Japanese events and festivals are celebrated through out the country all year round, there are about 300,000 traditional festivals in Japan. The Japanese word for “festival” is “matsuri (祭り)”, in most cases each festival is sponsored by a local shrine or temple. Most of the Japanese festivals are celebrated over the weekend, big festivals like Sanja Matsuri, roads are usually closed to give way for the celebration.

If you happen to be roaming around Japan or Tokyo specifically, you can easily a spot Japanese events and festivals if you see processions which includes big and intricately designed floats. Of course, that also includes loud taiko drum beats and Japanese people chanting while they carry the traditional mikoshi.

Every season in Japan is accompanied by specific festivals for each area. Popular festivals are Takayama Spring Festival, Awa Odori Matsuri (Summer), Nagasaki Kunchi (Autumn) and a bunch of snow festivals in winter like Sapporo Snow Festival.

Upcoming Japanese Events and Festivals

Okera Mairi: Old Year’s Eve at Yasaka-jinja Shrine

Date: December 31, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Event Schedule: 7:00pm – 5:00am
Admission: Free

Kyoto

Nijo-jo Castle Garden Special Opening

Date: January 1-4, 2019
Event Schedule: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Admission: ¥400

Kyoto

Iwaki Hikari no Sakura (Light Cherry Blossoms)

Date: Early December – Early January, 2019
Event Schedule: 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Admission: Free

Fukushima

Saga Light Fantasy

Date: Late October – Early January, 2019
Event Schedule: 5:00pm – 11:59pm
Admission: Free

Saga

Toka Ebisu Festival

Date: Early – Mid January, 2019
Admission: Free

Kyoto

Shittenoji Doyadoya Festival

Date: Mid January, 2019
Event Schedule: 2:30pm – 6:00pm
Admission: Free

Osaka

Oni Hashiri – Ogres and Flaming Torches

Date: January 14, 2019
Event Schedule: 1:00pm – 11:00pm
Admission: Free

Nara

Nozawa Fire Festival

Date: January 13-15, 2019
Event Schedule: 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Admission: Free

Nagano

Miyoshi Bonden Matsuri

Date: January 17, 2019
Admission: Free

Akita

Wakakusa Yamayaki

Date: Late January, 2019
Event Schedule: 12:00pm – 8:00pm
Admission: Free

Nara

Kayabuki no Sato Snow Lantern Festival

Date: Late January – Early February, 2019
Event Schedule: 3:00pm – 8:00pm
Admission: Free

Kyoto

Sapporo White Illumination

Date: Late November – Mid March, 2019
Admission: Free

Hokkaido

“Light of Versailles” Winter Illumination

Date: Late October – Late March, 2019
Admission: ¥1,000

Shizuoka

Events Information Source: Japan Cheapo Events