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JAPAN

Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,873 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.

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JNTO TRAVEL PLANNER

Use the "JNTO TRAVEL PLANNER" for train and map information helpful in traveling around Japan.

  • By simply entering the departing and arrival station, get an overview of train transfer method, fares, and travel time.
  • By simply selecting the arrival airport and major train stations around Japan, find routes to stations nearest your destination.
  • Display a map of the arrival train station and areas surrounding sightseeing spots.

Read the "Usage Guide" and use this service for a safe and enjoyable trip in Japan.

Usage Guide

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  3. Festivals & Events
  4. Traditional Annual Events

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Attractions

Dai Himonjiyaki at Aso Fire Festival

The mountain is set ablaze to form the largest Chinese character in Japan. A fire festival held on volcanic Mt. Aso.

Dates: Early-Late-March
Place: Ojo-dake & Aso Shrine
City: Minami-Aso Village & Nishihara Village at Aso City, Kumamoto Prefecture

A fire festival which is held over a period of one month in all towns in the environs of Mt. Aso in Kyushu. No-yaki refers to setting fire to the plains in order to maintain the pasture grass in good condition and is carried out in a number of places. The main event is the Dai Himonjiyaki which is held in Ojo-dake on the second Saturday of March. On the mountain slope, a gigantic Chinese character signifying 'fire' measuring 350 m appears. The no-yaki fire spreads nearby and the excitement of this spectacle continues until late into the night.

Another event you should not miss seeing is the Hifuri Shinji at Ichinomiya Aso Shrine in mid-March. This is a ceremony to pray for a rich harvest and to celebrate the marriage of the gods, and when the object of worship of the female deity arrives, people light their pine torches and start to brandish them. The many rings of fire are spectacular. Ordinary people can participate in this event, too. The festival day differs every year according to the Oriental Zodiac, so you should check the correct day before you come.

The Yama-no-kami Matsuri (Mountain God Festival) is also held at the end of March in neighboring Nishihara Village, where you can see the rare spectacle of a no-yaki (burn-off of withered field grass) at night.

Another of the delights is the food, such as Aso beef barbecue, prepared with original recipes from each town. You will find Japan's only Tofu Museum at Hana-Asobi (Aso Agri Square) near Aso Station. By the time this festival ends the cherry blossom season is about to arrive.


Directions

Take the bus to JR Aso Station from Kumamoto Airport.Or, take the JR Kagoshima Honsen Line from Hakata Station to Kumamoto Station and change to the JR Hohi Honsen Line to Aso Station or Miyaji Station.

 

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Festivals & Events

Traditional Annual Events

Traditional Annual Events