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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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Sumida River Fireworks Festival (Jul)

Overview

The Sumida River festival is the oldest and one of the most impressive hanabi (fireworks) displays in Japan. After the great famine of 1732, the Shogun decided to hold a water ceremony on the Sumida river to pray for the victim's souls. Restaurants located along the river were invited to set off fireworks.
Nowdays, rival pyrotechnic gangs compete to set off the loudest, brightest and most impressive fireworks. The surrounding streets are closed to traffic, and full of street vendors selling cold drinks and tasty snack foods.
The festival attracts around 1,000,000 people annually, and many of spectators come dressed in their yukata (summer kimonos).

SMALL GROUP TOURS
The July departures of our Essential Honshu and Hidden Japan tours will coincide with this amazing festival.

When:

This annual festival is held on the last Saturday of July between 7:00 and 8:30pm.

2012: Sat 28th July
2013: Sat 27th July



Where:
There are 2 locations for the fireworks, located close together in the Asakusa district of Tokyo.

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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