In Japan, there are more than 300,000 traditional “matsuri”, which means festival in Japan, and they are very different from area to area. Normally, a matsuri is sponsored by a local shrine or temple and is organized by the local community. People wear a typical matsuri costume and carry a heavy Mikoshi, which is a portable shrine around the street, hoping it can bless the town and people.
1, Awa Odori
This is the largest traditional dance festival in Japan. Men, women and children dance on almost all of the streets in Tokushima City, from the 12th to the 15th of August. They wear summer cotton kimono and straw hats. More than a million people get together for this festival, and it is a spectacular sight. You can even join them to dance with the rhythmic music!
2, Hakata Dontaku Matsuri
Hakata Dontaku Matsuri is held on the 3rd and the 4th of May in Fukuoka City. People dance and parade through the streets with wooden “Shamoji,” which is a utensil used for serving rice. It is also called Hakata Dntaku Port Festival because there are lots of events held around the Hakata Port.
3, Yuki Matsuri, Snow Festival
Sapporo’s Yuki Matsuri takes place in February. The origin of this festival was six snow statues built by local high school students in 1950, and now it has become an international contest of gigantic snow sculptures.