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Niigata’s 2 km of festival fun, food and drink

by Akira Okubo

Staff Writer

A summer festival wouldn’t be complete without an ice-cold drink as you take in the sun and have some fun, and in Japan a popular traditional summer drink is cider — not the alcoholic fermented apple drink, but a fizzy soft drink similar to lemonade.

Kashiwazaki in Niigata Prefecture produces an original local Geisen Cider, which is one of various local specialties on offer at Enma-ichi, one of the biggest festivals in the prefecture.

Every year, from June 14 to 16, stall keepers from all over Japan gather in Kashiwazaki for this annual event. The festival is held in a space that historically was a horse market, but for the past 200 years it has been used for entertainment, performances and goods stalls.

Nowadays, about 500 street stalls line the city’s Honcho Street, reaching as long as 2 km. Some of the stalls offer fun activities such as raffles, goldfish scooping and target shooting, others sell local foods from the prefecture, such as the popular Niigata specialty poppoyaki, a thin, sweet bread made with brown sugar. You can also find porcelain items, potted plants and other trinkets or souvenirs.

Enma-ichi takes place around Enmado at Higashi-honcho, Kashiwazaki from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily from June 14 to 16. For more information, call 0257-21-2334 or visit bit.ly/jpenmaichi.