Nasu-Karasuyama in Tochigi is a small city that is surrounded by beautiful Japanese countryside. It is located only 2 hours north of Tokyo, which makes it a great day trip.
It is mostly known for its annual Yamaage Festival, a UNESCO World Heritage festival featuring the biggest outdoor Kabuki stage in Japan.
But there is so much more for visitors to enjoy such as cycling, making/buying Japanese Washi paper, seeing the stunning Ryumon waterfall, or tasting sake at the local sake brewery.
"Summer in Japan is matsuri time. Although festivals take place year-round in the land of the rising sun, the majority take place during the blistering hot and humid summer. Their origins, drivers and motivations are different and whatever the reason, they are almost always colorful, boisterous affairs involving the local community and enjoyed by all."
This month we met with the team of the Nasu-Karasuyama Tourism Department, Takano-san, Sato-san, Tanakajima-san, and Aoki-san for a friendly chat to learn more about the area.
They shared with us what Nasu-Karasuyama is famous for, including what to eat, its Famous Festivals, as well as its crafts, and local sake brewery.
"The ‘Yamaage Festival (山あげ祭り) is an extravagant outdoor Kabuki festival in Nasu-Karasuyama city that started more than 450 years ago. And is currently registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Every year at the end of July, the streets in the city center are blocked off and a stage 100 meters deep is set up. The backdrop of the stage is made of Karasuyama washi paper, and mountains made of the paper are raised to a height of about 10 meters, hence the name “Yamaage” which means raising mountains in Japanese."