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How to celebrate Japan’s local festivals



18. June. 2018

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Matsuri is the catch-all term for the year-round local festivals that can take place in any corner of the city. The term matsuri can refer to secular events but is most often attached to the festivals centered around local shrines and temples. Matsuri combine ancient traditions and streetside festivities. Summer is the best season to experience the matsuri. Many of the city’s larger festivals take place in May and June, including Asakusa Shrine’s Sanja Matsuri, Hie Shrine's Sanno Matsuri, and Kanda Myojin's Kanda Matsuri, but there are festivals large and small all year round. For shrine festivals, the most popular type, the lanes around the shrine are full of street food vendors, carnival games and local residents in traditional garb. The highlight of the shrine festival is the procession of the mikoshi, the portable shrine.


  • Catch the mikoshi
  • Stroll the yatai
  • Blend in
  • Take part in Bon Odori
  • Soak up the sacred

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