1WakasaTakahama Hina Dolls Festival
Hina-matsuri, also called Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day, is a special day in Japan which is celebrated on 3 March of each year.
platforms covered with a red carpet-material are used to display ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period.
From mid Feb to early March, over 90 shops and ordinary households display exquisite hina dolls that are open to the public. There is a Hina doll parade where locals dress up in the traditional clothing of the Heian period and walk around the town. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the streets of Takahama while looking at various Hina dolls.
[venue] Takahama Area
[Held] Mid-February – Early March
2Yokotsumi Plantation Picnic
You can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Mt. Aoba among a peaceful rural landscape with over 70,000 shibazakura (lawn cherry trees). The best time to visit is from mid-April to early May, when the plantation comes alive with an array of pink hues that adorn the landscape. Please enjoy Shibazakura that local people have grown with great care.
In order to prevent new corona virus infection, direct sales of seedlings and vegetables will be discontinued this year. Visitors may walk around the area freely.
[venue] Yokotsumi Area
[Held] Mid-April to Early May
This event is held every year in the beautiful setting of Shiroyama Park. There is a big stage with music and dance performances, lots of food stalls and many activities for children, such as a petting zoo and games! Huge Koinobori (carp streamers) are displayed in the park, and visitors can also enjoy the scenic beauty of “Meikyo-do Cave”, one of Takahama most cherished sights.
[venue] Shiroyama Park
[Date] Late May
1Takahama 7 Years Festival
Shichi-nen-Matsuri (7 Years Festival) of Sakichi Shrine is the biggest summer festival of the Wakasa region, and is held only once every 6 years. With over 450 years of history, It is designated as an intangible folk cultural asset by the prefecture.
For 7 days, the whole Takahama area comes alive, as three huge portable shrines and seven floats parade through the town, with an array of additional traditional performances. On the last day everyone gathers on Torihama Beach where the Festival reaches its climax with “ashi-arai”, an ancient ritual where the 3 portable shrines are carried into the ocean as a purifying rite to cleanse away evil spirits.
[venue] Takahama District
[Date] Late June
2Wakasa-Takahama Isaribiso Illumination Event
The Isaribiso Illumination Event draws big crowds, and visitors can enjoy the enchanting atmosphere of over 11,000 candles displayed along the beautiful Wakamiya beach.
There is also live music and lots of stalls selling drinks and local food. The climax of the event is a stunning firework display, with the very popular “Yagura-Dragon” performance, where locals prepare special fireworks tubes that they carry while performing a mesmerizing choreographed firework show.
[venue] Wakamiya Beach
[Date] Late July
Kite-minare means “come on!” in the local Takahama dialect.
This family event is set in the beautiful scenery of the secluded Uchiura Bay, where the mountains meet the ocean. There are many activities for the whole family, such as boat cruises, swimming, fishing around the bay, food and beverage stalls, as well as lots of handicraft workshops where you can get involved and interact with the locals.
In the evening there is a fireworks display.
[venue] Hirose Auto Campground
4Takahama Fireworks Festival
The annual Wakasa Takahama Fireworks Festival is a summer tradition in Takahama.
The fireworks are launched from boats out at sea, so spectators can enjoy the spectacular show from the beach, and be dazzled by the beautiful reflections on the water.
The event draws big crowds, but with so many spots along the beaches to view the fireworks from, it doesn’t get overcrowded so visitors can really relax and enjoy the show.
The main venue.is Wakasa-Wada Beach.
[venue] Wakasa Wada Beach – Shiroyama Beach
[Date] August 1st
1Wada de Roji Festival
The Wada district is full of traditional minshuku inns and narrow alleys that wind their way to the sea.
During this street event, the whole of the Wada area comes alive as over 20 vacant minshuku inns are turned into temporary galleries and cafes, breathing new life into the old streets.
There are also lots of other street stalls serving drinks and local foods, and lots of kids activities such as rides on a horse-drawn carriage and a stamp rally with prizes to be won. On the night before the festival, a huge street banquet (Chogai-en) is held at the local community center with lots of food and live music.
The must-see finale is a modern fashion show, with all the garments being made by the locals using traditional kimono fabrics.
[venue] Wada District
[Date] mid September
2Sakichi Shrine Annual Festival
This is the Takahama area’s annual autumn festival, and is held at Sakichi Shrine for two days. Children carry portable shrines (Mikoshi) throughout the town accompanied by chanting and taiko drums, before gathering at Sakichi Shrine, where a sacred dance ritual (Urayasu no mai) is performed as an offering to the shrine.
There is also an outdoor tea-ceremony. ピン！トホームページ（日本語）
[venue] Sakichi Shrine (Takahama area)
[Date] 12th &13th October
3Shingu Shrine Annual Festival
This is the Wada area’s annual autumn festival held at Shingu Shrine, where the whole area comes alive and gets into the festival spirit. There are many portable shrines (Mikoshi) and floats paraded through the town, all accompanied by beating drums and flutes, before gathering at Shingu Shrine. At the shrine, many traditional Japanese performances such as Urayasu-no-mai dances are dedicated as an offering to the shrine. For the climax, the mikoshi are all carried to Wakasa-Wada Beach for the Ashi-arai purification ceremony, where they are carried into the sea to drive away evil spirits. ピン！トホームページ（日本語）
[venue] Shingu Shrine (Wada area)
[Date] 14th October
4Seikai Shrine Annual Festival
This is the Seikyo area’s autumn Matsuri (festival) and is held every year at Seikai Shrine. Residents from each district form processions and parade around the town, pulling extravagant festival floats crafted in the shape of boats, and accompanied by traditional Japanese flutes and drums. After the processions, all the floats gather at Seikai Shrine, where a sacred dance ritual (Urayasu-no-mai) is performed as an offering to the shrine. At the end of the festival there’s an exhilarating taiko drumming performance, where all the districts simultaneously beat their drums in a bid to outdo each other. ピン！トホームページ（日本語）
[venue] Seikai Shrine (Seikyo area)
[Date] 17th October
5Wakasa Hamanasu Marathon
Hamanasu marathon offers a flat and comfortable course that is mainly along the beautiful coastline of Wakasa-Wada’s BLUE FLAG Beach.
Participants and spectators can enjoy the pleasant autumn breeze along the beach and the beautiful scenery of the sea and islands.
There are 1.5 km courses for lower elementary school students, 3 km courses for upper elementary school students and seniors, 5 km courses for middle school students and above, and 10 km courses.
[venue] Wada District
1Shiba no Mi-ire Ceremony
On February 11th of every year, this Shinto ritual is performed at Seikai Shrine in the Seikyo area to pray for a good harvest and a prosperous year for farmers and fishermen.
When the Shinto priest reads the Shinto ritual prayer of Shiba no Mi-ire, the shrine parishioners repeatedly strike the priest on the back with a ceremonial brushwood (Shiba) made of oak and sakaki leaves. It is said that the more leaves that fall to the ground, the more prosperous the year will be for agricultural and fishing industries.
The Shiba no Mi-ire ritual has been continued since the Edo period, and is now a designated Intangible folk cultural property of the prefecture.
[venue] SeikaiShrine (Seikyo area)
[Date] 11th february
2Otomi no Omato-iri Ceremony
This Shinto ritual is held every year on New Year’s Day at Kehi Shrine in the Uchiura area to pray for sound health and an abundant harvest.
The ceremony consists of different rituals, ending with the Omato-iri ritual, where the parishioners shoot arrows at a target. It is said that it is better not to hit the target with the arrow, and believed that hitting it could cause disaster to the area.
The event contains many traditional folklore elements and is designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of the prefecture.
[venue] Kehi Shrine (Uchiura area)
[Date] 1st January