Event – Major events held in Yakushima
▶ Cycling Yakushima & Yakushima Hill Climb ▶
On the third Saturday & Sunday of February, cycling events are held on Yakushima. Take a leisurely bike ride experiencing the abundant nature of Yakushima Island. Participants can cycle the 100-kilometer course around the island as the local residents cheer you on. Participants can enjoy local sweets and food at each aid station. You will be treated to the hospitality, ‘omotenashi’, of the local people, a good opportunity to try some local foods.
▶ Opening of seasonal outdoor activities (Mori Mizu Biraki) ▶
A Shinto ritual is held to greet the outdoor activity season in March. People pray to the gods of the mountains and water for a safe season.
▶ Miyanoura Spring Festival (Miyanoura Haru Matsuri) ▶
Miyanoura Spring Festival is an annual festival held at Yaku Shrine in Miyanoura Village. In the past on April 10th, residents from all over Yakushima gathered at Yaku Shrine to start the spring season. A variety of entertainment is held as part of this spring festival. Now, it is held as a local spring festival in Miyanoura Village.
▶ Yakushima Ocean Festival (Yakushima Umi Matsuri) ▶
Yakushima Ocean Festival is an activity which volunteers clean the ports and beaches around the island to prepare for the sea turtles nesting season and tourist sightseeing season. Following this activity, marine sports activities are offered by Yakushima Tourism Association.
▶ Yakushima Furusato Industry Festival (Yakushima Furusato Sangyo-sai) ▶
Yakushima Furusato Industry Festival is an event that introduces local agricultural and marine products, also products from our sister cities. There are many popular events at the festival such as a traditional Japanese dancing, brass band performance, and modern dance performances. Another popular event is guessing the weight of a fish. There is a local beef barbecue which enjoys many people at this event.
▶ Kusugawa Castle Festival (Kusugawa-jo Matsuri) ▶
A Kusugawa Castle Festival is a festival that is held for children’s health and growth on May 5, Children’s Day in Japan. This festival also commemorates a battle held in the Kusugawa area in 1544. It is said that it was the first time matchlock guns were used in Japan. During this festival, children carry a portable shrine, “Kodomo mikoshi”, in a parade. A picture-story of the 1544 battle and stage performance of a matchlock gun troop are also a popular event at this festival. This festival has many attractions for children and adults.
▶ Yakushima Town Performing Arts Festival (Yakushima-cho Geino-sai) ▶
This festival showcases many participants on stage performing a variety of performances such as classical Japanese dance, Japanese drums, hula dance, belly dance, “Karaoke”, and some local entertainment. Many of the participants practice daily in order to give their best performance for this festival.
▶ World Heritage Yakushima Open Water Swimming (Sekai Isan Yakushima OWS) ▶
The World Heritage Yakushima Open Water Swimming Event is held at Isso Beach on the first Saturday of July. Participants can test their ability and swimming skill in the ocean under natural conditions. Many top athletes and medalists are invited to this event. To top off the event, the residents of Isso host an annual party for all participants.
▶ Isso Beach Festival (Isso Hama-matsuri) ▶
Isso Beach Festival is held to have a safe, bountiful fish harvests. A fishing boat parade is a popular event that visitors can take part in. In addition, there are the releasing of the sea bream and flatfish fries, catching mackerel by hand event, special seafood sales, a “Sumo” tournament in slime, and many more.
▶ Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen Festival (Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen Matsuri)▶
Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen Festival is held at Hirauchi Community Center. There are many stage performances by the local residents and a fireworks display at the finale of the festival.
▶ Opening of Beach (Umi-biraki)▶
Shinto rituals are held at three official swimming areas (Isso Beach, Haruta-hama Beach, and Kurio Beach) for the safety of swimmers and visitors year round.
▶ Onoaida Onsen Festival (Onoaida Onsen Matsuri) ▶
Onoaida Onsen Festival held at Onoaida Community Center has a parade conducted by the women’s association, senior citizen’s club, and children’s association. A portable shrine carried by children is an important part of the festival. At the festival, many local performing arts programs of entertainment (Onoaida Stick Dance, “Sendan Daiko”- Japanese drums performed by the elementary and middle school students, student brass band, and singing and dancing performance on stage by the local kindergarten pupils) can be seen and enjoyed. You will also find many stalls at the festival selling a variety of things.
▶ Yakushima Goshinzan Festival (Yakushima Goshinzan Matsuri) ▶
Yakushima Goshinzan Festival is the largest summer festival in Yakushima holding on the first Saturday and Sunday of August. It is also a festival showing the islanders’ appreciation to the mountain gods. A Shinto ritual for safety and good health is held, followed by a parade and stage performances. There are many stalls selling a variety of things (cotton candy, “takoyaki”, fried noodles, and many more) and offering many festival games (goldfish scooping, cork gun shooting and more). It is one of Yakushima’s major events climaxing with a great fireworks show and at the end a lottery drawing.
▶ Dragon Boat Race ▶
Dragon Boat Race is held on Miyanoura River. Anyone may enter the race, but you must be part of a crew of ten. The winning boat will receive a prize. You may apply at Yakushima Town Board of Education.
▶ Nagamine Bargain Sale (Nagamine Muraokoshi Horidasi-ichi) ▶
After the Nagamine Shrine Festival, a bargain sale is held in Nagamine selling local farm products, handmade furniture, and recycled goods.
▶ Yakushima Town Sports Day (Yakushima Chomin Taikusai) ▶
Yakushima Town Sports Day is an annual sports event for all to participate in. Residents from 26 villages around Yakushima divide into eight teams to compete against each other.
▶ Yakushima Forest Festival (Yakushima Mori Matsuri) ▶
Yakushima Forest Festival is a music festival held at Yakushima Comprehensive Nature Park. Before the concert, there are some workshops that you may attend and look over some original products for sale. One thousand candles are lit along the passage to the venue, creating a fantastic atmosphere. The festival is organized by the Yakushima Forest Festival planning committee.
▶ Yakushima Yume Festival (Yakushima Yume Matsuri) ▶
Yakushima Yume Festival is a lantern festival held on Jochiku Street, along Anbo River, on the first Saturday of November. About fourteen thousand lanterns are lit up at the same time filling the area and creating a fantastic atmosphere. It is organized by the Yakushima Yume Festival planning committee.
▶ Tabugawa Yam Festival (Tabugawa Yamaimo Matsuri) ▶
Yaku-toro, Japanese yam, is a special product of Tabugawa. The festival is held in Tabugawa where you can purchase the Yaku-toro and many other locally grown farm products. The festival also has a flea market and an udon, a popular Japanese noodle dish, booth.
▶ Ponkan Festival (Ponkan Matsuri)▶
Ponkan Festival is held in Hirauchi where ponkan mikan, a citrus fruit, is produced. A Shinto ritual is performed for the continued growth of Yakushima’s Ponkan mikan in front of a monument dedicated to Mr. Tsuzurabara Kanenari in honor of his pioneering work in Ponkan mikan cultivation.
▶ Yakushima Town Cultural Festival (Yakushima Chomin Bunkasai) ▶
Yakushima Town Cultural Festival is an event to showcase the talents and hard work of its residents. There is an exhibition of Japanese flower arrangements, bonsai (miniature potted plants), paintings, crafts, short poems, and calligraphy. A main event of the festival is the performances of the residents on stage (Japanese traditional dance, belly dance, hula dance, Japanese traditional drums, and choirs). You can also experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The festival is hosted by the Yakushima Town Cultural Association.
▶ Yakushima Aiko Festival (Yakushima Aiko Matsuri) ▶
Yakushima Aiko Festival is held in Koseda. There are the sales of local farm products, a bingo game and unique stage performances. The “Aiko-jiru” pork soup made from local farm produce is popular among visitors.
▶ Yakujin-daiko Year Crossing Festival (Yakujin-daiko Toshikoshi-sai) ▶
Yakujin-daiko Year Crossing Festival is an annual Shinto ritual to thank the passing year and to pray for a safe year and health for all. Yakujin-daiko, Japanese drums, performance is dedicated to the mountain deities of Yakushima. It is believed by the people of Yakushima that the deities protect you from bad luck.