Don’t let the winter doldrums get you down! On the weekend of Jan. 15-16, there are two winter festivals to check out. Watch priests perform a cold water ritual in the south or eat Ishikawa yellowtail in the north!
1. Star Festival 星まつり (Hoshi Matsuri)
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Renkouji Temple, Daishôji
Ceremonial rites start at 11 AM
The Daishôji Star Festival happens every year on January 15. Shinto priests dressed in nothing but loincloths brave the bitter cold to perform a ritual washing ceremony with wooden barrels of cold water in order to pray for good health and a good harvest in the new year. (Video here.) Afterward, festival-goers can drink some of the remaining clean water in hopes of having good health. This festival has been held since 1644, so be sure to check out this part of Kaga’s history!
922-0841 Ishikawa-ken Kaga-shi Daishôji Shita-yashiki-machi 28 Kabuto 1
15-minute walk from the JR Daishôji Station (JR大聖寺駅).
2. Mid-Winter Yellowtail Festival 寒ぶり祭り (Kanburi Matsuri)
Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011; 10:00-15:00
Buri, or yellowtail, is one of Ishikawa specialities, and the buri caught in mid-winter are said to be the most delicious. Head over to Ushitsu (Noto-cho) for the Kanburi Matsuri to sample this delicious fish. The fish will be prepared on-site—it doesn’t get much fresher than that!
Free to enter, but bring money for food!
927-0433 Ishikawa-ken Housu-gun Noto-chou Aza Ushitsu Aza 44-4
Two-minute walk from the Noto-cho Town Hall (能登町役場能都庁舎).
From Kanazawa Station (金沢駅)or Anamizu Kunogi (穴水此木), take the Hokutetsu bus (北鉄) bound for Iida Parking (Iida Shako, 飯田車庫) and get off at Ushitsu-eki-mae (宇出津駅前).
Parking is available; the site is near the Ushitsu-eki-mae (宇出津駅前) intersection off the 6.