The 7 best food festivals in Japan

Across Japan, you will encounter celebrations called matsuri. Matsuri are festivals, ranging from Shinto shrine festivals to government holidays to food festivals. They may celebrate the changing of the seasons, a historical event, or traditional culture. In this travel guide, we will focus on a specific type of matsuri: the food festival.

When traveling abroad, sampling traditional cuisine is one of the best ways to experience the authentic culture. Said cookbook author Ronni Lundy, “If you read between the lines of recipes, you can often find the things unspoken, the clues to their lives, the keys to discovering what they value. You see what’s important enough to make for a celebration…it’s all there, just between the lines.”

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The 10 best onsen and onsen towns in Japan

No trip to Japan is complete without a relaxing dip in an onsen. What is an onsen? Onsen are natural hot springs, fueled by volcanic activity, as well as the resort atmosphere that has emerged around many such springs.

Japan offers around 2,300 onsen to choose from, many of them included in ryokan (traditional inns). We’ve compiled a list of ten of the best onsen in Japan. No matter what region you’re traveling to, you’ll be able to unwind. Reaching the onsen is simple and affordable when you use Japan Railways and the Japan Rail Pass.

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Japanese capsule hotels: the best in Tokyo and Osaka

Japan is an incredible country to visit but it’s pricey. If you’re traveling on a budget or you miss the last train and find yourself in need of accommodation, you can stay at a capsule hotel.

Capsule hotels (also known as pod hotels) have been steadily growing in popularity in recent years and more and more of them continue to pop up in Japan’s cities. They are like normal hotels but instead of a normal-sized room, you sleep in a small cubicle.

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Guide to the Obon Festival 2019 in Japan

The Obon festival (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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Autumn Colors in Japan: 2019 Fall Foliage Forecast

Japan is famous for its four distinct and breathtaking seasons. Though the cherry blossom in the spring is probably the most iconic, for many the fall is just as beautiful.

As temperatures dip after the scorching summer, the colors of the leaves change into vibrant shades of orange, red, yellow, and brown. It’s a magnificent sight which has inspired artists and poets for centuries.

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Tanabata 2019 Guide: the Summer ‘Star Festival’

Tanabata, also known as the ‘Star Festival’, is a Japanese celebration which takes place on the seventh day of the seventh month. According to Japanese folklore, this is the only day of the year when the two stars, Altair and Vega, can meet.

At this time of the year, it is tradition to write Tanabata wishes (known as tanzaku) on colorful strips of paper and hang them on Tanabata trees made from bamboo branches. People also decorate their houses and public spaces.

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