Fun in June! Five Select Events in Hokkaido
Hokkaido is a recommended destination for travel in Japan in June. Most of Japan enters the rainy season in June, but Hokkaido doesn't have a rainy season so you can spend a pleasant time there. Here are five events to enjoy in Hokkaido in June.
1. YOSAKOI Soran Festival
YOSAKOI Soran Festival is a key event in Hokkaido in the early summer. It is an exciting event where approximately 270 teams give dance performances in approximately 20 sites across Sapporo over a period of several days in early June.
There is a total of about 27,000 dancers wearing colorful costumes representing their teams, dancing to the Hokkaido folk song, Soran Bushi, with clappers called "naruko" in their hands. Each team has their own choreography, costumes, and songs so you won't tire of watching them.
Event dates: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - Sunday, June 11, 2017
2. Minamikayabe Hirome Funamatsuri
Minamikayabe Hirome Funamatsuri is held on the second Saturday of June every year in Hakodate. Hirome is the name for the kombu seaweed that is a local produce. The festival is an event to offer thanks to the ocean and fishing port and to pray for bountiful fishing.
The festival is held in Usujiri Port in the Minamikayabe district about 35km from Hakodate. It is a full day of activities starting with a row-boat race of wooden boats used to harvest kombu seaweed, followed by performances of traditional dance and singing. One of the highlights of the day is the Isaribi Parade of boats with banners indicating a rich haul that sails during the day and at night. The evening parade, which is the climax of the day, is accompanied by fireworks that light up the fishing port with magical colors.
Event date: Saturday, June 10, 2017
3. Hokkaido Shrine Festival (Sapporo Festival)
On June 14 to 16, the Hokkaido Shrine Festival (Sapporo Festival), with a history over 100 years, is held in Sapporo. During that period, offering events are held in Hokkaido Shrine. Nakajima Park in central Sapporo is filled with stalls selling snacks and sweets, as well as games such as shooting and lotteries.
The main event is the Mikoshi Togyo held on the 16th. A procession of approximately 1,200 people dressed in costumes reminiscent of the Heian period (794 - 1185) walk the streets carrying mikoshi portable shrines and pulling festival floats to the tune of Japanese flutes and drums.
Event dates: Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - Friday, June 16, 2017
4. Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park Tulip & Lily of the Valley Festa
At Takino Suzuran Hillside National Government Park, a national park in the southern part of Sapporo, a Tulip & Lily of the Valley Festa is held every year from late May to mid-June.
The tulips are in full bloom in late May. Approximately 230,000 flowers of 200 varieties color the hills of the park. The lilies of the valley show their lovely forms in early June. Take a stroll along the Path of Lilies of the Valley of approximately 50,000 lilies of the valley to take in their sweet scent.
There are many other ways to enjoy the large park, including visits to the waterfalls, playing in the river, and taking in the fresh forest air.
Entrance fee: 410 JPY/adult, 80 JPY/child
Event dates: Saturday, May 20, 2017 - Sunday, June 11, 2017
5. Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park Shibazakura Festival
Higashimokoto Shibazakura Park in Ozora in the Abashiri region also has an event from early May to early June. It is the Shibazakura Festival that is held when the park's icon, shibazakura moss phlox, blooms.
The hills with the colorful small flowers of blooming moss phlox measure approximately 10ha. The best time to see the flowers is mid-May, but they are still in bloom in June. The recommended views are from the Azumaya rest area and the observatory on a hill. You will see a landscape filled with a sea of pink moss phlox. The park also offers fun activities such as go-kart rides between the moss phlox (300 JPY and up) and an onsen hot spring (440 JPY/adult).
Entrance fee: 500 JPY/adult, 250 JPY/child
Event dates: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - Sunday, June 4, 2017
There is a variety of events from those where you can enjoy exciting performances, to those with flowers that color the early summer of Hokkaido. The flowers will bloom at different times each year, so be sure to check the bloom times in advance on their official websites before visiting.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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