January The New Year

The Lunar New Year Fair is held at Aterazawa Chuo-dori Shopping Street on the 2nd day of the Lunar New Year, and various foodstuff and goods for everyday life will be on sale at the fair. The amount of snow during this time is around one meter in Aterazawa and two meters in Yanagawa. A festival, called “Osaito” is held on the 15th of the Lunar New Year in open grounds and in the precincts of shrines all around the town. Bonfires are made and the locals burn their New Year decorations such as matsukazari (pine decoration), shimekazari (straw festoons), Ofuda (talisman), etc.
  • 1月 正月
    The New Year

February Landscape of Snow

The Oe agricultural and livestock product processing facility in Jyuhassai sells special winter treats such as freeze-dried rice cake and freeze-dried Japanese radish. In the middle of February, the residents of each district offer prayers for a good harvest for the year by planting straws combined with bean husks in the snow or decorating dogwood branches free of winter buds with dango.
  • 雪中田植
    Rice planting in the snow

March The Hinamatsuri Festival

In late March when the snow thaws, the Hinamatsuri Girls’ Day Concert, Oe Hinamatsuri Festival, and the other Hinamatsuri related events are held. Also, Oe Hinamatsuri Festival tours are offered by the town.
  • 3月 雛会場のひとつ「清野家」
    “Seinos’ house” is one of the venues for the Hinamatsuri Festival

April The Season of Cherry blossom

Cherry blossoms in the town begin to bloom in late April. Popular spots for viewing cherry blossoms are near the arbor at Tateyama Park and the parking lot adjacent to Terme Hakuryo Health Spa. Festivals are held at the shrines in the town from late April through early May.
  • 4月 春霞むホームに到着する「左沢線」
    The Aterazawa Line train coming to the station in a spring haze

May The Snow-thawing Season

From late April through early May, there are several festivals at the shrines in the town. In the mountain region, Yamagami-sama Festival is held to celebrate and give thanks to the god of a mountain who gives us food from the land.
  • 5月 赤祈春日神社子どもみこし
    Children carrying a portable shrine at the Kasuga Shrine Festival
In late May, the snow thaws and that kicks off the season for hiking and edible wild plant gathering in the mountains. Warabi (edible bracken) and other wild plants appear on store shelves at the hot spring facilities and the roadside stations in the town. The hiking trails of Jintsu-kyo Gorge and Daizu Moriyama Nature Park reopen. Furthermore, the Oe agricultural and livestock product processing facility sells (until June) Sasamaki and Natamaki, sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves picked at this particular time. The Okuoe Yanagawa Onsen Spring Festival is held around this time also.

June The Season of Fresh Green Foliage

Nature Park. This is a valuable indigenous flora only originating in the Asahi and Iidesan Mountain Ranges. There are two festivals held in this month, one is the Lily Festival at Oyama Nature Park and the other is the Hydrangea Handcraft Festival held in the town.
  • 6月 朝もやに包まれた大山自然公園
    Oyama Nature Park in the morning mist
This is a refreshing season as Jintsu-kyo Gorge and Daizumori welcome new green leaves, and also it is the time of year when water is abundant with the melting of the snow. In mid-June, the snow thaws mid-way up Asahi Mountain Range. On the 3rd Sunday of every June, a ceremony is held at Asahitake Shrine in Mt. Toriharayama of the Asahi Mountain Range to open the mountain for the year and pray for the safety of the climbers. After this ceremony, the full-scale summer climbing season at Asahi mountains begins.
In late June every year, Oe Town hosts the Mogami River Boatmen Singing National Contest and contributes to handing down the values of the traditional folklore originating in Oe Town. Skillful singers of the boatmen song, full of confidence, gather from all parts of the country to participate in the competition. In addition to their excellent singing performances, there are various events featuring the Mogami River boatmen song.
This season’s local specialty is Kurobee-nasu (eggplant) which you can enjoy from late June to October.

July The End of the Rainy Season

Early July is the best time to see Hydrangea, the town flower for Oe. About 10,000 hydrangeas planted at the site of Terme Hakuryo Health Spa burst into bloom and the Hydrangea Festival is held on the grounds.
The Oe agricultural and livestock product processing facility sells the season’s local specialties such as cherry and ume (Japanese apricot) products. Also, peaches (Akatsuki) appear on store shelves in late July.
  • 7月 町の花「アジサイ」が咲き乱れます。
    The town flower for Oe, Hydrangea, in full bloom

August Summer Festival

At the height of summer, from August 10th through August 15th. the town hosts the biggest event of the year, Suigo (riverside) Oe Summer Festival. The main attraction is the “Lantern Floating and Fireworks Festival” which has the longest history in the prefecture. The season’s local specialties are apples (First Lady) and peaches (Kawanakajima Hakuto).
  • 8月 夏の風物詩「花火と灯ろう」
    Special attraction of summer “Fireworks and Floating Lanterns”

September Autumn Festival

Hachiman-jinja shrines in the town host a festival on the 3rd Sunday of the month (a day before Respect for the Aged Day). Traditional performances, which have been handed down in each district, are performed at the festival in Aterazawa. Shishimai Lion dances, portable shrines, traditional festive musicians on floats, and Yakko (performed every 3 years) parade through the streets.
The leaves start to turn their gorgeous fall colors in the Asahi Mountain Range in late September. During this autumn season, the Oe mountaineering club hosts overnight trips. The participants stay over at the Oasahi mountain lodge and enjoy climbing and the beautiful fall foliage views.
The season’s local specialties are apples (Syuyo), Japanese plum (Sun Rouge) which is a variety produced in Oe Town, and green soybeans (Hiden).
  • 9月 秋まつり 獅子舞
    Shishimai Lion dance at the Autumn Festival

October The Season of Fall Foliage

The fall colors extend around Jintsu-kyo Gorge and Daizu Moriyama Nature Park in late October. For visitors, a shuttle bus service is offered on Saturdays and Sundays between Yanagawa and Jintsu-kyo Gorge Takimae Hiroba. Also, the Okuoe Yanagawa Onsen Autumn Festival is held at the facility and visitors can enjoy freshly picked mushrooms or soba made from newly harvested buckwheat.
The Oe agricultural and livestock product processing facility sells an Autumn delicacy combo in which seasonal food such as chestnuts and mushrooms are included. Also, you can enjoy La France pears, apples (Shinano Sweet in early October and Fuji in late October), and nameko mushrooms.
  • 10月 紅葉の神通峡
    Jintsu-kyo Gorge in the fall colors

November Agricultural Fair

The town hosts Oe Agricultural Fair in the middle of November. You can enjoy various autumn seasonal products such as apples and La France pears at the fair.
In late November, a limited number of the original rice shochu “Funauta no Sato,” made by only using sake lees from the local rice wine “Oe-nishiki,” is sold.
  • 11月 物産味覚祭り リンゴ品評会の様子
    Tasting Festival Apples being sorted

December Locally Brewed Sake

In mid-December, a new brew made from the first rice of the year called “Oe-nishiki no Hatsu-shibori” is released. This is one of the most popular items of the local rice wine brand “Oe-nishiki.” In addition to this local rice wine, Yamagata specialty pickles such as green vegetable pickles and Omizuke (greens, carrots, radish, beefsteak plant) are sold at the Oe agricultural and livestock product processing facility. At the end of the year (December through January), Ohharai (Shinto purification rite) is performed at the shrines in the town to drive away evil spirits and ill fortune.
  • 12月 大江錦