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Festivals

Spring festival

Yamaga Sakura (cherry blossom) Festival

The Sakura Festival is held every year in Yamaga Castle Park.
At this lively festival, participants thrill to the rhythms of powerful taiko drums, and there is a variety of entertainment including the annual fukumochi maki (throwing auspicious rice cakes out to the crowd), singing performance, jazz performance, and bingo game.

Ayabe Ninokuni Festival

The Golden Week holidays at the end of April and beginning of May overflow with events for children all over Japan.
In Ayabe there is the Ayabe Ninokuni Festival.
After the Ninokuni Parade proceeds through Ayabe, various events are held in venues at Ayabe Station South Plaza and next to Ayabe Nishimachi Ai Town, including the Yura River flowerbed display.

Rose Festival

The Ayabe Rose Garden contains 1,200 rosebushes of 120 varieties, which burst gloriously into bloom in spring and autumn.
The Spring Rose Festival is held from late May through early June, and the Autumn Rose Festival from mid-October through mid-November.
The variety “Souvenir d’Anne Frank” grows in the central flowerbed.
During the Festivals, rose seedlings and fertilizer are available for sale.

Nio Park Festival and Nio-mon Mountain Race

Every year, 3,000 people from Ayabe City and elsewhere attend the biggest event in the Oku-Kanbayashi district.

Summer festival

Fireflies at Dusk

A big annual event in the Nakakanbayashi district, where the flickering lights of fireflies illuminate the pure waters of a stream.
The event is enlivened by many temporary stalls, a mini-concert and more.
You can wander along a tributary of the Kanbayashi River, known locally as Firefly River, and enjoy the magical sight of the fireflies flitting around in the dusk.

Kuchi-kanbayashi River Festival

The cheers of children resonate under swaying carp streamers at this river festival in the Kuchi-kanbayashi district.

Ayabe Minazuki Festival

The Ayabe Minazuki Festival traces its roots to the end of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), when people floated lanterns on a river with prayers for repose of ancestors’ souls.
It is the largest event in the city, drawing around 40,000 visitors each year and enlivening the summer in Ayabe.

Ayabe Bon Odori (Bon dance festival)

Ayabe Odori is based on a dance made famous by Takasue Kuki, the first Lord of Ayabe, 350 years ago, and has a powerful, dynamic rhythm that contrasts with the deep, misty Ayabe landscape.

Ayabe Summer Illuminations

“Creative lamps” with various themes related to Ayabe’s distinctive features flood the venue with fantastic light.
Enjoy the colorful fantasia illuminating the night of the Bon Festival.

Autumn festival

Ankoku-ji Momiji (Japanese maple) Festival

On the grounds of Ankoku-ji Temple are more than 100 Japanese maples over 80 years in age, and when the festival is held in mid-November, the blazing autumn foliage presents a stunning contrast with the mountains behind.

Ayabe Momiji (Japanese maple) Festival

Held at Omoto Shin’en Garden, one of the most popular sites for viewing autumn leaves in Ayabe.
During the festival there are also events such as an open-air tea ceremony, a koto performance, and other musical performances.

Winter festival

Omoto Setsubun Grand Festival

The largest festival of the Omoto sect, drawing more than 15,000 visitors from all over Japan.
From evening on February 3 to February 4, the great purification rite of Setsubun is held.
After each person-shaped paper cutout (a stand-in for a person) has been ritually purified, it is floated on the Yura River.
The paper figures are released toward the river and flutter down, then are swept away by its current, creating a dreamlike spectacle.

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