Events

Top Choice Cultural in Osaka

Tenjin Matsuri

This is one of Japan's three biggest festivals. Try to make the second day, when processions of mikoshi (portable shrines) and people in traditional attire start at Osaka Tenman-gū and end up in hundreds of boats on…
Parade in Nagahama

Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri

The town's famous festival, Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri, takes place from 14 to 16 April. The highlight is costumed five- to 13-year-old children performing kabuki (stylised Japanese theatre) plays aboard a dozen elab…
Light Show in Kōbe

Luminarie

Kōbe's biggest annual event is held every evening in early December in memory of the 6000 people who perished in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, and to celebrate the city's miraculous recovery. The streets southw…
Cultural in Nara

Omizutori

During this two-week festival in early March, the monks of Tōdai-ji parade huge flaming torches around the balcony of Nigatsu-dō and rain down embers on the spectators to purify them, in a nightly ceremony called Ot…
Cultural in Nara

Mantōrō

The Lantern Festival involves the lighting of 3000 stone and bronze lanterns around Kasuga Taisha at 6pm one night in early February – it's impossibly atmospheric. A bugaku (dance piece played by court orchestras in…
Festival in Himeji

Nada-no-Kenka Matsuri

Nada-no-Kenka involves a battle between three mikoshi (palanquins), which are battered against each other until one smashes. Try to go on the second day, when the festival reaches its peak (around noon). It is held …
Cultural in Nara

Yamayaki

In early January (the day before Seijin-no-hi, or Coming-of-Age Day), the Grass Burning Festival commemorates a feud that was had many centuries ago between the monks of Tōdai-ji and Kōfuku-ji: Wakakusa-yama is set …
Cultural in Kōya-san

Rōsoku Matsuri

This captivating festival is held in remembrance of departed souls. Thousands of people come to light some 100,000 candles along the approaches to Oku-no-in.
Cultural in Nara

Shika-no-Tsunokiri

Those deer in Nara-kōen are pursued in a type of elegant rodeo into the Roku-en (deer enclosure) close to Kasuga Taisha on the second Saturday and Sunday of October and then again the following Monday. They are then…
Cultural in Osaka

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

Osaka's wildest festival, held over the 3rd weekend in September, is a kind of running of the bulls except with danjiri (festival floats), many weighing over 3000kg. The danjiri are hauled through the streets by hun…