It’s Festival Time!


Hello everyone,

As summer comes soon, it means festival time here in Japan. The first big festival of the year took place in Yoshiwara last weekend. The Yoshiwara Gion festival is lively, noisy and colorful event where teams of neighborhoods from the Yoshiwara district drag big floats called “dashi” through the streets. Inside each float there are kids and adults playing music with taiko drums, traditional flutes and bells. As we walked towards the festival, before we saw it, we could hear the music off in the distance. The festival is easy to find, simply follow the sound! Yoshiwara main street was very full when we got there on Saturday evening. There are plenty of stalls selling food and drink, along with games for kids to play where they can win a toy. Japanese festivals always have common food sold from these stalls. I think the most popular in shaved ice or “kakigori”. As the name suggests it’s simply ice, shaved into pieces, topped with sweet syrup. It’s really refreshing on a hot summer day. Other common festival foods are chocolate banana, fried chicken (which we had), fried beef, yakisoba, potato swirls, candy floss, and so on. People had to make way for the floats as they pulled along by noisy teams, who shouted in rhythm to encourage their team. They looked exhausted by the evening, as they had been dragging the huge float around all day!

I really enjoy the atmosphere at festivals here in Japan. Next up will be Fuji festival, which has a parade followed by fireworks at night. Did you know that each city in Japan has their own festival song? Fuji city has the “Fuji samba” song, which is played over and over during the parade. What festivals are you going to check out this year?



こんにちは皆さん! アラン・フィリップスですパー










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