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Tohoku’s Kizuna Festival Raucously Blends Six Great Traditions

Tanabata Festival in Sendai Japanese festivals are raucous and joyful events, filled with noise and songs. For a unique opportunity to see the customs of six communities in one special event, the Tohoku Kizuna Festival can be ideal....

The Famed Oto Fire Festival of Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama Shingu Fire Festival
Men of all ages – dressed in white with a thick rope tied around their waist – congregate at the shrine carrying wooden torches. At Kamikura Shrine in Shingu city, every year on February 6, the Wakayama Oto...

Awa Odori Festival in Tokushima: An Obon Tradition

Summer is peak festival season in Japan, particularly during the Obon period in August. For one of the largest and oldest in the country, head to Tokushima on the east side of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s major islands. Held annually, Awa...

Heat, culture, chaos: the real Gion Matsuri.

Kyoto is a city that many consider to be the perfect embodiment of the truest 'Japanese sensibilities.' Refinement, subtlety and a restrained aesthetic create a type of harmony that permeates all facets of life in Japan. Minimalism, restraint and the beloved 'wabi-sabi' are all forms of a distinctly Kyoto-esque identity. Enter the Gion Matsuri: a night of hot air, cold beer and a touch of ancestral transcendence.