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Event Roundup: July 2019

July comes jam-packed with a huge variety of activities and celebrations!

· Events

1. Ichihasama Lily Garden (一迫ゆり園)

June 21–July 25

Kurihara, Miyagi

The Ichihasama Lily Garden's wooded surroundings make its imaginative landscaping appear almost fairytale-like. This is the time of year when the garden is at its best, with lilies in full bloom.

Time: 8:30–17:00

Admission: Adults 670 yen, children 310 yen

Details: See here.

Location: Minami-Kurikoma Kogen Ichihasama Lily Garden (南くりこま高原一迫ゆり園). Map here.

Access: 70 minutes by bus from Sendai Station, followed by a 15-minute walk. From Bus Stop 32, board bus highway bus bound for Ichihasama Sogo Shisho-mae (一迫総合支所前). Alight at Ishihasama Sogo Shisho-mae. See timetable here.

2. Hydrangeas at Shifukuji Temple (資福寺のあじさい)

June 25–July 10

Central Sendai

This quaint temple in Sendai's Kitayama neighborhood is typically a quiet, seldom visited spot. Come the end of June, in-the-know locals flock here to enjoy the large hydrangea bushes in bloom. Particularly at this time of year, the temple grounds at are said to look like "heaven's doorstep."

Time: Always open

Admission: Free

Location: Shifukuji Temple (資福寺). Map here.

Access: By subway: 15-min. walk from Kita-Sendai Station.

By city bus: 5-min. walk from Kitayama Ichichome (北山一丁目) bus stop. Timetable here.

Details (English): https://visitmiyagi.com/contents/hydrangeas-of-shifukuji-temple/

3. Michinoku Hydrangea Festival (みちのくあじさいまつり)

June 29–July 28

Ichinoseki, Iwate

The Michinoku Hydrangea Garden is said to be Japan's best, with the garden forming the underbrush of a cedar forest. A two-kilometer long walking trail winds through the forest, along which visitors can see around 30,000 hydrangea in about 300 different varieties.

Event details: https://www.ichitabi.jp/event/data.php?no=82&m=6

Time: 9:00–17:00

Admission: Adults 1,000 yen, children 200 yen

Location: Michinoku Hydrangea Garden (みちのくあじさい園). Map here.

Access: About 30 minutes by bus from Ichinoseki Station (一関駅), followed by a 15-minute walk.

From the Nishiguchi Bus Pool Stop 7, board a Geibikei Line (猊鼻渓線) bus. Alight at Mizukami (水上). See timetable here.

4. Osaki Hachimangu Chinowa & Takekazari (大崎八幡宮の茅の輪と竹飾)

End of June–August 8

Central Sendai

July, sandwiched between oharae-shiki at the end of June and Tanabata at the beginning of August, sees a melding of seasonal Japanese traditions. At Osaki Hachimangu Shrine, visitors have the opportunity to view the stately chinowa purification ring from oharae-shiki together with the colorful, fluttering takekazari decorations hung in anticipation of Tanabata. In addition to viewing the decorations, visitors are also welcome to take part in either or both of the rituals associated with them: a self-guided figure-eight walk through the chinowa for purification, then on to the takekazari bamboo, where hanging a streamer with a wish inscribed on it is said to help the wish come true.

Hours: Always open

Admission: Free

Details: See shrine's official website here.

Location: Osaki Hachimangu Shrine (大崎八幡宮). Map here.

Access by rail: A 15-min. walk from Kunimi or Tohoku Fukushi Daigaku-mae Stations
Access by bus: From Sendai Station bus stops #10 or #15, board a bus bound for Jogi (定義), Sakunami Onsen (作並温泉), Shirozawa Shako (白沢車庫), Imozawa (芋沢), Osawa・Aonoki (大沢・青野木), Moniwa (茂庭), Saikaen (西花苑), Minamiyoshinari Danchi (南吉成団地), or Kunimigaoka (国見ヶ丘). Alight at Osaki Hachimangu-mae (大崎八幡宮前) bus stop. Search for timetables here.

5. Holy Salt-Making Ritual・Okama Shrine Reisai (藻塩焼神事・御釜神社例祭)

July 4–6

Shiogama, Miyagi

Designated an Intangible Cultural Property by Miyagi Prefecture, this unusual ritual has been practiced for more than 1,000 years. It takes place at the Okama-Jinja Shrine to honor Shiotsuchi Oji no Kami the god said to have taught humans how to make salt. July 4 is the seaweed-harvesting ritual, and July 5 is the water collecting ritual. The main event takes place on July 6, when the water is boiled down to make holy salt.

Event details: See here.

Admission: Free

Location: Okama-Jinja Shrine (御釜神社). Map here.

Access: 15-minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station

6. Iizaka Onsen Horoyoi Walk (飯坂温泉ほろ酔いウオーク)

July 5–6

Fukushima City, Fukushima

Iizaka Onsen's festival-like answer to a pub crawl. The 4,000 yen fee buys participants a set of tickets to be exchanged for food and drinks at 5 shops along the Horoyoi Walk route. Those who complete the circuit and reach the finish line will be entered in a lottery for prizes. Energetic music and dance performances will take place along the route, cheering on tipsy revelers as they stumble towards the finish line.

Time: 18:00–22:30

Tickets: 4,000 yen at the door

Details: https://iizaka.com/horoyoi2019/

Location: Iizaka Onsen (飯坂温泉) area. Map here.

Access: Around Iizaka Onsen Station area

7. Sendai Yokocho Fes (仙臺横丁フェス)

July 5–7

Central Sendai

A festival dedicated to showcasing the delicious food and drink that can be found tucked away in Sendai's old-fashioned backstreets. Food stalls operated by restaurants located in the Iroha Yokocho, Sendai Asakusa, and other such areas will serve up a variety of quality food and drink representative of these charming backstreets. In addition, wineries and breweries from Hokkaido and Iwate will also have stalls set up, serving their signature tipples.

Hours: July 5 16:00–21:00, July 6 11:00–21:00, July 7 11:00–19:00

Admission: Free

Details: See event Facebook Page.

Location: Kotodai Koen Shimin Hiroba (勾当台公園市民広場). Map here.

Access: Next to Kotodaikoen Station

8. Jogi Firefly Festival (定義ホタル祭り)

July 6 (festival), July 1–15 (firefly viewing)

Jogi area, Sendai

Fireflies are one of summer's most charming natural phenomenon. The Jogi area, a small community tucked away deep in the mountains of Sendai, is centered on the revered Jogi Nyorai temple. In that hallowed and mysterious atmosphere, the glow of fireflies at night takes on a touch of the divine.

The night of the Firefly Festival will also feature live performances such as hula dancing and ocarina playing. Food stalls will be set up, selling classic Japanese festival fare—yakitori, yakisoba, and the like.

Hours: Festival 17:00–20:30, firefly viewing any time after dark

Admission: Free

Event details: See here.

Location: Jogi Koryu Center (定義交流センター). Map here.

9. Kurashi no Ichi Market (暮らしの市)

July 6–7
Shiogama, Miyagi

A short train ride from Sendai Station brings you to Shiogama, home to the large indoor Kurashi no Ichi craft and food market. The market boasts handmade goods sold by the artisans themselves, including pottery, ceramics, jewelry, desserts, breads, and more!

Hours: 10:00–15:00
Admission: Free
Where: Shiogama Sugimura Jun Museum of Art (塩竈市杉村惇美術館). Map here.
Details: See here.
Access: 10-minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station

10. Tomiya Blueberry Sweets Fair (とみやブルーベリースイーツフェア)

July 6–21

Tomiya, Miyagi

Tomiya blueberries have recently begun garnering international praise, so much that Tomiya blueberry juice was even served at the 2016 G7 Summit in Ise! During blueberry season, 12 local sweets shops break out their best seasonal dessert recipes. No reservations needed—simply drop by any of the participating sweets shops and pick out whatever you like.

Details: https://www.tomiya-city.miyagi.jp/soshiki/sangyoukankou/blueberry20191.html

Time: Varies by shop

Location: Throughout Tomiya City, see Details link for shop list

Access: By bus from Izumi-Chuo Station

11. Blueberry picking (ブルーベリー狩り) at Zao Blueberry Farm 

July 6 to mid-August

Zao-machi, Miyagi

July is peak blueberry season in Miyagi, and the best way to enjoy them at their freshest and ripest is to pluck them straight off the bush yourself! There are a number of blueberry farms throughout Miyagi which offer blueberry picking, but most require advance reservations. The Zao Blueberry Farm doesn't require reservations, making it a great spot for a spontaneous day trip. In addition, the farm grows over 60 varieties of blueberries to choose from. Blueberry-picking experiences here are all-you-can-eat style: spend 45 minutes in the field picking and eating as many blueberries as you like. The picking experiences themselves don't allow participants to take home any berries, but freshly picked to-go berries are for sale at the farm's rest house.

Hours: 9:00–16:00

Admission: Free (45-minute all-you-can-eat blueberry picking session is 1,000 yen adults, 700 yen children.)

Details: See farm's Facebook Page for the latest info.

Location: Zao Blueberry Farm (蔵王ブルーベリーファーム). Map here.

  

12. Wa Cocktail Making Workshop (和カクテル体験)

July 7

Central Sendai

The July installment of i-Sendai's English-friendly cocktail workshop, which teaches participants how mix their own Japanese-style cocktails incorporating seasonal and traditional Japanese ingredients. The July cocktail is a Japanese twist on the tart and refreshing salty dog, incorporating rice shochu. Participants will learn proper mixing technique from master bartender Matsuo-san of Signature D, then try their hand at mixing their own.

Time: 15:00–17:00

Reservations: Required at least 2 days in advance (by 17:00 on July 5). Can book online in English via Details link below.

Tickets: 3,710 yen

Location: Signature D. Map here.

Access: 8-min. walk from Omachi Nishi-Koen Station (Sendai Subway Tozai Line)

Details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wa-cocktail-making-workshop-rice-shochu-salty-dog-7-tickets-63850066267

13. Yamagata Benibana Festival (山形紅花まつり)

July 13–14

Yamagata City, Yamagata

Benibana, known to English speakers as safflower, was once an important and expensive commodity in Japan. Kyoto geisha once painted their lips with it, and nobles would wear kimono dyed with benibana. Yamagata flourished as one of the main cultivation areas for the flower. Though the economical importance of the benibana trade has faded, the flower and its uses are still celebrated annually at several local festivals around Yamagata. The Yamagata Benibana Festival is one of the most easily accessible from Sendai. Highlights include benibana picking and fabric-dyeing workshops, and opportunities to dress up in traditional benibana-picking garb and pose for photos.

Hours: July 13 10:00–17:00, July 14 10:00–15:00

Admission: Free

Event website here.

Location: Takase Benibana Fureai Center (高瀬紅花ふれあいセンター)

Access: By free shuttle bus from Takase Station (高瀬駅). See timetable here.

14. Kesennuma Katsuo Matsuri (気仙沼かつお祭り)

July 13–15

Kesennuma, Miyagi

Kesennuma Port boasts the largest katsuo catch in all of Japan. It celebrates this distinction each year with the Katsuo Matsuri. Most would say the highlights of the event are the generous giveaways of katsuo-driven foods—sushi, sashimi, harasuyaki, and the like. Free food aside, the other attractions here will also satisfy your inner gourmand: fresh catch sales, special menus at local restaurants, and more!

Hours: from 8:00 until whenever product runs out

Admisssion: Free

Details: See here.

Locations: Umi no Ichi (海の市), Osakana Ichiba (お魚いちば), and Sakana no Eki (さかなの駅). Maps here, here, and here.

Access from Minami-Kesennuma Station: 18-minute walk to Umi no Ichi, 24-minute walk to Osakana no Ichiba, 10 minute walk to Sakana no Eki.

15. Kabutomushi no Mori (カブトムシの森)

July 13–15

Jogi area, Sendai

Giant kabutomushi beetles are either a highlight or horror of summer, depending on how squeamish you are about bugs. Come get up close and personal with some at the Kabutomushi no Mori, which offers visitors the chance to play with the bugs: pick them up, put them on your arm, whatever you like! The surrounding nature is also a great place to observe the beetles in the wild, and visitors are invited to do so at their leisure with a stroll through the nearby woods.

Admission: Free

Details: See here.

Location: Jogi Nyorai Parking Lot (定義如来駐車場). Map here.

Access: 80 min by bus from Sendai Station. Timetable here.

16. Shiogama Port Festival (塩竈みなと祭)

July 14–15

Shiogama, Miyagi

One of Japan's 3 Great Boat Festivals. On July 14, the night sky will be lit up with a large fireworks display. The main event takes place on Marine Day (July 15), beginning early in the morning when worshippers parade a mikoshi (portable shrine) through the streets of town. Towards afternoon, the festivities take to the sea with a boat parade featuring opulent ceremonial dragon and phoenix boats.

Details (English): https://visitmiyagi.com/events_festivals/shiogama-minato-festival/

Time: July 14 20:00–21:00, July 15 10:30–18:15

Admission: Free (paid reserved seating for fireworks show available)

Location: Throughout central Shiogama, main location Marine Gate Shiogama (マリンゲート塩釜)

Access: Main location 10 minute walk from Hon-Shiogama Station. Map here.

17. Flamenco Live in Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Seishi (フラメンコライブ in 中本誠司現代美術館)

July 15

Aoba Ward, Sendai

Flamenco dancing and live musical accompaniment at the quirky, castle-like Seishi Nakamoto Private Museum.

Event details: See museum's Facebook Page.

Time: Doors open 16:30, event starts 17:00

Admission*: 3,000 yen (includes 1 drink)

*Reservations required, please call 022-272-7100 (Japanese language only).

Location: Seishi Nakamoto Private Museum (中本誠司現代美術感). Map here.

Access: 30 min. by bus from Sendai Station.

From Sendai Station West Bus Pool Stop 2, board bus bound for Miyagi Daigaku・Sendai Kenfukushi Senmon Gakko (宮城大学・仙台健福祉専門学校) or Teraoka Rokuchome・Outlet (寺岡六丁目・アウトレット) via Kencho Shiyakusho・Kamisugi Dori・Miyagi Gakuin・Outlet (県庁市役所・上杉通・宮城学院・アウトレット). Alight at Higashi Katsuyama Chuo (東勝山中央). Museum is a 5-min. walk from bus stop. Bus details here.

18. Harvest: a Satoshi Okabe solo exhibition (オカベサトシ展 -ハーヴェスト-)

July 16–28

Iwanuma, Miyagi

A coffee-themed solo exhibition from local illustrator and wire craft artist Saitoshi Okabe. Seeing as the venue is Iwanuma's indie roaster cafe-cum-gallery Epic View, you'll be able simultaneously to fuel and satisfy any coffee cravings.

Event details: http://okabekobo.me/event2019/harvest

Time: Tues–Sat 10:00–16:30, 17:30–20:30, Sun 10:00–15:00, Closed Mondays

Admission: Free

Location: Art・Coffee Salon Epic View (Art・珈琲Salon Epic View). Map here.

Access: 8-min. walk from Iwanuma Station.

19. BeerFes Fukushima (ビールフェスふくしま)

July 19–21

Fukushima City, Fukushima

An outdoor beer festival conveniently located just across the street from Fukushima Station, featuring Japanese and import craft beer. There will be live musical entertainment, and July 21 is Yukata Night--rental yukata will be available, and a "yukata style" competition will be held.

Hours: TBA

Admission: Free

Event website: http://www.beerfes-f.com/

Location: Nakago Twin Hiroba (中合ツイン広場). Map here (pin is for the Nakago department store. Festival takes place in the plaza next to that building).

Access: 2-min. walk from Fukushima Station

20. Sendai Countryside Cycling Tour (田園風景を楽しむバイリンガルサイクリング体験会)

July 20 (& the third Saturday of of every month June–October)

Izumi Ward, Sendai

Take a break from the city and enjoy the refreshing breeze as you cycle through Sendai's countryside. This 25-kilometer ride will lead participants through a landscape of rice paddies and bamboo groves in the rural outskirts of Izumi Ward.

The event is safe and fun for a wide range of skill levels. Cycle and gear rental are included, and riders will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide to ensure a worry-free adventure.

Time: All day

Reservations: Required. Can book online in English (see Details link).

Tickets: 5,000 yen (includes sport cycle & helmet rental)

Details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sendai-countryside-cycling-tour-tickets-52806857733

Meeting location: Sendai Royal Park Hotel (仙台ロイヤルパークホテル). Map here.

Access: 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station. From the Sendai Station Nishiguchi Bus Terminal Stop 2, board bus bound for Izumi Park Town (泉パークタウン) or Miyagi Daigaku (宮城大学). Alight at Teraoka Rokuchome・Izumi Outlet (寺岡六丁目・泉アウトレット) bus stop. Hotel is a short walk from bus stop. English bus info here (link is for Izumi outlet mall, but access info is the same for both as the hotel is next door).

21. Yamamoto Sunflower Festival (やまもとひまわり祭り)

July 20–28

Yamamoto-cho, Miyagi

Fields of sunflowers are a quintessential summer landscape. Enjoy 8.3 hectares of them at your leisure during the Yamamoto Sunflower Festival. Guests can freely not only stroll the field, but also pick the flowers freely! The sunflower field itself doesn't have much going on in the way of food stalls, so visitors looking to eat or shop are recommended to stop by nearby Yamamoto Ichigo no Sato (やまもと夢いちごの郷).

Admission: Free

Details: https://www.town.yamamoto.miyagi.jp/site/kankou/9341.html

Location: Map here. Pin is for Kasano Hinanoka Park (笠野避難丘公園), just north of the sunflower fields.

Access: 30-minute walk from Yamashita Station

22. Sendai Comiket #253 Tanabata Festival (仙台コミケ253七夕まつり)

July 21

Miyagino Ward, Sendai

Sendai Comiket is a series of gatherings celebrating all genres of anime, manga, and video games through cosplay, fan fiction, and more. Their July gathering is Tanabata-themed—enjoy a pop-culture twist on tradition at this event!

Time: 11:00–15:00

Admission: TBD (purchase day of at event site)

Event page: See here.

Location: Yume Messe Miyagi (夢メッセみやぎ)

Access: 15-min. walk from Nakano-Sakae Station (Senseki Line)

23. Fujin x Raijin Dance & Drum Performance at Zuiganji Temple (風人雷人in 松島瑞巌寺)

July 21
Matsushima, Miyagi

Join contemporary dancer Atsushi and taiko drummer Nakamura Tatsuya for a lively and otherworldly Fujin Raijin (wind god, thunder god) performance at Matsushima's Zuiganji Temple, a National Treasure. Atsushi is known for his time with the nationally-famous rock band Dragon Ash.

Time: Doors open 18:00, start is 18:30
Tickets: 3000 yen. Purchase at Pia (チケットぴあ), Lawson Tickets (ローソンチケット), E+, or Ticket GIP (チケットGIP)

Details: See Atsushi Takahashi's official website.

Location: Zuiganji Temple (瑞巌寺). Map here.
Access: 10-min. walk from Matsushimakaigan Station

24. Fukushima Fireworks Festival (ふくしま花火大会)

July 27

Fukushima City, Fukushima

Features over 10,000 fireworks! A huge fireworks festival with relatively small crowds.

Details: https://www.f-kankou.jp/matsuri-fukushima-hanabitaikai/

Time: 19:30–20:30

Admission: Free

Location: Shinobugaoka Ryokuchi Park, where the Abukuma and Matsukawa Rivers meet (信夫ヶ丘緑地・阿武隈川と松川の合流点). Map here.

Access: Fireworks launch point is a 35-minute walk from Oroshimachi Station (Abukuma Express Line), though of course you don't need to go all the way there to see the fireworks.

25. Summer Festival Sparrow Dance (夏まつり仙台すずめ踊り)

July 27–28

Central Sendai

Festival dedicated to suzume odori (sparrow dance), the traditional dance of Sendai. Features nonstop suzume odori parades and stage performances all weekend long, plus musical performances by local musicians, and a visit from Anpanman himself!

Event website here.

Time: 10:00–20:00

Admission: Free

Location: Miyagino Dori (宮城野通). Map here.

Access: Across the street from the East entrance of Sendai Station

26. Kurikoma Float Festival (くりこま山車まつり)

July 27–28

Kurikoma, Miyagi

A traditional festival that has been passed down since the Edo period. Large decorative floats are paraded through the streets to wish for a good harvest. The parade continues into the night, with traditional dancing and music accompanying the floats.

Time: 14:30–21:00 (July 27), 9:00–17:15 (July 28)

Admission: Free

Details: See festival's Facebook Page or https://www.miyagi-kankou.or.jp/kakikomi/detail.php?id=4172

Location: Around the Iwagasaki (岩ケ崎) area, centered on Babadori (馬場通) and the Muikamachi shopping street (六日町商店街). Map here.

Access: About 40 minutes by bus from Ishikoshi Station. Board bus bound for Hosokura Aramachi (細倉荒町), alight at Muikamachi (六日町). IMPORTANT: The last return bus on weekends departs at 17:05. See timetable here.

27. Soma Nomaoi (相馬野馬追)

July 27–29

Minamisoma, Fukushima

An event with 1,000 years of history! This horse-centric festival celebrates the traditional equestrian culture of the area, particularly its horseback-riding samurai. Highlights include a parade of armor-clad samurai, horse races, a capture-the-flag-like field battle, and a literal wild horse chase!

Event website here.

Time: 8:30–5:30 (July 27), 4:00–19:30 (July 28), 9:00–11:30 (July 29). See schedule for details.

Admission: Free

Location: Various locations in Minamisoma, main is Hibarigahara Saijochi (雲雀 ヶ原祭場地). Map here.

Access: By complimentary shuttle bus from Haranomachi Station

28. Ishinomaki Kawabiraki (石巻川開祭り)

July 31–August 1

Ishinomaki, Miyagi

"Kawabiraki" means "to open a river." Historically, the Ishinomaki Kawabiraki Festival began as a festival expressing gratitude to the military commander led the excavation of the Kitakami River. In the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the festival transformed into a celebration of the city's history and its ongoing recovery efforts. With festivities including memorial services, parades, and fireworks, the Kawabiraki Festival is a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the culture of this coastal town while learning about the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Event website here.

Time: 8:00–20:30 (July 31), 9:00–13:15 (August 1)

Admission: Free

Location: Throughout downtown Ishinomaki. Map here.

Access: A short walk from Ishinomaki Station.

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