Compiled by Phinashia Page, Hida RPA, and the RPA Team
Gujo Odori: Dates in July through Saturday, September 2.
One of the three greatest bon dance festivals of Japan. Get geared up in your yukata and ready to dance the night away. The festival is about 400 years old, with dancing till late at night in the streets of Gujo. Festival goers are more than welcome to learn the simple dance steps and join in with the crowd!
Where: Gujo Hachiman. The festival moves to a different part of the city each night, so check the website to find the main dancing area for the night you are going: http://www.gujohachiman.com/kanko/odori_schedule_e.html
When: The Gujo Odori is particularly popular Sunday, August 13 - Wednesday, August 16th when dancing goes all night from 20:00-4/5:00. Check the website (above) for a complete list of dates and times.
Nagara River Takigi Noh Performances: Tuesday, August 1
This is an event held all throughout August during which Noh plays and kyogen performances can be viewed on a special stage set up on a bank of the Nagara River. A wondrous and mysterious atmosphere can be enjoyed when the cormorant boats with their fishermen and bonfire torches approach the special stage with dark Mt. Kinka and dramatically illuminated Gifu castle in the background.
To get here from JR Gifu station or Meitetsu Gifu station, take a bus bound for N33 Miwa Shaka (18 minutes, 210 yen one way). Get off at "Nagara-gawa onsen" and walk 3 minutes to the event. There's no parking located directly at the event, but you should be able to find some nearby.
Where: Banks of the Nagara River (in front of the Gifu Grand Hotel), Gifu City
Gero Onsen Festival: Tuesday, August 1-Thursday, August 3
This is Gero's largest summer event. This festival spans three days, each with its own theme and events, all against the backdrop of central Gero. Parking is available, but can be hard to find due to the sheer number of attendees. Public transportation is recommended; it also very conveniently places you where all the action is!
August 1 - Dragon King Fire Festival (Shirasagi Bridge, 18:30-21:00)
August 2 - Mikoshi and Samba Parade (Gero Hot Spring Resort, 18:30-22:00) and Gero Dance (Shirasagi Bridge, 20:00-20:45)
August 3 - Fireworks Musical (Gero Oohashi, 20:00-20:45) and Gero Dance (Shirasagi Bridge, 21:00-22:30)
Where: Mori (the area surrounding Gero station), Gero City
When: Tuesday, August 1- Thursday, August 3
Co-ba Casual English Party: Thursday, August 3
Casual English Party organised by one of the local bars where everyone can just come together and have a good time chatting to locals and people from around the world! Entry is free for foreigners, and alcoholic beverages are available starting from only 400yen!
Where: Co-Ba Takayama
When: Thursday, August 3 19:30-21:30
Nagara River Fireworks (Weekend 2): Saturday, August 5
This is the second consecutive weekend of one of the largest fireworks displays in all of Japan! Large numbers of people come to Gifu each year to watch the fireworks, which are launched from the banks of the Nagara River with Mt. Kinka and Gifu castle in the background. The river bank itself is the best spot for watching the display, as it's bustling with people dressed in yukata. Sit around on tarps with friends, and enjoy the view with some drinks and festival food from the surrounding yatai (festival food stands). Wear your yukata and don't forget to bring a hand-held fan; it will be hot!
The city is bustling all day and transport to the area can get incredibly busy in the hours leading up to the fireworks. Parking will be expensive and also a nightmare to leave after the fireworks finish. We recommend arriving early and taking one of the special buses that will be running continuously between JR Gifu station and the fireworks location.
Where: Nagara River bank (between the Nagara-bridge, and Kinka-brige),
When: Saturday, August 5 19:00-20:45
Handheld Hanami and the Hida Welcome Event: Wednesday, August 9
To celebrate the beginning of another year in Hida for some, and the first year for others, let's get together and watch the Handheld firework festival on the Miyagawa river!
Where: Miyagawa river Takayama City, Meet under the big Torii (shrine gate)
When: Wednesday, August 9 18:00
Contact the Hida RPAs, Phinashia and Sam, for more information.
Seino Welcome Event: Wednesday, August 9
We are starting the summer raw and juicy…come eat sushi with the Seino JETs who are now your new neighbors! We will be meeting at a popular sushi izakaya just outside the South Exit of Ogaki Station. We look forward to seeing everyone who can make it, especially as we welcome our new Seinans and new JET year!
Where: Yataizushi, や台ずし 1-3 Takaya-cho, Ogaki-shi, Gifu-ken 岐阜県 大垣市 高屋町 1-3
Meeting Point: Inside Ogaki Station, outside the turnstiles
When: Wednesday, August 9 19:00
Contact the Seino RPAs, Denton and Tom, for more information
Public Holiday, Friday, August 11
Mountain Day- Yama no hi- 山の日
First celebrated on August 11, 2016, Mountain Day provides us with an opportunity to appreciate the mountains and the various blessings that flow forth from them. As it is a new holiday, there is no set way to celebrate Mountain Day.
Tejikara Fire Matsuri and Gifu Welcome Event: Sunday, August 13
The annual festival of Tejikara shrine involves men wearing only loincloths carrying around mikoshi (portable shrines) that are loaded with gunpowder. Once the gunpowder stashed in the shrines is ignited by the fireworks' sparks, it shoots long streams of fire high into the air and showers the men carrying them with more cascading fireworks and sparks! Regardless, the men dance wildly, sounding bells and setting off firecrackers. This is a dynamic celebration of sound and fire!
It is also our welcome event for the new Gifu region JETs, but JETs from all regions are welcome to join us! People will be wearing yukata and enjoying food and drinks from the yatai food stands at the festival, while watching the spectacle from their tarp on the grass.
We'll be meeting at Gifu station at 4:30 pm and will catch a bus to the event together. Or you can meet us at the Circle K behind the event at 5:30 pm. We'll aslo place a pin on the Gifu AJET Facebook page as to where we're sitting for anyone who wants to join up afterwards.
If you're coming by yourself, you can take one of the following buses at JR Gifu Station or Meitetsu Gifu Station to "Ukai-ya" and walk 3 minutes to the park (takes 20 minutes, costs 210 yen one way).
Where: Nagara River Park (on the north side of the Nagara Bridge), Gifu City
When: Sunday, August 13 18:30-21:10
Contact the Gifu RPAs, Lauren and Sarah D., for more information.
Tono Welcome Event: Wednesday, August 23
Meet the new Tono JETs (and anyone else who would like to join!) and welcome them to the area with yakiniku and karaoke afterwards.
Where: Ena Train Station
When: Meet at 17:45
Price: ~3,500円 for dinner, ~1,500円 for karaoke
Contact the Tono RPAs, Josiah and Victoria, for more information.
Gifu AJET Riverside Welcome Party: Saturday, August 26
The annual riverside potluck party to welcome all of the new JETs in Gifu prefecture and have a great time together. The river tends to be very refreshing, so bringing a bathing suit and towel would be a good idea. There is no price, but please bring a snack to share with everyone and any drinks you'd like (there's a convenience store nearby, but who wants to leave a party?). The event starts at 1:00 PM and ends when the party ends. Everyone is welcome to join! Check out the Gifu AJET Facebook page for more details!
There will be a group waiting to accompany people arriving by train at Umeyama station to the barbecue space at 1:30 pm.
Where: Along the Nagara River next to Minobashi (bridge), Mino City
When: August 26, 13:00
Maze Fireworks Festival: Saturday, August 26
Come enjoy the beautiful views of Maze, a village in the mountains of Gero City. This annual fireworks display is especially interesting because of the way the sound reverberates through the mountains. The display itself is a 30 minute presentation that starts at 8:00 PM, but people definitely arrive early to grab a spot, visit the food stalls, and enjoy the company of the other attendees.
Parking is free and available in abundance (just follow the attendants); you may have to walk quite a ways, though. Alternatively, you could pay 1,000 yen to park on the grounds of either Maze Elementary School (10 minute walk) or the Maze Junior High School building. Due to the high number of attendees, traffic tends to be a bit of a wait at the end of the night.
Where: 1852 Maenakagiri, Gero City
When: Saturday, August 26, 20:00-20:30