Play

Shirakami gives gifts of laughter, enjoyment & more

Enjoy the many gifts Shirakami has to offer. Coffee brewed from the waters of the mountain springs to outdoor activities.

The site logo

The people of Shirakami have long been sharing the grace of Shirakami. By enjoying this grace, we deepen our awe and appreciation for nature.

what the waters bestow

FOOD & DRINK

The blessings of the forest are not limited to the mountain. There is a saying "The forest is a lover of the sea." Large amounts of iron flow from the deciduous trees of Shirakami's forest into the river. It then reaches the sea providing nutrients to grow seaweed, and then creates an abundance of blessings with the seaweed.
The waters of the Shirakami Forest are gifted to us by the earth and sea in the form of rich food blessings.

play with nature

ATTRACTIONS

The people of Shirakami know how to play with the forest. Through this play they learned to understand the forest.
Learn more about the many attractions born from the Shirakami.

giving thanks & adoration

FESTIVALS

The people of Shirakami have long enjoyed festivals. The festivals of Shirakami are a reverence to nature and a way for people to pray for blessings.
From traditional festivals to modern events, come celebrate with the people living with the forest.

schedule of annual events

1 January

Hiking Mt. Nanakura on New Year’s Day

Start the new year off with a trek on snow-covered Mt. Nanakura in Noshiro City's Futatsuimachi. This annual event is a great way to celebrate New Year's Day and meet local hikers.

1 February

Ketsujori — Sledding Tournament

An annual winter event in Fujisato Town, come as an observer or as a participant. Participants sled down a hill using a fertilizer bag, and are scored on various criteria such as speed and sledding form. Enjoy the snow with locals!

Mid-February

Takaiwa Shrine Hadaka-Mairi

Join on the pilgrimage to Takaiwa Shrine, hidden in the forests of Noshiro City's Futatsui-machi. Local young men take part in this traditional festival. Wearing only loincloths, they pour cold water from the Fujikoto River to cleanse their bodies.

The trail entrance to Takaiwa Shrine is only 5-minutes by car from JR Futatsui Station.

Mid-February

Japanese Snowshoe Trekking

Trek with locals through the sparkling, snow-covered countryside in "kanjiki," Japanese snowshoes. Admire Shirakami's beautiful winter landscape.

Mid-March

Mt. Tashirodai Winter Hike

Mt. Tashirodai stands within the Shirakami mountain range, and is considered to be one of the easiest mountains in the area to climb in winter. The trailhead is accessible by car, and guides are available to accompany hikers.

Mid-March

Quilt Showcase at Kaneyu

Come see 400 quilt pieces decorate the rooms of Kaneyu in Noshiro City during this event. From small wall pieces to large blankets, walk around and see all of the unique and creative designs. Some of the quilt pieces have even won awards in the past!

11 April

Noshiro Park Spring Festival

Noshiro Park turns into various shades of pink during sakura season. Enjoy hanami in the Akita Shirakami area during this annual spring festival.

This park is walking distance from Noshiro Station.

Mid-April

Noshiro City’s Kite Flying Tournament

Noshiro City's Kite Flying Tournament is held annually at Noshiro Port. See a variety of kites decorate the sky during this event -- from Noshiro City's traditional "Berabo" kites to large, uniquely designed kites, this event is fun and vibrant. If you're lucky, you may even be able to see a massive kite (equivalent to 10 tatami mats, 16.2 square meters) raised in the large kite section.

Late May

Yomemi Festival

Yomemi festival is an annual event held at Hiyoshi Shrine in Noshiro City in May. During this festival, people pray for their happiness to the God of Marriage at this shrine. Its origins date back to the beginning of the Showa era, when new brides and girls would dress up to visit the shrine. After about 40 years, brides who had gotten married in the past year began parading through the streets in their traditional wedding kimono to the shrine to show thanks for a good partner and to bless a happy life together. These days, unmarried girls also participate in the parade with the hope for a happy marriage.

Late May

Hiking Shirakami Sanchi — Opening Day

Enjoy World Heritage Site Shirakami Sanchi on opening day. Hike Mt. Fujisato-Komagatake and see spring's fresh greenery and melting snow.

Mid-June

Junsai Seasonal Festival

This fun and unique event can be enjoyed by all people. Junsai is a slimy, water vegetable known to be good for health and beauty. Mitane Town in the Shirakami area is the largest producer of this strange delicacy in Japan.

At this event, visitors can enjoy playing junsai-themed games such as, junsai chopsticks grab. In addition, junsai soup is served for free. For those who are interested in harvesting junsai, a junsai harvesting experience is available with reservation.

Mid-July

Noshiro City’s Fireworks Display and Harbor Festival

This event marks the beginning of Noshiro City's festival-filled summer. It is held annually at the Noshiro Harbor. Four of Akita's fireworks companies come together to put on a spectacular fireworks show, complete with 15,000 fireworks and the mega-firework Sanjakudama which has a width of over a kilometer. Along with tasty festival foods, this event is a great way to kick off summer in Japan.

26-27 July

Noshiro Omikoshi Festival

Starting at Hiyoshi Shrine in Noshiro City, local men in white robes carry a large mikoshi (portable shrine) to the base of Noshiro Park. In addition to the mikoshi, there are also a few big floats pushed by hand. In the evening, the procession continues back to Hiyoshi Shrine.

Last Saturday and Sunday in July

Sandcraft in Mitane Festival

Every year various artists come together to build impressive sand sculptures along Kamayahama Beach in Mitane Town. A two day festival held at the end of July, Sandcraft in Mitane not only showcases these impressive sand sculptures but also features an entertaining line-up of performances and contests, a row of delicious food stalls, and a fireworks finale.

Join in on some fun in the sun. Visitors can also build their own small sand creation for 100 yen.

1 August

Mikoshi no Takiabi Festival

For this annual festival, townsmen gather at 7 a.m. to parade a mikoshi, portable shrine, through the surrounding neighborhood. After a morning of heavy lifting, they finish at the basin of the Shirataki Waterfall behind Shirataki Shrine where they carry the mikoshi through its waters to purify it.

Take the JR Gono Line to Higashi-Hachimori Station. From there, Shirataki Shrine is about a 20-minute walk. 

3-4 August

Tenku no Fuyajo Festival

Tenku no Fuyajo is a modern festival inspired by ancient tradition. It began in 2013, after the discovery of a Meiji-era photograph, that depicted a large, Nagoya castle-shaped lantern float. This lantern float was recreated in its original size of 17.6-meters. Later, another float was created -- towering at 24.1-meters, the Chikasue float is one of the largest lantern floats in Japan.

Every year in early August, these floats are pulled and paraded in Noshiro City along Route 101 beginning at Noshiro City Hall. Marvel at their size and design, and be carried away by the lively atmosphere and local people.

Take the JR Gono Line to Noshiro Station. The parade route is about a 15-minute walk from there. Paid parking is also available at surrounding locations.

6-7 August

Noshiro Nebunagashi Festival

Also known as Yaku-Tanabata, this annual summer festival started hundreds of years ago, and features a parade of large lantern floats moving along to the the sound of traditional flute and taiko drums. During this festival, local citizens come together to pull and perform.

The grand finale includes lighting the shachi ornaments, which are attached to the top of the floats, on fire and setting them adrift the Yoneshiro River.

Take the JR Gono Line to Noshiro Station and walk about 5-minutes to the parade route. Paid parking at surrounding locations are also available.

13 August

Ishikawa’s Horse Dance

Featuring "koma odori," a traditional horse dance, this event prays for a rich harvest, family safety, and ancestral care. Approximately six to ten people line up at one time, and perform a dance while wearing a fake horse. Regarded as a heroic dance in Akita Prefecture, the dance itself represents warrior battle scenes.

The origin of this festival dates back 400 years when vassals tried entertaining Akita's then lord, Lord Satake on his journey from Mito to Akita. Come and enjoy this age-old dance and lively festivities in Happo Town.

Early September

Moritake Kabuki

Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theater that dates back to the early 17th century. It is known for intricate costumes, bold makeup, sharp movements, and elaborate staging.

Moritake Kabuki has been performed for over 200 years, and is a local production put on by community members – both young and old. It mixes traditional kabuki with local dialect and regional tales, making it unique even within Japan. These days, visitors can enjoy children’s kabuki during the day at the Mitane Yamamoto Furusato Cultural Center, in addition to the main evening performance at Moritake Hachiman Shrine. 


7-8 September

Fujikoto Harvest Dance Festival・Asama Shrine Ceremony

This two-day festival in Fujisato Town is most famous for the koma odori horse dance, which is performed by local townsmen throughout both days. The koma odori is a 400-year-old traditional dance. Dancers must wear fake armor and hold fake horses as they hop from one foot to the other to the rhythm of the music. Come and watch as they parade in the same form as the daimyos of Japan's feudal days, and dance from morning to night. Visitors can also enjoy other performances throughout the day, and enjoy delicious festival food.

2nd Saturday of September

Onagori Festival

Finish off summer with Noshiro City’s annual Onagori Festival. A one of a kind festival that showcases many of Tohoku and Tokyo’s bigger festivals into one. Experience Kanto Festival, Nebuta Festival, and more in just one night. Featuring floats, dancers, and music, join in on the lively atmosphere. Each year, more than 200,000 visitors gather to see this event.

Mid-October to Early November

Kimimachizaka Autumn Leaves Festival

The contrast of the white cliffs and colorful fall foliage at Kimimachizaka Park is breathtaking. See Mt. Nanakura stand tall in the distance, from the park. If you go around lunch time, you can enjoy a small meal from Kimimachi no Sato cafe, located within the park.

Mid-October to Early November

Kimimachizaka Autumn Leaves Festival

The contrast of the white cliffs and colorful fall foliage at Kimimachizaka Park is breathtaking. See Mt. Nanakura stand tall in the distance, from the park. If you go around lunch time, you can enjoy a small meal from Kimimachi no Sato cafe, located within the park.

31 December

Nagomehagi Festival

This annual event in Noshiro City's Asanai area is similar to Oga City's Namahage Festival. On New Year's Eve, local adults dress up as Nagomehagi, a traditional Japanese folklore that resembles a demon-like being. Wearing a big mask, straw outfit, and wielding fake knives, axes, and ringing bells, the Nagomehagi visit neighborhood homes to frighten children into good behavior. Come watch this unique event unfold.