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The Japanese love celebrating and they love festivals. There are literally thousands of festivals in Japan from the tiny local community festivals just for the residents of one village or city ward, to the huge events such as the Takayama and Gion festivals, attended by hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Festivals in Japan are rich and vibrant occasions. Girls put on their best 'yukatta' (a light kimono) and often the men wear traditional dress as well. The streets are lined with food and drink stands selling grilled meat on sticks, 'yakisoba' fried noodles and all manner of food delights. And of course, the Japanese love a drink at these occasions so beer and sake are never in short supply.

In this section we will be collecting together some of our favourite festivals that we think you may like to consider attending whilst in Japan. Some are really famous, other less so, but what we can guarantee is that you will have a lot of fun. Accommodation for major festivals can get booked up as far as a year in advance so if you are looking to attend a big event then let is know as soon as possible so we can get planning. Often though, it is just a matter of seeing what coincides with your visit and heading along for some festival fun and a chance to meet the Japanese at their most laid back.

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Saijo Sake Festival (Oct)

Overview

If you like a drop of the clear stuff then this is the festival for you. Hundreds of sakes to choose from and a great party atmosphere

Every year for just one weekend the town of Saijo comes alive for its famous sake festival. Saijo, a well known brewery town since around 1650, has 10 traditional breweries.

Festival weekend sees the road from the station lined with food stalls leading to Chuo park which is split into East and West. The East side has stalls, food, stages and performances with free entry. The West side of the park is where you can get to taste over 900 different types of Japan's finest sake. Entrance requires a ticket which we are able to provide. On entry you are handed your own sake cup which can be refill at any of the stands for up to 9 hours.

The relaxed and lighthearted atmosphere of the festival is almost as good as the sake itself and makes a great day out.

When:
Held in October, ironically on the Saturday and Sunday before the Health and Sports National Holiday.

2013: 12th and 13th October
2014: 11th and 12th October

Where:
The festivities take place all over Saijo but the main tasting takes place in Chuo Park (West). Saijo is located 30 mins East of Hiroshima by JR train.

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Inside Japan Tours - Independent British Travel Awards 2011 - Best Tour Operator To East and Central Asia
The Guardian, The Observer - Travel Awards 2010 Winner - Best tour operator (small)
Inside Japan Tours - Silver at the British Travel Awards 2009