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Month held: February

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Ojiya Balloon Festival

Japan’s representative hot air balloon competition the “Sea of Japan Cup Cross Country Championship” is the main event of this festival, but there is also the wondrous Glow Balloon Festival with hot air balloons, fireworks, and lanterns. You can also ride in a hot air balloon. The hot air balloons floating in the air enchant their audience with their vividly-colored forms.

Umaimono Plaza has a good selection of delicious, local staple foods.

When: February 23-24, 2019
Where: Nishinaka venue (hot air balloon competition)
Hirasawa venue (hot air balloon rides)


The Hokkeshu-sohonzan Honjo-ji Temple Setsubun Oni Dance is a melee of red, blue, yellow, green, and black oni, or Japanese demons, running amok with saws, axes, and knives in the main temple grounds. At the end, boys and girls born in a year with the same Chinese Zodiac sign as the current year repel the oni by throwing beans at them and yelling “fuku wa uchi, oni wa soto” or “in with luck, out with demons,” a tradition which is across Japan on Setsubun to pray for peace and safety. In the somber atmosphere of the temple grounds, you can fully feel the impact of the reverberating cries of the oni and their destructive rampage.

* Setsubun is a Japanese holiday that celebrates the day before spring on the lunar calendar. Japanese people participate in traditional events such as the aforementioned bean throwing to drive away evil sprits and bring in good fortune.

February 3rd(Setsubun)

Hokkeshu-sohonzan Hojo-ji Temple, 1-1-20 Nishihonjoji, Sanjo City
●10 minutes by foot from JR Sanjo Station on the Shinetsu Line
●15 minutes by car from the Sanjo-Tsubame IC on the Hokuriku Expressway


Tokamachi Yuki Matsuri was started in 1950 by the citizens and for the citizens of Tokamachi based on the idea “let’s not make snow our enemy, let’s make snow our friend.”
The fireworks that decorate the sky at the finale of the snow-stage carnival make snowy scenery that appears straight out of a fantasy.

Locations: Special site at Jogaoka Pureland in Tokamachi City
School grounds of Tokamachi High School and other locations around the city


Back in the days before refrigerators were invented, people in the Nagaoka region used to pack snow into pyramid shapes and preserve them, then they sold them year round for people to use like a refrigerator. These snow pyramids were called yuki-shika.

The festival features over 100 snowmen, and in addition to making your own distinct snowman, you can see a giant yuki-shika re-creation, enjoy games in the snow, buy food and drinks, and watch the stage shows and fireworks. It’s an event full of activities for the whole family to enjoy!

Saturday, February 18 - Sunday, February 19, 2017
Senshughara Furusato no Mori Park, 3-315-11 Senshu, Nagaoka

・25 minutes by bus (Chuo-junkan Line) from Nagaoka Station on the JR Shinetsu Line
・15 minutes by car from the Nagaoka IC on the Kanetsu Expressway

Niigata’s Winter Shoku no Jin, “Toujitsuza”

Niigata’s Winter Shoku no Jin marks the 25th major Niigata foods event. The theme is “rice culture = rice jin.”

There will be 4 venues throughout Niigata City, and each will have original hot pot dishes, sushi prepared by sushi chefs, and local cuisine available at food stalls.

February 11, 2017 (Sat.), 10:00AM-5:00PM*
February 12, 2017 (Sun.), 10:00AM-4:00PM*
*Or until sold out
•Furumachi venue
10 minutes by bus from JR Niigata Station
•Bandai City venue
10 minutes on foot from JR Niigata Station Bandai Exit
•Pia Bandai venue
16 minutes on foot from JR Niigata Station Bandai Exit
•Niigata Furusato Village venue
10 minutes by car from the Hokuriku Expressway “Niigata Nishi” interchange

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