upcoming Japanese festivals
recent Japanese festivals
Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri - children kabuki theater

Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri – children kabuki theater

Kodomo kabuki (“children kabuki”) performances are the highlight of the festival in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture. Every year on April 15th, children perform theatrical plays on movable stages.

Like in real kabuki theater, boys perform both male and female roles and like in real kabuki, they fully engage in their acting. They even have a loud claque applauding their appearances and poses.

Daigoji cherry blossom viewing

Daigoji cherry blossom viewing

Over 400 years ago, a big and elaborate cherry blossom viewing party was held in Daigoji Temple by Toyotomi Hideyoshi – then the most powerful man in Japan. To commemorate the event, every year a festival with historical parade and art performances is organized in the same place.

Sagicho Matsuri - fire festival in Omihachiman

Sagicho Matsuri – fire festival in Omihachiman

Sagicho Matsuri in Omi-Hachiman City dates back to medieval times. It is said that Oda Nobunaga (a powerful warlord who ruled Japan in 16th century) enjoyed this festival himself.

It is one of the most crazy Japanese festivals requiring laborious preparations of the decorations only to burn them in one evening.

Naked festival in Okayama - Saidaiji Hadaka Matsuri

Naked festival in Okayama – Saidaiji Hadaka Matsuri

“Naked festival” in Okayama started over 500 years ago. At midnight an amulet was dropped from one of the temple buildings and the person who snatched it would have a prosperous year.

Interestingly at first the festival had nothing to do with nudity. Some old drawings show pilgrims fighting for the amulet fully dressed. Only after competition became more fierce, they started to take clothes off not to damage them.

Asuka Onda Matsuri - rice, fertility and ...spanking

Asuka Onda Matsuri – rice, fertility and …spanking

Onda Matsuri and Ta-asobi—literally playing in the field—are one of the oldest festivals in Japan. They are being held in winter or early spring.

They are a way to preserve and passing the knowledge of rice cultivation from generation to gemeration. During such festival in shrine a pantomime of planting rice on the field is performed with the active participation of children.

Asakusa Sanja Matsuri

Asakusa Sanja Matsuri

Probably the largest and most popular traditional festival in Tokyo – Sanja Matsuri – takes place in May.

Three mikoshi – portable shrines – are carried by a huge crowd to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.

They commemorate two fishermen who found the statue of Kannon goddess and the statue itself.