06 Jul 2016 in Discover Japan
Do you know that the Japanese celebrate more than 300 festivals each year? These are called Matsuri in Japan. Discover the must-attend events that draw crowds throughout the nation…
While carnivals are common throughout Europe, Japan celebrates more than 300 events every year. You will find all kinds of processions, jousting, and parades – many opportunities to take to the streets, party, and let loose, all the while following tradition.
The Japanese call these celebrations Matsuri, from the verb matsuru, meaning “to worship”. They punctuate the passing of time throughout the year in Japan. While Shintoism is the most commonly practiced religion and a strong presence in the more ancient holidays, Buddhism also brings a lot of celebrations, with carnival-like atmosphere, especially during Obon which honors the spirits of the deceased.
You will undoubtedly be charmed by the cheerful crowds drawn together with excitement, dancing and music, by the huge colourful parades filling city streets and country villages alike. With their campfire atmospheres, their costumed dancers and polyphonic singing, these extravagant festivals draw crowds from the other end of the archipelago.
The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri in the Tohoku region is one of the four largest festivals in Aomori Prefecture located Nothern Honshu Island, and is one of the most popular as well. People travel from all over Japan to watch the floats honouring the samurai. Hoshino Resorts Aomoriya offers access to the city in about 1 hour, where you will be in awe of the giant figures on parade, which are lit from the inside and depict historical figures and events, warriors, birds, and animals.
These impressive figures are created from paper stretched over bamboo structures. The “haneto” dancers rhythmically swirling around the figures to the beat of drums and local music are even more spectacular. The contagious energy of the show will leave you spellbound.