Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Travel Tuesday: 20 Festivals in 10 Months

So, a couple of weeks ago I wrote this post talking about how during the 10 months I lived in Japan I saw 20 festivals. In that post I showed you photos from the first 10 festivals I saw, this post is the final 10 I saw.

11: Kyokusui-no-utage

What? A festival where people dress up in Heian period costumes, write poems and play music.
Where? Jonangu Shrine, Kyoto
When? November 3rd

12: New Years Day

What? In Japan EVERYONE visits at least one shrine at New Years. The more famous shrines get very busy and you have to queue for quite a while to actually get into the shrine. This was actually one of the less busy places...
Where? This was Heian-jingu shrine
When? January 1st, 2nd and 3rd

13: Iwashimizu Hachimangu Matsuri

What? A festival to protect against disasters in your life. One Japanese superstition is that there are three years in your life when disasters will happen. For women these years are 19, 33 and 61. I have just had my 19th birthday...
Where? Iwashimizu Hachimangu shrine
When? January 18th

14: Setsubun

What? This is one of my favourite Japanese festivals. It is day when people chase away evil spirits before the start of spring according to the lunar calendar. The main event is in the evening when people dress up as devils and do a performance in the grounds of a shrine.
Where? This was at Yoshida-jinja shrine
When? February 3rd

15: Hina Matsuri

What? Hina Matsuri is girls' day. It is when families with daughters celebrate by putting up a large display of special dolls. We didn't have the display of dolls but we did eat these very nice Hina Matsuri sweets!
When? March 3rd

16: Yosakoi

What? Yosakoi is a type of Japanese dance which originated in 1945. This was a great day out at Kyoto botanical gardens where they had different yosakoi teams competing. It's really fun and lively, as you can see from the photo!
Where? Kyoto botanical gardens
When? April 6th

17: Nagahama Matsuri

What? In April I went to Tokyo but before that I went to Nagahama for a few days. Nagahama is a town near Lake Biwa and it is famous for it's festival. Unfortunately the main parade was the day after I left but I did see some preparations for the festival, including lots of cute kids dressed up.
Where? Nagahama
When? 13th April

18: Kodomo no hi

What? Kodomo no hi translates as children's day. Makes sense really, if you have father's day and mother's day then why not also have children's day! On children's day these fish, called koinobori, are hung up outside houses and in public spaces.
Where? I saw these fish in Osaka
When? May 5th

19: Shimogamo-jinja Matsuri
What? I don't know what the correct name for this festival was or what exactly it was for, but basically we chose a white rock and then purified it in the same freezing cold water we walked through for the Mitarashi festival. Then we put them into these barrels, mine is the one just peeping up in the centre!
Where? Shimogamo-jinja shrine
When? May 10th

20: ???
What? A really local festival in my grandma's neighbourhood. I don't know what it was called. People from various neighbourhoods walked these small floats around town and as we were driving around we kept seeing other neighbourhoods' floats.
Where? Around Kyoto
When? May 11th

These are the last 10 festivals I saw while in Japan. Please note that the dates are the dates I went to the festivals in 2013, in some cases the dates might change each year.
Linking up with Bonnie Rose for Travel Tuesday


  1. Yosakoi sounds like a really fun festival to attend. These are all so interesting, seems like there is always some type of festival happening.

    1. Yosakoi was very fun! You are very right, there were loads of festivals which I didn't go to, there is usually about one a week!

  2. Setsubun sounds quite similiar to Walpurgis in Europe only that the Japanese costumes are definitely more frightening :D

    1. I have never heard of Walpurgis. Haha there were quite a few kids crying as they saw the 'devils' come down the street!

  3. I like the sound of Hina Matsuri - sounds nice. I can't believe the diversity of the different festivals. Really interesting.

    1. Hina Matsuri is very nice, and around this time there are often displays of dolls in shop windows. There is definitely a wide variety of festivals in Japan!

  4. So many festivals! I love it! Thanks for sharing! Those little cakes look delicious :)

    1. They were very delicious I can tell you! ;)