What are the three major festivals in Japan?
Every local shrine celebrates its own deity and holds festivals, so there are countless festivals, or matsuri, in Japan. The main purpose of a matsuri is to celebrate Shinto gods, and to pray for prosperity and good harvests. One of the important elements of a matsuri is the procession, in which the god of the shrine is carried through the town in a mikoshi (a sacred palanquin). A mikoshi is a special carriage for the gods (the people walking and singing alongside it are just attendants).
三大祭とその様子 The three best festivals in Japan and the atmosphere
There are many festivals in Japan, but the three major ones are Gion (Kyoto), Tenjin (Osaka) and Kanda (Tokyo). Let's take a look at them in detail and I'll describe the atmosphere of these festivals.
Gion Matsuri, (Kyoto, Yasaka Shrine): The Gion festival is held every year in the middle of July. The highlights of the festival are the parade of decorated festive floats over 6-meters tall, playing music from their upper floors, and also the festivities during the evenings before the parade. These floats are so gorgeous that they are sometimes even described as "mobile art museums."
Tenjin Matsuri (Osaka, Tenmangu Shrine): The Tenjin festival is a summer festival held in July at the Tenmangu Shrine, which is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane (the god of learning and art). One of the highlights of the festival is a parade of thousands of people dressed in the imperial-court style of the 8th-12th centuries, walking beside mikoshi. The other highlight is the boat procession. People board some one hundred boats and row up Yodogawa River.
Kanda Matsuri (Tokyo, Kanda Myojin Shrine): The Kanda festival is held at the Kanda shrine every year in mid-May. The procession of the mikoshi is the main attraction. A procession of 300 people parades 100 mikoshi through the town. Edoites are often described as high-spirited and combative, but even by their standards the festival is high-spirited and is said to reveal the essence of Edo today.
カナダ・オーストラリアに留学ののち、ボストン大学コミュニケーション学部修士課程ジャーナリズム専攻、東北大学博士前期課程人間社会情報科学専攻修了。通信社の国際金融情報部、出版社にて国内・海外の取材記事や交渉ほかを担当。海外通販会社の役員を経て、諸媒体の翻訳・執筆・プロデュース などを手がける。 著書に『コトバのギフト～輝く女性の１００名言』（講談社）、『スティーブ・ジョブズに学ぶ英語プレゼン』（日経BP社）ほか多数。仕事と趣味で旅した国は50カ国を超える。