Summer festivals, unique summer foods, holidays at summer resorts, fireworks festivals decorating the evening sky, hiking experiences that are refreshing in spite of the heat, exhilarating water sports…
Tochigi is abound with all of these quintessentially Japanese summer events! You are sure to have a wonderful, memorable time in Tochigi!
Oya History Museum
This museum introduces the history relating to the mining of Oya stones. Particularly awe-inspiring is the former underground mining site, which extends over an area of 2 million square meters. With an average depth of 30 meters and a depth of 60 meters at its deepest point, the mine is an enormous space in which the average temperature is maintained at approximately 8℃, making it cool even during the summer. The former mining site, with lighting being shone on it, emanates a mythical feel. This place benefits from its unique atmosphere, with concerts, plays, shows, and Noh plays being performed here.
|Address||909 Oya-machi, Utsunomiya-shi|
|Inquiries||Oya history museum|
Time of event: 7 pm to 8:45 pm, 6th of August 2016 (Saturday) (To be postponed in the event of bad weather)
The "Ashikaga Fireworks Festival", which was first held in 1903, will mark its 102nd anniversary this year. This is a highly prominent festival in the Kanto region, with more than 300,000 viewers attending the festival every year. There is a total of 2 million shots of fireworks, comprising wide-ranging masterpieces such as the gimmick fireworks, wide star mines, and the large ball-type fireworks, a staple of Japanese fireworks. You are sure to be awed by the final fireworks in which "Niagara", a 400-meter long firework set off in two rows, is featured alongside a large-scale star mine. The venue is easily accessible by various means of transport, and free car parking lots are available.
|Address||Watarase river, Tanaka bridge, Karyu kasenjiki, Ashikaga-shi|
|Inquiries||Ashikaga Summer Festival Executive Committee (Ashikaga Chamber of Commerce)|
The Ohira Grape Farm consists of a total of 70 grape farms covering an area of 740,000 square meters, spreading out over Ohirasan Minamisanroku. You can enjoy picking a wide variety of grapes such as the greenhouse-grown Kyoho grapes and the Aki queen grapes. While you can enjoy grapes up until early autumn, you should confirm the period in which grape picking is held as it differs depending on the farm and the types of grapes. Please make your reservations with the Ohira tourist grape farm council for groups of 15 people or more.
|Address||Near Tomida, Ohira-machi, Tochigi-shi|
|Inquiries||Ohira Town Council of Tourist Grape farms (Kakashi no sato)|
In Isoyama Park is the Izuruhara Benten Pond, which has been designated as a "Prefectural Natural Treasure" and is also one of the "100 Selected Famous Waters of Japan" as designated by the Environment Agency. The pond, with a circumference of 138 meters, makes for a breath-taking sight with koi fishes swimming in waters so clear that the bottom of the pond is perfectly visible. Revered by locals as the "pond of life", it is also endeared as a place for relaxation. Especially in the summer, this place is a popular resort where people can enjoy the beautiful greenery as well as the refreshingly cool atmosphere.
|Address||1117 Izuruhara-machi, Sano-shi|
|Inquiries||Sano-shi Department of Tourism, City Promotion|
Ido-Shitsugen (wetlands), also known as "Sho-Oze", can be found at the Yokone Kogen (plateau), which is located in Maenikko Prefectural Nature Park. The hiking route, in which you will mostly tour Mt.Yokone and Ido-Shitsugen, is renowned for the abundance of opportunities to encounter a variety of animals and plants, the types of which differ according to the season. Alpine plants here bloom between spring and summer each year, and enjoying them as you hike will make for a magnificent experience. On sunny days, you will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the Kanto plain at the Zo-no-hana (Elephant`s trunk) viewing deck.
|Inquiries||Roadside station (Machi no Eki) "Shin Kanumajyuku"|
If you are keen on relishing in the abundant natures of the summer, we highly recommend that you indulge in water activities in Kinugawa River, such as rafting that allows you to have an adventurous time traveling downstream by a rubber boat or canyoning in which you dynamically glide down the river before jumping into waterfall pools. Canoeing on the tranquil waters of Chuzenji Lake in Nikko National Park while appreciating the beautiful scenery is another option. This is an excellent opportunity to experience the extraordinary.
|Inquiries||Nikko City Tourist Association|
Time of event: 31st of July 2016
"Oyama Fireworks", the epitome of summer in Oyama-shi, will mark its 65th anniversary this year. This is a distinguished fireworks festival in the Kanto region attended by many people every year. As the fireworks launch site and the viewing stand are located close to each other, you can enjoy the impactful displays of over 2 million fireworks, including the consecutive shots of "Shakudama" (balls of fireworks) ,wide star mines, and the "Niagara Falls" in which residents participate, all in close proximity. The "Opening Carnival", an event in which the residents participate, is held on the eve of the fireworks festival.
|Inquiries||Secretariat, Executive Council for Oyama Summer Festival 2016 (Within the department of commercial tourism, Oyama city)|
Operating hours/Days closed: 1st of May to the first Sunday or holiday of November (Open throughout this period) 10 am to 5 pm
At the "Kurobane weir for tourists", you can savor fresh ayu (sweet fish) while enjoying the soothing breeze of the wind and listening to the sound of water flowing in the river. The "ayu weir", which is the quintessence of Nakagawa River during this season, is constructed in late July. Worthy of mention is the "ayu no shioyaki" (salt-grilled ayu) which is grilled using charcoal fire. Grilling ayu with charcoal fire is deemed to be the best way to prepare it, as it maximizes the distinctive flavor of ayu. Enjoy the taste and scent of ayu which have been toned by the streams of the Nakagawa River.
|Address||1639 Kurobanemuko-machi, Otawara-shi|
|Inquiries||Kurobane Weir for Tourists|
A canoe tour at the Itamuro Reservoir, situated near Nasushiobara-shi. Beginners can participate without concern, as the lake does not have currents. Enjoy the beautiful scenery around the lake while you canoe. The canoes used for the tours are recreational kayaks (kayaks that require both sides to be rowed), from which you can pick very safe single boats (one seaters) and tandem boats (two seaters).
|Address||3090-6 Momomura, Nasushiobara-shi, Tochigi|
Time of event: 23rd of July (Sat) to 25th of July (Mon) 2016<Held in the same period every year>
The highlight of the Gion festival has to be the "Omiki Chodai Shiki" held on the 24th (Sun) of July, which happens to be one of the three major "odd festivals" in the Kanto region. Likened to 365 days a year, this ritual entails the pouring of 3 masu, 6 go, 5 shaku (traditional Japanese units of measurement), or 6.5 liters, of "kanzake" (warm sake) on a large glass and the subsequent consumption of 3 glasses of "atsukan" (hot sake). After the men from the town in charge of the festival for the year drink, the men from the town to be in charge for the following year will attempt to drink as well. There are also "tezutsu fireworks" (fireworks that shoot up from cylindrical tubes) and the "mini tezutsu fireworks" on the 23rd (Sat) and the sight of fireworks shooting up to as high as 8 meters is highly becoming of the festival held in a town famous for ceramics.
|Inquiries||Mashiko City Tourist Association|
This forest, covering an area of approximately 560 hectares (equivalent to nearly 120 Tokyo domes), was originally a part of the Nasu Imperial Villa and is a great place to enjoy your time in the woods. The forest comprises two areas, namely the "Fureai no Mori" (forest of interaction), where you can walk around freely or experience nature, and the "Manabi no Mori" (forest of learning), where emphasis is placed on preserving nature as best as possible and where access is limited only to those attending the guided walks. Various nature programs, such as the guided walks, are held.
|Address||3254 Takakuhei, Oaza, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun|
|Inquiries||Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest Field Center|
|Pictures provided by:||Nasu Heisei-no-mori Forest|
Operating hours/Days closed: 1st of June to 15th of November (Open throughout this period) 9 am to 6 pm
The restaurant is open until the 31st of October. Closed every Tuesday.
Takase Weir, where you can view the Nakagawa River in close proximity, is one of the largest in Nakagawa. You can enjoy fresh ayu dishes outdoors, where there is an abundance of greenery, while viewing the Nakagawa River. There are tatami rooms indoors, and you can also have a taste of robata-yaki. The weirs are made by seasoned craftsmen over a period of one month with their traditional technique of tying up bamboo and wood. You can catch ayus for free at this weir. Even though you have to return the ayus into the tanks once you have caught them, this should still make for a valuable experience.
|Address||210 Yada, Nakagawa-machi, Nasu-gun|
|Inquiries||Takase Weir for Tourists|