Following sections are designed to give you where to go in Japan and when. This is not designed to cover all the places in Japan. It is a beginner’s guide to Japan.
> January １月
- New Year’s Day 元旦
- Hakone Ekiden 箱根駅伝
It is officially called Tokyo-Hakone Round-Trip College Ekiden Race (東京箱根間往復大学駅伝競走 Tōkyō Hakone kan Ōfuku Daigaku Ekiden Kyōsō), is one of the most prominent university ekiden (relay marathon) races of the year held between Tokyo and Hakone in Japan on January 2 and 3. The race is telecast on Nippon Television.
- Ebessan えべっさん
Nishinomiya Jinja (西宮神社 nishinomiyajinja) is a Shinto shrine in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo, Japan. It is the head shrine of the Ebisu sect of Shinto, and it is said that there are about 3,500 shrines under it. Locals call the shrine “Ebessan”. It is famous for the Tōka-Ebisu festival, which is held on January 10 every year.
- Coming of Age Day 成人の日
Monday between January 8 ~ 14
> February ２月
- Foundation Day 建国記念の日
> March ３月
- Tokyo Marathon 東京マラソン
The Tokyo Marathon is an annual marathon sporting event in Tokyo, the capital of Japan. It is an IAAF Gold Label marathon and one of the six World Marathon Majors. The latest edition of the race took place on 3 March 2019. It is sponsored by Tokyo Metro. Beginning of March. Please check the website for the schedule.
- Vernal Equinox Day 春分の日
One day between March 19 ~ 22
> April ４月
- Showa Day 昭和の日
> May ５月
- Constitution Memorial Day 憲法記念日
- Greenery Day みどりの日
- Children’s Day こどもの日
- Kanda Matsuri 神田祭
The Kanda Matsuri is one of Tokyo’s three most famous festivals, along with the Sanno Matsuri and Fukagawa Matsuri. It takes place in mid May in odd numbered years, alternating with the Sanno Matsuri which is held in even numbered years. The Kanda Festival consists of numerous events held over an entire week, but the main action usually happens over the weekend closest to May 15. The highlights are a day-long procession through central Tokyo on Saturday, and parades of portable shrines (mikoshi) by the various neighborhoods on Sunday.
- Sanja Matsuri 三社祭
Sanja Matsuri, or Sanja Festival, is one of the three great Shinto festivals in Tokyo. It is considered one of the wildest and largest. The festival is held in honor of Hinokuma Hamanari, Hinokuma Takenari, and Hajino Nakatomo, the three men who established and founded the Sensō-ji Buddhist temple. May 17 ~ 18
> June ６月
> July ７月
- Mt. Fuji Opening 富士山山開き
The Mount Fuji climbing season opened on July 1 on the Yamanashi side. About 150 climbers were at the summit to view the sunrise. The Shizuoka side will open to climbers on July 10.
- Marine Day 海の日
Third Monday of July
- Gion Matsuri 祇園祭
The Gion Festival takes place annually in Kyoto and is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. It lasts for the entire month of July and culminates in a parade, the Yamaboko Junkō on July 17 and July 24. It takes its name from the Gion district of the city.
- Osaka Tenjin Matsuri天神祭
The Tenjin Festival (天神祭, Tenjin Matsuri) of Osaka is ranked as one of Japan’s top three festivals, along with the Gion Matsuri of Kyoto and the Kanda Matsuri of Tokyo. The festival started in the 10th century and today takes place on July 24 and 25 every year. The main celebrations are held on the festival’s second day, July 25, including a land procession and a river procession with fireworks.
> August ８月
- Fuji Mountain Climbing Ekiden 富士登山駅伝
Fuji mountain climbing Ekiden is a relay to and from the foot of Mt. Fuji and the summit, held in Gotemba City , Shizuoka Prefecture. It will be held on the first Sunday of August. It is the largest Ekiden in the world. August 1.
- Aomori Nebuta Matsuri 青森ねぶた祭り
The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri is a Japanese summer festival that takes place in Aomori, Aomori Prefecture, Japan in early August. The festival attracts the most tourists of any of the country’s nebuta festivals, and is counted among the three largest festivals in the Tōhoku region. First part of August.
- Sendai Tanabata Matsuri 仙台七夕まつり
Tanabata festivals, also known as “star festivals”, are held across Japan on the 7th day of the 7th month of the year, when, according to Chinese legend, the two stars Altair and Vega cross paths. Due to differences between the lunar calendar and the solar calendar, modern tanabata festivals take place either in July or August.
The Sendai Tanabata Matsuri (仙台七夕まつり), held every year on August 6-8, is one of the largest and most famous tanabata celebrations in Japan. Together, with Akita’s Kanto Matsuri and Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri, it makes up the Tohoku Sandai Matsuri (Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku Region).
- Mountain Day 山の日
- Awa Dance Festival 阿波おどり
The Awa Dance Festival is held from 12 to 15 August as part of the Obon festival in Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku in Japan. Awa Odori is the largest dance festival in Japan, attracting over 1.3 million tourists every year.
- Asakusa Samba Carnival 浅草サンバカーニバル
The Asakusa Samba Carnival is one of Tokyo’s more lively and popular summer festivals. It attracts 500000 visitors each year. Last Saturday of August.
> September ９月
- Respect for the Aged Day 敬老の日
Third Monday of September
- Autumn Equinox Day 秋分の日
One day between September 22 ~ 24
> October １０月
- Health and Sports Day 体育の日
Second Monday of October
> November １１月
- Tori no Ichi 酉の市
Tori no Ichi Fair (open-air market) is a famous annual event in November on the day of the Tori (Rooster) in Chinese calendar and this event has continued to today since the Edo period.
Tori no Ichi is held at Temple of Tori (Juzaisan Chokoku-ji) in Asakusa, Tokyo or various shrines of Washi (Eagle) and many people come there to pray for health, a good fortune and good business. Event will take place on three different days in November.
- Culture Day 文化の日
- Labor Thanksgiving Day 勤労感謝の日
> December １２月
- Emperor’s Birthday 天皇誕生日
* Days written in RED are Japanese National Holidays.