Festivals and Events for July 2015 in Japan

Tanabata Star Festival

Festivals and Events for July 2015 in Japan

July in Japan is the start of the summer festival season and is one of the best times to experience one of Japan’s many traditional festivals. There are quite a few traditional cultural festivals and events happening around this time of the year as well as spectacular summer fireworks festivals. July is one of the best times of the year to experience all that Japanese culture has to offer.

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

11 May to 15 October 2015

Event: Gifu Ukai (Cormorant Fishing)
Location: Nagara River in Gifu City
Time: Starts from 7:30 pm
Price of Admission: A fee applies for the viewing boats

Cormorant Fishing or ukai in Japanese is a major summer attraction on the Nagara River in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. Ukai is a traditional fishing method that uses trained cormorants to catch river fish. The art has been practiced along the Nagara River in Gifu for more than 1,300 years. It has a very long history in Japan and is mentioned in many ancient chronicles.

Cormorant Fishing in Gifu

1-15 July 2015

Event: Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival
Location: Fukuoka
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival is an exciting and high energy summer festival held in Hakata, Fukuoka. The festival is held from July 1 to 15 with the climax at Kushida Jinja Shrine on July 15. The festival is believed to have originated in the 13th Century and is now over 750 years old and attracts up to a million spectators every year. The festival features two kinds of festival floats, one called Kazariyama, which are colourful floats used for display purposes only, and Kakiyama, which are pulled through the streets of Hakata and feature in the climax of the festival.

Official Website

1-31 July 2015

Event: Gion Matsuri
Location: Kyoto
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Gion Matsuri in Kyoto is a month-long festival that is one of the most famous in Japan. The whole month of July is filled with fun festival activities and events ranging from processions and traditional performances to ancient ceremonies. The festival is held from July 1 to 31 with the main day of the festival being July 17 with a parade of over 30 floats through the streets of Kyoto. The festival floats are truly impressive at up to 25 meters tall and weighing up to 12 tonnes.

Official Website

7 July 2015

Event: Tanabata Star Festival
Location: All Over Japan

Tanabata also known as the “Star Festival” takes place every year on the 7th day of the 7th month. The Japanese festival originates from Chinese legend, and celebrates the meeting of two stars, Altair and Vega. According to the legend, the Milky Way, a river of stars that crosses the sky, separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies depending on the region of Japan and is usually held at either July 7th or August 7th. The celebration is held at night and colourful Tanabata Festivals are held across Japan.

Read more about Tababata the Star Festival of Japan

11 July to 5 September

Event: Gujo Bon Odori
Location: Gujo Hachiman
Time: 8 pm to 10:30 pm (11 pm on Saturdays)
Price of Admission: FREE

Gujo Bon Odori is one of Japan’s largest traditional folk dance festivals held at the picturesque riverside town of Gujo Hachiman in Gifu Prefecture. The festival is held from July 11 to September 5 as part of the Obon period in Japan, and is held to honour the spirits of ancestors. This amazing 400 year old summer tradition is held for a period of 32 nights from mid July to early September, climaxing with 4-nights of all-night dancing during Obon in the middle of August.

Official Website

12-26 July 2015

Event: July Grand Sumo Tournament
Location: Nagoya Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium

The July Grand Sumo Tournament starts in Nagoya at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on Sunday July 12. Newly promoted Ozeki Terunofuji won his first Emperor’s Cup at the last Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo to secure promotion to sumo’s second-highest rank of Ozeki. All eyes will be on the 23 year-old Mongolian during the Nagoya tournament to see if he can prove that his stunning victory in May was no fluke. Can he continue his rich vein of form at the Nagoya Tournament?

Sumo Japan’s Traditional Sport

14 July 2015

Event: Nachi no Hi Fire Festival
Location: Wakayama
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Nachi no Hi Fire Festival is held at the famous Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine in the World Heritage Kumano Mountains of Wakayama Prefecture. It is one of the three largest fire festivals in all of Japan. Portable shrines (mikoshi) designed in the image of the sacred Great Waterfall of Nachi are brought down from the mountain, and are met by groups bearing 50-kg flaming pine torches. It is one of the most spectacular festivals you will experience in Japan.

Official Website

20 July 2015

Event: Umi no Hi (Marine Day)
National Holiday

Umi no Hi or Marine Day is a Japanese National Holiday held on the third Monday of July. This year the holiday will be on July 20th. Umi no Hi was established to appreciate and celebrate the ocean and to consider the importance of the ocean to Japan as an island nation. Many people take advantage of this holiday and the beautiful summer weather to visit the beach.

24-25 July 2015

Event: Tenjin Matsuri
Location: Osaka
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Tenjin Matsuri is held at Tenmangu Shrine in Osaka and is regarded as one of Japan’s three biggest festivals. The main celebrations are held on the second day with a procession through the streets of Osaka of portable shrines (mikoshi) with people dressed in traditional costumes. At night, there is a river procession with a huge fireworks display. The festival first started in the 10th century and is a one of the must see festivals in Japan.

Official Website

25 July 2015

Event: Sumidagawa Fireworks
Location: Tokyo
Time: 7:05 pm to 8:30 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Sumidagawa Fireworks is an annual fireworks festival held over the Sumida River near Asakusa in Tokyo. The festival is a taikai (competition) between rival pyrotechnic groups who try to out-do each other leading to a spectacular showcase of Japanese fireworks. The festival can trace its origin back to the Edo Period in 1732.

Official Website

25 July 2015

Event: Chunichi Shinbun Gifu Fireworks
Location: Gifu
Time: 7:15 pm to 8:45 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Chunichi Shinbun Gifu Fireworks is one of the largest and most spectacular fireworks displays in all of Japan. Held along the banks of the famous Nagara River in Gifu City with Mount Kinka and Gifu Castle as a backdrop, the skies above the river are set ablaze with colour.

Official Website

Festivals and Events for July 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/