The Most Popular Festival in Hokuriku
The Owara Kaze-no-Bon, a 300-year-old festival held to appease the typhoon winds and ask for bountiful crops, is one of the most popular festivals in the Hokuriku region. During a three-day period from September 1, special trains and a number of sightseeing buses shuttle between Yatsuo in Toyama City and nearby stations. Each year, more than 200,000 festival lovers flock to Yatsuo, a small town with just a population of 5,000 that's famous for its signature sweet, Owara Tamaten.
Mysterious Dance Under Dim Lights
The most appealing attraction of the festival is the line dancing performances of young men and women wearing summer kimono (called yukata) and bell-shaped hats of braided straw under the dim lights of small lamp stands. As a backdrop for the dance, the historical hill town of Yatsuo is impeccable, accompanied by three-stringed musical instruments and locals singing "Ecchu Owara Bushi," one of the most prestigious folk songs in Toyama.
Secure an Accommodation Now
As mentioned above, the festival has the ability to pull in many sightseers; therefore, hotels and inns around town have little to no vacancy during the three days. You had better secure your accommodation months in advance if you're planning to visit for the festival. Hotels in the central part of Toyama City are ideal, but ones in Kanazawa, which is a little farther away, are also available. Kanazawa is one of the most attractive destinations in Japan. If you're already planning on visiting Kanazawa, Yatsuo makes for a good side trip. The festival is held each year from September 1 to 3.
Location: Yatsuomachi, Toyama City, Toyama Prefecture ( (富山県富山市八尾町)
Ecchu Yatsuo Station (越中八尾駅), nearest to the main dance stage, is about 20 minutes from Toyama Station on JR Takayama Line.