Festivals and Events for February 2015 in Japan

Festivals and Events for February 2015 in Japan

February in Japan is the end of winter and typically one of the coldest months. It is a good time to go skiing or snowboarding, or just relax in a hot onsen. The plum blossoms start to bloom in February and are a wonderful prelude to the cherry blossoms of Spring. There are quite a few traditional cultural festivals happening around this time of the year.


Here are a few of the most popular February festivals and events in Japan.

1, 7, 14 February 2015

Event: Shirakawa-go Winter Illumination
Location: Shirakawa-go Village, Gifu Prefecture
Time: 17:30 – 19:30
Price of Admission: FREE

Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its traditional thatched-roof gassho-zukuri farmhouses, built with roofs like hands in prayers to survive the heavy winter snowfalls in the region. The beauty of this amazing place is raised to an even higher level when the houses are lit up in the snow. Spotlights illuminate the snow-covered thatched roofs which makes this place look like a magical winter wonderland. It is truly spectacular. This year it will run from mid January to mid February.

Official Website

3 February 2015

Event: Setsubun
Location: All over Japan

Setsubun is a festival held on February 3 or 4 to celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring. It is also celebrated in ways to drive away evil spirits and bad luck and bring in good luck. It is custom on Setsubun for people of all ages to throw beans and shout ‘oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi’, which means ‘out with the demons, in with good luck’. It is a good time to visit a local shrine and join in on the festivities and events.

Read more about Setsubun

5-11 February 2015

Event: Sapporo Snow Festival
Location: Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture
Time: Odori Site – lit daily until 10 pm / Susukino Site – lit daily until 11 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Sapporo Snow Festival in Sapporo, Hokkaido, is an annual snow festival which is a winter favourite. It is one of the largest winter events in Japan, and is also known as the “Sapporo Yuki Matsuri”. The festival is held each year in early February with dozens of large and amazingly elaborate ice and snow sculptures. The event will be held from February 5-11 in 2015 with the amazing ice sculptures lit at night creating a winter wonderland.

Official Website

Sapporo Snow Festival 2015

11 February 2015

Event: National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinen no Hi)
National Holiday

National Foundation Day or Kenkoku Kinen no Hi in Japanese, is a National Holiday celebrated annually on February 11. It celebrates the foundation of Japan and the accession of its first Emperor Jimmu. Customs on this day include raising the Japanese flag and reflecting on the meaning of Japanese citizenship.

14 February 2015

Event: Valentine’s Day
Location: All over Japan

Valentine’s Day in Japan is very different from anywhere else in the world. The date is the same, February 14th, but in Japan it is all about the chocolates. The tradition in Japan is for the girls to give chocolates to the boys. This tradition is said to have started back in the late 1950s, by a company called Mary Chocolate. They started an advertising campaign along the lines that Valentine’s Day is the only day of the year a woman can profess her love through presenting chocolate. The favour is returned to the girls on a special day called White Day, which is celebrated a month later on March 14th.

Read more about Valentines’s Day in Japan

21 February 2015

Event: Hadaka Matsuri
Location: Saidaiji Temple, Okayama Prefecture
Time: Times vary according to the event (Main Event from 22:00)
Price of Admission: FREE

The most famous Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival) in Japan is the Saidaiji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri in Okayama. Every year thousands of men participate in the festival in hope of gaining good luck and being blessed with a year of happiness. The origins of the festival date back 500 years and it is truly a unique event.

Official Website

Festivals and Events for February 2015 in Japan

John Asano (100 Posts)

John Asano is a blogger, traveler and freelance writer living in Gifu, Japan. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he has lived in Japan now for over 12 years. John loves nothing better than picking up his camera and exploring all the amazing sights and attractions that Japan has to offer. He writes about the must see sights and attractions in Japan at Japan Travel Advice, as well as about Japanese culture and modern life on his blog Japan Australia. You can read more of his work at http://japan-australia.blogspot.com/