Partying with Locals

Every year across Japan, communities come together and participate in festivals that help to promote community spirit and foster teamwork. Joining in these events is one of the most unique and authentic experiences a visitor to Japan can have, offering a chance to party with the locals.

The opportunity to interact and party with the locals in a small town is a truly unique and amazing experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The word for festival in Japan is ‘Matsuri’ which translates to ‘worship’ and refers to any activity that involves consoling and showing respect to deities, spirits and the souls of the departed. They are also the heart of tradition in many Japanese communities.

Most local communities in Japan will have at least one festival a year and a typical Matsuri involves a lot of beer, sake and food, as well as plenty of sweat, tears and laughter. More often than not, there is an activity that promotes teamwork and requires a coordinated effort from everyone in the town.

In some instances this can be in the form of synchronised dancing or groups of people carrying a very large and often heavy portable shrine (Mikoshi) around on their shoulders for up to 8 hours over the course of a day.

It can be a real test of endurance and stamina, and result in very bruised shoulders, but there everyone comes away with a certain sense of achievement and stronger bonds in the community are formed as a result.

Some easily accessible Shizuoka Festivals:

  • Hamamatsu Kite Festival – May 3-5
  • Fujinomiya Sengen Shrine Festival – May – 3-5
  • Enshu Arai Hand-Held Fireworks Festival – July – Last Fri – Sun
  • Shimizu Port Tuna Festival – October
  • Fujinomiya Autumn Festival – Nov 3-5th
  • Haruno Akiha Shrine Fire Festival – Dec

For more information on Festivals and Events in Shizuoka please check Japan Travel & Tourism Association

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