8 Traditional Festivals in Japan


The country name of Japan means "country of sunrise", and most of Japan's festivals are carried out in accordance with the sacrificial activities of shrines (temples) in various places. Therefore, Japan calls the festival a "sacrificial". So what are the traditional festivals in Japan?


No.1 Festivals in Japan – Shogatsu/New Year (January 1)

new year in Japan

The New Year is a very important holiday for Japan. In the New Year, everyone goes to visit the shrine or go to a friend's house to celebrate the New Year, drink and eat the unique delicacies of the New Year. The children play Japanese-style cards, fly kites, and the shuttlecock. In the New Year, the Japanese also pull straw ropes and insert pine branches on the door, meaning "plug in the trees to welcome the gods."


No.2 Festivals in Japan – Hanami /Cherry blossom festival (March 15 to April 15)

Cherry blossom festival in Japan

On March 15 each year, Japanese cherry blossoms begin to bloom. The Japanese people believe that cherry blossoms are elegant, strong, delicate and independent. They regard cherry blossoms as a symbol of hard work, courage, and wisdom. So the Japanese regard cherry blossoms as national flowers.

The Japanese cherry blossom festival lasts for one month, from March 15 to April 15. At this time, in most places in Japan, the cherry blossoms will bloom. At this time, the Japanese will have a picnic under the cherry trees and have fun.


No.3 Festivals in Japan – Adult festival (January 15)

Adult festival in Japan

The Adult Festival is a day to bless young men and women to be 20 years old, because in Japan, as long as they reach the age of 20, they will have the right to vote and citizenship. Smoking and drinking are allowed when you are 20 years old. It means that children become adults.

On that day, young men and women in age of 20 must wear traditional clothes to participate in adult ceremonies organized by official or private groups. The ritual includes young people's oath, elders' congratulations and visits to the shrine, as well as various traditional cultural activities.


No.4 Festivals in Japan – Boy's day (May 5)

Boy's day in Japan

In Japan, Boys' Day is also called Children's Day and the Dragon Boat Festival. On this day, a blessed flag painted with squid pattern will be hung in front of the home to bless that the boy grow up healthily. Due to the Dragon Boat Festival and the Boys' Day on the same day, there will be hanging pimple leaves in front of the house.


No.5 Festivals in Japan – Girl's day (March 3)

Girls' Day in Japan

Girls' Day is the most happy day for Japanese girls. On this day, every household arrange a stand of doll. People put a variety of costume dolls, bonsais of orange or cherry blossom on the shelf. These things are made by themselves or bought. Girls will also wear beautiful kimonos, invite their closest friends, sit and play together, and celebrate the festival with joy.


No.6 Festivals in Japan – Tanabata (July 7)

Tanabata in Japan

This festival was introduced from the Chinese Tanabata Festival. On this day, people will write poetry, tie their wishes to the bamboo sticks and make a wish. Now, the most famous places to celebrate this festival in Japan are Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto, Kagawa Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Gaogang City in Toyama Prefecture.


No.7 Festivals in Japan – Shichi-go-san (November 15)

Shichi-go-san in Japan

On November 15th every year, boys of 3 and 5 years old, girls of 3 and 7 years old wear bright kimonos to visit the shrine to bless them with a smooth path of growth. The Japanese think that the odd number is the lucky number, so they chose these three ages.


No.8 Festivals in Japan – O-Bon  (Lunar July 15)

O-Bon festival in Japan

The O-Bon Festival is the largest traditional festival in Japan. It is also known as the "Soul Festival", "Lantern Festival", "Buddhist Spiritual Society", etc. It was originally a day of chasing ancestors and praying for blessings. It is now a family reunion festival.

The O-Bon Festival is not a legal holiday in Japan. That is because O-Bon Festival involves religious beliefs, and people's religious beliefs cannot be enforced. The time of O-Bon Festival in different areas of Japan is not exactly the same. Although most of the areas are around August 15 of the new calendar, there are still very few areas that continue the old tradition and think that the Bon Festival On July 15, which should be the lunar calendar. Tokyo is unique in setting the O-Bon Festival on July 15. The most important thing is that the students are also on summer vacation around August 15th. Most companies will have a holiday of 7-14 days at the O-Bon Festival, so that employees can go back to reunite with their families. Therefore, there is no need to set it as a legal holiday.

Recommended Tours

7 Days Classic Japan Group Tour

Tokyo, Mt.Fuji, Hamanako, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka

12-Day Best Japan-Korea Small Group

Tokyo, Mt.Fuji, Hamanako, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Seoul, Jeju

17 Days Japan & China Group Tour

Tokyo, Mt.Fuji, Hamanako, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Shanghai