Culture Local

10 Popular Japanese Festivals (Part 2)

"Yoshida Shirne" © Toyota City (Licensed under CC BY 4.0)

Japanese festivals are traditional festive occasions. Some festivals have their roots in Chinese festivals centuries ago, but have undergone great changes as they mixed with local customs.

In this article, we will introduce 10 popular Japanese festivals you don't want to miss. This article is split into two parts, so be sure to check out part 1 as well!

6) Jidai Matsuri(時代祭): Kyoto Prefecture

This festival take place on October 22, 2018 the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. The Jidai matsuri is held by Heian shrine to celebrate kyoto’s history and culture, and (it is one of Kyoto's 3 most famous festivals ). At tge very head of the parade there are the festival's honorary commissioners, riding in gorse drawn corriagy in the style of the mid 1800s. As the parade continues the costumes and characters of the military, cultural, aristocratic and common people are all put on display. The most important terms of all parade of Shinto rituals is carrying 2 Mikoshi(portable shrine ) that contain the spirits the Emperors KAMMU and KOMEI. The 1st and lastEmperors to reside in Kyoto, the heian Shrine is dedicated to them.

7) Tenjin Festival(天神祭): Osaka Prefecture

Ranked as one of Japan's top 3 festivals along with Gion Matsuri, held on July 24 and 25, 2018. The festival honors its principale deity Sugawara Michizane(菅原道眞), the deity of scholarship. It's a wonderful occasion for the people to enjoy the hot summer day. Filled with traditional costumes and celebrety atmosphere. The 1st day 24th,  the festivak kicks off with ritual at Tenmagu Shrine, followed by the prayers at the river. The 2nd day, July 25 a red hatted drummers (the ones who informed the festival  preparation are complete in the 1st day lead the land procession). The river procession celebration continue to the night when the fireworks starts combined with the illuminated boats.

8) Awa Dance Festival(阿波踊り): Tokushima Prefecture

This festival is held from August 12 to 15, 2018. It is the most famous of many dance festivals in Japan.  AWA is the former name for Tokushima prefecture, while Odori means dance. Spectators and dancers come to see the « fool's dance «  which the name comes from the lyrics to a common dance song 《Fools dance and fools watch, if both are fools ypu might as well dance 》 The groupe of dancers called REN( male and female dancers, both wearing Happi : Happi is shortee yukata over shorts or pants). 

9) Yosakoi Matsuri(よさこい祭り): Kochi Prefecture

Yosakoi Festival will be held on August 9th to 12th, 2018. Yosakoi (よさこい) is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan and that is performed at festivals and events all over the country. The first Yosakoi festival was held in 1954 in Kochi. Yosakoi-style dancing has spread throughout much of Japan. The style of dance is highly energetic, combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. The choreographed dances are often performed by large teams. More informations about Yosakoi Festival is on this article

10) Hakata Gion Yamasaka(博多祇園山笠): Fukuoka Prefecture

One of the most interesting festivals in Japan. It's held during July 1st to 15th, 2018. In the race, 7 neighborhoods of Fukuoka’s Hakata district compate in pushing beautifully decorted festival floats. The festival features two different type of floats , they are 14 of them.

・The larger Kazariyama floats: Stand over 10 meters tall and over 2 tons of weight, nowdays they serve as decorative floats.

・The smaller sized kakiyama floats: About 5 meters tall and one ton heave, they are 7 of them.

The rice is energetic and loud, with  a collection of sound that represent different aspects of Japan culture.And in the rice the one ton floats are dragged along the street at a goid speed. Water is thrown on the teams to cool everyone down. Here is more information about Fukuoka City on this article.

Hopefully you are excited to visit japan and attend a dynamic matsuri in Japan, you just need an advance planning. As it's not uncommon for accomodations to sell out months in advance! Be sure to read part 1!

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Azra GiiRl

Azra GiiRl

Azra GiiRl

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