Matsuri, or festivals, are celebrated throughout Japan. They can be secular or sacred, solemn or chaotic. Some festivals are celebrated nationally such as Kodomo no hi or Children's day which is celebrated by flying carp flags. Other festivals are organized on the local level based around established communities. These festivals are typically more intimate, involving active participation from the people in the area. Some festivals are smaller and more low-key while others are grandiose involving tens of thousands of people and costing millions of dollars. We were fortunate enough to take part in a variety of different festivals, including two of the largest festivals in Japan, Kyoto's Gion Matsuri and Tenjin Matsuri of Osaka. We also took part in smaller festivals, such as Taiso Obon Matsuri in Tokyo and the Mitarashi Matsuri at Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto.
Learn more about our experiences at these festivals by clicking on the links below.