Held annually on May 3 by a few Shinto shrines in Ryuo and neighboring Higashi-Omi in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, the Kenketo Festival is mainly a naginata (pole sword) dance and procession by boys dressed in costume. The main venue is Suginoki Shrine in Yamanoue, Ryuo town, Shiga. Also see my YouTube Video here.MAP
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A small shrine called Kobiyoshi Jinja holds the Yuge no Hi Matsuri fire festival on the evening of May 1. After small torches, tossing flares, lots of firecrackers, and fireworks, two giant torches made of straw are set afire as well as other fireworks on the ground. Also see my YouTube video here.
From Omi-Hachiman Station No. 4 bus stop, board the bus for Okaya Minami and get off at Nishikawa Higashi-guchi bus stop. The ride is about 13 min. From the bus stop, the shrine is a 10-min. walk. You can also take a taxi from Omi-Hachiman Station. Taxi would be required on the way back to Omi-Hachiman since the buses will not be running after the festival is over. MAP
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Facing a busy road in the center of Ryuo-cho, Namura Jinja Shrine is noted for its elegant-looking, thatched-roof main gate and Nishi Honden hall which is a National Treasure. The shrine's architecture is from the Kamakura Period. On May 5 (Children's Day), it holds the Sekku Matsuri Festival featuring yabusame horseback archery. MAP
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On the east side of Ryuo Town, this ancient mountain is home to over 200 tumuli built during the 5th to 7th centuries. In 2013, it was designated as a National Historic Site. It also has a few hiking trails. It takes about 90-120 min. to go up and down the mountain. There are some fine views from the trails. At the foot is Ryuoji Temple (龍王寺) and Tenjin Shrine. MAP
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Ryuo-cho (Ryuoh) is a small town and largely agricultural with no train station. Take a bus from JR Omi-Hachiman Station's North Exit to reach Ryuo town in 15 min. or so. With Mitsui Outlet Park, Ryuo is also popular with shoppers. For families, Agri-Park Ryuo is a local farmer's market where they sell local produce. There's also a pond with swan boats, farm museum, and petting zoo.
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