Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Toka Ebisu Taisai 十日戎

Osaka's Toka Ebisu offers the most fun you'll ever have at a religious ceremony

Just one week after the city’s New Year’s festivities conclude, Osaka's local spirits rise once again to participate in the festive Toka Ebisu.

Join the masses congregating at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine for what is colloquially known as Ebessan, where you’ll wave a ceremonial bamboo branch and pray to the god of commerce for financial success in the new year.

Don't Miss

  • Festivities including a parade of 500 people
  • Osaka street food like takoyaki and yakisoba
  • Fukumusume giving out good-luck charms

How to Get There

Imamiya Ebisu Shrine is accessible from central Osaka and JR Osaka Station via JR Namba Station.

From Namba Station, take the local Nankai-Koya Line (located within Namba’s Nankai Station) one stop, and exit at Imamiyaebisu Station. The shrine is located a two-minute walk east.

Show me the money

Osaka is a merchant town and this Shinto custom is all about money. The city’s working masses congregate at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, giving offerings and prayers to Ebisu, the god of commerce, all with the hope of being rewarded with monetary wealth and fortune in the new year.

The traditional tastes of Osaka

The streets surrounding the shrine are packed with yatai stands, offering the likes of takoyaki, yakisoba, grilled pork skewers and more. Take your time enjoying the hearty and delicious street food before heading further into the shrine.

Browse the huge selection of good-luck charms

As you approach the shrine, you’ll encounter huge stalls stocked with charms and offerings for Ebisu. While some can be very pricey, there are also fukusasa good luck bamboo branches that are generally free of charge. You’ll notice just about every person in attendance is carrying them around.

Who are the women giving out charms?

The fukumusume, or "lucky daughters," are 50 women selected as representatives for the festival. Over 3,000 people apply each year, making the acceptance rate more difficult than most elite colleges and institutions.

During the festivities, these women line the perimeter of the shrine, distributing charms and maintaining their composure despite the surrounding chaos. You’ll be able to distinguish them by their traditional eboshi hats, which look like giant stockings turned upside down.

Planning your trip

Given the large crowds that congregate around the shrine every year, budget two to three hours minimum for your journey. It may take 20 to 30 minutes just to enter the shrine, but the surrounding stalls of food, souvenirs and charms will provide enough entertainment to keep you interested while you slowly make your way forward.

Event details

The festival runs from the evening of January 9 (the Eve of Ebisu) to January 11.

Main festivities are on January 10. A large parade of more than 500 celebrities, geisha, and fukumusume take to the streets, handing out good luck charms to spectators.

The 11th is referred to as the “Last Helping of Luck,” offering visitors one final chance to pray to Ebisu.

The event takes place from 9 AM to 9 PM, though it is not unusual to witness hordes of people straggling into the shrine well into the night.

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