FESTIVALS August 2023

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.


August 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 DOGO-ON SEN NATSU MATSURI (summer festival)

          Around Hojo-en (opposite dogo-onsen station), Haikara street, etc.

A mid-summer festival opens in Dogo-onsen area. Many stalls of old-fashioned fun such as kingyo-sukui (goldfish catching), kaki-gori (shaved ice), and takoyaki are set up.

1      9:30         Yugama-yakushi (The healing Buddha of Dogo Spa) ceremony is held in thanks for blessing Dogo hot spa.

1-2 16:00-22:00 Dogo Yoichi (night fair) on Haikara Street (Shopping Arcade)

1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 Stage events on the special stage at Hojo-en (opposite dogo-onsen station)

Japanese drum performances, local entertainment, and music, etc.

(Tel. 089-943-8342)

August 3   OZU KAWA MATSURI (river festival)  20:00 -21:00

                 FIREWORK DISPLAY On the south side of Hijikawa riverside, Ozu City

In Ozu a summer firework display has been held since the Edo Era (1600-1867). About 3,000 rounds of fireworks are set off. Most exciting and beautiful is the ‘Niagara Falls’, 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. It will be postponed in case of bad weather. (Tel. 0893-24-2664)

Transportation: See the Ukai Festival for transportation info. From JR Ozu station it takes about 20 minutes to the south riverside on foot.



Events to remember these tragedies are held in many places in Japan. People throughout the country observe one minute of silence for the dead at 8:15 a.m. on the 6th and at 11:02 a.m. on the 9th, the moments the A-bombs were dropped over the two cities.

August 6-7   UCHIKO SASA MATSURI (Bamboo Festival)

                            On Honmachi Street, Uchko-cho, Iyogun

Details of the festival have not been announced yet.

August 5   MATSUYAMA MINATO MATSURI (port festival)

                 MITSUHAMA FIREWORK DISPLAY 20:00-21:00

                                                    At Mitsuhama Port, Matsuyama City

This is one of the biggest firework festivals in Ehime. About 9,000 rounds of fireworks are displayed. In case of bad weather it will be held on August 6th.

Transportation: Take the Iyotetsu train bound for Takahama and get off at Mitsu. It is a 15-minute walk from the station. (Tel. 089-951-7707)

August 6    ONMAKU FIREWORK DISPLAY 20:00-21:00

                  At Imabari Port seawall, Imabari City (Tel. 0898-23-3939)

This is another of the biggest firework festivals in Ehime. About 10,000 rounds of fireworks are displayed. The theme of this year is “Saisei REBORN”.

Transportation: It is a 15-minute walk from JR Imabari station.

August 11 YAMA NO HI (Mountain Day)  National Holiday


On Okaido, Chifunemachi Street and Castle Park (Horinouchi)

Yakyuken odori (dance) is based on movements and gestures characteristic of baseball, and Yakyu samba is danced to a samba rhythm, by people parading wearing colorful costumes.

10h 18:00-21:00 Company teams

11th 17:00-21:00 Group teams

12th 18:00-19:00 Company, Group, and Child teams


July 21-August 13 HIKARI-NO-OMOTENASHI in Matsuyama Castle 18:30-21:30

From Shinonome-guchi tozando (the approach from the Rope-way street to the castle) to Matsuyama castle Honmaru (main tower) square, the approach and stone walls are lit up with colorful illuminations.

5th, 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th    The chair lift and gondola services are open till 21:30

Matsuyama castle main tower is open till 21:00.

5th, 6th 18:00-20:00     Special public opening of Nohara yagura (turret) and Inui yagura (National important cultural properties).

13th 18:00-20:30 Matsuyama castle bon-odori (dance) At Main tower square

August 13-16 O-BON
It is said that during o-bon ancestral spirits return to their former homes in this world. Welcome and farewell fires are burned near the entrance of the homes. People visit the family graves, burn incense, and offer water and flowers. These are also offered at the family altars.


Ceremonies are held to mourn those who died in the war.

Sep. 1 BOSAI-NO-HI (Disaster Prevention Day)

Disaster Prevention Day was established in 1960 for us Japanese to recognize more deeply the disaster caused by typhoons, tidal waves, earthquakes, tsunami etc., and prepare ourselves for how to cope with them. The week from August 30 to Sept. 5 is called Disaster Prevention Week, during which disaster fairs and drills are held in many districts. It is also a time to make sure we have emergency supplies in our homes and that we know where the closest evacuation center is.

July 15-Jan. 14 (Next year) THE 28th NATIONAL EXHIBITION OF

                                     KAMABOKO-ITA -NO-E

9:00-17:00 (closed on Tuesday) at GALLERY SHIROKAWA

                                                                       Shirokawa-cho, Seiyo City

The national exhibition of paintings on kamaboko (fish-paste) boards started about thirty years ago. This year 6,355 paintings were sent from all over the country and abroad. The painting which won the first prize this year is the one titled “Konosato ni oi wo sadamete (I have decided to spend my old age in this village.) It was painted by Kunimitsu Mitsue from Yamaguchi prefecture showing her old father transplanting rice seedlings carefully one by one in the paddy field by hand.                 (Tel. 0894-82-1001)