Izukogen Art Festival takes place annually in May during warm spring weather in Izukogen, Jogasaki-kaigan, and Futo where many local artists exhibit their creations at local galleries and cafes. It is a fun month of art in these towns, where locals and tourists can enjoy gallery-hoping to appreciate artworks, but also possibly add an art piece or two into their ever growing collection. From paintings to accessories, you can find a wide range of art during the month of May. This is a great way to explore these towns, meet the locals and get an idea of why this area is so popular among Japanese people.
Celebrating local art for 24 years
Izukogen Art Festival is a popular local event, which takes place for the entire month of May. It has been a popular annual event for this area, and 2016 marks its 24th year. It is called Izukogen Art Festival, but it actually involves local art in three areas: Izukogen, Jogasaki-kaigan, and Futo.
During the month of May, all the galleries, cafes, and many other places exhibiting local art become more accessible to anybody who visits this area. Sometimes you get little hesitant to step into a gallery because you are not necessary looking to purchase anything or the art pieces might simply be too expensive, but during the month of May, the welcoming feeling of the festival allows artists and visitors to be more open to new discoveries. For information on where to go, you can find it on the website (it is not currently available, but most likely will be up sometime in April) or you can get a map, which you will be able to find at the train stations or any galleries you visit.
Explore local talent and beauty
Something so special about this festival is that it is held in the beautiful Izukogen area. Izukogen is a popular resort destination for Japanese people who especially enjoy outdoor activities, hot springs, and great seafood. It is not in a busy city, but is in ample nature, which gives a very calm and relaxing feeling to the entire area. This is also a popular location where successful Japanese people wish to own a second home.
On top of Izukogen being an attractive location already, May is a great month to explore the area in general because the climate of the Izukogen area is perfect, especially right before the rainy season in June. It is not cold, not hot, not too wet, just right for being outdoors. Hence, you can walk around and gallery-hop to various exhibits to explore the local talent. If you enjoy hiking, in between the towns you can explore the stunning local beauty, such as Omuroyama, Omuro Mountain, which can be seen in this picture.
Add something Japanese to your art collection
The artworks exhibited at Izukogen Art Festival ranges from paintings, pottery, metalwork and wooden toys, to just name a few. Many local talents put their artworks in this festival for the month of May, so you can find anything at this festival. In general, anything you can find at the festival can be purchased, unless somebody already has done so. Some artworks may cost a fortune, but not all of them are out of reach. If you are looking for something that is Japanese, you can find local artists’ creations made using second hand kimono and beautiful Japanese traditional patterned crafts. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind painting but cannot afford to get an original, you may still find a postcard or a print from your favorite artist. Izukogen Art Festival allows people to appreciate art more casually, so even if you are a child, you can find something at the festival.
Take a little break at a local organic café
Depending on which galleries you decide to visit, you might be lucky enough to visit a few galleries near each other, but some of them might be quite far apart. Every year there are a little under 100 galleries and cafés that join this big event, so if you decide to visit a few, you may need to take a little break in between. You can take a little break at a hot spring for feet, which you can find at a few locations in this area, including at Izukogen train station and Jogasaki-kaigan train station, or you can take a little break at a local café. The Izukogen area is also big on organic lifestyle. Organic cafes, like Lolo Sitoa, are great places to enjoy the local organic produce. At Lolo Sitoa, you can view the local artists’ creations and also enjoy local food. This organic café though, requires reservations in advance if you decide to eat here, but you can always stop by to check out the art.
Find the beauty of Izukogen inside and out
Because many people dream of retiring and having a home in the Izukogen area, people in general are a lot more relaxed and friendly here. Due to this nature, people in Izukogen are a lot easier to approach to and they are friendlier. In May, during the Izukogen Art Festival, people are even more approachable because they are willing to share their artworks, and their lifestyle in Izukogen. If you are one of those travelers who wishes to engage with the locals, this is a great event to attend. If you happen to have a few days, I recommend spending them in this area because in addition to the local art, this area provides so much more from beautiful nature, relaxing hot springs, and fresh seafood.
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