Holidays in Japan
Introducing Japanese holidays – is an interesting and unusual way to understand Japanese culture and learn about the people that make this country so different.
To get the most out of the holiday, the most important thing to arrive in Japan on time. If you arrive too late, you will encounter incredibly inflated housing prices and terrible traffic jams, and the most interesting will pass by.
So, here are the five most important and celebrated throughout the country holidays in Japan.
To important holiday celebrating the new year in Japan is taken very seriously. Traditionally, new year’s eve the Japanese cook soba noodles, eaten exactly at midnight and starts the year. At dawn the Emperor prays for his people. The similarity with the Chinese new year is that on this holiday there is a special food, and children receive money in little envelopes. As a rule, all family members gather around the holiday table together, where not only eat and drink, and play games.
January 2 open access into the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace to everyone. Second time in a year the doors of the Palace will open only on December 23 – in the Emperor’s birthday. Many stores and businesses are closed until at least January 3. Another holiday, coming of Age day, is celebrated on 9 January, though on a smaller scale.
When: from December 30 to January 3.
2. Setsubun (bean-throwing festival)
Fun and extravagant celebration of Setsubun marks the beginning of spring. Generally, it is an old tradition, but in recent years it has developed into a real show with the participation of celebrities, which is broadcast on television. During the national ceremony the mother-Maki, people scatter roasted beans to drive away evil spirits that could cause trouble. On the streets crowds of people who hand out money and sweets.
When: February 3-4
Where: at major temples throughout the country.
3. Hanami (blossom festival)
Hanami – is another old tradition. Actually the word “Hanami” translates as “admiring flowers”. This involved people during the festival – admire the flowering trees. In the parks right under the trees the cheerful company and families have picnics, sometimes staying all night. Of course, some sake, attracts more than flowers, but certainly a fun day out in the fresh air, get everything.
Traditionally, under the trees, it is customary to arrange tea ceremonies, perform folk songs and dances, and add a festive mood large processions and parades.
When: between March and may. The starting date of flowering is reported on radio and TV. In the South, the holiday starts earlier than in the North.
Where: throughout the country.
4. Golden week
Golden week – the best time to travel in Japan, as this period falls just four of the holiday, and people throughout the country rested more than usual. Most of the companies these days does not work.
The first holiday of Golden week – is the Emperor’s birthday showy April 29. It is followed by Constitution day, 3 may. May 4 is celebrated as Greenery day, and may 5 – Children’s day.
The tourist season in Japan is resumed immediately after the Golden week, when the shops and establishments return to the normal mode of operation. Please note: during the Golden week public transport goes very bad or not go at all.
When: late April – may 6.
Where: throughout the country.
Although Obon is not an official public holiday, for the Japanese it is one of the most important days of the year. Obon is celebrated in summer, on the day when, according to Buddhist beliefs, the souls of ancestors come to visit their loved ones. At the time of Obon supposed to go to Church and visit family graves. In the past people made fires in front of their dwellings to attract the souls of the dead; now they are replaced by the artificial lights.
Obon – this time of family gatherings, so many people rush home from different parts of the country, which often leads to the formation of traffic jams and delays in transport schedules.
When: typically in mid-July. Obon is calculated according to the lunar calendar, so in different regions it can occur at different times.