Most Popular Japanese Festivals in August

Tanabata matsuri

Tanabata Matsuri © [ まこと ]/Flickr

One of the most popular Japanese traditions is the traditional celebration. These festivals are collectively called Matsuri and thousands of people participate on such events. All Japanese festivals are vivid, colorful and full of joy, even though some commemorations are also included and turned into festivals.

August, the last month of the hot summer has its own festivals as well. This month has hundreds of festivals, not only traditional ones, but cultural and musical events, too. Visiting Japan in August is a great idea, you will surely have the opportunity of catching one of the most amazing festivals on The Land of the Rising Sun! I’ve attempted to collect some of the best and most popular Japanese festivals of August.


Nebuta Matsuri

Nebuta matsuri

Street decorations on Nebuta Matsuri © tsuda/Flickr

This festival is usually held in the towns and cities of Aomori Prefecture. The large drums, the lantern floats, the dancers and the musicians are all parts of this joyful parade. Even the everyday tourist can become one of the dancers on this festival: the only thing you have to do is wearing a traditional haneto costume.

Nebuta is celebrated between 2 and 7 August and it is one of the most poplar summer festivals in Japan. On these days, the parade marches through the main streets of the cities every evening, except for the last day. If you wanna have some fun, you should go and see this festival.


Tanabata Matsuri

Tanabata matsuri

Colorful decorations of Tanabata Matsuri © [ まこと ]/Flickr

Normally, Tanabata is held on the seventh day of the seventh month (7 July), but Sendai is an exception: here, Tanabata is celebrated between 6-8 August. Although it is quite late for the celebration compared to the other regions, this one is considered to be the most spectacular Tanabata Matsuri in Japan.

On these days, you can see hundreds of colorful streamers all around the city. Most of these are handcrafted, very vivid, colorful and some streamers may reach the length of 5 meters! Together with the Nebuta Matsuri of Aomori and the Kanto Matsuri of Akita, they are called the Tohoku Sandai Matsuri, or The Three Great Festivals of Tohoku Region.


Kanto Matsuri

Kanto matsuri

The amazing lantern decoration of Kanto Matsuri, Akita © Rosino/Flickr

Together with the already mentioned Tanabata and Nebuta, Kanto is part of the three most famous August festivals in Japan. The most amazing Kanto Matsuri is celebrated in Akita, where hundreds of paper lanterns are displayed all around the city. The ‘pole lantern festival’  is celebrated on 3-6 August and it is one of the best festivals held in August.

The sight of the almost 12 meter poles decorated with paper lanterns are creating a wonderful environment for this event. The drums and the flutes provide a joyful and soft background music. Visiting the Kanto Matsuri in Akita can be an unforgettable memory for every tourist.

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