Uchinada World Kite Festival 2013

Uchinada Kite Festival Poster

Uchinada Kite Festival Poster

Go fly a kite!

Is actually Uchinada`s way of inviting you to their annual World Kite Festival 😉

This year it will be held on May 3rd & 4th (public holidays) in Golden Week on Uchinada beach.

Here is the event schedule for the main day:

May 4th (Saturday)
9:00 : Participant Reception
9:30 : Opening Ceremony & Attraction
10:00 :
– Japan Sea Kite Flying Tournament
– International Kite Flying Tournament
– Uchinada Kite Contest, Large Kite Challenge
– Sports Kite Contest
– Sports Kite Experience Lesson
– Photo Contest
15:00 : Awards Ceremony & Closing Ceremony

Last year, it was rather windy on the beach – good for kites but not so good for spectators, so dress for the weather rather than the beach 😉
There are some truly amazing kites on display, so it`s well worth a visit 😀
Let`s enjoying kites! 😉

Nabana-No-Sato Winter Illumination Tours

Following on from the Kobe Luminarie, `Asunaro Tours` is offering trips to Mie Prefecture`s most beautiful winter illumination, Nabana-No-Sato.

Nabana-No-Sato

Nabana-No-Sato

Nabana-no-sato Winter Illumination

Tour 1:
Cost: Y5,500
Operation Days:
– December 8,9,15,16,17,21,22,23,24
– January 1,2,3,5,6,12,13,14,19,27
– February 2,3,9,10,11,14,16,17,23,24
– March 1,2,3
Length: 1 day
Includes:
– Roundtrip bus fare and inter-area bus travel between Kanazawa/Kaga Stations and the light-up area.
– Stop offs at Jazz Dream Outlet Mall (4hours), Nabana-no-sato Winter Illumination (2.5hours, includes entry fee to the Begonia Garden)
Departs: Kanazawa Station West Exit 7:30am (next,Kaga Station)
Returns: Kanazawa Station (last stop via Kaga Station) 23:30

Tour 2:
Cost: Y8480
Operation Days:
– January 19,20,22,26,27,29,31
– February 2,3,6,8,9,10,11
Length: 1 day
Includes:
– All-you-can-eat lunch at Gamagoori Orange Park (ebi-fry,beef steak,crab,pork shabushabu,kishimen noodles, chirashi-zushi sushi, etc winter`s best foods)
– Nabana-no-sato Winter Illumination (3hours, includes entry fee to the Begonia Garden)
Departs: Kanazawa Station West Exit 8:30am
Returns: Kanazawa Station 23:30 : This tour departs from & arrives at Kanazawa Station only

Again, for bookings and further information, go to your local Hokutetsu Bus office or contact Hokutetsu Koukuu on 076-242-3337. Pamphlets available at Hokutetsu stations and bus offices.

Kobe Luminarie Tours

Winter in Japan = snow. Right?

Wrong. Winter in Japan = snow and illuminations!

Hokutetsu/Komatsu Bus company are offering several great-value day/weekend trips out to some of Japan`s most fantastic illumination events, and it`d be a shame to miss out 🙂 Listed below are the details for the Kobe Luminarie ones:

Kobe Luminarie

Kobe Luminarie

 Kobe Luminarie
By far one of Japan`s most famous illuminations, the Kobe Luminarie is held every year in memorial of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. It is on from December 6 – 17th, 18:00 – 21:00. Expected to be very crowded on weekends in particular, so anticipate queuing and moving around the display in lines on weekends (unfortunately).Tour 1:
Cost: Y4500
Operation Days: Every day from Dec 6th – 17th
Length: 1 day
Includes: Roundtrip bus fare from Kanazawa/Kaga stations to Mitsui Outlet shopping Park, and on to Kobe Luminarie event area.
Departs: 7am Kanazawa Station (West exit) (next,Kaga Station)
Returns: 24:00 Kanazawa Station (last stop,via Kaga Station)
The itinerary is completely free-plan, so you can do your own thing until departure time from the Luminarie 🙂

Tour 2:
Cost: Y16,980
Operation Days: Every day from Dec 7th – 17th
Length: 2 days/1 night
Includes:
– 1 night`s accommodation for 1/2persons per room at Chisan Hotel Shin-Osaka (9pm-9am, western room,breakfast included)
– Roundtrip and tour bus fares from Kanazawa/Kaga Stations, within Kobe City, Osaka City, and to and from Mie and Aichi prefectures
– Day trip to Kobe Harbourland (free plan exploring), and Kobe Luminarie (free plan)
– Day trip to Aichi & Mie prefectures, Outlet Mall Jazz Dream, and Nabana-no-sato Winter Illumination (entrance fees included, free plan)
Departs: Kanazawa Station West Exit 7:30am (next,Kaga Station)
Returns: Kanazawa Station (last stop) 22:30

For further information, or to book one of these tours, you can go to your local Hokutetsu Bus office, or phone Hokutetsu Koukuu on 076-242-3337. On booking the tour, you will need to pay either 20% of the fee as a deposit, or the whole sum upfront. The pamphlet for these `Asunaro Tours` is available at Hokutetsu Kanzawa Station, and other Hokutetsu stations and bus offices, and it may help to have it on you for simplicity-sake when booking 🙂

In addition, MKBus Tours is offering a rather no-fuss roundtrip tour for Y3800 (excl Y100 donation to the Luminarie), departing December 8,9,15 & 16th from Kanazawa Station West Exit 8am, and returning there at 24:15. See the link below for the bookings procedure (telephone and furikomi):

http://www.mktour.net/contents_daytrip2.html

KIX Round-trip Ticket Special

The holiday season is fast approaching, and many of us are planning a hasty escape from the icy Ish to warmer pastures (or just home!).

For those of you using Kansai Airport (KIX) as your escape route of choice, there is a special discount ticket being offered by JR West for just that purpose 🙂

The ticket is valid for 14 days, and includes round-trip Thunderbird express train reserved seat tickets + round-trip Haruka express reserved tickets (Osaka KIX). Departing from Komatsu = Y14,800, Kanazawa = Y16,200, and Nanao = Y18,300. Each yields a saving of Y4-5000 🙂

The ticket, called 関西空港往復きっぷ (Kansai Kuukou Oufuku Kippu), can be purchased from one month before your day of usage, up until the very day of.

In addition, holders of this ticket have access to a luggage collection and drop-off service (also both ways of the journey) from their home to KIX for the special price of Y3500. You can ask about this on purchasing the ticket at your local JR office.

Lastly, special discount coupons are available to ticket holders for use in Duty Free shops, refresh services and facilities, and restaurants at KIX, too 🙂

Quite a nice, luxurious way to start off your holiday adventures 😉

Happy holidays and safe travels! 😀

Senmaida Light Up

The Senmaida (1000 rice fields) Light Up is brightening up Wajima on October 13th (Saturday) this year.

Senmaida lit up at night.

Senmaida is a designated national cultural asset, and is lit up with 30,000 candles every year after the rice cutting. If you’re interested in volunteering to place all those candles, now’s your chance!

Volunteer Deadline: 18 September 2012

Every year, JETs from around Ishikawa volunteer as one of Senmaida’s akaribito–light people–to place and light candles in the rice fields. This year, 350 volunteers are needed, and each will receive a special gift (a tote bag and face towel are shown on the website) as well as something to drink, for their work. The sign up sheets for volunteering can be found here: http://semmaida.kuronowish.com/senakari/tomoshi.html

Transport to Wajima Michi-no-eki is usually organised amongst volunteering JETs (carpools), or you can make use of the Noto Furusato Ticket for trains as far as Anamizu. For more information on the bus bus from Anamizu to Wajima michi-no-eki here. You could also take a bus to Wajima.

Free shuttle buses to Senmadia will be available from the following locations to transport volunteers: Wajima Michi-no-eki, Wajima Marine Town (14:20), Nafunegyokou (14:35), Sosogi  Furusato Taikenjisshukan and Najimi-kaizen centre (14:20).

Volunteer Schedule:

14:20 – Free shuttle bus for volunteers starts operating
14:50 – All volunteers meet at Senmaida Pocket Park
15:00 – Activity explanation and separation of volunteers into groups
15:20 – Start placing candles
16:30 – short break (each volunteer is given something to drink). The remaining candles etc will be collected, and the volunteers must each take the tools for lighting the candles
16:50 – start lighting candles
17:30 – finish lighting candles, event starts
17:50 – volunteers create a circle with flashlights

Event Schedule

17:00 – UNESCO sites in the Oku-Noto
17:30 – Wajima Wadaiko-toranosuke (wadaiko drum performance)
17:50 – Opening ceremony; volunteers create circle of light
18:30 – Ishikawa-ken Intangible Cultural Asset; Gojinjodaiko taiko drumming
19:10 – Quintet CIRC
19:50 – Yanawaraba mini concert
21:00 – End of event; shuttle buses back to Wajima Michi-no-eki and other designated shuttle bus spots.

Note: For non-volunteers, the shuttle bus is ¥200, and starts operating from 16:00.

Senmaida is truly a beautiful sight, so if you can go or missed out last year, I highly recommend it! 😀

Kanazawa City Residents Marathon 2012

For all the runners out there 😉

The 19th Kanazawa City Residents Marathon (第19回金沢市民マラソン) will take place on November 11th this year.

The races available are: 3km, 5km, and 10km. There is no half or full marathon, despite the name. There are also family races available for families with children of elementary school age.

Race Registration

Entry Period: Now until October 5th 2012
Entry Fee: ¥2000 (+¥200 handling fee). Only one race can be entered per person.
Entry Process: You can enter online via jtbsports.jp (you need to sign in for free & search the race) or via post office furikomi money form. You can find the form in the first PDF at the bottom of the page here: http://www.fukui-sports.jp/event/detail.php?cd=221

The Event

Where: 金沢市営陸上競技場 (Kanazawa-shi-ei Rikujo-kyogi-jo)
Reception: 10 November, 10am – 5pm, and 11 November 6:30 – 7:20am.
Opening Ceremony: 7:20am
Race Start: 10km course @ 8am, 5km course @ 8:10am, 3km course for general public (not school students) 9:49am.
Time Limit (10km course only): Those runners who have not passed the 5km mark 40 minutes after the start (i.e. at 8:40am), and/or the 6.6km mark in 50 minutes, will be disqualified.

Other Information

– Runners who complete their race will receive a completion certificate
– Each runner will receive a DIY health check form, to be handed in at reception when receiving your number cards.
– There is no parking at the event, but there will be allocated parking areas for use, as well as a shuttle bus to the event (from these, presumably).
– There will be a massage tent set up for any muscular inflamation or other sprains
– The 10km race runners will be organized at the start line into blocks according to their self-predicted race completion times

Please see the official site for more information (Japanese only): http://www.kanazawa-city-marathon.jp/

So, who`s keen to “enjoying” running together? 😉

Noto 2-Day Free Pass!

Conveniently in line with festival season, JR West has introduced a new special ticket – the Noto Furusato Free Ticket.

What:

The ticket allows you to travel between the JR area Kanazawa station <-> Wakura Onsen station, and the Noto Tetsudo area of Wakura Onsen station <-> Anamizu station (Nanao <-> Wakura Onsen is also possible on this line) for 2 days as much as you like.

The ticket is only valid for use on normal trains (i.e. Shirasagi, Hokuetsu, and other rapid express trains are out). However, these lines have the most awesome `futsuu-ressha` you`ve ever seen, so you still get to travel in style 😀

Cost:

Adults Y1500, children Y300.

The ticket is on sale until October 11 2012 (purchasable up until the day before you intend to use it), and usable between July 6 – October 13 2012. Be careful in specifiying your date(s) of travel because these can not be changed once you have bought your ticket.

Extra stuff:

By showing your Noto Furusato ticket at the various tourist attractions (including the Notojima Aquarium) you can receive entrance fee discounts, and various free goodies (ice-cream included!).

The pamphlet for the ticket is available at all major stations and JR offices, and includes a full list of the attractions, their discounts and access methods. There is also a train schedule attached.

Since the Noto will be hosting some of the best festivals this summer, and is a place that is usually a bit difficult to access, this ticket really is a bargain 🙂 So `let`s enjoying` the Noto this summer!:P

Special note about Wajima Taisai transport:

– Using this ticket, you can go as far as Anamizu station. From Anamizu, there is a regular bus that runs between Anamizu station and Wajima station. The last bus on Friday 24/8 is at 19:30 to Wajima station, arriving 20:04. They run from early morning until 19:30, so those of you on holiday can easily go up earlier. The whole journey takes a total of an hour more than the Wajima express bus. You can see the bus timetable here:

http://www.hokutetsu.co.jp/htd_hp/timetable/rosen/0960_1_1_01.html