- Wed, 3rd February: Honjo-ji Temple’s Oni Dance in Sanjo city, Niigata Prefecture
- Fri, 5th February to Thurs. 11th February: Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo city, Hokkaido
- Sun, 14th February to Mon, 15th February: Kokuseki-ji Temple’s Somin Festival in Oshu city, Iwate Prefecture
Wed, 3rd February: Honjo-ji Temple’s Oni Dance in Sanjo city, Niigata Prefecture
The 3rd of February is a day called “Setsubun”, and is the start of spring.
It is believed that the demon, or “Oni”, is reborn during the change of the season, and events to drive off this Oni are held all over Japan on this day. Honjo-ji Temple’s Oni Dance is one of the famous festivals in Sanjo city, Niigata Prefecture, which is also famous for its ironmonger.
All these colorful Oni with their knives and axes dance on stage, and beans are thrown at them after they dance.
●Honjo-ji Temple’s Oni Dance
Place：Hokekyo Grand Temple Honjo-ji
Access：10 min walk from JR Shinetsu Honsen “Sanjo” station. / 15 min drive from Hokuriku Road “Sanjo tsubame IC”.
1 -1-20 Nishihonjōji, Sanjō-shi, Niigata Prefecture 955-0845
Fri, 5th February to Thurs. 11th February: Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo city, Hokkaido
There will be about 2 million visitors from all over the world at the Sapporo Snow Festival. The beginning of the festival dates back to 1950, when local students made 6 snow statues. It has now become a very large event, where more than 200 pieces of snow works are exhibited with the help of local volunteers and the Japanese defense army.
●Sapporo Snow Festival
Place：Odori street (From 1 Nishi Odori-koen to Nishi 12)
Access：1 min walk from the subway station, “Odori”
Odori-koen Odori nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo city, Hokkaido
Sun, 14th February to Mon, 15th February: Kokuseki-ji Temple’s Somin Festival in Oshu city, Iwate Prefecture
Kokuseki-ji Temple’s Somin Festival is one of the three strangest festivals in Japan that are held for a large and successful harvest, as well as exorcism. It is held all night long, with half-naked men fighting over the Somin bag in the snow.
It is said that if you get the bag, the person who grabs it will have a huge harvest in their area that year.
●Kokuseki-ji Temple’s Somin Festival
Access： About 30 min drive from Tohoku Road Mizusawa IC, 20 min drive from JR Mizusawa-Esashi Station, 25 min by bus from JR Mizusawa station.
Yamauchi 17 Mizusawaku Kuroishichō, Ōshū-shi, Iwate Prefecture 023-0101