January - February - March
Hirado takes a leading position in the flounder fishing industry of Japan. In the flounder fishing season, you can enjoy tasty flounder dishes at various restaurants and hotels in the city.
Date: Early January - End of March
Location: Various restaurants and hotels in Hirado
Parking: Available at the participating establishments
More Info: Hirado Tourism Association
Every year in February the fields of Kawachi-tôge Pass, with about 30 hectares the largest grass fields in Saikai National Park are burned. These burning grass fields are quite a sight to see.
Date: First sunday in February
Location: Kawachi Pass
Other: The road past the parking lot is closed
The Konaki Crybaby Sumo is held annually at the Saikyô-ji Temple on `Setsubun`, or the beginning of spring. Two babies at a time are brought onto the sumo ring to compete. The first one to cry after the referee has shouted `Hakkeyoi` is the winner.
Date: February 3
Time: 10:00 - 14:00 hours. Registartion starts from 8:30 hours.
Location: Saikyo-ji Temple
Parking: 100 parking spaces available
Other Info: You can enter your child that is around 1 years old. JPY3.000 pp including good luck charms and sweets.
Clothes rental free. Registration queue can be long.
In early spring, you can enjoy the displays of hina dolls of the Hinamatsuri (or Girl's Festival) in the shopping-street and various other places. The dolls of the Matsura clan in the Matsura Historical Museum are especially worth viewing.
Date: Mid-February - Early April
Location: Hirado Shopping Street & Matsura Historical Museum
April - May - June
The Kameoka Park is well known for its cherry blossom trees. Flower watching can be enjoyed during the day as well as in the evening, The Hirado Azalea is a type of Azalea with large flowers. The azaleas in Sakigata park, Kameoka Park and Kawachi Pass are spectacular.
Date: Cherry blossoms: around April 1.
Azaleas: mid April - Early May
Location: Kameoka Park, Sakigata Park, Kawachi Pass
During this weekend some of the samurai houses and other historical houses in Hirado will open their gardens and homes for the public. This is a unique chance to see the beautifully kept traditional gardens and houses of Hirado.
Date: Usually third weekend in April
Time: 10:00 - 16:00 hours
Location: Start at central info point Cafe Kumazawa
More Info: Free Shuttle Bus between the houses
All kinds of local produce from Tabira town are on display and for sale, such as Hirado beef, organic vegetables, fresh fish and processed goods. Colourful events like live performances will also take place on stage.
Date: Last weekend of April
Time: 09:00 - 16:00 hours
Location: Tabira harbour
Parking: Available (parking staff will guide you)
There are many booths selling local products. Many people come to the festival to buy these products or participate in the various events that are held such as dances, beach competitions and barbecues. Especially popular with families looking for a fun day out.
Date: May 3, 4, 5 Time: 10:00 - 17:00 hours
Location: Hirado Bridge Park
Other: Held at the beach. Kids should bring swimming clothes or clothes that can get wet.
Both sake breweries in Hirado open their doors for a day. You can enjoy a free tour around the breweries, enjoy special events and food in and around the brewery, sample various kinds of sake and of course buy delicious sake and shochu.
Date: Fukuda Brewery: 2nd Saturday in May
Mori Brewery: 2nd Sunday in May
Time: 10:00 - 15:00
Location: Fukuda Brewery and Mori Brewery
Nakatsura river is home to many fireflies. The end of may is peak time for observing them along the river. A walking path along the river makes for a pleasant stroll whilst enjoying the gentle fireflies lights.
Date: End of June
(a small event is held on the last saturday in may, 18:00 - 20:00 hours)
Time: Best time is around and after sunset
Location: Around Nakatsura Village Community Centre
At this small but lively market held in Tsuyoshi, in the southern part of Hirado island, many local products and foods will be on sale. On Friday and Saturday evening there will be performances and other entertainment.
Date: Friday and last weekend in May
Time: Fri: 17:00-21:00, Sat: 10:00-21:00, Sun: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: Tsuyoshi Shopping Street
This yearly memorial service takes place at the grave of Willam Adams; English navigator and advisor to the shogun. He is the only western who ever gained samurai status. Adams worked at the Dutch and English Trading Posts and passed away in Hirado in 1621. A memorial service for the other englishmen and dutchmen who passed away in Hirado is also held.
Date: Last sunday in May Time: 10:00 - 12:00
Location: William Adams Grave, Sakigata Park
Other: JPY500 contribution asked for flower laying
July - August - September
Born in Hirado, the half-Japanese, half-Chinese Zheng Chenggong (aka Koxinga) went to China at the age of eight and later became Ming general and founded the Tungning Kingdom in Taiwan. Jangara dances are performed at this festival which is held on his birthday.
Date: July 14
Location: Maruyama Park, Kawachi Village
Parking: Available at Kawachi harbour (5 minute walk)
More Info: Website
A boat race with traditional boats over a distance of 125 meters. Apart from the boat race itself, there are also various other small events to be held around the Tachiura port on Ikitsuki Island.
Date: Third sunday in July
Location: Tachiura harbour
Hirado summer festival takes place in the harbour of Hirado where there are various performances on stage as well as many food stalls. The main draw is the fireworks festival in the evening. Hirado Kagura dances are performed during the fireworks. A childrens festival with games is held in the shopping street on the friday night before.
Date: First saturday in august Time: 16:00 - 21:15
(Kids festival: Friday evening 18:00~)
Location: Hirado central harbour
Parking: Designated parking areas. Follow parking staff instructions.
Many people who are originally from Oshima island return to the island to visit family. This local festival has food stands, stage performances and a small but nice fireworks festival which you can see up close. Visitors can take a special charter boat from Hirado.
Date: August 12
Time: 17:30 - 21:00
Location: Oshima Island (Alternating between 2 villages)
Ferry: Special charter boat to festival site departing from Hirado port around 18:30, returning after fireworks show. Return: JPY 2.000
The summer festival in Ikitsuki takes place near the Tachiura fishing port. Aside from dances, there are also various other events. In the evening the fireworks light up the Ikitsuki bridge beautifully.
Date: August 15
Time: 17:00 - 21:00
Location: Tachiura harbour
Parking: Available. Follow parking staff instructions
Tabira Summer Festival is the largest and most popular fireworks festival in the region. There are many food stalls and stage performances. The fireworks in the harbour are spectacular with Hirado bridge as a beautiful backdrop.
Date: August 17
Time: 15:00 - 21:30
Location: Tabira harbour
Parking: Follow signs. Free shuttle bus to the harbour.
Jangara is a traditional dance from Hirado praying for a good harvest. Flutes, gongs and drums accompany the dancers. Jangara has been named a National Intangible Cultural Asset.
Date: 11 August: Noko area / 14 August: Noko and Shijiki / 15 August: Southern and Central Hirado Island / 16 August: Kawachi area / 18 August: Hirado city area.
Location: Throughout the villages listed above
Other: Easiest to see them on the 18th in Hirado city centre. In other places the dance groups move around but by driving around you can probably encounter them alongside the road.
In Oshima the Bon period is marked by the performance of Suko and Jangara dances. On both days a procession is held while the suko dances are performed. On the afternoon of the second day a final performance is held at the city branch office.
Date: August 14 and 15
Location: Azuchi and Konoura village (Suko) and Onezaka (Jangara)
Transport: Ferry to Oshima has a special Obon period schedule
More Info: The final dances are on the 15th at the city branch office
Suko-odori dance is a traditional dance from Ikitsuki Island where they are still performed today mainly at the shrines and temples as well as other public places.
Date: August 16
Location: Tachiura town, Ikitsuki Island
Walks of various lengths, ranging from 5 to 30 kilometres, are set out on this weekend. One can walk on just one or on both days. Saturday courses start from Ikitsuki and on Sunday from Hirado. Each course will take you past landmarks such as Obae Lighthouse, Sunset Way, Hirado Bridge, Tabira Church or Kawachi Pass.
Date: End of September / Early October
Location: Ikitsuki Branch Office (sat) and Hirado Cultural Centre (sun)
October - November - December
A yosakoi dance festival with a focus on traditional Tasuke Haiya Bushi dances (an Intangible Cultural Property of Hirado). Many dance teams from out of town come to show their energetic dances in the dance competition.
Date: Weekend in early October
Location: Hirado Cultural Centre
More Info: Free entrance
Hirado Okunchi is the main festival in Hirado, but still relatively small. The main day is the 25th, when at 9:00 hours in the morning the festival starts at Kameoka Shrine with dragon and lion dances. A procession and both dances will then go around Hirado city centre. On the 26th Hirado Kagura dances (important cultural asset) will be performed on the stage of Kameoka Shrine for most of the day.
Date: October 24-27 (main days are 25 & 26)
Time: 25th: 9:00 - 14:00 hours, 26th: 11:00 - 16:00 hours
Location: Kameoka Shrine and around Hirado city centre
During the Hirado Autumn Festival the entire shopping street is pedestrianised for the weekend with many food stalls and shops lined alongside the street. You buy a set of coupons that you can exchange for food or goods (One JPY300 coupon for each dish). During both days there are stage events with a traditional Tasuke Haiya dance parade as finale on sunday afternoon.
Date: 4th weekend in October or the closest to Hirado Okunchi
Location: Hirado Shopping Street
Parking: Available. Free shuttle bus.