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Experience Japan’s vibrant culture through summer festivals

Experience Japan’s vibrant culture through summer festivals

Here in Japan we are known for our rich cultural heritage and vibrant traditions. We offer a dazzling array of festivals during the summer months, specifically July through September. For first time visitors, prepare to immerse yourself in a spectacular showcasing of colors, sounds and rituals that capture what Japanese culture is truly about.

Gion Matsuri

One of Japan’s most famous festivals, kicks off in July in Kyoto. This event dates back to thousands of years ago and is a celebration of Japan’s ancient capital. Occurring over the entire month of July, but the main events and processions usually occur on the 17th.

The highlight is the grand display of yamaboko floats, It’s a vibrant celebration deeply rooted in Kyoto’s culture and traditions. Visitors can witness traditional performances and indulge in local delicacies.

The floats can be up to 25 meters tall and weigh up to 12 tons!! These floats are decorated extremely elaborately and intricately representing unique themes of Japanese culture.

Awa Odori

A festival in Tokushima, an island of Shikoku, is a famous dance festival that takes place in August, the main dances are performed from the 12th to 15th, but the Evening Selection is held on the night of the 11th. Awa Odori captivates spectators with energetic dance routines where thousands of dancers perform. The dance troupes are known as “ren” and participants dance down the streets beating drums and shamisen.

Nebuta Festival

a night festival that also takes place in August and occurs for five days from August 2 to 7. Human-shaped floats known as Nebuta’s flood the streets in their large form. Normally 9 meters wide, 7 meters deep and 5 meters high, many of these floats are built to resemble ancient warlords and historical characters from ancient times.

Women dress in cotton robes known as yukata and the men wear a shorter version of the yukata called a happi. Visitors are welcome to join in on the dancing or can simply soak in the lively ambience through observation.

The floats are created out of washi paper over a wire frame. They take around a year to design and construct. Dancers called “Hanetos” parade through the streets to the sounds of music played by Nebuta Bayashi bands.

This festival illuminates the summer nights and is a captivating celebration that embraces community spirit and tradition.

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri

This festival in Osaka occurs on a weekend in September, this year it is the 14-15th. This festival offers a thrilling visual of massive wooden floats. Teams race their floats through the streets, demonstrating skill and precision as they take on the narrow turns. On the top of each float a daikugata dances in their own style creating a mesmerizing show.

If your trip does not align with the dates of Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, make sure to check out the Kiwishiwada Danjiri museum which produces amazing displays relating to the festival!

Summer festivals in Japan are more than just events, they are reflections of the country’s history. The months of July to September are packed with cultural opportunities. Whether you enjoy dancing or admiring the craftsmen ships of floats, there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Japanese culture goes beyond festivals, and here at Toranomon Language School our goal is to teach you about Japanese culture and language. By enrolling your child in our summer courses, they will have access to not only language programs but also to experiences every Friday with our “Walk and Learn” programs! Our experienced teacher teach with customized lesson materials so kids can learn more than just language to become experts on Japanese culture.

Classes are offered Monday through Thursday where the kids participate in traditional classroom activities. They will listen and engage with the Japanese language, expanding their knowledge on a variety of topics. Friday’s are our “Walk and Learn” days where the kids get out of the classroom and head to new, popular destinations such as the Tokyo Tower to immerse themselves in the culture.

For adults, we offer intensive Japanese courses where we prioritize your learning in an environment that is enjoyable and comfortable. Join us in our one month course to earn essential Japanese customs and language.


Looking forward to teaching you all about Japan!

3 Responses

  1. I hope I can experience all festivals in my life time and enjoy what japan offers. I’m most interested in Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri. Thank you so much for such an insightful article!

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