Delicious Food and Tips on Making the Most of Japanese Festivals in the New Year!

  • Every season, Japanese people celebrate with tons and tons of festivals. All the themes are different, but they all follow a similar pattern, so here is a basic guideline to get the best out of your experience!

    1. Engage in the activities


    Find out about the games and participate! Even though you may not speak Japanese, you can watch, learn from the locals and then join in. A very popular game is to catch certain objects like toys, water balls or even fish from small plastic pools.


    The name of this fish game is Kingyo-sukui which means “Goldfish scooping”. The game consists of scooping goldfish from a pool with a small paper scooper called “poi”. The player must be careful and quick as the “poi” can break easily, which ends the game. If the fish is caught, it can be taken home.

    2. Get amongst all the Traditional Food Delights

    Try all the food, no questions! One of the best things about festivals in Japan are the street food stalls, filled with local homemade dishes. Most of the times, you can watch them as they cook and prepare them. The most popular ones:

    Yakisoba (Grilled wheat noodles)


    Yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick)


    Shioyaki (Grilled fish on a stick)


    Grilled Mochi (Japanese rice cake, sometimes coated in miso or soy sauce, wrapped in a dry seaweed sheet)


    Senbei (rice cracker)


    Takoyaki (octopus ball)


    Chocobanana (banana covered with a chocolate coating)


    Bebi Kasutera (Japanese sponge cake)


    Taiyaki (a fish-shaped cake filled with sweet red bean paste)

    Dango (boiled round dumplings made from rice flour and water)


    Draft Beer


    3. Be respectful


    Be respectful of your surroundings. Do not throw any garbage on the ground of the festivals or smoke in prohibited areas.

    The festivals in Japan are great. You will always feel a friendly and bubbly atmosphere where you will see everyone happy and enjoying themselves amongst all the festival activities. Check your calendar and start planning the festivals you would like to attend in 2016!

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