‘snow mean feat to build ice sculptures on this scale!
The Sapporo Snow Festival is one of Japan’s most impressive winter events with huge glittering ice sculptures transforming the city of Sapporo into a magical winter wonderland.
Sapporo Yuki Matsuri (Sapporo Snow Festival) | Somewhere in the world today
An ancient Japanese beach parade of gigantic proportions
The centuries old, Japanese Karatsu Kunchi features daily parades of 14 gigantic floats (the largest ones being 6.8 meters tall and 3 tons in weight), that are hauled through the streets of Karatsu city and along the sands of Nishinohama Beach.
Picture: Karatsu Kunchi Parade by Captain Future
Takayama Hachiman Matsuri is said to be one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan
In Spring and Autumn the old town of Takayama hosts its two enchanting festivals involving tall, ornately decorated floats and shrines that are pulled through the town.
Picture: Takayama Matsuri by Setagaya Life on Flickr
This unusual Japanese festival is half Chinese and double Dutch…
Held as one of the most unusual festivals in Japan, the Okunchi Festival in Nagasaki pays tribute to the 17th century Dutch and Chinese traders, who regularly anchored their ships there, through a traditional Dutch dance combined with a Chinese dragon dance.
Pictcure: Okunchi festival… by PermanentTraveller, on Flickr
Fiery Chinese symbols appear to float above the night sky around Kyoto
This iconic fire festival, marks the end of Obon, the Japanese festival of the dead.
Five fiery torches, each in the shape of a Chinese symbol of special meaning, are lit in turn on the hillsides surrounding Kyoto. It signifies the return to the spirit world of departed ancestors, who are said to visit their living families during O-Bon (or the Bon festival). The flames of the fires are visible from all over Kyoto and all the city lights are turned off to enhance this spectacular festival.
Make a wish and hang it on a tree for the beautiful Japanese star festival of Tanabata
The goddess Tanabata and the farmer Mikeran fell in love. It is said that Tanabata asked Mikeran to weave one thousand sandals and bury them under the bamboo tree that it might grow up high enough to reach heaven and they could meet again.
The story goes that a wicked demon was being punished by the god of Morioka city’s Mitsuishi Shrine. The god made the demon swear that he would never do bad deeds again, and as a sign of his pledge, the demon placed his hand on a large rock leaving a hand print. The locals rejoiced, dancing around the rock and so the Sansa dance began. Read more on Morioka Sansa Odori
Gion Matsuri - to appease the gods of fire, floods and earthquakes in Japan
A wonderfully Japanese mix of family fun combined with the danger of getting your eyebrows singed!
The Otebi Fire Festival in Fukuyama, Japan involves teams of young men carrying large bundles of burning sticks up to a temple. During this lengthy trek they swing the burning sticks around rather haphazardously in front of a large crowd of spectators who narrowly miss having more than their eyebrows singed! Each team chants and sings as the onlookers douse them with protective water.
More on the Otebi Fire Festival by Somewhere in the world today…