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Annual Japanese Festivals & Events: See Fireworks, Enjoy Traditional Dances & More

Festivals, known in Japanese as matsuri, are a deep part of Japan's culture. Many traditional festivals are held in Japan all throughout the year. There are also a number of seasonal events, from cherry blossom festivals to fireworks displays, and musical performances.
Here we share a fun-filled list of events and festivals held throughout the Kanto, Kansai, Hokkaido, and Tohoku regions, organized by month. When planning your trip to Japan, make your time more rewarding by enjoying a traditional Japanese festival!
(*All events listed are subject to change or cancellation in accordance with health and safety protocols.)
Top Photo: Aomori Tourism and Convention Association


Hatsumode (Nationwide)

When: New Year's Eve to early January
Where (in Tokyo): Sensoji Temple, Meiji Shrine (Meiji Jingu) and other shrines/temples.
Hatsumode is the first important event of the year for many people in Japan. On this day, people all over the country pay a visit to a shrine or temple and offer wishes and prayers for a safe and peaceful New Year.

Hatsumode in Tokyo: 5 Recommended Places to Enjoy Japan's New Year

Hatsumode in Kyoto: 9 Recommended Shrines and Temples to Visit

Hatsumode in Osaka: 10 Recommended Shrines to Visit

Wakakusa Yamayaki (Nara Prefecture)

When: 4th Saturday of January
Where: Mount Wakakusa
Wakakusa Yamayaki is an annual tradition in which participants symbolically set fire to the dead grass of Mt. Wakakusa in Nara Park in honor of their ancestors.
Another big part of the event is raising awareness throughout Nara about fire safety and prevention, as well as to offers prayers for peace around the world. To top it all off, there's also a fireworks display! The incredible sight of the blazes both on land and in the sky is certainly something you won't want to miss!

Official Website

Wakakusa Yamayaki: Enjoying Nara's Breathtaking Mountain Burning Festival

Mt. Miune Rime Ice Festival (Nara Prefecture)

When: Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays; late January to late February
Where: Mitsue Youth Travel Village
For the Mt. Miune Rime Ice Festival, you'll need to hike up Mount Miune, which is famous for its magical landscapes of glittering rime ice. There are delicious mochi, amazake, and local specialty foods available at both the start and finish points of the trail. After your journey, you can even soak away your stress at the natural hot spring!

Official Website

Nara's Mt. Miune Rime Ice Festival Will Have You Booking Your Winter Trip


Setsubun (Tokyo)
When: One day before the first day of spring (around February 4)
Where: Sensoji Temple and other temples
At this Setsubun event, you'll watch as sumo wrestlers and 'toshi-otoko' (men born under the same Chinese zodiac sign as the current year) scatter beans, believed to drive away evil and attract good luck. D…

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