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Urakawa has many unique festivals that add a seasonal flavor throughout the year.

Image of festival for horses

To taste Japanese culture in Urakawa, try to visit at least one of the festivals held here. On January 2nd there is a famous event in which twelve to fifteen horses are ridden up the steep steps to the shrine in the center of town. This ceremony was started 90 years ago. It is held for the successful breeding of horses in the years to come.

Cherry Blossom festival

Middle of May is the best time for the "Sakura Matsuri" or Cherry Blossom festival. This is the traditional way of celebrating the coming of Spring. Usually cherry blossoms bloom a bit later in Hokkaido than in the rest of Japan. The site of the festival in Urakawa is Nishicha, where there is a long road lined with 3000 cherry trees; in full bloom they are a beautiful sight and are not to be missed. At the festival itself there is musical entertainment and a good selection of food stalls.

wedding parade at the Shinzan festival

In August there are two festivals, the Shinzan festival and the Harbor festival. The first, named after the famous racehorse, is the biggest in Urakawa and has a distinctly equine theme. It is held on the first weekend of August every year and features a horseback parade, musical entertainment and the on-stage wedding of two couples that sometimes come from as far away as Tokyo for the honor. There is also a wide selection of stalls selling food and drink. Barbeques are available for use free of charge.

The Harbor festival

The Harbor festival is celebrated in the Obon holiday period on 15th and 16th of August, and as well as the usual stalls and entertainment there is a dramatic firework display and a performance by a famous singer.

the Urakawa Horse Racing festiva

On the last Sunday in July the Urakawa Horse Racing festival is held at the JRA facility in Nishicha. There are many different races and competitions.