In Japan, thousands of festivals and events take place during the year. There are several festivals that take place in a given province in several times of the year. In this article we will share a list of festivals in Japan and describe the most popular ones.
Have you ever wondered how to name these festivals in Japanese? In the list of matsuri we will also share the name of the festivals in Japanese and the date of some. Unfortunately the list does not have all the festivals, there are thousands of local matsuri ...
The list of festivals with their date and location can be found at the end of this article. To help you get around we will leave a summary or index below. I hope you enjoy this great festival guide from Japan that I have prepared for you:
Local Festivals in Japan
We cannot list all the festivals in Japan in the article because thousands are held exclusively in certain cities. Virtually every city has a regional festival, seasonal or unique, to celebrate something like a temple or event.
Schools in Japan also hold festivals. Every year events are called Bunkasai and several others, on different dates and organized by each school in the country. That is why it is impossible to list all festivals in Japan.
There are even foreign festivals in some places. For example, in the Asakusa neighborhood, Carnival every year. Cities like Nagoya, Hamamatsu and with many foreigners also hold cultural events about countries.
Japan's Bizarre Festivals
Japan is also very successful for its numerous bizarre festivals in the eyes of the West. There are festivals like the Navel Festival, festival of the penis, festival where men get naked behind an amulet and so on.
There is also a festival where sumo wrestlers try to make babies cry. Another bizarre festival where people come out in costumes with sticks in hand to scare others and more.
We have our own article that shows the Japan's most bizarre festivals, we recommend reading this article to know the unusual things that you only find in the land of the rising sun.
Tanabata Matsuri - Festival of the Stars
The Tanabata Matsuri, also known as the Star Festival, is one of the most anticipated of the summer, famous for the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi and its decorations tanzaku. The festival can take place between July and August depending on the year and location.
The legend of the Tanabata festival consists of the love story of two stars, Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). The Festival's tradition is found in small notes tied in a bamboo ornament.
At the end of the celebration, the tickets are burned, with the purpose that the wishes reach the skies. To learn more about the Tanabata festival, we recommend reading our article on Tanabata Matsuri - The Star Festival.
Children's Festivals in Japan
There are 3 festivals dedicated to children in Japan, we have children's day Kodomo no Hi that happens during Golden Week on May 5th. We have the Hina Matsuri or girls' day that happens on March 3rd. It's the Shichi-go-san that happens on November 15th.
Each of these festivals has its own traditions and peculiarities, during the girls 'day there is the famous tradition of dolls, on the boys' day we have fish ornaments, in the shichi-go-san children of certain ages are taken to the temple.
We have a special article that talks about these three festivals, their peculiarities and songs. You can find the article by clicking or searching for Kodomo no Hi, Hina Matsuri and 753 - Children's Day in Japan at Suki Desu.
Hanami, Hanabi and Tsukimi - Appreciation Festivals
Some festivals are dedicated to the appreciation of flowers like Hanami or the appreciation of the moon like Tsukimi. Hanami is one of the most famous festivals in Japan, where we enjoy cherry blossoms during the spring.
Hanabi Taikai is a fireworks festival that takes place during the summer across Japan on different dates. In this festival people visit a kind of stall market using their yukata to enjoy the fireworks at night.
These are not the only festivals where you visit a particular place to enjoy nature or art, there are many others. We recommend reading our guide on Hanami - View Flowers and our guide on Hanabi Taikai.
Takayama Matsuri - Float Festival
The Takayama Festival is considered one of the three most beautiful in Japan, started in the 16th century and attracts visitors from all over the country. The festival's attractions are the floats (yatai), which are Japan's cultural heritage.
The cars on the streets are really fantastic: all sculpted in wood or metal, lacquered, painted in the smallest details and with gold-plated ornaments. They are truly mobile treasures, each one hundreds of years old and the pride of this artisan city.
Some of the cars have their own music, others have flute performances, there is also a parade, puppet shows and many other things in these two days of the festival. To learn more read our article on Takayama Matsuri.
Sapporo Snow Festival - Snow Festival
In Hokkaido [北海道] in the city of Sapporo [札幌] one of Japan's biggest winter festivals takes place. The big snow festival in the city of Sapporo called Sapporo Snow Festival [さっぽろ雪まつり]. The event usually happens in February.
In this festival there are ice and snow sculpture competitions. Some sculptures are giant and need machines and a base to be made. In addition, the festival has several attractions such as skating rink, SKI, AIR Jumping, hiking, sliding tube and others.
This is the perfect opportunity to see giant snow and ice sculptures in Odori Park and along Susukino's main street. This freezing event has been going on for 7 days since 1950. To learn more about the event read the article on Sapporo Snow Festival.
List of major festivals in Japan
The list below in addition to the festivals and their names in Japanese, also shares other events that may fit into the category, in addition to words to improve your vocabulary. Some dates and holidays are also listed below:
|Spring Festival||春祭り||haru matsuri|
|Summer festival||夏祭り||natsu matsuri|
|Autumn Festival||秋祭り||aki matsuri|
|Snow Festival||雪祭り||yuki matsuri|
|Festival of culture and art||文化祭||bunkasai|
|New Year||正月||shou gatsu|
|Hanami - Flower Festival||花見||hanami|
|Hanabi - Fireworks Festival||花火||hanabi|
|Valentine's Day||バレンタインデー||barentain de-|
|Doll Festival (March 3)||雛祭り||hina matsuri|
|Buddha's Birthday (April 8)||花祭り||hana matsuri|
|Green Day (April 29)||緑の日||midori no hi|
|Golden Week||ゴールデンウイーク||go-ruden ui-ku|
|Children's Day (May 5th)||子供の日||kodomo no hi|
|Mothers Day||母の日||haha no hi|
|Father's Day||父の日||pee no hi|
|The Festival of the Stars (July 7)||七夕||tanabata|
|The Festival of the Stars (July 7)||星祭り||hoshi matsuri|
|Bon Festival (mid-August)||お盆||obon|
|Ceremony in which paper lanterns are floating on a river (August 15/16)||灯篭流し||toured nagashi|
|Festival for children aged 3.5 and 7 years old (November 15)||七五三||shichi go san|
|Culture Day (November 3)||文化の日||bunka no hi|
|New Year's Eve (31 December)||大晦日||oomisoka|
|Summer holidays||夏休み||natsu yasumi|
|Winter break||冬休み||fuyu yasumi|
|Entrance Ceremony (School)||入学式||nyuugaku shiki|
|Day of adulthood||成人式||seijin shiki|
|Day of adulthood||成年式||seinen shiki|
|Graduation ceremony||卒業式||sotsugyou shiki|
List of famous traditional matsuri
|Aoi||Kyoto||held at Shimogamo and Kamigamo Shrine in May|
|Atsuta||Nagoya||held at the Atsuta sanctuary in June|
|Awa Odori||Tokushima, Tokushima||held in Tokushima in August|
|Dontaku||Fukuoka||held from 3 to May|
|Gion||Kyoto||held in July|
|Hadaka||Okayama||held in February|
|Hakata Gion Yamakasa||Fukuoka||held in Kushida-jinja in July|
|Hōnen||Komaki||held at the Tagata Sanctuary in March|
|Jidai||Kyoto||held in October|
|Kanamara||Kawasaki||held at Kanayama Shrine in April|
|Kanda||Tokyo||held at the Kanda Myojin shrine in May|
|Kanto||Akita||held from 3 to August|
|Kishiwada Danjiri||Kishiwada||held in September|
|Kumagaya Uchiwa Festival||Saitama||held from July 19 to 3|
|Nagasaki Kunchi||Nagasaki||held from the 9th of october|
|Miki Autumn Harvest Festival||Miki||held at Ōmiya Hachiman Shrine in October|
|Nothing at Kenka||Himeji||held at Matsubara Hachiman Shrine on October 1 and 1|
|Nagoya||Nagoya||held at Hisaya Ōdori park in Sakae Nagoya|
|Nebuta||Aomori||held from to August|
|Neputa (Hirosaki)||Hirosaki||held in the first week of August|
|Ojima Neputa Festival||Gunma||held from 1 to 1 August|
|Sanja||Tokyo||held at Asakusa Shrine in May|
|Sanno||Tokyo||held at the Hie shrine in June|
|Tanabata||Sendai||held from 6 to 8 August|
|Tenjin||Osaka||held in Akasaka Tenman-gū in July|
|Wakakusa Yamayaki||Nara||held in Nara on the fourth Saturday of January|
|Yosakoi Matsuri||Kochi||held in Kochi in August|
|Yotaka||Toyama||held in Tonami Toyama in June|
Japan music and film festivals
|Asian Queer Film Festival||film Festival||Tokyo|
|B-Boy Park||Hip hop festival|
|CON-CAN Movie Festival||film Festival||Tokyo|
|Concert on the Rock||Rock Festival|
|Cosquín en Japón||Folk Festival|
|Firefox Rock Festival||Rock Festival|
|Fuji Rock Festival||Rock Festival|
|Heart-Aid Shisen||Rock Festival|
|Hiroshima International Animation Festival||film Festival||Hiroshima|
|Image Forum Festival||film Festival||Tokyo|
|Live under the sky||Rock Festival|
|Loud Park Festival||Heavy metal festival|
|Mainichi Film Awards||film Festival||Tokyo|
|Mount Fuji Jazz Festival||Jazz festival|
|Newport Jazz Festival in Madarao||Jazz festival|
|Okinawa International Movie Festival||film Festival||Ginowan & Naha,|
|Rising Sun Rock Festival||Rock Festival|
|Rock in Japan Festival||Rock Festival|
|Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto||Classical Music Festival|
|Songs Day||Pop Festival|
|Summer Sonic Festival||Rock Festival|
|Tokyo Filmex||film Festival||Tokyo|
|Tokyo International Film Festival ||film Festival||Tokyo|
|Tokyo International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival||film Festival||Tokyo|
|Tokyo Music Festival||Pop Festival|
|Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival||film Festival||Yamagata|
|Yamaha Music Festival||Classical Music Festival|
|Yamaha Popular Song Contest||Pop Festival||Kakegawa|
|Yokohama Film Festival||film Festival||Yokohama|
|Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival||film Festival||Yūbari, Hokkaido|
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