Tag Archives: japan

MITAMA MATSURI 2019

WHAT: MITAMA MATSURI 2019
WHY: SUMMER FESTIVAL
WHEN: SATURDAY 13TH TO TUESDAY 16TH JULY 2019
WHERE: YASUKUNI SHRINE, CHIYODA, TOKYO, JAPAN
COST: FREE TO ATTEND

One of Tokyo’s most popular summer festivals is the Mitama Matsuri, and has been held since 1947. It’s a world-famous attraction with hundreds of thousands of visitors and locals attending the event each year to see the spectacle of the 30,000 lanterns hung on the walkway up to the Yasukuni shrine.

If you want you can hang your own lantern at the shrine, but you must apply for this beforehand, Prices start from 3,000 yen (£22) for a small lantern and 12,000 yen (£88) for a large.

The schedule changes every year, but you can expect live music and theatrical performances, traditional dances and witness the 1st bon odori dance welcoming the spirits of the dead. The festival follows Buddhist tradition of Obon; a celebration to honour spirits and ancestors of the dead, so it will come as a surprise to visitors that you can also find Obake Yashiki (a type of Japanese haunted house) at the festival. Despite seeming rather out of place, they are one of the most popular attractions that are visited during this time.

Amongst the stalls, you won’t find the normal festival fare for sale as this is not allowed in the grounds of the shrine. However, there is a scattering of stalls selling snacks and refreshments. Try some of the local food such as takoyaki (octopus filled ball-shaped dumplings), okonomiyaki (grilled pancake with savory ingredients),) or treat yourself to wattame bagged (candy floss). Along with the food why not try the summertime dress and don a yukata (summer kimono) to keep cool in the summer heat.

The celebration each year fall on the 13th July and runs for 4 days, and to see the mitama matsuri at its best it is in the evening around 6pm. This is when all the 30,000 lanterns are individually lit creating a spectacular approach to the shrine and giving a warm glow to the evening air.

This festival is one of the Capital’s best summer festivals and can become very crowded but is a must-see for an insight into the truly authentic Japanese summer experience, and something that you will never forget.

Between lanterns

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YOKOHAMA PORT FESTIVAL 2019

WHAT: YOKOHAMA PORT FESTIVAL
WHEN: SATURDAY 1ST JUNE TO SUNDAY 2ND JUNE 2019
WHERE: RINKO PARK, SOUTH EXIT PLAZA, MINATOMORI, NISHIKU, YOKOHAMA CITY, KANGAWA PREFECTURE
COST: FREE

The port was first opened in June 1859, giving Yokohama foreign shipping rights to countries such as America, Holland, Russia, Britain, and France. At this time, there was no official celebration for the opening, but as the year passed and the port rapidly grew it was decided that on the one-year anniversary that a celebration would take place. Following exponential growth, in 1995 it was established as an annual event which became the official Yokohama Port Festival. The second of June is classed as an official holiday in Yokohama and the celebration attracts over 700,000 visitors over the 2 days; making it the biggest event celebrated at the beginning of the summer in Yokohama.

Everywhere you go throughout summer in Japan you will see festivals of all kinds, and with these, it normally means one thing follows: fireworks. This event is no exception to the rule.

Sparkles in Twilight / Yokohama Port Festival 2015

Yokohama is brimming with tourists’ spots and a stone throw from Tokyo. This was the first established festival to open its doors to foreign visitors over a century ago and the region has benefited massively for this with architecture, new traditions and customs and international music and beer festivals were brought to the people of Japan via this port.

The 2-day event is packed with action and activities to be enjoyed by both the young and old, both off and on the water. Here is a rough guide of what to expect throughout the 2 days:

• DANCE COMPETITION AND DEMONSTRATIONS
• QUIZZES
• MUSIC CONCERTS
• CHOIR
• STAGE SHOWS
• INTERNATIONAL CUISINE CONCESSIONS
• WATER SPORTS
• TRADITIONAL FOOD AND DRINK
• FIREWORKS

The opening of the festival is a concert with local talent performing onstage, along with the performance from professional dancers and children producing dynamic scenes on stage.

The main performance of the festival is “dream of harmony”, 800 people from across Yokohama join and form a choir and treat the visitors to a musical ensemble. In the entertainment experience part of the festival, you can ride a small ship one of the many amphibious boats or buses or give the sea kayaking or stand up paddle boarding a try. If you don’t have your sea legs, there is plenty on dry land to enjoy whilst you watch those brave (or crazy) enough to take part.

The beam spectacle fireworks are the name given to the magnificent fireworks display held on the evening on the 2nd of June. This takes place over the harbour lighting up the skies above. In the 40-minute show, you will be amazed by the musical fireworks, lasers, and lights making this a fantastic end to the evening’s celebrations.

If you fancy a different view on the show, there are also plenty of boats offering evening cruises some with dinner packages to make your day that extra special.

The summer in Japan is packed with firework events so if you can’t get along to see this first-hand but are visiting Japan through the Summer, we feature articles on most of the events taking place so keep an eye on our blogs for more information.

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RYUKYU KAIENSAI FIREWORKS FESTIVAL

WHAT: RYUKYU KAIENSAI FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
WHERE: GINOWAN TROPICAL BEACH, GINOWAN SEASIDE PARK
WHEN: SATURDAY 13th APRIL 2019
COST: TICKETS FOR SEATS AVAILABLE / SOME FREE VIEWING PLACES

The Ryukyu sea fire festival is the earliest summer festival to take place in Japan. This year will be the 16th edition and has the theme of “to the summer that is touched the earliest in Japan”.

It is one of the biggest shows in Okinawa with a fusion of Japanese music and culture, also boasting to hold one of the largest scale fireworks displays in Japan.

Coinciding with the sea opening, Okinawa is the only place that you will be able to find fireworks on the beach in April. There are special seating areas set up all around the beach and these can range from around ¥ 10,800 (£73.00) to ¥ 4,300 (£30.00). You can also view the fireworks from areas that don’t have any seating for free, but this will not allow you to see the entertainment on offer before the fireworks finale.

The fireworks have been designed by some of Japans top pyrotechnic artists along with the worldwide designer Junko Koshino. Famed for the fireworks drawings and designs that sent Marutamaya Ogatsu fireworks Co on to win the Macau international fireworks competition in 2016. She also has participated in some of the most famous fashion shows in the world, such as London Fashion Week, Beijing, Cuba, has produced the Japan festival fashion show and the official opening of the John F Kennedy center in Washington DC.

2016/04/09琉球海炎祭

The fireworks will be lit around 19:30pm and the show will last over an hour. Prepared to be mesmerized as over 10000 fireworks, all with a rainbow of colours and an abundance of different effects light up the night sky of the southern island. With the ocean waters below, this creates a magnificent mirror image on the water’s surface. The fireworks are choreographed to a musical score of Okinawan music, a wild range of soul, classical and original chanpuru music timed within seconds so that every note comes with a bang.

With the fireworks been the most popular part of this event if you are lucky enough to be in the area make sure that you arrive early especially in free viewing areas. The full event attracts tens of thousands of locals and visitors to the area all wanting to catch a part of the explosive action to end the evening.

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