Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.
Japan hosts stunning annual festivals, some of which have been celebrated for centuries. Festivals, also known as matsuri, are steeped in tradition, offering visitors a glimpse of Japanese culture that you won’t find at your average museum. What makes traditional festivals in Japan particularly special is the fact that many of them are perfectly preserved customs that have been passed down through the generations. It also helps that many Japanese people are still actively involved in these festivals – they're still deeply important community gatherings, and that's what makes them worth seeing.
If you’re wondering which festivals are the best ones to catch, we’ve rounded up Japan's most jaw-dropping and spectacular year-round festivals. From the snowy showcase at Hokkaido to summer’s bon odori dancing, these are the celebrations you should definitely check out while you’re in the country.
Note: most, if not all, of the festivals in this list have been cancelled this year due to Covid-19 coronavirus. We do hope they will be reinstated next year when it's safe to travel again.
RECOMMENDED: The guide on how to travel from Tokyo to other Japanese cities