Cultural in Dewa Sanzan


On New Year's Eve, yamabushi novices perform similar rituals to those of the mountain priests at the Hassaku Matsuri, competing with each other after completing a 100-day-long period of cleansing and...

Cultural in Dewa Sanzan

Hassaku Matsuri

Yamabushi (mountain priests) perform ancient fire rites at the top of Haguro-san throughout the night to pray for a bountiful harvest.

Cultural in Tsuruoka

Tenjin Matsuri

On 25 May each year, people stroll around in masks and costumes, serving sake and keeping an eye out for friends and acquaintances. The object is to make it through the festival without anyone recognising you....

Cultural in Yonezawa

Uesugi Matsuri

To really see the feudal era in action, visit on 3 May, when more than 1000 participants in full samurai regalia act out the epic battle of Kawa-naka-jima during the annual Uesugi Matsuri.

Cultural in Yamagata

Hanagasa Matsuri

Held over three days, this colourful festival sees large crowds of dancers move through the streets of Yamagata wearing hanagasa (flower-laden straw hats) and singing folk songs.