If you’ve planned a trip to Osaka or you are already there, this February you can warm up your body with plenty of liquor, as you will have the chance to visit 3 different liquor festivals! Both for fans of Japanese spirits and international spirits, from umeshu (plum wine) to shochu to wine, everything is on the menu! While you’re at it, don’t miss out on Setsubun Matsuri (traditional bean-throwing festival) and Ichiya Kanjo (one night) Festival!
Nature lovers and anyone who will miss hanami (sakura cherry tree blossom viewing), there is good news for you! Although not so grandiose as the sakura cherry blossoms, the ume matsuri (plum tree blossom festivals) are beautiful and worth your time. For the love-stricken, but also the heart-broken, February in Japan means Valentine’s Day and chocolates, and there’s a wonderful sweets buffet waiting for you to savor at the Hilton Hotel in Osaka! Last but not least, bear in mind that some of the Osaka Events in January continue into February, like the Osaka Castle Illuminage and the Strawberry Dessert Buffet.
Here are some exciting events happening in Osaka in February!
Valentine’s Day is special in Japan, as women are expected to give chocolates to men and men return the favor with gifts on White Day, a month later on March 14th. Of course, parents and friends can also give and receive chocolate. Whether you have a Valentine or not, if you have a sweet-tooth, the Hilton Hotel has prepared a strawberry dessert buffet, inspired by popular European fairy tales! So prepare your taste buds of course, for these sweet delights!
Dates: January 8 – May 17, 2020
Time and Price: Check the website for more details
Location: Hilton Osaka, Kita
The Setsubun (bean-throwing festival) is a very old tradition taking place all around Japan in February to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring. At home, people ward off the “demon” (a family member dressed in a demon costume or mask) by throwing beans, chanting “Demons out, luck in.” There are also celebrations at shrines and temples taking place, where you can try street food from the different yatai stalls around them. At Dojima Yakushido Temple special customs take place, like the goma-daki ritual where people throw goma-gi (prayer sticks) in the fire and receive omizukumi, pure water, to ward off evil. There is even a dragon parade! Take this chance to dress up like a demon and party through the night in the streets of the entertainment district.
Dates: February 3, 2020
Time: 3pm - 9pm
Location: Dojima Yakushido Temple, Kita
In case you’re not a fan of Japanese spirits or had enough of it, or you’re just a classy wine lover, Mottox World Wine Festival is the Osaka event for you in February, with wines from all over Europe and the US as well some Japanese sake, this festival will be a delightful experience.
Dates: February 4, 2020
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Location: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Osaka, Kita
After plum blossom viewing, how about an umeshu plum wine tasting? Plum wine is becoming more and more popular abroad and quite rightfully because it tastes amai (sweet)! This year at the Tenma Tenjin Umeshu Festival, you will have the chance to taste a variety of umeshu from a selection of 300 hundred kinds for 100 to 150 yen per cup.
Dates: February 9 - 11, 2020
Price: Admission Free
Umeshu Plum Wine: 100 - 500 yen per cup
Ticket set: 1,000 yen (ten 100 yen tickets)
Plum Bonsai Festival ticket set: 1,500 yen (ten 100 yen tickets and 500 yen Plum Bonsai Festival admission ticket)
Location: Osaka Temmagu Shrine, Kita
Classified as an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset of Osaka Prefecture, at this little festival local people to console the spirits of the girls that gave their lives to save the village from the catastrophe of the Yodo river (currently known as Nakatsu river).
Dates: February 20, 2020
Location: Nozato Sumisha Shrine, Nishiyodogawa
Hanami or “flower viewing” is an integral aspect of the Japanese culture and while sakura blossoms signify the coming of spring, and are by far the most popular outside Japan, ume (plum tree) blossoms signify the end of winter and there are several wonderful spots to watch and admire them in Osaka. Check out the locations below!
Dates: Late February to mid-March, 2020 (if you’re lucky, maybe even mid-February because of the warm winter this year)
Time: Check each location for more information
Price: Osaka Castle and the Expo ’70 Commemorative Park are free of admission, Domyoji Tenmangu Shrine has a 300yen entrance fee for adults
Drink, drink, drink! Japanese everyday life culture without alcohol would be unimaginable, especially for the modern sarariman ("salaryman," as Japanese call office workers). So, this festival is the best place to taste all kinds of shochu (a rice spirit that's much stronger than sake) and try wagyu beef and other specialties from the Kumamoto and Kagoshima regions!
Dates: February 25, 2020
Time: 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Price: Advance fee: 6,500yen / Same-day: 7,000yen
Location: Hotel Granvia Osaka, Kita
Once again Osaka has a lot to offer in terms of both taste, tradition, and natural beauty. Be it the traditional festivals like Setsubun or the Ichiya Kanji Festivals, the plum blossom viewing or the strawberry sweets buffet, there is something for everyone. And while you’re on your trip to Osaka and tasting the different spirits make sure to try the amazing Osaka cuisine, to keep you full and sober (or not too drunk at least)!
For more things to do in "The Nation's Kitchen," browse food experiences in Osaka!