Okayama, Japan | Japanese Summer Festival Fun at Kibuhitso Shrine

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A Wonderful Experience

Summer in Japan is also the time of festivals sprouting everywhere, from Okinawa to Hokkaido. At shrines, towns and even some of the remotest villages celebrate with a variety of food stalls, shows and even fireworks. Visitors should not miss the chance to enjoy the fun events at least once. While some of the large festivals, like Miyajima and Awa Odori draw thousands of spectators, it is the small festivals that usually win our hearts due to their authenticity.  Festivals like the shrine festival at Kibuhitso are a wonderful experience. We had stumbled across the set up of the festival on our bike ride across the Kibi plain and decided to stop for some festival fun.

kibi plain cycle ride Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival
kibi plain cycle ride Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival candy floss

Colourful Yukatas and Delicous Treats

Upon our arrival at the festival, the entire population of the area seemed to have gathered for the special event. A large number of local visitors were dressed in yucatas and the women looked especially beautiful in their colourful summer gowns, adored with bows and interesting prints. I have always admired the custom and could not take my eyes of the outfits. The boys however were more interested in the food stalls, especially anything sweet was calling their names. There was also a variety of Japanese snacks available popular at festivals, like takoyaki, plus kakigori and even rainbow hued cotton candy.

kibi plain cycle ride Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival kakigori
kibi plain cycle ride Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival yukatas
kibi plain cycle ride Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival

Fun for Kids and Adults Alike

Kids will love the entertainment booths at the festivals, whether fishing for goldfish or rubber balls with a paper net or winning the anime shaped balloons and blow up toys, there is something for every age group to make their heart beat faster or in some cases throw a tantrum in order to get an additional treat.  Jerome thankfully was quite content with his ice cream and a stroll past the buzzing stalls.

Kibi plain Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival stall
kibi plain cycle ride Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival anpanman ballon
kibi plain cycle ride Kibitsuhiko Shrine festival stall

Other Summer Festivals in Japan

After a few wanders across the festival we decided return to our lovely ryokan near Kurashiki. We might have missed a last dance or the taiko drumming session and in this case even a small firework display but retired to our room happy. It is always surprising that even the smallest villages put on an impressive fireworks displays in Japan.  While at other times we might have been sad to miss the “fire flowers” as they are called in Japanese, we knew that a few days later we would be visiting one of the largest fireworks on Miyajima, a true spectacle!  There would also be a variety of stalls and an abundance of other summer festival attractions there for us too.

Where to Stay:

Kurashiki: We wish we could have stayed at the amazing Toutou Gallery right in the heat of the Bikan Quarter

Shin Kurashiki: Bingoya’s traditional rooms are dotted among a serene garden, a short drive from Kurashiki

Okayama: There is a real dirth of good hotels but one cannot go wrong with ANA Crowne Plaza

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