Celebrating Tradition and Culture Festival In Japan


The 2023 Alaska State Fair occurs from August 18 through September 4, 2023. Alaska’s most significant event occurs in Palmer every August and early September, as the Alaska State Fair showcases giant vegetables, concerts, contests, rides and food. The fair spans 14 days across three weekends. The fine will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Each day is packed with events of all kinds. The last Friday of the Alaska State Fair is not to miss, as the giant cabbage weigh-off is held that evening. These world-famous cabbages can reach up to 135 pounds! The event has a “gladiator” setting, as contestants enter their giant cabbages in a ring, with hundreds of bystanders on the bleachers overlooking the scene. It’s a quintessential Alaska event! Amusement park rides, Alaska Native crafts, foods of all kinds and exhibits, including the famous livestock pavilion, will keep you entertained.
The Alaska State Fair is the state’s largest event, with 100,000 attendees yearly. The Alaska State Fairgrounds are located at Mile 40 Glenn Highway.

Embracing Fertility and Love

Japan hosts stunning annual festivals, some of which have been celebrated for centuries. Festivals, also known as matsuri, are steeped in tradition, offering visitors a glimpse of Japanese culture that you won’t find at your average museum. What makes traditional festivals in Japan particularly special is that many of them are perfectly preserved customs passed down through the generations. It also helps that many Japanese people are still actively involved in these festivals – they’re still significant community gatherings, making them worth seeing.
If you’re wondering which festivals are the best to catch, we’ve rounded up Japan’s most jaw-dropping and spectacular year-round festivals. From the snowy showcase at Hokkaido to summer’s bon odori dancing, these are the celebrations you should check out while in the country.
The summer Aomori Nebuta Festival is a Japanese fire festival that sees at least 20 massive lantern floats (known as nebuta) paraded down the streets of Aomori in northern Honshu. These colourful floats are inspired by traditional kabuki or mythical Japanese stories and are lit up during the evening parade. The festival also features nebula dancers accompanying the procession and performers playing instruments such as flutes and drums. A staggering number of guests head on up to Aomori for this annual celebration when the city hosts approximately three million people throughout the festivities.

A Fusion of Cultures and Customs

The Kanda Matsuri is one of Tokyo’s three major festivals around Tokyo’s Kanda Shrine. The festival is considered one of Japan’s top three, along with the Kyoto Gion Festival and Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri. The festivities span about a week, with the highlight being the full-day parade through the central Tokyo districts of Kanda, Nihonbashi, Otemachi and Marunouchi, accompanied by a mikoshi (portable shrines) from these neighbourhoods. The Kanda Matsuri originated in the Edo period (1603-1868) as a demonstration of Edo’s (present-day Tokyo) prosperity when the first Tokugawa shogun settled there.
The Chichibu Yomatsuri, or the Chichibu Night Festival, is an annual celebration at Saitama’s Chichibu Shrine and has been celebrated for over 300 years. It’s a Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the highlight here is the massive floats with their stunningly ornate designs. The evening procession sees four large floats moving down the streets, accompanied by smaller floats known as kamaboko and lively music courtesy of flutes and taiko drums. The areas around the procession can get crowded, but there’s still plenty to see as the festival’s final day boasts an impressive fireworks display and several food and drink stalls.

A typical festival around Japan, Tanabata is also known as the ‘star festival’. This Sendai edition is one of the largest Tanabata festivals in the country, and it happens annually at the beginning of August. The festivities take place in downtown Sendai with the highlight being the colourful streamers that can reach up to 5m in length, strung through the city’s main shopping arcade. These cheerful decorations are crafted by local shops, businesses, schools and even community groups.
This annual celebration takes place in Tokushima, one of Japan’s most famous summer dance festivals. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to Tokushima to watch people perform what’s known as the ‘fool’s dance’, with a history dating back more than 400 years.

A Castle in Bloom

There are celebrations throughout the day, but the main event happens in the evening when groups dance their way through the streets of downtown Tokushima. Dancers are accompanied by traditional musical instruments that set the beat. Women generally wear colourful yukata (summer kimono) while the men dress up in happi (lightweight coats with straight sleeves).
The Kyoto Gion Matsuri is the annual festival of Yasaka Shrine, with a history of about 1,100 years. It’s considered one of the top three festivals in Japan, along with Tokyo’s Kanda Matsuri and Osaka’s Tenjin Matsuri. The festivities span the entire month of July, but the highlight is the procession of 33 large floats known as Yahoo, which are pushed down the streets of Kyoto. Nearly all the floats – or 29, to be exact – are designated Important Tangible Cultural Properties. There’s a sizeable main procession followed by a smaller one later.

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Olivia Wilson

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