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This month's folk festivals

Setsubun

Setsubun means "a separation of seasons" or "the beginnings of each season".  It was believed that during a separation of seasons, the devil or bad vibes would cause illness and misfortune.  So, a ritual began and people started throwing fried soy beans to drive the bad luck away.  As they would throw the beans, they shout "Devil out, good luck in".  After doing this ritual, people would eat the same number of soy beans as their ages plus one to pray for another healthy and prosperous year.  If you are not a big fan of soy beans, you can put them in your hot tea (green tea usually) and make it a "Fukucha", which literally means "good luck tea".  The traditional dinner on Setsubun consists of ehomaki, a special sushi roll that is made with 7 different lucky ingredients and a grilled sardine, which devils hate.

Hosho Shrine Setsubun Festival

Hosho Shrine Setsubun Festival

Setsubun has been celebrated at the Hosho shrine for more than 60 years. On the day of the festival, there will be a market called "Setsubun Fukuichi," where local products are sold. Free amazake/sweet hot sake and hot tea with soy beans will also be available.

When February 3rd (Fri.)
Where Hosho-ji (2523 Shin-machi, Takasaki-shi) MAP
Contact 0274-42-0930

Onikoi Setsubun Festival

This is one of the most unique setsubun festivals in Gunma because it welcomes displaced oni all over the country. They shout "good luck in, devil in, too", instead of saying the usual "devil out, good luck in" as they throw roasted soybeans. They came up with this interesting idea because the name of Onishi town of Fujioka City in Chinese characters includes oni or demon. Oden/Japanese-style pot-au-feu, tocchanage soup/ a miso soup with vegetables and dumplings, and sweet hot sake will be served for free.

When February 3rd (Fri.)
Where Tamokuteki Hiroba/Omatsuri Hiroba (Onishi Naka-machi 91, Fujioka-shi) MAP
Contact 0274-52-2062

Oigami Onsen Akagi Shrine Setsubun Festival

Oigami Onsen Akagi Shrine Setsubun Festival

Bean throwing will start around 3:30 P.M. and there will be a fireworks display from 8:00 P.M. After going to the events, you can stop by an onsen, since Oigami is one of the well-known hot spring spots in Gunma.

When February 3rd (Fri.)
Bean throwing: 3:30 P.M. ~
Fireworks: 8:00 P.M. ~
Where Oigami Onsen Akagi Jinja (607-1 Tone-machi Oigami, Numata-shi) MAP
Contact 0278-56-3013

Other Events

Valentine's Day at Kusatsu International Ski Resort

Valentine's Day at Kusatsu International Ski Resort

The first 100 men who purchase tickets to the event will be given delicious chocolates. As you may know, the Valentine's Day tradition here in Japan is different from the rest of the world! Men get the presents and are pampered! That's not fair, right? But, don't worry ladies, there is a day called the White Day when women get her gifts and are pampered!

When February 14 (Tue.)
Where Kusatsu International Ski Resort (158 Rinpan Ooaza Kusatsu-Shirane Kokuyurin, Kusatsu-machi, Agatsuma-gun) MAP
Contact 0279-88-8111

2011-12 Season Ski Resorts in Gunma PDF/349KB
Please watch Gunma-chan on the ski slope:
http://www.kikaku.pref.gunma.jp/gunmapedia/gunmachan/mediadiary/video20100123ski.html

"List of Onsen Ryokan (Spa Resort Hotels) Weekday Special Offer" PDF
Please watch youtube videos of Gunma's famous onsen spots. Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, Shima, and Manza

The 11th Hina doll Festival

A total of 2,000 Hina dolls of all shapes and sizes will be displayed at many locations around Tatebayashi city, including the old residence of the last domain head of Tatebayashi, the Akimoto family.

When February 18 (Sat.) ~ March 4 (Sun.)
Where The old Akimoto family residence (Azalea Park II) 8-1 Obiki-cho, Tatebayashi The old office of Moslin Both buildings are very close to Tatebayashi City Hall MAP of Tatebayashi
Contact 0276-72-4111 (Ask for Kanko-ka)

On March 3rd, the day of the Hina doll festival, GTIA will offer a tour called  "Let's have lunch (buffet-style) with 2,000 hina dolls". On this tour, with a volunteer guide (hina doll specialist), you will visit different buildings to see the hina dolls and then enjoy a buffet-style lunch made with lots of fresh local products. If interested, please contact us at 027-243-7271 Gunma Association of Tourism, Local Products, and Int'l Exchange. Email: gtia@gtia.jp

World's Entertainment

Ever since the City of Takasaki tied sister-city relationships with Battle Creek, Michigan and Santo Andrea, Sao Paulo, they have been embracing cultural exchange. This year, the city will celebrate 30 years of multi-cultural exchange and provide an international entertainment show.

When February 26 (Sun.) Please be aware that the tickets (400 tickets) will be sold from January 11th.
Where Shin-machi Bunka Hall (3190-1 Shin-machi, Takasaki-shi) MAP
Contact 027-321-1201

Gunma Global Seminar (PDF/290KB)

Experience the world in Gunma! Admission is free! We welcome anyone who is interested!
In the morning, we have two different seminars, you can either chose "Uganda -The pearl of Africa-" or "If the world were a village of 100 people". In the afternoon, there will be a seminar on volunteering experiences in Brazil and a performance of capoeira (traditional Brazilian martial art).

When February 19th (Sun.) Morning session: 10:00-12:00 Afternoon session: 13:00-15:30
Where Keyaki Walk Maebashi 2F (2-1-1 Bunkyo-cho, Maebashi-shi) MAP
Contact 027-243-7271 E-mail: gtia@gtia.jp

The First PePo Festival (PDF/1.39MB)

The host of this event, Maebashi People Power Center is affiliated with many different agencies engaged in civic activities. The PePo festival was put together so that those affiliated agencies could give presentations, display their informative panels and open booths where people can try their hand at wood carving, balloon art, aroma therapy and herb tea making. There will be a mochi pounding booth as well.

When February 18 (Sat.) 10:00 – 16:00
Where Maebashi Genki Plaza 21 3F Chuo Komin-kan Tamokuteki Hall (12-1 Hon-machi, Maebashi-shi) MAP
Contact 027-210-2196 NPO Maebashi Civic Activity Support Center