Japan is a stunning country that offers a plethora of attractions to its visitors. Aside from its natural beauty and historic sites, there are also numerous Matsuris or festivals that occur. There are over 30,000 distinct festivals that take place in Japan, showcasing the finest aspects of its culture. These Japanese festivals differ from one location to another. However, a Matsuri or festival is typically sponsored by a temple or shrine and organized by the locals. It can be a harvest festival or a religious one.
The individuals who participate in these festivals don the traditional attire of Matsuri and carry portable shrines to bless the town and its people. These festivals attract individuals from all walks of life. Most tourists eagerly anticipate joining these parades, as they hope to immerse themselves in the music and dancing.
10 Lively Festivals In Japan
If you find yourself in Japan and wish to partake in these Japanese festivals, it is imperative to consult this list so that you can locate them at the appropriate time:
1. Kanda Matsuri
This festival is the most renowned in Tokyo and is sponsored by and held around the Kanda Myojin Shrine. It is one of the Japanese festivals that best exemplifies Tokyo. The shrine pays homage to three deities – Daikokuten (one of the Gods of fortune), Ebisu (God of luck), and Taira no Masakodo (a revered feudal lord). Mikoshi, or the portable shrines, are carried and followed by thousands of people, including dancers and musicians. The procession goes through Kanda to Akihabara and then returns to the shrine by the end of the evening. The shrine is believed to bring good fortune to the locals.
Location: Kanda Myojin Shrine Date: 11th May–17th May, 2023
2. Yuki Matsuri
This particular festival is one of the most popular Japanese festivals. The crowd starts gathering around mid-February. Initially, six high school students created ice sculptures here, which eventually turned into a contest attracting participants from all over the world. If you visit the festival, you will witness a myriad of awe-inspiring sculptures, ice carvings, and a thrilling concert. The festival takes place in three different locations in Sapporo – the Odiri site, Tsu dome, and Susukino site.
Location: Odiri site, Tsu dome and Susukino site.Date: Saturday, July 1, 2023 – Monday, July 31, 2023
3. Gion Festival
This celebration occurs during the month of July and is one of the finest Japanese Summer festivals you can discover. It is sponsored by the Yasaka Shrine and it was initially initiated to get rid of the epidemic that had afflicted Japan in 898. The main attraction of this event has to be ‘Yamaboko Junko’ which is when the parade of floats occurs on the 17th and 24th. The hokos or floats are enormous and are connected to wheels that are as big as a human. The whole festival simply gets individuals in the mood to commemorate, with so many vibrant floats, so many individuals and so much food and drinks.
Location: Shijo Karasuma areaDate: Saturday, July 1, 2023
4. Tenjin Festival
The Tenjin festival is one of the top 3 Japanese summer festivals after Giona and Kanda Matsuri. It has the regular land procession where the Mikoshi or the portable shrine is carried around, however, the journey ends at the docks and stays at the river and thereafter, there is a fireworks display. The parade begins at Tenmangu shrine and on the third day, it reaches river Okawa where the shrine and the followers are loaded on a boat and the boat parades down the river and back. The great part about this festival is that it is a great way to counter the heat. You will be cooled off by the river, there are plenty of food stalls and vendors, and if you can even observe stage boats where there are special performances put on.
Location: Tenmangu Shrine, OsakaDate: 24th and 25th July
5. Aomori Nebuta Festival
If you chance to visit Aomori city at the commencement of August, you will have the opportunity to witness colossal Nebuta or illuminated floats on exhibition. Some of them portray human figures and there are an abundance of dancers that encircle around. There are also Nebuta crafted from mythological or historical figures which comprise the highlight of the festival. This festival attracts visitors from all around the globe and is, consequently, one of the most favored Japanese festivals. If you desire to partake in the festival, you will have to don a Haneto dancer attire and you will most certainly require to dance with them.
Location: Aomori Prefecture, Aomori cityDate: August (dates to be publicized)
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