We will introduce you to the seasonal events that represent the San’in Area on this page. There is a full lineup of events. These include traditional events passed down through the generations without change, events of light to enchant spectators and the world’s largest umbrella dance. Why don’t you mingle together with the enthusiasm of the local people and really enjoy yourself?
Season: March to April
There are various cherry blossom viewing spots dotted around Tottori and Shimane. These include cherry blossoms that color Matsue Castle – the symbol of the castle town of Matsue – and cherry blossoms at night in Utsubuki Park (Tottori) magically produced by about 500 bonbori (paper-covered lanterns). Please enjoy spring in San’in where the streets are gorgeously colored.
This is an emotionally rich folk event. A pair of male and female paper dolls are place on a sandawara (straw lid that covers a rice container) on Doll’s Festival on the third day of the third month in the old Japanese calendar. Rice cakes and peach twigs are then added. Finally, these are set to flow down the Sendai River with a prayer for a happy year free from disease.
This is a procession that reproduces the time when Horio Yoshiharu, who built the foundations of the castle town of Matsue about 400 years ago, and his party entered Matsue Castle. This procession of warriors clad in heroic armor/helmets and maids in gorgeous costumes parades through the town of Matsue toward Matsue Castle.
This public entertainment brought to Japan from China and Korea was adopted as imperial court bugaku (court dance and music) and eventually reached Oki Kokubun-ji Temple. This dance has been passed down through the generations by local residents for over 1,200 years. There is an exotic air to the masks and costumes used. (This event is held on April 21 every year.)
This is the largest festival in Tottori City. This festival is held from August 13 to 15 every year. The highlight is when about 4,000 dancers dance in the streets at once in a simultaneous umbrella dance that is the main event of the festival. This is famous all over Japan as the world’s largest umbrella dance.
This is a summer festival that is held in Yonago City in Tottori Prefecture. Gaina means “big and wonderful” in the dialect of Yonago City. The majestic sight of gaina lantern poles of 10 m or more lit up by many paper lanterns is truly impressive. The city bustles with fireworks and drums during this festival.
This is a leading summer festival of San’in set in Matsue City – the city of water. The scale of the fireworks display that takes place over Lake Shinji makes it one of the leading such events in San’in. The beauty of the fireworks that color the lake surface against a silhouette of Yomegashima is the highlight. There are also plenty of food stalls and a variety of events.
The Daisen Summer Mountain Opening Festival is held every year in early June with Ogamiyama Back Shrine and Daisen Temple taking the stage. The Taimatsu Parade (torch procession) held on the eve of this festival draws magical scenery with the band of beautiful flames steeping the road approaching the shrine in orange.
All the mountains welcome beautiful fall leaves with the addition of the red of maple and Japanese rowan trees centered on beech forests steeped in gold. The leaves start to change color at the beginning of October every year. The best time to see the fall leaves is from late October to early November. Kagikake Pass, Masumizu Plateau and the area around Daisen Temple are highlights.
The tenth month in Japan’s old calendar is referred to as kamiaridzuki (month with gods) in the Izumo region and kannazuki (month with no gods) everywhere else because gods from across Japan come to gather in Izumo. This event is a ritual to welcome the gods on the beach of Inasa where it is said the transfer of the country took place on the evening of the tenth day in the tenth month in Japan’s old calendar.
Season: September to October
Ushitsuki in Oki originated when the people of the island started to comfort Emperor Gotoba who was banished to the area about 800 years ago. The sight of large bulls crashing into each other in traditional bullfighting, now a rare spectacle in Japan, is very powerful.
This is an event in which the area around Matsue Castle is lit up. The nighttime operation of Horikawa Pleasure Boat is one of the drawcards of this event. This allows you to enjoy magical scenery with light and shade interwoven, such as with the water surface on which the shrine grove and lamps illuminated by the light of the boat sway.
Season: November to January
This is a top class illumination show for the Chugoku and Shikoku regions with 1.4 million lights shining in a site of 80,000 square meters. In addition to the computer controlled production, you can enjoy collaborations between flowers and light, such as with illuminations in the observation corridor that extends 1 km in length.
Season: December to March
Daisen ski area is the biggest in western Japan. There are four large ski slopes: Goenzan, Nakanohara, Uenohara and Daisen International Ski Area. This is a spectacular ski area with a reputation for great quality snow overlooking the panoramic Sea of Japan that can be seen from the ski area and Mt. Daisen in the background.
Season: October to March
Kohakucho (tundra swans) are large water birds that extend out to about 2 m when they stretch their wings. They arrive from Russia in winter. You can see the beautiful sight of these birds in the paddy fields in the surrounding area in addition to Lake Shinji/Nakaumi that is registered as a Ramsar Convention wetland.
This is a traditional event. A large banner for Toshitokujin, the god who controls the fortunes of any given year called Kiccho-san, is set up. Prayers are then made for joy and prosperity in the New Year while striking a drum. This is then walked through the town of Taisha. Men in their yakudoshi (unlucky year) wear a demon mask and go around houses while striking green bamboo to drive away evil.