Summer festivals, or Natsu Matsuri, as they are called in Japan, are a common tradition enjoyed by many during the sweltering months of July and August. There are an abundance of local festivals scattered all over Japan, mainly because almost every shrine celebrates one of its own, in commemoration of the shrine’s deities or historical events. In modern times, these festivals have undergone dramatic changes, and some do not even bare a remote resemblance to their original, intended purpose. That being said, many traditional and beloved customs are still cherished and practiced by festival- goers to this day.
These summer festivals are loud and crowded occasions with hundreds of locals who participate in the dances, which are often the main attraction of the festivals. They also sometimes feature large floats (read our Nebuta Matsuri article to learn more) that are carried throughout the town accompanied by the booming sound of drums and high-pitched flute music.
Another notable trademark of these summer matsuri are the booths that surround the festival grounds. Locals set up booths that sell delicious food such as takoyaki, candied apples, and shaved ice, while other booths feature games and contests like kingyo sukui (goldfish scooping) and karaoke contests.
Natsu matsuri hold a special place in the hearts of many as attending them undoubtedly make for an unforgettable summer, but are also a reminder of being young and having a good time!
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祭り A view of the festival grounds/goers
たこ焼き Takoyaki Booth
神輿 Mikoshi: A sacred palanquin/ portable shrine on display
小さい神輿 a smaller mikoshi on display
富岡八幡宮 A nighttime view of the festival