Most Celebrated Festivals In Japan

Festivals in Japan are very special and unique, which sets them apart from the rest of the world. They are an essential part of Japanese culture. Festivals are called ‘Matsuri’ in Japan, and people celebrate them all year round, from huge ones to local and modest carnivals.

The matsuris have a lot of charm in them. Their origin in Japanese culture is a way to honor the gods. When Buddhism arrived in Japan, it got mixed with Shintoism, and that’s how they adopted these festivals. Most of the festivals in Japan are sponsored by some shrines and temples.

Here is a list of the few most celebrated festivals in Japan:

1. Yuki Matsuri (Sapporo)

Yuki Matsuri began with six sculptures made by local high schoolers in 1950 in Hokkaido. It is the northernmost area of Japan and has abundant snow, especially in winters. Now Yuki Matsuri has become one of the largest snow and ice festivals in the world that lures more than three million visitors every year. Japanese people illuminate the snow and ice sculptures at night, making them even more beautiful and magical.

2. Gion Matsuri (Kyoto)

Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. Dating back to 869, it is also the oldest matsuris in the country. It was when a plague spread throughout Japan; Gion Matsuri took place – making it initially a religious ritual to get free of that epidemic.

It is held in the Yasaka Shrine, and the best thing about this festival is the grand processions of floats called Yamaboko Junko.

3. Nagasaki Lantern Festival

The festival calendar begins with the biggest lantern festival in Japan called the Nagasaki Lantern Festival. It takes place in Nagasaki city, adorned with almost 15,000 colorful lanterns and lights to celebrate this festival.

4. Tenjin Matsuri (Osaka)

Osaka is notorious for being the second capital of Japan. It is one of the most lively cities in the country, not letting itself be left behind in the festival competition, with more than 1,000 years of history. Some of Japan’s three greatest matsuris were held at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine – the heart of Osaka city.

The festival usually has a musical performance and dance like other festivals. However, the thing that makes Tenjin Matsuri unique is the procession with boats on the Okawa River and massive fireworks for a grand finale on the second day.

5. Tanabata Matsuri

The Tanabata Matsuri is also called the ‘Star Festival,’ celebrated on 7th July every year, marking the beginning of summers in Japan. This festival is based on a Japanese legend of Chinese origin about two lovers who were separated from each side of the milky way. It was unfortunate, but they were allowed to see each other once a year on 7th July. Thus, this festival is celebrated in the memory of these lovers.

In A Nutshell

Festivals in Japan are counted as a big part of their culture and heritage. People from all over the globe came to witness these beautiful sights of Japanese culture.

If you want to hear more about Japanese culture, you may contact Oku Sensei’s Japanese to enroll in their Japanese online courses.

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