10 Japanese Summer Festivals for a summer to remember


Make this summer one to remember by experiencing the glory, warmth and exuberance of the festival or matsuri season in Japan. The atmosphere is charged and there is an infectious energy in the air. The rhythm of Taiko drums, the waft of summer delicacies, fields of sunflowers, the mood for revelry and the colour of fireworks; there is a lot to love about the Japanese summer festivals. We bring you a few of our favourite summer festivals from across Japan.

1. Hakata Gion Yamakasa, Fukuoka

Date: 1st to 15th July, 2018

Hakata Gion Yamakasa is a mammoth festival that will amaze you with its scale and energy.  With a 770 year old history, millions of spectators, elaborately decorated floats that weigh a ton and men who proudly vie to carry them on their shoulders; this is an experience that you will stay with you for a lifetime. The deafening roar of the festival has been chosen as one of the 100 Soundscapes that represent Japanese culture.

Traditional Japanese style Room

Onsekyo type Japanese-style room that transports you to the Japan of yester years.  Relax with bath water from the hot spring. What is more, the rent includes a complimentary breakfast buffet at the restaurant.

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2. Mitama Matsuri, Tokyo

Date: 13th to 16th July 2018

Bask in the golden glow of  30,000 paper lanterns  at the Yasukuni Shrine when you attend the Mitama Matsuri festival in Tokyo. This is one of the biggest Obon festivals, held to honour ancestors.  Traditional songs, dances and parades are held during the duration of the festival. Be enveloped by a sea of humanity. The crowds are expected to exceed 300,000 this year.

Luxurious 3 bedroom Penthouse apartment

Travelling with family? This luxurious penthouse apartment will give you much needed relaxation and rest after a busy day soaking in the festivities. Centrally located with restaurants and pubic transport within easy access.

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3. Gion Matsuri, Kyoto

Date: 17th and 24th July 2018

The Gion matsuri is one of the most awaited summer festivals in Japan.  This festival has Yasaka Shrine as its centre and is believed to have originated as a measure to please the gods and save the people from the plague. The festivities and events are held through the entire month of July. The main ceremonies are held on 17th (Sakimatsuri) and 24th (Atomatsuri) July with the grand procession of ornately decorated floats.

Looking to have some fun and revelry? The “Yoi-yama” events held on the three evenings preceding the main float processions are a perfect excuse to don a yukata and enjoy with the locals.

3 bedroom stay close to Arashiyama

Japanese style home with tatami near Kyoto’s famous bamboo groves. This gorgeous home is located just a few minutes from the Arashiyama main road. Extremely safe and scenic area. The host provides bicycles as well making commuting in busy Kyoto a lot easier! Kyoto can be overwhelming during the Gion festival so this home will be your oasis of peace and calm after a hectic day.

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4. Sapporo Summer Festival

Date: July 20–August 17, 2018

Not all Japanese summer festivals are traditional and about religious rituals. A beer garden, music festivals, fire work displays and a carnival like atmosphere has given the Sapporo Summer festival a lot of fans. Infact, the festival attracts more than a million visitors because of the fantastic cocktail of events, food, drink and electric atmosphere. The nights are vibrant, fun and well attended.

Cozy, Modern 2 bedroom apartment

Well-lit and furnished apartment that is conveniently located just a few minutes away from the station. This is a great place for families and groups.

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5. Tenjin Festival, Osaka

Date: 24th-25th July 2018

This 2 day festival is among Japan’s top 3 festivals. It is a heady mix of drum beats, land and river processions and massive fireworks. On the 24th, the epicentre of the celebrations is the Tenmangu Shrine, where prayers are held for the community. On the 25th, the action shifts to the streets of Osaka where thousands of people descend in a variety of costumes to dance, play music and entertain. By dusk the action moves to the Okawa River and by night there is a stunning fireworks display. Be there! It will be a magical summer night.

3 bedroom apartment near Osaka Station

Centrally located 3 bedroom apartment in Osaka ideal for a family of 4. The supermarket, convenience store and the subway station are all very accessible.

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6. Akeno Sunflower Festival, Yamanashi

Date: 27th July-25th August 2018

Nothing says summer like a field of sunflowers. Head to the annual Akeno Sunflower Festival in Yamanashi and be mesmerised by 600,000 glorious sunflowers. Shop at the local stores, photograph these beauties against the backdrop of mountains and let the spirit of summer engulf you.

Villa with 2 acre garden

Enjoy the spirit of summer in this massive 6 bedroom villa located in the heart of Yatsugatake mountains in Nagano. Apart from visiting the sunflower festival, you can enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, such as hiking, gold, skiing, or horseback riding.  A patio with BBQ equipment, restaurant grade kitchen, 2 acre garden are some of the features you can enjoy with your family.

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7.  Sumidagawa River Fireworks, Tokyo

Date: 28th July 2018

Watch more than 22,000 fireworks light up the Tokyo sky and the glorious colourful reflections on the Sumida river. Join a million spectators as a 90 minute spectacle lights up the night sky. Turn up early for a vantage spot to view this event.

3 bedroom flat in Asakusa

This 3 bedroom apartment on the 10th floor will make reaching the venue a breeze as it is situated in central Asakusa. It is well furnished and gives you all the comforts of a home away from home.

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8. Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka

Date: 18th–20th August, 2018

Watch Beck, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Chance the Rapper, Nine Inch Nails, Marshmello and Nickelback  perform with Japan’s leading musicians at the Summer Sonic festival. The festival is held simultaneously in Chiba and Osaka. What better way to spend a summer evening than watch your favourite band perform!

Modern 3 bedroom apartment in Osaka

Beautiful 3 bedroom apartment with spacious living & dining room areas. You will love the relaxed vibe. The host is friendly and offers pickup from the station.

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9. The Sumiyoshi Matsuri, Osaka

The Sumiyoshi Matsuri is a great three day festival that is held in and around Osaka’s famous Sumiyoshi Taisha shrine.  This shrine has a unique architecture and is believed to house the gods who protect the nation, people out in the sea, poetry and learning. The highlight of the festival however is the ‘Nagoshi Harai Shinji’, a ritual wherein women and children walk in Muromachi period costumes through ‘Chinowa (a ring made of straw)’ to exorcise evil spirits. It takes place on 31st July. Watch colourful processions with beautiful mikoshis (shrines) move through the neighbourhood on the last day of the festival.

Visit the Sakai Fish Night Market where you can pick up some great fresh fish or traditional dishes at awesome prices. Originally held as a market to dispose left over fish caught as offering for Sumiyoshi Matsuri, this has now become a full scale event. Finish off the festivities by watching the fireworks at 8:30 in Sakai Port.

4 bedroom apartment in Osaka

Well furnished, beautifully decorated 4 bedroom apartment in Sumiyoshi. This apartment offers easy access to the shrine and several of Osaka’s attractions.

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10. Eisa Festival, Okinawa

Date: 14th Sep–16th Sep, 2018

Join the Okinawans as they dance, beat taiko drums and sometimes even have pop music performances to welcome their ancestors. The dynamic Eisa and teodari dances are unique to the region.  Spectacular fireworks and laser shows contribute to an electric night atmosphere. The main venue is the Okinawa City Koza Sports Park from where most of the parades start.

This beautiful one bedroom flat close to the ocean is the perfect retreat for your Okinawa holiday. This area is a resort area, 5 minutes by car to the beach, sea activities, diving spots and restaurants.

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