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Japan's Seasonal Festivals: Spring

Explore Japan's rich cultural tapestry with our guide to Spring festivals and events. From the girl-honoring Hina Matsuri to the vivid kabuki of Shiga's Hikiyama Matsuri, the elegant Takayama Sanno Matsuri in Gifu, and Fukuoka's lively Hakata Dontaku, experience the diverse and colorful celebrations that usher in Spring across Japan.

Hina Matsuri

Mar. 3rd

March 3rd is Hina matsuri, which is a celebration day for girls. Every household who has a daughter has a set of hina dolls, and people will bring it out of their closets and set it up in their house for display from around early February until mid March.

Hina Matsuri

Shiga: Hikiyama Matsuri

Apr. 9th - 16th

The most interesting thing you will see at this festival are children (only boys) dressed in traditional costumes and makeup performing kabuki on small stages built on floats. These floats are pulled around on the streets, starting at Hachimangu Shrine in Nagahama. The festival period is long, and each day has a different event.

Gifu: Takayama Sanno Matsuri

Apr. 14th and 15th

This festival is known as one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan. It celebrates the start of the spring, and multiple floats in bright colors and detailed decorations are slowly pulled by participants dressed in traditional costumes, for visitors to see. On each float is a puppet, and they will have short performances as well.

Takayama Sanno Matsuri

Fukuoka: Hakata Dontaku

May 3rd and 4th

This festival is a citizen's festival, and the main event is the huge parade run by over 28,000 people. Each group represents a corporation or a hobby team or a children's team of some sort, and they will dance and perform in their unique costumes.

Hakata Dontaku