Festivals and Events for March in Japan

Plum Blossoms Bairin Park

Festivals and Events for March 2018 in Japan

March in Japan is the start of spring and the promise of warmer days ahead. The weather starts to warm up and you can experience both the plum blossoms in early March, as well as the cherry blossoms towards the end of March in Central Japan. Check out our cherry blossom forecast for the latest news and updates on the opening and peak of the cherry blossoms in Japan. March is a good time to travel in Japan with mild weather and longer days. There are quite a few traditional cultural festivals and events happening around this time of the year.

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

1-14 March 2018

Event: Omizutori
Location: Nara
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

Omizutori or “the sacred water-drawing festival” is a Japanese Buddhist festival that is held at the Nigatsu-do of Todaiji Temple in Nara. The festival is the final rite of the two-week long shuni-e ceremony to cleanse the people of their sins as well as to usher in the spring. The main night of the festival is held on March 12, where the priests parade huge flaming torches that rain down embers to purify the spectators. The festival has been held for over 1250 years, making it one of the oldest Buddhist events in Japan.

3 March 2018

Event: Hina Matsuri (Girl’s Day)
Location: All over Japan

Hina Matsuri also known as the “Doll Festival” or “Girl’s Day” is a special day held on March 3. Families with girls display a set of ornamental dolls called hina ningyo that represent the Emperor, Empress, attendants and musicians in traditional dress of the Heian Period court. The dolls are displayed in hope of bringing the girls a successful and happy life.

Read more about Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri

9–18 March 2018

Event: Hanatoro
Location: Kyoto
Time: Illumination Hours 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

Hanatoro which means “path of lights and flowers” in Japanese is an illumination event that takes place in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto in March. The historic streets are illuminated by thousands of lanterns. Many temples and shrines in the area are also illuminated and have extended opening hours, including the famous Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Official Website

11-25 March 2018

Event: Osaka Spring Sumo Tournament
Location: Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium

The Osaka Sumo Tournament also known as the Spring Basho is always one of the most popular tournaments of the sumo calendar. This year the competition runs from March 11 to 25. The tournament will feature the return to sekiwake (sumo’s third-highest rank) of Georgian wrestler, Tochinoshin. The 30-year old veteran won the Tokyo New Year tournament in January with a stellar 14-1 record, overpowering many of his competitors.

Read more about this ancient Japanese sport on Japan Australia

14 March 2018

Event: White Day
Location: All over Japan

White Day is held exactly one month after Valentine’s Day. It is a special day in Japan for the boys to return the favour of gifts received from girls on Valentine’s Day. It is called White Day as white is the colour of sugar, the main ingredient in candy which is traditionally given as a gift on White Day.

Read more about White Day

21 March 2018

Event: Spring Equinox Day
National Holiday

Spring Equinox Day called Shunbun no Hi in Japanese is a national holiday in Japan. It first became a national holiday in 1948, and marks a day when night and day are equal in length. It is a day in Japan to enjoy nature and the warmer weather that comes with spring and the cherry blossoms.

Festivals and Events for March 2018 in Japan


John Asano (103 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/