New Years Sunrise on Mt. Fukuyama in Soja City

soja city, okayama prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photo source | Facebook Public Photos

The New Year Holiday is one of the most important holidays in Japan. It is the only time of the year when the entire country shuts down to say a long goodbye to the past year and welcome the coming one. The timing varies but generally speaking, the last few days of December and the first few days of January make up the holiday. It is one of the occasions during the year that is set aside for connecting with family. Common activities over the holiday include visiting a shrine and having a special New Year meal full of traditional delicacies which represent prosperity and longevity.

Another New Year ritual that is practiced across the country is the act of hiking to the summit of a local mountain to watch the first sunrise of the new year. One of the nicest places to do this is in Okayama Prefecture is Mt. Fukuyama in the Kiyone Village district of Soja CityMt. Fukuyama is a 302 meter peak with breathtaking views of Soja, Okayama and Kurashiki cities.The route to the summit takes you past several burial mounds and the ruins of Fukuyama Castle. Participants are also treated to complimentary sweet sake to celebrate the event but remember to bring your own cup. 1234 steps crafted from wood and earth mark the final stage of the climb and the last challenge before the summit. Take your time and watch the sun slowly emerge above the horizon.

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 Hakubi Line fro JR Okayama Station to JR Kiyone Station. The JA Okayama-Nishi Kiyone Rice Center is about a 20 minute walk from JR Kiyone Station.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

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