Earth : Asia : East Asia : Japan : Tohoku : Fukushima (prefecture) : Sukagawa
Sukagawa (須賀川) is a city in Fukushima Prefecture.
Sukagawa is situated on the Tohoku Main Line, with regular trains running to Tokyo (via Shirakawa) in the south and Sendai (via Koriyama) in the north. The fastest way to get to and from Tokyo is by catching a Shinkansen (bullet train) to Koriyama and then changhing to a local train for the trip to Sukagawa.
One of the most spectacular festivals held every year in Sukagawa is the Taimatsu Akashi (torch festival). The festival has a 400-odd year history, and was started to commemorate the defense of the city against an attack by a feudal lord. In order to ward off their would-be attackers, residents constructed a number of giant torches and set them alight on top of a hill. The festival includes a parade, during which the 10m long torches are carried throught the streets of the town, before finally being erected on top of Midorigaoka park and then set alight. Torches are constructed and/or sponsored by local schools and businesses, whose students or employees later carry them in the parade.
The festival is free and takes place on the second Saturday of November every year. The parade generally starts around midafternoon, culminating in the erection and lighting of the torches from about 6 or 7pm.
Access to the festival is free, and there are usually free buses available from outside the station to Midorigaoka park.