Traditional Festivals

◆The Takisanji Ogre Festival

This popular festival attracts large crowds each year. During the fire festival (from 19:45) three oni (鬼 / ogres) and dozens of torch-bearing men scurry around the main temple hallways.

When: Sat. 13 Feb. (from 15:00, the main event starts at around 19:00)

Where: Takisanji Temple (滝山寺) in Okazaki City (岡崎市)

Access: Additional temporary Meitetsu bus services will also be available from Higashi Okazaki Station (東岡崎駅) on the Meitetsu Line (名鉄本線) to the temple. Get off at Takisanji-shita (滝山寺下; 25 minutes, 380 Yen). A special park & ride shuttle bus service (200 Yen) will also be available (17:00 -19:30) from the Okazaki Municipal Athletic Ground (県営岡崎総合運動場).


◆Toba no Himatsuri – the Fire Festival of Toba

Photo courtesy of Nishio City
Photo courtesy of Nishio City

One of the most peculiar, extraordinary annual festivals in Japan, and a designated National Intangible Folk Cultural Property.
Event Highlights (all times approximate)

15:00 – Shin-otoko (holy men) and ministers gather at the shrine and depart for the ocean.
15:30 – In an act known as misogi, they gallantly run into the freezing cold water to purify themselves.
19:30 – The ritual before the shrine commences.
20:00 – The 5m-high suzumi bonfires are lit and the fire festival begins. Event climax – The men jump in pursuit of the holy tree and the twelve ropes in the bonfire.
20:30 – The holy tree and the twelve ropes are offered at the altar and the festival is brought to an end.

When: Sun. 14 Feb. (15:00 – 20:30)

Where: Toba Shinmeisha Shrine (鳥羽神明社) in Nishio City (西尾市)

Access: A 10-minute walk from Mikawa-Toba Station (三河鳥羽駅). From Nagoya (名古屋) take the JR Tokaido Line (JR東海道線) to Gamagori (蒲郡) and change to the Meitetsu Gamagori Line (名鉄蒲郡線).


◆Konomiya Hadaka Matsuri

Photo courtesy of Konomiya Shrine
Photo courtesy of Konomiya Shrine

With around 10,000 semi-naked men participating, this is one of the oldest and largest “Hadaka Matsuri” in Japan, attracting some 200,000 spectators each year. The flock of naked men rush to the hall of worship, energetically presenting an offering of naoi-sasa (なおい笹 / green bamboo tied with pieces of cloth [naoi-gire / なおい布] on which men and women unable to participate write their ages and wishes). The climax takes place around 17:00, when the bare-skinned men swarm on the one man designated the Shin-otoko (神男), in the belief that touching him will rid them of misfortune.

When: Sat. 20 Feb. (15:00 – 18:00)

Where: Konomiya Shrine (国府宮神社) in Inazawa City (稲沢市)

Access: A 3-min. walk from the north exit of Konomiya Stn. (国府宮駅), Meitetsu Nagoya Main Line (名鉄名古屋本線); or a 15-min. walk from Inazawa Stn. (稲沢駅), JR Tokaido Line (JR東海道本線).



Photo courtesy of Toei Town
Photo courtesy of Toei Town

The Hanamatsuri (lit. ‘flower festival’) is a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset, observed from November to March in picturesque Toei Town in the mountains of the Oku-Mikawa region bordering Shizuoka Prefecture.
Said to have been introduced to the area by mountain ascetics during the Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1336-1573) periods, the festivities include appearances from oni (demons) and shishi (mythical lion-like creatures). A variety of the shimotsuki-kagura (霜月神楽) ritual dances performed around the winter solstice to pray for the revival of the sun’s power, the ritual performances have been passed from generation to generation around the Tenryu River for over 700 years. Around 40 different dances and rituals are performed through the night, praying for harmony between the gods and men, bumper harvests, and good health.

When: November to March. Check website for details.

Where: Various locations in Toei Town (東栄町)

Access: Approximately 20-50 minutes by car from the Horaikyo Interchange (鳳来峡IC) on the San-En Nanshin Expressway (三遠南信自動車道).

Website: (Japanese; features a link to download a detailed English booklet, The World of the Hanamatsuri.)


Hina Matsuri (Dolls Festival) Events

◆Fukuyose-Hina Gathering ~ Fukuyose-Hina Project

Seeking to give unwanted hina dolls a ‘second life’ and promote tourism and vitality in Nagoya and the Chubu region, the Fukuyose-Hina Project began in 2011. This year’s event will take place at venues in and around
Nagoya, Toyota Inabu, and Gujo Hachiman in Gifu Prefecture. While hina dolls are usually dressed and arranged in very formal, traditional settings, at the exhibition you can see hina dolls shopping, emperor dolls cradling babies, ladies-in-waiting competing in an athletic event, imperial court musicians enjoying a drinking session, and other entertaining situations.
The exhibition will be held at other venues in addition to those listed below.
Check the website or Facebook page for details.

Where & when:

• Bunka no Michi Futabakan Mon. 8 Feb. – Sun. 14 Feb.
• Nagoya Castle Sat. 27 Feb. – Sun. 13 Mar.
• Chubu International Airport Centrair Fri. 5 Feb. – Mon. 21 Mar.
• Nakamura Police Station Wed. 24 Feb. – Thu. 31 Mar.
• E-Able Nagoya Tue. 16 Feb. – Mon. 14 Mar.
• Higashiyama Sky Tower Tue. 16 Feb. – Sun. 6 Mar.
• Toyota City Inabu Donguri Kobo Sat. 6 Feb. – Sun. 3 Apr.
• Gujo Hachiman Shitamachi Sat. 6 Feb. – Sun. 3 Apr.

Website: (Japanese)

Facebook: (Japanese)


◆Seto no O-Hina Meguri

Photo courtesy of Seto Marutto Museum / Tourism Association
Photo courtesy of Seto Marutto Museum / Tourism Association

Famed for its ceramics, Seto City is hosting its 15th annual hina doll-themed event. A four-meter tall “Hinamid” (hina pyramid), consisting of around 800 individual glass and ceramic hina dolls, is on display at the Seto-Gura, hina dolls adorn galleries in the surrounding area, and the town is colorfully decorated. Visitors can enjoy activities such as making a Seto ware hina doll, enjoy special o-hina lunches and sweets, and much more.

When: Sat. 30 Jan. to Sun. 6 Mar.

Where: Seto-Gura (瀬戸蔵) and surrounding areas in Seto City (瀬戸市)

Access: A 5-minute walk from Owari Seto Station (尾張瀬戸駅) on the Meitetsu Seto Line (名鉄瀬戸線)


Plum Blossoms

 Agricultural Center Weeping Plum Blossom Festival
農業センター しだれ梅まつり

The Agricultural Center is home to one of the largest weeping plum blossom gardens in Japan, with 12 varieties and around 700 individual trees. Check the state of the plum blossoms before you go, on the Agricultural Center’s Facebook page.

When: Thu. 25 Feb. to Mon. 21 Mar. (National holiday) (9:00 – 16:30) Dates may change depending on the state of the plum blossoms.

Where: Agricultural Center (農業センター), Tempaku Ward (天白区)

Access: A 20-minute walk from Hirabari (平針駅) or Akaike (赤池) Stations on the subway Tsurumai Line (地下鉄鶴舞線); By bus: From Hirabari take the City Bus for Chikatetsu Hara (地下鉄原) to Nogyo Senta Kita (農業センター北)
bus stop, walk for 5 minutes. From Akaike take the Meitetsu Bus for Yufukuji (祐福寺) or Zengo (前後) to Araike (荒池) bus stop, walk for 6 minutes.

Parking: 500 Yen for cars, 150 Yen for motorbikes and scooters.

Facebook: (Japanese)



◆Ramen Matsuri in Nagoya 2016

Photo courtesy of Chukyo TV. Broadcasting Co., Ltd.
Photo courtesy of Chukyo TV. Broadcasting Co., Ltd.

Ramen lovers, rejoice! Take yourself on a regional ramen road trip, without leaving Sakae, as ramen stalls, carefully selected from all over Japan, descend once again on Nagoya. Be sure to buy a ramen ticket, which can be exchanged for ramen at any stall, before ordering.

When: Wed. 10 Feb. to Sun. 14 Feb. (10:00 – 20:30; 10:00 – 19:30 on 14 Feb.; Last order 30 minutes before closing.)

Where: Hisaya Hiroba (久屋広場) in Hisaya Odori Park (久屋大通公園), Sakae (栄)

Access: A 1-minute walk from Yaba-cho Station (矢場町駅), Exit 6 (6番出口) on the Meijo Subway Line (地下鉄名城線)

Admission: Free. Ramen tickets (can be used at any stall) 850 Yen.

Website: (Japanese)


Other Events

 Dinosaur Park Juraguna

Photo courtesy of Laguna Ten Bosch
Photo courtesy of Laguna Ten Bosch

A special event at the Laguna Ten Bosch amusement park, Lagunasia, where dinosaur lovers of all ages can not only enjoy digging for fossils, studying Tyrannosauruses and eating dinosaur-shaped burgers, but also experience the thrill of encountering dinosaurs up close in the “Phantom of Dinosaur” dinosaur show!

When: Until Tue. 5 Apr. (Lagunasia opening hours: Weekdays 10:00 – 21:00; Weekends and national holidays 10:00 – 22:00 [varies depending on season]. Phantom of Dinosaur: Sat., Sun. and national holidays at 11:00, 12:30, 14:30 [around 20 min. per session]. Fossil Excavation Experience, Fossil Excavation Base, Tyrannosaurus Lab and Dinosaur Forest [Juraguna Passport required]: Weekdays 10:00 – 17:00; Weekends and national holidays 10:00 – 18:00; Last entry 30 min. before closing.)

Where: Lagunasia (ラグナシア) at Laguna Ten Bosch (ラグーナテンボス) in Gamagori City (蒲郡市)

Access: A 15-minute free shuttle bus ride from Gamagori Station (蒲郡駅) on the JR Tokaido Line (JR 東海道本線). Shuttle buses depart every half hour from 8:00 until 22:30 from Stop 7. (Times may be subject to change; Check website.)

Admission: Adults (Junior HS students upwards) 2,150 Yen; Elementary school students 1,200 Yen; Children (age 3 and up) 700 Yen. Juraguna Passport (600 Yen) required for certain Juraguna attractions. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Circle K and Sunkus stores. Shakashaka Excavation Plaza 600 Yen extra.

Lagunasia website:

Juraguna event website: (Japanese)


Nagoya Auto Trend
ナゴヤ オートトレンド

Photo courtesy of Nagoya Auto Trend
Photo courtesy of Nagoya Auto Trend

If you love cars, this is the show for you. Japan’s major auto manufacturers and independent workshops will be displaying their very own custom-built cars in this annual car show. This year, the Nagoya Cycle Trend 2016 event will be held at the same time.

When: Sat. 27 and Sun. 28 Feb. 10:00-17:00

Where: Portmesse Nagoya (ポートメッセなごや)

Access: A 5-minute walk from Kinjo-futo Station (金城ふ頭駅) on the Aonami Line (あおなみ線).

Admission: 2,300 (2,000) Yen for adults, 800 (500) Yen for elementary school students. Prices in ( ) are for advance tickets available at Circle K and Sunkus stores. Up to two preschoolers may enter for free with an adult.

Website: (Japanese)


Winter and Illumination Events

◆Centrair Sky Story by NAKED – Mapping Illumination –
セントレアスカイストーリーbyネイキッド ~マッピングイルミネーション~

Photo courtesy of Central Japan International Airport Co., Ltd.
Photo courtesy of Central Japan International Airport Co., Ltd.

Centrair’s annual illumination this year is a collaboration with Ryotaro Muramatsu, CEO of NAKED Inc., producers of numerous projection mapping spectacles around Japan, and their first sensory illumination event in the Tokai region.
A grand tale of the wind, projected by 3D projection mapping onto a 3.8m-high book, will draw you into the world of the story. See the unfolding story of the spirit born of the seasonal winds from Mount Ibuki traveling around the world and meeting the many varied expressions of the sky, taking off from the sky over Centrair and encountering the Milky Way, the aurora, meteors, snow and more.

When: Until Thu. 31 Mar. (17:30 – 22:30; 18:00 – 22:30 from mid-Feb. [to be confirmed])

Where: Chubu International Airport Centrair Passenger Terminal Building 4F Sky Deck

Access: Central Japan International Airport Station (中部国際空港駅) on the Meitetsu Airport Line (名鉄空港線)

Admission: Free



◆City Light Fantasia by NAKED -Nagoya TV Tower-

Image courtesy of Nagoya TV Tower
Image courtesy of Nagoya TV Tower

Enjoy the night view from the Nagoya TV Tower augmented by projection mapping, thanks to a special transparent film applied to the Sky Deck windows which allows imagery to be projected on them.
Following on from summer’s popular ‘City Light Fantasia by NAKED – Kaleidoscope Fireworks in the Starry Sky,’ the theme of this attraction is ‘Sky Aquarium – Aquarium in the Starry Sky.’ See a strange world unfold where dreams and reality merge; a fantastic world of sea creatures projected onto the night sky.

When: Until Sun. 14 Feb. (until Thu. 31 Dec. 18:00 – 22:00; Fri. 1 Jan. to Sun. 14 Feb. 18:00 – 21:00)

Where: Nagoya TV Tower (名古屋テレビ塔) Sky Deck observation deck (スカイデッキ), Naka Ward (中区)

Access: A 3-minute walk from Sakae Station (栄駅) Exit 3 or 4 (3・4番出口) on the Meijo and Higashiyama Subway Lines (地下鉄名城・東山線)

Admission: Adults (Senior HS students and over) 1,000 Yen; Children (Junior HS and Elementary school students) 500 Yen.


◆Toyota Home Rink

Image courtesy of Nagoya Broadcasting Network
Image courtesy of Nagoya Broadcasting Network

Enjoy the fun of ice skating, without the ice, in the middle of Sakae! Toyota Home Rink uses patented American-made interlocked resin sheets called “Super-Glide” instead of ice, which makes it easier for beginners to stand – and if you fall, you won’t get cold and wet! This year’s attraction features an all-new illumination and interactive projection mapping on the rink that kids will love! Great fun for families and couples.

When: Until Sun. 28 Feb. (Weekdays 13:00 – 20:00; Sat., Sun., national holidays and 24 Dec. to 6 Jan. 10:00 – 20:00)

Where: Oasis 21 (オアシス21) in Sakae (栄)

Access: Sakae Station (栄駅) Exit 4 (4番出口) on the Higashiyama or Meijo Subway Lines (地下鉄東山・名城線)

Admission: Weekdays – Junior HS students and older 900 Yen; Elementary school students and younger 500 Yen. Weekends and holidays – Junior HS students and older 1,200 Yen; Elementary school students and younger 500 Yen. Prices include skate rental. Own skates not permitted. Gloves must be worn on the rink. Weekday Half-Price Discounts: ① Groups of three or more students (student ID cards required). ② Two or more people (Junior HS students and over) who enter after 17:00. ③ Ladies (Junior HS students and over) on Fridays (all day, except during the winter holiday season).


Special Link:

February 2016 Exhibitions 


Please be aware that all aforementioned event times, locations, and prices
are subject to change without notice.


[ NIC Events Information ]

Henri Daros

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