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.
To this day the area still produces a vast number of kimono, coming in second only to Japan’s cultural hub of Kyoto. The people of Tokamachi are extremely proud of their home grown artisanship, and host a number of events in May showing their deep connection to Japan’s traditional dress.
In the busiest time of the year in Hokkaido, a small town in the center of the prefecture lights up, literally. Over 10,000 paper lanterns fill up the streets in Takikawa, and people from all over the prefecture and Japan visit.
In Osaka, however, there are plenty of activities to do during the winter which are sure to pull you out of your cosy warm bed and into Kansai’s popular prefecture! Here’s a look at 5 things to do in Osaka during the winter!
When looking up things to do in winter last year in Hokkaido, one of the events that sparked my interest was Rikubetsu’s “Shibare Festival”, or “Freezing Cold Festival”. People from all over Japan come to experience the bitter cold in Japan’s coldest town. Are you brave enough to brace the cold?
In the ordered days of the Edo Period, the northern parts of Japan were considered untamed lands of deep mountains and wild forests. One of the ways of entering this region was via the Nikko Kaido highway leading from Edo, now known as Tokyo, to Nikko. The early staging point for a journey on this famous road was Soka.
Kumagaya is an easy jumping off point from which visitors can head off to a multitude of places, including the nearby town of Nagatoro for a river cruise down the Arakawa River or some hiking in the ever-popular Chichibu mountains. Kumagaya itself hosts Saitama’s largest annual festival, the Uchiwa Matsuri.
Akita Prefecture hides on the east coast of the Tohoku area of Japan. Even though it is still not as popular as many other prefectures in terms of tourism, it is rich in nature and unique traditions. And here are 15 reasons for you to come to Akita and enjoy its atmosphere!
Fujisaki Hachimangu is probably the most important shrine in Kumamoto and has a long rich history. It is closely linked to famous Japanese samurai such as Kato Kiyomasa and the Hosokawa family. In Autumn, the shrine is host to a fantastic four-day festival ending on Sunday with a horse parade through the city.
Welcome to the Great Tug-of-War, the highlight event of the Naha Matsuri, the biggest annual festival in Okinawa, Japan, which offers three days of fun activities and cultural events.
The park’s roses come in packs; a big patch of red here and a big patch of white there. The petals of the roses are made up of so many layers and visitors are welcome to get close with the roses and take as many pictures as they fancy.
Easily accessible from Tokyo via the Joetsu Shinkansen, there are plenty of reasons to pay this part of the country a visit - and not just for the bucketloads of winter activities! Wondering what Niigata has to offer? Here are 15 of the best things to see and do in this part of Japan.