Major Japanese festivals offer an exhilarating and unforgettable window into Japanese culture. Here are some of Japan’s must-see festivals during the fall season.
Owara Kaze No Bon Festival
Held over three days of September, the Yatsuo Festival annually unfolds in Toyama City. Renowned for its graceful traditional dances, this event is a celebration of cultural elegance and artistic expression.
Kishiwada Danjiri Festival
The Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is a lively Japanese celebration taking place in Kishiwada, Osaka, spanning two days in September. Participants, predominantly teams of men, enthusiastically navigate crafted wooden floats through the streets. This ritual serves as a representation of abundant harvests and a strong sense of community. With an annual attendance of around 400,000 spectators, the festival is a significant and widely enjoyed event.
The Kakunodate Festival occurs in early September in Kakunodate, a city located in Akita Prefecture. This event seamlessly integrates artistry, music, dance, and dramatic encounters between floats. The highlight of the festival unfolds when competing teams engage in dynamic struggles and negotiations for the right of way as their floats cross paths. Numerous men actively participate in the physical efforts to maneuver their floats forward, resulting in energetic clashes against other floats.
The Kawagoe Festival draws inspiration from the Edo Tenka Matsuri, featuring elaborately crafted floats that are carefully pulled through the ancient streets of Kawagoe. The event takes place in the streets of Kawagoe, a town in Saitama, throughout the third weekend of October. During the festival, the streets are filled with gorgeously decorated festival floats, paper lanterns, music and dance, giving festivalgoers a chance to join the locals in a mid-October celebration honoring Kawagoe’s rich heritage originating in the Edo period (1603–1867).
Fujiwara Autumn Festival
The stunning Chusonji Temple, nestled in Iwate’s Hiraizumi area, takes on an even more awe-inspiring appearance as it is adorned with the vibrant hues of autumn leaves during the Fujiwara Autumn Festival held in early November. This festival serves as a
tribute to the Fujiwara leaders enshrined in the Golden Pavilion.
The event coincides with the Chrysanthemum Festival, spanning from October into November. The dynamic combination of the lively colors of chrysanthemum flowers and the fiery tones of fall foliage transforms the temple into a visually captivating tapestry of color and beauty.