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.

Weekend in mid-September

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

Kishiwada, Osaka
You may be thinking that "danjiri" sounds a bit like "dangerous," and with good reason! "Danjiri", portable shrines weighing 4 tonnes, are raced around the city by teams, sometimes crashing at corners.
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Late July

Hokkai Bellybutton Festival

Furano, Hokkaido
Watch colourful and humorously dressed participants with naked bellies painted to look like funny faces strut their stuff in a bellybutton-themed dance festival in central Hokkaido.
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Last weekend of August

Noboribetsu Jigoku Festival

Noboribetsu, Hokkaido
This devilishly fun festival sees the gates of hell opened. Ogres and demons invade, bringing the beat of taiko drumming and the blaze of handheld fireworks to the streets of Noboribetsu.
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1st-4th August

Morioka Sansa Odori

Morioka, Iwate
Join the world’s largest taiko drumming festival, with the splendid sound and vibration of nearly 20,000 people dancing in time to the rhythm of over 10,000 taiko drums!
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6th-8th August

Sendai Tanabata Festival

Sendai, Miyagi
The streets in Sendai are decked out in gorgeous colourful paper streamers and other decorations in an apparent contest of beauty to mark Tanabata, the summer star festival.
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25th May

Tenjin Bakemono Festival

Tsuruoka, Yamagata
Dress up in a strikingly patterned floral kimono, cover your face and join the locals for a day of dancing and drinking dedicated to Tenman-Tenjin, the Shinto deity of study.
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3th-4th August

Fukushima Waraji Festival

Watch the energetic parade of Japan’s largest “waraji”, or giant straw sandal, the traditional symbol of safe travelling and walking - undoubtedly the biggest shoe you’ll ever see!
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5th-7th August

Yamagata Hanagasa Festival

A performance of 10,000 dancers holding hanagasa (flower hats) adorned with safflowers parade through Yamagata City’s streets to the merry beat of taiko drums.
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3rd-5th August

Numata Tengu Festival

Numata, Gunma
Giant wooden masks of “tengu” - a long-nosed goblin from traditional Japanese folklore - are paraded through the streets of Numata by crowds of energetic women.
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