In keeping with the ancient custom, Yasukuni Shrine holds the yearly Mitama Festival around July 13-16 as part of the Obon festivities. Mitama refers to the spirit or soul of the dead. During this season, Japanese hang lanterns and place offerings at the altars as prayers for their ancestors’ spirits to be freed of their sufferings. Since 1947, the Mitama Festival has lightened up the Yasukuni Shrine grounds with more than 30,000 glittering lanterns or chochin.
It's summer in Japan. And that means fireworks! So slip into your kimono or “jinbei”, grab an uchiwa fan and check out these five fireworks festivals in the Kanto region...
The Gion Matsuri, and the events in and around it, runs for an entire month: beginning on July 1st and running until July 31st.
Kanamara Matsuri is one of Japan’s quirkier festivals. Translated to English, it means: “festival of the steel phallus”.
Azabu Juban hosts a different kind of summer festival. A few years ago this ritzy neighborhood near Roppongi limited entry to local merchants only, and since the area is a foodie’s paradise, the one thing you won’t find here is ordinary festival fare.