Festivals and Events for September 2017 in Japan
September in Japan is the start of autumn with the promise of cooler weather and pleasant temperatures ahead. The weather starts to cool down from mid to late September with the red, yellow and orange leaves of autumn starting in the colder regions of Japan. September is a good time to travel in Japan with clear skies and cooler mornings and evenings after the hot summer months. There are quite a few traditional cultural festivals and events happening around this time of the year all around Japan.
Here are a few of the most popular September festivals and events in Japan.
11 May to 15 October 2017
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 boat
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.
8 July to 2 September 2017
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 and most famous traditional folk dance festivals. Held every summer in the picturesque riverside town of Gujo Hachiman in Gifu Prefecture, the dance is one of the three most famous Bon dances in Japan, and easily its most accessible. This year the festival will be held from July 8 to September 2 as part of the Obon period in Japan. The highlight of the festival is the all-night dancing, or tetsuya odori, which takes place from dusk until dawn during the Obon season (a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors) in mid-August. The all-night dancing runs from August 13 to 16 each year.
10-24 September 2017
Event: Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament
Location: Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo
The Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament starts in Tokyo at the Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday, September 10 and lasts until Sunday, September 24. It is the fifth out of six tournaments held every year and lasts for 15 days. Grand Champion, Hakuho comes into this tournament fresh off his 39th career title at the July Nagoya tournament and will be favourite once again. Bulgarian Aoiyama, the runner-up in Nagoya will start from the promoted rank of No.2 Maegashira after his impressive form earned him the Fighting Spirit Prize. A lot of attention will be on Japanese wrestler, Mitakeumi after his great debut at the third highest rank of Sekiwake at the last tournament. His 9-6 record which included victory over Hakuho handed him the Outstanding Performance Prize for the second straight tournament.
14-16 September 2017
Event: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Matsuri
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE
Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Matsuri is a traditional festival full of ancient rituals and powerful performances held at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura. The festival features mikoshi portable shrines, a tea-offering ceremony to the gods and many traditional performances ranging from ancient samurai skills to dances of love. The highlight and main attraction of the festival is yabusame, a traditional form of Japanese archery done on horseback. It is a contest combining both equestrian skills and Japanese-style archery, which was popular among the samurai warriors.
16-17 September 2017
Event: Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri
Time: Day 1 (6:00 am to 10:00 pm) Day 2 (9:00 am to 10:00 pm)
Price of Admission: FREE
The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri is a fun high-octane festival held in Kishiwada in the south of Osaka. The festival is the biggest and most famous danjiri matsuri in Japan, and began in 1703 when the daimyo (feudal lord) of Kishiwada Castle prayed to the Shinto gods for an abundant harvest. The festival features 35 elaborately hand-carved danjiri festival floats which are pulled through the streets of Osaka at breakneck speeds. Each float is pulled by a team of up to 1,000 people and represent a different district of the city.
18 September 2017
Event: Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Aged Day)
Respect for the Aged Day or Keiro no Hi in Japanese is a National Holiday held on the third Monday of September. It is a day in Japan to respect our elders and celebrate longevity. The holiday started in 1966 and can trace its origins to 1947 when Taka-cho in Hyogo Prefecture declared September 15 “Old Folks Day”. Its popularity spread nationwide and it become a national holiday in 1966.
23 September 2017
Event: Shubun no Hi (Autumn Equinox Day)
Autumn Equinox Day or Shubun no Hi in Japanese is a National Holiday on September 23. Autumn Equinox Day became a national holiday on 1948. It’s a day to mark the changing of the seasons in Japan and pay our respects to our deceased ancestors. Many memorial services take place at temples around Japan. People also visit the graves of their ancestors to offer rice cakes called ohagi, clean the tombstone, and offer incense and flowers.