About festivals in Japan

Important to know about festivals in Japan – Japan is a country with a lot of history and culture, and one way this is shown is in its many festivals. The Japanese call these celebrations “matsuri,” and they happen all year long. They are a way to mark everything from the changing of the seasons to religious events and important moments in history. Many of these celebrations go back hundreds of years and have deep roots in Japanese history and mythology. Each festival has its own traditions, music, food, and clothes, which depend on where it is held and what it is for. The Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, the Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka, and the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori are some of the most well-known festivals in Japan. Not only do these festivals honour Japan’s rich history and culture, but they also give people a chance to get together and enjoy the festivities as a group. Also, many of these festivals attract people from all over the world, which makes them a popular place for tourists to go. Everyone who goes to a festival in Japan has a unique and unforgettable experience, from the lively music and colourful costumes to the delicious street food and bright fireworks.

Festivals are a big part of Japan’s cultural history and are a big part of how Japanese people live their lives every day. Shintoism, Japan’s native religion, which puts a lot of emphasis on the relationship between humans and nature, is where these festivals come from. Many festivals are based on agricultural or seasonal events, like planting rice, celebrating the harvest, or welcoming spring or fall. Some are based on things that happened in the past, like the start of a city or the birth of a famous person.

List of 10 most famous festivals in Japan

  1. Gion Matsuri Held in Kyoto every July, this month-long festival includes a grand parade of 32 ornate floats, traditional music performances, and various food and drink stalls.
  2. Tenjin Matsuri This festival is held in Osaka every July and honors Sugawara no Michizane, a deity of learning and scholarship. It features a procession of boats on the Okawa River, a fireworks display, and a reenactment of Michizane’s journey to Kyoto.
  3. Nebuta Matsuri This festival is held in Aomori every August and is known for its giant illuminated paper lantern floats, traditional music performances, fireworks, and food stalls.
  4. Sapporo Snow Festival Held every February in Sapporo, this festival features spectacular snow and ice sculptures created by artists from around the world.
  5. Kanda Matsuri – This festival is held in Tokyo every two years in mid-May and features a grand procession of portable shrines and traditional music performances.
  6. Takayama Matsuri – Held in Takayama twice a year in April and October, this festival features elaborate floats, traditional music and dance performances, and street food stalls.
  7. Awa Odori – This dance festival is held in Tokushima every August and is one of the largest traditional dance festivals in Japan, featuring thousands of dancers in colorful costumes.
  8. Kanamara Matsuri – Also known as the “Festival of the Steel Phallus,” this festival is held in Kawasaki every April and celebrates fertility and reproductive health.
  9. Tanabata Matsuri – Held throughout Japan on July 7th, this festival celebrates the meeting of two stars, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are said to be separated by the Milky Way.
  10. Jidai Matsuri – Held in Kyoto every October, this festival features a grand procession of people dressed in historical costumes representing different periods in Kyoto’s history.

Frequently asked questions about Festivals in Japan ?

What is the significance of festivals in Japan?
Japan's festivals are important to its culture and history. They are often based on religious or seasonal events and are a way to honour ancestors, gods, or historical figures. Festivals are also a way for people to get together and celebrate traditions that they all share.
What kind of food is typically served at festivals in Japan?
Food is a big part of Japanese festivals, and many kinds of street food are served, like takoyaki (octopus balls), yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), and shaved ice and mochi, which are sweet treats.
Are festivals in Japan only for locals or can tourists participate too?
Most Japanese festivals are open to anyone, including tourists. In fact, many festivals are big tourist draws that bring people from all over the world.
Do people dress up in traditional clothing for festivals in Japan?
During Japanese festivals, people often wear traditional clothes like kimonos and yukata. Depending on the festival, there may be certain ways to dress that are expected or suggested.
What are some popular festivals in Tokyo?
The Kanda Matsuri, which happens every two years in mid-May, and the Asakusa Samba Carnival, a colourful parade with samba dancers that happens in August, are two of the most popular festivals in Tokyo.
Can foreigners attend festivals in Japan ?
Yes, people from other countries are welcome at Japanese festivals. There are many festivals in Japan that anyone can go to, including tourists. They are a great way to learn about Japanese culture and traditions. In fact, some festivals are well-known tourist spots that bring in a lot of people from all over the world.When going to a festival in Japan, it is important to honour the local customs and traditions. This could mean following rules about what to wear or how to act at the festival. It's also a good idea to read up on the festival ahead of time and learn about its history and meaning.
Are women safe during festivals in Japan ?
Japan is usually a safe place to live, and it is usually safe for women to go to festivals there. But, as with any public gathering or event with a lot of people, you should be aware of your surroundings and take steps to keep yourself safe.Women should take basic steps to keep themselves safe, like staying with a group of friends, keeping an eye on their things, and staying away from places that are lonely or dark. It's also a good idea to find out where the festival is and how you can get there before you go.Even though Japan is known for its low crime rate and safe streets, anyone can be harassed or attacked anywhere. If someone bothers you or makes you feel unsafe, ask for help from the festival staff or the police in the area.Overall, festivals in Japan are a great way to learn about the culture and traditions of the country, and women can usually feel safe going to them. As with any public event, it's important to be aware of your surroundings and take the steps you need to stay safe.

Do's and Dont's during Festivals in Japan

Here are some general do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when attending festivals in Japan:


  1. Respect the festival’s customs and traditions, which may include dress codes or certain behaviors during the festival.
  2. Try the local food and drinks that are being offered at the festival.
  3. Be respectful of the other festival-goers, including locals and other tourists.
  4. Take off your shoes when entering a shrine or temple during the festival.
  5. Be mindful of your belongings, as festivals can be crowded and pickpocketing can occur.


  1. Do not litter during the festival. Dispose of your trash in designated areas.
  2. Do not disturb or disrespect the festival’s religious or historical significance.
  3. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or clothing with offensive graphics or slogans.
  4. Do not take photos or videos of people without their permission.
  5. Do not push or shove others, especially during crowded events or parades.