School is back in session, new FuJETs are getting used to their new homes, and the weather is finally (finally!) starting to cool down. Just when you thought the festival season was over, we now enter autumn and harvest festival seasons! No matter what you’re keen to do, there’s something on every weekend in the Lucky Island!
Name: Hinoemata Kabuki
Date: Saturday, September 1
Area: Minami Aizu
Time: Seating starts at 6pm, performance starts at 7pm
Price: 1,000 for day-trip people; free for those staying in hotels in the town
Address: 〒967-0521 福島県 南会津郡檜枝岐村 字居平
Details: Watch traditional Edo-period Kabuki that has been passed down by Hinoemata villagers for more than 260 years. It is held in an outdoor theater and will only be cancelled due to heavy rain. It is only accessible by car and a bit out of the way, but well worth the journey!
Date: September 8th
Details: From 1pm. Men can join the bouts, women can watch as the men compete in actual sumo bouts in little more than their underwear. A car is needed to access this mountainous spot. If you wish to fight, contact John Loynes asap via the Facebook event page.
Name: Naganuma Festival
Date: September 8th
Address: Naganuma Kanamachi Street
Details: A festival featuring nebuta, yosakoi dancing, and a children’s mikoshi (portable shrine), this festival is celebrating the start of autumn with an evening of events.
Name: Furumachi Festival
Date: September 8th-9th
Address: Furumachi Central Street
Details: This festival in the small town of Furumachi celebrates the ancient guardians of the town. The festival celebrates a shrine that was constructed in 1681 for the founder of the village. Come carry a mikoshi and celebrate this historic shrine! The festival runs from 7 AM to 6 PM on the 10th and from 1 PM to 9 PM on the 11th.
Name: Ishimiyakofu Festival and Mikoshi Parade
Date: September 15th-16th
Address: Minamicho Boulevard
Details: Ishikawa is hosting its annual festival and mikoshi parade. The festival lasts for two days, but the highlight is the mikoshi parade that starts at 7:45 PM on Sunday. The parade will be on Crystal Road, near the center of town.
Date: September 15th 9am-1pm
Area: Kita Aizu
Details:Although the name says it is a fruit and flower festival, it appears to be more like a farmers market. Kita Aizu is known for producing great agricultural foods, so if you are looking for some cheap, delicious fruits, vegetables and other produce, stop by!
Name: Aizu Samurai Festival
Date: September 22nd-23rd
Address: Shinmei-dori, Aizu-Wakamatsu
Details: Aizu-Wakamatsu’s biggest festival of the year is happening September 23rd through the 25th. The first two days feature a variety of food stalls and local crafts being sold along the street and a huge bon odori (bon dance) in the evenings. The dance will take place from 7-8:30 PM on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, come see the huge samurai parade featuring over 500 people dressed in traditional samurai wear. For more details about what will happen each day of the festival, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming FB event page!
Date: Sunday, September 27th
Address: Iwaki Station, South and West entrance areas.
Details: Enjoy the yosakoi festival dance that is popular all over Japan and the world! There will be over 20 teams participating from all over the prefecture! The event will be from 10:30am-4:30pm.
Name: Abukumado Fall Festival
Date: September 29th-30th
Address: Abukumado (Higashikamayama-1 Takinemachi Sugaya Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture 963-3601)
Details: Celebrate the beginning of fall at Abukuma Cave! The festival will feature a main stage with live singing performances and will afford visitors amazing views of the surrounding fall scenery from the mountain.
Name: FuJET Canyoning Trip
Date: September 28th-30th
Area: Minakami, Gunma
Address: Gunma Prefecture Tone-gun Minakami Yubiso 45
Details: Come join FuJET on our annual trip to Minakami Canyons in Gunma prefecture! Everyone participates in a half-day, guided tour of Fox Canyon before heading off to an additional activity: bungee jumping, white-water rafting, or mountain biking. The trip is capped off with a barbeque and dance party at the lodge on Saturday night, and then a soak in an amazing outdoor onsen on the way home on Sunday. For details, check out the Facebook event page!
Name: Aizu-Wakamatsu International Fair
Address: Aizu-Wakamatsu International Association
Details: The Aizu-Wakamatsu International Association is still looking for volunteers for the International Festival. The festival will be on October 1st at the Tsurugajo Gymnasium. They are especially looking for cultural introduction booth operators to set up a booth or table explaining their home country or region using pictures, books, games, etc. Language volunteers will be there to help, for those concerned about the language barrier. If you are interested, you can find more information, including the applications, on the international association’s website!