November 2017: Top Cheapo Events Around Japan

Lily Crossley-Baxter

Things are getting chilly now that it’s November—but there’s plenty to do to keep you distracted and even warm you up, from fire-walking to ramen festivals!

japan events november
Fire walking | Photo by Edomuranotokuzou used under CC

Hiroshima Ramen Stadium 2017   |   Nov 2nd – 8th  |   Hiroshima

If you’re a ramen fiend, there’s nowhere else you need to be this week—with countless options for ramen and each bowl only costing 750 yen!

Karatsu Kunchi Festival   |   Nov 2nd – 4th   |   Saga

This Karatsu Shrine’s main festival as well as being one of the most popular in the  prefecture. Be sure to catch the Hikiyama floats which can reach up to 7 meters in height and weigh between 2-4 tons. The best part is on the second day, where the floats are carried across the beach, often getting stuck in the sand.

Hi Watari Fire Walking Festival   |   Nov 3rd   |    Hiroshima

Held on the Island of Miyajima at Itsukushima Shrine, this is a chance to see an age-old tradition in one of the most famous places in Japan. You’re welcome to take part but don’t be surprised if you walk away singed!

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Utsunomiya Gyoza Festival   |   Nov 4th – 5th   |   Tochigi

Held in a city renowned for its gyoza (dumplings), there’s no better festival if you’re a lover of the delicious delights often found as extras to your steaming bowl of ramen. With one plate costing only 100 yen, you can afford to indulge!

Ube Festival   |   Nov 4th – 5th   |   Yamaguchi

Held on the shores on the Seto Inland Sea since 1933, this local festival features a parade, two stages and a gourmet zone,. The main day is on Sunday, with a pre-festival taking place the evening before.

Ube Festival | Photo by Isado

Shitennoji Wasso Festival  |  Nov 5th   |   Osaka

Enjoy a parade of over 1000 traditionally costumed people as they chant ‘wasso’  and march through the streets. Meaning ‘I came’ in Korean, the chant is used to remember all those who have come to Japan from across Asia. The outfits are accurate reconstructions and the event is held at Naniwa no Miya as this is where people would have landed when they arrived.

Worldwide Eisa Festival   |   Nov 5th   |   Okinawa

Eisa is one of Okinawa’s most important cultural expressions and is celebrated in a large competition with competitors from all over the island. There are performances and workshops if you want to try it yourself. There are three categories and the dance is performed in a spirit of prayer, emotion and friendship.

Ishigaki-jima Festival   |   Nov 5th – 6th   |   Okinawa

This local festival takes place in Ishigaki city and combines a wide range of performances and attractions  including live music, a bench press challenge and stage performances, with a firework display to close celebrations.

Himeji Castle Light-Up and Exhibition   |   Nov 10th – 26th   |   Hyogo

Two separate events timed to coincide, the light-up and Saijiki Art Exhibition are a great way to make your trip into a full day. The art can be found at Nishinomaru Garden and Hyakkanrouka, while the illumination takes place at the Sannomaru Square between 6pm and 9.30pm.

Tokushima Yokai Festival   |   Nov 12th   |  Tokushima

A unique event taking place at an elementary school in Miyoshi—this festival has local delicacies as well as a marching band made up of yokai (supernatural monsters). The town is famed for the supernatural monsters from Japanese folklore and this unusual event is too good to miss if you’re in the area.

Arashiyama Momiji Festival   |   Nov 12th   |   Kyoto

Celebrate autumn while you explore one of the most famous bamboo forests in Japan with this stunning fall festival. Boats parade along the river with costumed performers elaborately dressed as members of the Heian period. They will perform Noh theater and play musical instruments to entertain the crowds.

Arashiyama Maple Festival
Photo by Derek Holtham used under CC

November Grand Sumo Tournament   |    Nov 12th – 26th   |   Fukuoka

A great opportunity to see the last major sumo tournament of the year, this 15-day competition ends with an eventual champion. It’s busier on the first days, the middle weekend and the last few days—otherwise it should be quite easy to get unreserved tickets.

Mammoth Flea Market   |   Nov 18th – 19th   |    Aichi

Organized by TV Aichi, this is a large market which happens twice a year and was started back in 1994. With over 1,500 booths, 30,000 keen bargain-hunters are expected and there will be entertainment including local celebrities. Tickets are required, with two prices—one for earlier entry at 9am and one for 10am, both available for advance purchase.

Okinawa International Carnival   |   Nov 25th – 26th   |   Okinawa

With over 30 different nationalities at home in Okinawa, this festival is a varied and impressive display of them all. With previous years of samba dancing, live music, karate and tug-of-war too as well as food stalls from all over the world.

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