Summer isn’t over yet, and there are plenty of festivals across Japan to carry on that holiday feeling! Here’s a taste of what you can expect in September.
National New Fireworks Games – Nagano
One of the largest firework displays in Japan, the National New Fireworks Games is held in Suwa and involves different teams trying to outdo each other in the art of pyrotechnics. Like most industries in Japan, firework displays tend to have older technicians with younger apprentices supporting them, but here there are plenty of opportunities for the apprentices to show their skills! Spectators can watch over 18,000 fireworks being launched from different sites in a spectacular show.
Misawa Air Base Festival – Aomori
A rare chance for civlians to enter the air base, this festival attracts around 100,000 visitors a year and entertains them with aerial displays, fly-bys and music as well as plenty of food stands. It’s the largest air show in Northern Japan and is popular, so expect busy stations and buses.
Kiyomizu Temple Seiryu-e Dragon Festival – Kyoto
Head to the beautiful Kiyomizu-dera to see the procession of the blue dragon as he drinks from the Otowa Waterfall below the temple. With masked characters and colorful dances, this is a simple but impressive display, adding a touch of the mystical to one of Japan’s most famous spots.
Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival – Okinawa
If you’re in Okinawa during Obon time, then this festival is one of the best to attend. As the major summer fetival of the islands, it’s three days of dancing and celebration to welcome the ancestors. The highlight of the festival is the Eisa dance—with taiko drums, pop music and traditional musical accompaniments.
Nagasaki Kyoryuchi Festival – Nagasaki
An unusual festival in Japan, Kyoryuchi is the nickname of of the foreign settlement in Oura which dates back to the late 1850s, and this event celebrates the wide array of cultures there. With choirs, art workshops, a stamp rally and even a Scottish pipe band, you can enjoy the different aspects that come together to create this diverse community. And tuck into some great festival food at the same time!
Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair – Kyoto
Showing that there’s a modern side to Kyoto, the Manga Anime Fair is one of the biggest in Kansai, and is a fun mix of trade show, market and festival. Entry is ¥1,200, but foreigners can enter for free if they show their passport—so that’s a bonus! Get your fix of everything anime and celebrate the creativity of some of Japan’s most famous forms of entertainment!
Danjiri Matsuri – Osaka
The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri has rightfully earned its place on the list of Japan’s rowdiest festivals—and possibly the most dangerous too. Local teams whirl their wheeled carts around town, often reaching high speeds and with participants riding on top of them. At night they are strewn with lanterns and create a beautiful scene. Click below for the locations each day.
Huisten Bosch Kyushu Ichi Fireworks Festival – Nagasaki
Considered the best in the whole of Kysuhu, this fireworks festival is also one of the longest in summer. Over 22,000 rockets go off into the night sky over a period of two and a quarter hours. Your best bet is to head into the large surrounding park, and have a picnic when you’ve found a decent viewing spot.
Uneme Festival – Nara
More melancholy and somber than most Japanese summer festivals, this is also one of the most beautiful. Watch as lantern-lit traditional boats glide across the Sarusawa Lake in memory of Uneme, a court lady who drowned herself in the lake after being spurned by the emperor. The procession moves from JR Nara Station to the pond with carriages containing Miss Uneme beauty queens and children in full costume.
Check back for more events as we update this post! If you’re going to be in Tokyo, see our detailed events listings for the area.