As the temperature is warming up, spring is the best time to travel to Japan after a dark and cold winter. Here are the top 5 spring festivals that you have to visit before they disappear until next year.
Miyako Odori, Kyoto
With more than 140 years of history, Kyoto’s Miyako Odori, Geisha dance festival will open your eyes to the Japan back in the 19th century. Miyako Odori offers not only Geisha dance performance, but also tea ceremony that you could take part into. From a tea ceremony, you will be learning how the Japanese life values through making a cup of matcha.
Miyako Odori festival is available from 1st April to 30th March. Tickets are from 2000 yen (second class) to 4500 yen (special class seating with tea ceremony). For more information check out http://www.miyako-odori.jp
Date: 1st April to 30th April
Address: Japan, 〒605-0074 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 祇園町南側５７
Phone: +81 75-541-3391
Kanamara Matsuri, Kawasaki Shrine (Penis Festival)
Celebrating the penis, Kanamara Matsuri is definitely the day that you can talk about penises with pride. Taking place on the first Sunday in April for over 50 years, it will be hosting on the 2nd April 2017.
There is a penis temple that you could pray to get pregnant and be blessed with children.
Looking for outlandish souvenirs for friends and families? There are penis shaped lollipops and chocolate available in the market!
Kanamara Matsuri is a great campaign that raises money for HIV protection. It has now become a popular tourist attraction so even though it starts from 11am, better get there by 9am. Entry is free.
Date: 2nd April, 11am to 4pm
Address: Kawasaki Shrine
Sanja Matsuri, Tokyo
With 2 million visitors coming to see every year, Sanja Matsuri is one of the greatest events to know more about the main religion in Japan, Shinto. Happening from 19 May to 21 May, locals will be carrying over 100 deities, some of them can be over 1 ton to the temple to pray for good fortunes. Geisha, which are quite rare in Tokyo will be dressed in Edo period costumes and join the parade.
Asakusa will be packed with food stalls, festival games and Japanese flute and drum performances.
Only available in May every year, if you are around Japan don’t miss it.
A shinto ceremony will be held after the parade.
Date: 19 May to 21 May 2017
Address: Asakusa Shrine to Nakamise Street
Ose Matsuri, Uchiura Fishing port
Seeing Japanese fishermen disguised in women’s costumes dancing on the boat might change your impression that fishermen are tough.
Happening on the 4th April, fishermen will disguise themselves with female costumes and makeup. They will do a parade on the sea to pray for safe trips and good catches.
Looking for traditional Japanese omiyage (souvenirs)? There will be stalls selling local produce and snacks. For more information please visit http://www.city.numazu.shizuoka.jp/takara/kobetu/rekishi/088_osematuri.htm
Date: 4th April 2017
Address: Uchiura fishing port, Namazu City, Shizuoka Pref
Fire Walking Festival, Mt Takao
Feeling daring? You can walk on burning rocks at the Fire Walking Festival in Mountain Takao with bare feet. Taking place in around mid March 2017, the monks from Takaosan Yakuoin temple will pave the way with flaming rocks and walk on it with their bare feet. Believers will first pray for their health, families and traffic then they will follow the monks to walk on flames.
Public spectators can participate after the ceremony. The temperature of the rocks will be slightly warm by the time you set foot on it. It is recommended to bring a wet towel so that you can wipe your grubby feet after walking.
Ready to take on an adventure? Check out http://www.takaosan.or.jp/english/index.html for more!
Date: Mid March 2017
Address 2177 Takaomachi, Hachioji-shi, Takaosan, Yakuoin Temple