Each year, on the 8th and 9th of September, Nozawa Onsen comes alive for the amazing Lantern Festival. In 2018, those dates happen to fall upon a Saturday and Sunday which creates a great opportunity for those in Japan to escape to the mountains for a memorable weekend!
Festivals are something that Nozawa Onsen village does well and while January’s Fire Festival may get all the hype due to coinciding with plenty of powder snow, September’s Lantern Festival is a local favorite and a great chance to explore Nagano in early Autumn.
During the early evening on Saturday, September 8th, Oyu Dori (Nozawa’s main street) springs to life with street vendors and a parade featuring drums, flute players, dancing and an age-old Japanese folk pantomime. Being the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, the performance is said to dispel evil in favor of good luck while ensuring a bountiful rice harvest. All the while, villagers and tourists can enjoy themselves as the sake flows.
On Sunday 9th, the men in their “yaku” (bad luck) years, shake off their hangovers and carry a heavy “Omikoshi” through the village. The villagers donate bottles of sake to the action taking place which not only adds to the spectacle but also the time it takes for the men to complete their mission of carrying the Omikoshi to the Shrine. Everybody is on hand to cheer them on and help them up the stairs of the Shrine around sunset.
All in all, it’s a magic time to be in the village. Get your friends together escape the city for taste of traditional culture and friendly locals. If happen to know someone visiting Japan over the weekend of the 8th & 9th of September, make sure to let them know.
This year, Nozawa Holidays are doing a cheap 2-night package at Villa Nozawa but of course, you can always extend it.
2-night stay at Villa Nozawa (shared bathroom), free use of public onsens, kitchen available to use; ¥9,000pp
2-night stay at Villa Nozawa (ensuite room), free use of public onsens, kitchen available to use; ¥13,000pp
2-night stay at Villa Nozawa (shared room), free use of public onsens, kitchen available to use; ¥6,000pp
Please feel free to contact Nozawa Holidays with any questions at email@example.com.
Nozawa is now world-renowned for its "Powder Snow" in Winter and is one of the top ski resorts in Japan. However, it is also a magic little mountain village to visit in the “Green Season”, not just for this festival but any time from April to November when the snow returns.
Some of the great outdoor activities to explore include:
- Mountain biking - rent a bike from 2000 yen a day
- Kayaking, stand up paddle and rafting
- Yoga and Meditation
- Golf, Tennis, Soccer
- Relaxing in an onsen
Accommodation rates during that time are as low as 3000 yen per person per night.
Here is a link to more details https://www.nozawaholidays.com/summer-nozawa-green-season/
Nozawa Holidays' yoga retreat is coming up in August and October. Spots are limited.