In summer, other than the nighttime fireworks that Japanese must go. From July to August many places have the summer festivals that also should not missed. Wearing the Yukata (bathrobe) to join the festival and see the fireworks at night. How do you think of this itinerary? In following we will introduce five famous festivals that most of the Japanese believe should visit once in the lifetime.
(As Tokyo and Kanto district have too many summer activities that can introduce separately, so we will not cover Kanto in this article)
1. Northeast Aomori Nebuta Festival
8/2 ~ 8/7
Aomori Nebuta Matsuri is the most representative summer festival in Northeast of Japan. Nebuta means the traditional Japan craftsmanship. The craftsmen craft the dolls and animals according to the Japanese folk stories and drawings. The red color ghosts and gods are the most comment theme. These dolls are showed on the mobile vehicle. The dolls will be criticized by the opponent parade but can also be appreciated as well. This year the main parade will be showed from 8/4 ~ 8/6 at nighttime. 8/7 at noontime the parade is still on and following by the fireworks at night. Believe it would be a very pack and satisfy trip.
2.Kansai Kyoto Gion Festival
7/1 ~ 7/31
Gion Festival is the most classic summer festival and it is also the biggest summer activities in Kyoto in July of each year. Gion Festival is selected as the Japan intangible culture heritage. Yasaka Shrine has held this summer festival over 1,000 years. This festival has a long history. In this festival the most famous one is the Yamahoko procession, which has 33 teams and they will pass through the tourist areas like Shijo Karasuma pedestrian area. The noon procession and lanterns at night are very attractive. This year the parade will be held on 7/17 and 7/24. Don’t miss them.
3.Kyoto’s Gozan No Okuribi (Daimonji Fire Festival)
8/16 Night time 20:00pm~
Unlike other crowd and lively festival. The Kyoto Daimonji festival is a very special event. On 8/16 starts at 8pm at night, five places in Kyoto will hold the fire festival. Starts from 8/15, the Kiyoshidoin starts selling the 『護摩木』(Gomaki) that visitors can write their name on it to wish for health. Visitor can pass the Gomaki to the temple master who will burn them on 8/16 at nigh to purify for you. The fire festival of the Kiyoshidoin before the Ginkaku-ji is very famous. This is because the Gomaki will be placed on the mountain and heaps in to a big 『大』word, and it becomes a general name of the fire festival.
Another well known festival is the『左大文字』(which means the t『大』fire festival being held at the left Kyoto) that nearby the Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion temple).
As the fire festival is held in the mountain, so if happened that you stayed at the higher floor of the hotel, then you can see it from your hotel. The best spot to see the Ginkaku-ji festival is the riverside of the Kamogawa River.
4.Shikoku Kochi Yosakoi Festival
8/9 ~ 8/12
Kochi Yosakoi festival is the largest Yosakoi festival in Japan. The Yosakoi teams across the country will attend the festival. Yosakoi is the traditional Japanese dancing that can highly express the passion of the summer. It is so passionate to see different Yosakoi teams dance during the parade. The main parade is held from 8/10 to 8/11. There is firework on the 8/9 the night before the parade.
5.Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival
From July to 8/26 ~ 8/28
Okinawa gives the impression that most of the days in a year is summer. Okinawa is also a popular summer holiday destination of most Japanese and Hong Kong people. エイサー (Eisa) is a traditional dancing in Okinawa. The festival is mainly organized by young people to bring energy to Okinawa. Start from July, many places in Okinawa will have different performances.
This year the main festival will be held from 8/26 to 8/28. It is a collective performance. 300,000 of people will performance in these three days. It must be very impressive.
This year a local summer story that draw high attention –
Kyushu Kumamoto (火の国祭り
) Hinokuni Festival
8/5 ~ 8/6
(to be confirmed)
Hinokuni Festival is a big summery festival in Kyushu. In the past, there were 4,000 people went on street to join the parade. They sang the traditional Kumamoto folk song and performed the tub dance. Visitors can learn the folk songs and dance online.
Affected by the lately earthquake, the Hinokuni festival which was scheduled on 8/5 and 8/6 is still under discussion. Need to pay close attention to the announcement. If the festival to be held as planned, it aroused high attention. Hope the affected area can be recovered and back to lively in August.
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