Ito's Anjinsai Festival
A Celebration of History and Culture
Anjinsai is a local festival in on the Izu peninsula. It’s the biggest annual festival here in Ito, Shizuoka. The festival commemorates the construction of Japan’s first Western-style sailing ship here in Izu at the mouth of Ito’s Matsukawa River by Miura Anjin (Englishman William Adams), who was a diplomatic adviser to Ieyasu Tokugawa and Japan’s second foreign samurai.
About the Anjinsai Festival
The actual festival takes place over three days, but each year for two weeks before and after Anjinsai, the city of Ito sponsors beautiful fireworks shows almost nightly. This month long fireworks extravaganza includes energetic yosakoi dances, thrilling taiko competition, and the vibrant Wakuwaku-ichi evening market. Wakuwaku-ichi features live performances, food booths, local crafts and a beer garden from where the fireworks can be viewed.
The first Anjinsai was held in 1947. The lineup of the early Anjinsai was completely different from today and included boat races, long-distance swimming competitions, and dance parties. Fireworks displays have been held since the 3rd Anjinsai in 1949. This year will mark the 77th festival.
Energetic Yosakoi Dances
Yosakoi, a dynamic and rhythmic traditional Japanese dance form, is performed by local dance troupes at various times throughout the month. Yosokai culminates in a multi-team competition during the Anjinsai. Yosakoi groups from throughout Japan’s Tokai and Kanto regions vie to perform the most energetic and colorful performances. Adorned in vibrant costumes with bells and scarves, dancers flood the streets of Ito, moving in synchrony to the pounding rhythms of traditional music.
One of the most thrilling aspects of these performances is when the flag bearers open the dance by rhythmically waving giant flags with the troupe’s colors. The energy and enthusiasm exuded by the performers are contagious, captivating the audience. Locals and visitors are encouraged to join in the dance, fostering a sense of community and shared joy.
Thrilling Taiko Competition
Anjinsai also features a thrilling taiko competition that electrifies the atmosphere and shakes the ground. Skilled taiko drummers from Izu and other regions showcase their talent and precision. Visitors enjoy the variety of costumes, body movements, teamwork, and rhythms choreographed and performed by the teams. The intense beats symbolize strength, unity, and a celebration of Japanese cultural heritage. A final taiko competitition takes places on the stage at Nagisa Park with the beautiful Sagami Bay at sunset as a backdrop.
Wakuwaku-ichi Market and Beer Garden
For two weeks before and after the Anjinsai, the vibrant Ito Waku Waku Ichi market offers locals and visitors alike a place to gather in the cool of the summer evenings, listen to live entertainment, taste different foods, enjoy a cold draft beer, and communicate while the kids play games and eat kakigori (shaved ice).
The market is a bustling hub of stalls and vendors, showcasing an array of local delicacies, traditional crafts, and unique souvenirs.
Wakuwaku-ichi is located at Fuji no Hiroba, alongside the Matsukawa River – a two minute walk from the beach.
Come visit us in Izu!
2023 Schedule of Events
Ito Onsen Ocean Fireworks
July 22 (Sat)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 1
July 29th (Sat)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 2
July 30 (Sun)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 3
July 31st (Mon)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 4
August 4 (Fri)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 5
August 6 (Sun)
Usami Summer Festival
August 8 (Tue)
“Stream of Floating Lanterns” Fireworks Display
August 9 (Wed)
“Taiko no Hibiki” fireworks display
August 10 (Thu)
The 77th Anjin Festival Grand Fireworks
August 12 (Sat)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 6
August 14 (Mon)
Yanmo-no-Sato Fireworks Display
August 15 (Tue)
Kawana Irukahama Fireworks Display
August 16th (Wed)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 7
August 17 (Thu)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 8
August 19 (Sat)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 9
August 22 (Tue)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 10 Chopsticks Festival Fireworks Display
August 26th (Sat)
Ito Onsen “Dream Fireworks” Part 11
Day 1: August 8 (Tue)
19:30-21:00 Matsukawa lantern floating festival. Lanterns are floated along the Matsukawa River.
You can also purchase lanterns and freely draw pictures and letters and let them flow!
Venue: Ito Matsukawa (near river mouth)
20:50-21:00 “Flower of Lanterns ” fireworks display
Venue: Ito Beachside
Enjoy the lights of the lanterns flowing down the river and the fireworks set high in the sky.
Day 2: August 9 (Wed)
18:00-21:00 Taiko drum battle
Taiko drum teams from around the region gather to perform Japanese taiko drums.
Venue: Nagisa Park
20:50-21:00 Fireworks with drum sounds
At the climax of the taiko battle, the best fireworks are launched!
Venue: Ito Beach side
Day 3: August 10th (Thu)
20:00-21:00 Anjin Festival Sea Fireworks Festival
The main event and finale of the Anjinsai!
About 10,000 fireworks are launched simultaneously from 5 locations on the sea, making it one of the largest fireworks festivals in Izu .
Venue: Ito beach side
The market, beer garden, food, craft stalls and live music begin at 18:00 and end around 21:00 every night on the following dates:
July 22 (Sat)
July 29 (Sat)
Bonus event – Yosakoi dance troupe
July 30 (Sun)
July 31 (Mon)
Aug 4 (Fri)
Aug 5 (Sat)
During the three days of Anjinsai, Fuji no Hiroba is rented out to a professional festival vendor company and takes on a colorful, garish atmosphere like many of the big festivals in Japan.
The local flavor disappears from the marketplace, but this is when Ito is most crowded with locals and tourists. The streets are closed off and people wander around socializing and having a good time.
Wakuwaku-ichi Market (cont’d)
Aug 12 (Sat)
Bonus event – Bon odori dance (anyone can join)
Aug 13 (Sun)
Aug 15 (Tue)
Bonus event -Bon odori dance (anyone can join)
Aug 16 (Wed)
Aug 17 (Thu)
Aug 18 (Fri)
Aug 19 (Sat)
Aug 20 (Sun)
Aug 22 (Tue)
Bonus event – Yosakoi dance troupe
Aug 26 (Sat) Final