【SUMMER】The best Japanese festivals for the second half of August 2018: join the locals in the celebrations for their ancestors.

2018-09-05 .AN)富士河口湖灯籠流し実行委員会事務局   Festivals & Events, Seasonal Activities, Shinto & Buddhism,

Fuji Kawaguchi-ko Tourou-nagashi

For the first half of August, please check our article: The best Japanese festivals for the first half of August 2018: enjoy the Summer in Northeast Japan !

Thu, the 16th of August: Mt Fuji Lantern Floating at Lake Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture

Source: the event’s official website

Lantern Floating, called Tōrō nagashi in Japanese, is ceremony in which participants float paper lanterns ( called chōchin) down a river. Tōrō is another traditional word for lantern, while nagashi means “cruise” or “flow”. It can be seen in many places in Japan at different dates, but it usually takes place during the Obon holiday season and its purpose is for remembering your ancestors. Toro nagashi at the Lake Kawaguchiko will be an unforgettable one, because of the numerous lighted lanterns floating on the water with Mt. Fuji in the background. If you go to the Toro reception counter on the day of the event, you can also send your own lantern down the river. There will be a traditional Buddhist chant followed by a concert from 6:30 p.m.. Why not ‘send your heart’ down the river to your beloved ancestors just like the locals?

Mt Fuji Lantern Floating
Place:Oishi Park by the lake of Kawaguchiko
Access:Bus stop “Kawaguchiko shizen seikatsu kan”

Thu, the 16th of August: Gozan no Okuribi in Kyoto


On August 16th, the kanji character “大” (literally meaning ‘big’), will appear in the evening sky in Kyoto. This festival is also known as Oomoji yaki ( which means ‘burning the 大 kanji’), but the official name is “Gozan no Okuribi”. Every year about 700 thousand people come to see this majestic fire.

Gozan no Okuribi
Place:Kyoto city
Access:JR Kyoto station

Thu, the 16th to Sat, the 18th of August: Nishimonai Bon Odori in Ugo, Akita Prefecture

(Source: https://www.con-akita.com/2297/)

Every year this traditional festival welcomes about 100 thousand people who pray for a large and successful harvest and also serves as a memorial service for their ancestors. This is one of Japan’s most famous Obon dance. Dancers in braided straw hats and beautiful costumes, disguised as ghosts, dance in the night. The loud sounds of Ohayashi typical festival music complement the dance, creating a fantastic atmosphere.

Nishimonai Bonodori
Place:Nishimonai Honcho dori street
Access:JR Yuzawa station→30 min by bus:Bus stop “Taikukanmae”. (10 min walk from there)

Sat, the 25th to Sun, the 26th of August: Tokyo Koenji Awaodori in Koenji, Tokyo

Source: The Japan Times

The Koenji Awaodori has now become one of the largest summertime Japanese events. It’s stunning for not only foreign visitors, but also Japanese visitors to see the dancers line up and dance down the shopping street in Koenji. You’ll have many photo opportunities!  Koenji has become kind of a hip neighborhood, so we recommend having a small walk around town as well.

●Tokyo Koenji Awaodori
Place: JR Koenji station; Nanboku shopping street and Konan street
Access:Tokyo Metro Shinkoenji station

Thu, the 26rd of August: Atago no Himatsuri in Ishizu cho, Toyooka city, Hyogo Prefecture

Held at Ifukube shrine, this festival’s purpose is to spin a flaming braded straw rope in hopes for good health. People, including foreign visitors, can join this event and actually take part in spinning the flaming straw!

●Atago no Himatsuri
Place:Ifukube Shrine
Access:JR Sanin Main line Toyooka station. Take a bus bound for “Deishi”, and get off at “Deishi”.

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Writer / Translator

I’m a freelance translator from Tokyo who likes to travel right in the middle of the unpredictables in life. Through the translation of articles I hope to create points of contact between Japan and the rest of the world. As a writer, I want to add information that isn’t in the guide book, from a “wasabi” perspective!