As the new year approaches it’s time to announce Japan’s hottest must-see events for 2006. Here they are in date order:
Sapporo Snow Festival (57th Annual)
Date: Monday, February 6 ? Sunday, February 12, 2006.
Location: Three areas of Sapporo City, Hokkaido Island
Website (official): http://www.snowfes.com/english/index.html
This is one of the largest winter events in Japan (and the world). Hundreds of ice and snow sculptures and carvings attract over 2 million visitors during the weeklong event on the Northernmost of Japan’s four main islands
Currently, long haul JR East routes, those of more than two hours, still offer two smoking cars on a 16-car train. JR Routes traveling to Western Honshu, such as those from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka, still maintain five smoking cars on a 16-car train.
(Previous Page: Snow sculpture based on Hayao Miyazaki's 2 hours animated film "Spirited Away" with main character Chihiro second from right.)
Tokyo International Anime Fair (5th Annual) Date: March 23-26, 2006
Location: Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo’s Convention Center)
Fees: Adult ? 1,000; 12-18 yrs.? 500; elementary school/seniors/handicapped: Free
This event, aimed at promoting and developing Japanese animation, has been held annually since 2002, and attracts “anime freaks” from around the world. Several tour operators are even offering tours from the USA. For information see the following link on JNTO’s website:http://www.japantravelinfo.com/animeotaku/index.html
Earth Celebration (19th Annual)
Date: August 18-20, 2006
Location: Sado Island, Niigata Pref.
(Off the Northern Central Coast of Honshu in the Japan Sea)
Fees: Friday or Saturday -- 5,000; Sunday -- 5,500; 3-day pass 13,000
Children (high school & under) ? Free
Since 1988, this annual International Arts Festival has been produced by the Wadaiko (Japanese Drum) group "KODO," in conjunction with the local government municipalities on Sado Island. Artists and performers gather from around the world and visitors can enjoy concerts, workshops, exhibits, and even a flea market at this "Festivity of the earth".
Shoso-in Exhibition at Nara National Museum (58th Annual) Date: Saturday, October 28-Monday, November 13, 2006
Location: Nara National Museum, Nara City, Japan
Fees: Adults - 1,000; HS & University Students - 700;
Elementary & Jr. High Students - 400; Handicapped - Free
Shoso-in, the Imperial treasure house on the grounds of Todaiji Temple in Nara, is usually a closed-door. However, once a year, revolving items from this collection of Seventh Century Silk Road treasures, including: musical instruments from Iran and India, Glassware from ancient Rome, carpets from Western China, you can be viewed at a special exhibition at the Nara National Museum. The collection is so vast that it is said that it will take 10 years to finish seeing all the treasures.
(A list in Shosho-in of some of the preserved musical instruments.)
The Gigantic Dinosaur Expo 2006 (One time only event!)
Date: July 15-September 10, 2006
Fees: There will be a fee, which will be announced in March 2006
Location: Makuhari Messe (Chiba City, an hour southeast of Tokyo)
Website: http://www.kyoryu.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Evolution and the environment will be discussed and explained with numerous high-tech projected images. The highlight of this exposition is a dinosaur specimen exceeding 240 times human scale.
Kobe Luminarie (11th Annual)
Date: December 8 to 22, 2006 (evening hours, tba)
Location: In the center of Kobe City (30 minutes west of Osaka)
Website: http://www.kobe-luminarie.jp/ (Japanese Only)
This spectacular winter solstice illumination, designed by Italian artistic director, Valerio Festi and produced by Kobe native, Hirokazu Imaoka, began in 1995. It was a small gesture by the city to lift and lighten-up the citizen’s hopes and spirits after the devastating Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) earthquake of that year. So, loved, it is now an annual event attracting tourists from around the world.
For updated information on events in Japan visit JNTO’s newly revised North American website at www.japantravelinfo.com
About the Japan National Tourist Organization The Japan National Tourist Organization is a public-private partnership under the auspices of Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, with the mission to encourage international travel to Japan and support Japanese travel suppliers. For more information on travel to Japan visit: www.japantravelinfo.com and www.jnto.go.jp.