The Lucky Island Events November 2018

The Lucky Island Events November 2018

It isn’t hard to imagine the crisp frosts and early snows that are right around the corner. With Halloween done and dusted, it is time to knuckle down for the midyear conference. Even if you’re ready to get comfy under your kotatsu already, there is still plenty to see and do this autumn in the Lucky Island!


64th Annual Chrysanthemum Doll Exhibition
Date: October 10th – November 25th
Area: Nihonmatsu
Time: 9am – 4pm
Price: 700 yen for adults
Address: On the castle grounds of Kasumigajo
〒964-0904 福島県二本松市郭内4丁目
4 Chome Kakunai Nihonmatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken 964-0904
Details: View dolls, decorations and displays made from Chrysanthemums. If you haven’t had the chance to visit this beautiful city, this is a great chance!
Japanese Website:


Tsurugajo Autumn Leaves Illumination
Date: October 19th – November 18th
Area: Aizuwakamatsu
Time: Sunset – 9pm
Address: 福島県会津若松市追手町1-1
1-1 Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken 965-0873
Details: Enjoy the castle lit up in the evening at the castle – Tsurugajo – in Aizu. It is gorgeous with fall colors, which you can view at the end of October. Even after the leaves fall, come walk through the peaceful castle grounds in the evening!
Japanese website:

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The Lucky Island September 2015 Events

The Lucky Island September 2015 Events

Name: Hinoemata Kabuki

kabukiDate: Saturday, September 6, 2015

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 I am sure if you ask nicely, one of the Minami Aizu JETs will let you crash at their apartment!

English Website:


Name: Aizu Fruit and Flower Festival

Date: Sunday, September 13th

Area: Aizuwakamatsu

Time: 9am – 1pm

Address: Yasuragi Firefly Park

24 Miyanohigashi Kitaaizumachi Shimoarai  Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken 965-0111

〒965-0111 福島県会津若松市北会津町下荒井宮ノ東24

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!

Japanese Website:


Name: FuJET Canyoning Trip

Date: Friday, September 18th – Sunday, September 20th

Area: Gunma

Time: Friday evening – Sunday evening (depending on your pick up location)

Price: Check out the Facebook event for more details, but I guarantee it is worth the money!

Address: Gunma! You don’t have to worry about the address, our chartered bus will shuttle you there and back from a select number of stations (Fukushima, Koriyama and Aizuwakamatsu)

Details: Get your outdoorsy on with river rafting, paragliding or bungee jumping – after you are sent splashing down rivers and jumping off cliffs first, of course.  Check out the Facebook event for more details!

Facebook Event:


Name: Aizu Samurai Festival 2015

Date: Monday September 21st – Wednesday September 23rd

Area:  Aizuwakamatsu

Time: Lantern Parade: (Mon.) 6pm – 7pm; Obon Dance: (Mon. / Tues.) 7pm – 8:30pm; Drum and Fife Parade (Tues.) from 10am; Aizu Clan Parade (Wed.) 9:25am – 3pm

Address: near the castle and all around that area. It is hard to miss. The closest station is Nanukamachi Station. Aizuwakamatsu Station is the closest major station, but is a further walk to the castle. You can also catch a bus from the station to shinmei or the castle.

Details: Aizuwakamatsu is known as the Samurai City, and with good reason. Thick with history, Wakamatsu pulls out all of the stops every September 21-23 and takes you back to a time of the Shinsengumi, White Tiger Brigade, Niijima Yae…the time of Samurai. This is one of the BIG festivals that Fukushima is famous for! Some of the events to look forward to is the lantern parade (Mon.), Obon dance (Mon., Tues.), Drum and Fife Parade (Tues.) and the Aizu Clan Parade on Wednesday, which is the main event.


There should be a Facebook Event page sent out soon for more information!

Japanese Website:


Name: Abukuma Cave Autumn Festival

Date: Saturday, August 26th – Sunday, August 27th

Area:  Kenchuu Area

Time: 10am – 4pm

Address: Abukuma Dou (Cave)

Higashikamayama-1 Takinemachi Sugaya

Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture 963-3601

Details: Celebrate Autumn with some stage events and food! What makes this festival unique is that it is set up in front of Abukuma Cave, so you can do some cave exploring at the same time! Or you can do a little more serious spelunking in the nearby, less touristy Irimizu Cave (check out the article I wrote about it here!)

Japanese Website: The 2015 event is not posted on their website yet, so here is the 2014 one for reference!


Name: Raramyu Yosakoi Dance Festival

Date: Sunday, September 27th

Area:  Iwaki

Time: 10:30am – 4:30pm

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!

Japanese Website:


Name: Furudono Sumo

Date: Saturday, September 12th

Area:  Iwaki

Time: 11am – 5pm

Address:  37.091872,140.598579

Details: Get your Sumo on. Literally. Who wants to just watch sumo when you can actually be a sumo? Or watch your friends body slam each other in nothing more than a loincloth? How about winning some prizes? Come over to Iwaki and enjoy a day in the mountains with other Japanese spectators and participants. It is a lot of fun, lots of drinking (spectators, we recommend you bring some! Participants, you will probably get more than you want.), and all around a good experience. Unfortunately the wrestlers are male only, but women, you can admire some farmer tans and more skin than you probably wanted to see from your male friends. Also – this IS a traditional Japanese event (not a tourist trap) that we have been graciously invited to, so please be respectful of the rules and the Japanese people participating / spectating at the event.


Facebook Event:


The Battle of Kawanakajima in Yonezawa City– or How I Spent my GW

The Battle of Kawanakajima in Yonezawa City– or How I Spent my GW
The battle of Kawanakajima, Shingen on the left and Kenshin on the right. Woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige.
The battle of Kawanakajima, Shingen on the left and Kenshin on the right. Woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige.

Japan is a country rich with a storied history. One of the most famous periods of Japanese history is the Sengoku period (戦国時代) or the Warring States Period. The Sengoku Period lasted from 1467 until 1603, when Japan’s political powers were unified under the Tokugawa Shogunate.

This is a period of Japan’s history that paints romantic pictures of noble samurai lords, fighting under the code of bushido, trying to unify and bring about a better Japan. The demon king Oda Nobunaga, the one-eyed dragon Date Masamune, god of war Uesugi Kenshin… this era has only been further romanticised thanks to the wildly popular game and anime series ‘Sengoku Basara’. Looking beyond the lore and the colourful modern adaptations, the Sengoku period produced one of the most famous rivalries in Japanese history—that of Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin.

Takeda Shingen hailed from the Kai province (modern day Yamanashi prefecture) and called ‘The Tiger of Kai’ due to his military prowess. Shingen’s demon-faced and furred helmet is an enduring piece of Sengoku imagery. Uesugi Kenshin came from the Echigo province (modern day Niigata prefecture) and was as famous for his administrative skills as he was for his honour and military expertise.

Shingen and Kenshin’s most famous battle was the Battle of Kawanakajima, fought along the Kawanakijima plains, located in what is now Nagano prefecture. However, the battle of Kawanakajima is actually five different battles fought in 1553, 1555, 1557, 1561 and 1564. The most famous of the battles (which is often used as the climax for many Japanese samurai films and games) was fought in September 1961. It is this battle that is reenacted every spring in Yonezawa City in Yamagata prefecture as part of their Uesugi Kenshin Festival. It was this reenactment that I was lucky enough to participate in.

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The Lucky Island June 2015 Events

The Lucky Island June 2015 Events

FuJET 2015 Mt. Bandai Hike

bandaiDate: Sat. June 13th
Area: Inawashiro (Aizu)
Time: The hike starts at 9am at Happodai Trailhead (八方台), so please allow yourself time to get the trail head before 9am! (It takes about 40 minutes by car from Aizwakamatsu Station / Inawashiro station to reach Happodai Trailhead)

Address: We are meeting at Happodai Trailhead (八方台) on Mount Bandai. Check the Event page for more details and access information.

Details: Join your fellow JETs on a hike up Mt. Bandai! This hike is in preparation for our annual Mt. Fuji hike in July. Whether you need to start warming up those legs for Mt. Fuji or just want to spend a weekend with your JET companions, join us! After we have stumbled our way back down the mountain, we will gorge ourselves on dinner and soak in the onsen next door to Aizuwakamatsu station. See our JET Facebook event for more details on how to get there, what to bring and updated information!

The facebook event page can be found here.



29th Mishima Handicrafts Festival

Date: Sat. June 13th – Sun. June 14th
Area: Okuaizu
Time: Sat: 9am – 4pm; Sun: 9am – 3pm

Address: (三島町生活工芸館)
Suwanoue-395 Nairi
Mishima, Onuma District, Fukushima Prefecture 969-7402
Details: Come to a handicraft festival held in Okuaizu where artists come from all over Japan to showcase their handmade products! From Woodworking, pottery and metalwork to weaving and painting, there is no end to the variety of gifts (for yourself or someone else!) or things to see! You will also have an opportunity to try your hand at making some crafts.

There is also a Facebook event page that you can access here.

Contact: Japanese:


Hawaiian Festival at Fukushima Iizaka

hawaii2015sDate: June 12th – June 14th
Area: Fukushima Station (12th) Iizaka Hot Springs (13th/14th)
Friday the 12th = 1pm in front of JR Fukushima Station East exit
Saturday the 13th = 1pm in front of the Iizaka Hot Spring Station
Sunday the 14th = 10am in front of the Iizaka Hot Spring Station

Address: 12th is in front of the east exit of Fukushima Station (福島駅), 13th and 14th is in front of the Iizaka Hot Spring Station (飯坂温泉駅).

Details: Enjoy three days in Hawaii without actually leaving the country! People who love Hawaii travel from all over Japan for this three-day event to experience the atmosphere of Hawaii, watch hula dancing, listen to music and  eat food. It is also conveniently located in a hot spring town!

Website (Japanese):

Contact: Iizaka Hot Spring Tourism Association; 024-542-4241 (Japanese)


Aizu Wakamatsu International Association (AWIA) World Tour Series: New Zealand Music

Kia Kaha for webDate: Sunday, June 14th
Area: Aizu Wakamatsu
Time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Address: Aizu Keikodō, 1st floor Event hall
〒965-0871 福島県 会津若松市栄町3-50

Details: World Tour is here to take you on a musical journey to New Zealand. Come enjoy the international music of the acoustic guitar and flute duo , Black Orpheus. Enjoy the distinct sounds of Roger Buckton and Kim Rockell, as they perform in a variety of styles including Jazz and Brazilian Bossa Nova.

Price: Free for members, 500 yen for non-members

Contact: Aizu Wakamatsu International Association (AWIA); Margaret Price: <>


June Volunteer Weekend in Odaka

odaka before afterDate: Sat. June 20th and Sun. June 21st
Area: Minamisoma
Time: 8:30am – 4pm

Address: TBA (check the event page for updated information)

Details: Come assist the community in Minamisoma who suffered in the 2011 disaster. There is still a lot to be done and we can help! You can volunteer on one day or both and it involves manual labor, so please bring long sleeved work clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. There will be boots at the center that you can borrow and you will need to provide your own lunch (There will be hot water available for instant ramen).

As for lodging, there is most likely space at Tenri temple in Kashima for 1,000 yen a night.

Please check out the facebook event here:

Contact: Sarah Jones (through the Facebook event page)


Aizu Firefly Festival

ranbu-nisiasouDate: June 20th to June 21st
Area: Aizuwakamatsu
Time: 12pm – 9pm

Address: 22 Miyanohigashi Kitaaizumachi Shimoarai
Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken 965-0111

Details: Wanna see some fireflies? Yes! Enjoy a traditional festival by day with food, music and stage events and enjoy fireflies by night.

Contact (Japanese): 0242-58-2381


29th Annual Tipsy Walk (第29回ほろ酔いウオーク2015)

horoyoi2015-1Date: June 26th – 27th
Area: Iizazaka Hot Spring (Fukushima City)
Time: 6pm – 10:30pm

Address: 飯坂温泉街
Price: 3,500 yen advance, 4,000 the day of, which gets you alcohol from a bunch of booths set up in 5 different areas.

Details: The festival name explains it all. Stumble from booth to booth and receive stamps for drinks (you already paid for the drinks with your ticket)so you can enter the raffle! They also have package deals for hotels nearby so you can stay in the onsen town and sleep off your drinks and take a dip in an onsen!

Contact: TEL024-542-3568(飯坂町商工会)


FuJET 2015 Oze National Park Hike

ozeDate: Sat. June 27th
Area: Minami Aizu
Time: 7:15am meet at Aizuwakamatsu station, leave by 7:30am.

Address: If you have a car, we are meeting at Aizuwakamatsu Station to caravan to Oze. If you do not have a car, you will need to figure out transportation .Check out the facebook event page for more information.

Details: Now that you have conquered Bandai (or not), let’s hike through Oze national park as the last step before the JET hosted Mt. Fuji climb in July! Even if you aren’t interested in the Mt. Fuji hike, come join us anyway!

Check out our Facebook page for more information about transportation, what to bring and updated details:



Tipsy Local Aizu Sake Train

tipsytrainDate: June 27th
Area: Aizuwakamatsu
Time: 5pm – 6pm; 8pm – 9pm

Address: Nishiwakamatsu Station (NOT Aizuwakamatsu station!)

Details: Literally named “tipsy local sake train,” there isn’t much to explain. Reserve your ticket to ride an old train with traditional Japanese tatami seating which includes roundtrip from Nishiwakamatsu station to Tajima, snacks and of course drinks.

Price: 5,500, reserve by phone up until 3 days prior. (limit of 80 participants)

Contact: 0242-23-1527

The Lucky Island May 2015 Events

The Lucky Island May 2015 Events

Sweet Strawberry Paradise (Strawberry picking)

strawberryDate: April 1st– May 31st
Area: Soma
Time: 10am – 4pm

Address: 94 Shimoshibasaku Wada、Sōma-shi, Fukushima-ken 976-0023

Details:Nothing says spring more than fruit-picking! Take a weekend and enjoy strawberry picking in Soma. Make sure someone in your group has a car, as it is not very accessible by public transportation.

Contact: 0244-36-5535; website (Japanese)



Fukushima “Festa” Festival

kibitanDate: May 23rd to May 24th
Area: Fukushima City
Time: 10am – 5pm

Address: 9-23 Matsunamichō, Fukushima-shi, Fukushima-ken 960-8114

Price: Free!

Details: Experience the allure of Fukushima! This two day event is filled with activities and visiting local celebrities, including hula dancing. It is a 15 minute bus ride from Fukushima station, or you can park at the location.

Contact: 024-525-4024 website


Folks Wagon Exhibition

vwDate: May 31st
Area: Nozawa, Nishi Aizu
Time: 10am – 3pm

Address: Nishibayashiotsu-2529-10 Tosejima
Nishiaizu, Yama District, Fukushima Prefecture 969-4401
福島県耶麻郡西会津町登世島西林乙2529−10 さゆり公園管理棟
Details: Do you like cars? Specifically Volkswagens? If so, come visit the tenth annual VW exhibition in Nishaizu! Boasting over 100 VW cars, this is a special event in a pretty quiet town. It starts off with a parade from Sayuru Park and makes its way through the main street. If cars aren’t your thing, there will also be a flea market in the same area. Try local food, soak in an onsen and exchange information with other car lovers like yourself!

Contact: 0241-45-2025 (Japanese)


Aizuwakamatsu Noh Performance

nohDate: May 31st
Area: Aizuwakamatsu
Time: starts at 10am
Cost: Free!
Address: 14-52 Jōtōmachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima-ken 965-0807

Details: Come experience a Noh play in the Noh theater that was built in 1677 on Tsurugajo Castle grounds. Visit a historically rich samurai town and bask in the tradition of Noh plays. You know you want to experience at least once.

Contact: 0242-22-3514  (Aizu Noh Association )Japanese: