Summer is here and there is no better place to spend it than here in Japan. If you think that summer in Japan is just another round of mall or temple hopping and shopping for souvenirs, you’ve got it all wrong! Summer in Japan means plenty of fun festivals throughout the country. So if you are planning on attending one of Japan’s many festivals, then read further to learn more about what to expect at these fun summer celebrations.
Unlike many other countries where summer is just another season of light shorts and tee shirts, summer festivals in Japan feature many people wearing yukata. These are light cotton casual kimono worn in summer and what makes it amazing is that these kimonos are not only worn by performers, they are worn by almost everyone attending the event as well. From kids to elder generations, there are many variations and colors of yukata on display throughout the country. For tourists, it is the best time of year to wear traditional clothing without feeling out of place. For women, their yukata are often floral and light colored. While for men, their yukata tend to be darker and monochromatic in design.
Children have a wider range of color options for their yukatas since they are usually multi-colored and come in various designs. There are even cartoon character prints for the little ones.
Aside from wearing a yukata, another activity that makes Japan’s festivals extraordinary is their fireworks displays. In Japan, summer is the season of fireworks. Every town hosts a festival (matsuri) and when there is a summer festival, no matter how big or small, there is almost always a fireworks display. However, if you want to see a huge display, there are big events such as the Sumida River Fireworks, which draws tens of thousands of attendees, dressed in yukata, every year. Even small towns in the countryside create create great displays of fireworks. You can also enjoy how Japan has a tendency to make everything cute as recently, some fireworks displays are in the shapes of hearts, cartoon characters, smileys and other cute and creative shapes.
So when you say summer festivals in Japan, it does not only mean dancing, presentations, food stalls, and souvenir shops.
Those aspects are a given of course, but what makes Japan’s summer activities extra special is their enthusiasm through everyone’s yukata ensembles, as well as their love and passion of festival celebrations which is often displayed through their fantastic fireworks displays.