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Kansai Region × February

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.

Wakayama Prefecture’s “Oto Matsuri,” a Festival with Around 1400 Years of History

Oto Matsuri is a nighttime fire festival held annually on February 6th at World Heritage Site Kamikura Shrine.
Oto Matsuri has also been designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset of Japan. The festival was originally held to perform “baptisms by fire.”
During the festival, around 2000 worshippers (all men), called “noboriko,” don traditional clothing, carry torches, and visit Asuka Shrine, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Myoshin-ji before finally climbing up to Kamikura Shrine before it reaches 19:00.
After that, the torches carried by the noboriko are lit, and the moment the shrine’s gates open the noboriko all swarm down the 538 stone steps from Mt. Kamikura’s summit. The stream of men bearing torches is reminiscent of a descending dragon.