This is easily my favourite festival in Japan, and let me tell you, I’ve been to a few. The greatest irony was that on my third visit I finally had a camera there! Year one I only had my phone, year two I had just bought my Nikon D40 off a friend, remembered to charge the battery, but upon arrival I discovered that I didn’t have a memory card. Genius.
The suisha matsuri 水車祭り is held at the restored watermills of Ishidatami. You might recall I cycled there before. This great setting in combination with the goods and activities offered there is the epitome of quaint. Shoot some targets with a slingshot, make crafts, catch and grill your own fish, buy local produce, and of course—EAT. Eat freshly made soba in bamboo bowls, or eat freshly pounded and filled mochi, or drink some hot sake, or… well, the delicious list goes on. And then if after the high school’s taiko performance and the customary mochi maki (mochi throwing and catching) you haven’t had enough excitement yet, go down the bamboo slide.
Held every year on Japan’s national holiday of Culture Day in November!