Festivals and Events for November 2017 in Japan

November Autumn Colours in Japan

Festivals and Events for November 2017 in Japan

November in Japan is typically the best time to see the beautiful autumn foliage in places like Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Central Japan. Please check out our Autumn Colors Report for more details. The weather starts to cool down due to winter approaching with pleasant cool nights and mornings. The weather is beautiful for travel in Japan with clear blue skies and crisp autumn days. There are quite a few traditional cultural festivals happening around this time of the year.

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

2-4 November 2017

Event: Karatsu Kunchi Matsuri
Location: Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

Karatsu in Saga Prefecture in the north-western corner of Kyushu comes alive for this spectacular autumn cultural festival, which has been designated a festival of national cultural importance. The festival dates from 1592, and is considered to be one of the major festivals of the Kyushu area. The highlight of the festival is the massive, exquisitely decorated festival floats called hikiyama. The floats are made of wood, washi paper and clay, which is lacquered and covered in gold or silver leaf. Each float is a masterpiece and takes between two and three years to complete.

Official Website

3 November 2017

Event: Bunka no Hi (Culture Day)
National Holiday

Bunka no Hi or Culture Day is a Japanese National Holiday on November 3rd. The purpose of the holiday is to promote culture, the arts and academic endeavour in Japan. Typically events such as culture festivals, art exhibitions, and parades are held on this day. Culture Day was first held in 1948 to commemorate the announcement of the new post-war Japanese constitution.

3 November 2017

Event: Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu
Location: Yumoto Onsen, Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture
Time: 10:00 am to 2:30 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu is one of Japan’s most exciting and spectacular autumn cultural festivals held at the picturesque Yumoto Onsen in Hakone, west of Tokyo. The festival is held every year on November 3, which is a national holiday in Japan fittingly called Bunka no Hi (Culture Day). It commemorates the journey of Japan’s daimyo, or feudal lords from the capital Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to the provinces during the Edo Period (1603-1868). The festival features marching bands, dancing-girls and a grand feudal lord’s procession with around 200 costumed locals in historical attire.

Official Website

Early November 2017

Event: Nakasendo Festival
Location: Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture
Time: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Nakasendo Festival is a unique local Japanese festival that celebrates the famous Nakasendo Road in Japan. The Nakasendo was an ancient road that connected Kyoto with Edo (modern-day Tokyo). It was a spectacular inland journey through the heart of Japan and places like Shiga, Gifu, Nagano, Gunma and Saitama. The festival features local food and souvenirs as well as various dance performances and free mochi rice cakes.

Official Website

12 November 2017

Event: Arashiyama Momiji Festival
Location: Arashiyama, Kyoto
Time: 10:30 am to 12:00 pm & 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Arashiyama Momiji Festival recreates the atmosphere and traditions of the ancient Kyoto Heian court with traditional performances and events with the stunning autumn colours as an amazing backdrop. Held in the Arashiyama district of Kyoto on the second Sunday of November, it features traditional dance, music and art performances. The highlight of the festival is the re-enactment of the nobles cruise down the Oi River in small boats.

Official Website

12-26 November 2017

Event: Fukuoka Grand Sumo Tournament
Location: Fukuoka, Kokusai Center

The Fukuoka Grand Sumo Tournament runs from November 12 to 26 and is the last sumo tournament of the year. It is the only grand sumo tournament held in Kyushu. The event first started in 1957 when it was upgraded from an exhibition tournament to a formal tournament. This year interest will be on Mongolian Yokozuna, Harumafuji who defeated Ozeki Goeido in a playoff to win his ninth career title at the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.

Sumo Japan’s Traditional Sport

15 November 2017

Event: Shichi-Go-San
Location: All over Japan

Shichi-Go-San is a Japanese festival in honour of girls aged three and seven, and boys aged five. On November 15 or the closest weekend, children dress in their finest clothes and visit shrines and temples with their parents, where they pray for good fortune and healthy growth of the children. Children usually dress in traditional kimono or modern-day suits to visit the shrines and temples.

23 November 2017

Event: Kinro Kansha no Hi (Labour Thanksgiving Day)
National Holiday

Kinro Kansha no Hi or Labour Thanksgiving Day is a National Holiday which takes place annually on November 23. It is a day to commemorate labour and production, as well as for giving one another thanks. Special events are held throughout Japan, that encourage thinking about the environment, peace and human rights. The National Holiday was established in 1948 to mark some of the changes of the postwar constitution of Japan, including fundamental human rights and the expansion of workers rights.

Festivals and Events for November 2017 in Japan

Festivals and Events for October 2017 in Japan

Oda Nobunaga Festival in Gifu

Festivals and Events for October 2017 in Japan

October in Japan is the middle of autumn with the weather generally warm during the day and cool in the mornings and evenings. October is a good time to travel in Japan with clear sunny skies and beautiful mild temperatures. The autumn foliage peaks in Hokkaido, and starts in Tohoku, Nikko, Kamikochi and The Japan Alps and Nagano in October. Check out our Autumn Colors Forecast for more information. There are also quite a few traditional cultural festivals and events happening around this time of the year.

Here are a few of the most popular October 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.

Gifu Cormorant Fishing

7-8 October 2017

Event: Gifu Nobunaga Festival
Location: Downtown Gifu City
Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price of Admission: Free

The Gifu Nobunaga Festival honours the feats of Oda Nobunaga, a samurai warlord who used Gifu City as a base on his mission to unify Japan during the Warring States period (Sengoku jidai) of Japan. It is a celebration of his contribution towards the construction of Gifu City and the legacy that he has left behind. The must see events are the memorial ceremony at Sofuku-ji Temple (Nobunaga’s family temple), the Kogane Park Flea Market, and the samurai warrior parade down the main street of Gifu City.

Official Website

Gifu Oda Nobunaga Festival

7-9 October 2017

Event: Nagasaki Kunchi Festival
Location: Nagasaki City
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Nagasaki Kunchi Festival is Nagasaki’s most famous festival and has been celebrated for close to 400 years now. The festival is held annually on October 7-9, and originally began as a celebration of autumn harvests. The festival incorporates different aspects of both Chinese and Dutch culture, which have played an important part in the city’s history. It features various dance and show performances along with traditional Japanese dances, Chinese dragon dances and festival floats.

Official Website

9-10 October 2017

Event: Takayama Autumn Festival
Location: Hida Takayama
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

One of Japan’s three most beautiful festivals, it is held twice a year in spring and autumn in Hida Takayama. The Takayama Autumn Festival is held annually on October 9-10, and is the annual festival for the Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine. It is also referred to as the Hachiman Festival. The festival is famous for its parade of elaborately decorated floats called yatai in Japanese, as well as its karakuri ningyo mechanical marionette puppets. Many people regard the evening festival on the first day as the highlight of the festival.

Official Website

Takayama Yatai Kaikan

9 October 2017

Event: Taiiku no Hi (Health and Sports Day)
National Holiday

Health and Sports Day is a National Holiday in Japan that is held annually on the second Monday of October. The day commemorates the opening of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. It is called “Taiku no Hi” in Japanese, and is a day to promote both sports and physical and mental health. A lot of schools in Japan hold their sports festivals on this day.

Health and Sports Day

22 October 2017

Event: Jidai Matsuri
Location: Kyoto
Time: 12:00 pm departure
Price of Admission: FREE

The Jidai Matsuri or ‘Festival of the Ages’ dates from 1895 and is held every year on October 22 in Kyoto. It features a large parade from Kyoto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) to Heian Jingu Shrine. The participants of the festival are dressed in authentic costumes ranging from the 8th century (Heian Period) to the 19 century (Meiji Period), It is one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals and celebrates the wonderful culture and history of this ancient city.

Official Website

Festivals and Events for October 2017 in Japan

Autumn Colors Forecast 2017 in Japan

Autumn Leaves Forecast

Autumn Colors in Japan: 2017 Fall Foliage Forecast

The viewing of autumn leaves is called koyo or momiji-gari in Japanese, and is a popular pastime in autumn. The fall season is one of the most beautiful seasons in Japan with great weather that is perfect for traveling. The autumn foliage season in Japan typically starts in mid-September in the northern mountains of Hokkaido, and slowly makes it way down south reaching Tokyo and Kyoto in mid to late November. You can even enjoy the fall foliage into December in many parts of Japan. All this means a season lasting nearly three months!

The green leaves of summer change to spectacular fiery reds, apricot oranges and golden yellows of the season as the weather cools, and the koyo front makes it way south.

Autumn Colors Season 2017

The autumn colors forecast each year varies depending on temperatures leading up to the season. This means the timing of the viewing of the autumn leaves can vary by a few days to a few weeks from year to year. The season in 2017 is expected to be slightly later than average. The temperatures have started falling meaning that the autumn color season is now in full swing in the mountains of central and northern Japan.

The autumn colors are expected to reach their peak in Tokyo around late November to early December and in Kyoto around mid November to early December. Nikko in the Kanto region has reached full peak along with Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture. The colors are also starting to change around Mount Fuji and the Fuji Five Lakes.

The table below outlines some of the popular destinations in Japan for viewing the autumn leaves with the average estimated viewing time.

More information can be found at the official Koyo Guide in Japan.

Autumn Colors Table (Updated 2? October 2017)

Autumn Colors Forecast 2017 in Japan

Gifu Park

Festivals and Events for September 2017 in Japan

Hida Takayama in Autumn

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.

Cormorant Fishing in Gifu

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.

Official Website

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.

Sumo Japan’s Traditional Sport

14-16 September 2017

Event: Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Matsuri
Location: Kamakura
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.

Official Website

16-17 September 2017

Event: Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri
Location: Osaka
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.

Official Website

18 September 2017

Event: Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Aged Day)
National Holiday

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)
National Holiday

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.

Festivals and Events for September 2017 in Japan

Festivals and Events for August 2017 in Japan

Tanabata Star Festival

Festivals and Events for August 2017 in Japan

August in Japan is the middle of summer and is the peak summer festival season with festivals taking place all around Japan. The weather is hot, humid and sticky, but it’s a great time to head outdoors and enjoy all the fun that summer festivals have to offer. Many cities and towns across Japan hold their summer fireworks festivals in August. This is one of the best times of year to be in Japan and experience a Japanese festival.

Here are a few of the most popular August 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 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 July to 31 August 2017

Event: Mount Fuji Climbing Season

Summer is the only time you can climb Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji. The official climbing season runs from July 1 to August 31 every year. It is a great time of the year to experience Japan’s biggest UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is easily accessible from Tokyo.

Official Website

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.

Official Website

2-7 August 2017

Event: Aomori Nebuta Matsuri
Location: Aomori
Time: 7:10 pm to 9:00 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri held in Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture which is situated at the northern tip of Honshu in the Tohoku region is one of the must see summer festivals in Japan. It is a colourful and spectacular summer festival featuring enormous illuminated lantern floats, covered with paper illustrated with famous historical or mythical Japanese characters. The floats are pulled through the city by teams of chanting dancers wearing a unique costume called haneto. The festival floats are constructed of painted washi paper over a bamboo frame and take an entire year to design and construct. Every night there is a daily parade which starts at sunset where the floats are wheeled out onto the streets of downtown Aomori. It is one of Japan’s most famous festivals and is one of the ‘Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku region of Japan’, called Tohoku Sandai Matsuri in Japanese.

Official Website

3-6 August 2017

Event: Akita Kanto Matsuri
Location: Akita
Time: 7:25 pm to 9:00 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Akita Kanto Matsuri is a spectacular summer festival held in Akita City, Akita Prefecture which is located in the Tohoku region of Japan. The Akita Kanto Matsuri is also known as the ‘pole lantern festival’ and features hundreds of giant bamboo poles each weighing 60 kg with dozens of paper lanterns attached to the end. The festival is held in hope for a good harvest as well as to keep away evil summer spirits. Participants skillfully balance the giant poles through the streets to the rhythm of taiko drums. It is also one of the ‘Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku region of Japan’, called Tohoku Sandai Matsuri in Japanese.

Official Website

5 August 2017

Event: The Nagara River National Display Fireworks Festival
Location: Gifu
Time: 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Nagara River National Display Fireworks are held on the first Saturday of August and follow on from the Chunichi Shimbun Gifu Fireworks the previous Saturday. 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. There are many street stalls yatai selling all kinds of Japanese festival food as well as people in beautiful yukata (summer kimono).

Official Website

6-8 August 2017

Event: Sendai Tanabata Matsuri
Location: Sendai
Time: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (August 6 and 7) and until 9:00 pm (August 8)
Price of Admission: FREE

The Sendai Tanabata Matsuri is regarded as the most famous and largest Tanabata festival in all of Japan. Held in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture which is located in the Tohoku region of Japan. The festival features colourful streamers and paper decorations such as kusudama ball of paper flowers made from Japanese washi paper. The decorations can be found in downtown Sendai and the neighbouring shopping arcades. It is also one of the ‘Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku region of Japan’, called Tohoku Sandai Matsuri in Japanese.

Official Website

11 August 2017

Event: Yama no Hi (Mountain Day)
National Holiday

Mountain Day, or Yama no Hi in Japanese is a National Holiday that is celebrated every August 11th. The holiday was created with the intention to give the hard-working Japanese a break from work while spending time in the mountains with family members and friends. Mountain Day will celebrate all things mountain-related in Japan, which is a nation whose culture is founded on nature-inspired Shintoism. To celebrate Mountain Day, Japanese people are encouraged to visit rural mountainous areas across Japan with Mount Fuji a popular destination. The inaugural National Ceremony for Mountain Day will be held in the Japan Alps at Kamikochi in Nagano.

12-15 August 2017

Event: Awa Odori Folk Dance Festival
Location: Tokushima
Time: Main Event from 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Awa Odori Folk Dance Festival is one of Japan’s largest and most famous dance festivals. It is held in the city of Tokushima in Tokushima Prefecture on the southern island of Shikoku. Men, women and children in yukata (summer kimono) and straw hats take to the streets to dance to the sounds of shamisen, taiko drums and flutes. The traditional bon folk dance which is called ‘Awa Odori’ is done to honour one’s ancestors in Japan during the Obon period of mid-August. The festival is one of the biggest and most entertaining festivals in Japan.

Official Website

16 August 2017

Event: Daimonji Gozan Okuribi
Location: Kyoto
Time: The bonfires start from 8:00 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Daimonji Gozan Okuribi or Daimonji Yaki is a must see summer festival in Kyoto during the Obon period in Japan. Huge bonfires in the shape of Chinese characters and other symbols are set alight on top of five mountains during Obon (festival of the dead) to bid farewell to the souls of our ancestors. The largest fire is always burned on Mount Daimonji, just above Ginkakuji Temple. It is one of Japan’s most impressive spectacles and a highlight of summer in Kyoto.

Festivals and Events for August 2017 in Japan

Festivals and Events for July 2017 in Japan

Tanabata Star Festival

Festivals and Events for July 2017 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 truly 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 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 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 July to 31 August 2017

Event: Mount Fuji Climbing Season

Summer is the only time you can climb Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji. The official climbing season runs from July 1 to August 31 every year. It is a great time of the year to experience Japan’s biggest UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is easily accessible from Tokyo.

Official Website

1-15 July 2017

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 2017

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 2017

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 has its origins in ancient Chinese legend, and celebrates the meeting of two stars identified with the lovers Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair), tragically separated by the Milky Way. The lovers are only allowed to meet one night of the year, which is Tanabata. It’s considered to be one of the most romantic nights of the year in Japan, and is a great time to be outdoors enjoying all that a Japanese summer festival has to offer.

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

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.

Official Website

9-23 July 2017

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

The July Summer Grand Sumo Tournament starts in Nagoya at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on Sunday, July 9. Filipino-Japanese Ozeki, Takayasu will take center stage after being promoted to sumo’s second highest rank after last month’s tournament in Tokyo. The 27 year-old finished the tournament with a 11-4 record, giving him 34 wins in the last 3 tournaments, exceeding the number considered necessary for ozeki promotion.

Sumo Japan’s Traditional Sport

14 July 2017

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

17 July 2017

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 17th. 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 2017

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

28-30 July 2017

Event: Fuji Rock Festival
Location: Niigata

The Fuji Rock Festival is an annual summer rock festival held in the beautiful mountains of Niigata in central Japan. It attracts top international artists as well as Japan’s finest musicians for three days of music, fun and camping. This year’s lineup includes Gorillaz, Bjork, JET, Queens of the Stone Age, and Aphex Twin.

Official Website

29 July 2017

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 in the historic Asakusa district of Tokyo. The festival is the world’s oldest firework show, tracing its origin back to the Edo Period in 1732. It is a taikai (competition) between rival pyrotechnic groups who try to out-do each other leading to a spectacular showcase of Japanese fireworks.

Official Website

29 July 2017

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 2017 in Japan


Festivals and Events for June 2017 in Japan

Itadori Hydrangea Festival in Seki, Gifu Prefecture

Festivals and Events for June 2017 in Japan

June in Japan is the start of summer with warmer weather and the beautiful colours of the hydrangea flowers (ajisai), the symbol of the rainy season in Japan. June is a low season for travel in Japan which means lower prices and reduced crowds. There are quite a few traditional cultural festivals and events happening around this time of the year, so it is a great time to be in Japan.

Here are a few of the most popular June 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 around 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

1-2 June 2017

Event: Takigi Noh
Location: Kyoto
Time: Held in the evening from 5:30 pm until around 8:45 pm
Price of Admission: 4,000 yen at the gate or 3,000 yen advanced purchase

Taking place at the famous Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto, this annual open-air torchlight event features traditional Noh performances, which are an ancient form of musical theater in Japan. The beautiful performances are held in the evening on a special stage at Heian Jingu Shrine, which is illuminated with blazing torches creating a magical atmosphere. The Noh actors are dressed in beautiful costumes wearing lacquer-coated wooden masks.

Official Website

5 June 2017

Event: Atsuta Matsuri
Location: Nagoya
Time: Festival starts from around 10 am with the Kento Makiwara 6 pm to 9 pm and Fireworks 7:50 pm to 9 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

This festival held at the famous Atsuta Jinju Shrine is one of the major festivals of Nagoya. It features various performances such as kyudo (Japanese style archery), Atsuta Kagura (Shinto dance with music), taiko (Japanese drumming), kendo, sumo and various forms of martial arts. The highlight of the festival is the five Kento Makiwara, which are huge floats decorated by 365 lanterns, and the fireworks display at Jingu Koen Park.

Official Website

14 June 2017

Event: Otaue Rice Planting Festival
Location: Osaka
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Otaue Rice Planting Festival in Osaka is one of the most famous festivals in the Kansai region of Japan. It is held at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine in Osaka and is an ancient Shinto festival to pray for a rich rice harvest. The main attraction of the rituals is the spectacular dance and folk song performances, as well as a procession of samurai warriors dressed in full armor. The dancing is believed to enhance the vitality of the rice grains leading to a successful harvest.

Official Website

16 June – 8 July 2017

Event: Itadori Ajisai Matsuri
Location: Gifu
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

Held at the picturesque Itadori Village in Seki City, Gifu Prefecture. The ajisai or hydrangea are a symbol of June and the rainy season in Japan. The Ajisai Matsuri starts at the Ajisai Mura (village) with the whole area filled with around 10,000 beautiful hydrangea flowers. Lining the Itadori River is the “Hydrangea Road”, which is a 24 kilometer-long stretch of road containing around 7,000 hydrangea of various colours.

Itadori Ajisai Matsuri

22-24 June 2017

Event: Himeji Yukata Festival
Location: Himeji
Time: Held from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Himeji Yukata Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Western Japan. The festival features three days of colourful yukata as well as around 800 open air night stalls that line the street in the city center. Highlights of the festival include a yukata parade, a yukata fashion show and various dance and music performances.

Official Website

Festivals and Events for June 2017 in Japan

Festivals and Events for May 2017 in Japan

Koinobori for Children's Day in Japan

WikiMedia Commons

Festivals and Events for May 2017 in Japan

May in Japan sees spring in full swing with warm weather and blue skies. It is the last month of beautiful spring weather before the start of early summer and the arrival of the rainy season. Early May is also the Golden Week period (April 29 – May 7), which is a collection of four national holidays in the space of seven 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 May festivals and events in Japan.

3 May 2017

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 new Japanese constitution, which was put into effect on May 3, 1947.

Golden Week in Japan 2016

3-5 May 2017

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 2017

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. It is the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the beautiful spring weather and fresh green leaves of the season.

Golden Week in Japan 2016

5 May 2017

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. It is tradition on the day to celebrate boys, and is a festival to pray for their healthy growth. It is Japanese tradition for families with boys to raise carp-shaped streamers called koinobori outside their houses on flag poles around this holiday.

Golden Week in Japan 2016

11-17 May 2017

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

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 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

14-28 May 2017

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

The summer sumo tournament known as the natsu basho starts in Tokyo at the Kokugikan on Sunday, May 14. Japanese Yokozuna, Kisenosato who won the March Spring Tournament (haru basho) in a playoff with a 13-2 record will be gunning for his 3rd straight championship. Interest in this tournament will once again be upon Japanese sumo wrestler Takayasu, who will be looking to get around 11 wins to be promoted to the 2nd highest rank of Ozeki. .

Sumo Japan’s Traditional Sport

15 May 2017

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, making it one of the world’s oldest festivals. It is regarded as one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals along with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri. The Aoi Matsuri features over 500 people in magnificent aristocratic costumes and traditional make-up from the Heian Period. The participants parade through the main streets of Kyoto in a spectacular display highlighting the beauty and elegance of this ancient city. It is a festival of the two kamo shrines in the north of Kyoto, Shimogamo Shrine and Kamigamo Shrine.

Official Website

19-21 May 2017

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 the festival revolves around three portable shrines (mikoshi) which are paraded through the streets of Asakusa. The festival is held in honor of the three local fisherman who established and founded the famous Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.

Official Website

Festivals and Events for May 2017 in Japan

Festivals and Events for April 2017 in Japan

Dosan Festival Gifu City

Festivals and Events for April 2017 in Japan

April in Japan sees spring in full swing with cherry blossoms at their peak in early April through-out central Japan. Early April is usually the best time to see the cherry blossoms in both Tokyo and Kyoto. Japan is truly beautiful at this time of the year with warm weather and blue skies. It is generally a good time to travel in Japan with quite a few traditional cultural festivals and events happening around the country at this time of the year.

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

1-2 April 2017

Event: Dosan Festival
Location: Gifu City
Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Times vary according to the event)
Price of Admission: FREE

The Dosan Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Gifu City and celebrates the memory and achievements of Saito Dosan. He was a samurai warlord during the Sengoku (Warring States) period of Japanese history and his actions lead to the establishment of Gifu City. The festival is held on the first Saturday and Sunday of April. It starts with a memorial service for Saito Dosan at Jozai Temple (Dosan’s family temple) and is followed by many events such as spectacular festival floats, mikoshi portable shrines, parades and even a flea market.

Official Website

1-2 April 2017

Event: Inuyama Festival
Location: Inuyama City
Time: 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm for the nigh time floats (Times vary according to the event)
Price of Admission: FREE

The Inuyama Festival is held on the first Saturday and Sunday of April in Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture. It is the annual festival of the Haritsuna Shrine and first started around 1635. The festival features beautiful festival floats which are 25 feet in height and designated as a tangible folk culture properties of Aichi. The 13 three-layered floats are pulled through the streets of the town to the sound of Japanese flutes and drums. The floats are topped with karakuri dolls (mechanical puppets) which perform music and dance. At night, the festival floats are lit by 365 Japanese lanterns which makes for a gorgeous picture with the beautiful cherry blossoms in the background.

Official Website

8 April 2017

Event: Tejikara Fire Festival
Location: Gifu
Time: 6:30 pm to 9:10 pm
Price of Admission: FREE

The Tejikara Fire Festival is one of the most spectacular festivals in Japan with a history of over 300 years. The festival is held at Tejikarao Shrine in Gifu City and features portable shrines (mikoshi) that are carried under a curtain of fire and fireworks. Other highlights include the gohei andon (Standing Lanterns) that are hung 20 meters above the ground on bamboo poles and tedutsu hanabi (Hand-held Fireworks).

Official Website

9-16 April 2017

Event: Kamakura Festival
Location: Kamakura
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Kamakura Festival is a week-long festival held at the historic Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura. The festival features a variety of parades and performances, portable shrines (mikoshi) and musical bands. The highlight is yabusame held on Sunday, April 16. It features the revival of the ancient samurai art of shooting arrows from horseback at a target.

Official Website

14–15 April 2017

Event: Takayama Spring Festival
Location: Hida Takayama
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Takayama Spring Festival is one of the Three Most Beautiful Festivals of Japan and dates back to the 17th Century. The Spring Festival also called the “Sanno Matsuri” centers on Hie Shrine and is to pray for a good harvest. The highlight of the festival is the spectacular elaborately decorated festival floats that pass through the historic streets of the old town of Takayama.

Official Website

16-17 April 2017

Event: Yayoi Festival
Location: Nikko
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Yayoi Festival signals the start of spring in Nikko, famous for its World Heritage temples and shrines. The main attraction takes place on April 17 and features a parade of festival floats decorated with spring flowers. The spectacular festival floats are pulled through the town to celebrate the coming of spring. The festival dates back to the 8th Century and follows ancient customs and traditions.

Official Website

19-20 April 2017

Event: Hida Furukawa Festival
Location: Hida Furukawa
Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Times vary according to the event)
Price of Admission: FREE

The Hida Furukawa Spring Festival is held annually on April 19th and 20th just after the famous Hida Takayama Spring Festival. The festival has a history of over 400 years, and features beautifully decorated festival floats, mikoshi portable shrines and spectacular okoshi taiko drum performances by half-clad men. The festival is considered one of Japan’s “Three Great Naked Festivals”.

Official Website

29 April 2017

Event: Showa Day
National Holiday

Showa Day or “Showa no Hi” in Japanese is an annual Japanese National Holiday held on April 29. It honors the birthday of the former Showa Emperor, who reigned from 1926 to 1989. The purpose of the holiday is to encourage the Japanese people to reflect on this turbulent period of Japanese history. It is the first holiday of the “Golden Week” period in Japan.

Festivals and Events for April 2017 in Japan

Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast 2017

Cherry Blossoms at Gifu Park in Gifu City

Japan Cherry Blossom Forecast for 2017

This year’s cherry blossom forecast is expected to open close to their average schedule in 2017. The cherry blossoms are predicted to start opening in late March and reach their peak in early April in Central Japan.The cherry blossom season has ended in many of Japan’s major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. The season has currently moved to the northern Tohoku Region and southern Hokkaido. The cherry blossoms are now at their peak in Hirosaki, Kakunodate and Hakodate. They are expected to reach their peak in Sapporo from May 2 to 9 during the Golden Week period in Japan.

The Cherry Blossom season typically starts in January in Okinawa and sweeps up the mainland to Hokkaido in May.

The best time for viewing the cherry blossoms varies between a few days to a week from the first bloom, so don’t leave it too late to see the beautiful blossoms.

We have created a table below for the major places in Japan with the estimate start date and peak bloom of the cherry blossoms. This is only a predication and is based on long term forecasts for February and March. Please refer back to this page for regular updates and reports.

Information from the Japan Weather Association

Cherry Blossom Forecast Chart for 2017 in Japan

Updated 30th April 2017 Cherry Blossom Forecast Chart for 2017 in Japan