NAKAYAMA FIREFLY FESTIVAL in Nakayama-cho, Iyo City
May 20- June 11 NANRAKU-EN HANA-SHOBU (Iris) FESTIVAL
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). (Tel. 0895-32-3344)
Early June -Mid-June SHOBU FESTIVAL at Niiya Shobu-en (iris park)
Niiya, Ozu City
Niiya Shobu-en has about 8,000 iris plants. There are many stalls during the festival.
Transportation: Take an express bus bound for Yawatahama from Shieki, gate #4, and get off at Niiya, a one-hour ride. From the bus stop it is a 3-minute walk to the park. Or take a JR local train bound for Yawatahama from Matsuyama and get off at Niiya. (Tel. 0893-24-2111)
June 1-Sept. 20 UKAI (Cormorant Fishing) on the Hiji-kawa (river) Ozu City
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 in the evening from a boat called u-bune, which is lit by torches as it sails down the Hiji-kawa, the river that runs through Ozu. Cormorant fishermen called usho beat the sides of the boats to encourage trained cormorants to catch fish. They are drawn by long strings 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. You can watch from special sightseeing boats called yakata-bune. You can order a bento to eat on board or just ride the boat and watch, and some hotels offer a special ukai package. Prices range from 4,000 yen to
12,000 yen, depending on your plan.
You need to make a reservation at Ozu Machinoeki Asamoya (Tel. 0893-57-6655).
It will be canceled if the weather is bad.
Transportation: Take an Iyotetsu bus bound for Yawatahama from Shieki, gate #4, and get off at Ozu-honmachi bus stop, a 90-minute ride. Or take a JR express train from Matsuyama and get off at Ozu, a 40-minute ride. From the station take a taxi or walk for 30 minutes.
June 22 OTAUE (Planting Rice ) MATSURI at Oyamazumi-jinja (shrine) 12:30
Omishima-cho, Imabari City
A ceremonial rice planting called Otaue-matsuri has a history of more than 600 years. It is held to pray to the god for a good grain harvest. Omishima Island is the third island on the Shimanami Kaido Highway from Imabari city and has been famous since ancient times for being the home of the gods of the sea and generals. After the ceremony, sixteen saotome, girls dressed in white robes with red sashes tasuki, form a line ledby a rice paddy man taotoko. They plant rice seedlings one by one carefully in the sacred field. The feature of this festival is a well-known comical performance ‘Hitori-zumo (one man sumo wrestling). A man called ichirikizan fights against the invisible Spirit of the rice plant in a dohyo ring in front of the sacred rice field to divine whether the harvest this year will be good or not. It is no wonder that the Spirit wins every year. This unique fight isdesignated as an Ehime Prefectural Intangible Cultural Folk Asset. (Tel. 0897-82-0032)
Transportation: Setouchi Freeway Bus Fare (one way) 1,700 yen
Shieki (gate#5)—Oyamazumi-jinja Oyamazumi-jinja—Shieki
10:00 12:19 14:32 16:51
June 17 -July 29 DOYO YOICHI (Saturday Fair) 13:00- 21:00
On Saturdays from mid-June to late July the Okaido and Gintengai Arcades and Matsuchika Town are filled with booths. There are games such as kingyo-sukui (goldfish catching), food, many sorts of things to buy and crowds of people enjoying the fun.
July 1-10 OYAMA-BIRAKI (Opening of Mt. Ishizuchi)
July 1st is the official opening of Mt. Ishizuchi (1,982 m), the highest mountain in western Japan. It is considered 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 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 about 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 Mt. Ishizuchi. Now they can, but they are still not allowed on July 1st. If you are male and want to join, you should follow the sendatsu-san.
The climb is not so difficult and takes about two hours from Tsuchigoya.
(Tel. 0897-55-4044 Ishiduchi-jinja)
Transportation: Iyotetsu Bus Niihama Tokkyu (limited express) Fare (one way) 1,800 yen
Matsuyama-shieki #8 → Ishizuchi-jinja-mae
Ishizuchi-jinja-mae → Matsuyama-shieki
(Tel. 089- 972-2511)