mall Okayama and the square in front of East Gate of Okayama Station. Uraja Parade and the dance performances by a lot of dance groups, based on the legend of ogre extermination in Okayama, attract spectators at the venues charged with intense excitement.

    The square in front of East Gate of Okayama Station and other spots in Downtown Okayama

  • Manga Ebuta Festival

    Early August

    Manga Ebuta Festival

    Manga Ebuta Festival is held at Kawakami Town in Takahashi City located in the west of Okayama Prefecture. It models after Nebuta Festival of Aomori Prefecture. Huge paper lanterns depicting famous cartoon characters and other characters on floats parade through Kawakami Manga Ebuta Park on the summer evening. Volunteering groups of the local people spent a few months creating their paper lanterns before the festival. Fireworks are set off at the end of the festival.

    Kawakami Manga Ebuta Park

    45 min. by bus bound for Jito from Butchu Takahashi Station Bus Terminal and 4 min. on foot from Jito bus stop

  • Bitchu-Takahashi Matsuyama Dancing Festival

    August 14 to 16

    Bitchu Takahashi Matsuyama Dancing Festival

    It is one of the largest summer dancing festivals in Okayama Prefecture with over 350 years of tradition. It is said that it was originally performed to wish for a good harvest and a thriving business when the first lord of Bitchu Matsuyama Domain ruled the province. The main street extending from the east gate of Bitchu Takahashi Station to the Takahashi River is alive with tens of thousands of the young and the elderly in three days. Dancers make a circle around a tower set up at the center of an open space on the street and dance to folk songs.

    Around Bitchu Takahashi Station

    On the street running from the front of West Gate of Bitchu Takahashi Station to the Takahashi River

  • Release of Red-Crowned Crane

    One Day or Two Days a Month from September to February

    Garden Walks of Japanese Cranes

    In Okayama Korakuen Garden, eight red-crowned cranes are raised in cages, and released into lawns of the garden on New Year's Day and January 3, and one day or two days a month on a Sunday or a public holiday from September to February, with taking a walk and flying around over the garden.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Hassaku-Hina-Kazari

    Around August 1 in the Old Lunar Calendar ( Sep. 6 to Sep. 9, 2019 )

    Hassaku-Hina-Kazari

    Once Ushimado had a time-honored custom of holding the Girl's Day Festival to celebrate the birth and growth of girls with Hina dolls on August 1 in lunar calendar, together with the custom of offering marine and agricultural products made of rice flour to the dolls. It was rare to hold the Girl's Day Festival in Summer even at the nationwide level. The festival, termed "Hassaku-Hina-Kazari," was once lost and revived in 2010. Today it is held around August 1 in lunar calendar for airing Hina dolls as well. The dolls with miniature furniture are displayed in nearly 40 buildings such as private houses, shops and accommodations in the area stretching along the coast, with wide open doors and latticed windows.

    Ushimado

    30 min. from Okayama Station to Saidaiji Station on JR Ako Line and 40 min. by bus to Ushimado

  • Moon Viewing Ceremony

    August 15 in the Old Lunar Calendar

    Moon Viewing Ceremony

    The moon viewing ceremony is a Japanese tradition of celebrating and admiring the full moon on August 15 in the old lunar calendar. In Okayama Korakuen Garden, you can spend time relaxing while enjoying Japanese traditional music. Visitors are allowed to enter and sit on the lawn in front of Enyo-tei House to see the moon and enjoy dishes and drinks on this day.

    Okayama Korakuen Garden

    10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal 1

  • Hill Climb Challenge Series in Takahashi

    First Sunday of October & Previous Saturday

    Hill Climb Challenge Series in Takahashi

    Hill Climb Challenge Series in Takahashi is held in Takahashi City on a weekend during October. It is a bicycle race in which anyone from a beginner to an advanced person is allowed to participate. The cycle racers registered in advance check in at Takahashi North Junior High School near Bitchu Kawamo Station on the first day of the event. They run either a long distance of 15 km, 9.3mi, or a short distance of 10 km, 6.2mi, from the starting point to Historical Townscape of Fukiya the next day, after a warm-up run of 2.5km, 1.55mi, from the main venue.

    Downtown Takahashi to Historical Townscape of Fukiya

    10 minutes on foot to the starting point from Bitchu Takahashi Station on Hakubi Line

  • Vecchio Bambino Autunno

    First Weekend in October

    Vecchio Bambino Autunno

    A two-day charity classic car rally, "Vicchio Bambino," takes place in the eastern part of Okayama Prefecture in autumn. Mainly European supercars produced in or before 1972 gather from all over the country and run on roads in areas such as Bizen and Tsuyama cities. The cars start at and return to Okayama City through some cities such as Bizen, Mimasaka and Maniwa. It would be fun to take pictures of the cars against the background of historical buildings at each checkpoint.

  • Okayama Momotaro Festival in Autumn

    Weekend in Early October

    Okayama Momotaroh Festival in Autumn

    It is held at several places in the downtown area of Okayama City including Okayama Castle as the main venue, featuring the local dishes, performing arts and history. Visitors can enjoy traditional performing arts, such as Japanese drums and dancing performed by local people. There are various foods from street stalls serving local dishes of Okayama and neighboring prefectures. Ukita Hideie Festival takes place as well. Hideie Ukita, a favorite adopted son of Hideyoshi Toyotomi in the period of Warring States, constructed Okayama Castle. Okayama Castle Musket Troop presents a demonstration of historical matchlock guns in front of the keep. The highlight is the samurai procession which marches through the streets of Downtown Okayama and then reaches Okayama Castle.

    Okayama Castle, Ishiyama Square and Sereral Spots in Downtown Okayama

    15 min. by a city circular bus, "No. 3 Masuno Line" of "Megrin" from Okayama Station (in front of ICOTNICOT) and 5 minutes on foot

  • Kibitsu Shrine's Annual Autumn Festival

    Second Sunday of October

    Kibitsu Shrine's Annual Autumn Festival

    Kibitsu Shrine enshrines Kibitsuhiko no mikoto, the model of Momotaro, or Peach-boy, who is a hero born of the legend of ogre extermination. The festival is held to offer delicacies collected from all over Bitchu Province to the shrine that is the supreme shrine in the province. One hundred and some dozens of followers called ujiko, following Shinto priests, walk up the beautiful corridor with a length of 398 meters, or 1,306 feet, solemnly in two lines, making an impressive scene. The representatives, in order, offer delicacies, which they themselves have prepared for Kibitsuhiko no mikoto and arranged on 75 small individual dining tables painted with black lacquer.

    Kibitsu Shrine

    5 minutes on foot from Kibitsu Station on Momotaro Line

  • Niimi Dogeza Festival

    October 15

    Niimi Dogeza Festival

    A historical pageant, which is comprised of 64 people in total, departs from Niimi Funakawa Hachimangu Shrine and parades streets between the shrine and a place for portable shrines to rest, named otabisho. It is the re-enactment of the feudal lord's procession formed at the time when the first feudal load of Niimi Domain visited his newly-given fief in 1697. After the entry, the feudal load participated in the annual autumn festival of the shrine to pray for the peace of his people and huge harvest. At that time, the procession paraded in accordance with the processional ritual rules at the head of the portable shrines as the guards. Shrine followers called ujiko and visitors are not allowed to cross in front of the procession and they must meet it with making their posture in a low position by kneeling down on the ground or sitting on seats.

    Niimi Funakawa Hachimangu Shrine & its surrounding area

    65 min. from Okayama Station to Niimi Station by limited express, "Yakumo" and Free shuttle bus

  • Achi Shrine's Suinkyo

    Saturday before Third Sunday of October

    Achi Shrine's Annual Autumn Festival

    It is held to thank the goddesses for their constant divine protection. Ritual performances, such as Three Goddesses' Dancing to ceremonial court music and Children's Kagura based on ancient myths, are offered on its Noh stage in the evening. Youths performing roles of elderly men and women with masks, termed suinkyo, appear at many places in the downtown area by Achi Shrine. It is said that people who have been patted on their heads by them with their fans are getting healthy and growing wiser.

    Achi Shrine

    15 minutes on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station

  • Byobu Festival

    Third Sunday of October & Previous Saturday

    Kurashiki Byobu Festival

    About 25 of the residents mainly along Honmachi-dori Street remove their lattice windows or open their entrance doors facing onto the streets, and display their folding screen paintings, heirlooms and Japanese arranged flowers to treat visitors warmly during the festival. It was restored in 2002 and has become known as a pastime that gives poetic charm to autumn in Kurashiki.

    Around Achi Shrine

    15 minutes on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station

  • Goshinkosai Festival

    Third Sunday of October

    Goshinkosai Parade; Imperial Visit by the Goddesses

    Divine spirits on a portable shrine, three girls dressed up as Three Goddesses, the chief priest on horseback and people in historical costumes, about 150 participants, parade through the area in and around Achi Shrine and Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter from the early morning until the evening at the festival. Performances, including Three Goddesses' Dancing to ceremonial court music and dancing by performers in a lion costume, are offered to the goddesses in places for the portable shrine to rest, termed otabisho. Youths performing roles of elderly men and women with masks, termed suinkyo, accompany the performers in a lion costume.

    Vicinity of Achi Shrine & Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

    15 minutes on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station

  • Archery on Horseback at Annual Autumn Festival

    Evening of Third Saturday of October & Following Sunday

    Kibitsuhiko Shrine's Annual Autumn Festival

    The annual autumn festival is held to thank for a good harvest and to offer newly harvested rice to the shrine. Japanese traditional archery on horseback, termed yabusame, is performed by two men in traditional hunting gear.

    Kibitsuhiko Shrine

    3 minutes on foot from Bizen Ichinomiya Station on Momotaro Line

  • Bizen Pottery Festival

    Third Sunday of October & Previous Saturday

    Bizen Pottery Festival

    The streets around Inbe Station are temporarily closed to vehicle traffic and it teems with a lot of tourists and devotees of Bizen ware from all over Japan. Around 400,000 of works by local potters are displayed in the stores of Bizen ware artists and pottery producers, and temporary tents. Most of them are sold at a 20 percent discount.

    Bizen Pottery Square

    Around Inbe Station on Ako Line

  • Kamo Grand Festival

    Third Sunday of October

    Kamo Grand Festival

    Kamo Grand Festival is one of the three major festivals of Okayama Prefecture. It is said Shinto priests of twelve shrines gathered at the shrine to thank the deities who stamped out an epidemic breaking out and prevailing around here about 950 years ago and that was the beginning of the festival. It has evolved into what it is today. After eight portable shrines parading from each place of enshrinement to Sojagu Shrine surrounded by Japanese cedar trees and cypress trees estimated to be over 500 years old, it conducts Shinto rites together with the other eight shrines. During the festival, sound of Japanese flutes rings out and sound of drums beats out all over the area surrounded by mountains.

    Sojagu Shrine of Kamo Ichiba in Kibi Chuo Town

    60 min. by bus bound for Rehabilitation Center Mae to Kibi Plaza from Platform No. 6 of Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal and 15 min. by taxi / 60 min. by taxi from Okayama Station

  • Tsuyama Festival

    Third & Fourth Sundays of October

    Tsuyama Festival

    With a history of over 400 years, Tsuyama Festival is a major autumn event of Tsuyama City, composed of three festivals. Tokumori Shrine's festival with the longest history is the largest of them. Its 200-year-old potable shrine with a weight of over one ton is one of the three major portable shrines in Japan. It is held on the fourth Sunday of October on Yatsu-dori Street, with the portable shrine and decorated parade floats running through the heart of Tsuyama City near the Yoshii River and several places around Tsuyama Station. Osumi Shrine's festival takes place on the third Sunday of October near Higashi-Tsuyama Station. Takano Shrine holds its festival on the closest Sunday to October 22 near Innosho Station. They are the three major shrines in Tsuyama. The portable shrine is carried on the shoulders of over 150 bearers uniformly dressed with happi coats, short lightweight coats, and the decorated parade floats are hauled on the ropes. On the eve of the festival, the decorated parade floats are pulled through the streets. At the main festival, they gather in each main venue after travelling on their respective parade route, and then parade through the towns, full of thrill and strength.

    Tsuyama

    Near Tsuyama Station on Tsuyama Line, Higashi-Tsuyama Station on Inbi Line and Innosho Station on Kishin Line

  • Festival in Bitchu-Takahashi

    Late October to Early November

    Tenku No Yamashiro Bitchu Matsuyama-jo To Marugoto Jokamachi Festa; A Castle in the Sky, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, and the Whole-Castle-Town Festival

    It mainly represents Japanese traditional culture in the Edo Period (1603-1867). The venues of the event are Ishibiyacho Furusato Village, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle and the surrounding area. The festival gives a glimpse of the samurai lifestyle of the time. The castle is clothed in autumn leaves.

    Ishibiyacho Furusato Village, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle & the vicinities

    Bitchu Takahashi Station on Hakubi Line

  • Yakage Shukuba Festival

    Second Sunday of November

    Yakage Shukuba Festival

    The procession of a feudal lord is reenacted in Yakage Shukuba Festival. Over 80 local people, including non-Japanese residences and workers in Yakage, participate in the procession for two hours, including a break, accompanying chants "Shita-ni! Shita-ni!" and making an impressive scene in the samurai world.

    Yakage Shopping Street

    8 minutes on foot from Yakage Station on Ibara Line

  • Momotaroh Fantasy

    Around December 1 to 25

    Momotaroh Fantasy

    The square of East Gate of Okayama Station and the area around West Gate of the station is illuminated at night. The Christmas trees are bedecked with a lot of ornaments and lights. Nishigawa Illumination is also held in Nishigawa Canal Walk situated on the way to Okayama Castle from Okayama Station between mid-November and mid-February.

    Around Okayama Station

    The square in front of East Gate of Okayama Station