Japan is famous for its colourful and enriching events and festivals.  Wherever you may be visiting in Japan with its array of both local (matsuri) and national festivals, you are sure to be close to a celebration or marked occasion of some sort.

Second week of February

Sapporo Snow Festival

Sapporo, Hokkaido
Japan's largest snow festival, held every February, sees hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures populate the streets of northern city Sapporo.
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February 3rd, August 14th-15th

Mantoro Lantern Festival

More than 3,000 lanterns in the precincts of Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara are lit up twice a year for the Mantoro Lantern Festival.
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Yamaga Toro Festival

Yamaga, Kumamoto
This festival, held at Omiya-Shrine in Yamaga, is one of the three great summer fire festivals of Kumamoto, known as the Land of Fire.
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August 2nd-7th

Aomori Nebuta Festival

Gigantic hand-crafted papier-mache dolls mounted on floats illuminate the Tohoku night with brilliant colors in this ancient festival of unknown origins.
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July 1st-31st

Gion Matsuri

Gion, Kyoto
Gigantic, multi-storey floats, so gorgeously decorated that they are sometimes called 'mobile art museums,' parade down the main streets of Kyoto in mid-summer.
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October 22nd-23rd

Kurama Fire Festival

Kurama, Kyoto
The evening sky is ablaze with the flames of huge watch fires and 250 pine torches in this intimate fire festival held in the mountains surrounding Kyoto
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3rd-6th August

Akita Kanto Festival

Imagine juggling 50kg lantern poles! This prominent summer festival from Akita has its roots in a farming ritual to ward off sleepiness during the all-important harvest period.
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