Best Japanese Festivals in July


Sumida River Fireworks © Pietro Zuco/Flickr

Festivals, or Matsuri are vital parts of Japanese culture. Dozens of events are celebrated monthly and millions of tourists visit these wonderful festivals. All of Japan’s festivals are equally significant and important, but not all of them are as colorful, vivid and energetic as the others.

More than 30 Japanese festivals are held and celebrated only in July; therefore this is the richest month of the year from the point of view of festivals. For tourists, it is kindly recommended to visit one of these festivals: not only the weather is perfect for outdoor activities, but the vivid and colorful events are good ways of having fun, relaxing, and learning about new cultures as well. This article presents some of the most vivid summer festivals in Japan.




Colorful decoration of Tanabata © jeremydeades/Flickr

This festival is based on a Chinese legend, claiming that Altair and Vega (two stars) were separated from each other and on the day of Tanabata, they are able to see each other again. This Japanese festival is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month.

On this day, almost every Japanese village and city is decorated with huge and very colorful streamers. Each and every city is changed on this day: everything becomes vivid and colorful, dozens of outdoor stalls appear, all these forming the joyful atmosphere of a festival. The most amazing Tanabata festivals are usually held in Tokyo and Hiratsuka.


Ocean Day


Umi (ocean), the subject of celebration on Ocean Day © hober/Flickr

As Japan is located on an archipelago, water and ocean are very important for its inhabitants. They even have a festival to celebrate their commitment towards the ocean. Umi no Hi, the Ocean Day or Marine Day is celebrated on 20 July and it is a relatively a new festival; it was celebrated for the first time in 1996.

There are no traditional habits connected to this festival, but the swimming pools and the aquariums of the large cities provide dozens of special events for people celebrating Umi no Hi. Beach parties are the most popular ways of celebrating this day.


Sumida River Fireworks


Sumida River Fireworks © Pietro Zuco/Flickr

This festival focuses on the beauty of the fireworks. On this day, more than 20,000 fireworks are set off on the banks of Sumida River in Tokyo. This tradition is very old: the first Sumida River Fireworks were launched in 1733 and since then, people are almost fighting for the best places to view the fireworks.

This Japanese festival is held at the end of July, but there is no fixed day for it, so it differs every year. In 2013, it is supposed to be on 27 July, but in case of rain, it may be delayed.

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