Much like the rest of Japan, summer in Osaka is hot and humid. But this does not stop locals taking part in the summer festivals and contributing to the season's festive atmosphere. Many neighborhood shrines hold summer festivals and processions, however it can be tricky for someone new to the city to stumble across these.
Photo: Japanexperterna (top), Sputnikcccp~commonswiki, from Wikipedia (bottom left), and Seika on Flickr (bottom right)An easily accessible alternative is the Umeda Yukata Festival. It will be held this weekend (30 and 31 July) in the heart of Umeda. It will feature yukatas (traditional Japanese clothing), a Bon Dance, an Uchimizu event, and a number of food stalls.
Yukata are worn by both men and women and are a common site during summertime in Japan. These lightweight, unlined garments are made of cotton and are perfect for attending summer festivals. The typical yukata ensemble includes the yukata, sash, sandals, undershirt, a fan and a carry bag. If you’d prefer something more comfortable, you could consider wearing a Jinbei (shirt and shorts in a traditional pattern and are normally worn around the home).
If you need to purchase a Yukata at short notice, Don Quixote stores have a range of basic patterns, Uniqlo shops stock a number of fashionable patterns (women and children only), or you can try the Japanese clothing section of a department store (prices range from around 5,000 at Don Quixote to over 20,000 yen at an upmarket department store).
Bon Dance and Uchimizu
The Umeda Bon Dance will be held between 6pm and 8pm. The Bon Dance is one of many dances performed in summer and it is traditionally performed to honour dead ancestors. Dancers form a circle and dance around a wooden scaffold. The dance steps are simple and you can participate even without a Yukata. Join in and have fun!
Summer Festival Foods
Photo: randomised.org on Flickr (top), Hajime NAKANO on Flickr (bottom left), and hirotomo t on Flickr (bottom right)No Japanese festival is complete without delicious street food. Be sure to keep your eye out for these three popular festival dishes:
- Takoyaki - a fried ball shaped snack made of batter and filled with octopus and green onion. It is also very easy to eat while standing up!
- Kakigori - shaved ice with syrup and condensed milk, a perfect way to beat the summer heat.
- Yakisoba - fried noodles typically flavoured with oyster sauce. Usually including pork, cabbage, carrots, onions as well as spices and mayonnaise.
Date: Saturday, 30 July 2016 and Sunday 31 July 2016
Time: 1pm to 8pm
Nearby Train Stations: JR Osaka Station, Hankyu Umeda Station, Hanshin Umeda Station
Grand Front Osaka