The Best Times to Visit Tochigi

Tochigi prefecture is best known for its nature, which makes it obvious that any sort of flower viewing is going to be amazing. There is the Ashikaga Flower park with its sheets of wisterias blooming across the tree line, the plains of azalea that bloom across the hills of Mount Nasu, and Manyo Natural Park with its dogtooth violets spread across the woodland mountain slopes. If you’d rather stay in the urban center, there is the Hachimanyama Park in Utsunomiya city that is a popular flower viewing spot and relaxation center.
 
Mashiko Gion Festival in Summer
The Mashiko Gion Festival is a festival that occurs annually to pray for good harvests. It is one of the more odd festivals in the Kanto region, as there is a ceremony called the “Omiki Chodai Shiki” where the men in charge of the festival that year are required to drink 3 masu, 6 go, and 5 shaku of Kanzake (warm sake). This totals to 6.5 liters of sake, and is supposed to represent the 365 days in a year. Next, the men that will be in charge of the festival the next year drink, and all of this is followed by firing off hand held fireworks called “Tezutsu Hanabi”. If this seems like your kind of party, check the festival out!

Photo Cred: Flickr user indy138 https://www.flickr.com/photos/24813591@N00/1406901574/
Nikko National Park in Autumn
While Nikko National Park looks beautiful regardless of the season you visit it in, the best time to visit it is by far during Autumn. Nikko National Park encompasses a large area of mountains and lakes that include the Tosho-gu shrine, Nikko Kaido road, and famous Kegon Waterfall. All of these sights look especially beautiful when surrounded by red, yellow and orange leaves. The Nikko Cedar Avenue that leads to the main shrine looks like a scene out of a movie, and you can experience it all within a day from Tokyo (though you may want to stay longer out of admiration).
 
Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival in Winter
The Onsen town of Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival is a small town that is centered around the hot springs deep in the mountain near a small river. While small and hard to get to, Yunishigawa village is a refreshing sight with its simple living and tight community. Each year from late January, the village holds the Yunishigawa Kamakura Festival, where hundreds of snowmen and snow huts are made with the snow that accumulates around town. During the day, people sleigh and barbeque, and at night people gather to enjoy the illuminated huts that look dream-like. After a long day of playing in the snow, you can go back to your ryokan and enjoy a pleasant bath in the hot springs. 

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