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Kyoto’s Shimogamo Shrine – “Yabusame-Shinji”

“Yabusame-shinji,” held at World Heritage Site Shimogamo Shrine, takes place in early May every year. It is held as both a purification ritual and to ensure that Aoi Matsuri, or “Hollyhock Festival,” which is also held in May, can be carried out safely without problems.
During the event, archers on horseback ride through the forest and shoot at targets. It is said that, if the arrows meet their marks, there will be an abundant harvest of crops that year and wishes will be granted.

A Kyoto Spring Tradition, “Aoi Matsuri” (“Hollyhock Festival”)

Aoi Matsuri is an annual festival of Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine. The official name of the festival is Kamo no Matsuri (Kamo Festival).Aoi Matsuri is one of the three major festivals in Kyoto, and it is known for having old-fashioned sense of refined grace. Out of modern-day Japanese festivals, Aoi Matsuri is one of the few festivals remaining that truly preserves old dynastic traditions.

Enjoy Japan's Beautiful Flowers Whenever You Visit Osaka's Expo '70 Commemorative Park!

Are you aware of a spot in Osaka that you can visit to appreciate flowers in season? That spot is the Expo '70 Commemorative Park! This park stands on the former site of the Japan Expo, the first Exposition held in Asia in 1970. Its extensive grounds house the symbolic Tower of the Sun, facilities offering a variety of experiences, and an area where many different flowers can be appreciated in each season.

Osaka, Koinobori Festa 1000

In the Koinobori Festa, around 1000 carp-shaped streamers are hung as wishes for children’s health and for protection of the Akuta River, a symbol of Takatsuki City.
A huge number of colorful carp streamers “swim” in the sky as they hang from ropes strung across the Akuta River.
The streamers used in this festival are donated by local residents or handmade by the children at local kindergartens.

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.

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.