Top Choice Cultural in Sapporo

Sapporo Yuki Matsuri

Held in early February, this is one of Japan's top festivals. From humble beginnings in 1950, when local high-school students built six snow statues in Ōdōri-kōen, the festival now hosts an international snow sculpt…
Top Choice Cultural in Osaka

Tenjin Matsuri

This is one of Japan's three biggest festivals and is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, the Japanese deity of scholarship and learning. Try to make the second day, when processions of mikoshi (portable shrines) and p…
Top Choice Dance in Tokushima

Awa-odori Matsuri

The Awa-odori is the largest bon dance in Japan. Each evening men, women and children take to the streets to dance to the samba-like rhythm of the theme song ‘Awa Yoshikono’, accompanied by the sounds of shamisen (t…
Top Choice Cultural in Ueno & Yanesen

Bunkyō Azalae Festival

One of Tokyo's top flower festivals, late spring is the time to view around 100 different species of azalea bloom in a profusion of pinks and reds across the 3000 trees in the grounds of Nezu-jinja.
Top Choice Cultural in Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

Tokyo Nerd Night

Held monthly (usually on a Friday night) at the co-working space Nagatachō GRID, this fun, educational addition to Tokyo's range of bi-cultural mixers bills itself as 'the Discovery Channel with beer'. Listen to up …
Art in Naoshima

Setouchi Triennale

This festival of art, music, drama and dance comes around every three years and has a packed calendar of events occurring on multiple Inland Sea islands, many on Naoshima and Teshima. Previous schedules have been sp…
Parade in Takayama

Takayama Matsuri

One of Japan's great festivals, the Takayama Matsuri is in two parts. On 14 and 15 April there's the Sannō Matsuri, when a dozen decorated yatai (floats) are paraded through the town. Hachiman Matsuri, on 9 and 10 O…
Cultural in Tokyo

Hanami

For a week or two, usually in late March and early April, Tokyoites toast spring in spirited parties, called hanami, under the blooming cherry trees. Top spots include Ueno-kōen, Yoyogi-kōen and Shinjuku-gyoen.
Parade in Asakusa & Sumida River

Sanja Matsuri

Tokyo's biggest festival is held over the third weekend of May and attracts about 1.5 million spectators to Asakusa-jinja. The highlight is the rowdy parade of mikoshi (portable shrines) carried by men and women in …
Memorial Service in Hiroshima

Peace Memorial Ceremony

On 6 August, the anniversary of the atomic bombing, a memorial service is held in Peace Memorial Park and thousands of paper lanterns for the souls of the dead are floated down the Kyūōta-gawa from in front of the A…