Festivals in Japan

Posted by Loc on January 10th, 2012. Filters:

My first post in 2012! I hope everyone had a great celebration to bring in the New Year. With a new year comes new changes and Japan will surely have several new changes this year since the devastation they faced last year. However, the great thing about Japan is there will always be something constant. No matter what happens, something consistent will be present in the people’s lives. One of those things is one of my favorite part of Japanese cultures: festivals! (also known as Matsuri) Many occurs throughout the year and many places often have their own to celebrate certain events in their specific town. I’ll introduce one big festival for each season. Check them out if you’ll be visiting Japan this year! Full list at Japan Guide.

Winter: Sapporo Snow Festival
in Sapporo, Hokkaido (Feb 6 – 12)

Hosts one of the biggest ice sculpture event in the world where many creations are found at Odori Park. Candles are also lighted at night and allow to float in the city’s canals making for an ambient yet festive atmosphere. It’ll be a memorable winter that’s for sure.

Spring: Takayama Matsuri
in Takayama, Gifu (Apr 14 – 15 & Oct 9 – 10)

Actually held in the Spring and again in Autumn. Characterized by tall, beautifully embellished floats that are pulled through Takayama. The event lasts until the evening which is considered the highlight of the festival by many.

Summer: Kanto Matsuri (Pole Lantern Festival)
in Akita City, Akita Prefecture (Aug 3 – 6) 

The highlight of the festival features performers balancing these Kanto (bamboo poles) on their body at the same time for almost an hour. Afterward, people are welcome to try balancing it themselves. I’ll…pass as I don’t want to kill anyone.

Fall: Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)
in Kyoto (Oct 22)

The festival is actually a large parade that starts from the Imperial Palace to the Heian Shrine. What’s spectacular is the parade has people in costumes from every period of Japan’s history when Kyoto was the country’s capital. Characters from the Meiji Restoration period appears first then other time periods until the Heian Period. 2000 participates are said to take part in the parade.

  • http://myshashin.tumblr.com TicTaek

    I remember when I left Sapporo, it was one week before the Snow Festival started.  So sad I missed it.  I will agree that Japanese festivals are among the best that I have attended.  

    • http://locnessdesigns.com Loc Lam

      You’ve been to Sapporo? I heard the sea food is even more amazing there! *drools* 

      Yeah, next time I go to Japan, attending a festival big or small will be on the list :] 

    • http://myshashin.tumblr.com TicTaek

      Yah dude!  I lived there for 6 months.  hehe  I’m a Sapporo Pro!  Sorta.

    • http://locnessdesigns.com Loc Lam

      Wow, wish I could stay that long in Japan someday. Wanna be my tour guide whenever I can venture up to Hokkaido? :D

    • http://yonasu.com/ Jonas

      Mine too please!

    • http://myshashin.tumblr.com TicTaek

      You got it guys!

  • http://yonasu.com/ Jonas

    If there’s one festival I want to attend it’s the Sapporo Snow Festival, those sculptures are the very definition of epic!

    • http://locnessdesigns.com Loc Lam

      If I can find some new pictures from this year, I’ll put together an ice sculpture post! They’re really amazing.