Calendar

This calendar offers an overview of annual events in Japan, and also includes events specific for the Toyota City and Nagoya area. Some dates are only approximate because they change every year.

This overview is by no means exhaustive. Feel free to add more information in the comments section. You can scroll down to browse all the months, or you can click in the table below to go to the month of your choice.

January Flower for January Pine tree February Flower for February Plum blossom March Flower for March Cherry blossom
April Flower for April Wisteria May Flower for May Iris June Flower for June peony
July Flower for July Bush clover August Flower for August Susuki Grass September Flower for September Chrysanthemum
October Flower for October Maple tree November Flower for November Willow tree December Flower for December Paulownia tree

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January

January 1 New Year’s Day All of Japan
Kadomatsu_M1181_wikipedia This is the most important holiday in Japan. While only January 1 is designated as a national holiday, many businesses remain closed through January 3.
New Year’s is one of the three busiest holiday seasons in Japan, along with Golden Week and Obon. Hotels, flights and trains will often be booked full, despite higher rates during this season.
Read more about Japanese New Year

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Second Monday of January Coming of Age Day All of Japan
Seijin no Hi This national holiday, called Seijin no Hi in Japanese, celebrates people who will turn 20 years during that year. Twenty is the age considered as the beginning of adulthood. It is also the minimum legal age for voting, drinking, and smoking. It is customary for the girls who are coming of age to wear colourful kimono’s with long sleeves. One of the best days of the year for kimono spotting!

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February

February 3 Setsubun All over Japan
Setsubun Setsubun or Bean-Throwing Festival is a festival to celebrate the start of spring. During Setsubun, people throw roasted beans around their house and shout “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (“Devils out, happiness in”). Afterwards you should pick up and eat the number of beans, which corresponds to your age. Another setsubun tradition that is recently gaining in popularity, is to eat a complete sushiroll (called eho-maki) while facing the year’s lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year.

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Saturday closest to February 7 Okazaki Fire Festival Okazaki in Aichi prefecture
OkazakiOniMatsuri_sherlockphotography This spectacular fire festival is held at the Takisan-ji temple in Okazaki to pray for a peaceful nation and a rich harvest. The climax of the festival involves 30 young men running around the temple with large torches. To the sound of bells and drums, they chase three other men who are wearing demon masks. The Japanese name of the festival is Takisan-ji Oni Matsuri, which means Takisan Temple Demon Festival.
Timing: The fire festival starts around 7:30 p.m., altough other festivities start earlier on in the day
How to get there: By public transport: Take the Meitetsu Honsen train line and get off at Higashi Okazaki station. Then take a Meitetsu bus bound for Onuma or Kamiyonagochi. After 25 minutes, get off at Takisan-ji-shita stop. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
By car: input the temple phone number in your navi: 0564-46-2296
More information: High quality photographs by Sherlock Photography
Schedule and access
Detailed background information

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February 11 Foundation Day All of Japan
Nippon Flag This national holiday is meant as a day to reflect on the establishment of the nation and to nourish a love for the country. In Japanese it is called Kenkoku Kinen no Hi.

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February 14 Valentine’s Day All of Japan
Valentine’s Day is not a traditional Japanese holiday but has gained popularity over the years. On this day, women are supposed to give chocolate to men. They are expected to give chocolate to all the men with whom they have some sort of connection, including coworkers and bosses. There is therefore a distinction between chocolate given out of love (honmei choco, usually homemade) and chocolate given out of duty or social obligaton (giri choco, usually store-bought). Men are expected to give something back in March, on White Day.

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March

March 3 Doll’s Festival
All of Japan

hina matsuri minister of the left

During the Doll’s Festival, or Hina Matsuri, families with a daughter will put up a display of traditional Japanese dolls. The festival is meant to wish the daughters a successful and happy life.
Although the festival is celebrated on March 3rd, the dolls start appearing around homes and in public places as early as February. The dolls should be taken down immediately after the festival because superstition says that leaving the dolls past March 4 will result in a late marriage for the daughter (in Japan that’s a very bad thing!).
Read my blog post about Hina Matsuri

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March 14 White Day
All of Japan
Men who received gifts on Valentine’s Day are expected to offer a gift in return on White Day, one month later. Traditional White Day gifts include white chocolate, marshmallows and jewelry.

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March 15 Japanese Penis Festival (Hōnen Matsuri) Komaki in Aichi prefecture, and other places in Japan
A festival celebrating fertility, that has gotten quite famous due to the fact that giant wooden phalusses are carried around in the streets. It is celebrated every year on March 15 in various places around Japan. The best known of these festivals takes place in the Tagata Shrine (Tagata Jinja in Japanese), in the town of Komaki, just north of Nagoya City. The wooden phallus is carried from a shrine called Shinmei Sha (in even-numbered years) on a large hill or from Kumano-sha Shrine (in odd-numbered years), to the Tagata Jinja shrine.
Timing: The main parade usually starts at 2pm although there it is worth getting there a little bit early to look around first.
How to get there: By public transport: Take the Meitetsu Komaki Line train that travels between Inuyama and Kamiida station. Get off at Tagata Jinja Mae. Turn left out of the station and then left again at the main road. Tagata Jinja is about 400m on your right. To reach Kumano Shrine turn right out of Tagata Jinja, cross over the main road and Kumano Jinja is on your left as you climb the hill after crossing over the railway line. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
By car: input the temple phone number in your navi: 0568 76 2906.
More information: JapanVisitor.com

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Around March 20 Vernal Equinox Day
All of Japan
This national holiday celebrates the spring equinox (moment when day and night are about equal length). In Japanese it is called Shunbun no Hi. It is customary to visit the grave of one’s ancestor during the week of Vernal Equinox Day.
The date of this national holiday may differ due to astronomical factors. In 2014 it is on March 21.
The fact that this day is a natonal holiday reflects the importance of the seasons in traditional Japanese culture.

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April

Early April Cherry blossoms
All of Japan
During cherry blossom season, it is customary to attend ‘hanami’ or ‘blossom viewing parties’. People will gather under the cherry trees and enjoy food and drinks together. There is always one weekend that is deemed the best weekend for cherry blossom viewing, when the flowers are supposed to be at their best. At that time, there might be hour-long cues at the best viewing spots, and people will camp under the trees the night before in order to secure a good hanami party location for their group.
At night the blossoms are often illuminated, something which the Japanese adore and refer to as ‘raito appu’ (ライトアップ, meaning ‘to light-up’).
Timing: In the central areas of Japan (roughly between Osaka and Tokyo), the bloom usually takes place in early April. But the exact timing of the blossoms differs every year, depending on the weather. The news will offer detailed reports on the progress of the cherry blossom front.
Where to go: There are famous cherry blossom viewing spots all over Japan. Click here for an overview.
Places in Nagoya for cherry blossom viewing:

 Places in Toyota City for cherry blossom viewing:

 Other places in Aichi prefecture for cherry blossom viewing:

  • Okazaki Castle is famous for it’s cherry blossoms and festival from April 1 to 15. Every year Okazaki has the Iyeyasu Samurai parade, with historic battle reenactments (first Sunday of April). The parade marches from the Iga Hachiman-gu shrine in Iga-cho to Okazaki castle, starting at Igahachimangu at 01:30pm. If you contact the Okazaki International Association, it may be possible to don armor and join the March.
    To get to Okazaki Castle, take a train to Naka-Okazaki station, and follow the lantern and cherry blossom lined streets toward Okazaki-jo (Okazaki castle).
  • The cherry trees that line the Gojo River that runs through Iwakura city was chosen as one of the 100 best places to view cherry blossoms in Japan. It is 10 minutes on foot from Iwakura station on Meitetsu Inuyama line.
  • Seto
  • Inuyama Castle
More information Japan-guide.com: A beginner’s guide to cherry blossom viewing
Popular cherry blossom viewing spots
Hanami at Yamazakigawa Riverside in Nagoya

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First weekend of April Inuyama Festival
Inuyama in Aichi prefecture
During Inuyama Festival, 13 three-layered floats, 25 feet in height, are pulled around the town to the sound of Japanese flutes and drums. At night the floats are lit up with thousands of lanters.
The 2014 date is April 5 and 6.
How to get there: By public transport: A few minutes walk from Meitetsu Inuyama station. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
By car: input the Inuyama Tourist Information Center phone number in your navi: 0568-61-6000
More information Castle town Inuyama website

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All of April (and in May and in November)
Kyoto geisha dances
Kyoto
geisha_dances_Gion,_Kyoto_-_August_30,_2007_commons_wikimedia - Copy Japan’s geisha are famous the world over, but as they usually perform only at small private gatherings in the teahouses of the geisha districts. Fortunately, Kyoto’s geisha communities put on annual public shows, which provide an opportunity for less-privileged ordinary people to see the geisha perform their arts.The most famous of these performances is the Miyako Odori, at which the geisha of the Gion Kobu geisha community perform. If you’re not able to make it to Kyoto in April, or you just want to see something slightly different, similar performances are held by Kyoto’s other geisha communities, each of which has its own unique style (see below for a list).You can buy a first or a second class ticket, costing either ¥4,000 or ¥2,000. For an additional ¥500, you get to visit the theatre’s Japanese garden before the show, and admire a small exhibition of kimono. You also get to watch a geiko prepare tea in the traditional way and enjoy a bowl of tea and a Japanese sweet (o-manju).
Timing: 1st to 30th of April: Miyako Odori by the Gion Kobu communityFirst two weeks of April (1st to 3rd Sunday of April): Kyo Odori dances by the Miyagawacho community at the Miyagawacho Kaburenjo Theater.15th to 25th of April: Kitano Odori dances by the Kamishichiken community at the Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theater.1st to 24th of May: Kamogawa Odori dance by the Pontocho community at the Pontocho Kaburenjo Theater.1st to 10th of November: Gion Odori dances by the Gion Higashi community at the Gion Kaikan Theater.You can also see geisha dances all year long at Gion Corner in Kyoto: http://www.kyoto-gioncorner.com/global/en.html
More information Practical information about all the geisha dances, including those in Tokyo
Background information about Miyako Odori and practical information about all the geisha dances
Official Miyako Odori page

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April 20 ~ May 5 Okazaki Wisteria Festival/ Gomangoku Fuji Matsuri Okazaki Park

wisteria festival

Okazaki is famous for its Wisteria. Okazaki Park, which is situated around Okazaki Castle, features a large collection of Wisteria trees. The Wisteria climb over wooden trellises, covering an area of 1300 m². The trellises were built in 1911. The longest vine extends 11 meters and some vines have pendulous racemes 1 meter long. The trees are called “Gomangoku Fuji” and every year in late April and early May, there is a festival to celebrate the Wisteria’s bloom. The flowers are illuminated in the evenings during the festival period.
How to get there: By public transport: Okazaki Park is a 15 minute walk from Higashi Okazaki station on the Meitetsu Line, and 8 minutes from Okazaki station on the JR Line and Naka Okazaki station on the Aichi belt Line. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
Address: 561-1 Kosei-cho, Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture 444-0052
Phone:0564-22-5095
More information Sightseeing Association Aichi
Okazaki Tourist Association page (in Japanese)
Photographs

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April 29 Start of Golden Week
All of Japan
Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays within seven days’ time. It is one of Japan’s busiest holiday seasons. Trains, flights and hotels are often fully booked months in advance, despite considerably higher rates during this season. There are Japanese that take paid time off during this season, but some companies close their doors all togheter and give everyone a week off.The holidays that make up Golden week are:

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May

May 5 Children’s Day and the end of Golden Week
All of Japan
On this national holiday, known in Japanse as Kodomo no Hi, people celebrate the Boy’s Festival (Tango no Sekku). On this day, and for some time before it, families who have a boy in their home may fly koi streamers and decorate their homes with armor or samurai dolls.

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May 15 Aoi Festival Kyoto
aoi_matsuri_common_wikimedia The Aoi Matsuri is one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals. The festival’s main attraction is a large parade, in which over 500 people dressed in the aristocratic style of the Heian Period (794-1185) walk from the Imperial Palace to the Kamo Shrines. Aoi is Japanese for Hollyhock, and the festival is named after the Hollyhock leaves that are worn by the members of the procession.Paid seating is available at the Imperial Palace and both Kamo Shrines. Without reserved seats, it is advised to arrive early if you intend to see the parade at the Imperial Palace or the Kamo Shrines. The crowd is sparse along the rest of the route, but watching the parade on a regular city street does not provide the same atmosphere. In the days before the festival, related events are held at the shrines, such as horse races and the purification of the Saio and her attendants.
Timing: Kyoto Imperial Palace (10:30) – Crossing the river in front of Shimogamo Shrine at 11:15 – Shimogamo Shrine (arriving at 11:40 and departing at 14:20) – Kamigamo Shrine (15:30). Watching the entire procession pass by, from beginning to end, takes about one hour.
How to get there: Kyoto Imperial Palace: 5 minutes’ walk from Imadegawa Station. Imadegawa Station is on the subway Karasuma Line from JR Kyoto Station.Shimogamo-jinja Shrine: About 5 minutes’ walk from Shimogamo-jinja-mae bus stop. Shimogamo-jinja-mae bus stop can be reached from JR Kyoto Station on City Bus No.4 or No.205.Kamigamo-jinja Shrine: Close to Kamigamo-jinja-mae bus stop, which is 30 minutes from JR Kyoto Station by City Bus No.4. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
By car: I recommend parking your car on the outskirts of the city and going on by public transport
More information Background information, route, schedule and paid seating information at Japan-Guide
Detailed directions from the Japan National Tourism Organization
Information about pre-festival events

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June

June 5 Atsuta Festival/ Rei Sai Festival
Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya
atsuta-matsuri-rei-sai Rei Sai is a festival that is celebrated in shrines all over Japan. Every shrine chooses its own day to celebrate the festival so although most shrines have this festival, the dates are different for each shrine.
During the Rei Sai Festival at Atsuta shrine, portable floats or o-mikoshi are carried along the approaches to the shrine. Exhibitions of judo, swordsmanship and archery are presented for the gratification of the deities. Performances by street entertainers are held. At night, sets of 365 traditional lanterns light up the gates, vendors with paper lanterns on their wagons line the streets and fireworks are set off in the sky.
If you are hoping to catch the fireworks display, it is best viewed from Shirotori park, which is a 15-min. walk from Atsuta shrine.
Timing: Perfomances start at about 10:00 a.m. Between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., there is a special ceremony in front of the shrine that can be watched by the public. The fireworks display is between 19:45 and 21:00.
How to get there: By public transport: Use the Nagoya Subway network. Take the Meijo Line and get off at Jingu-Nishi Station. Take exit 2. Walk 7 minutes, or take the Meijo Line and get off at Tenma-cho Station. Take exit 1. Walk 7 min. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
By car: input the temple phone number in your navi: 0526-71-4151. The address is 1-1-1 Jingu-Nishi, Atsuta-ku, Nagoya.
More information Pictures and a map of the temple grounds
Japan Info Swap
Japanamanda blog

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First Saturday of June
Tankororin Candle Night
Asuke in Toyota City
asuke candle night Some 700 lanterns called “tankororin” are set up in an area of the Asuke district, a lovely old mountain village in Toyota City.The “Tankororin Candle Night” event precedes a full-scale summer festival to be held Aug. 4-15.Performances of Tsugaru-jamisen, a type of samisen music established in the Tsugaru region of Aomori Prefecture, and other stringed instruments are also staged.
Timing: explanation
How to get there: By public transport: From Meitetsu Toyota Line Josui Station, take Toyota Oiden bus for 60 min., get off at Korankei, 3-minute walk; From Meitetsu Toyota Line Toyotashi Station, take Meitetsu bus Asuke line for 60 min., get off at Korankei, a 3-minute walk; From Meitetsu Higashi-Okazaki Station, take Meitetsu bus Asuke line, get off at korankei, a 3-minute walk.
More information A short explanation and a video
Asuke Tourist Association event page (in Japanese)
Tankororin Festival Blog (in Japanese)

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End of June Hydrangea Festival Seki City in Gifu Prefecture
june seki city hydrangea festival In Itadori in Seki City, there is an annual Hydrangea Festival called Itadori Ajisai Matsuri. There are approximately 7,000 hydrangea along a 24 kilometer-long road called the “Hydrangea Road”, plus 3,000 more hydrangea located at the “21st Century Forest Park”. The flower hydrangea, called ‘ajisai’ in Japanese, is typical for the month of June.
Timing: The Hydrangea’s can be viewed from mid June to early July. Near the end of June there is a festival weekend: Hydrangea Village Festival.
How to get there: Location: 21st Century Forest Park in Itadori, Seki prefecture
Map
More information Japanese page about the festival
English information about the 2012 edition of the festival on the website Gifu travel guide (may at some point contain updates about future editions).

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July

July 7 (or August 7) Tanabata
All of Japan
tanabata decorations Tanabata or Japanese Star Festival is a Japanese tradition wherein people write their wishes on tanzaku papers (colorful, small strips of papers) and hang them on bamboo branches. People also decorate bamboo branches with various kinds of paper decorations and place them outside their houses. You see also see many bamboo decorations set up along shopping arcades in Japanese cities.
The legend of Tanabata is about two lovers who live separated on either side of the Milky Way. Once a year, they are reunited on the night of the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Tanabata literally means the night of the seventh.
The use of the lunar calendar to determine the date has resulted in different regions celebrating tanabata on different moments, either in July (according to the Gregorian calendar) or in August (according to the lunar calendar).
More information Wikipedia page about tanabata
japan.about.com

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July 15 (or in August, see below) Obon/ Festival of the dead
Kantō and Tohoku region
obon nagoya castle Obon is a festival honouring the spirits of one’s ancestors. This festival is celebrated either in July or August, depending on the area in Japan. People in Eastern Japan usually celebrate Obon in July. For more information about Obon, see below at August 15.

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Second and third week of July Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament Nagoya
There are few things as Japanese as sumo. Seeing a live sumo match is quite the experience. There are six tournaments a year, three of which are in Tokyo. The other ones are in Osaka (March), Nagoya (July) and Fukuoka (November). The cheapest tickets are about 4000 yen. They can be purchased upon entering the venue or in advance over the internet (see links below). If you’re going for a whole day, try to smuggle in food and drinks.
Timing: A sumo tournament lasts for 15 days. The last day is always a Sunday. Weekends and the last few days of the tournament tend to sell out sooner. The match-up of the wrestlers normally gets more exciting towards the later days of the tournament.
You can enter the venue as early as 08:30. Matches start at 08:30 from the morning of the first day, and at around 10:00 on the last 3 days.
Most of the crowd only turns up around 4 or 5 p.m. to see the highest ranking wrestlers fight. The final match of the day is a little before 6 p.m. Personally I like to arrive early on. It is a good chance to get a look up close and it is interesting to see the energy in the crowd change as the day progresses.
How to get there: The tournament is held at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium located next to Nagoya Castle.
By public transport: 5-minute walk from exit 7 of Shiyakusho Subway Station in the Meijo Line. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
By car: There is no parking lot exclusively for the Nagoya Tournament and parking is extremely limited.
More information Ticket information and tournament schedule on the website of the Japan Sumo Association (in English).
My own experience at the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament
Chunichi Shimbun ticket sales.Ticket sales usuallyh start from in the middle of May. Last year they also had a service in English, but I am not sure about this year.
Overview of all licensed ticket agents (scroll down).

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Third Monday of July Marine Day
All of Japan
This national holiday is called Umi no Hi in Japan. The purpose of the holiday is to give thanks to the ocean’s bounty and to consider the importance of the ocean to Japan as an island nation.

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Third Monday of July
Nagoya Port Festival/ Minato Matsuri
Nagoya Port
nagoya_minato_matsuri Held on “Umi no hi” (Marine Day), this festival offers a variety of events to celebrate the city’s historic links with the sea. The highlight of this annual festival is the raftsmen’s water logging contest. Since the Edo period, the port has been the distribution centre for logs that were cut in the mountains and floated by raftsmen down the Hori River to port. Other attractions include a massive street dance with over 1,500 performers, a marching band, and large amounts of fireworks.
Timing: The festival starts at midday and goes on until 20:30. 3000 fireworks will be let off from 19:30. Click here for a detailed schedule of the festival.
How to get there: By public transport: Nagoya Port is best accesed by the Meiko Subway Line. Roughly every second train on the Meijo Line operates on the Meiko Line from Kanayama to Nagoyako Stations instead of continuing on the loop of the Meijo Line. Get off at Nagoyako station.
By car: sorry, I am not sure how to get there by car.
More information Nagoya Port Festival schedule
General information about the port and a map of how to get there by public transport
Information about the port’s attractions (in Japanese)

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Last weekend of July
Oiden Festival
Toyota City
oiden festival toyota city There is a dancing parade on Saturday in the streets around the east side of Meitetsu Toyota-Shi Station. Local groups dress up in colourful outfits and dance choreographed routines to the tunes of the offical Oiden song. On Sunday, there is an impressive fireworks display that can be watched from the main road, and from Shirahama Park (白浜公園) on the banks of the Yahagi River (矢作川), and from the bridge accross the Yahagi river.
Timing: Saturday from 17:00h to 20:30h: dancing paradeSunday from 19:10 to 21:00h: fireworks display
How to get there: By public transport: Take the train to Toyotashi Station (豊田市駅) on the Meitetsu Toyota Line (名鉄豊田線), accessible from the Tsurumai Nagoya Subway Line (地下鉄鶴舞線); or take a JR train to Shintoyota station. The dancing parade is right outside the train station. For the fireworks display: Shirahama park is a 10 min. walk from Toyotashi station.
By car: parking space will be difficult to find. Come by train if possible.
More information Dancing in the streest at Oiden Festival
Oiden matsuri official website (in Japanese)

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August

First weekend of August World Cosplay Summit Nagoya

The World Cosplay Summit is an event that gathers cosplay fans from around the globe. It includes a parade by cosplay enthusiasts and the election of the World Cosplay Champions. The championship is held indoors and you have to pay an entrance fee. The parade, however, is public and a great oportunity to watch people engage in cosplay. The Championship contenders are presented to the public before the start of the parade on the Osu Kannon temple grounds in Nagoya.The event is sponsored by Aichi TV. The 2013 Championship is scheduled for August 3rd 2013
Timing: The parade takes place on the first Saturday of August. It leaves from Osu Kannon temple around midday. The Championship is held on the first Sunday of August.
How to get there: By public transport: 5 min walk from exit 2 of Osu Kannon train station on the Tsuruamai line of the Nagoya Subway. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
More information Official WCS site by Aichi TV, with links to the official blog, Twitter and YouTube channel.
Official WCS photo gallery
My World Cosplay Summit 2011 experience

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First Saturday of August
Okazaki fireworks and summer festival
Okazaki
Okazaki fireworks The famous Okazaki fireworks display takes around Okazaki Castle. It can be viewed from the Otsukawa riverside and Yahagi-gawa riverside. It can also be watched from Sogo Park (10 min from downtown).Okazaki is famous for its fireworks. The Tokugawa Shogunate restricted production of gunpowder outside of the immediate region of Okazaki (with few exceptions), and even today, more than 70% of Japan’s fireworks are designed and manufactured here. A large fireworks festival, which people from all over Japan come to see, is held annually on the first Saturday in August in the area surrounding Okazaki Castle.The fireworks are the final night of a three-day festival, starting with Bon-odori (dancing) on Thursday, then with the Mikoshi on Friday, and finishing with fireworks on Saturday.
Timing: The fireworks are on the first Saturday of August from 18:50h – 21:00h at Okazaki Castle. On the preceding Thursday and Friday there is Obon dancing and mikoshi (portable float) carrying.
How to get there: By public transport: a 5 min. walk from the train stations Nakaokazaki and Okazaki Koenmae. A 15 min. walk from Higashi-Okazaki Sta. on Meitetsu Nagoya Line (about 30 minutes from Nagoya Station)
By car: 561-1, Koseicho, Okazaki, Aichi 444-0052. The nearest interchange is Tomei Expressway Okazaki interchange (five minutes)
More information Okazaki Tourist Association
Sightseeing Association Aichi 
Okazaki fireworks video 2011

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August 10 Japan Rhine Summer Festival and Fireworks Display
Inuyama in Aichi prefecture
According to the Inuyama city website: “A fireworks display shot from boats on the water of the KISO River. The contrast of beautiful fireworks and its gleaming on the water of the KISO River makes for a fantastic atmosphere, with INUYAMA castle, the oldest castle in Japan, in the background.”
Fireworks displays are typical for the summertime in Japan. Many people wear a yukata when attending a fireworks display.
How to get there: By public transport: A few minutes walk from MEITETSU INUYAMA YUEN station west exit. You can look up all trains in Japan on the Hyperdia website.
More information Castle town Inuyama website

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First Friday of August – for 13 days
Nagoya Castle Summer Festival
Nagoya
nagoya castle summer festival Nagoya Castle Festival consists of 13 days of festival games, food stands, performances by popular artists and obon dancing.To escape the summer heat, the festival doesn’t start until 5 p.m. It ends at 9 p.m. By 9:30 p.m., everyone has to clear the premises. Admission is 800yen for adults and 200 for children. You’re given a schedule and an uchiwa – a flat Japanese fan – on your way in.
Timing: The festival runs for from the first Friday in August and goes for thirteen evenings. The festival is open from 5pm to 9pm. Guests have to be out by 9:30.
How to get there: By public transport: A 5 min. walk from Shiyakusho station on the Meijo subway line or Marunouchi station on the Tsurumai subway line.
By car: input the castle number in your navi: 052-231-1700
More information Nagoya Castle official website
Obon dancing at Nagoya Castle

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First weekend of August, until the main event august 13-15
Asuke Summer Festival Asuke in Toyota City
asuke lamps festival poster 2014 Asuke is a small town in Toyota City. In summer, there is a festival with paper lanterns and fireworks. The lantern festival includes 7,000 candles. People decorate special lanterns called “Tankororin”.I have the impression that the lights are displayed starting the first weekend of August and that the festival culminates in a firework display on August 14.
Timing: August 13 and 14, from 18:00 to 21:30: Asuke river many lamps festivalAugust 14 from 20:00 to 21:00: fireworks displayAugust 15 from 19:00 to 21:00: Guardian deity of children Festival, floating of lanterns
How to get there: By public transport: From Meitetsu Toyota Line Josui Station, take Toyota Oiden bus for 60 min., get off at Korankei, 3-minute walk; From Meitetsu Toyota Line Toyotashi Station, take Meitetsu bus Asuke line for 60 min., get off at Korankei, a 3-minute walk; From Meitetsu Higashi-Okazaki Station, take Meitetsu bus Asuke line, get off at korankei, a 3-minute walk.
By car: Miyanoushiro, Asukecho, Toyota-shi, Aichi Asuke Shrine TEL 0565-62-0516 (Asuke Hachiman shrine). There is parking for 500 yen.
More information Asuke Tourist Association home page (in Japanese)
 Asuke Tourist Association event page (in Japanese)
Tankororin Festival Blog (in Japanese)

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August 15 (or in July, see above) Obon/ Festival of the dead
Kantō and Tohoku region
obon nagoya castle Obon is a festival honouring the spirits of one’s ancestors. This festival is celebrated either in July or August, depending on the area in Japan. People in the Kantō and Tohoku region usually celebrate Obon in July. For the rest of Japan, it is more common to celebrate Obon around the 15th of June.In Europe, festivals remembering the dead can be a depressing affair. In Japan however, the Obon festival is quite festive and happy. People dress up in yukata and gather at night to dance the typical ‘obon dances’ (bon odori). It also customary to float lanterns down a river at Obon. These lanterns are meant to guide the ancestral spirits, who are believed to visit the family’s home during Obon, back to the world of the dead. This ceremony usually culminates in a fireworks display.

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September

Third Monday of September Respect for the Aged Day All of Japan
Respect for the elderly and longevity are celebrated on this national holiday, which is called Keiro no Hi in Japanese.

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Around September 23 Autumnal Equinox Day
All of Japan
Much like Vernal Equinox Day in March, this national holiday celebrates the moment when day and night are about equal length, called an equinox. In Japanese, Autumnal Equinox Day is called Shūbun no Hi. It is customary to visit the grave of one’s ancestors during the week of Autumnal Equinox Day.
The date of the national holiday may differ due to astronomical factors. In 2013 it is on September 23.
The fact that this day is a natonal holiday reflects the importance of the seasons in traditional Japanese culture.

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October

Second Monday of October Health and Sports Day
All of Japan
On this national holiday (Taiiku no Hi in Japanese), many schools and business hold an annual ‘field day’ or ‘sports day’, called undō-kai. Especially for schools this can be an important event.
2013 date: October 14

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Third weekend of October Koromo matsuri – Toyota Autumn Festival
Toyota City
koromo matsuri toyota city autumn festival Koromo is what Toyota City used to be called before it became Toyota City. During the festival, eight ‘dashi’ or floats (festival cars) are paraded around the city. Each float represents a neighbourhood of Toyota City. During the parade, men on the float throw confetti over the spectators. The festival is held to pray for a good harvest. And of course also just because it is fun.The festival takes place in the Koromo Jinja Shrine, 5-1 Koromo-cho, Toyota. The floats leave from the shrine and are pulled through the nearby streets. There is festival food on the temple grounds.
Timing: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of October 2014. Saturday: Floats are pulled all over the town, to the shrine. Sunday: 8 floats gather at the shrine and are festively pulled all over town. Event starts at 16:00. Come a bit earlier to get a good spot and to experience the atmosphere. Sunday 18:30 – 19:30 fireworks display.
How to get there: By public transport: Get off at Toyota-shi Sta. on the Meitetsu Toyota Line. Walk 15 min.
By car:5-1 Koromo-cho, Toyota, Aichi Prefecture 471-0023
More information Koromo matsuri report with videos
Toyota City Tourism website Koromo Matsuri page (in Japanese)
Koromo Matsuri official website (in Japanese)

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November

November 3 Culture Day
All of Japan
bunka_no_hi Culture Day (Bunka no Hi) is a national holiday held annually in Japan on November 3 for the purpose of promoting culture, the arts, and academic endeavour. Festivities typically include art exhibitions, parades, and award ceremonies for distinguished artists and scholars.

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November 1 – 30 Korankei Momiji Matsuri – Maple tree festival
Asuke in Toyota City
korankei autumn leaves in Toyota City The Korankei valley in Toyota City is famous for its beautiful autumn leaves (momiji). The vermillion Taigetsukyo Bridge is the symbol of Korankei and a well known picture taking spot. There are walking paths along the river and up the flanks of Mount Iimori. A little up the mountain, there is a temple called Kojakuji Temple. During momiji season, there are foodstands along the river bank. At night, the trees are lit up from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. There are musical performances, exhibitions, tea ceremonies, etc.The best moment to view the autumn leaves differs every year, depending on the weather. Usually it is from mid to late November. Be prepared for big crowds on the peak weekend.
Timing: All of November, peak moments depend on the weather.
How to get there: By public transport: By public transport: From Meitetsu Toyota Line Josui Station, take Toyota Oiden bus for 60 min., get off at Korankei, 3-minute walk; From Meitetsu Toyota Line Toyotashi Station, take Meitetsu bus Asuke line for 60 min., get off at Korankei, a 3-minute walk; From Meitetsu Higashi-Okazaki Station, take Meitetsu bus Asuke line, get off at korankei, a 3-minute walk.
By car: To get your approximate bearings, you could input the Asume Chuma-kan museum’s phone number in your navi: 0565-62-0878. As you get nearer Korankei, follow the crowds.
More information Korankei on Japan Guide
Asuke and Korankei information on Kikuko’s Website

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November 23 Labour Thanksgiving Day
All of Japan
A national holiday for honoring labour, called Kinrō Kansha no Hi in Japanese. It is also meant for celebrating production and giving one another thanks.

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December

December 23 The Emperor’s Birthday
All of Japan
The birthday of the reigning emperor has been a national holiday since 1868. If the emperor changes, the national holiday changes to the birthday date of the new emperor. In Japanese this day is called Tennō Tanjōbi.

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2 thoughts on “Calendar

    • It still needs some work. I would like to add more info but there are just so many seasonal events in Japan. Even when I just focus on Toyota City and the surrounding area, there is a lot of information. Step by step I will complete it further.

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