Autumn Minori Fair

Celebrating autumn’s harvest with local vegetable markets, exhibitions, live music and stage performances. Held at the newly constructed Hikario Square and flowing out to Hanabi-dori Shopping Town. Free shuttle buses run from Daisen City Office.

Access: 3 minutes on foot from Omagari Station

  • TIME / HOURS
  • 10:00–15:00
  • LOCATION
  • Hikario Square & Hanabi-dori Shopping Town
  • DATE
  • Late October

National Jumbo Rabbit Festival

Primarily a competitive event consisting of giant rabbits, averaging between 6–7 kilograms. It is held annually to preserve and popularise the culture of breeding giant white rabbits that have developed over the years in Akita Prefecture. The rabbits are examined and ranked by judges on Saturday, and Sunday is open to the public.

Access: 5 minutes on foot from Ugo-Nagano Station or 3 minutes by car from Michi no Eki Nakasen & 30 minutes from Akita Expressway Omagari IC

  • LOCATION
  • Donpan Plaza, Daisen City Nakasen Office

Yasaka Shrine Bonden

This lively and aggressive bonden ritual dates back to 1510. People gather, yelling ‘jo-yasa’ and offer decorated bonden poles to Yasusaka Shrine for good health and bountiful harvests.
The scene of reflected bonden in the nearby spring is a sight to behold, and it’s said that groups would once walk considerable distances to pay tribute to the spring water.

Access: 15 minutes by car from Michi no Eki Nakasen and Ugo-Nagano Station & 35 minutes from Akita Expressway Omagari IC

  • TIME / HOURS
  • 09:00–11:30
  • LOCATION
  • Yasaka Shrine
  • DATE
  • Nearest Sunday to January 16

River Crossing Bonden

Among the numerous bonden rituals in the south of Akita, Hanadate is the only area that incorporates a river crossing. Teams carry elaborately decorated bonden poles to perform ceremonies at neighbouring houses, before crossing Omono River in flatboats and finally offering them to the shrine at the top of Mt Izu. The contrast of the colourful bonden and the enveloping white snowscape is quite surreal.

Access: 5 minutes by car from Omagari Station to the pier. It is recommended to take a taxi from the station.

  • TIME / HOURS
  • 09:30–11:30
  • LOCATION
  • Hanadate
  • DATE
  • February 11

Kariwano Giant Tug of War

For over 500 years dating back to the Muromachi period, Kariwano splits into north (Futsukacho) and south (Itsukacho) for this giant tug of war. The rope is comprised of a male (64m) and female rope (50m), weighing over 10 tonnes each. It’s said that a win for the north brings the rice price up, where a win for the south brings an abundant harvest. Every year on February 10, around 7,000 people buckle down in the freezing cold to participate in this traditional tug of war.

Access: 5 minutes on foot from Kariwano Station or 10 minutes by car from Akita Expressway Nishi-Semboku Smart IC

  • TIME / HOURS
  • 19:00–22:00
  • LOCATION
  • Kariwano Odori
  • DATE
  • February 10

Saika Semboku Festival

Local summer festival with children’s attractions, taiko drum, dance and musical performances. The highlight is the Heian period parade, a window into Japanese society 1,200 years ago led by torchlight and conducted in traditional wear. Later in the evening, a ~1,000 shell fireworks display lights up the night sky over the historical wooden fortification, Hotta no Saku.

Access: 10 minutes by car from Omagari Station & 15 minutes from Akita Expressway Omagari IC

  • TIME / HOURS
  • 14:00—21:00
  • LOCATION
  • Hotta no Saku
  • DATE
  • August 15

Omagari Summer Festival

Daisen’s largest summer festival. Held on Hanabi-dori down from Omagari Station, there are a number of stage and street performances, including a children’s contest for carrying wooden shrines decorated with sake barrels, a buttocks sumo tournament and a yosakoi dance performance. Following the dances in the evening, there is a cross-shaped street fireworks display in the intersection, followed by an aerial finale.

Access: Straight down from Omagari Station

  • TIME / HOURS
  • 11:00–21:00
  • LOCATION
  • Hanabi-dori Shopping Town
  • DATE
  • Late August

Kashima Nagashi

During this traditional event, papercraft warrior dolls called ‘Kashima-sama’ are floated down the river on boats for good health, a bountiful harvest and family well-being. Local primary school students from Omagari and Hanadate gather at the Maruko and Tama riverbanks respectively and send off the Kashima-sama each of their schools made together.

Maruko Riverbank: 10 minutes on foot from Omagari Station
Tama Riverbank: 30 minutes on foot from Omagari Station

  • TIME / HOURS
  • 15:00–17:00
  • LOCATION
  • Maruko and Tama Riverbanks, Omagari
  • DATE
  • Late June

Nakasen Sakura Festival

Covered in over 2,000 sakura trees, Mt. Yaotome was selected as one of the top thirty places in Akita for cherry blossoms. The row of trees surrounding Michi no Eki Nakasen is a magnificent sight, with a background of the tranquil Sainai River and its green banks. Walkways run throughout the park making it possible to walk underneath the blossoms, and the nearby Michi no Eki Nakasen also holds festive Donpan dance performances.

Access: 5 minutes by car from Ugo-Nagano Station & 35 minutes from Akita Expressway Omagari IC

  • TIME / HOURS
  • Light Up: Sunset – 21:00
  • LOCATION
  • Mt. Nagano, Nagano
  • DATE
  • Mid-April – May 5

Torikomai & Omagari Tug of War

These traditional celebrations take place as part of the Suwa Shrine Festival, for prosperity in business and a bountiful harvest. The priest dons a chicken headpiece and performs a ritualistic dance, followed by the throwing of a sacred stick into the crowd. The stick is cast towards that year’s lucky cardinal point and people fiercely scramble for it, hoping to bring fortune to their shops. In the evening some hundred people of all ages gather at the Omachi intersection for a tug of war. It is said that if the north side wins, the price of rice will rise, controversy with beans for the south. Torikomai is an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset of the city, and Omagari Tug of War is designated by the prefecture.

  • TIME / HOURS
  • Torikomai: 14:00–16:00
    Tug of War: 18:00–21:00
  • LOCATION
  • Suwa Shrine
  • DATE
  • February 15