Stone Lifting Festival in Soja City

soja city, okayama prefecture, visitwestjapan
Photo source | Soja City Tourist Office
Soja City
end of August

Soja-gu is the premier shrine in Soja City. Located just minutes away from Higashi Soja Station, photos of its column of torii or Shinto gates and inner garden have gone viral on social media.

Soja-gu Shrine is the venue for an annual stone lifting event that is held at the end of August. Children test their strength and determination as they try to hold a stone above the ground for ten seconds in order to move on to the next weight.

In the atmosphere of a sumo competition, girls and boys struggle to lift their particular stone while the crowd and their parents cheer them on. The winner is the child who can hold the heaviest rock for ten seconds. The Stone Lifting Festival at Soja-gu Shrine is a great challenge for local kids.


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. Soja-gu Shrine is about a 5-minute walk from JR Higashi Soja 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