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Partying with Locals

Every year across Japan, communities come together and participate in Japanese ‘Matsuri’ (festivals) that help to promote community spirit and foster teamwork. Joining a Shizuoka Festival 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 Japanese word for festival 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.


Shizuoka has a wide variety of festivals throughout the year that are worth checking out if you are in the region.

From small local Autumn festivals celebrating the rice harvest, Spring sake festivals at the foothills of Mt Fuji through to the large Summer fireworks festivals attended by thousands of people from all around Japan.


Atami Onsen town is famous for Summer Fireworks festivals on the beach. Kawazu is known around the World for its Cherry Blossom festival starting in February. Shimoda has a great hydrangea festival in June.


Located so close to Mt Fuji, the area around Shin Fuji Station has long been a place for the Japanese to make a pilgrimage to in order to pay their respects to this great mountain.

Many of the traditional festivals still remain today including the Yabusame Archery Festival in Fujinomiya in early May.


Hamamatsu City and the areas surrounding the city, including Lake Hamanako and the towns in the Tenryu Area have a large number of traditional festivals throughout the year.

The largest of the festivals in Hamamatsu is the Kite Festival held over 3 days in May which sees nearly 1 million visitors.


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 Shizuoka Festivals and Events please check – Japan Travel & Tourism Association

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