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Goshogawara Tachi-Neputa Festival

DATE: Beginning of August PLACE: Goshogawara city, Aomori

These nebuta (lit-up painted lantern-floats) are a bit different than the Aomori and Hirosaki festival because they go vertical. They can be over 20 meters tall. The festivities start at 19:00 and end at 21:00.

Kanamara Matsuri aka The Penis Festival

DATE: First Sunday in April PLACE: Kanayama Shrine, Kawasaki

Celebration with a parade of portable shrines…the only thing is that these “enshrined objects” happen to be giant phalli. The shrine is small but draws a huge crowd of everyone from drag queens to little children.

Torigoe Festival

DATE: The Sunday closest to June 9th PLACE: Torigoe Shrine, Tokyo

Torigoe Festival is a festival that takes place at Torigoe Shrine and boasts a 1360 year history.They will bring out the portable shrine (said to be one of the heaviest in Tokyo) and approx. 200,000 people will come out to try and see it. Maybe you’ll be one of them?


At night, lanterns light the way to the shrine. Approximately 300 stalls will be set up, serving food and drinks.

Suigo Sawara Iris Festival

DATE: June PLACE: Katori, Chiba

Suigo Sawara Aquatic Botanical Garden specializes in irises and lotuses. There are 400 varieties and 1.5 million iris flowers here (said to be the most in all of East Asia). During the festival you can take a free 10 minute boat-ride down the middle of the park.

Cherry Blossom Viewing

DATE: End of March, until May PLACE: Blossoming time depends on area

Cherry blossoms bloom

Sanja Matsuri “3 shrine festival”

DATE: 3rd weekend of May PLACE: Tokyo

Massive festival in Asakusa

Tokyo International Anime Fair

DATE: 3rd weekend of March PLACE: Tokyo

Official Animation Expo in Tokyo

Morioka Sansa Odori

DATE: August 1st-4th PLACE: Morioka, Iwate

This festival in Morioka city, Iwate is mainly dancing and a huge parade. It goes from August 1st to the 4th. There are performances happening from 1 pm to 4 pm and then the main parade and dancing at 6 pm to 9 pm.

This festival won the Guinness World Record for longest drum parade in the world.

Hirosaki Neputa Festival

DATE: Beginning of August PLACE: Hirosaki, Aomori

80 Nebuta (giant floats made of paper that are lit up inside like a lantern) are paraded around the town of Hirosaki, accompanied by music.

Funadama Festival

DATE: August 15th PLACE: Nagatoro, Saitama

A festival where they try to appease the gods by floating boats with lanterns down the Arakawa River

Gion Matsuri

DATE: July PLACE: Kyoto

Month-long festivities and gigantic floats

Tokyo Game Show

DATE: 3rd weekend of September PLACE: Chiba

Video Game Expo

Chichibu Night Festival

DATE: December 2-3rd PLACE: Saitama

Night parade with floats and fireworks


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