May festivals in Japan

Feb 2nd, 2005, 03:32 AM
  #1  
emd
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May festivals in Japan

I am thinking of going back to Japan in May and really would like to time it to go to at least one good festival. Arriving Nagoya, itinerary is open from there. I see the Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto on May 15, which looks wonderful. Do you know of other good festivals in May?
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 04:46 PM
  #2  
emd
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Anybody been to any good festivals in May?
Just checking once more. I want to reserve dates in next few days and am open for going around time of any good festivals.
Thanks in advance.
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Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:27 PM
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There might be a sakura matsuri in Hokkaido at the beginning of May.

There is a festival search option at jnto.go.jp

Am toying with the idea of flying Nagoya to Sapporo and see some more of Hokkaido then fly to Toyama. There are nonstops from CTS to TOY. Then go down the Kiso Valley and return to Nagoya. Or maybe take a bus to Shirakawago, to Takayama or Gero, then train back to Nagoya.

Another route I am considering is Kisoji, Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, Shirakawago, and the bus from S-go to Nagano. Maybe Unazuki onsen.
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Feb 3rd, 2005, 02:49 AM
  #4  
emd
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The alpine route sounds interesting and beautiful in NJS, but you'd need a coat in May ~o) That's hot cocoa in the cup. BTW, Vermont Country Store has good silk thermals w/warm lining- you may need them.
There is certainly enough to stay busy in Chubu, esp. w/less time (I am thinking 10 days also). And it makes sense to see that area while coming and going from there. Other islands are knocking at the door though.
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Feb 3rd, 2005, 06:59 PM
  #5  
emd
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I can't stand it, I have to tell someone. I have been busy w/a new work project tonight and everyone here is asleep already. I just got around to opening the several Fed Ex packages that came today and one of them was a surprise. It is our JR pass vouchers!! I'm so excited I can't stand it. My first JR pass! I'm going to go wake up my son and show it to him. Yowza! 5 more weeks.
Sorry if this seems mundane, but we have planned for so long, and who else besides someone else who has waited for months and months to order their first JR pass could understand.
I hope I can sleep tonight, I am going over the train reservations I need to make in my head!
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Feb 3rd, 2005, 08:03 PM
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kewl!
http://www.world.eki-net.com/
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Feb 3rd, 2005, 08:41 PM
  #7  
emd
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thanks! but I think i'll keep w/the plan to make all the reservations for the trains at one time when I get to Japan and activate the pass.

YES, it's so kewl! will know in next few days if i have pocket change for NGO. If so, Post business section will run the story.
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Feb 4th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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I would say, right off the top of my head, that if one is picking any month to go to Japan for festivals, May would be the month to choose, even more than Sakura time. Consequently, it can be very hard to get reasonable lodging in the various cities and towns at festival time, partic. Tokyo.

In Tokyo, there are three grand festivals, the biggest, Sanja Matsuri, and the Kanda Festival are both held around the first two weeks of May (don't know exact dates). The third great festival, Sanno, is held in June, I believe. The festivals celebrate their particular shrine's deities by carrying several dozen Mikoshi (portable shrines) through the streets.

Sanja Matsuri Festival- At any time in Asakusa, when you wander the back streets around Sensoji, you will see various Japanese shops that have been in the family for generations, and many of these shops cater specifically to the above-mentioned festival-i.e., selling clothing and objects that are used in the festival, which attracts some 2 MILLION spectators a year. In fact, the shop I'm thinking of that I was in last April has a running video in the store of the previous year's Mikoshi, which is interesting to watch. Geishas, musicians, magicians, spectators, even dressed-up dogs join in the fun. One of the most interesting aspects of this Festival is that it is the only time of year that the Japanese Yakuza are allowed to appear and OPENLY display their vivid tattoos, which normally is against the law to do. That would be a different experience, I think!

BTW, I wanted to go to Tokyo's Asakusa during this time period, but there was no way, no rooms, jacked up festival rates-I had to go in April instead.

2. The Kanda Festival at Tokyo's large Kanda Shrine. This festival too, features more of the same, Mikoshi and geishas, but is not quite as large as Sanja Matsuri, I believe.

As you mentioned the Aoi Fesitval takes place in May in Kyoto, where participants dress up in Heian period costumes and make their way to the shrine following a prescribed route, using ox carts and horses as well.

These are many more held throughout Japan-you might want to do a net search to check dates.
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