7 Things to Do in Oyama, Japan’s City of Good Fortune

  • Discover the secrets of a city that brings good fortune. Visit Oyama City (小山市) in Tochigi Prefecture on your next trip to Japan!

    Out of the 14 cities in Tochigi, Oyama is the second most populous city with a population of 166,000. It became known as the “City of Good Fortune” as it is believed that Tokugawa Ieyasu’s war council which convened in Oyama, presently known as the Oyama Council, was instrumental to his victory in the Battle of Sekigahara.

    Here are some of the things you can do in Oyama:

    1. Pray for victory at Suga Shrine

    Fujiwara no Hidesato, known for his military exploits, particularly in suppressing the revolt of Taira no Masakado, is said to have prayed day and night at Suga Shrine. Tokugawa Ieyasu also prayed for victory in the Battle of Sekigahara here. The deity Susanoo no Mikoto is enshrined in Suga Shrine.

    Suga Shrine Website *Japanese only

    2. Taste Oyama Udon

    The secret to the delicious Oyama Udon lies in its noodles, which are made from high-quality wheat flour called “iwainodaichi.” Every year, the two-day Oyama Kaiun Udon Festival is held in October, where you can get a bowl of Oyama Udon and other Oyama brand goods.

    3. Admire the Shimotsuke dolls

    Each Shimotsuke doll (Shimotsuke-hitogata) is crafted through the art and tradition of Shimotsuke-shibori in which paper is twisted to create beautiful patterns. These dolls can only be found in Oyama and are part of the Oyama brand.

    4. Wear Honba Yuki Tsumugi

    As the only silk fabric that undergoes 23 production processes by hand, Yuki Tsumugi is recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is produced in Oyama as well as Yuki City in Ibaraki Prefecture.

    Take a stroll along Oyama while wearing Honba Yuki Tsumugi, which you can rent from the Honba Yuki Tsumugi Craft Museum. Reservations for the rental should be made in advance.

    Honba Yuki Tsumugi Craft Museum Website *Japanese only

    5. Make a Mamada braid

    The Honba Yuki Tsumugi Craft Museum also conducts workshops where you can learn to do Oyama’s traditional crafts yourself! One of which is to make a Mamada braid.

    Through a cord braiding technique passed down from the Nara period, silk threads are turned into elegant cords. Mamada braids are believed to bring luck and make suitable gifts that symbolize tying people together.

    Honba Yuki Tsumugi Craft Museum Website *Japanese only

    6. Go strawberry picking at Ichigo no Sato Farm

    The best time to pick ripe strawberries is from December to May. The tochihime variety limited to Tochigi is also grown at Ichigo no Sato Farm in addition to the tochiotome variety. Other fruits are also available depending on the season of your visit.

    Ichigo no Sato Farm Website *Automatic translation available

    7. See the flames of Watarase Yusuichi

    With a total area of 3,300 hectares, Watarase Yusuichi is a wetland that was registered under the Ramsar Convention in 2012 and is home to 700 plant species. It is also a retarding basin which helps prevent flooding in the area.

    There are many recreational activities that can be done here such as fishing, cycling, riding a hot air balloon, and even watching fireworks.

    Every March, Watarase Yusuichi is engulfed in flames for the reed burning (yoshiyaki), which helps manage the reed bed and control pests.

    Watarase Yusuichi Website *Japanese only

    Enjoy the unique flavors, scenery, and traditions of the City of Good Fortune! Oyama is a welcoming city that will give you not only good fortune but precious memories of your stay.

    Oyama City Website *Automatic translation available

    Would you like to stay in Oyama? Check out all the hotels in the area here!