Japan is probably one of the few countries which have a holiday officially devoted to culture. However, what actually happens on Culture day? It is by no means a holiday in name only. All over Japan people make preparations for the event.
What was once a holiday to celebrate the Meiji Emperor’s birthday, November 3, it has evolved into an activity-filled day of art and culture, from music to craftsmanship, to traditional costumes and dances, to honor the same emperor as the champion of traditional Japanese culture.
Accordingly, it is the day that the emperor and prime minister themselves award the Order of Culture in a ceremony to those who have distinguished themselves in the arts as well as the sciences.
Depending on the locality, the local government will organize performances or parades to showcase something traditional that the area is known for.
Even more exciting, it is the day that schools hold culture festivals or bunkasai. Yes, they’re the ones you often see in anime where the students create interesting booths in their homerooms or outside in the school grounds. The preparations take as long as a week.
It is a way for students to showcase their talents outside of the classroom. They display their artworks as well as hold performances with song or dance or musical instruments. Furthermore, the best part is even outside visitors are welcome! This is your chance to pretend that you are in your favorite manga without actually enrolling or studying.
You can also enter museums, not only art museums but historical and science museums as well for free when normally it would cost you around 500 to 1500 yen.
Also, Orchestras hold free concerts too. Artisan workshops, where you can experience first hand how to make things such as local confections and pottery, are also free on the day. They’re popular with parents and children as something they can do together on that day.
Other areas hold their Culture Day on a different date to offer the opportunity to people who are elsewhere on November 3.
Never mind sakura season. Culture day season is the time to be in Japan!