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Aramachi Wisteria Festival

Wisteria flowers blooming in a historic community The community of Aramachi has long had a fascination with wisteria flowers. The nearby Tsukimizu-no-Ike Pond has been famous for its wild wisteria for centuries. What started as a private practice of growing ornamental wisteria flowers blossomed over time into a full-fledged festival, with dozens of wisteria flowers blooming on either side of Aramachi's Main Street. Each plant is cared for by local residents who use the festival to showcase their work. The flowers are judged and awarded medals, which the residents proudly display. The festival starts in early May and runs for about two weeks. While the exact timing of the blooms varies from year to year, the time around the 10th of May is usually the best time to enjoy them.

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Nou Hakusan Shrine Spring Grand Festival

Centuries Old Dances in the Light of the Setting Sun  The Nou Hakusan Shrine Spring Grand Festival (Nou Festival) is held every April 24th at Nou Hakusan Shrine in Itoigawa City's Nou Region. It began in the 15th century and centers around 11 bugaku, a type of ceremonial Japanese court dance.  The festival starts with the Shishimai or Lion's Dance. Two men dressed as mythological lion dance around in front of the festival procession as it makes its ways into and around the shrine grounds.  Starting around noon, the festival explodes with energy as the Running of the Shrines begins. Three mikoshi portable shrines are carried on the backs of teams of young men who run them in circles around the shrine grounds to ceremonial music.  As the atmosphere calms following the Running of the Shrines, the first bugaku dancers take the stage. 11 different bugaku court dances are performed by adults and children, some as young as 4. These dances culminate in the dramatic 'Ryo'o-no-Mai' dance performed in the light of the setting sun.

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Sea of Japan Sunset Lookout

Panoramic views of Itoigawa's Sea, Downtown and Mountains Itoigawa Station is the closest shinkansen station to the Sea of Japan, and this is the perfect place to see it! Use the pedestrian underpass to cross the highway and climb the steps to enjoy panoramic views of the Sea of Japan and Itoigawa. On clear days, you can see as far as Noto Peninsula and even Sado Island! It's also a great location to see the Japanese Alps that tower over the city to the south.

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Chojagahara Archaeological Park

At the Center of the World's Oldest Jadeworking Culture The Chojagahara Archaeological Site was the site of a number of massive settlements over 5,000 to 3,500 years ago. The people who lived in these settlements collected jade from the nearby rivers and coast. Recognizing its durability and beauty, they used it in the crafting of tools and jewelry, eventually devloping into the first example of jadeworking known in the world. Today, the Chojagahara Archaeological Site is recognized as one of the largest neolithic sites in Japan's Hokuriku Region and is registered as a National Historic Site of Japan. The Chojagahara Archaeological Site is massive and it is estimated that not even 10% has been unearthed. A few of the dwellings have been rebuilt as they might have appeared millennia ago.

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Sasagawa Petroleum – Nou Service Station

Helping make our community a nicer place to live We're a full service ENEOS gas/petrol station along the coast of the Sea of Japan at the mouth of the Nou River. Whether you're looking for fuel, car wash, oil change or maintenance, we're here to help. We have a complimentary rest area, toilets, vending machines and local tourist information. Stop by and visit us anytime! ■Major credit cards accepted

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Kijiya Woodworking Village Museum

Preserving the story of a village of woodworkers Sitting along the road leading to Shiraike Pond and Renge Hot Springs, the mountain village of Kijiya once flourished as the center of a small woodworking and lacquerware industry. The people here harvested trees from the nearby mountains and created beautiful bowls, trays and other utensils which were highly prized in Itoigawa and beyond. This is even reflected in the village's name: "kijiya" means "woodworker" in Japanese. Unfortunately, in the 1930s cheaper imports from Asia began to become popular throughout Japan and many villages like Kijiya lost their livelihood. The local artisans were forced to give up their craft and instead pursue farming and forestry to make ends meet. The Kijiya Woodworking Village Museum seeks to preserve the story of these woodworkers and displays over 1,000 artifacts related to their work and livelihoods. Next to the museum, the 'Tochinoki' restaurant and produce shop sells locally made woodworking crafts to carry on the tradition of Kijiya Village. Make sure to try the soba noodles as well! Museum Admission Adults: 300 yen Under 18: 200 yen

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Itoigawa GeoStation GeoPal

Your first stop in the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark! Itoigawa GeoStation GeoPal, on the first floor of Itoigawa Station, is features a variety of attractions for the entire family making it a great place to stop first on your visit to Itoigawa. At the Geopark Tourist Information Center, learn all about the fun and exciting things to see and experience in the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark. Children will enjoy the play equipment including a Mt. Myojo-themed Slide and Kid's Climbing Wall. Make sure to visit us at the Tourist Information Counter for brochures and information about the Itoigawa area! Waiting for a connecting train? Why not visit the Kiha 52 Waiting Room which features an actual Kiha 52 diesel train which used to run along the Oito Line. In the Model Railroad Diorama Gallery, visitors can enjoy large model railroads of Itoigawa City, Tokyo and the Himekawa Gorge. You can even have a go at operating the model trains yourself!

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Salt Trail Museum

Museum dedicated to the Historic Salt Trail Located in a repurposed farm house deep in the heart of the Nechi Valley, this museum features a collection of over 2,100 items are on display here and include tools used by the 'bokka' porters who carried goods along the Salt Trail. These bokka were mostly peasant farmers of the Nechi Valley who made a living during the winter months by carrying large heavy packs loaded with salt and other goods bound for markets in Matsumoto. The collection of tools and other artifacts found here are registered as a Nationally Important Cultural Property of Japan.

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