The Santera Mairi Festival, literally "Three Temple Visit," is held annually on January 15th and known as one of Hida Furukawa's top festivals.
Traditionally, it was used as an event for young men and women to meet but today, the event is seen as more of a temple pilgrimage. People visit Hida's three main temples of Enkoji, Honkoji, and Shinshuji to pray for fortune in their relationships.
Hundreds of snow candles and lanterns are lit across town from 4pm, including along the Seto River, creating a romantic, warm atmosphere against the cold winter night. Candles used in this festival are locally produced Warosoku Japanese candles made by Mishima, who also makes a special giant 13kg candle for the event. Red and white candles that align the Seto River can be added by visitors too — those who pray for fortune in new relationships light white candles, while those who have seen success light red candles.
During the festival, you can visit the central Monzen-ichi market stalls at Festival Square (12pm–9pm), to try some local favorite foods, like Hida beef croquettes, Hida beef curry, grilled/salted trout or gohei-mochi rice sticks. It is popular to rent a kimono to dress up during a walk around the traditional downtown area of Hida.
One of Hida Furukawa’s biggest annual events is the Furukawa Festival, held in April every year, which sees beautifully decorated floats (yatai) paraded through the city — but what happens to them during the rest of the year?
There are 10 storehouses (屋台蔵, yatai-gura) aroun...
Your Souvenir Stop: Japanese Candles by Mishima
This little unassuming store along a Hida Furukawa backstreet is well worth seeking out on your Hida travels. If not to chance your luck by observing a live demonstration of Mishima-san making his Japanese candles (Wa-rousoku) inside the entrance, then just to meet and admire his incredible passi...