Japan is a country with a rich culture and history, and there are many holidays and festivals throughout the year that are worth checking out if you ever have the chance to visit. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular and interesting holidays in Japan.
First up, let’s talk about New Year’s Day (January 1st). This is the most important holiday in Japan and is celebrated with a variety of traditional customs and activities. One of the most popular traditions is visiting a shrine or temple to pray for good luck in the coming year. Many shrines and temples are crowded with people making these visits, so it’s best to go early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds.
Another popular holiday is Setsubun (February 3rd). This holiday marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and is celebrated with a variety of rituals and customs. One of the most famous traditions is the “mamemaki” ceremony, where people throw roasted soybeans out of their houses to drive away evil spirits and bring in good luck.
In March, Cherry Blossom festival is celebrated. This festival is one of the most popular and widely celebrated in Japan. During this festival, people gather to enjoy the beauty of cherry blossoms in full bloom. The best place to see cherry blossoms is in Ueno Park and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo. The festival usually lasts for about one week and is a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of Japan.
Golden Week is a series of holidays in late April and early May. During this time, many businesses and offices are closed, and many people take the opportunity to travel and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Some popular destinations for Golden Week include Tokyo, Kyoto, and Okinawa.
Another major holiday in Japan is Obon (mid-August). Obon is a Buddhist holiday that honors the spirits of one’s ancestors. During this time, people return to their hometowns to visit the graves of their ancestors and participate in traditional dances and bonfires.
Finally, let’s talk about the New Year’s Eve (December 31st) which is known as “Omisoka”. Many people in Japan celebrate this holiday by visiting a temple or shrine to hear the temple bell strike 108 times at midnight, symbolizing the 108 human sins in Buddhist teachings and the purification of the mind. This is also a time for people to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the coming year.
These are just a few of the many holidays and festivals celebrated in Japan throughout the year. Each one offers a unique glimpse into the country’s rich culture and history, and is a great opportunity to experience something new and exciting. If you ever have the chance to visit Japan, be sure to check out some of these holidays and festivals for a truly memorable experience.