Top 10 Festivals in Japan in January – univers-japon-shop

In Japan, many exciting festivals are held at the beginning of the year, a festive season known as oshogatsu in Japanese. During oshogatsuthe Japanese return to their hometowns to celebrate with their families and the Shinto deity of the new year is welcomed. Traditions include deep cleaning the house, sending New Year cards, visiting a temple or shrine, and eating foods such as Soba, mochi and a type of cuisine known as osechi ryori, which is carefully arranged in often staggered and sometimes richly decorated boxes. shortly after oshogatsuFestivals begin to be held throughout the country to wish good fortune and luck for the coming year. Read on to learn more about 10 of the best festivals in January and how you can take advantage of them.

Toka Ebisu Festival

The bamboo grass is decorated with all kinds of lucky charms.

Start the year off right by praying to the god of good fortune. This is a must-attend festival for business owners especially! While “toka” means “the tenth day” and is the main day of the festival, the event takes place over several days during which thousands of visitors gather at Ebisu shrines across Japan to pray for continued success. in your professional or work life. lifetime. People often buy bamboo grass sticks for good luck and return last year’s bamboo when they visit. There are also lucky charms that can be purchased and attached to bamboo. With the bamboo grass held aloft by visitors, you can expect to see rituals, including shrine maidens doing a traditional dance. Kagura dance, mochi clapper and a Hoekago parade. There are also festive stalls where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks.

When: from January 8 to 12

Getting there: This festival is held at Ebisu shrines throughout Japan, the most famous being Nishinomiya Shrine at Hyōgo Ebisu Shrine in Kyoto and Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka.

Shitennoji Doya Doya Festival

Shitennoji Pagoda
This festival takes place in one of the most impressive temple complexes in Osaka.

Hot on the heels of the Toka Ebisu festival comes this lively event to celebrate the end of 14 days of worship after entering the new year. It’s a noisy Buddhist ceremony for good luck in which high school students, clad only in loincloths despite the cold, are doused with water as they discuss religious lucky objects. You will hear young people shouting “doya doya” in the process, which represents the sound of the thunderous footsteps of people entering the temple. Held in one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, it’s also a great opportunity to sightsee the surrounding area and climb the magnificent five-story pagoda that stands there. This is by far one of the most original and entertaining festivals in Osaka.

When: January 14 (2-3:30 pm)

How to get there: 5-minute walk from Shitennoji-mae Yugigaoka Station on the Osaka Tanimachi Line

Nozawa Fire Festival

Nozawa dosojin party
After an exciting battle between defenders and attackers, the temporary sanctuary will finally burst into flames.

One of the three major fire festivals in Japan, this one in Nagano is a fire show where village men between the ages of 25 and 42 defend a 2-meter-high shrine. The older men sit in the sanctuary, the younger ones protect it from the ground. What makes this exciting is that they protect the shrine from the rest of the villagers, who will rush towards it with burning torches. The shrine is built the day before the festival and is eventually burned once the defenders have to surrender and are no longer able to protect it. The goal is to burn off bad luck and wish the town a prosperous year. It is also used to pray for a happy marriage and a healthy family.

When: January 15 (6-11 pm)

How to get there: Take the Nagano Snow Shuttle from Tokyo Airports or Shinjuku Station, the Nozawa Onsen Liner, or direct buses from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya.

Zao Juhyo Festival

Zao Snow Monster Enlightenment
Zao’s unusual snow monsters light up at night

The Yamagata Zao Juhyo Festival is an annual lighting festival at the Zao Onsen Ski Resort. Unusual weather conditions in the Zao Mountains help transform the resort into a winter wonderland, as the frost-covered trees look like snow monsters. As the trees take on these shapes during the winter, the festival also features light-up “freaks,” fireworks, and special skiing events. This is a fantastic festival to see nature’s works of art and witness this interesting weather phenomenon.

When: late December to early March

How to get there: take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Sendai station and from there a direct bus to Zao

Jozankei Snow Lantern Festival

Jozankei Snow Lantern
The soft glow of snow lanterns illuminates the city at night

Admire thousands of lanterns made of ice and snow for this festival around the Jozankei Shrine near Sapporo. The lanterns are placed around the city, giving it a magical and romantic atmosphere. Guests can even light a candle to send their prayers and wishes to someone special. It is a very photogenic event and a little quieter than many other festivals. The Jozankei Snow Lantern Festival is an ideal diversion for anyone who already frequents the Sapporo Snow Festival.

When: from January 28 to February 4

How to get there: Take the free bus from Jozankei Onsen town to the shrine

Wakakusa Yamayaki Festival

Wakakusa Yamayaki Festival
The burning mountain can be seen from afar.

It’s not every day that you see a whole mountain on fire, but that’s exactly what happens at this festival in Nara every year. Visible from most of the city, the grass of Mount Wakakusa is on fire for reasons that are not known for sure. Some say it once happened during conflicts between temples, while others insist it’s for boar hunting. Whatever the reason, the festival draws huge crowds and also features fireworks to make it even more special. You can also join in the festivities by participating in a giant rice cracker toss contest. There are many great places to see the mountain in flames; If you don’t want to be at the bottom of the mountain when it happens, looking across the city is also exciting.

When: end of January (January 28, 2023)

How to get there: Buses run from JR Nara Station and Kintetsu Nara Station to Kasuga Taisha.

Miyoshi Bondensai Festival

At this exciting local festival in Akita, groups of townspeople carry liar, long sacred chopsticks, at Taiheizan Miyoshi Shrine. look at the beautiful design liar when they pass by and try to touch the amulets hanging from the rods to gain some of the divine power they are believed to have. The Festival is also known as “the liar combat”, a nickname that participants will quickly begin to pick up on as things get more aggressive and violent as participants get closer to the sanctuary. the liar They are said to attract the gods, and getting them to the shrine can sometimes be a grueling task, as groups of people fight to reap the benefits of their offerings. People who manage to get their hands on some of the amulets that hang in the liar they can look forward to good health and good harvests, as well as success in their business.

When: January 17 (10:30 a.m.)

How to get there: Take the Akita Chuo Kotsu bus bound for Taihei and get off at Miyoshi-jinja Iriguchi.

Glace du lac festival Shikotsu
Spectacular ice sculptures take center stage at the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival

This festival that takes place in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park is the perfect winter activity for families. Admire illuminated ice sculptures made from clear-water lakes, slide on a skating rink, and ride horses through the park. The festival also features fireworks and drum shows to liven up the atmosphere. The festival also provides the opportunity for a very unique ice wedding event where couples pledge their love to each other. Many food and drink stalls serve hot bowls Soba, udon et oden to keep you warm even on the coldest days.

When: from January 28 to February 23

How to get there: Take the Chuo bus from New Chitose Airport.

Togenuki Jizoson Festival

Jizo-dori shotengai
The bustling shopping street of “Granny’s Harajuku” is where this festival takes place.

Tokyo’s Toshima district has been nicknamed “Granny’s Harajuku,” and it’s the place to be at the end of January. Toshima not only has the highest population density in all of Tokyo, but also the bustling shopping street of Jizo-dori. This popular band really comes to life during the festival! In the middle of the shopping street is the Togenuki Jizosan Koganji Temple, where people go to pray for the healing of their ailments by washing a small statue. During the festival, which receives around 100,000 visitors, twenty priests gather to pray while the faithful come to receive blessings of good health. Don’t miss all the stores that sell red underwear; These glowing garments are said to bring good luck to those who wear them!

When: January 24 (prayers at 10:30 and 14:30)

How to get there: Go to Sugamo Station on the Yamanote Line

Geikosai Festival

On the back Yakuoin
Welcoming the New Year at the Yakuoin Temple on Mount Takao is a unique experience

For a memorable way to ring in the New Year, head to the Yakuoin Temple on Mount Takao in Hachioji, Tokyo. The Geikosai festival means “the festival of welcoming the light” and is one of the most important traditions of the Japanese New Year. There may be no countdown, but from midnight purifying to go fire rituals take place in front of the Izuna Daigongen statue. As the sun rises, the echo of conch shells blowing horns fills the air, as priests welcome in the new year.

When: January 1 (midnight-5pm)

How to get there: Take the cable car from Takaosan Station and prepare to walk about 30 minutes from the top of the mountain to the temple.

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