The first in a multi-part series, this post covers the festivals in Ishikawa from July 1-15, 2010.
1. Yamanaka Onsen Tanabata Matsuri 山中温泉七夕祭り, Kaga, July 1-8
2. Abare Matsuri (Fire and Violence Festival, or Rampage Festival) 暴れ祭り, Ushitsu, July 2-3
3. Isurugizan Founding Festival 石動山開山祭, Nakanoto, July 7
4. Nanao Gion Matsuri 七尾祇園祭, Nanao, July 10
Details after the cut.
1. Yamanaka Onsen Tanabata Matsuri 山中温泉七夕まつり
July 1 (Thurs.) – 8 (Thurs.)
Yamanaka Onsen, Kaga
Ishikawa-ken Kaga-shi Yamagata Onsen Machi: at the Yamanaka Zazen Yugemachi-dou intersection, in front of Nakatani-bu Jinja, at Ayatori Bridge, Kakusenkai River, and various ryokans and shops.
Tanabata 七夕 is July 7 and marks the one day when the weaver princess Orihime and her lover, the cowherd Hikoboshi, can cross the Milky Way 天川 to meet. Unfortunately, if it rains that day, they can’t cross the River of Heaven. (Hopefully the two of them picked a better location than the skies over Ishikawa!) Traditionally, those of us down below write out our wishes and hang them on trees. Wishes tend toward hoping for good health, passing exams, or—the most popular wish on this romantic night—for love.
Yamanaka Onsen in Kaga will be fantastically decked out for their Tanabata festival, which dates back to the Taisho period.
Take the JR Hokuriku Main Line JR 北陸本線 bound for Fukui 福井 from Komatsu or the Thunderbird サンダーバード from Kanazawa to Kaga Onsen Station加賀温泉駅. Take the Rosen Bus 路線バス (Kaga Onsen bus 加賀温泉バス) (30 min., 420 yen) to the Yamanaka Onsen bus terminal 山中温泉バスターミナル.
Or, take a taxi (20 min, 3000 yen) from Kaga Onsen station.
Rosen bus schedule (Japanese).
Bus from Kanazawa
1360 yen one-way; picks up at Kanazawa Station 金沢駅, Katamachi 片町, Korinbo 香林坊, Kenrokuen-shita 兼六園下, and Natadera 那谷寺 to Yamanaka Onsen. 山中温泉
Scroll to the bottom of the page for schedule.
From the north, take the Hokuriku Express Way北陸自動車道.
The town is on the 305.
Official Yamanaka Onsen website (Japanese).
General information on Yamanaka Onsen (English).
2. Abare Matsuri (Fire and Violence Festival, or Rampage Festival) 暴れ祭り
July 2 (Fri.) – 3 (Sat.)
Ishikawa-ken Housu-gun Noto-cho Ushitsu
This festival is one of Ishikawa’s most popular, and involves two nights of revelry, burning and breaking kiriko. See this post for more details and access information.
3. Isurugizan Founding Festival 石動山開山祭
July 7, 14:00 (Weds.)
Ishikawa-ken Kashima-gun Nakanoto-machi Isurugizan (Isurugihiko Jinja)
Celebrates the founding of the temple on Isurugizan. Features a taiko performance and festival vendors. Isurugizan is a sacred mountain, and one of the Noto’s hidden treasures, according to Nakanoto’s website.
Free bus service from Rapia Kashimaラピア鹿島 at 1 pm. 〒929-1721 石川県鹿島郡中能登町井田に５０ (生涯学習センター ラピア鹿島)
929-1721 Ishikawa-ken Kashima-gun Nakanoto-machi Ida NI-50 (Lifelong Study Center Rapia Kashima)
Nakanoto-machi’s official website (Japanese).
4. Nanao Gion Matsuri七尾祇園祭
July 10 (Sat.)
(Always the second Saturday of July)
Nanao-shi Ootokome Jinja, aka, Yamatama Jinja; and Minato-machi Hiroba (The eastern part of Nanao)
The Nanao Gion Festival features the kiriko of twelve towns in Nanao. Around 8 pm, the kiriko are taken to Ootokome Jinja大地主神社 by Minato-machi Plaza 湊町の広場 to be purified; by 10 pm, they are carried back to the plaza for 乱舞, boisterous dancing. At 11 pm, the kiriko are taken back to Ootokome Jinja for the climax of the festival—dancing and a bonfire.
Warning: the last train back to Anamizu leaves at 21:30. The last train to Kanazawa leaves at 22:33.
Take the Nanao-bound 七尾行Noto Tetsudo 能登鉄道from the north (Anamizu 穴水) or the Nanao/Wakura Onsen-bound 七尾/和倉温泉行 JR Nanao line JR 七尾線 from the south (Kanazawa金沢) to Nanao Station 七尾駅. 11 minute walk from the JR Nanao Station to Ootokome Jinja大地主神社; 13 min. walk to Minato-machi Plaza湊町の広場.
Warning: the next buses out of Nanao are at 8:25 am and 9:25 am the next day.
Take the Hokutetsu Bus 北鉄バス to Nanao. From Kanazawa, take the Nakanoto Express 中能登特急線 or the Nanao Express 七尾特急線 bus bound for Wakura Onsen 和倉温泉or for the Nanao parking lot 七尾車庫. East Gate (東口) bus stop #1 at Kanazawa Station. Get off at Nanao Station 七尾駅. 1360 yen one way.
There is a free parking lot by the temple that can accommodate 250 cars.
Pictures from the 2009 festival.
IAA Secretariat website (Japanese).
Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and the editor of this blog. She is on a quest to make Ishikawa’s summer festivals accessible to the English-speaking population of this prefecture–or die trying.