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Winter (December-February)

Joya no Kane(The Tolling Bell Ceremony on New Year's Eve)

In the end of the year through the New Year’s season, Japan offers many traditional events to be experienced while traveling there.
One of the biggest Buddhist ceremonies is Joya no Kane, or the tolling of temple bells at midnight. 
According to Buddhist beliefs, it is customary to ring the bell 108 times as this number corresponds to the number of evil desires that we suffer from on earth. Ringing the bell 108 times rids us of our evil passions, and purifies us for the upcoming year. The following temples in Nagoya partake in this ceremony and allow people to watch or actually participate in ringing the bell.

Osu Kannon Temple 
Koshoji (Yagotoyama)
Nittaiji (Kakuozan)
Kenchuji Temple
Arako Kannon

ScheduleAround midnight, January 1st


Hatsumoude is an event in which people visit shrines, temples or churches for the first time in a new year to pray for safety and peace in that year. Generally speaking, Hatsumoude should be completed within the first three days of January. However, it is said that one’s first visit during the month of January, whenever it takes place, will be satisfactory. This event is also called "hatsumairi."
Especially, Atsuta Shrine and Osu Kannon Temple are crowded on New Year when many people come to pray.

ScheduleAll January
PlaceShinto shrines, Buddhist temples, churches, etc.

Kinekosa Festival

The Kinekosa Festival is held annually to pray for yakuyoke (protection from evil), shison hanei (prosperity), tenka taihei (peace), and gokoku houjyou (a good harvest). It is specifically believed that prayers for yakuyoke are particularly effective at this festival. The implements for the festival include kine (vertical mallets) and kosa (rice cake removed from kine) for which this festival was named.

First, male participants carry a piece of green bamboo to the Shonai River near Hichishosha Shrine and stand it up in the middle of the river. Then, a man from among them climbs up the green bamboo, and the direction in which the bamboo is bent or broken by the man’s weight is used to guide prayer and make predictions about the harvest.,Festival events are also held in the precincts of the shrine, and the kine and kosa are used to touch visitors during the festival. The visitors touched by these tools are believed to be protected from evil.

This festival at Hichishosha Shrine, said to have been established around A.D. 884 (Genkei 8), is registered as an intangible cultural asset and is one of the three major eccentric festivals in Owari.

ScheduleEvery 17th day of the first month of the lunar calendar
PlaceNanasho-sha (Nanasho shrine)
URLhttp://www.kinekosa.comExternal Link
ContactNanasho-sha (Nanasho shrine)

Plum blossom viewing at Nagoya Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

200 plum trees (Omoinomama, Enou, Benichidori, Aojiku, Michishirube…etc)

ScheduleMid-February to Late March
PlaceNagoya Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens
URLhttp://www.higashiyama.city.nagoya.jpExternal Link
Admission FeeAdmission fees apply
ContactNagoya Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Konomiya Hadaka (Naked) Festival

An awe-inspiring festival with that has been celebrated since the Nara Period. A religious ceremony in which a large number of (almost) naked men jostle with each other in order to touch a purified man (the Shin Otoko) and become blessed.

ScheduleFebruary 20
PlaceKonomiya Shrine, Inazawa City, (1-1-1 Konomiya, Inazawa city)
AccessTake Meitetsu Main line train from Nagoya Station bound for Gifu,
and get off at Konomiya Station (roughly 13 minutes from Nagoya Sta.)
The Shrine is a 3-min. walk from Konomiya Station.
URLhttp://www.konomiya.or.jpExternal Link
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