Usokae Festival

Usokae Festival

At Usokae Festival, held in Iizaka Onsen Town, visitors buy lucky, hand-carved, wooden birds called ‘Usokae’. ‘Usokae’ translates as ‘changing lies’. Visitors who buy an Usokae bird must think of a ‘lie’ – i.e. something they don’t want to happen – which will in turn be changed to good luck to make sure that thing doesn’t occur by the birds by the end of the year. For example, you could think “I won’t pass my school exam” when you buy the bird, and by the end of the year, the bird will help you pass it! This is a unique local festival, and the hand-carved Usokae birds make very charming gifts too!

Venue Details

Venue Details
Websitehttps://fukushima-guide.jp/event/january-events/
Contact

Fukushima City Tourism & Convention Association

(+81) 24-563-5554

Best Season
  • Winter
Access Details
AccessNishine Shrine, Takahata 2, Yuno, Iizaka-machi, Fukushima City, Fukushima Pref. 960-0211
View directions
Getting there

By Car: 10 min from the Fukushima-Iizaka I.C. exit off the Tohoku Expressway

By Train: 7 min on foot from Iizaka Onsen Station (Fukushima Kotsu Iizaka Line)

Nearby

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Design Your Own Shirakawa Daruma

There are records of Shirakawa Daruma (Japanese traditional dolls) being sold as far back as the feudal reign of the Niwa Domain in 1627. Current Shirakawa Daruma are known as “Shirakawa Tsurugame Shochikubai Daruma.” The faces of these dolls are painted to incorporate various animals and plants, with the eyebrows representing cranes, the mustache representing a turtle, the ears representing pines and plum trees, and the beard representing bamboo or pine trees. All of these images are thought to bring good luck. The daruma is known to be a very classical, lucky talisman, started by Matsudaira Sadanobu, the lord of Shirakawa, when he hired the renowned painter Tani Buncho to paint the now famous face on the daruma doll. Once every year a large Shirakawa Daruma Market is held to celebrate and sell the beloved daruma dolls. You can paint your own daruma at the two daruma workshops in town!

The World Glassware Hall
Cultural Experiences

Sukagawa Enobori Yoshinoya Workshop

Established in 1836, the Yoshinoya family has been continuing the production of Enobori banners using traditional techniques. Originally the family business was a kimono shop, however, the side business of painting Enobori banners began to grow until is eventually became their main business.These banners typically feature images of warriors and can be quite complex with their designs. They are made by painting on banners with a type of calligraphy ink.To create clean and uniform design, stencils are made from various materials to be used as a guide for the design. Once the basic design is painted with a stencil, you connect the lines and add fine details by hand.As a nod to a famous Sukagawa person, they began creating a design of Ultraman posing as a samurai warrior! You can try out the traditional banner making method explained above to create tote bags and small banners featuring a variety of samurai and Ultraman samurai designs.©円谷プロ

The World Glassware Hall
Outdoor Activities

Bandai-Azuma Skyline Cycling Route

The Bandai-Azuma Skyline is one of the top cycling routes of Japan!  The route brings cyclists through dense green forests to volcanic terrain and sweeping views of Fukushima city and the volcanic peak of Mt. Kofuji, or “Little Fuji”. In autumn this course is warmed by vibrant autumn leaves, that make for a magical ride! Fukushima has routes for cyclists of all levels! Click here for more information about Cycling Courses and Events in Fukushima!  (Click here to read our blog about cycling the scenic Bandai-Azuma Skyline!)

The World Glassware Hall
Cultural Experiences

Handmade Japanese Washi Paper Craft Experience

Kami-Kawasaki Washi paper has a history of over 1,000 years. It was given the name "Kami-Kawasaki Washi" because of its origin in Nihonmatsu City's Kami-Kawasaki district. Since the name of districts changes with the years, during Japan's Heian Period, it was known as "Michinoku-gami "("paper made in Michinoku").Kami-Kawasaki Washi paper has been used regularly as shoji paper (paper for sliding doors). Many people are charmed by the warmth and simple beauty of Kami-Kawasaki Washi. Paper mulberry, a type of tree used for making the paper, is grown locally. The traditional production method, from producing the raw ingredients to making the paper, is continued in Nihonmatsu City even today.Sticking to traditional production methods ensures that the finished paper has a luxuriant warmth and refinement, and is strong and durable. At present, a variety of products, such as dyed paper, folkcraft paper, and paper crafts, are produced, all of which maintain the paper's original texture. Although the demand for shoji paper is declining, there is still demand for products such as wallpaper and lamp shades. In this way, Kami-Kawasaki Washi remains important to us everyday.  At the Washi Traditional Crafts Gallery - located at Michi-no-Eki Adachi (Roadside Station) - visitors can make washi postcards, paper fans, and other items.

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