Incentive Destinations: Summer Festivals in Japan

Gion MatsuriOne of the best times to plan an incentive trip to or corporate event in any destination is during festival time. Fortunately, Japan has festivals throughout the year that showcase the culture, music, dance, and traditions. Here are a few of the many festivals that take place in Japan during the summer.

Gion Festival (Kyoto)

In one of the most well known and elaborate festivals in the world, the Gion Festival is a full month of dancing, music, floats, torches, and fireworks. This festival. which dates back to the 9th century, has been designated as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Fireworks Festivals

Sumida River Fireworks Festival (Tokyo)

Dating back to the early 18th century, this fireworks festival lights up the river and the sky.

Nagaoka Festival (Niigata)

In one of the largest fireworks displays in Japan, for 2 nights, this dazzling display lights up the sky for a full 2 hours. The fireworks take place along a 2 kilometers riverbank making it the widest pyrotechnic display in the world.

Dance Festivals

Hanagasa Matsuri Festival

10,000 dancers in straw hats called hanagasa decorated in the prefecture flower, gather in Yamagata City in Yamagata Prefecture during the first week of August. There are large floats and 100 groups of dancers in routines that are perfectly synchronized.

Awa Odori Dance Festival

During the second week of August, another dance festival dating back 400 years, takes place. Some performances are on outdoor stages and there are also processions of dancers performing intricate routines.

Fire Festivals

Abare Festival (Ushitsu )

Huge Kiriko festival lanterns are paraded through the streets. As bells and Taiko drums play, 40 of the lanterns are placed around the bonfire. Shrines are burned the next night.

Daimon-ji Fire Festival (Kyoto)

During this festival that takes place in mid-August, huge kanji characters are set on fire in the hills overlooking Kyoto. The fires begin above Ginkaku-ji Temple (the Golden Temple) and spread out from there).

For other festivals in Japan, also consult. Japan Incentive Travel: Winter and Spring Festivals.

Photo Credit: Takeshi Kuboki

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