Japanese Holidays & Festivals: October

by Gyeongyeong Kim

These are yearly events of October in Japan. Although unfortunately the public events will not be taking place this year, we still wanted to share them with you for your future trip to Japan. On the first of the month, we’ll share a monthly calendar of Japan’s yearly holidays and notable festivals.

Oct 7-9: Nagasaki Kunchi

A celebration of autumn with parades and unique dances such as Japanese traditional dance and Chinese-influenced red dragon dance.

Oct 8: Warai Festival

Based on a legend that the villagers cheered up a sad Goddess by laughing all together, participants laugh and ring small bells to restore the joy of the village.

Oct 10-11: Sawara no Taisai Aki Matsuri

A parade in Chiba Prefecture lined up with floats, 13ft dolls and Japanese traditional music that represent historical moments of Japan.

Oct 12-13: Otsu Festival

Originated in the Edo period, decorated floats with mechanical dolls fill the streets around Otsu station in order to celebrate the prosperity of the city.

Oct 12-14: Naha Ohtsunahiki Festival

15,000 people participate in a tug of war. The rope is 200 meters (about 656 ft) long and weighs 47 tons.

Oct 10-17: Dai Ginza Matsuri

Celebrating the anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, lots of fun events fill the streets of Ginza in Tokyo.

Oct 11-13: Mibu Kyogen

Buddhist silent masked play at Mibu temple in Kyoto.

Oct 16-17: Sennin Musha Gyoretsu

Reenact the procession of thousand warriors (sennin musha) for the reburial of Tokugawa Leyasu, a hereditary commander of the Edo period. There will also be Japanese archery show at Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

Oct 17-18: Doburoku Festival

As part of a ritual praying for good harvest, Shiharige Jinja Shrine offers unrefined sake called Doburoku.

Oct 19: Yabusame Festival

Japanese traditional horseback archery festival. High school sophomore archers with no experience in horseback riding participate. The number of arrows they hit the target is believed to predict the harvest of the year.

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