Weekly Japan agenda: Floats and lights festivals and an interiors show

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The Independent Online

Highlights of events in Japan over the coming weeks include the Chichibu Festival, an interior decor salon, and a lights festival in Kobe.

Spectacular Chichibu festival
December 2-3
Celebrated as one of Japan's three great annual float festivals, the Chichibu Yomatsuri is held over two days in early December in the city of Chichibu, north of Tokyo. Decorated floats - some weighing as much as 10 tons - are pulled through the streets of the city and are transformed into stages for kabuki plays by day. In the evening, others are illuminated with lanterns and are pulled up a hill ahead of a spectacular fireworks display.

Interiors in focus
December 2-4
More than 360 exhibitors from 14 countries will be showing off the latest interior designs and fashions at the joint International Furniture Fair Tokyo and Interior Lifestyle Living trade fair at Tokyo Big Sight, with the focus on the latest trends and fashions in the interiors industry. Entry Y1,000 (€7.50)
Tokyo Big Sight, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0063 Tel: +81-3-5770-5581.

Drumming tour
December 2-22
After a worldwide tour, Japan's most famous "taiko" drum troupe return home for a series of special concerts to mark the end of the year. Kodo - the 28-year-old, award-winning troupe - start the 13-date tour on their home base of Sado Island on December 2 before dates in Niigata, Okayama, Hiroshima, Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. The last concert is scheduled for December 22 in Yokohama.
Ticket prices depend on venue and seating, but range from Y3,000 (€22.98) to Y6,000 (€45.98). For more information, call +81 259 863 630 or visit www.kodo.or.jp/12/home_en.html

Pole performance
December 3
Tokyo is hosting the final of the International Pole Dance Fitness Championship this year, with dancers from all over the world - including men - strutting their stuff at the Christon Cafe from 7:30 p.m. Competitors are from the United States, Japan, Brazil, Australia, South Africa, Russia, England, Hong Kong and Belarus and will compete for the coveted title of World Pole Champion. Tickets from Y4,500 (€34). Christon Cafe, Oriental Wave building, 5-17-13 Shinjuku, Tokyo. Tel: 03 5287 2426.


Kobe illuminated
December 3-14
The southern city of Kobe holds its 15th annual Kobe Luminaire, an event that was started in 1995 to commemorate the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which devastated the region in January 1995. Hundreds of illuminations are being set up in and around Higashi Yuenichi Park, close to Motomachi Station. Access is free, but visitors are asked to make a donation of Y100 (€0.77) to help cover the costs.
The illuminations are lit up from 6 pm to 9:30 pm Monday through Thursday, until 10 pm on Fridays, between 5:30 pm and 10 pm on Saturdays and until 9:30 pm on Sundays. For more information, visit www.kobe-luminarie.jp

Dance date
December 5
Approcahing 10 years of throwing the best dance parties in Japan, more than 7,000 revellers are expected at the Womb Adventure '09 dance music festival, at the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex. One of the largest music events on the Japanese dance calendar, DJs will include Richie Hawtin and Dubfire, Josh Wink, Digitalism and Heartsrevolution. Tickets from Y5,500 (€41.28) Makuhari Messe Convention Centre, 2-1, Nakase, Mihama-ku, Chiba-city, 261-0023. Tel. +81 43 296 0001. http://www.womb.co.jp/adventure/

Dolls on display

December 6
Dolls Party 22 is not all about the cuddly varieties that your daughter plays with - this event covers everything from larger-than-life humanoid figures to slinky female forms anf the best-loved characters from animated Japanese entertainment. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry Y2,200 (€16.50). Tokyo Big Sight, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0063 Tel: +81 075 325 1171. http://www.volks.co.jp/jp/event/dolpa22/index.html

Green products
December 10-12
An estimated 700 exhibitors will be showing off the latest in green technology and products at the Eco Products 2009 exhibition. Last year's event attracted nearly 175,000 visitors and the aim is to bring together businesses, organizations and research institutes with green NPOs, citizen groups, and other companies with the aim of reducing global warming and building a sustainable society.
Admission is free. Doors open at 10 am and the event is open until 6 pm but only until 5 pm on the last day. Tokyo Big Sight, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0063 Tel: +81-3-5770-5581. http://www.eco-pro.com/eco2009/english/

Travel on two wheels
December 11-13
Chiba City
The Cycle Mode International 2009 - the largest bicycle showcase in Japan - is being held at the Makuhari Messe Convention Centre, and if it runs on two wheels and is powered by legs, then it will be on display. All the latest in sporting bicycles, frames, parts and clothing. Tickets are Y1,000 (€7.65) in advance or Y1,200 (€9.19) on the door, with entry for students free. Women also have free entry on December 11. Access: December 11 from 1 pm to 9 pm, Saturday 12 from 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Makuhari Messe Convention Centre, 2-1, Nakase, Mihama-ku, Chiba City, 261-0023. Tel. +81 43 296 0001.
For more information, +81 3 3239 3155 or http://www.cyclemode.net/