Matsuri: The 10 best Japanese summer festivals to visit

There are countless local festivals (祭り, matsuri) in Japan each year. They are all spectacular, extravagant, and fun but also unique. Each celebration is based around an individual shrine which pays tribute to a different deity or a famous historical event.

The celebrations vary greatly as each has features based upon the specific shrine but hey also have many similarities. Almost all of them involve energetic processions where thousands of people dance, chant, and dress up in special clothes.

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Obon Festival Guide: Meaning, traditions and 2022 dates

The Obon festival (お盆, also known as Bon festival) is an annual Japanese holiday which commemorates and remembers deceased ancestors. It is believed that their spirits return at this time to visit their relatives.

Chochin (paper) lanterns are hung to guide the spirits and Obon dances (bon odori) are performed. Families have reunions and visit the graves of their relatives and make food offerings at altars and temples.

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Rainy season in Japan: Dates and what to expect

Japan’s rainy season starts in early summer, between May and July, depending on the region. The period is called Tsuyu (also pronounced baiyu) which translates to “plum rain” as the season coincides with the ripening of Japan’s plums.

The wet weather is caused by cold winds from the north colliding wind warm southern winds which create several weeks of rain. The amount of rainfall varies dramatically from year to year. Some years are exceptionally wet whereas other years barely see any rain.

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2022 cherry blossom forecast for Japan

The Japanese cherry blossom, or sakura, has long been adored by people across the globe. It is regarded as a symbol of renewal, vitality, and beauty. During the spring season of each year, thousands travel to Japan to view the wondrous spectacle of these white or pink flowers blooming en masse.

Update (April 1, 2022): Forecast for 2022 Cherry Blossom Season.

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