This festival takes place in the Hirata district, which until 2005 was an independent city. Although now part of Izumo City, it preserves its culture through annual events such as the Hirata Festival.
Essentially a Tanabata or Star Festival, participants write down their dreams on strips of paper to be displayed publicly. This summer celebration includes a parade put on by the local citizens and hosts a variety of performances.
Held at the end of July, the Hirata Festival has been going strong since the 1970s. You can listen to live music and see some talented regional celebrities. One of the highlights of the parade are the large and colorful nebuta-style floats which depict some internationally popular animated characters. Other exciting elements include the pyrotechnics that are set off after night falls.
Access: Take the Super Yakumo Express train to JR Izumo-shi Station. Walk for 2 minutes to the Ichibata Electric Railway Station. Take the Ichibata Electric Railway Kita Matue Line to Unshu-Hirata Station. It is about a 5 minute walk from Unshu-Hirata Station to the festival.
About the Area
Shimane Prefecture can be understood best by making a distinction between its eastern and western halves. The east is made up of the cities and towns near and around Lake Shinji and Lake Nakaumi.
The major municipalities include the cities of Yasugi, Matsue and Izumo. An area of exception that should also be in this category is the Oki Island Archipelago, which is 75-85 kilometers off the coast. The eastern region of Shimane has the largest population and is home to the prefectural capital, Matsue City.
Western Shimane Prefecture or more precisely the southwest, includes the cities of Masuda and Hamada as well as the Tsuwano Town on the border with Yamaguchi Prefecture. The western half of Shimane is characterized by its natural beauty from the hinterland to the coast.
The cultural bond that unites the entire prefecture can be found in the shared reverence for the history, myths and legends of the land. One example is the Kagura dance for the gods that is performed throughout Shimane in several variations.
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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|