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JAPAN - a country of festivals

A festival (matsuri) in Japan is different from most festivals around the world. Although tradition,  cultural and religious reasons are the basis of most festivals, a festival in Japan so much more. It's a pulse and joy that cannot be described, sometimes an unbelievable tempo that makes you cannot stand still! You have to be there yourself to understand and experience.

You will find fantastic samurai festivals, dance festivals, beer festivals, snow festivals, light festivals  and many other themes. Sometimes festivals are linked to competitions and games. At most festivals are food stalls that serve delicacies, often local, depending on where in Japan you are.  


There are countless local festivals (matsuri) in Japan. Every city, town and village in Japan has at least one festival a year.  Almost every shrine celebrates every year at least one matsuri of its own. Most festivals are held annually and have their origins in ancient Shinto rituals and can be held several days.
The processions, in which the local shrine's Shinti deity (kami) is carried through the town in a portable Shinto shrine (mikoshi) is an important element of Japanese festivals.  Only during the festival is the deity leaving the temple, otherwise it is kept there throughout the year.


Many festivals also feature decorated floats (dashi), which are pulled and carried through the streets, accompanied by drum and flute music. Sometimes it's calm festivals, almost meditative, others are powerful and very noisy.  Some floats have only one “building” on themselves, others sitting people, often playing different instruments like flute and drums. A float can be giant, over 1,5 tons in weight with 100 carriers that carry it on their shoulders.

At I will present some of the festivals I have visited. I can already now guarantee that each one has its unique profile why they all are memories for life.

Leif Almo
Hon. Consul General of Japan - All about kendo

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