Holidays & Festivals in Japan

Matsuri are traditional festivals or popular celebrations in Japan. There are a lot happening throughout the year on the archipelago, especially during Spring and Summer.

Japanese people love to attend them with family or among friends, and it is also the occasion of wearing traditional clothes, such as yukatas, a type of lighter kimonos. Outside street food are specifically set up and we can admire fireworks.

During these festivals, religious processions sometimes happen and participants pull big tanks called mikoshi. In November 2016, the Unesco enrolled these matsuri in the representative list of Intangible Cultural World Heritage.

Among the most famous matsuri, we can cite:

  • Snow matsuri (Yuki Matsuri) in Sapporo, mid-February
  • Sanno matsuri at Takayama the 14 and 15th of April
  • Kanda Matsuri at Tokyo, the second Sunday of May
  • Sanja Matsuri at Asakusa (Tokyo district) the third weekend of May
  • Tanabata Matsuri at Sendai, the 7th of July
  • Gion Matsuri, in the eponym district of Kyoto in July
  • Tenjin Matsuri at Osaka, the 24 and 25th of July
  • Awa Odori, a dance festival at Tokushima (Shikoku island) from the 12 to the 15th of August
  • Hachiman Matsuri at Takayama, the 9 and 10th of October
  • Jidai Matsuri at Kyoto the 22nd of October
  • Chichibu Yomatsuri at Chichibu (Saitama prefecture, North-West of Tokyo) the 3rd of December

If you happen to be in Japan during one of these festivals, do not hesitate to attend to them, but watch out for the crowd !

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