One of the best times to visit Japan is in the summer. In the month of June alone, the country holds several dozens of vibrant festivities and events that should make your trip a fun and enjoyable one, something that you will treasure for a long time.
The following are highly recommended festivals and activities in Japan in June that you should not miss:
Izu Shimoda Ajisai (Hydrangea) Festival – June 1-30, 2019
For some gorgeous nature experience, the Hydrangea Festival at Shimoda Park is a must-see event. Throughout the entire month of June, it showcases the 150,000 hydrangea flowers that cover the 81-acre park in full bloom.
Open to the public for free, it offers a nice and pleasant uphill stroll through the hydrangea garden filled with purple, pink, blue, and white flowers, surrounded by green and thriving forests. Once you reach the top of the hill, you can also enjoy fantastic views of the skies and mountains around.
Visit the official Shimoda City Tourist Association website to learn more about the festival.
Yosakoi Soran Festival – June 5-9, 2019
Introduced in 1992, the Yosakoi Soran Festival is a dance festival celebrated in the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido. It features tens of thousands of Japanese and international dancers dressed in colorful outfits, playing their naruko clappers to the melody of Hokkaido’s Soran Bushi folk music.
During the five-day event, visitors can watch dance performances with lively and dynamic choreography on stage or during the parade held at Odori Park and other parts of the city, or even join in and showcase their dancing prowess at the Waodori Square dance floor. Local dishes are also served at the food stalls around the event sites.
Check out the official website of the Yosakoi Soran Festival for more information.
Chagu Chagu Umakko – June 8, 2019
Held in Iwate Prefecture every second Saturday of June, Chagu Chagu Umakko is a horse festival that features a parade of a hundred horses wearing colorful robes, bells, and decorations. Its name is an onomatopoeia, derived from the “chagu chagu” sounds that the horses’ bells make while they walk.
At 8:30 in the morning, these beautifully adorned horses begin to gather at Onikoshi Sozen Shrine, preparing for the four-hour-long procession to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine. The parade starts at around 9:30 pm and ends before 2 pm, and is open to the public for free.
This 2019, the Chagu Chagu Umakko will be observed on June 8th. More information is available on Iwate’s Official Travel Guide.
Tohoku Jibiiru Festival – June 14-16, 2019
If you love beer, you should make sure to include Akita City to your itinerary. For three days every June, the city holds Tohoku Jibiiru Festival or Craft Beer Festival, which gives visitors the opportunity to get a taste of the different products of the 12 major brewing companies in this part of the country.
More than 100 kinds of beer from Iwate-kura, Akita Aqula, North Island, Tazawa-ko, and other brewers are available to try, and prices start at 500 yen. There are also other meat, snacks, and other Japanese foods for sale that you can pair with your beer.
This 2019, Akita Aqula will be the host, and the Akita Aqula official website provides more information on the event.
Sanno Matsuri – June 7-16, 2019
One of the three great festivals of Edo, along with the Kanda Matsuri and the Fukugawa Matsuri, the Sanno Matsuri is an annual celebration held in central Tokyo.
During the 11-day festivities, there are several small events held, such as Shinto ceremonies and rites. However, the main attraction is the parade that features elaborately decorated floats and portable shrines, starting from and ending at Hie Shrine, a 15th century Shinto shrine in Chiyoda, Tokyo.
This 2019, the event is held from June 7 (Friday) to June 16 (Sunday). You can find more information about Hie Shrine and the festival on the Hie Jinja website.
Himeji Yukata Festival – June 22-24, 2019
With a history that dates back to more than 260 years ago, the Himeji Yukata festival is an ancient Japanese festival where people can enjoy a wide variety of local dishes, drinks, and music at the hundreds of food and drink stalls scattered around Himeji Park, while wearing their yukata or summer kimono.
Worn by men and women, yukata is a type of Japanese clothing that looks like a kimono but is made of cotton or some other light fabric material. It was originally worn by the Japanese as a bathrobe, but its use has expanded to fireworks festivals, bon-odori festivals, and outdoor summer events in the modern times. It is also commonly worn by guests at onsen or hot spring resorts all-year-round.
If you want to attend the event, do not forget to bring your favorite yukata to avail of discounted rates to the Himeji Castle, museum, zoo, and other sites in the city. Also, visit the official Himeji Yukata Festival website for more information.
Izawanomiya Otaue Festival – June 24, 2019
An annual event held in Mie Prefecture, the Izawanomiya Otaue Festival is a Shinto tradition related to rice planting, considered to be an important intangible national cultural heritage and one of Japan’s three most important rice planting festivals, along with the one in Chiba held in April and the Sumiyoshi Festival in Osaka.
During the event, groups of men perform a rice planting ritual to ask for good and bountiful harvest. There is also some kind of a game in which teams of men wearing loin cloths try to be the first ones to get to and grab the large bamboo pole placed at the bottom of the muddy rice field. The ones who succeed are said to receive blessings and protection while they are at sea.
Held at the Izawanomiya or Izawa Shrine, which is one of Ise Grand Shrine’s 123 Shinto shrines, it is open the public free of charge. You can go check out the official Ise-Shima Travel Guide website.