Japan is a vast and exotic country with a rich culture so it is not too surprising that the festivals in Japan are somewhat eclectic.
Perhaps the most famous is the Cherry Blossom Season or sakura. Each year thousands of locals and travellers gather to admire the stunning cherry trees. Generally the sakura reaches the cities of Kyoto and Tokyo towards the end of March or beginning of April. This period is called mankai or the peak season when most cherry trees are in bloom across the country; it’s a great time to visit Japan.
Winter is a great time to travel to Japan. Botanical garden Nabana no Sato each year hosts one of the country’s best and biggest winter light festivals. This is the Japan festival of lights. Alternatively, Hadaka Matsuri, known as the ‘Okayama Naked Man Festival’, is one of Japan’s more extreme local festivals. Loin cloth-clad men run through icy water on the coldest day of the year, before wrestling inside the temple grounds hoping to claim the lucky sticks. Read our round up of Japan Winter Festivals.
Held in October over nine days this film festival will screen more than 200 titles from all over the world, spanning all kinds of genres, from action, drama, romance and comedy to horror, fantasy, musicals and science fiction.
Every three years the Setouchi Triennale, one of Japan’s biggest festivals of modern art, takes place in the south-west of the country. This exceptional celebration of creativity, inspiration and beauty transforms the Japanese region into a mecca of art. The next triennale is in 2022.
Meaning Festival of the Steel Phallus, Kanamara Matsuri is arguably the country’s most amusing event when tens of thousands of revellers roam the streets of Kawasaki city in April to pay tribute to fertility in an age-old ritual, amidst thousands of phalluses of all sizes, shapes and colours.
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