Festivals

Japanese festivals are traditional festive occasions. Some festivals have their roots in Chinese festivals centuries ago, but have undergone great changes as they mixed with local customs.

Some are so different that they do not even remotely resemble the original festival despite sharing the same name and date. There are also various local festivals (e.g. Tobata Gion) that are mostly unknown outside a given prefecture. It is commonly said that you will always find a festival somewhere in Japan.

Unlike most people in East Asia, Japanese people generally do not celebrate Lunar New Year (it having been supplanted by the Western New Year’s Day, on January 1, in the late 19th century); although many Chinese residents in Japan, as well as some shrines and temples for religious purposes, still celebrate Lunar New Year in parallel with the Western New Year. In Yokohama Chinatown, Japan’s biggest Chinatown, tourists from all over Japan come to enjoy the festival. Similar for Nagasaki’s Lantern Festival that is based in Nagasaki Chinatown. See: Japanese New Year.

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