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Celebrating Bunka no hi in Japan

Bunka no hi, or Culture Day, is a national holiday celebrated annually on November 3 in Japan. The holiday commemorates the anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution of Japan in 1946. It is a day for promoting peace and culture, and is also considered a day of reflection on the nation’s past.

The history of Culture Day in Japan

Bunka no hi has its origins in the Meiji period, when the Meiji Emperor declared that November 3rd would be a day to celebrate the arts and literature. This was in response to the growing Western influence in Japan at the time. The holiday was originally called Bunka-sai, but was later renamed Bunka no hi in 1948.

What do people do on Culture Day in Japan?

On Culture Day, various events and activities are held across Japan to promote and raise awareness of the nation’s cultural heritage. In Tokyo, the National Museum of Nature and Science and the National Museum of Western Art are open to the public for free. There are also special performances and exhibitions held at these museums on this day.

In addition, a number of other cultural institutions such as the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum offer free admission to visitors on Culture Day. Many of these museums and galleries also hold special events to mark the occasion.

There is also a special ceremony at the Meiji Shrine, where a wreath is laid in front of the statue of the Meiji Emperor. This is followed by a parade of people in traditional Japanese dress, which ends at the Imperial Palace.

In other parts of Japan, there are often events and exhibitions related to the arts and culture. These can range from traditional Japanese dance and music performances, to more modern events such as art exhibitions and film screenings.

Some Japanese vocabulary words related to Bunka no hi are:

文化: culture

日: day

祭典: festival

行事: event

芸術: art

音楽: music

舞踊: dance

習俗: custom

伝統: tradition

How can you celebrate Bunka no hi?

Besides having a public holiday off work, there are many things you can do to celebrate culture day in Japan. You can visit a shrine or temple, go to a traditional Japanese festival, or visit a museum or historical site.

Some of the things on in or around Tokyo are:

The Iruma Air Show

The Iruma Air Base opens its doors to the public for a spectacular air show.

The Hakone Daimyo March

This is a parade recreating a Japanese daimyo journey. They dress up in Edo-era clothes and commemorate the daimyo’s journey along the ancient Tokaido Road which ran from Kyoto to Tokyo. There will be lots of music and performances.

The Asakusa Tori-no-ichi Fair

Asakusa Tori-no-ichi is one of the most popular festivals in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. The festival is held every year on the days of the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac, which falls on November 1st, 3rd, and 5th. During the festival, there are many stalls selling good luck charms and other souvenirs. The festival is also a time for people to pray for good luck in the coming year.

FREE entry to museums such as:

  • The National Museum of Modern Art
  • The National Museum of Western Art
  • Institute for Nature Study
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • National Museum of Nature and Science
  • Printing Museum
  • Katsushika City Museum & Planetarium
  • National Film Archive of Japan
  • Chiba Prefectural Museum of Art

Culture Day is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about Japan’s rich and diverse culture. It is also a time for people to come together and celebrate the nation’s heritage. Why not take the opportunity to participate in some of the many events and activities taking place across the country on this special day? Learn about Bunka no hi and other Japanese holidays in our beginner conversation classes where you can learn not only the language, but many cultural insights to go with it –

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