Festivals and Events for May 2015 in Japan

Kodomo no Hi

Festivals and Events for May 2015 in Japan

May in Japan sees spring in full swing with warm weather and blue skies. It is also the Golden Week period which is a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days. There are quite a few traditional cultural festivals happening around this time of the year.

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

3 May 2015

Event: Kenpou Kinenbi (Constitution Memorial Day)
National Holiday

Constitution Memorial Day or Kenpou Kinenbi in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on May 3. It is the second national holiday of “Golden Week”, a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days.

The purpose of the holiday is to commemorate the promulgation of the 1947 Constitution of Japan. The new Japanese constitution was put into effect on May 3, 1947.

More about Kenpou Kinenbi

3-5 May 2015

Event: Hamamatsu Festival
Location: Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Hamamatsu Festival also called the Hamamatsu Kite Festival is held from May 3 to May 5 every year in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. The festival originated about 430 years ago, when the lord of Hamamatsu Castle celebrated the birth of his first son by flying kites. Today, the festival sees tako gassen or kite fights with local teams flying huge decorated kites, and traditional events including a parade with luxuriously decorated palace-like floats.

Official Website

4 May 2015

Event: Midori no Hi (Greenery Day)
National Holiday

Greenery Day or Midori no Hi in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on May 4. It is the third national holiday of “Golden Week”, a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days.

The purpose of Midori no Hi is to show appreciation for the environment and nature.

5 May 2015

Event: Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day)
National Holiday

Children’s Day or Kodomo no Hi in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on May 5. It is the fourth national holiday of “Golden Week”, a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven days.

Children’s Day is a holiday for children in general, but is primarily for boys. The day is to celebrate boys, and it is a festival to pray for the healthy growth of boys. It is tradition for families with boys to hang up carp streamers called Koinobori outside their houses on flag poles around this holiday.

9-10 May 2015

Event: Kanda Matsuri
Location: Tokyo
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Kanda Matsuri is one of the most famous festivals in Tokyo and one of the three largest festivals in Japan. The main attraction is a parade of over 300 people and 100 portable shrines through the streets of central Tokyo. The festival started in the early 17th century as a celebration of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s decisive victory at the greatest samurai battle in history at Sekigahara.

Official Website

10 May 2015

Event: Sumo Natsu Basho (Summer Tournament)
Location: Tokyo Kokugikan

The summer sumo tournament starts in Tokyo at the Kokugikan on Sunday May 10. All eyes at this tournament will be on Sekiwake Terunofuji to see if he can once again challenge Yokozuna Hakuho for the title after pushing him all the way last tournament. The summer basho also sees the return to the san’yaku ranks of Tochiozan and Ichinoji at Komusubi.

Sumo Japan’s Traditional Sport

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

15 May 2015

Event: Aoi Matsuri
Location: Kyoto
Time: Procession leaves Kyoto Imperial Palace at 10:30 am
Price of Admission: FREE

The Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto is a festival full of elegance and tradition that dates from the 6th century. It is one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals and features over 500 people wearing magnificent ancient costumes and traditional make-up from the Heian Period. The participants parade through the main streets of Kyoto. It is a festival of the two kamo shrines in the north of Kyoto, Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine.

Official Website

15-17 May 2015

Event: Sanja Matsuri
Location: Asakusa, Tokyo
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Sanja Matsuri is one of the three great Shinto festivals of Tokyo. The name Sanja Matsuri literally means “Three Shrine Festival” and it features hundreds of portable shrines (mikoshi) which are paraded through Asakusa. The festival is held in honor of the three fisherman who established and founded the famous Sensoji Temple.

Official Website

Festivals and Events for May 2015 in Japan

John Asano (89 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/