Summer Traditions and Festivals

10/09/2014 Life and Manners in Japan  Traditions & History

Let’s listen to the “voices of the insects” and enjoy Japan’s rich nature and soul.

■The Japanese feel that insects, also have a “voice.” As autumn draws near, you can start to hear all kinds of insect cries in the evenings. When the Japanese hear this, they get a feeling as if to say, “Ah, autumn has come” and “Such a refreshing, nice voice.” Japanese people find that the sounds of insects are very soothing as this custom is very unique to the Japanese culture.   ■The cry of bell crickets is the background music of autumn evenings. One of the insect voices representing autumn comes from the bell cricket. It’s clear chirping voice gives a very refreshing feeling. Since the olden days, there has […]

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17/07/2015 Food & Drinks  Traditions & History

Let’s eat eel to survive the hot summer!“Doyo-no-ushi,” the day for eating eel.


Doyo-ushi-no-hi is one of the seasonal customs of Japan. “Doyo” refers to the period of 18 days that Japan has 4 times a year. Japan used to count the dates by the twelve horary signs (ex. Rat, Ox, Tiger, ect. ). The Ox day is called “Doyo-no-ushi”, and because it overlaps the hottest summer season in Japan, the custom of eating eel to get stamina had begun.

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22/07/2015 Food & Drinks  Travel Tips

A beginner’s guide to Kakigoori (Shaved Ice), a Japanese Summer Classic Food

In this article I’d like to introduce you to shaved Ice, called ‘Kakigori’ in Japanese, a beloved and refreshing treat of the Japanese summer.

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04/08/2015 Life and Manners in Japan  Traditions & History

Sparklers, the Beauty of Fireworks in your Hands

Senko Hanabi, or sparklers, is one of many traditional Japanese fireworks. Once upon a time, people used to play with them using and incense burner or hibachi, and it looked very much like burning an incense stick as an offering to the dead, thus becoming Senko Hanabi.

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10/08/2015 Buddhism & Shinto  Traditions & History

The Japanese Tradition of Visiting the Ancestors’ Graves during ‘Obon’

Visiting graveyards to rest your ancestor’s soul is called “Haka-mairi”. You can visit the graveyards anytime, but people will usually visit on the same day as the Buddhist memorial service and on the same day of their death.

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11/08/2015 Traditions & History

Let’s see the Japanese “morning glory”, the beloved flower of summer!

morning glory

Asagao or morning glory is one of the most popular garden plants in Japan and blooms between July and September. It was bred during the Edo period (1603 to 1868) in Japan and developed in its own unique way.

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12/08/2015 Festivals & Events  Traditions & History  Travel Tips

You too can experience Bon-Odori, the traditional dances of the Japanese summer.


It originally started as an event to pray to your ancestor’s souls. It’s known as an event that everyone of all ages can enjoy. It is also commonly known as a festival held during Obon season. A turret is setup in a large park or square and people dance around it.

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17/08/2015 Activities  Life and Manners in Japan  Traditions & History

How to enjoy “Yukata” in Japan

The couple in Yukata.

Yukata is a typical kind of Kimono, worn during summer. The origin of yukata is said to be underwear called yukata-bira, which noble people in the Heian period (794 to118) wore during bath time. After the late Edo period(1603 to 1868), it transformed into a gown and gorgeous patterns of cotton were born.

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25/01/2016 Life and Manners in Japan

3 Classic Childrens’ Games at Japanese Traditional Festivals

A Gun shooting game

Yatai or a “booth” is open on festival days and there are toys and games there that you can buy. There are some great booths to see that are sure to be open, especially during summer festivals.

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06/08/2018 Festivals & Events  Traditions & History  Visit: Modern Japan

The 17th Annual Shinjuku Eisa Festival: Experience the Spirit of Okinawa in Shinjuku

Every year, on the last Saturday of July, the streets of Shinjuku are transformed by the sights, sounds, and spirit of Okinawa. The Shinjuku Eisa Festival, a celebration of traditional Okinawan dancing, attracts over one million visitors annually and is a true spectacle to behold.

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25/07/2014 Life and Manners in Japan  Traditions & History

Ochugen, the Japanese Custom of Exchanging Gifts in Summer

Japanese custom calls for the giving of gifts twice a year to someone who is taking care of you. This duty is performed once in the summertime, called ochugen and once at the end of the year, called oseibo. The custom started at the beginning of the Edo period in the 17th century. At the beginning of July each year Japanese department stores prepare for this event with special displays and offer delivery service. During the Ochugen season you can find many unique and special items from all around Japan! The type of gift given usually depends on the recipient: Sweets are given to families with children Somen (Japanese fine noodles) […]

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