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Festivals

Kuwana city, Kumano city, Toba city


Japan’s noisiest festival!? The Ishidori Festival, a significant intangible cultural asset

Mie is home to many historic festivals, and the Ishidori Festival held by Kuwana City is famous as Japan’s noisiest, with the bang of drums and resounding gongs. There is a parade of floats known as saisha ("festival cars"), decorated with dolls and lanterns on top and large drums and gongs suspended at the rear. The festival is held on the first Sunday of every August. Starting at midnight, it goes for a full 24 hours, accompanied by the riotous sounds of music. See the atmosphere of the city transformed by tremendous sounds, like some kind of festival miracle! In 2007, the festival was designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.

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The Great Kumano Fireworks Display, boasting a 300-year history

Summer in Kumano means fireworks. With a 300-year history, the Great Kumano Fireworks Display is famous not only for its scale, but for its unique fireworks. Massive 3-foot spherical fireworks are launched from offshore, fireworks are launched from a ship out over the seas, and trick fireworks are set among the rocky beach to produce massive booms. Colorful fireworks decorate the night sky, of course, but some also light up a unique landscape, such as the Shishiiwa lion rock illuminated by fireworks.

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Female ama sea divers are the heroes of the Shirongo Festival.

The seas around ​​Shirahama are considered sacred and fishing is usually prohibited there, but for one day each year, fishing is allowed. Female ama divers play a leading role in the Shirongo Festival, which conveys gratitude to Shirahige Daimyojin, the guardian deity of Sugashima. The ama are women who work at sea—wearing traditional white garments, they dive into the sea seeking abalone and turban shells. At the Shirongo Festival, the ama dive into the sea hoping for a bountiful catch, with the diver who harvests the first abalone being celebrated as that year’s representative. A summer tradition of Ise-Shima, the Shirongo Festival dazzles with blue sea and the smiles of the ama divers.

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For reference

Ishidori Festival


  • Address
    46 Honmachi, Kuwana-shi, Mie-ken (Kasuga Shrine)
  • Telephone
    0594-24-6085
    (Kuwana Ishidori Festival Preservation Society)
  • 
Opening hours
    First Saturday & Sunday of August
  • URL


Great Kumano Fireworks Display

  • Address
    Kinomoto-cho & Ido-cho, Kumano-shi, Mie-ken (Shichirimihama coast)
  • 
Telephone
    0597-89-0100 (Kumano City Tourism Association)

  • Opening hours
    One evening in mid-July, around 7 P.M. to 9 P.M.
  • 
URL

Shirongo festival


  • Address
    Sugashima-cho, Toba-shi, Mie-ken
  • Telephone
    
0599-34-2231 (Sugashima Ryokan Association)
  • Opening hours
    
July 11 (or the closest Saturday to July 11th)

Access

Ishidori Festival
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 1-hour flight from Haneda Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 100-minute flight from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 75-minute flight from Sendai Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 65-minute flight from Matsuyama Airport.
  • Kuwana Station is 75 minutes via Kintetsu line from Central Japan International Airport Station.
  • Kasuga Shrine is a 20-minute walk from Kuwana Station.
Great Kumano Fireworks Display
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 1-hour flight from Haneda Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 100-minute flight from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 75-minute flight from Sendai Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 65-minute flight from Matsuyama Airport.
  • Matsusaka Port is 1 hour and 15 minutes from Chubu Centrair International Airport via the Tsu Airport Line 
Matsusaka Station is 12 minutes by bus from Matsusaka Port. Kumanoshi Station is 3 hours and 30 minutes via Kintetsu line from Matsusaka Station.
The Shichirimihama coast is a 20-minute walk from Kumano-shi Station.
Shirongo Festival
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 1-hour flight from Haneda Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 100-minute flight from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 75-minute flight from Sendai Airport.
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 65-minute flight from Matsuyama Airport.
  • Matsusaka Port is 75 minutes from Chubu Centrair International Airport via the Tsu Airport Line.
Matsusaka Station is 12 minutes by bus from Matsusaka Port. Toba Station is 30 minutes via Kintetsu line from Matsusaka Station.
From Toba Station, catch a city-operated ferry bound for Toba Marine Terminal and disembark at Sugashima (about 15 minutes). From Sugashima, it’s about a 20-minute walk (along the Shirongo-kaido path).

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