Japanese Festivals

Japanese Festivals 祭り

Japanese Festivals - matsuri.

Japan is known for the color and exuberance of its festivals - matsuri - connected with shrines and temples across the nation.

Japanese festivals are often connected with special historical events, fertility rites or prayers to the gods for good health.

Some festivals are nationwide events such as the Doll's Festival in March, the Boy's Festival in May, Tanabata Festival in July, the Obon Festivals in August and Shichogosan in November.

Many Japanese festivals involve a procession with a mikoshi or giant floats pulled through the streets with participants in period dress or happi coats.

Japanese festivals are connected with the changing seasons beginning with the New Year or Ganjitsu when people across the country visit a shrine or temple to pray for good fortune over the next 12 months.

Setsubun festivals in February mark the end of winter and the coming of spring by the lunar calendar followed by peach blossom or Hina Matsuri in March.

The hot Japanese summer is marked by Obon festivals in July and August and prayers for the souls of departed ancestors. Although a solemn occasion, Obon is also a time for joyous dances in such places as Gujo Hachiman and the Awa Odori in Tokushima, Shikoku, as the souls of family members are thought to return for a brief visit and a knees-up.

Autumn is the time for a number of harvest festivals as the rice is collected and the first sake of the year is made and celebrated.

Kyoto and Tokyo are especially well-known for their colorful festivals but every region in Japan can boast some remarkable and often quirky events. See below for a listing of Japanese festivals by month.

Inuyama Festival, Aichi Prefecture.
Inuyama Festival, Aichi Prefecture

Japan Festival Listing By Month

Tsunozu Festival.
Tengu forest goblin at Tsunozu Festival, Shimane Prefecture
Harvest Festival, Tsunozu, November.
Procession of happi-clad children carrying a mikoshi
Sanja Festival, Tokyo, Japan.
Mikoshi at the riotous Sanja Matsuri, Tokyo
Yakuza gangsters, Sanja matsuri, Tokyo, Japan.
The Sanja Matsuri is one of Tokyo's most lively festivals

Other Festivals In Japan

Aoi Matsuri, Kyoto.

Ako Festival - Ako - December

Anjin Festival - Ito city Shizuoka - August

Aoi Festival - Kyoto - May

Coming of Age Day - Nationwide - January

Daimonji Festival - Kyoto - August

Danjiri Festival - Kishiwada - September

Gion Matsuri - Kyoto - July

Hamamatsu Festival - Hamamatsu - May

Hina Matsuri - Nationwide - March

Jidai Matsuri - Kyoto - October

Kurama Fire Festival - Kyoto - October

Kuromatsu Festival - Kuromatsu - July

Murakami Dolls Festival - Murakami city, Niigata, March

Nagasaki Lantern Festival - Nagasaki - February

Otabi Festival - Komatsu - May

Sapporo Snow Festival - Sapporo - February

Shichigosan Festival - Nationwide - November

Shirahagi Festival - Kitsuki - October

Summer Music Festivals in Japan - Fuji Rock, Summer Sonic

Tanabata Festival - Nationwide - July

Tokorozawa Doll Memorial Celebration - Tokorozawa - June

Wakuwaku Winter Festival - Niigata - February

Yabusame Festival - Tsuwano - April

DISCLAIMER Festivals may be cancelled or postponed without much warning. Check with your local tourist office for confirmation.

Japan Festivals in July.
Hiei Jinja's Sanno Matsuri festival in Yotsuya, Tokyo
Japan Festivals in July.
Hiei Jinja's Sanno Matsuri festival in Yotsuya, Tokyo
Tsuwano Yabusame Festival.
Tsuwano Yabusame Festival.

Japanese Festival Video

Books on Japanese Festivals

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