Traditional Annual Events in Japan in September

September 5, 2012 by

Festivals & Events, Free Things to Do, Things To Do, Travel Tips

Yabusame in Kamakura, Japan

Yabusame in Kamakura, Japan. Photo courtesy of ys* via Flickr.

While the majority of Japanese festivals fall within the summer months, festival season never really ends in Japan. Here are a few of those events that you can look forward to in September.

Owara Kaze-no Bon Festival

(September 1-3)

During this traditional autumn harvest festival which takes place in Toyama, local residents take off work to honor their ancestors and pray for a bountiful harvest. At night, the streets of the hillside town are decorated with paper lanterns, and men and women wearing summer kimonos and low-brimmed straw hats dance to traditional folk songs played on drums and a kokyu, a local stringed instrument.

Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament

(September 9-23)

One of Japan’s six Grand Sumo Tournaments takes place in Tokyo each September, pitting some of the country’s best wrestlers against each other in Tokyo’s National Sumo Arena. A typical tournament day consists of trainee matches, ring entering ceremonies, professional sumo bouts and a centuries old Bow Ceremony to close out each day and express the gratitude of the victors.

Reitaisai

(September 14-16)

In mid September in the city of Kamakura, competitors participate in the Shinto ritual of Yabusame, shooting arrows on horseback while riding past three separate targets. The competition traditionally takes place on the grounds of the 800-year old Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine. Other festivities include music, worship at the shrine and a parade.

Tsukimi

(September 30)

Tsukimi literally means ‘moon viewing’ and during the full moon on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, families gather to celebrate the beauty of the autumn moon. Dumplings, fresh produce and grass decorations are left as offerings to the moon, while celebrants dine on Tsukimi dango (rice dumplings) and sip sake.

- Lydia Schrandt

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