Matsudo Explorations with CIR Erin, Spring 2017 Edition



Hello! And welcome to the Spring 2017 Edition of Matsudo Explorations.

Pardon the pun, but there has been a definite ‘spring’ in my step since the beginning of March. The sun is shining, the flowers are out in force, and the days are becoming longer. It’s just such a nice time to be in Matsudo!

Matsudo locals LOVE flowers, and it is not long now before the entire city will be covered in a delightful pink cherry-blossom haze. I hope that you will join us by marking the many spring festivals in your calendar. Refer below for all the insider details -

Let's get on out of the house and soak up some community spirit.

I wish you a peaceful and pink(!) spring season,

Erin, Coordinator of International Relations
10th March, 2017

Who is Erin? What is a 'CIR'?

April 14th-May 5th, Tojo Wisteria Festival

I was fortunate enough to visit the Tojo Wisteria Festival on three occasions. Admittedly I was a little too keen the first time around, and ventured into the park only to find that the pots were completely bare - there was not a single leaf or wisteria flower in sight! It made for some pretty bleak photographs.

Fortunately my second visit was a lot more ‘purple’, and my fears that the plants were...dead (?!) were safely put to rest. I am amazed by the difference that a single week can make - leaves and flowers had sprouted, and a light aroma filled the air. The number of fellow visitors had also significantly increased (...perhaps it is only my seasonal clock that needs fine tuning?).

The following weekend was just lovely. The sun was shining, the wisteria had reached full bloom, and the pots had all but disappeared beneath the many flowers and leaves. I took so many photos that I ended up with a sunburn! (Totally worth it)

I heartily encourage everybody to make a visit to Tojo Park. It provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle, and is also home to Tojo-tei House - the holiday villa of the Tokugawa family (former rulers of Japan) - and Tojo Museum. Visit their website here.

Hooray for Tojo-tei!

April 1st-2nd, Tokiwadaira Cherry Blossom Festival

The sun was shining on April the 2nd at the Tokiwadaira Cherry Blossom Festival. The blossoms had not quite reached their peak, but this didn’t stop crowds of people from flocking to Tokiwadaira’s Sakura-dori (Cherry Blossom Street).

For me, the most impressive element of the festival was the sheer number of food vendors on site. They lined the entire main street and extended into roadside green spaces and across carparks. Every Japanese festival dish you could possibly imagine was available. My friends and I wandered and taste-tested and then wandered some more - just lovely!

While Matsudo’s cherry blossom festivals are now over for the year, there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate the spring season. Check out the April Events Calendar for more details about the upcoming Tojo Wisteria Festival and the Greenery and Flower Festival.

Sakura-dori, filled with festival goers

March 27th-29th, Guardian Nio prayer ritual @ Manman-ji Temple

There are two well-known statues standing at the gate of Manman-ji Temple (pictured left) in Matsudo’s Mabashi district. They are of a wrath-filled and muscular guardian of the Buddha known as ‘Guardian Nio’, and have been designated Important Cultural Property of Japan. But as it turns out, it is not so much the statues themselves, but how close you can get to them that make them particularly popular.

To my amusement, they periodically allow visitors to squeeze themselves through the Guardian Nio statue’s legs (yes! his legs!). Perhaps you’re envisioning someone as they shuffle beneath an iron statue. But not only are these particular statues made of wood, but they are also not quite thaaat big. So passing through his legs is much more of an on-the-belly, legs-in-the-air, sliding and squeezing kind of experience, not for the timid or the full-figured!

I am sure you are wondering how on earth this activity came into existence. It is said that in the olden days people used to pray to the Guardian for vitality and then pass through the statue’s legs as a form of ritual. Nowadays, special access is given to the public only three times a year (in Mar., Oct. and during New Year), enabling them to continue this leg-passing ritual in the pursuit of good health.

I finally had my chance to meet Guardian Nio very recently. It was definitely one of the stranger things that I have done in Matsudo, but it was also one of the most memorable; I recommend it wholeheartedly!

Keep an eye on the monthly Events Calendar for the next opportunity to meet the Guardian.

March 11th-12th, Kawazu-zakura Cherry Blossom Festival

The Kawazu-zakura Festival was the perfect excuse for me to invite some friends out to Matsudo. The blue skies and pink cherry blossoms provided a lovely backdrop to the Sakagawa riverside’s bustling festival atmosphere. The girls and I chatted with locals, took mountains of cherry blossom photos, and feasted on festival food.

My personal favourite was trying the grilled Yagiri Onion. Yagiri Onion is a long and thick variant of the spring onion, grown in Matsudo’s Yakiri district. The onions were grilled in slabs on the ground, before being cut into pieces and then served with miso, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. The queue to buy a plate was long, and with good reason! It was sweet and delicious.

We finished our day with a stroll by the nearby Edogawa River. The consensus was clear - Matsudo really is a lovely place for a day trip! Check out the Events Calendar link for more inspiration.

By the Edogawa River

Mural by Spanish artist Amaia

Spanish illustrator Amaia Arrazola was recently in Matsudo on a month-long PARADISE AIR artist residency. During this time she designed and painted a mural on one wall of the railway pedestrian underpass, to the south side of Matsudo Station. The theme of the mural is the connection between Japan and Spain. Japan is represented by the fox (a depiction of the fox statues that are found at Japanese shrines), Spain by Amaia herself, and the two are joined by a loving heart character.

I headed down to the underpass to take a look in the first week of March. As you can tell, the mural has really transformed the space. I love it, and so will you! So I encourage you all to take a look.

Learn more about PARADISE AIR at the Global Encounters page. Or visit their website here.

Amaia's mural

CIR Erin, getting up close

Return to the Matsudo Explorations catalogue 「CIRの松戸はっけん」の一覧へ戻る








4月16日~5月5日 戸定の藤まつり





















その後、友達を江戸川にも連れて行って散歩をしました。皆、同じ感想を口にしました― 松戸に来れば、素晴らしい一日が過ごせると!



スペイン出身のイラストレーター、アマイア・アラゾーラさんは、PARADISE AIRの招待で、3月上旬まで1カ月間松戸に滞在しました。滞在中に制作したのが、松戸駅南の宮ノ越隧道にデザインした壁画アートです。テーマは日本とスペインの繋がり。神社で見つけた石像のキツネを日本文化のシンボルの一つと捉え、九尾の白いキツネとアマイア本人、「愛」をイメージしたハート形のキャラクターを描きました。


PARADISE AIRについて詳しくは、「松戸市の国際窓口」のページ、またはPARADISE AIRのHPをご覧ください。



Return to the Matsudo Explorations catalogue 「CIRの松戸はっけん」の一覧へ戻る


文化スポーツ部 国際推進課

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