Overview of Annual Events

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Page ID1010408  Last update April 8, 2019

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February and March: A Celebration of Hina Dolls

Doll mobiles called

Each year starting in late February, the rooms of the Hino-shuku Honjin are decorated with sets upon sets of Hina dolls in preparation for the Japanese holiday Hina-matsuri. Also called the Doll Festival or Girls Day, Hina-matsuri is a day to wish for the health and happiness of young girls and takes place annually on March 3rd. Typically, Japanese families with young daughters celebrate by displaying a set of dolls in their houses. At the Hino-shuku Honjin, you can learn the origins of the tradition and see how the dolls stylistically evolved over the centuries. You can also take a look at collections of tsurushi-bina, a now difficult-to-find style of Hina dolls which resemble hanging mobiles.

May: Hino Shinsengumi Festival

Performers dressed as Shinsengumi members at the Hino Shinsengumi Festival

Samurai fans from near and far gather in Hino City each May for a trip through time back to Bakumatsu Japan, the era when Japan’s last samurai, a force known as the Shinsengumi, once policed the streets of Kyoto. While the group’s battle records often lead them to be associated with the old capital, their hometown is actually right here in Hino! Many of the Shinsengumi’s most renowned members learned the way of the sword here some 150 years ago, including Hijikata Toshizo, the force’s fearsome vice commander. The two-day Hino Shinsengumi Festival celebrates the Shinsengumi’s Tokyo roots with a Shinsengumi look-alike contest and massive parade of several hundred participants clad in period attire.

July: Hino Yosakoi Festival

Dancers perform an energetic dance routine at the Hino Yosakoi Festival

In late July, yosakoi dancers from around Japan perform their way down the streets surrounding Hino’s Toyoda Station. Yosakoi dance is a rapidly growing fusion between modern music and the vibrant aesthetics of traditional Japanese festival attire. What’s special about the Hino Yosakoi Festival is that the dynamic dances are not only performed in place on a stage or float as is common at other festivals in the region; instead, the dance routines are choreographed to incorporate movement down a parade route, a technique called nagashi-odori, or “flowing dance.”

August: Ayu Sweetfish Festival

Children learn fishing techniques in the Asakawa River at the Ayu Sweetfish Festival

Each August, Hino City holds the annual Ayu Sweetfish Festival on the banks of the Asakawa River. This relatively new festival started as a way for locals to get to know Hino’s rivers and the rich ecosystem they support – all while enjoying a summer afternoon in the great outdoors. The festival consistently “reels in” thousands of guests with its lineup of family-friendly aquatic activities, such as demonstrations of traditional Japanese fishing techniques and beginning fishing lessons for kids. It’s even been registered as an official part of the Tokyo 2020 Nationwide Participation Programme. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Ayu Sweetfish Festival without ayu, though. Each year, salt-grilled ayu sweetfish are distributed to guests for free. Visit to get your own taste of Hino’s wild side!

October: Hirayama Sueshige Festival

Hirayama Sueshige Festival-goers dressed in medieval Japanese attire

The annual Hirayama Sueshige Festival is held each October. The festival gets its name from Hirayama Sueshige, a local samurai who fought alongside the legendary warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune over 800 years ago. The event itself, however, is much more laid-back than its war hero namesake! The festival is a social event for families to enjoy kid-friendly crafts, games, traditional Japanese arts, and a variety of performances. With its hometown feel and focus on the local community, the Hirayama Sueshige Festival is a great place for residents to meet other members of the Hino family.

November: Hino Sangyo Festival

Vegetable cart at the Hino Sangyo Festival

The Hino Sangyo Festival is a two-day celebration of local “sangyo” held each fall in November. What’s sangyo? It’s a Japanese word for “industry!” The festival shines the spotlight on local workers from all sorts of sectors across business, agriculture, and technology to give us a peek into what goes on under the hood. There’s food, games, and booths of all kinds to explore.

November: Takahata Momiji Illumination

Painstakingly hand-carved lanterns line the streets at the Takahata Momiji Illumination

Every November, the area around Hino City’s Takahata Fudo Station transforms from Tokyo streets into a romantic lantern-lit trail. Several thousand lanterns are positioned throughout the Takahata shopping district, including a number of elegantly hand-carved yume-akari “dream lanterns.” The gently wavering candlelight is magical against the backdrop of local temple Takahata Fudo-son’s five-storied pagoda, especially at the turn of the seasons when all the city’s momiji trees blush red. Make a memory out of the fleeting autumn nights at the Takahata Momiji Illumination.

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