Besides shopping and visiting famous attractions, if time and location matches, you must not miss out on majorJapanese festivals, experience the local atmosphere! Almost every month, there will be a festival going-on anywhere in Japan, even though each festival theme is different, some are small scale and some are larger in scale, but it is inseparable from performances, snacks, game stalls and etc. Also, most of the Japanese will dress in a bathrobe or the designated apparels, it is a good chance to take more pictures!
Last September, the author participated in one of the big festival in Kansai – Kishiwada Festival. Though the festival was successfully completed in September, but in October, there is another similar event happening in the east coast of Hotan. Those who are travelling to Osaka in October, pay attention to it! Of course, besides Kishiwada Festival, some other places will also have other festival waiting for you to join, do some research and see if there is any nearby that you can participate in!
Before the event officially starts, many people will start to check on the Mikoshi, this is best time to take pictures with them!
Most of the Japanese festival have the Mikoshi parade, there will be a group of people who carry or push the beautifully decorated Mikoshi parade on the streets, with loud cheer and full of energy. Besides that, the performers on the Mikoshi will have a variety of performances and drummers which adds on to the fun. Take the Kishiwada Festival as an example, it is scary to see those people singing and dancing on the Mikoshi.
Mikoshi plays an important role in the festival, the finer the workmanship on the Mikoshi, the higher the importance of the festival.
Looking at those who cheer and wave on the Mikoshi, unconsciously, you will join in the fun.
When the Mikoshi need to take a turn, it is the biggest test of their unity, remember not to miss out this part of the parade.
At night, when the Mikoshi is litt up, it gives a different view.
Besides the parade of the Mikoshi, don’t forget about the food and games stalls we always see in the Japanese drama and animation! In addition to the common takoyaki, fried noodles, beers and etc., you will find the rare candy apple, ebi-katsu, it is different from the usual Japan, in here you can eat while you walking! If you are planning to join any of the festival, remember to go there with an empty stomach! (Japanese doesn’t like eating while walking, they think that it is unhygienic, and of course, ice-cream is an exceptional).
If you are done with eating and the performances haven’t started, what can you do while waiting? In all the big festivals, there are always a lot of games for everyone to pass time. The most famous one is goldfish scooping, fishing water polo, hoop throwing, air guns and etc. Even though it is not easy to win the prizes, but it is worth trying! Besides that, there are many cartoon character masks and unique stores in the festival. The lively streets in the countryside will give you a different travelling experience!
The goldfish scooping game stall attracts many Japanese kids.
Cartoon masks are one of the popular choice for Festival!
This is just one of the festival in Japan, as I mentioned before, each place has its own unique festival which you can participate in (especially on the northeast of Japan, I will share with you guys if I get a chance!). If you are planning to visit Japan and want to experience such local festivals, you can browse Jalan Event, one of the Japan’s travel website, it has a listing of all the activities with complete date and venue details, if you are visiting Osaka in October, see if you can join the Kishiwada Festival on the east coast of Hotan city.
Jalan Event Website：http://www.jalan.net/event/?afCd=&rootCd=&screenId=OUW1011
Kishiwada Festival（October 10 -11）：http://www.city.kishiwada.osaka.jp/site/danjiri/