F E S T I V A L S
MISHIMA SUIGUN (sea guards) TSURUHIME (Princess Tsuru) FESTIVAL
Omishima-cho, Imabari City 今治市大三島町
June 1-Sept. 20 UKAI (Cormorant Fishing) on the Hiji-kawa (river) Ozu City
This year Ukai in Ozu city will be held as usual after a two-year interval.
In Japan the tradition of fishing with cormorants goes back at least a thousand years. In Ozu it started as a tourist attraction in 1957 and now the Hiji-kawa is one of the three most famous ukai spots in Japan, including the Nagara-gawa in Gifu Prefecture and the Mikuma-gawa in Oita Prefecture. The fishing is done from a boat called u-bune, which is lit by torches as it sails down the Hiji-kawa, which runs through Ozu. Cormorant fishermen called usho, beat the sides of the boats to encourage trained cormorants to catch fish. Long strings are attached to rings around the birds’ necks, which prevent them from swallowing fish. When a cormorant makes a catch, a fisherman pulls the bird in and has it cough up the fish on the boat. Ukai is viewed by awase-ukai 合わせ鵜飼 in which u-bune and yakata-bune, boats for sightseers, sail down the river side by side. You can order a bento to eat on board or just ride the boat and watch, and some hotels offer a special ukai package. Ukai will be canceled if the weather is bad. Prices range from 4,000 yen to 12,000 yen.
You need to make a reservation in advance at Ozu kanko sogo-annaisho (Tel. 0893-57-6655).
Transportation: Take a JR express train bound for Uwajima and get off at Ozu (a 40-minute ride). From the station take a taxi or walk for 30 minutes.
July 2-23 DOYO YOICHI (Saturday Fair) 土曜夜市 13:00- 21:00
On July Saturdays, Okaido, Gintengai arcades ad Matsuchika Town are filled with booths. There are games such as kingyo-sukui (goldfish catching), food, various kinds of things to buy and crowds of people come to enjoy the fun.
July 1-10 OYAMA-BIRAKI FESTIVAL御山開き (Opening of Mt. Ishizuchi)
July 1st is the official opening of Mt. Ishizuchi石鎚山 (1,982 m), the highest mountain in western Japan. It is thought to be a holy mountain and many believers from all over Japan come to climb it and pray. On June 30th three gods are taken in portable shrines from Ishizuchi-jinja near Saijo西条 to Jojusha, the shrine at the top of the mountain. The three gods represent wisdom, compassion and courage, which are said to be the three masculine virtues. On the morning of July 1st, from 7:00, small statues of the gods are carried to the top of the mountain one by one to the accompaniment of drums and conch shells followed by
men dressed in white, called sendatsu-san. At the top they pray for health and safety while tapping the statues on each others’ backs. The gods are enshrined there until July 10th. In the past no women were allowed to climb the mountain. Now they can, but they are still not allowed on July 1st.
(Tel. 0897-55-4044 Ishiduchi-jinja)
July 7 TANABATA (star festival)
According to a Chinese legend it is only once a year that two lovers, the Shepherd (Altair) and the Weaving Princess (Vega), are able to cross the Milky Way and meet. Bamboo branches are decorated with tanzaku, strips of colored paper on which wishes are written, and brightly colored balls with long paper streamers. In Ehime this is usually celebrated on August 7th according to the lunar calendar.
July 14-Dec. 2 THE 27th NATIONAL EXHIBITION OF KAMABOKO-ITA -NO-E
9:00-17:00 (closed on Tuesday) At GALLERY SHIROKAWA Shirokawa-cho, Seiyo City 西予市城川町
The national exhibition of paintings on kamaboko (fish-paste) boards started about twenty years ago. This year 6,148 paintings were sent from all over the country and abroad. The painting which won the first prize this year is the one titled “Ochinai kimi (unfallen you 落ちない君)”. It was painted by Kubo Teruaki from Miyazaki Prefecture to represent a beetle rested on a broken wood wall on a summer day. (Tel. 0894-82-1001)
July 18 UMI NO HI (Marine Day) 海の日 National Holiday
July 22-24 UWAJIMA USHIONI FESTIVAL Uwajima City 宇和島市
This is one of the biggest festivals in Shikoku. The main feature is ushioni (ox devil), large bamboo-framed structures in the shape of an ox with the head of a devil, covered in red, blue or brown cloth or hemp palm bark. Legend says ushioni were used to frighten the enemy.
22 10:00-22:00 Exhibit of Ushioni at Kisaiya Square
13:00 (Kids) / 16:30 Uwajima Gaiya Carnival on Kisaiya Road and Ushioni Street. “Gaiya” means “terrific” in the local dialect.
12:00-21:00 All-comer Festa at Fureai square
23 10;00-22:00 Exhibit of Ushioni at Kisaiya Square
10:45 Brass band parade on Kisaiya Road
12:00-21:00 All-comer Festa at Fureai Square
18:00-20:00 Uwajima odori (dance) on Kisaiya road
20:00-20:30 Firework display over Uwajima Bay (5,000 rounds)
24 10;00-18:00 Exhibit of Ushioni at Kisaiya Square
13:30-16:00 Ushioni parade on Kisaiya Road (Tel. 0895-22-5555)
Transportation: Take a JR express train and get off at Uwajima. It takes about one hour and fifteen minutes.
Late July The 22nd SHIMANAMI-KAIDO TAKIGINO (noh play by firelight)
at Oyamazumi-jinja (shrine) Miyaura. Omishima-cho, Imabari City
Details of the event have not been announced yet.
July 30 KAZAHAYA （風早） SEA FESTIVAL HOJO FIREWORK DISPLAY 20:20-21:00
At Niage-ba, Hojo Port, Hojo, Matsuyama City
About 4,000 rounds of fireworks are displayed. Many stalls are set up. In case of rain it will be held on July 31st .
Transportation: Take a JR train bound for Imabari and get off at Hojo. It takes ten minutes on foot from the station to the port.
Early August-Late August DOGO-ONSEN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Details of the event have not been announced yet.
August 3 OZU KAWA MATSURI (river festival) 20:00 -21:00
FIREWORK DISPLAY On the Hijikawa riverside, Ozu City (Tel. 0893-24-2664)
In Ozu a summer firework display has been held since the Edo Era (1600-1867). About 2,000 rounds of fireworks are set off each day. Most exciting and beautiful are ‘Niagara Fall’ tinting the surface of the river with rainbow colors against the background of Ozu Castle, stretching 200 meters long. You might want to try combining this with the cormorant fishing. There is free parking for 1,900 cars. In case of rain it will be held on the next day.
Transportation: See the Ukai Festival for transportation info. From JR Ozu station it takes about 15 minutes to the north riverside and 20 minutes to the south on foot.
August 6 MATSUYAMA MINATO MATSURI (port festival)
MITSUHAMA (三津浜) FIREWORK DISPLAY 20:00-21:20
At Mitsuhama Port, Matsuyama City
This is one of the biggest firework festivals in Ehime. About 10,000 rounds of fireworks are
displayed. In case of rain it will be held on the next day.
16:30 Brass band parade and a performance of Suigun-daiko
Transportation: Take the Iyotetsu train bound for Takahama and get off at Mitsuhama station. It is a 15-minute walk from the station. (Tel. 089-951-7705)
August 7 ONMAKU FIREWORK DISPLAY 20:00-21:00
At Imabari Port seawall, Imabari City (Tel. 0898-23-3939)
This is one of the biggest firework festivals in Ehime. About 10,000 rounds of colorful fireworks
are displayed. The theme of this year is ‘Hiraku 開く(open)”.
Transportation: It is a 15-minute walk from JR Imabari station.
NOTES: Events might be canceled or postponed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection. Please check the latest information.