Mizusawa, Iwate - Japan

English Version of the Blog http://mizusawa.blogspot.com

Version Francaise ici --> http://mizusawa.blogspot.com

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Zattzuka Matsuri

The festival "Zattzuka Matsuri" is held on August 5th in Mizusawa, Oshu city, Tohoku prefecture. Many groups of dancers dressed in yukata dance on the same choregraphy, which is easy for beginners as well!! ;-)

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Hitaka Hibuse Matsuri

The "Hitaka Hibuse Matsuri" is a festival held in late April (28-29th) in Mizusawa City (Oshu city now), Tohoku. The festival takes place at the same time as the city is covered by blooming cherry blossom in pink. The meaning of the festival is the prevention of fire. Festive floats tour the town carrying about 40 child musicians playing flutes, drums and shamisen.
More pictures at http://srosat.com/WorldTrotter or access directly the photo gallery here.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Chagu Chagu Umako Matsuri

The "Chagu Chagu Umako Matsuri" (festival of the 'small' jingling horses) takes place on the second Saturday of June in Takizawa village & Morioka-city, Iwate prefecture in Tohoku region (northern Japan). 100 horses parade in a merry jingling of bells from a mountain village down to the town. The name "Chagu Chagu" is an onomatopeic expression refering to the bells sounding as the horses trot along.

Pictures of the Chagu Chagu Umako Matsuri can be found here.

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Kukuri Bina Matsuri

The festival "Kukuri Bina Matsuri" of hanged Japanese dolls takes place in early March (last year it was on March 1-5, 2006). You can admire typical Japanese dolls dressed in colourful kimonos. The dolls are one side only, the other side being the support. They are usually displayed on a staircase to respect the class hierarchy, meaning that the dolls for the emperor and the emperess are on the uppest step.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Kokuseki-ji Somin-sai

The "Kokuseki-ji Somin-sai" festival (festival of reanimation or resurrection of the Kokuseki temple) is a festival where Japanese men, completely naked or wearing just a "fundoshi" (a kind of white underwear that covers just the sex), famous in whole Japan. It takes place at Kokuseki-ji temple, in the village of Kuroishi, in Mizusawa, Oshu city in Iwate prefecture.
This festival takes place every year in early February (in 2006 it was on February 4th) in our solar calendar, or January 7th in the ancient lunar calendar, from 10PM to 6AM. The "Somin-sai" festival aims at avoiding the disasters and having good harvests.

These naked men parade without stopping, during hours, from the temple to the river, where they enter and pour icy water on their nked body... then they go back to the temple shouting "Ja Soo". After the cold test with snow and icy water, the fire test takes place at midnight. The naked men rise a pyre, put fire on it and climb on the top of the smoking pyre, singing and shouting "Ja Soo"...

Of course during these 8 hours of folly, Japanese sake is flowing in torrents! It helps to keep warm and fool... ;-)

You can find the pictures of Kokuseki-ji Somin-sai I took here: pictures of Somin-sai here

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Oshu-shi was born on February 20, 2006!

Since February 20, 2006, the towns of Esashi, Mizusawa, Maesawa, Isawa and Koromogawa have become wards of the new city Oshu. Oshu means the far country, based on a former name of the famous city of Hiraizumi.

The official website of Oshu-shi is: http://www.city.oshu.iwate.jp (sorry in Japanese only...)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Welcome to Mizusawa, city of Iwate prefecture, Tohoku region in northern Japan

A first message from Mizusawa, small Japanese city located in Iwate prefecture, province of Tohoku, northern part of Japan.
Mizusawa can be accessed from Tokyo in 3h by Shinkansen (bullet train). Mizusawa, as its name indicates, is situated in a valley crossed by Kitakami river and surrounded by mountains. The highest summit of Iwate prefecture is Mount Iwate (Iwate san) that culminates at 2,041 m. Mount Iwate is an active volcano, which activity is continuously monitored by scientists.

Mizusawa town was born in April 1st 1954 (Showa year 29) with the emergence of a city and 5 villages. In 50 years, Mizusawa city has developped as a politic, economic, cultural, exchange,... center. Mizusawa is also a city rich with history and culture in an abundant natural scenic. Many ceremonies and festivals take place during the year, such as Hitaka Hibuse festival, cherry blossom at Mizusawa park, spring festival, and the fireworks and Zattzaka festival in summer.

  • Area:96.92k㎡
  • Coordinates: Long.141° 5~15´E Lat .39° 3~11´N
  • Population: 60,588 (Men:29,111 Women: 31,477)
  • Number of permanent residents: 21,421 (as in May 31, 2002)

  • More Pictures of Japan and Tohoku Prefecture Here