FESTIVALS May 2023
-May 15 MT. TOMISU TSUTSUJI (Azalea) FESTIVAL
About 63,000 plants of azaleas are in bloom on top of Mt. Tomisu about this time of the year. Mt. Tomisu is well known in east Japan for its azalea blossoms. Many stalls are set up and the azaleas are lit up at night.
Transportation: Take a JR express train from Matsuyama bound for Uwajima and get off at Ozu. (a 40-minute ride). From the station it takes about 10 minutes by car to the park. (Tel.0893-24-2111)
May 3 KENPO-KINEN-BI (Constitution Day) National Holiday
The present constitution was promulgated on May 3, 1947. This day commemorates the event and it is also a day for us to reaffirm hope in national growth.
May 3, 4 HOJO KASHIMA SPRING FESTIVAL At Kashima-ryu-jinja shrine
This festival is famous for Kashima–kaineri (see below), which is designated as a Prefectural Intangible Cultural Folk Asset, and Oshimenawa-no-harikae (see below), both of which are performed on the sea.
3 KASHIMA –KAINERI 14:00
Kashima-kaineri- is a prayer dance for succeeding in battle and also a celebratory dance for victory. On the boat, called kaidenmasen, two poles stand decorated with bamboo, papers, and flowers. Men and boys perform dances on board, re-enacting sea battles using oars. It recalls the tradition of the Iyo Suigun, powerful marine guards who patrolled the sea in this area in ancient times.
10:30 / 12:30 Shishimai (lion dance) 13:00 / 15:00 Children’s portable shrine
13:00 Otomo-bune , following boat (See below.)
Mikoshi (portable shrines) miyadashi (taken out)
15;30 Miyairi (returned)
14:00 Kashima –Kaineri
14:20 Brass band performance by Hojo high school students
15:30 Mochi-maki (rice cake throwing)
OSHIMENAWA-NO-HARIKAE (Replacing the Sacred Rope) 14:00-15:30
A 45m long and 30cm thick shimenawa (sacred rope) that links the two small islands Meoto-iwa (husband/wife rocks) is replaced at Kashima-jinja. The old one is taken down and the new one is put in place.
8:30-11:00 Preparing and making the new Oshimenawa
In front of oo-torii (big gate of the shrine)
11:30 Carrying Oshimenawa to the shrine
13:30 Carrying Oshimenawa on board
Kashima pier toward the island pair
Otomo-bune (See below.)
If you want to watch this event up close, there is a boat service (otomo-bune – \500 for adults), leaving from Kashima Pier. (3rd 11:00 / 4th 13:30)
Transportation： Take a JR local train bound for Imabari and get off at Iyo Hojo. From the station, walk straight toward the sea (a ten-minute walk). There is a ferry dock with frequent service to the island. (Adults 210 yen, Children 110 yen) (Tel. 089-992-1423)
May 4 MIDORI-NO-HI (Greenery Day) National Holiday
This holiday was established in 1989 for people to admire nature, give thanks for its blessings, and cultivate a love for all living things on the earth.
May 5 KODOMO-NO-HI (Children’s Day) National Holiday
Traditionally, this was Boys’ Day, but after World War II it was changed to Children’s Day. Now it is a day to pray for the healthy growth of children. Koinobori (carp streamers) are flown which, according to Chinese legend, symbolize vigor and strength. Chimaki (rice dumpling wrapped in a bamboo leaf) and kashiwa-mochi (rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf) are the traditional treats of the day.
May 5 (In case of rain, May 6) IKAZAKI ODAKO GASSEN (Big Kite Fight Festival)
This festival has over a 400-year history and is one of the three biggest kite fights in Japan. It is designated as a Prefectural Intangible Cultural Folk Asset. Hundreds of kites are flown high from both sides of the Toyoaki river in Ikazaki. The feature of this event is that each flier tries to cut down the other kites using gagari, a sharp piece of metal attached to the line of the kite. The last kite left flying is the winner. This festival originated to celebrate babies born within the past year, hoping for their healthy growth by putting their names on the kite and flying them in the sky. (Hatsuzeku Shinto ceremony). Everything takes place at or near the Toyoaki bridge in Ikazaki. (Tel. 0893-44-2118 Uchiko Town Office)
8:00 Boys’ kendo contest
9:45 Handmade kite contest for junior high students
Children’s kite fight
Exhibition of calanthe discolor orchids (May 4, 5) at the Ikazaki Kite Museum
Flight of Kanreki, 60th birthday celebration kites praying for the happiness and
longevity of those who have turned 60.
12:00 Flight of a 100-jo
(tatami mats) sized kite
12:30 Hatsuzeku Shinto ceremony to bless babies born since last April
13:00-15:00 Big kite fight
13:00 Japanese drum performance by Uchiko High School students
Transportation: It is recommended to go by train because traffic on Route 56 is very crowded on this day. Take a JR train bound for Ozu or Yawatahama from Matsuyama and get off at Uchiko, There is free shuttle service from Uchiko station to the festival site (a 5-minute ride).
Across the river from the festival site is Ikazaki Kite Museum which has a collection of kites from all over the world.
May 3 – 28 IMABARI SPRING FESTIVAL Imabari City
This festival features an unusual version of shishimai, a lion dance, called tsugi-jishi. Young men stand on other men’s shoulders, to form a human tower and finally, one man stands on the top wearing a 4kg lion mask. This human tower is called tsugi-jishi and it performs an elegant shishimai dance to the drums, swinging sensu (folding fans) and a bell. The highlights of this festival are at Kannomiyanoma-jinja and Fukiage-jinja, where several tsugi-jishi gather and compete their performances. (Tel. 0898-32-5200)
3 Kannomiyanoma-jinja Noma district 8:30 Miyadashi / Tsugijishi
13 Fukiage-jinja Fukiage Park 9:30 Miyadashi / Tsugijishi
May 20- June 11 NANRAKU-EN HANA-SHOBU (Iris) FESTIVAL 9:00-17:00
Nanraku-en is the biggest Japanese-style garden in Shikoku. There are many kinds of trees and flowers in the garden. More than 30,000 iris plants are in full bloom around this time. In addition, we can enjoy seeing about 36,000 azalea plants and about 2,000 hydrangea plants.
The park area is lit up from 17:00 to 21:00 (May 27 -June 4).
Take-toro (bamboo lantern) Art no Yube (evening)
Other events are as follows:
Local entertainments such as wadaiko (Japanese drums), shamisen, Ushioni
Tobe-yaki (pottery) Sales
Local product sales / Tea ceremony / Mochi-maki
Admission: Adults 310 yen High, Jr. high & Elementary school students 150 yen
Transportation: Take a JR express train bound for Uwajima and get off at Uwajima (an 80-minute ride). Then take an Uwajima bus bound for Nanrakuen, Fukuura or Kakeajiro and get off at Nanrakuen-mae (a 40-minute ride).
NOTES: Events might be canceled or postponed to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus infection. Please check the latest information.