Seasonal events

January
January 1st: The most important day of the year. Most of the city is heading to temples to ring in the new year with the temple bells. Most of the temples and shrines provide warm "amazake" (sweet sake) to visitors.

February
February 3rd or 4th: On either the 3rd or 4th of February, Setsubun, an event in which many households participate in a bean-throwing ceremony. A wooden measuring cup-like container, called 'masu' is filled with roasted soya-beans. Whilst shouting 'Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!' ('Out with the goblins and in with Fortune!'), these beans are then thrown around the rooms of a household.

March
(top)
The 3rd of every March is Hina Matsuri, also known as Doll Festival or Girls' Festival, where families pray for the happinness and health of their daughters.

April
The cherry trees near the castle are amongst the most popular spots. The flowers near the castle are illuminated during the Cherry Blossom Festival (April 1 to 15). The delicate little flowers don't last long, and if there is the slightest breeze they rain down on the revellers like confetti.

May

May is usually good weather. The consecutive public holidays of "Golden Week" makes travel difficult, but if you are in Okazaki this is a good time to head to the castle and enjoy the "Gomangoku Fuji Matsuri" (a Wisteria Festival).

June (top)
The First Sunday in June: Yuki Saiden O-taue Matsuri (Rice Planting Festival) commemorates a gift of rice to the Emperor Taisho (the current Emperor's grandfather). In this festival, the participants plant rice by hand while singing and danceing. Good photo opportunities.

July
July 7th - Tanabata (Star festival). An old Chinese festival, celebrating the day two stars - the Herdsman (Altair) and the Weaver (Vega) - meet in night sky. On the 7th, children write a wishes onto colored paper and tie it to a leaf of bamboo.

August
13th to 15th. This is called "O-Bon" where people remember their ancestors. A visit to graves is a common activity. The tradition is that everyone returns to their hometown to tend the graves and family altars, making it difficult to travel.

September (top)
Many people buy crickets in stores and keep them in small tanks in their homes, the chirping of the cricket ringing in the autumn.

October
Late October: Mikawa no Kiku Matsuri (Mikawa Chrysanthemum Festival) at Okazaki Castle and other places. Lots of beautiful chrysanthemums, and more excuses for enjoying a drink with friends.

November

In early November there is a festival called Aki no Shi-min Matsuri (Fall Citizens Festival) that is a little bit manufactured, but still fun. The center of activity is the area adjacent to the castle next to the Sugo River. There are displays of local products, hundreds of "yatai" stalls, and portable "Mikoshi" shrines.

December
The big event of December is actually midnight on the 31st - see January at the top of the page.



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