Akibasan Hibuse Matsuri (Firewalking Festival) is a ritual performed by mountaineering ascetics called Yamabushi in their unique clothes in Odawara, where “Buddhist Priests walked over hot coals. They pray for peace in the world and exchange religious questions and answers. After that, there is the ritual of “Hiwatari” in which the monks walk on red-hot embers praying for health and happiness.
Place: Akibasan Ryogakuin Temple 544 Itabashi, Odawara City (Odawara-shi), Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0034, Japan Transportation: 10 min walk from Hakone-Tozan Line, Hakone Itabashi Station Tel: 0465-22-6025
The earliest Daruma Ichi in the Kanto Area is held in Iizumi-zan Shofukuji Temple (Iizumi Kannon Temple), which is famous as the fifth sacred place of Bando 33 Kannon. In the precinct, many tents sell numerous kinds of Daruma (a tumbler in the form of Bodhidharma). The market bustles with people and families. With a history of over 400 years, the fair is the forerunner of a series of Daruma Ichi fairs to be held in various parts of the Kanto District every year.
Place: Iizumi-zan Shofukuji Temple (Iizumi Kannon Temple) Transportation: From Odawara Station, take a bus for Shinmatsuda
/Shimosogaya Station and get off at the “Iizurnibashi” stop 10 min walk from the bus stop
Toki-no-Kane or the Time Bell of Odawara has been informing the town of the time for 300 years. People make a long line and strike Joya-no-Kane or 108 strikes at midnight of New Year’s Eye.
Place: Shoro, Odawara Toki-no-Kane (Time Bell) 1-5-24 Honcho, Odawara City (Odawara-shi), Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0012, Japan Transportation: 1 0 min walk from Odawara Station, East Exit Tel: 0465-24-0905, 0465-33-1521
Upon the first sunrise of the new year, which is the very the start of the year, members of the Odawara Swimming Association enter the ocean and pray for safety at sea and their health Celebrate the new year together with people who have come to worship the first sunrise of the year.
Address and Contact: First New Year’s Day Swim (Hatsu-Oyogi) Place: Miyuki-no-Hama (Miyuki Beach) 3 Honcho, Odawara City (Odawara-shi), Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0012, Japan Transportation: 20 min walk from Odawara Station, East Exit Tel: 0465-33-1521 (Tourism Division)
From the first race held in 1920, Hakone Ekiden or Hakone College Ekiden Race, a longdistance relay through Odawara in early spring, has been an exciting competition throughout its long history. Year after year, it gains in popularity attracting spectators to the Odawara Relay Point and along the road sides of Route 1 to cheer the Students runners.
Hakone Ekiden (Hakone College Ekiden Race), which is officially called The Tokyo-Hakone Come and Go College Ekiden Race (Tokyo-Hakone Ofuku Daigaku Ekiden), is one of the prominent university ekiden (relay marathon) races of the year held between Tokyo and Hakone in Japan on 2 and 3 January. Road side spots to see long distance relay road race and approximate time when runners pass.
Odawara Relay Point: Outward (Jan 2) around 1 2:1 5 pm / Return (Jan 3) around 9 am
Around Kouzu: Outward (Jan 2) around 11:45 arn / Return (Jan 3) around 9:25 am
Odawara Relay Point (Outward or forward Path) Tokai-do, Odawara City (Odawara-shi), Kanagawa-ken 250-0012, Japan [latitude and longitude: 35.247205,139.155792]
Odawara Relay Point (Return Path)
Tokai-do, Kazamatsuri, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa-ken 250-0032, Japan [latitude and longitude: 35.245762,139.129988]
Contact – Hakone Ekiden Tel: 0460-85-7410 (Hakone Ekiden), 0465-33-1521 (Tourism Division)
In the festival in January and August, a number of street stalls line the side of the oldTokaido Road, and many religious men and women visit the temple. It is said if you pay a visit on this day, you will be able to meet a person who looks exactly like a deceased family member.
Place: Sofukuin Temple (Itabashi Jizoson-Temple) Address and Contact: Jizo Buddhist Temple Festival Itabashi Jizoson-Temple 566 Itabashi, Odawara City (Odawara-shi), Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0034, Japan Transportation: 10 min walk from Hakone Tozan Line, Hakone Itabashi Station. Tel: 0465-22-7240, 0465-22-6327
Hatsu Tenjin of Sugawara-jinja Shrine dedicated to Michizane Sugawara, the deity of study, bustles with worshipers with a votive picture tablet co me to pray for success during entrance exams and eat at the street stalls lining the precinct.
Place: Sugawara Jinjya (Shrine) 1752 Kouzu, Odawara City (Odawara-shi), Kanagawa Prefecture 256-0812, Japan Transportation: From JR Karnonomiya Stn., take a bus for JR Kozu Stn. and get off at the “Nakazato” stop 7 min walk from the bus stop Tel: 0465-47-2960
Transportation: 10 min walk from JR Kouzu Station
In “Hibuse Matsuri,” after the questions and answers by mountaineering ascetics, a fire is made with sacred cards of the previous year and New Year’s decorations collected in the precinct of the temple, and to the reading of the sutras, barefoot mountain priests walk over the fire followed by general worshippers, praying for health and happiness.
Place: Manpuku-ji Temple 487 Nakazato, Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0872, Japan Tel: 0465-42-1235
The festival is in the beginning of February when the plum blossoms bloom in the land of Soga, known as the historical site of Soga Jura/Goro of Soga Monogatari, as well as the production site for plum apricots and oranges. The flowers come into full bloom toward the end of February. Blooms of approximately 35,000 plum trees against the landscape of sacred Mt. Fuji and Hakone mountain range appear like a white cloth spread in a field, it is like seeing a painting During the Ume Matsuri period, events such as Yabusame (Horseback Archery), Odawara Chochin Odori (Lantern Dance) and Kotobuki Shishi-mai (Lion Dance) are held. Also, Kukai and Nodate are held in Odawara Joshi Koen. In addition, in Odawara Castle Park, there is poetry reading and an out-door tea ceremony.
Place: Soga Bairin (Ume Matsuri is also held in Odawara Joshi Koen (Odawara Castle Park) Period: From Feb 1 till the first Sunday in March. Transportation: 10 min walk from JR Shimosoga Stn. (Joshi Koen is a 10 min walk from Odawara Stn.) Address: 282 Sogabessho, Odawara City (Odawara-shi), Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0205, Japan Tel: 0465-42-1965 (Soga Bairin Plum Blossom Festival Authority), 0465-22-5002 (Odawara City Tourist Association)