Festivals & Events in Hiroshima
- Flower Festival (フラワーフェスティバル). First weekend of May. This is Hiroshima's biggest festival, begun in 1975 to celebrate the Carp's first baseball championship. There are food vendors and things for sale, but live performances now dominate the program, with comedians and J-pop bands on stages along Heiwa-o-dori. It's the smaller performances that make the Flower Festival worthwhile, though, particularly in the stalls near Jizo-dori, where you might stumble across a phenomenal Okinawan band or a local jazz combo. Free.
- Peace Memorial Ceremony (広島平和記念式典 Heiwa Kinen Shikiten), Peace Memorial Park, . 6 August. Held each year on the anniversary of the atomic bombing, with many hibakusha in attendance. Ceremonies are held in the morning (8:15AM, the time the bomb was dropped). The air raid sirens sound, followed by a minute of silence, and then appeals for peace by the mayor of Hiroshima. There's also a ceremony in the evening (8PM), when a thousand colorful lanterns are floated down the river. Free.
- Sake Festival (酒まつり Sake Matsuri). Early October. The suburb of Saijo is famous for its sake breweries and this annual boozy blow-out. For the price of entry, attendees can drink their fill of sake from local breweries. In short order, the festival area turns into a wild (yet reasonably well-behaved) display of public drunkenness involving people of all ages. Outside the festival area, tours of sakebreweries are also available, with wood sake cups are available as souvenirs for your visit. JR Saijo Station is just a couple of stops from Hiroshima — you'll be swept up in the crowds as soon as you arrive. Tickets ¥1000 in advance, ¥1500 at the festival.
- Food Festival. Last weekend in October. This one's pretty simple — food, glorious food of all kinds, from international delicacies to local favorites, from roasted slabs of meat and seafood to delicious vegetarian-friendly dishes and desserts, served in stalls lining the moat of Hiroshima Castle and parts of Chuo Park. There's a flea market as well, and usually some cultural performances at the castle in the evening. Free — pay for what you eat.
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