Annual events around Waon

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The following sections provide information about local events that are held around Waon and places within driving distance.

Tatsuno areaMatsumoto areaSuwa areaAzumino areaKiso areaShiojiri areaChino / Haramura areaIna / Iida area

ー Tatsuno area ー

Sawasoko Fukujuso Festival

A pretty golden flower marks the arrival of spring in the mountain village of Shinshu.

When: Mid-February to mid-March

Kojinyama Park Cherry Blossom Festival

Tatsuno-Umi (Kojinyama Reservoir) situated in Kojinyama in Tatsuno town is designated as one of “Japan’s 100 Remarkable Reservoirs”. During this festival, about 150 carp streamers float in the air above Tatsuno-umi and about 800 cherry trees come into full bloom around the area.

When: Mid-April

Godo Daffodil Festival

Enjoy a yellow carpet of 100,000 wild daffodils as you stroll through the vast fields and hills with majestic views of the distant mountains.

When: Mid-April

Nakasen-do Road Ono Post Town One Day Market

This post town from the Edo period offers local newly brewed sake and sake lees. There are many handicraft and delicious food and sweet shops.

When: May

Shinshu Tatsuno Firefly Festival

During the firefly festival at Matsuokyo Valley/ Hotaru Doyo Park the most famous firefly spot in Japan, you can enjoy the magical scenery of tens of thousands of fireflies flying.

When: Mid-June to late June

Otento Sanpo Handicraft Market

“Discover things, people and next century’s legacy”. This is a one-day Craft & Market event where 80 stalls gather from all over the country.

When: Late September

Yokokawakyo Autumn Leaves Festival

The festival is held at the House of Kayabuki-no-Yakata. Enjoy the colourful foliage the various trees of the Yokokawa valley and local village food stalls.

When: Late October

Ono Onbashira Festival

Every six years, six (tradionally reckoned as seven) years in the year of the Hare and the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac, the grand pillars (onbashira) festival is held. Onbashira is the name of the four massive logs that stand on each corner of local shrines and replaced during this festival. 

When: Every six years in the year of the Hare and the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac


ー Matsumoto area ー

Ice Carving Festival

This festival represents Matsumoto’s winter. The “National Ice Sculpture Competition” is held in Matsumoto Castle, a national treasure, and sculptors will be working throughout the night. The highlight of the festival is the light up of the beautiful ice sculptures around the castle.

When: Saturdays and Sundays from late January to early February

National Treasure Matsumoto Castle Night Cherry Blossom Viewing

During the cherry blossom season Matsumoto Castle’s Castle Tower and cherry trees of the main Enclosure Garden are illuminated. Performances of the Japanese Koto, the flute and classical gagaku music will also be held each night. In addition, the cherry blossom trees in the outer moat are also illuminated to create a fantastic sight to be enjoyed by visitors.

When: 8 days after 3rd day following blooming announcement in early April

Matsumoto Craft Fair

More than 250 vendors from all over the country gather at this craft event with various crafted products such as pottery, leather, woodwork, glasswork, metal products and dyed weaving.

When: Last Saturday and Sunday in May

National Treasure Matsumoto Castle Takigi Noh

A fire ceremony is held in the Honmaru Garden, and a sense of unity between the stage and the audience is created by outdoor Noh play. A Midsummer Night to experience traditional Japanese performing arts.

When: August 8

Apple Music Festival

Open air music festival held in the Alpine Park of Matsumoto city. Performances on various stages will take place for 2 full days.

When: Saturdays and Sundays of September

Soba Festival

A great festival for foodies where you can try soba from all around Japan along with local foods and crafts.

When: October long weekend

Craft Picnic

Held at Agatanomori Park in Matsumoto City, this outdoor event is centred around craftsmanship demonstrations and workshops. 

When: Mid-October


ー Suwa area ー

Onbashira Festival

Every 7 years, the festival is held at the upper and lower shrines of Suwa Taisha Shrine. Huge logs are pulled down the mountain to the village and carried to the shrine to be erected on each of the four corners of the shrines.

When: Every 7 years

Kirigamine Nikko Day Lily

Highland yellow flower of the lily family. They cover entire fields with its bright yellow beauty.

When: Late June to late July

Lake Suwa Illumination

About 117500 bulbs are used to illuminate the lake shore. Tree-lined illumination combined with the night skyline creates a fantastic atmosphere.

When: Late November to end of February

Omiwatari “God’s Crossing”

Lake Suwa freezes entirely over winter and sometimes a unique phenomenon occurs where a jagged ridge dozens of centimetres high forms in the ice. It’s called Omiwatari or “God’s Crossing”. Unfortunately, this natural phenomenon does not occur every year due to climate change.

When: January to February

Wakasagi Smelt Fishing

This activity can be enjoyed by adults, children, first-timers and experienced fishers alike. In Lake Suwa, you can enjoy smelt fishing inside a plastic enclosure that protects you from the cold.

When: Mid-September to March

Lake Suwa Fireworks Festival

One of the best fireworks festivals in Japan, both in terms of number of launches and scale. It features over 40,000 fireworks launched from a platform installed on the lake, with a Grand Finale of over 2km of cascading fireworks which are set off all at once in a breath-taking display. The sound of the display is so powerful that it reverberates in the mountains.

When: August

ー Azumino area ー

Tulip and Rapeseed Flower Festival

128 tulip varieties that mount to 380,000 in total and 5 million rapeseed flowers (2019) are in full bloom. During the period, cherry blossoms, muscari, narcissus and lilies bloom one after another. You can enjoy a walk in the national Alps Azumi park while taking in the view of the fields covered in flowers.

When: Mid-April to late June

Flight of the Swans

The Saikawa Swan Lake and the Gohoden Reservoir are the largest swan wintering areas in Shinshu. Many other migratory birds come in.

When: From the end of January to the beginning of February

Lavender Festival (Ikeda town)

Dream Farm has a huge lavender field, in which about 80 varieties are cultivated. During the festival lavender picking is allowed.

When: Mid-June to mid-July

Nagano Horse Show

Held at the horse-riding club “Horseland Azumino” next to the “Swiss Village” in Azumino. You can enjoy full-fledged competitions from horses and riders gathering from various areas.

When: Late October

Azumino Style

With a map is in hand, you’ll be able to explore 100 booths of art & craft, workshops, galleries and food that are held throughout the town. There is so much to do and explore around the city that it’s hard to fit it all in one day.

When: Early November long weekend

Azumino Kamiakari

A bamboo lantern event held at Hotaka Shrine where about 1 million bamboo lanterns are lit up to create an atmosphere of mystery and illusion.

When: First Friday to Sunday in December

ー Kiso area ー

Kiso Lacquerware Festival / Narai Post Town Festival

Kiso Lacquer Festival is a large lacquer ware market held once a year in Kiso Hirasawa. The main event of the Narai Shukuba Festival in neighbouring Naraijuku town, the “Ochatsubo-dochu” (tea pot parade) is held on the last day. There are various events during the festival.

When: First Friday to Sunday in June

Kiso music festival

A classic festival held over several days. “Harmony between nature and music” is the main theme of this historic concert.

When: Late August

Shirakawa Ice Pillars

During the coldest months, the clear water that runs down the rock face of Mt. Ontake freezes into massive icicles known as the Shirakawa Ice Pillars making a beautiful curtain of icicles.

When: Mid-January to mid-February

Naraijuku Ice Candle Festival

During this festival, Naraijuku is decorated with over 1,500 ice candles by residents. Casting a magical light on this historic city.

When: Early February

Shinshu Kiso Fukushima Promenade of the Snow Light

About 5,000 ice candles are displayed around the Fukushima area of ​​Kiso Town, and a warm light envelops the city.

When: Early February


ー Shiojiri area ー

Winery Festa

With an original lacquerware glass in your hand, you can enjoy a tour of the wineries scattered in the vineyards of Kikyogahara, Shiojiri City. A collaborative event with nine wineries and a high school with a winemaking specializing training courses.

When: Saturday and Sunday in May

Shinshu Shiojiri Grape Festival

21 farms of Shiojiri City Tourist Fruit Direct Sales Association participate in this event. Enjoy a variety of grapes. Which you can pick and try on the spot.

When: Late August to mid-October


ー Chino / Haramura area ー

Yatsugatake Natural & Culture Park Craft Market

Craft Market has over 100 stores from around the country. They open twice a year in summer and autumn for three days. Discover some hidden gems during this fun season.

When: Friday to Sunday in early July and late October

Summer Holiday in Hara Village Star Festival

An event that lasts day and night in a starlit village at an altitude of 1300m. There are various events related to the stars for 3 days which you can enjoy with your family.

When: Friday to Sunday in early August

Starry Sky Film Festival

A dynamic and romantic film festival to enjoy in the open air of the plateau. Watch the starry sky and movies on a midsummer night at an outdoor cinema in the highest elevation of Japan!

When: Late July to mid-August

ー Ina / Iida area ー

Ina Baien (Minowa town)

More than 7000 of white plum trees are in full bloom over 20,000 square meters of land. You can enjoy a typical Japanese landscape in the beginning of April, when weeping peaches bloom into double cherry blossoms around this area.

When: Early to late April

Takato Cherry Blossom Festival

About 1500 cherry trees are planted in Takato Castle Park. The Takato Kohigan cherry variety is over 100 years old. It is considered one of the best in the country with its dainty and reddish flower.

When: Early to late April

Craft Fair Iida

This outdoor craft an art festival is held twice a year in spring and autumn. There are 200 shops with a variety of items including ceramics, leather, woodwork, glass, cloth and metal.  Many food and drink stalls are available during the event.

When: Around the third week of May and the third week of November

Minowa Red Buckwheat Flower Festival

The red buckwheat flower is a rare variety in Japan. When in bloom it spreads like a massive red carpet that is 900m above sea level. Local produce, souvenirs and soba noodles can be purchased during the festival.

When: Late September to early October

Takato Shinwano-Oka Rose Garden Festival

The park overlooks the central Alps mountains and has a view over the city landscape below. Approximately 270 varieties of 3000 plants span over about 8 ha of grounds.

When: June and October

Maple Lake Dream Festival (Minowa town)

Around the lakeside area, 10,000 maple trees are planted, and the festival is held from the end of October till the beginning of November on the first week of Culture Day Holiday. During the autumn leaves period, the fascinating “Maple tunnel” is lit up. It’s so beautiful that it takes your mind off the cold.

When: Late October to early November

Takato Castle Maple Festival

There are about 250 maple trees in Takato Castle Park.Local traditional performing arts and New soba festival are also held at the same time.Takato Castle is also worth a visit as it has a different atmosphere from spring.

When: Early November