Friday, 2nd January 2015
In Events In Japan,
Osaka gears up for festival-filled February
Osaka is set for an exciting February as the city prepares to enjoy a selection of fantastic festivals that should take people's minds off the chilly weather. It's certainly an exciting time to be in this bustling modern metropolis that knows how to entertain visitors and locals alike.
February 7th sees the annual Snow Festival return for its ninth year amid two whole days of natural snow brought all the way from Shisou City 100 kilometres away. Participants are urged to make a snowman, go tobogganing and play with the white stuff until they're cold and happy. The fun takes place at the Expo Park and entry costs just 250 yen (£1.40). Be sure to turn up between 10am and 4pm on either day to make the most of the snow.
Next-generation world hobby fair '15 Winter in Osaka
Gaming enthusiasts will not want to miss this opportunity to indulge in their favourite hobby at this - the largest event of its kind in Japan. Participants will be able to play the latest games, buy limited-sale items or brand new merchandise that have yet to hit store shelves. Fun events with famed Japanese game producers and artists are also on the programme, including autograph signing sessions. The fun takes place on February 8th from 9am until 4pm at the Kyocera Dome Osaka and admission is entirely free.
Visitors to a Japanese comedy and drama festival might think they would not be able to enjoy the experience without learning the language, but NANTA - which takes place on the 14th and 15th of the month - is entirely without dialogue. Shows take place from 1pm on both days at the Morinomiya Piloti Hall. Tickets are priced at 7,560 yen (£42.20).
Plum trees are set to bloom across the country in February, with Osaka one of the best places to seek them out. Expo Park is one of the most beautiful settings where it is possible to witness the extraordinary flowerings, with the opportunity to participate in an authentic tea ceremony in the Japanese Garden which is not usually open to the public. The Ume Festival gets going on February 21st and lasts until March 22nd. It costs 250 yen (£1.40) to enter the Expo Park.
Not for nothing is Osaka known as the kitchen of the world. The city which invented the savoury pancake (okonomiyaki) and the octopus ball (takoyaki) is known for taking its food seriously. This fascinating festival sees participants running around the beautiful Osaka Castle Park in search of gourmet cooking stalls, in a marathon that is sure to result in indigestion for at least one or two runners. This festival takes place on February 22nd.
Anyone planning to travel from Tokyo to Osaka and back again to experience one of these events is advised to secure a Japan Rail Pass before entering the country. These are available to tourists planning to see more of Japan than just one city and permit unlimited travel on certain bullet trains and metro services.