Japan is a country with a rich culture and tradition that has been around for centuries. For the Japanese, festivals are an integral part of their lives and they take pride in celebrating them. In fact, there are over 200 different festivals celebrated throughout Japan every year! Some of these celebrations have been around for centuries while others are more recent inventions. What all these festivals have in common though is that they bring people together to celebrate Japanese culture by performing traditional rituals, sporting games, singing songs, and eating food from street vendors.
Here are 8 crazy Japanese festivals to get you excited for festival season.
1) Naked Man – People wearing only fundoshi (loincloth) parade through town while people hurl insults at them. This festival celebrates manhood by showing how brave they can be about being naked in public.
2) Gyoza Eating Contest – Competing teams consisting of five members each eat as many gyoza dumplings as possible within three minutes without using any hands, except for chopsticks.
3) Tanabata Festival – This festival is held on July 7th to commemorate a Chinese legend about two lovers who were separated by the Milky Way and can only meet once a year on July 7th. The story is related to an old Japanese folktale called “The Weaver Girl” where Orihime (the weaver girl) cannot find her lover Hikoboshi (the cowherd boy). At this festival people write their wishes on small pieces of paper and hang
4) Higanbana Matsuri – This festival takes place on March 3rd every year to celebrate the passing of winter into spring. People wear their best clothes and parade around carrying lanterns lit by candles made from wax-covered rice paper; they go through neighborhoods singing songs about how cold it has been lately before finally stopping at a temple for an evening service.
5) The Kawasaki Daifuku Matsuri – A festival dedicated solely to dumplings known as daifuku (a round ball made with rice flour filled with sweetened red bean paste).
6) The Gion Matsuri Festival – This festival features large floats decorated with colorful lanterns, which makes it one of the most famous festivals in Japan.
7) Tengu-no-Hi – Tengu-no-Hi which translates into English as “Fire Festival.” This festival honors tengu, or mountain goblins who wear masks with beaks on them.
8) Hanabi Taikai – Hanabi Taikai, or “Fireworks Festival” This festival takes places in early August and is one of Japan’s biggest festivals. It celebrates the end of summer with fireworks, food stalls, and traditional dancing.