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.
- Dogo Onsen Art Festival 2014
- Nebuta Matsuri (Aug)
- Yabusame Horseback Archery (Sep)
- Saijo Sake Festival (Oct)
- Shirakawago Doburoku Matsuri (Oct)
- Toyota Oiden Matsuri (Jul)
- Sapporo Beer Festival (Jul & Aug)
- Sapporo Snow Festival (Feb)
- Sumida River Fireworks Festival (Jul)
- Daimonji Bonfire Festival (Aug)
- Anime Japan 2015
- Okayama Naked Festival (Feb)
Kyoto Hanatoro (Dec & March)
For a few selected days during the winter months, some of Kyoto's most famous sights and attractive backstreets are lined with lanterns, making for a magical atmosphere. Many temples and shrines extend their visiting hours, allowing lucky winter visitors to experience a different side of Kyoto, and take some very unique photographs.
Along with the lanterns there are other light displays and also floral displays and occasional street performances. Kyoto is a wonderful city at any time of year, but Hanatoro adds an extra touch of sparkle to those visiting during the colder months.
Hanatoro takes place in the Arashiyama district of northwest Kyoto in December (9th to 18th in 2011) and Higashiyama district in eastern Kyoto in March (10th to 20th in 2012).
Kyoto is one of Japan's must-visit cities, whether it's your first visit to Japan or your twenty-first!
Almost all of our Small Group Tours and Self-Guided trips visit Kyoto, or we can of course tailor a trip for you to include a longer stay in this wonderful city.
Plan your trip
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There are many things to consider when planning your Japan trip: time of year you wish to travel; how long you have available; where in Japan you want to go; the things you wish to experience; what budget you have available to name but a few.
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