Award Winning, Intangible Asset “Suneori Amagoi”, Rain Praying Festival | TSURUGASHIMA

The Suneori Amagoi Rain Praying Festival, which started in 1781, has been awarded a number of cultural and festival accolades. The awards include the prestigious and coveted city designated intangible folk cultural asset and equally distinguished grand prize for the best hometown events, both awarded by the Japanese Government. In recent years, the festival is only conducted once every four years due to a decline in the number of farmers. The next one is this coming Sunday August 7th 2016 from 1 pm and will be carried out regardless of weather conditions.

 

Suneoriamagoi, From the Tsurugashima City Official Website


The festival involves 300 men carrying a 36 metre long 3 ton giant dragon God made of bamboo and straw 2 kilometres to a lake in Tsurugashima’s Kandachiga pond, where the ritual for rain is conducted. The 300 dragon bearers wear traditional Japanese happi coats. The dragon is made from scratch for each festival, as at the end of the rain ritual in the pond, the dragon is destroyed to incite the God’s anger to evoke thunderstorms, hence rain. You can read more about the history and meaning of this unique festival in detail, in English, on the Tsurugashima City website. The Saitama Tourism website, Sai-no-kuni Kanko, anticipates 30,000 people will attend this coming Sunday.  Coinciding with this rare and fascinating festival is an International Exchange Fair at Wakaba Station, the station you use to get to Suneori Amagoi Festival, from 10 am to 8 pm on Sunday.

From the official Saitama Prefecture Tourism website http://www.sainokuni-kanko.jp/eng/
From the official Saitama Prefecture Tourism website http://www.sainokuni-kanko.jp/eng/

 

Suneori Amagoi Festival Information

Time: 1 pm to 5 pm
Where: Area from Shirahige Shrine to Kandachiga Pond, Tsurugashima City, Saitama
Access: Approximately 43 minutes from Ikebukuro Station in Tokyo. 15 minute walk from Tobu Tojo Line Wakaba Station. See maps and access photos below

If you can’t make the festival this year, don’t worry – you can watch it live on http://www.ustream.tv/channnel/tsurugashimacity-tv

The next festival after August 7th 2016 will luckily coincide with the 2020 Olympics. The festival is usually held on the 1st Sunday of August, but due to the olympics there maybe changes. I will update nearer the time. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Golf Events are being held at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in the nearby city of Kawagoe. If golf contestants or spectators want to enjoy a quintessential yet extraordinary Japanese festival this is one to bookmark for your trip to Japan. More on Golf In Saitama: Golf in Japan :: Courses in Saitama

If you understand Japanese, here is a video about the festival and its background. Below that is a nice piece with English subtitles.





ACCESS

Access guide to Tsurugashima from the Tsurugashima Official Website:

From the official Tsurugashima website

On Google Maps

 

insaitama.com is a non-profit blog. I write to share information with foreigners that don’t read Japanese and might not otherwise know all the great things Saitama prefecture has to offer. I respectfully ask that if you are using or sharing this information, that you please quote the source. Thank you. The adverts that appear on these posts are placed in the hope that one day they might cover the cost of self-hosting a website, but they currently do not generate revenue.

Festivals in Saitama July 31st

Below is a list of the some of the larger, more famous or well attended festivals that are scheduled for this Sunday, JULY 31ST.

Kawagoe Summer Festival





Only 30 minutes from Tokyo, the historic town of Kawagoe is a popular place to experience a typical Japanese summer festival. The festival is celebrated each year on the last Saturday and Sunday of July.  The festival includes parades, processions, portable shrines, music and dance. There are also many festival stalls with traditional Japanese festival games or selling festival food.

Time: from 12pm on Sunday
Contact: Kawagoe City Tourist Information Office 049-222-5556
Location: Spreads from around Hon Kawagoe Station to the main tourist area by the Bell Tower.
Access: Hon Kawagoe Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line. Approximately a 8 minute walk from Kawagoe station on the JR Kawagoe and Tobu Tojo Lines.

Omiya Summer Festival

Image from STIB official website




This fun and lively festival is ideal for kids as it has a “Children’s Summer Festival Space”. Within that area, which holds up to 500 kids, there are children’s festival games such as hoop throwing, bowling, a quiz corner and more. They also have children’s much beloved kaki-kori (shaved ice). The main festival has parades, mikoshi (portable shrine), live music, dance including yosakoi as well as festival stalls and more.

Time:  5 pm to 9 pm
Contact: Saitama Tourism and International Bureau 050-5541-8600
Location: Around the West Exit of Omiya Station
Access: JR East, Tobu Railway and Saitama New Urban Transit OMIYA Station

Gyoda Floating Castle Festival 行田浮き城祭り

Photo from the official website: https://www.city.gyoda.lg.jp/15/04/12/ukisiro/event_maturi/summer.html
Photo from the official website: https://www.city.gyoda.lg.jp/15/04/12/ukisiro/event_maturi/summer.html





Held every year on the last Saturday and Sunday of July, this sacred rites festival attracts about 55,000 people from all over Saitama and beyond.  The Danbe Folk Dance is one of the highlights of this festival. There are also portable shrines, floats, a parade and festival stalls.

Time: 3.30 pm to 9 pm
Contact: 048-556-1111
Location: along Route 125 and Gyoda-Hasuda Avenue
Access: 1 minute walk from Chichibu Railway Gyodashi Station

 

 

 

This information was accurate at the time of research. As with all fireworks and festivals (events in general) information is subject to change due to weather and/or mitigating factors. 

 

Insaitama.com is a not for profit blog. The adverts that appear on this blog are part of Google adsense, in a bid to contribute to the cost of self-hosting a website. However, to date, they have not generated any revenue and are unlikely to in the next 5 years!

Fireworks and Festivals in Saitama July 30th 2016

Below is a list of the some of the larger, more famous or well attended festivals and fireworks that are scheduled for this Saturday, JULY 30TH. Each place is mapped on a Google Map at the bottom of the article.

Kawagoe Summer Festival




Only 30 minutes from Tokyo, the historic town of Kawagoe is a popular place to experience a typical Japanese summer festival. The festival is celebrated each year on the last Saturday and Sunday of July.  The festival includes parades, processions, portable shrines, music and dance. There are also many festival stalls with traditional Japanese festival games or selling festival food.

Time: from 2pm on Saturday
Contact: Kawagoe City Tourist Information Office 049-222-5556
Location: Spreads from around Hon Kawagoe Station to the main tourist area by the Bell Tower.
Access: Hon Kawagoe Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line. Approximately a 8 minute walk from Kawagoe station on the JR Kawagoe and Tobu Tojo Lines.

Ageo Fireworks

The 18th Ageo fireworks display
Image from Ageo City official website

Ageo fireworks are one of the 10 largest firework displays in Saitama. Approximately 10,000  fireworks will be launched, including “shakudama” 尺玉 which are the largest sized shells. There are starmines as well as fireworks with celebratory messages for birthdays, marriage and good results in tests. These fireworks attract about 160,000 spectators. There are about 50 festival stalls. The fireworks are launched near Riverside Phoenix Golf course, which is a 15 minute bus ride from JR Takasaki Line, Ageo Station. Queries to Ageo Tourist Board at 048-775-5917.  You can also view the fireworks from Maruyama Park and Enomoto Farm. The farm usually closes at 5pm, but stays open until 9pm on the day of the fireworks. Parking is free at Enomoto Farm.



Time: from 7pm
Contact: 048-775-5917
Location: Riverside Phoenix Golf course
Access: Bus from JR Takasaki Line, Ageo Station

Koshigaya Fireworks

July 30th

Koshigaya fireworks are another of the larger firework displays held in Saitama. They attract a huge crowd of about 250,000 people. They have been running for 28 years. Approximately 5000 fireworks will be launched, weather permitting, between, roughly, 19.00 and 20.50.  The viewing site is about a 6 minute walk from the east exit of Koshigaya station.  There is no parking. The Koshigaya station is crazily crowded after the fireworks finished. You may have to wait a long time to get on a train. The last train toward Asakusa station is at 23.52 and toward Tobu Zoo  is 20 past midnight.  If you can walk to either Kita Koshigaya or Shin Koshigaya station, you will have a better chance of getting a train out before last train . Queries to Koshigaya Tourist Board: 048-971-9002 or http://www.koshigaya-sightseeing.jp/  You can also view these fireworks from Higashi Koshigaya Dai Ichi Park.

Time: from 7pm
Contact: Koshigaya Tourist Board 048-971-9002
Location: Chuo civic center east side Embankment in Kasai Irrigation Channel
Access: East Entrance Koshigaya Station, Tobu Skytree Line

 

Saitama City Fireworks

From the official Saitama Tourism and International Relations Bureau http://www.stib.jp/event/data/oowadahanabi.html




NTT television organise these popular fireworks held annually on July 30th in Owada park in Saitama. The park itself is a 15 minute walk from Omiya Park station on the Tobu Urban Park line. People arrive early to secure a good viewing location.  5,000 fireworks will be launched around 7.30 pm. Displays include starmines and rapid succession type fireworks. Queries to 0180-99-3144. You can also reserve a space for a leisure sheet through that number. It’s 3500 yen for a double sheet, 5000 yen for a family size sheet.

Time: from 7.30pm
Contact: NTT 0180-99-3144
Location: Owada Park, Saitama City.
Access: Omiya Park Station, Tobu Urban Park Line

Summer Festa at Kitamoto

From the official website

This local festival has been growing year on year. This year they will have taiko drum performances, traditional Japanese dance, festival booths, parades, kids dance, live music and more.    http://www.city.kitamoto.saitama.jp/kanko/oshirase/1464744695186.html

Time: 3.30 pm to 9 pm
Contact: Kitamoto Commercial Association 048-591-4461
Location: East side of Kitamoto Station
Access: Kitamoto Station on the Takasaki Line

Wherever you end up this Saturday, have a great time!

 

To the best of my knowledge this information was accurate at time of research. With all fireworks and festivals (events in general) information is subject to change due to weather and/or mitigating factors. 

 

Insaitama.com is a not for profit blog. The adverts that appear on this blog are part of Google adsense, in a bid to contribute to the cost of self-hosting a website. However, to date, they have not generated any revenue and are unlikely to in the next 5 years!

Cats Eye Play and Sports Centre | SAYAMA

Cats Eye play and sports centre is very like Spocha in Round 1, just not as classy or clean, and the limited number of staff leave a lot to be desired. There is a smell of stale smoke in the areas outside the play area and a damp smell in part of the play zone. The area outside the play area feels quite run down and many of the areas are dark and dingy. However, for all its faults, I think it has great equipment for young children and is good value for money.

 

 

The system was quite confusing as a first timer, but once you get in to the play area it all makes a bit more sense.  You have to become a member the first time you visit, which involves spending a bit of time inputting data into a computer. It also costs 315 yen per person over the age of 6. Then you move to reception to show proof of identity and to request which package you want. There are a few different types, but with young children you basically need to just choose a 3 hour or all day pack. You pay on the way out.

After getting your membership card at reception you can enter the play area. There are a number of facilities including, but not limited to, the kids park, play house area, costume dress up, fishing, amusement games (which are included in the cost), sports areas with soccer, baseball, archery, golf etc.  There are even bowling lanes that are included in the cost, but you need to pay extra for shoe rental. They have karaoke rooms too. You can pay for drink bar, where you can help yourself to unlimited drinks. They have a selection of soft drinks and some coffee too.

INFORMATION:

Classification: Indoor play area, Indoor sporting facilities, Bowling, Fishing, Karaoke, Children’s play centre, Table Tennis, Dance Studio, Darts, Archery, Batting practice, Costume dress up, Bicycles, Shooting, Computer Games, Trampoline, Billiards, Value for money

Hours and Cost: The hours are 10 am to 5 am.  The cost depends on the package. They currently (2016) have a summer package for 3 hours of play on weekdays for 720 yen for school aged children. There is a restaurant in the play area. The selection is limited,  but it is reasonably priced.

 

ACCESS:

The nearest stations are Sayamashi and Iriso on the Seibu Shinjuku line.  They are both about a 20 to 25 minute walk from Cats Eye or you can take a bus from Sayamashi station.  Parking is free. See Google Maps below.

URL: http://www.hku.co.jp/catseye/sayama/

On Iko-yo.net: http://iko-yo.net/facilities/15962

Google Maps:

 

Shirakobato Water Park with Beach | KOSHIGAYA

Shirakobato was named after the prefectural bird, a collared dove. One of the parks unique features is an imported beach of white sand from Australia. It is one of the most popular water parks with families as the park offers a lot more than just pools. A full list below under “Facilities”. They also organise many events , including kids programmes and beach sports. The park will open full time for the summer from this Saturday.

Hours:
From 9 am on Saturday July 16th 2016. They close at 6 pm until the 16th of August and 5 pm until August 31st 2016.

Cost:
720 yen for adults, 210 yen for primary and JHS students, children under 6 are free. They have a family pass for 2 adults and 2 school age children for 1650 yen. For over 65s, Thursdays are free in for “Senior Day” .

Access:
Take a bus bound for “Suijo Kouen” (水上公園) from Tobu Skytree Line’s Koshigaya Station.
Parking for 1900 cars, which costs 820 yen for the day. (Also see Google Maps at the bottom of post)
Sat nav/GPS: phone number 048-977-5151

Facilities:
9 pools in total, including a wave pool, a pool with sliders and a decent sized children’s pool with 2 low sliders. Plus:

  • Beach
  • Wading river and splash pools
  • Heated tub
  • BBQ areas that you can book in advance
  • Food Corner
  • Bikes for rent
  • Table tennis
  • Miniature Golf
  • Battery cars
  • Ball pool
  • Playground

Other:
The park is wheelchair accessible and has 12 parking spaces for wheelchair and/or lower mobility users and wheelchair friendly ticket gates.  There are 7 toilets for wheelchair users.

Like most water parks in Saitama, visible tattoos are forbidden.

URL:  http://www.shirakobatosuijo.com/

Other seasonal pools / water parks featured on this blog include:

 




Featured image from Mappuru “Summer Holidays with Family” available on Amazon. Below link is an Amazon Affiliate Link:

 

Summer pools at Saitama Water Park | AGEO

*From our Facebook page Saitama With Kids*

This Saturday one of the many summer water parks opening their doors for the summer season is the prefectural water park: Saitama Suijo Koen. The pools will be open daily until August 31st.

Hours:
From 9 am on Saturday July 16th. They close at 6 pm until the 16th of August and 5 pm until August 31st.

Cost:
510 yen for adults, 210 yen for primary and JHS students, children under 6 are free. They have a family pass for 2 adults and 2 school age children for 1230 yen.

Access:
Take a bus bound for “Ageo Undo Kouen” (上尾運動公園) from JR Takasaki Line’s Ageo Station.
Parking for 1000 cars, which costs 820 yen for the day. (Also see Google Maps at the bottom of post)
Sat nav/GPS: phone number 048-773-6711

Facilities:
Pools include(but are not limited to) a wave pool, a pool with 6 sliders and a 40 to 60 cm depth children’s pool with 2 slides. Infants and toddlers still in nappies are allowed with a water nappy / diaper.

Other:
There is a food corner. They have events on weekdays.

URL: http://www.saitamasuijo.com/

Summer Water Park at Seibu Amusement Park | TOKOROZAWA

*Taken from our facebook page Saitama with Kids*
The summer pools at Seibu Amusement Park opened early in July.  The night pool will open on select dates from July 15th.  Seibu amusement park and its seasonal pools, beer garden and fireworks are popular with locals and even people commuting from Tokyo and further afield too.

Hours:
9am to 5pm until September 4th. (They will close only 1 day during the season: September 1st).

Seibu Amusement park will open their NIGHT POOL from July 15th on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 9pm in July and from the 15th to the 19th and on Fridays in August.

Cost:
Day pass for adults and children over 15 is 3,000 yen. For kindergarten and primary school aged children and people over 60 the price is 1800 yen for a day pass. Children under 2 are free.

Facilities:
4 pools (1 is massive) which include one 30 cm water depth pool that children in nappies / diapers ARE allowed into. Children over 3 are allowed to zorb on water with a parent. They have an “Hello Kitty Water Park” which is a separate water play area.

Access:
5 minute walk from Seibu Tamako Line Seibu Yuenchi Station and Seibu Line Seibuen Station.
Parking for 1200 cars, costs 1,300 yen for one day until July 31st, 1,500 yen per day from August 1st.
Sat nav/ GPS: phone number 042-922-1371

Other: Seibu Pools, in my experience to date, are the most expensive in Saitama.  The amusement park launches fireworks during the summer and the park also has a seasonal beer garden. They have a night pool from July 15th.

URL: http://www.seibuen-yuuenchi.jp/guide/pool/index.html

 

Summer Outdoor Pool, Numakage Park | URAWA

One of the earliest parks to open their outdoor pools for the summer season is Numakage Park in Urawa, Saitama. Information adapted from Saitama with Kids facebook page (with permission):

The outdoor pools in NUMAKAGE PARK have been opening for weekends since July 2nd. They will open daily from this Saturday the 16th of July.

Hours:
July 2nd to August 15th: 9am to 5.30pm.
August 15th to 31st: 9am to 5pm.

Prices:
430 yen for adults, 210 for primary to high school students, preschoolers and below free. *However, children still in nappies / diapers are not allowed use the pools*

Access:
10 minute walk from JR Saikyo Line Musashi-Urawa station.
Parking: for 130 cars. FREE.
Satnav / GPS: phone number 048-861-9955

Facilities:
8 pools including 1 with waves and 2 suitable for young children (who are out of nappies). The children’s pools have a maximum of 50 cm of water and both have slides.
Other: Numakage park also has an all year round indoor pool.
http://www.numakage-park.com/