Izu Rhythm

News / Events

After more than two years of pandemic restrictions, Japan is finally opening to international tourism . . . a little bit at a time. The most conservative predictions are that people will be able to freely visit Japan by the end of this year. If things go well, hopefully sooner.

“Hopefully” is not reliable enough information to book a trip. Until we hear otherwise, I recommend planning your next trip to Japan beginning in March of 2023, when next year’s hanami season (cherry blossom viewing) begins. If you can be flexible, please keep reading the news. Things can change quickly.

It has been lonely without being able to see visitors enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Japan. We are all anxiously waiting to welcome you and share the charms of this amazing country!

If you can’t make these events, keep them on your radar for your next trip to Japan.


Current Events

Future Events

Matsukawa Washtub Race

A summer event held on the Matsukawa River that flows through the center of Ito onsen town!

In this unique competition, participants navigate a large tarai (washtub), about 1 meter in diameter, using small oars shaped like a rice scoop to compete for the fastest speed.


When: July 3, 2022 (Sunday) @ 9:30 – 12:00
Where: Downtown Ito. The race starts @ Ideyu Bridge
More info: Ito Onsen Website

The course is 400 meters and starts at “Ideyu Bridge” in Ito’s onsen district. The finish line is near the “Matsukawa Fuji Hiroba” where the river flows into the Sagami Bay.

The Tarai Race has been a traditional event held in Ito since 1956.


Ito's biggest annual festival is back!

Don’t miss the 76th annual Anjin Festival: August 8-10.

Named after Miura Anjin, the main character in James Clavell’s classic novel turned TV drama Shogun. Miura Anjin, William Adams was an English ship pilot who became a close advisor to Japan’s first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Adams built Japan’s first western style ship here in Ito in 1604.


Major events of the 76th Anjin Festival (2022)

August 8 - Matsukawa Lantern Festival

Floating lanterns and fireworks 

Venue: Matsukawa River (Tsugakubashi Bridge to the mouth of the river)        


August 9 – Taiko drum battle

Taiko drum competition and fireworks

Venue:Nagisa Beachfront Park


August 10 – Anjin Miura Memorial Ceremony

Anjin Festival Marine Fireworks Display

Venue: Anjin Memorial Park


  • Please understand that this event may be changed or cancelled depending on the situation of the new coronavirus infection.

In addition to these major events, there will be smaller events, food booths, pop up markets, and much more throughout the downtown Ito area. This is the festival that local residents look forward to the most, so it’s a great opportunity to experience the character of Ito.

Past Events

Photography Exhibit @ Lingua Franca

Currently at Lingua Franca/Jogasaki Culture Museum in Izu Kogen, it’s all about the South Pacific island of Tuvalu.

Izu resident Chika Matsui’s debut photography exhibit runs from Wednesday, May 25 – Sunday, June 5. The title of Matsui’s exhibit is “Tuvalu, The Mysterious Country in the Sea: a Photo Exhibition.” In addition to beautiful and informative photography, you’ll see various items related to Tuvalan life.

Born in Nara Prefecture, Matsui has lived in Izu for two years.

Asked about his connection to Tuvalu, he told me that he first wanted to visit after learning about it being threatened by rising sea levels. He wanted to see how serious the situation is and learn how local people are getting along.

“I visited three times. My first trip was for a month as a study abroad student during university. The second time was when I took a year off from university; I worked for half a year to save money, and I spent another half year as a student at University of South Pacific. My third trip was a two month stay with a Japan-Tuvalu exchange NPO.”

One of the things that captivates Matsui about Tuvalu people and their culture is that, “they live in harmony not only with their neighbors but with the whole community. They share everything. They also have a rich tradition of welcoming foreigners. I felt much love in Tuvalu and learned so much while I was there.”

When asked what Matsui hopes people will take away from his exhibit, he explained that the media focuses so much on Tuvalu’s plight as a victim of global warming and poverty. “Instead of a poor and pitiful situation, I found a culture of people living life to the fullest with smiles, love and an intimate relationship with their beautiful ocean.”

Please come and share Matsui’s celebration of Tuvalu, it’s people and it’s culture.

On both Saturday and Sunday (May 28 & 29), at 13:00, there will be a Tuvalan dance performance.


On Sunday, Lingua Franca will hold a craft/art market featuring items created by locals. It is rumored that you’ll be able to get your fortune told too!

Lingua Franca/Jogasaki Culture Museum – Where people make new friends in Izu Kogen.

With all this fun stuff going on, there’s no reason to be bored. There’s also a huge craft/art show (Sasarahosara) at Sakura no Sato, at the base of Mt. Omuro, so plan to visit Ito and Izu Kogen.

We’re waiting for you!


Sasara Hosara Festival

Art, crafts, music, dance and food! Sasara Hosara – takes place in the beautiful Sakura no Sato Park at the base of Ito City’s Mt. Omuro.

Sasara Hosara is an expression in the local Izu dialect that means “a messy and chaotic situation”. This event is chaotic in a fun way because it’s hard to keep track of all that it has to offer!

Come join the fun on Saturday-Sunday, May 28-29 from 10:00-16:00.


森の露天市 Outdoor Forest Market

June 4-5  10:00-16:00

This long running event is held twice a year.

There are about 80 booths featuring hand crafted items, flea market booths, food booths and live music.



The festival takes place in the Ito City Teenager Campground across the road from Sakura no Sato at the foot of Mt. Omuro.


83rd Shimoda Black Ship Festival

May 21-22

Shimoda’s most popular festival commemorates the opening of Japan by US Commodore Matthew Perry in 1852-54. Begun in 1934, this festival is put on by the City of Shimoda and the United States Navy. This year’s festival, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic began, will be scaled back to 2 days instead of 3, so please check the schedule of events.


Click the images above for schedule details (Japanese)


SUkechika Ito Festival

The Sukechika Ito Festival celebrates the Heian era samurai who gave the city of Ito its name.

The highlight of the festival is a floating stage on Ito’s Matsukawa River, said to be the only stage of its kind in Japan. Here, in the stillness of the night, some of Japan’s top-ranked Noh performers perform Kyogen and Noh plays. It is a unique experience that invites the viewer into an ethereal world.


In addition to the floating stage, there will be many other performances, vendors, music, food and fun!


Sukechika Ito Festival and Ito Marche marketplace take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15.

Location: Fuji Hiroba, where the Matsukawa River meets the ocean



19 thoughts on “News / Events”

  1. Oops! A little misunderstanding about the group name. It cannot contain “Deep in Japan” nor be a sub group of DIJ. Please make name suggestions if you will. I may make something just to get a group set up. We can always change the name later. Thanks! ~ Jim

  2. Hello, it was nice to meet you all! I think we should have an own FB page, as it will be easy to discuss several topics in an organized way, and many of us have a FB account already. That’s how most of us met, wasn’t it? Slack has a few merits, but it’s is also more complicated, and I tend to miss messages there …

    One thing we should discuss soon is who we want to target. We know we want to have visitors come, for example, to Izu and drop some money on local businesses. However, i think we must further narrow down who these visitors should be like age group, interests etc. Only then we can possibly make a difference to the already existing general campaigns.

    So who is everybody’s “ideal visitor”?

    Types which I can imagine are:
    People who want to retire or have a second home in Izu, even they don’t know that yet 🙂
    Film makers for whom it is too troublesome to shoot in Tokyo, where permits are strict, inflexible and expensive
    Surfers, hippies and bikers who look for an alternative healthy or fun lifestyle close to the sea

    On the other hand we might not like to get visitors who only drop money in the convenience or chain stores, and also maybe don’t protect the environment (like I often saw people leaving their waste after a day in the beach at the beach, even their are garbage cans close by). If we are not specific, the risk is that those will come, among others (of course it’s not totally avoidable).

    The first group is my favorite, as I can see Izu being the ideal place for people like that.

    I would love to hear all your ideas.

    1. Hi Karl

      Personally I think the best thing to consider first is exactly what assets your target area contains because that is what will determine the types of people who would potentially visit. As an example, for predominantly rural locations with lots of small shrines/temples etc., there is not a great deal of value in trying to encourage wealthy Asian tourists as they generally have little interest in the countryside, preferring city based activities, luxury shopping and luxury hotels. However; you may be able to encourage them if there is a Michelin star restaurant that is open to taking reservations from tourists.

      If you make a list of all the interesting locations, top restaurants, activities (surfing, hiking, kayaking, tea ceremony etc.), hotels and ryokan then you can start to link visitor types to each and more efficiently figure out how and to whom to promote. I don’t think large bus tour groups are worth encouraging at all because they generate very little actual income for a region. The vast majority of those tourists will snap a few photos, spend 150 yen on a coke from a vending machine and get straight back on the bus.

      Encouraging people to move to a region to live is a whole other ballgame and is generally down to what jobs are available in the area or how long a potential commute will be rather than lifestyle choice. There is a small shift towards lifestyle choice but I would not really consider it significant just yet. However; if there is a decent local akiya bank (a website listing abandoned houses available for purchase) and this is well promoted, that can help encourage people to consider moving to an area.

      Hope that gives some food for thought!

  3. Hi everyone,

    Apologies I wasn’t able to participate in the discussion but thought I would introduce myself anyway. My name is Gary and I work as front desk for a traditional ryokan in rural southern Osaka (Kawachinagano). On top of that I am a freelance writer mostly writing for Osaka.com as well as Japan Travel KK for whom I am a regional partner responsible for Mie Prefecture as well as assisting with Nara, Osaka and Wakayama Prefectures. I’ve also written for JNTO on occasion for things like the Rugby World Cup.

    Through this I occasionally assist with tourism consultations as well as taking part in monitor tours to provide feedback and advice for regional tourism and potential future tour packages. I also have my own website focusing on local history and folklore which I don’t update nearly enough.

    One of the biggest issues with making an impact is actually getting the various tourism departments at the city and prefectural level to sit down and listen. Nowadays there are a lot of “consulting” companies of varying levels of competence that swoop in like vultures as soon as budget season begins. Invariably the cheapest bid is chosen and they end up with a garbage website full of content-mill trash. Not good for the region and not good for genuine, professional writers or consultants.

    My schedule keeps me pretty busy so I may not be able to attend as many meetings as I would like, but I’m happy for people to connect on FB or LinkedIn.

  4. Jim, thanks for the summary and the elegant literary reference. I agree with the idea of having presentations, which attract more participants, where people’s biographies are woven into the content. A Facebook group is rather convenient, and can be set to private or public. It’s fairly simple, but let me know if I can do anything to help. Leaders in this group should be members who are more directly involved in tourism than I am. However, I’d like to invite your friends to send me a FB friend request and/or check out the link here to my Website of publications.

    1. Hi Steven,

      Thank you very much for registering. I have the email addresses of all who registered for the meeting, so I will send out a :bcc (addresses hidden) group mail with the Zoom link about an hour or so before the meeting. That way I can include all who register up to that time.

      I’ll also post the URL on this web page 5 minutes before the meeting starts. That’s when everyone can join the meeting.

      Very much looking forward to your participation. See you this evening!


  5. I’m in New Zealand now, with a four hour time difference, so not 100% sure I can make it but will try. Thanks!

  6. If you can update a little earlier that would be helpful for us to block out the time for the event. Thank you for arranging this.

    1. Thank you, Bruce. The Zoom meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 28 at 7:00pm. End time is 8:30pm.

      I will post the log in URL and invitation details here a little before the meeting starts.

      Please let me know if you need any more information.


  7. Participation is pending, but I will try to make it or at least stop by for a little!
    I haven’t updated my website for too long, newer work can be seen on my insta under “tekipakistudio”. There are some Izu shots there as well.
    But on my website you can see that I have done some film work and other things, too. It just got all too much, so I am mainly teaching right now.

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