Ikaho Onsen Spa held the 12th King Kalakaua Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival during Aug. 3-6, 2008. During the day, numerous Japanese hula groups performed on stage. Hawaiian seminars were also taught by kumu hula Aloha Dalire. In the evenings, Hula Halau 'O Kamuela from Oahu performed as the festival's main event. Ikaho's connection to Hawaii lies with the summer residence of Robert Walker Irwin, the Hawaiian Minister to Japan during the late 19th century.
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The overall winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival held in Hilo, Hawai'i in April is invited to perform at Ikaho's annual Hawaiian Festival in Aug. During the evenings of Aug. 3-6, 2008, Hula Halau 'O Kamuela gave a spellbinding, one-hour performance with numerous costume changes and surprise solo performances by kumu hula Aloha Dalire and Kunewa Mook on different nights.
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Near the entrance to the Stone Steps, Ikaho has the summer home of Robert Walker Irwin, American businessman from Philadelphia, PA and the Hawaiian Minister to Japan during the late 19th century. He oversaw the Japanese immigration to Hawaii during 1885-1894. Part of his summer villa has been preserved here. It is now a small history museum for the Irwin family and Japanese immigration to Hawaii. Open 8:30 to 17:00. Free admission. 渋川市伊香保町伊香保29−5 Tel: 0279-22-2111
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During Aug. 5-7, 2003, Ikaho hosted the 7th King Kalakaua Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Festival featuring hula performances by numerous Japanese hula groups. In the evenings, Hawaii's top hula halau (overall winner of the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hawaii) performed as the festival's main event. Ikaho's connection to Hawaii lies with the summer residence of Robert Walker Irwin, the Hawaiian Minister to Japan during the late 19th century.
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Byakui Dai-Kannon means Giant Kannon in white wardrobe. Buiilt in 1936, this giant Kannon statue is almost like a temple itself with 20 Buddha figures inside. You can climb up the stairs inside and see Takasaki from above.
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Soto-Zen temple famous for the Bunpuku Chagama (分福茶釜) folk tale about a tanuki raccoon dog that transformed into a steel pot used by the temple priest over the fire. When it got too hot, the tanuki reverted back to itself and ran away. Tatebayashi is a Tanuki Town because you see it everywhere. Souvenir shops also sell the beckoning tanuki which are made in Shigaraki, Shiga Prefecture. Near Morinji-mae Station on the Tobu Line. Temple address: 群馬県館林市堀工町1570 Thanks to my friend Bessie (also from Hawaii) for taking me around the city.
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Tataranuma Park is a prefectural park with a small, marshy lake with enough reed fields to attract swans migrating from Siberia every winter. A shrine on a small island is dedicated to the goddess Benzaiten. The pleasant lakeside park also has lots of picnic space and wisteria.
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