Interesting festivals to join in Japan

Interesting festivals to join in Japan

Japan is a country that maintains a long and distinctive historic culture with a variety of festivals. Many visitors said that Japanese festivals are extremely joyful and unforgettable.

Each fair in Japan is different from other, so going to more than one in one location is essential. Participating in a festival while travelling in Japan is an exciting experience.

1. Shogatsu – New Year festival:

festival in Japan

Traditional meals are prepared in this festival

Like many countries around the world, Japanese hold New Year holiday every year with the belief which is getting a lucky and happy upcoming year. In the past, New Year was taken placed basing on the lunar calendar ( January 1 ) like Viet Nam and China, but now, every activities are hold depending on Western time.

In New Year’s Eve, people usually eat Toshicoshi Soba ( buckwheat ) for good health. In the first day of New Year, members of families gather to visit their parents and ancestors. Then, they drink Sake – a wine is formerly known as longevity.

There are many traditional food are cooked in these days, especially Osechi and round sticky rice cake eaten with ozoni – a special Japanese soup. Before and after Shogatsu, Japanese often send fortunate cards to their relatives, friends and workmates.

In addition, it is traditional for Japanese to visit a shrine or a temple to pray for luckiness in the upcoming year. Therefore, many well-known temples and shrines are extremely crowded in this celebration.

There are many special conventions in New Year holiday in Japan. For example: choosing the nice way to be outside (hatsu moode), or giving lucky money for children (o toshi dama). During Shogatu, bamboo or pine branches are used to decorate for gates called kadomatsu.

2. Hanami:

festival in Japan

Hanami is the best occasion to admire the brilliant Sakura

Hanami is a traditional fair in the “Land of sunrise”. This occasion is occurred from late of March to early April. It is the festival that people spend time to joining parties under pretty cherry blossoms.

Hanami is a complex word which is created from “Hana” (flower) and “Mi” (viewing). In this vacation, Japanese often have picnics and parties in crowded park both day and night.

They spend the whole day talking, eating and taking photos beneath the brilliant Sakura flowers. Many traditional Japanese meals are prepared such as: sushi, bento, and Hanamizake wine.

3. Setsubun – The Bean – Throwing Festival:

festival in Japan

This is also a special occasion for Japanese children

Setsubun is and old, fun, and weird tradition which has remained in Japan for a long time. It is a day full of bean throwing, bean eating and efforts to scare evil away to welcome good fortunate.

One member of a family wears a demon mask and plays the “bad evil”, while the rest shouts and throw beans until he leaves. Besides, candy and money are also thrown into the crowds which then collect the small gifts.

4. Obon:

festival in Japan

Flower lights create an amazing scene

Although Obon is not an official national holiday, it is the most sacred Japanese festival in the summer. Obon is an occasion of ancestors’ spirit that returns home to rest. People visit shrines, temple and family graves during Obon.

Bonodori – a ritual dance is performed in several places. During Obon time, Japanese light up paper lanterns in order to guide their ancestors come back.

5. Rice Straw Sculpture Festival:

festival in Japan

Giant straw animals will make you surprised

Positioned in Niigata prefecture on Honshu Island, this festival attracts thousands of visitors in September, every year. In Japanese dialect, “Wara” means rice straw. As a result, Rice Straw Sculpture Festival has its original name Wara festival.

In September, after harvesting, there is a lot of straw remaining, which is suitable for organizing such a stunning vacation.

Traditionally, it is common to make form of livestock. Nevertheless, the Japanese craftsmen came up with all their fantastic creation to produce giant masterpieces.

Steps of creating these sculptures are not quite difficult. Firstly, the craftsmen construct a wooden frame, and then they lay straw or hay on it. In this way they can create any objects from a dinosaur to a scorpion.

6. Tanabata:

festival in Japan

Colorful decoration on the street during the festival

Located in Sandai, Miyagi prefecture, Tanabata is the most famed festival in Japan. This festival has been taking place for 400 years. It is not only one of three biggest occasions in Japan but also the most popular celebration in the North East. Tanabata is held from 6th to 8th August every year.

Tanabata celebrates a number of different concepts, including love, wishes, playfulness and beauty, all while explaining the stars.

Many cities and towns in the country hold Tanabata festivals and set colorful displays along the main paths. It's especially joyful to walk through the long crowds on the street. In some areas, people light lanterns and float them on the river. Some float bamboo leaves on the river instead.

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