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Updated by Joanna James on Dec 15, 2020
Headline for Top 6 Famous Festivals Celebrated in Japan – Colourful Celebrations You Must See
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 6 Famous Festivals Celebrated in Japan – Colourful Celebrations You Must See

The Japanese just love to celebrate – true to that notion, one may find an array of various festivals of varying scales held throughout the year. The allures of these festivals are many for all visiting tourists; they may include everything from food and fireworks to games of all kind.


Sapporo Snow Festival

Also known as Yuki Matsuri, Sapporo Snow Festival is celebrated for about one week in February. Located within a driving distance from many an Otaru hotel the likes of Grand Park Otaru, it is one of the most famous and widely celebrated festivals in Japan. With a humble beginning of when a group of youngsters carved snow statues in a park, it has now developed into a fully-fledged cultural event featuring snow sculptures and other snow-based decorations, which makes the surroundings truly beautiful.


Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival)

While you may find small-scale festivals held throughout Japan each year, it also holds truly magnificent festivals – Gion Matsuri certainly belongs to the latter. It is held as part of a purification ritual in order to appease the gods who are in charge of the fire, floods, and earthquakes. It is the best event to look forward to during the summertime in Kyoto and many sub-events can be observed during July. One of the most fascinating facets of this festival is Yamahoko, an exquisite parade floats featuring lavish decorations. It is interesting to note that all Yamahoko's are built without using nails – only ropes are used.


Aomori Nebuta Matsuri (Aomori Nebuta Festival)

In Japan, an extremely colourful festival is held in August, which features striking lantern floats that include shapes of mythological creatures and popular Japanese characters. Even the name of the festival refers to a valiant warrior figure. This vibrant festival is thought to have been originated from the Tanabata festival; however, this remains unconfirmed.


Danjiri Kishiwada Matsuri

A festival which brings laughs and thrills to the streets of Osaka each year, Danjiri Kishiwada matsuri is a powerful celebration revolving around danjiri, a traditional wooden float adorned with lots of ornaments. The festival kicks off at the break of dawn and many danjiris snakes through the city with lots of men pulling these wooden floats behind them and running as fast as they can. It's incredible to see how men are perched atop these fast-moving danjiris, dancing and giving instructions to their teams. Crab is a favourite food during this festival, and women are seen preparing them from early morning to give away to a hungry influx of runners.


Sacred Water-Drawing Festival

In the city of Nara, one may be able to witness the Omizutori Festival, which is celebrated to cleanse people in time for the spring, when the cherry blossoms start blooming everywhere, draping everything in stardust. Several events take place over the course of two weeks of this festival, but the most popular of them all is the Otaimatsu. During Otaimatsu, giant torches are lit and carried up to a balcony where young ascetics run along the balcony brandishing these torches at the crowd (note that these torches are at least 8 metres long). It is believed that those people that are showered by the sparks of this fire will be protected from all evil.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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