Every year in mid-December, a one of a kind music festival is held in Soja City Hall’s parking lot. What makes it unique is not that it is an outdoor concert that takes place in the cold of winter but rather that the remedy for the low temperature is a traditional Japanese heated table known as a kotatsu. Many people in Japan have a kotatsu in their homes and one of the most enduring winter images is of a family seated around it with their legs under the blanket that rests between the tabletop and its base, eating tangerines.
The idea of using one outside would probably never occur to most because the modern kotatsu is electric and requires a power source. At the 100 Kotatsu Live Concert, there are 100 kotatsus lined up in the Soja City Hall parking lot for concert-goers to use. It is amazing to see so many heated tables with their colorful blankets and the dozens of extension cords running between them. People sit around the tables in an orderly fashion and are as relaxed as if they were at home.
The concert takes place from 5:30pm to 9pm and features some brilliant local musicians who represent a variety of genres. You are likely to hear everything from pop to folk music and there might even be an appearance made by Soja City’s adorable mascots. Food stalls provide some great festival treats such as octopus dumplings (takoyaki), chicken kebabs (yakitori) and stir fried noodles (yakisoba). The 100 Kotatsu Live Concert is an event that will definitely give you a chance to connect with the friendly people of Soja City and give you a taste of Okayama’s festival spirit.
About the Area
Soja is an inland city in southwestern Okayama Prefecture. It is borders the cities of Okayama, Kurashiki, Takahashi and Ibara and the towns of Kibichuo and Yakage. This unique geographic position has meant that the city has always been deeply intertwined in regional cultural and political affairs.
With a name that literally means “all shrines”, it would be easy to assume that the city contains a lot of them and you would be correct. However, in many ways, Soja is very much a temple town, in that there are two major ones near the city center.
One of the most interesting parts of the city is the old shopping street that runs parallel to Route 180. There, you will find clues to life in the Meiji era in the stories told through its homes and storefronts.
Access: Take the Momotaro (Kibi) Line from JR Okayama Station to JR Higashi Soja Station. It is about a 10 minute walk to Soja City Hall from JR Higashi Soja Station.
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|Cancellation Date||Up to 21 days prior||20-8 days prior||7-2 days prior||Day prior to start of tour||Day of tour||After start of tour/non-participation with no contact|
|Cancellation Fee||No charge||20% of tour fee||30% of tour fee||40% of tour fee||50% of tour fee||100% of tour fee|