The Izu Peninsula has many festivals, and many take place in the summer and fall. Three festivals are among the most unusual in all of Japan.
The Anjinsai Festival in Ito, Shizuoka, is a captivating local festival on the Izu peninsula that draws locals and tourists alike to experience a fusion of traditional customs and exhilarating festivities. Known for its breathtaking fireworks display, energetic yosakoi dances, thrilling taiko competition, and lively outdoor Wakuwaku-ichi market and beer garden at Fuji no Hiroba, the Anjinsai Festival is a true celebration of the rich cultural heritage and lively spirit of Ito.
Shimoda’s biggest annual festival commemorates that era with the Kurofune Matsuri (Black Ship Festival). The first festival was held in 1934 as a way to honor the five crew members of Admiral Matthew Perry’s expedition to Japan who died at sea or during their time in Japan. Today, the festival also honors the friendship between Japan and the US.
If you’re looking to explore Japan and take a break from the crowds in Tokyo and Kyoto, Izu may be just the place you’re looking for. This peninsula located in the eastern part of Shizuoka Prefecture and is packed with natural beauty, history, and culture, making it a great option for tourists seeking an off the beaten path destination.
Here in Izu, we have some of the earliest blooming varieties of sakura (cherry trees). The most famous is the Kawazuzakura, which begins to bloom in the beginning of February and peaks around the second to third week of the month. This early variety was developed in the city of Kawazu, where a popular festival runs from the beginning till the end of February.
Everything about Japanese culture can be traced back to its rural villages. Japanese language, behavior, rituals, and diet can be traced back to a small village tucked away in a remote mountain valley.
How can that be? Let’s look at one lesson from language.
One of the first words a foreigner learns when studying Japanese is “gaijin,” 外人 which means ‘outsider.’ The more polite and socially accepted version of this word is “gaikokujin,” 外国人 which means ‘person from a foreign country.’ The word “gaijin” is strongly connected to the important concepts of “uchi” 内 and “soto” 外 in Japanese.