Japanese Holidays and Festivals to Enjoy in the Fall

Autumn can be a wonderful season for students to take up a Japanese language course in Tokyo. Japan’s fall foliage starts at the Daisetsuzan mountain ranges in Hokkaido. Japanese festivals have always been popular tourist attractions. Most fall festivals are related to autumn foliage and harvest. Here are some of the most popular fall festivals in Japan.

Taiiku no Hi (2nd Monday of October)

Popularly known as Health-Sports Day, the Taiiku no Hi (体育の日) is a national holiday that commemorates the 1964 Summer Olympics  in Tokyo. It aims to promote sports and healthful, active lifestyles among the people. Many schools and communities all over Japan hold sports festivals that include famous Olympic activities like sprint, long jump, and relay.

Bunka no Hi (November 3)

Also known as Culture Day, Bunka no Hi (文化の日) is a national holiday that promotes the arts, academic endeavor, and  Japanese culture. Festivities usually include parades, art exhibits, and recognition ceremonies for distinguished scholars and artists.

Tenno Tanjyo Bi (December 23)

In Japanese culture the Emperor’s birthday is considered a national holiday. On this day, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace. For Tenno Tanjyo Bi (天皇誕生日 ), the Emperor and the Imperial family appear at the palace’s balcony to acknowledge the well wishes of the public.

Honmonji O-Eshiki Festival (October 11-13)

More than 300,000 Buddhist followers attend the memorial services in memory of the death of their High Priest Nichiren.

Ikegami Honmon-ji Temple. | Dennis Amith

The memorial service is held at the Ikegami Honmon Temple and lasts for three days. Followers form their rows and recite a prayer made up of seven letters to the tune of flutes and drums that sound like “ten-ten-tsuku-tsuku.”

Jidai Matsuri (November 3)

Jidai Matsuri ((時代祭り), the Festival of the Ages, is a great reflection of Japan’s colorful culture. People dress in authentic Japanese costumes representing the country’s historical periods. A popular highlight of the festival is the afternoon parade of costumes when thousands of participants dressed as samurais, traditional Japanese soldiers, and common people from the Meiji Era take to the streets.