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Kansai Region × Things to doPage: 1/8

Osaka Prefecture, Let's enjoy Plum Festival at Expo’70 Commemorative Park♪

Expo’70 Commemorative Park, in Osaka, is a lovely place overflowing with natural beauty. No matter the season, it is a place where you can enjoy beautiful flowers and trees.
Taking a leisurely walk through the park on a clear day is one of life’s finer pleasures.
This year’s plum festival will be held on February 18th, in Expo’70 Commemorative Park’s Natural Culture Park and Japanese garden.
The Natural Culture Park features around 600 plum trees of around 120 different varieties, while the Japanese garden has around 80 plum trees of 40 varieties. In both locations, you can enjoy a variety of plum blossoms, in colors like white, pink, and red.
Various events are scheduled during the festival period.

Nara Prefecture’s Todai-ji – Nigatsu-do Shuni-e

First held in the year 752, this event has been held every year without fail for over 1260 years!
Held by the temple’s monks in front of Nigatsu-do’s figure of the Eleven-Headed Kannon, the temple’s idol, the event exists to repent for the everyday sins of humanity and wish for everyone’s happiness.
This tradition is so old and familiar to the people of Nara that it is said that spring comes to Nara after Shuni-e ends.

Nara, Wakakusa Yamayaki

The Wakakusa Yamayaki is an event where the 342-meter-high Mt. Wakakusa that overlooks Nara City is lit on fire.
This is a Shinto ritual meant to calm the spirits inhabiting the keyhole-shaped tumulus on the mountain’s summit.
After around 600 fireworks are launched, 33 hectares of grasslands on the mountain are set aflame.
The dynamic scene that unfolds is almost like watching a forest fire. The winter night sky is dyed red, and the view of the entirety of the mountain lit up is magnificent.

Wakayama, Shionomisaki Lighthouse’s Grass Burning

The grass burning is a customary event of Shionomisaki Lighthouse, the southernmost place in Honshu, to eliminate pests and to encourage growth of new plantlife. The event is joined by local folk dances and taiko performances.
In the blink of an eye, flames spread across around 6 hectares of grass overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and it burns up in as little as one hour. Visitors can enjoy the flames up close. Fireworks are also launched, setting a fantastical atmosphere.
Visitors can also enjoy being treated to free food, like the local specialty “Shorasan Nabe,” a miso nabe dish filled with fish cakes, pork, and vegetables.

Shitenno-ji – Doya-Doya Festival

The Doya-Doya Festival is a festival in which boys wearing loincloths and headbands scramble to gather evil-warding charms.
In the past, it was said that hanging the charms from this festival in your rice fields would ward off pests and grant an abundant harvest.
The name “Doya-Doya” is said to come from the sound of the gathered crowd’s footsteps.
The festival was originally participated in by the locals, but today, to avoid confusion and disorder, it is primarily held for kindergarten and junior high school students, and for high school students.
Visitors who come to Shitenno-ji to pray cannot participate in the festival, but amulets of Gyu-o-Hoin are available for purchase for 1000 yen each.

Nishinomiya Shrine “Touka Ebisu”

Touka Ebisu is a festival held annually from January 9th to January 11th at Nishinomiya Shrine, the main shrine out of the approximately 3500 shrines in Japan dedicated to the kami Ebisu.
Ebisu is one of Japan’s Seven Gods of Fortune (Shichifukujin), and he is the god of fishing and commerce.
Every year over 1 million visitors come to Touka Ebisu, and around 600 stalls open on the shrine’s grounds and in the surrounding area.