Top Winter Events in Japan

February 9, 2012 by

Festivals & Events, Things To Do, Unforgettable Experiences

Lanterns in Nara, Japan

Lanterns in Nara, Japan

With Lantern Festivals, Naked Festivals, and Snow Festivals, there is truly something for everyone in Japan this month. Here is a guide to finding good luck and happiness among Japan’s most colorful people.

Setsubun Mantoro (Lantern Festival) – Nara
February 3rd is known as Setsubun in Japan and marks the transition from winter to spring. As well as selling beans and good luck charms on this day, more than 3,000 lanterns are lit during the festival, which has been observed for over 800 years. February 3

Sapporo Snow Festival – Hokkaido
Japan’s coolest winter event takes place every February in Sapporo. Pack your warmest clothes and head here for glistening ice sculptures, incredible snow scenes and intricate, over-sized snow sculptures. February 6-12

Kamakura Snow Festival – Yokote City, Akita
Akita, on the northeast of Japan’s main island celebrates each winter with the 400-year-old Kamakura festival. Kamakuras are small igloo-like rooms made from snow and visitors are invited inside to sip sake and eat rice cakes in honor of the water gods. February 15-16

Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri (Naked Festival) – Okayama Prefecture
Always a crowd-pleaser, the Naked Festival at Saidai-ji Temple is a fevered explosion of flesh and lunacy as semi-naked men compete to grab a pair of lucky sacred sticks and thrust them into a wooden box full of rice. The overall winner is rewarded with a year of happiness. February 18

Hachinohe Enburi – Aomori Prefecture
Celebrating the last days of winter and the onset of spring, the highlight of the Enburi Festival is the colorful parade of dancers and musicians as they march through the streets of Hachinohe City. Expect to see beautiful costumes, tayu dancers, flute players, drummers, singers and children in this ancient rural festival. February 17-20

- Emma McMahon

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One Response to “Top Winter Events in Japan”

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