Cultural events in Japan are countless. Almost every shrine celebrates its own local festivals named matsuri. Most Japan Festivals & Events are organized annually to commemorate a seasonal or historical event. Mikoshi or procession is an essential element of festivals in Japan. The deity of the local shrine is carried on a palanquin. Dashi or decorated floats are pulled through the town in various festivals, escorted by drum and flute music. While many festivals in Japan are calm and meditative, most cultural events in Japan tend to be energetic and noisy.
Thousands of tourists from in and around Japan as well as across the world take part in these colorful Japan Festivals & Events. The atmosphere looks chilling and every heart seems thrilling in enjoyment. Oceans of man carrying beautiful tabloids and various religious and secular events are the hallmark of these festivals in Japan. Your travel to Japan coinciding with major cultural events in Japan is sure to enthrall you. These cultural extravaganzas are part and parcel of the Japanese society and give them strength and vitality to move forward.
In the middle of MAR
Hifuri Shinji fire festival, with waving torches along the path and a torch of the oak waved on the grounds, climaxes the wedding rites of the Gods. Originally, a marriage of gods has the meaning of production, and so the festival is held to pray for a good harvest, held in March.
This festival was designated as a National Important and Intangible Cultural Property in 1981.
7th OCT - 9th OCT each year
Nagasaki Kunchi is an autumn festival of the Suwa Shrine held on the 7th, 8th and 9th of October every year. It is renowned as one of the three most splendid festivals in Japan. It is also designated as an important, intangible cultural asset of Japan.
12th AUG - 15th AUG each year
Awa Dance Festival. The mens' dance is dynamic and energetic. The womens' dance is fascinating and elegant. The rhythm of Yoshikono is created by using shamisens, gongs, taiko drums and flutes. It invites dancers and audiences alike to share the enthusiasm. For four days from August 12 to 15, Tokushima City is filled with Awa Dance.
14th OCT - 15th OCT each year
Nada Kenka Matsuri is one of thousands common matsuri in Japan. It is not largest or most famous one even in Japan. But it get participant's spirits up so high that they are in the belief that it is as gorgeous as the carnival of Rio and as heroic as the bull chase of Pamplona. Seeing it will sway your opinion about Japanese that they are modest, reticent, and precise people.
1st JUL - 31st JUL (high-light: 17th JUL) each year
The Gion Festival was said to have been started in 869 in the hope of securing divine intervention to halt an epidemic that was raging at the time. The festival took its current form in the Edo Era,when the gorgeously-decorated festival floats known as yama and hoko first made their appearance.
15th AUG each year
The Aoi Matsuri is an annual festival at Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrines. In times gone by everything, from the palace bamboo blinds to court carriages to the people’s costumes to bullocks and horses were once adorned with hollyhock leaves giving the festival the name of the Aoi (hollyhock) Matsuri. An elegant procession reminding people of the Heian dynasty heyday starts from Kyoto Gosho at 10.30 am and after parading around the city heads to the Kamigamo Shrine via the shrine at Shimogamo.
7.Todaiji Temple, Nara
12th MAR - 14th MAR each year
Omizutori, officially called the Shuni-e, is a water-drawing ritual held from late February through mid-March at the Nigatsudo hall of Tôdaiji Temple. Focusing on the hall's principal icon of worship, a sculptural image of Eleven-Headed Kannon, this rite of repentance (J. keka) aims to purge past sins, as well as bring good fortune and protection from natural disasters. What is unique about Omizutori is its remarkable unbroken history: it has been held annually since the Nara period, for over 1250 consecutive years.
Saturday and Sunday before respect for the Aged Day (15th SEP)
The Danjiri Festival is held annually on the 14th and 15th of September at Kishiki Shrine in Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture. A danjiri is a traditional type of wooden float, decorated with various ornaments, that is drawn around the town during festival days. Depending on the festival and locality they may also be called dashi, yamagasa or yatai. Around 30 massive floats made from unpainted wood play the major role during this festival, and, it is known as the Danjiri Festival.
From Friday to Sunday on the 3rd week of MAY
The Sanja Matsuri counted by one of the Edo three major festivals boils Asakusa people's bloods as a roughness festival of the Edo the greatest, and gathers one million tourists or more now every year. The emotion of the downtown and shouldering person's heat pile up the atmosphere of the festival, and it is popular as a global festival.
Saturday and Sunday in the middle of MAY
Kanda Masturi One of the most famous festivals of Tokyo, Kanda Matsuri is also ranked among the three largest festivals in Japan. In addition to the portable shrines with a phoenix decorated on the roof there are all kinds of floats, and Shinto priests mounted on horseback line up in rows, producing a spectacular sight.
6th AUG - 8th AUG each year
The Tanabata Festival is considered one of the three major summer festivals in the Tohoku region. Decorations made with Japanese paper and bamboo poles harmonize perfectly with the light breeze. Approximately 1,500 of these well-decorated bamboo poles fill the shopping arcades and highlight the city.
14th APR - 15th APR, 9th OCT – 10th OCT each year
Gorgeous and splendid Takayama festival is the one of the biggest festivals in Japan. It's floats are revived by Heisei era's skilled artisans. Takayama festival floats' and related skills show our wishes to hand down to posterity. People of Takayama conserve the traditional life and skill, and are proud of floats.
From Friday to Sunday on the 1st week of JUN
The Hyakumangoku Matsuri is the main annual festival taking place in Kanazawa, Japan. The festival commemorates the entry of Lord Maeda Toshiie into Kanazawa castle in 1583. The highlight of the festival is the Hyakumangoku Parade, which begins on the second Saturday in June.
From Friday to Sunday on the 2nd week of FEB
Namahage Sedo Festival. On New Year's Eve, a group of 2 or 3 village youths disguised as a rather grotesque deity called Namahage, wearing large masks, straw raincoats and waist-bands, holding wooden knives and pails, go around visiting the houses at night, dancing along as they give out strange cries. In the city of Oga ,an event called "Namahage" has been performed for many centuries. In 1978, this event was designated as an important intangible national cultural asset because the event is a good example of one type of traditional folk belief.
2nd AUG - 7th AUG each year
The Nebuta Festival takes place from August 2 to 7 in the city of Aomori. The Nebuta Festival features a parade of huge lanterns in the shape of samurai warriors. The lanterns are made with wooden or bamboo frames and covered with brightly colored papier-mâché.
Local Unique Festival
Saturday and Sunday on the 1st week of APR
Asanogawa Enyukai takes place along the Asanogawa River in April. The thaw flows into the river with the coming of spring. As the castle town, Kanazawa, still many old streets and the geisha district are kept as they were. The festival is for celebrating the spring after a long winter and also for inheriting many traditional performances, especially Geisha's dance or shamisen music. People perform on the stage that is specially built on the river for this event.
Saturday and Sunday on the 2nd week of FEB
Foodpia Kanazawa is a Festival of Food. In February known as the best month of the food in Ishikawa, Japanese dishes used many food of wintertime will be served at various upscale restaurants. Also during the even people have meals with celebrities (authors, singers, artists, etc). This festival is famous not for its great dishes, but this uniqueness.
From Wednsday to Sunday on the 2nd week of JUN
Yosakoi Soran Hokkaido
Yosakoi Soran Hokkaido started in August of 1991. This new dance festival is combined with Yosakoi dance in Kochi and Soran Melody in Hokkaido so that people call it Yosakoi Soran. Free and creative dances are the particularly famous in eary summer of Hokkaido.