Aioi Peiron Festival
Aioi City, Nara Prefecture, Last Saturday &
Sunday of May
A major event signifying the start of summer with a regatta
at sea. The major hilghlight of the festival is the "Peiron"
boat race, which dates back to the early part of this century.
Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture, First Sunday
of every June
During World War I, a group of German prisoners were interned
in Naruto when Japan was allied with Great Britain. They actually
became friends with the local community. A German House (Doitsu-kan)
was established in 1972 to commemorate this friendship. In
1918 the internees gave the first rendition of Beethoven's
9th in Japan, and ever since then, the Japanese developed
a passion for it. On the first Sunday of June each year, hundreds
of people join in singing the "9th" at the German House. There
are also other fun-filled events that visitors can participate
during this "Deutsches Fest".
New Year's (Shogatsu)
1st January, 2000
One of the most important, holidays on the Japanese calendar,
is New Year's, which is celebrated for days, before and after
January 1st. Starting just before midnight, temple bells are
rung 108 times (8 times in the old year and 100 times in the
new), for the 108 sins of the Buddhist belief. New Year's
postcards (Nengajo) are delivered by the billions, usually
decorated with pictures of the animal representing the new
year, according to the Chinese zodiac calendar. Families gather
together and welcome the deity of the incoming year, (toshigami),
with feasts of traditional foods including zoni, a soup containing
mochi(pounded rice), traditionally served at the New
Year. Children receive money in specially decorated red envelopes.
Tamaseseri(Ball Catching Festival)
Hakozakigu Shrine, Fukuoka City, Kyushu, 3rd January,
The main attraction of this festival is a struggle between
two groups of youths to catch a sacred wooden ball, which
is believed to bring good luck to the winning team for the
Dezome-shiki(New Year Parade of Firemen)
Harumi Chuo-dori Street, Tokyo, January 6, 2000
The parade takes place in Harumi Chuo-dori street. Agile firemen
in traditional attire perform acrobatic stunts on top of tall
Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, 7th January, 2000
Otherwise known as the Bullfinch Exchange Festival of Dazaifu
Temmangu. Hundreds of people try to get hold of " good luck
" bullfinches made of gilt wood which are given away by priests.
They are passed from hand to hand in the dim light of a small
Imamiya Ebisu Shrine,Osaka, 9-11January, 2000
Festival of Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, thousands of people pray
for a successful New Year's business. " Ebisu " is the patron
deity of business and good fortune. The festival features
a procession of colorfully kimonoed women, carried in palanquins,
through the main streets.
Sanjusangendo Temple, Kyoto, 15th January, 2000
Traditional Japanese archery contest, which falls on "Coming
of Age Day" (a national holiday), the archery contest is conducted
in the rear of the 118-meter-long hall of the temple, participants
in traditional attire from different parts of Japan draw bows
and shoot arrows at a target.