Koma Shrine celebrates its more than 1300 year history in a two-day event, beginning at 16:00 of May 19 (Saturday). The program begins with a variety of music and dance performances but the highlight of the evening is a candle lighting event at 18:40. Visitors interested in participating in the candle lighting are encouraged to register ahead of time. They will be provided with a candle and materials to decorate it with. The shrine will also host a local sake bar and dish out local gourmet including Koma nabe (hot pot). Guests are encouraged to stay to enjoy the soft candle lights and music. Program ends at 20:00.
On May 20 (Sunday), festivities begin at 10:00 and run until 15:00. Stage performances run throughout the day including Japanese drums and samul nori (percussion instrument originating from Korea). Probably the most exciting event of the day is the tagafuap competition to be held at 11:30. A tagafuap is similar to the hulahoop. It's a ring made of bamboo used for making large wooden barrels. The person who can twirl the tagafuap on the waist the longest wins a prize. On this day, there will be 10 different curries to try, aside from an assortment of local festival standards. You can also shop for local products such as Sayama green tea, local sake, locally brewed soy sauce, and Japanese sweets.
Koma Shrine is a 23 minute walk from JR Komagawa Station, the nearest station.. On May 19, there will be a free shuttle bus that runs from 15:00 every 30 minutes to and from JR Komagawa Station. Please use this shuttle bus especially if you're planning to drink. Parking is available.
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.