SAT

Tokyo: Onza Hiho Daranie (Moja Okuri)

Buddhist rite in which two devils with torches emerge and run around in the temple compound, and then disappear into the darkness. It is believed that those who are showered by the sparks of the burning torches are assured of good health throughout the ...

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Tokyo: Daikoku Matsuri

Festival featuring a purification ceremony (people coming of age pour icy water over themselves) and hocho-shiki (rite or traditional art of skillfully preparing a large carp using a Japanese knife and chopsticks). Schedule & key events: ● Jan. 18 from 10 a.m.: Purification ...

SUN

Akita: Hadaka-mairi

Shrine homage paid by half-naked youths. After being purified by cold water, about 300 local young men who carry the offerings on their shoulders, dash up the 2-km approach with 103 steps to the shrine on Mount Higashiyama. Schedule & key events: 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Location: Shinzan-jinja ...

SUN

Fukui: Tsuruga Nishimachi-no-Tsunahiki

Harvest Festival. A tug of war is held to pray for a rich harvest and a big catch of fish. A rope is 25 centimeters in diameter and 50 meters long. Schedule & key events: 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Location: Nishimachi-dori Street, Aioi-cho, Tsuruga, Fukui Access: JR Hokuriku Honsen Line ...

SUN

Kumamoto: Hamayumi-sai (Matobakai)

Hamayumi-sai: shooting a three arrows to commence the ceremony. Matobakai: loin-clothed youths scrambling for a round straw mat, 60 cm in diameter and 6 kg in weight. The fight for obtaining the mat is continued on Kaigan-dori street and finally in the water of Ariake Sea. ...

MON

Iwate: Hatsuka-ya-sai

Night Festival featuring a parade of worshippers holding torchlights in their hands and Ennen-no-mai (an ancient dance with music for longevity), designated as one of the National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Properties. Schedule & key events: from 7:20 p.m.: Parade from Hiraizumi Sta. to ...

TUE

Tokyo: Hatsu Daishi

First fair of the year. Open-air stalls sell Daruma, sweets, clothes, etc. in the temple compound and the local neighborhood. Schedule & key events: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Location: Nishiarai Daishi Temple and others, Adachi-ku, Tokyo Access: Tobu Daishi Line to Daishi-mae Sta., and then walk 5 min. Festival information ...

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Kanagawa: Hatsu Daishi

First fair of the year. Open-air stalls sell daruma. Schedule & key events: daytime Location: Kawasaki Daishi Temple, Kawasaki, Kanagawa Access: Keikyu Daishi Line to Kawasaki Daishi Sta., and then walk 8 min. Festival information compiled in cooperation with the Tourist Information Center of the Japan National Tourist ...

TUE

Kyoto: Hatsu Kobo

First fair of the year. Many stalls sell used kimono, potted plants, secondhand books, etc. Schedule & key events: from dawn to dark Location: To-ji Temple, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Access: (1) From JR Kyoto Sta., walk 15 min. (2) Kintetsu Kyoto Line to Toji Sta., and then walk 10 ...

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Tokyo: Usokae-Shinji Hatsu Tenjin-sai

Bullfinch exchange ritual. Bullfinches, which are called "uso" in Japanese, are regarded as symbols of good luck. People exchange old carved wooden bullfinches for new ones. Hatsu Tenjin-sai, New Year's festival to celebrate Tenjin (the diety of the shrine), is also held on Jan. ...

SAT

Kyoto: Hatsu Tenjin

Year's first fair, featuring street stalls selling used kimono, potted plants, food and other items. The fair is as large in scale as the one at To-ji Temple on Jan. 21. Schedule & key events: from dawn to dark Location: Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Access: From JR ...

SAT

Nara: Wakakusayama-yaki

Grass-burning festival. This is the traditional festival to herald the arrival of spring in this region. In the occurance of heavy rain, the event will be canceled. Schedule & key events: from 6:15 p.m.: Fireworks display ...

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Tokyo: O-Zumo Hatsu Basho

First Grand Sumo Tournament of the year at Ryogoku Kokugikan Hall. Dohyo-iri (the ring-entering ceremonies) by yokozuna (the grand champions) take place around 3:55 p.m. daily. Then the main matches by maku-uchi (upper-rank sumo wrestlers) start. Advance tickets are sold at Ticket Pia, convenience ...

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Hyogo: Shunsetsu-sai

Chinese New Year's Day, according to the lunar calendar. The highlight of this festival is a procession of people in Chinese traditional costumes on the main street in Chinatown and the shopping areas of Motomachi and Sannomiya. Various events include lion dance and Chinese ...

SUN

Osaka: Dai-Sagicho-hoe (Tondo)

Large bonfire. New Year's decorations are burned as prayer for prosperity and good health. Schedule & key events: from 3 p.m.: Ceremony & bonfire Location: Ebara-ji Temple, Sakai, Osaka Access: JR Hanwa Line to Tsukuno Sta., and then walk 15 min. Festival information compiled in cooperation ...

TUE

Tokyo: Daruma Ichi

First fair of Daruma. Around 150 open-air stalls selling Daruma are set up. The festival features Chigo-Gyoretsu (a parade of children in fancy attire). Schedule & key events: sunrise-sunset  Open-air stalls are set up from 2 p.m.: Chigo-Gyoretsu is held in the compound of the ...

Notice: Event and location information is subject to change.