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Festival List in Japan


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@yJanuaryz
Tamaseseri (Ball-Catching Festival)
January 3rd in Fukuoka
Men wearing only loincloths compete for treasure ball which is believed to bring good fortune upon the person who can lift it over his head. The men are divided into the Land Team made up of farmers and the Sea Team consisting of fishermen who work at sea.
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Dezome-shiki (Parade of Fireman)
January 6th in Tokyo
Organized by the Tokyo Fire Department, this is an event held to pray for a safe year. The spectacular New Year's Parade of Firemen has over 100 fire engines and helicopters participating, along with as large-scale fire-fighting and emergency drills.
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Usokae (Bullfinch Exchange)
January 7th in Fukuoka
A fire festival to drive away evil spirits, one of the three largest fire festivals of Japan, is held at the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. The precincts of the shrine become enveloped in flames and smoke, making it a spectacular sight well worth seeing.
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Toka Ebisu (Business Success Festival)
January 9th-11th in Osaka
This festival is held at many shrines, particularly in Kansai. Imamiya Ebisu Shrine is very popular and is visited by one million people each year who come to pray for happiness and business success.Ebisu, familiarly called "Ebessan" in the Kansai dialect.
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Yamayaki (Grass Burning)
4th Saturday of January in Nara
First, the hill is ignited with the sacred fire by members of Kofuku-ji, Todai-ji and Kasuga Taisha. Then 200 fireworks are launched and the hill continues to burn for some 30 minutes. With the fire brigade standing by, there's no need to worry about the fire spreading.
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Toh-shiya (Archery Contest)
The Sunday closest to January 15th in Kyoto
Archers compete against each other in the 120-meter long Sanjusangen-do Temple, which is the world's longest wooden structure. The l meter in diameter target is positioned 60 meters away, so a high level of expertise is required.
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Bonden Festival
January 17th in Akita
A bonden is a sacred wand measuring almost four meters in length, which serves as a marker for the gods descending to this world.Men race to the shrine to become the first to make offerings of bonden. They even start hustling, jostling and grappling.
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@yFebruaryz
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Sapporo Snow Festival
For 7 days,starting in the 2nd week of February in Sapporo.International Square becomes the stage for the International Snow Statue Contest.The lit-up snow statues are so beautiful.Moreover, the ice sculptures displayed at the Susukino Site,famous nightspot district, create a truly fantastic world.
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Setsubun Mantoro (Lantern festival)
February 3rd in Nara
At Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara, each of the more than 3,000 lanterns in the precincts are lit up three days a year, namely on February 3rd.The reflections of the light on the river surface and the vermilion buildings of the shrine strike a beautiful harmony.
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Setsubun (Bean-Throwing Festival)
February 3rd or 4th in All over Japan
Setsubun is the first day of spring according to the old Japanese calendar. On the day of Setsubun, there is the custom of throwing roasted soybeans while chanting "In with Fortune! Out with Evil" in order to prevent evil ogres from entering one's house,and that good fortune will then come to one's home.
Kamakura Snow Festival
February 15th-16th in Akita
A room made by carving out a mound of snow is called a kamakura. In Yokote City, more than 100 kamakura and countless miniature kamakura are made. The candle lights of these snow white kamakura produce a quiet, beautiful spectacle against the darkness.
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Sandai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri
3rd Saturday of february in Okayama
One of the three most eccentric festivals of Japan. Nine thousand men wearing only loincloths struggle fiercely with one another over a pair of lucky sacred sticks. Anyone who luckily gets hold of the shingi is called the lucky man, and is blessed with a year of happiness.
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Hachinohe Enburi
February 17th-20th in Aomori
This is a festival praying for a rich harvest, and in the old days the dancers used to carry farm tools called eburi when performing their dance.The dances, expressing scenes of farm work, consist of two types: one is performed slowly,another is in a lively tempo.
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@yMarchz
Omizutori (Water-Drawing Festival)
March 1st-14th in Nara
The Omizutori, the highlight of this event, is performed 13th. Water which only springs forth in front of the temple building on this very day is drawn up and offered to the Buddhist deities. This water is said to have special powers for curing all disease.
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Hina-Matsuri (Doll Festival)
March 3rd in All over Japan
This hina ningyo dolls are decorated in homes where there are daughters. It is also called Momo-no-Sekku (Peach Festival). Displayed on the a tiered doll-stand are gorgeous hina ningyo dolls together with miniature articles and furniture for the healthy growth and happy future of the daughters.
Sagicho Matsuri (Sagicho Festival)
Weekend in mid-March in Shiga
People dance excitedly amid showers of fire sparks around the blazing Sagicho floats.A Sagicho is a float with a 2 m tall pine torch woven from new straw.Each town spares no expense in coming up with all kinds of ideas for the floats.
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Dai Himonjiyaki at Aso Fire Festival
Early-Late-March in Kumamoto
It is placed for opening event in "Aso Fire Festival", and "big fire letter firing of Aso" that many tourists visit from the prefecture outside in average year features letter of "fire" largest in Japan of 350m in width in height that we installed in Mt. Aso, death.
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@yAprilz
Hana-Matsuri (Floral Festival)
April 8th in All over Japan
Hana-Matsuri refers to the memorial service performed at temples throughout Japan to celebrate the birth of Buddha.On this day, small buildings decorated with flowers are made at temples and a baby Buddha figurine is placed inside.This figurine is sprinkled by worshippers using a ladle with ama-cha.
Onbashira-Festival
April 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Onbashira is considered one of Japan's three most unique festivals. It has been held every seven years,at Suwa Taisha Shrine,for the past 1,200 years. During Onbashira,four huge logs,the largest measuring 16m long,1m wide,and weighing 10 tons.

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Kamakura Festival
2nd Sunday-3rd Sunday of April in Kanagawa
During the Kamakura Matsuri, the entire town of Kamakura is bustling with parades of mikoshi and musical bands. The main attractions are the shizuka no mai dance performed in the Shrine on the second and yabusame.
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Takayama Festival
April 14th & 15th in Gifu
It is considered one the most beautiful festivals of Japan. A large parade of 1,000 people is staged, making you feel as if you have slipped back to the 15th Century, especially because of the costumes and music performances.
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Yayoi Festival
April 16 th & 17th in Tochigi
This festival signals the arrival of spring at Nikko, which has temples and shrines registered as World Heritage sites.The main attraction takes place on the 17th: a parade of 12 beautifully adorned floats called hana-yatai from each town.
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Peach Flower Festival in Yamanashi
April 3rd Sunday
Men in samurai attire engage in sword-fighting during a re-enactment of the Battle of Kawanakajima, which took place during Japanfs civil war period in the mid-16th century, in Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture.
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@yMayz
Hakata Dontaku Festival
May 3rd-4th in Fukuoka
People dressed up in unique costumes parade through the streets while clapping shamoji spoons and dance on stages and in squares in various quarters of the town.The parade of gorgeously decorated vehicles called hana jidosha is also entertaining.
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Hamamatsu Festival (Kite-Fighting)
May 3rd-5th in Shizuoka
More than 100 kites are flown in the sky, at one of the three largest sand dunes in Japan, which overlooks the Enshunada Sea. Here you can see many large kites measuring 3.5 meters by 3.5 meters. Then to the sound of the trumpet, the fighting starts.
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Carp Streamer Festival
May 5th in Kanagawa
Colorful carp streamers flutter over the Sagami River in Sagamihara, west of Tokyo, on the day, which was Childrenfs Day.
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Takigi O-Noh (Bonfire Noh performance)
3rd week on Fri & Sat of May in Nara
Takigi O-Noh is a traditional Japanese musical drama performed on the open-air stage,which is registered as a World Heritage Site. The stage is made by placing large boards over the lawn, with bamboo poles set up,and the drama is performed amid the illumination.
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Ukai (Cormorant Fishing)
May 11th-October 15th in Gifu
Ukai is a traditional method of catching small Japanese trout by manipulating seabirds called u in the Nagaragawa River.Master trainers of cormorants dressed in ancient costume freely manipulate 10-12 wild sea cormorants to skillfully catch small trout.
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Kanda Matsuri
The Sat & Sun closest to May 15th in Tokyo
One of the most famous festivals of Tokyo, Kanda Matsuri is also ranked among the three largest festivals of Japan.The portable shrines are all kinds of floats, and Shinto priests mounted on horseback line up in rows, producing a spectacular sight.
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Aoi Matsuri (Holyhock Festival)
May 15th in Kyoto
Some 500 people wearing splendid ancient costumes and traditional make-up parade through the main streets. This festival came to be called Aoi Matsuri because aoi leaves are used as ornaments not only on the people's costumes, but even on cows and horses.
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Grand Festival of Spring,Nikko
May 17th & 18th in Tochigi
The highlight of this festival is called Hyakumono-Zoroe Sennin Gyoretsu of some 1,000 men dressed as samurai warriors on the 18th. Nikko,which is registered as a World Heritage Site, is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo.
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Asakusa Sanja Matsuri
3rd Sunday & preceding Fri & Sat of May in tokyo.The Sanja Matsuri, a symbolic festival of Tokyo, is one of the largest festivals of mikoshi held in Asakusa, which is a quarter where you can still find traditional houses and streets. Every year, hundreds of thousands of spectators visit Asakusa during the three festival days.
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Mifune Matsuri
3rd Sunday of May in Kyoto
The scene of a boat party on a river from 1,000 years ago is reproduced by some 20 boats on the Oigawa River flowing through Arashiyama in Kyoto. Every year, 100,000 tourists come to view this graceful spectacle. People dressed in ancient costumes.
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@yJunez
Bonfire Noh performance,Kyoto
June 1st & 2nd in Kyoto
Noh, which is the most ancient form of musical theater in Japan, is performed in the evening darkness amid the illumination of the burning torches.In contrast, the kyogen which is performed during intervals of Noh, is a comic drama with plenty of lines.
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Otaue Rice Planting Festival
June 14th in Osaka
The Japanese lifestyle and rice cultivation are deeply associated with one another. Although events associated with this rice planting can be found all over our country, the festival at the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine is unique for its reproduction of the rituals.
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Chagu Chagu Umako Horse Festival
2nd Saturday of June in Iwate
Some 100 horses, fitted with brightly colored harnesses and lots of bells, parade along a distance of approximately 15 km from Takizawa Village to Morioka City. 'Chagu Chagu' is an onomatopoeic expression for the bells sounding as the horses trot along.
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Sanno Matsuri
June 9th-16th in Tokyo
About 300 people dressed in ancient costumes parade through the heart of Tokyo.Consisting of mikoshi adorned with a phoenix on the roof, dashi floats, people carrying drums, people on horseback, the procession extends over a length of 600 meters.
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@yJulyz
Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival
July 1st-15th in Fukuoka
Men carrying yamakasa, which are large 1-ton floats, race through the streets of Hakata at full speed. The sight of the men concentrating all their energy into the floats captivates the hearts of the spectators who number as many as 1 million people.
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Tanabata
July 7th in All over Japan
This is an annual celebration of the stars. According to a legend, the two stars,separated lovers, are allowed to meet each other across the Milky Way only once a year on July 7th. The custom is to set up leafed bamboo branches,and people write wishes on tanzaku,and tie on the bamboo leaves.
Mitama Festival
July 13th-16th in Tokyo
People walk in front of paper lanterns during the Mitama Festival at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo on Saturday night. Over 30,000 lanterns light up the precincts of the shrine, where more than 2.4 million war dead are enshrined, during the four-day festival which ends Tuesday.

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Nachi-no-Hi-Matsurii
July 14th in Wakayama
Nachi-no-Hi-Matsuri, which is one of the three largest fire festivals of Japan, is staged in the Kumano mountains of Wakayama Prefecture, an area registered as a World Heritage Site.The Nachi-no-Otaki Falls (the Great Waterfall of Nachi) near the shrine.
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Gion Matsuri
July 1st-29th in Kyoto
The Gion Matsuri, familiarly known as 'Gion-san,' is a festival held at Yasaka-jinja Shrine, and the highlight is the splendid pageant of some 30 floats called yamaboko proceeding along the main streets of Kyoto. Each float is topped with a long pole shaped like a spear.
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Ushi-Oni Matsuri
July 22nd-24th in Ehime
Huge floats in the shape of the legendary monster Ushi-Oni, the body covered with a red cloth and 6 meters tall, parade through the town. The Ushi-Oni is a strange creature for its body is shaped like a cow but has the head of a terrifying ogre called oni.
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Soma-Nomaoi (Wild Horse Racing)
Late July in Fukushima
The highlights of the three-day festival are which twelve samurai horsemen clad in armor and helmets, and carrying katana swords all race over a distance of 1,000 meters,in which hundred samurai horsemen compete for 40 shrine flags shot into the air with fireworks.
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Tenjin Matsuri
July 24th & 25th in Osaka
Having a history of more than 1,000 years, the Tenjin Matsuri, which is one of the three greatest festivals of Japan, is also the world's greatest boat festival. It is a summer festival held at the Tenman Tenjin, the patron god of learning and art.
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Miyajima Kangensai Festival
Late July-Early August in Hiroshima
Kangen is music performed by playing the flute, drums and string instruments used in Japanese court music. In the ancient capital, nobles used to enjoy the graceful orchestra festival by playing kangen instruments on boats floated on ponds and rivers.
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Sumida River Fireworks Display
Late Saturday of July in Tokyo
One of the major fireworks displays of Tokyo. On the last Saturday of July, the oldtown evening sky turns into a spectacle of dazzling colors from several tens of thousands of fireworks.Fireworks seen from the spaces between tall buildings are really quite breathtaking.
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@yAugustz
Aomori Nebuta & Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri
Augusut 2nd-7th & 1st-7th in Aomori
Bamboo and wooden frames are covered with paper illustrated with historic figures and pictures of samurai warriors along with birds and beasts. These are illuminated from inside and set up on floats and cars which proceed in the parade.
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Gujo Odori Dance Performance
Mid-July-Early September in Gifu
For 32 nights from mid-July to early September, the 10 types of dance are performed during a tour of the entire town over the summer, changing its stage from the castle town area to street corner squares, shrine precincts and other spots within the whole town.
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Akita Kanto Matsuri
August 3rd-6th in Akita
A kanto is a bamboo pole eight meters high with a number of cross poles attached which have 46 paper lanterns shaped like rice bales hanging from them, and is decorated at the very top with thin shreds of paper between wooden sticks.
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Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony
August 6th in Hiroshima
On August 6th, 1945, an American bomber dropped the world's first atomic bomb over Hiroshima City.The Peace Memorial Ceremony is held in front of the Hiroshima Peace City Memorial Monument to pray for eternal peace on Earth.
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Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri
August 5th-7th in Yamagata
It attracts more than 1 million spectators over three days Dancers wearing the same costume per group and holding hanagasa hats adorned with Yamagata Prefecture's unique safflowers parade through the main street of Yamagata City.
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Sendai Tanabata Matsuri
August 6th-8th in Miyagi
Gorgeous decorations made with bamboo and Japanese paper called sasatake are put up in the arcades in front of Sendai Station, in what appears to be a contest for beauty. Nowadays, Tanabata is generally celebrated as a national event on July 7th.
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O-Bon (Lantern Festival)
Mid-August in All over Japan
O-Bon is a Buddhist ceremony for welcoming back and appeasing the souls of our ancestors.Depending on the region, the Bon Festival may be held one month later, during August 13th-15th.
A Buddhist priest chants sutras in front of the Shoryodana or 'Shelf of Souls,' where offerings of fruit and vegetables are placed.
Awa-Odori Folk Dance Festival
August 12th-15th in Tokushima
It performed to welcome the souls of ancestors in the Bon season. It is well known throughout Japan for these words, which are voiced,regardless of their meaning: 'It's a fool who dances and a fool who watches! If both are fools, you might as well have fun dancing!`.
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Yamaga Lantern Festival
August 15th-16th in Kumamoto
Three greatest fire festivals of summer in Kumamoto, known as the Land of Fire. 1,000 women, dressed in cotton summer kimono and bearing lighted gold and silver lanterns on their heads, dance all night long as they sing 'Yoheho-bushi' in a very slow tempo.
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Gozan no Okuribi / Mountain Bon Fire
Augusut 16th in Kyoto
Traditional event that takes place in Kyoto during the Obon Festival. On each of the five mountains that surround the city, giant bonfires are set alight. Three of the fires are in the shape of kanji. The other two fires are in the shapes of a boat and a Shinto shrine gate.
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Giant Lantern Festival
August 26th & 27th in Aichi
This known as "amazingly gigantic lanterns," which measure over 5 meters in diameter and 10 meters in length. The 12 sets of paper lanterns appearing at the festival are depicted with pictures and characters which embody all kinds of meanings and stories.
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Yoshida Fire Festival
August 26th & 27th in Shizuoka
The Fuji-YoshidaFire Festival is celebrated at Fuji Sengen shrine on August 26th, announcing the close of the climbing season of Mt. Fuji. It has been named one of the three most peculiar festivals to still be celebrated in Japan.
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@ySeptemberz
Owara Kaze-no-Bon Festival
September 1st-3rd in Toyama
This is a traditional folk event to appease the wind and pray for a bountiful crop.They light small lampstands covered with paper and dance all night while singing the "Ecchu Owara Bushi". Accompaniment is provided by three-stringed Japanese musical instruments.
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Reitaisai
September 14th-16th in Kanagawa
The greatest attraction of all is, no doubt, the gallant Yabusame which passes down the ancient traditions of the Kamakura Period.Yabusame is a contest combining equestrian skills and Japanese-style archery which was popular among the samurai warriors.
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@yOctoberz
Nagasaki Kunchi Festival
October 7th-9th in Nagasaki
The greatest highlight is the Hono-Odori, take turns every year to perform dances.The Hono-Odori is also performed in front of the City Public Hall, at the sacred resting-place for gods during the festival parade and at the Yasaka Shrine.
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Marimo Matsuri (Spherical Algae Festival)
For 3 days in early October in Hokkaido
On the first day of the festival, a lecture on the growth of marimo and field trips to their habitat are held. The second day features the Marimo Dance Parade with the Ceremony to Conserve Marimo in accordance with ancient Ainu traditions.
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Takayama Matsuri Autumn Festival
October 9th & 10th in Gifu
It is cited as one of the three most beautiful festivals of Japan.The greatest attractions are the eleven yatai.The yatai floats are lined up before dusk, and once the town becomes veiled in the evening darkness, as many as 100 chochin lanterns.
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Ikegami Honmonji O-Eshiki
October 11th-13th in Tokyo
O-eshiki refers to a Buddhist service commemorating a death,the anniversary of Nichiren's death. Although similar O-eshiki rituals are held at temples throughout the country, the memorial over three days from October 11th to 13th is of the grandest scale.
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Nada Fighting Festival
October 14th & 15th in Hyogo
It came to be called by this name, Kenka Matsuri or 'Fighting Festival' because the mikoshi are jolted against one another when carried on the shoulders of the men in the parade.There are no detailed rules or opponents for the vehement collisions of the portable shrines.
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Shuki Taisei Grand Autumn Festival
October 17th in Tochigi
This procession, consisting of one mikoshi (a portable shrine) and a train of about 800 people, is slightly smaller in scale than that of the Spring Festival. Led by the portable shrine, the samurai procession, made up of cavalry, warriors carrying guns.
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Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages)
October 22nd in Kyoto
The highlight of the festival is the Jidai Gyoretsu: a mikoshi (a portable shrine) and a suite of some 2,000 people dressed in costumes representing various eras of Kyoto's 1,200-year history parade through the city. At noon, the procession departs from Kyoto Gosho.
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Kurama Fire Festival
October 22nd in Kyoto
At 6 o'clock in the evening, watch fires called kagaribi are ignited all at once in front of the houses, and people holding up small and large taimatsu (pine torches) parade all night long announcing in loud voices the arrival of the festival.
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@yNovemberz
Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu
November 3rd in Kanagawa
The procession is reproduced in the style of the Daimyo Gyoretsu (feudal lord's procession)which was also known as sankin kotai during the Edo Period (1603-1867). The suite of retainers, each assigned with his role, and armed with spear, bow and arrow, or gun.
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Karamatsu Kuunchi Festival
November 2nd-4th in Saga
This festival features floats called hikiyama, the largest ones being 6.8 meters tall and 3 tons in weight. These gigantic floats, which are lacquered and finished with gold and silver leaf, are designed in the images of lions, grampuses, samurai helmets, sea bream.
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Shichi-Go-San
November 15th in All over Japan
This is a ceremonial visit paid by parents and children to their tutelary shrines to offer gratitude for the healthy growth of the children. Celebrations are carried out on November 15th for boys who reach the age of 3 or 5, or for girls who turn 3 or 7 years old. The custom is for the children to dress in their best clothes.
Tori-no-ichi (Rake Fair)
The days of the Tori or Rooster in November in Tokyo.The Tori-no-Ichi is conducted according to old Japanese customs, and is held on the days of the rooster in November. Days of the rooster occur every 12 days in November,has at least 2 or even 3 days of the rooster, depending on the year.
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@yDecemberz
Chichibu Yomatsuri (Chichibu Night Festival)
December 2nd & 3rd in Saitama
The main attraction of this festival,Two kasaboko which are large parasol-like objects decorated on top with weapons such as spears, and artificial flowers together with four yatai floats shaped like small houses are paraded through the city streets.
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Gishi-sai
December 13th & 14th in Tokyo
"The Forty-Seven Loyal Retainers in Akoh" is a drama based on an incident which actually took place in 1703 when 47 vassals avenged their Master's death by killing his enemy.the Gishi Gyoretsu is 47 masterless vassals parading through the streets.
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Hagoita-ichi (Battledore Fair)
December 17th-19th in Tokyo
The Hagoita-Ichi (Battledore Fair) is an annual fair held in its precincts at the end of the year.Some 50 open-air stalls selling hagoita,shuttlecocks,kites and other New Year decorations stand huddled together, and numerous people gather here from all over the country.
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Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri
December 15th-18th in Nara
This historic festival continues to be one of the largest annual events of Nara Prefecture, attracting a great many tourists.The greatest attractions of the festival are concentrated on the 17th, which is known as Hon-Matsuri.
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Oga Namahage Festival
December 31st in Akita
Namahage is the name of the strange deity resembling a demon, wearing large masks, straw raincoats and waist-bands, holding wooden knives and pails, go around visiting the houses at night, dancing along as they give out strange cries.
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Okera-Mairi Festival
December 31st in Kyoto
Okera-Mairi is the name for the visits made to the Okera Matsuri festival from late at night on New Year's Eve to New Year's Day. This ritual is held at Yasaka-jinja Shrine, which is designated as an important cultural property of Kyoto.
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