fireworks festivals(Japanese version only):

summer festivals: (Japanese version only)

2023 calendar (Oct - Dec) - updated 14 Sept 2023

:national holidays
:the 24 solar terms in traditional East Asian lunisolar calendars


1 Oct-31 Dec  Red feather charity campaign
                        A red feather is given to a person who contributes to the community chest.
Meguro Pacific saury Festival(目黒さんま祭り), Tokyo
               cancelled in Shinagawa Ward
               8 Oct in Meguro Ward(the registration period closed)
7-9 Oct Nagasaki Kunchi Festival (長崎くんち), Nagasaki Prefecture
       This festival shows a strong influence of overseas cultures such as China, Holland and Portugal.
7-9 Oct  The event of cutting antlers(鹿の角きり), Nara Park, Nara Prefecture
              This event started in 1671 to prevent antlered deer from injuring people or another deers. The deers living around Nara Park have been regarded as the messengers of the Kasuga Grand Shrine and have been designated as a national natural treasure.
            A deer shot by a crossbow was found at the shrine in 2010.
           About Japanese deer
14 Oct  Railway Day (鉄道の日)
              What happened to the passangers on board trains in Tohoku when the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011?
              Bombed streetcars are still running on the streets in Hiroshima.
              A railroad company in Chiba made an intensive appeal on its web site, "Please buy our moist rice crackers to maintain the train service!!"
15-17 Oct  Kannamesai(神嘗祭), Ise Jingu Shrine, Mie Prefecture
            The emperor dedicates newly harvested rice to Amaterasu-Ohmikami, the Goddess of the Sun, an imperial ancestor.
            newly harvested rice, Red dragonfly, terraced rice paddies

19 and 20 Oct  Bettara fair(べったら市), Nihonbashi, Tokyo
                        This fair comes from Ebisu-kou.
20 Oct  Ebisu-kou(えびす講)
        Ebisu is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune regarded as the god who brings people success in business and the safety of their families.

22 Oct Jidai Matsuri(時代祭, the Festival of the Age), Kyoto
       Kurama no Himatsuri(鞍馬の火祭, the Fire Festival in Kurama), Kyoto
       Jidai Matsuri dates back to around 1895 and Kurama no Himatsuri comes from the relocation of Yuki Shrine to Kurama  in 940.
23 Oct The Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake (中越地震) occurred in 2004
            coloured carps and bullfighting
23 Oct (the 9th day of the 9th month in the lunar calendar)
       Double Ninth Festival or Double Yang Festival(重陽の節句,Chouyo-no-sekku)
       Du Fu's poem, Kisewata, the defining difference between classical Chinese and Japanese literature

27 Oct  (the 13th day of the 9th month in the lunar calendar)
           Jusanya(十三夜, the night or the moon on the 13th day of the 9th month in the lunar calendar)
          Jusanya and Jugoya form a pair and Jusanya  is unique to Japan.
28 Oct - 13 Nov  The Exhibition of Shoso-in Treasures(正倉院展), the Nara National Museum, Nara Prefecture
Visitors are asked to purchase an advance ticket with designated date and time. NO on-the-day tickets will be sold at the venue.

                            Empress Komyo dedicated her husband's mementos to Todai-ji Temple for the reason that they provoked deep sadness. Shoso-in's treasures comes from the mementos. Shoso-in served as a time capsule. We can see about 1250 year-old and best-preserved masterpieces in a remarkable state of preservation.

other posts:

autumn leaves in cool regions
autumn color of leaves in Nikko
Kaki(Japanese persimmon)
Sweet chestnut and Pacific saury
Kogarashi-ichigou(木枯らし1号, the first cold wintry wind of the year)
about autumn festivals
   In the 10th month in the lunar calendar, all of Shinto deities gather at Izumo Grand Shrine in Shimane Prefecture.
wedding season
     In the Edo Period, few commoners had their weddings.
Sweet Osmanthus, Teika-kazura, Common gardenia
Abe no Seimei and Yaku-yoke(厄除け,exorcism)
     Onmyoji played a role like a feng shui master in the earliest years, but they came to perform magico-religious rituals. Abe no Seimei was the most famous onmyoji.
Halloween in Japan
Imonikai(hot pot party)
Imonikai(芋煮会) is a hot pot party held outdoors in Tohoku region in autumn. From October to November, one can see many people enjoying hot pot parties on the river banks.
Castle in the Sky
Takeda Castle Ruins in Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture looks like an island floating on the sea of clouds in bright sunny early morning between autumn and winter.
susuki grass and cosmos
Japanese pampas grass(薄,susuki) is one of seven autumnal flowers.
the opening of renewed Tokyo Station and China's National Day in 2012
The 62nd Shikinen Sengu of the Ise Shrine


1-15 Nov  Shinjuku Gyoen Chrysanthemum Exhibition (新宿御苑菊花壇展), Tokyo
2 Nov  The Autumn Imperial Garden Party(秋の園遊会),  Akasaka Imperial Gardens, Tokyo
2-4 Nov Karatsu Kunchi Festival(唐津くんち), Saga Prefecture

11 Nov  Ichi no Tori (一の酉, the first day of the cock in November), Tori no Ichi (酉の市, the Cock Fair)

       annual festival held at the Otori Jinja shrines all over Japan on the days of the cock in November. A lot of kumade(bamboo rakes decorated with various lucky charms) are sold at the fair.
23 Nov  the second day of the cock in November(Ni no Tori, 二の酉)

8 Nov  Ritto(立冬,the first day of winter)
8 Nov  Fuigo Matsuri(ふいご祭, Bellows Festival)
       Artisans using fire used to hold this festival to thank the god of fire and pray for workplace safety. Now many cutlery companies and iron factories hold the festival. People in ancient times were familiar with this festival, but most of us are unfamiliar with it.

13 Nov  Inoko(亥の子)
         Inoko is an ancient custom to eat rice cakes at the time of the boar on the day of the boar in the 10th month in the lunar calendar. It appears in "The Tale of Genji". Tea ceremony gives importance to this day.
15 Nov Shichi Go San(七五三, The Seven-Five-Three Festival)
     A traditional event to celebrate children's growth and pray for their future good health. It comes from the ancient three events of obitoki  for 7-year-old girls, hakamagi  for 5-year-old boys and kamioki for 3-year-old boys and girls.
22 Nov (the 10th day of the 10th month in the lunar calendar)  Kamimukae-sai,(神迎祭) Izumo Taisha Shrine, Shimane Prefecture

Most rituals are closed to the public.
              Izumo Taisha Shrine priests receive the deities at Inasanohama Beach. It is said Shinto deities other than Ebisu gather at Izumo Grand Shrine(出雲大社, Izumo Oyashiro or Izumo Taisha)  in the 10th month in the lunar calendar. They also hold rituals on the 11th, 15th, 17th, 26th days of the 10th month in the lunar calendar.
      Kamiari-sai(神在祭)   November 23, 27 and 29, 2023
      Enmusubi-taisai(縁結大祭)     November 27 and 29, 2023
      Karasade-sai(神等去出祭)    November 29 and December 8, 2023
      Ryujashin-taisai(龍蛇神講大祭) (members only) November 23, 2023

22 Nov (the 10th day in the 10th month in the lunar calendar) Tokanya(十日夜)
              A harvest festival  held in the north part of Japan. The god of rice paddy goes back to the mountain on this day.
23 Nov Labor Thanksgiving Day(勤労感謝の日)
                 This festival is mirrored by Kannamesai. Unlike Kannamesai, the emperor eats offerings such as newly harvested rice and sake to the Goddess of the Sun at Niinamesai.
        sake(alcoholic beverages) as an offering to the gods at Niinamesai

other posts:

rain in late autumn and early winter. It's also the name of a cofection.
foliage season in Kyoto
autumn leaves
fallen leaves
Last days of Matsuo Basho(1644-1694), a haiku poet
autumn wild plants
lunch and confection in November

Shinju ten no Amijima(心中天網島:The Love Suicides at Amijima)
  Under a full moon, a paper merchant and a courtesan head for the Daicho-ji Temple. The monks of the temple belonging to the Jodoshu sect are spending night and day chanting sutras, from the night of the 5th day to the morning of the 15th day in the 10th month in the lunar calendar. The couple commit suicide on the early morning of the 15th day when the chants ends. Today, this chanting is held at many temples belonging to the Jodoshu sect in October or November.


2-3 Dec  Chichibu Yomatsuri(秩父夜祭, The Night Festival of Chichibu) , Saitama Prefecture
              The festival dates back some 300 years and  has been designated as an important national cultural asset.
1 - 24 Dec  The Festive Kaomise Production(吉例顔見世興行, Kichirei Kaomise Kogyo), Minamiza Theater,  Kyoto
          It's a grand kabuki show starring actors from east and west. In the Edo Period, Kaomise Kogyo was held from the 1st day of the 11th month to the middle of 12th month in the lunar calendar.
The Minamiza Theatre reopened in November, 2018. To mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Minamiza Theatre and  to celebrate its re-opening, the Festive Kaomise Production was held in November and December, 2018.
undecided SENDAI Pageant of Starlight(SENDAI光のページェント), Miyagi Prefecture
                 annual illumination event that citizen volunteers started in 1986
8 Dec(mainly in west areas)  Hari-kuyo(針供養:memorial service for old needles)
8 or 13 Dec  Shogatsu Kotohajime(正月事始め,The preparations for New Year's festivities )
              The preparations for New Year's festivities(正月事始め, Shogatsu Kotohajime) are started on December 8th in Tokyo, December 13th in Kyoto. At Gion in Kyoto, Geiko and maiko pay their devoirs to their masters with kagami-mochi (a round rice-cake offered to the deity) and make courtesy visits to ochaya where they entertain customers on December 13th.
             susuharai(煤払い,cleaning house), oseibo(お歳暮,year-end gift)
             kadomatsu(門松, pine decorations), pounding steamed rice
             We are not supposed to place pine decorations for New Year's Day on December 29th and 31st.
             Ame-yoko is crowded with shoppers buying the ingredients(mainly seafood) for New Year's dishes.

14 Dec Ako Gishi-sai (赤穂義士祭)
               the memorial festival for 47 Ako warriors(Ako Gishi).  The festival is held at several places associated with them. Late on the 14th day of the 12th month (corresponding to January 31st in 1703), forty-seven warriors raided the house of Kira.  The bunraku and kabuki play "Kanadehon Chushingura (仮名手本忠臣蔵) " is based on this incident. The 3D film "47 Ronin" is inspired by the play.
15-18 Dec  Kasugawakamiya Onmatsuri(春日若宮おん祭), Nara Prefecture
                     This annual festival started in 1136 and preserves the ancient forms of shrine rituals. At midnight on December 17th, people carry the god of the shrine from the shrine to Otabisho in complete darkness. Not only taking pictures but also turning on a flashlight is prohibited on the way to and from Otabisyo.
The offerings include confections from ancinet China. Chinese confections spread among Shinto shrines all over Japan as an offering to the gods.
17-19 Dec Asakusa Toshi no Ichi(浅草歳の市:Asakusa Year-end Fair), Sensoji Temple, Tokyo
                      The fair started in 1659. New Year's decorations and kitchen utensils were sold there. Now it's famous as a battledore(羽子板, hagoita) fair.
22 Dec the winter solstice(冬至)
               We eat pumpkins and take yuzu bath on this day.

25 Dec  Christmas
31 Dec  New Year's Eve (除夜 Joya, 大晦日 Omisoka)
                People eat year-end buckwheat noodles. On the night of December 31st, the Annual NHK Year-end Grand Song Festival is broadcast  and many people watch this program. People hear watch‐night bells at Buddhist temples ringing. Some visit Buddhist temples to ring the bell. At the midnight of New Year's Day, many people visit a shrine or a temple to offer their wishes to a god.
             Oharae(大祓) or Toshikoshi no Harae(年越の祓)
                 an event to purify people from half-year's worth of sin.  This event and Nagoshi no Harae in June  form a pair.
            Namahage Festival(なまはげ), Akita Prefecture
                Men in demons' masks go from house to house, saying "Naguko wa inega?"
            Joya no Kane(除夜の鐘)
                In Buddhist beliefs, human being are born with 108 worldly desires.The bell is rung 108 times to get rid of the desires.

other posts:

The Kanji of the year (今年の漢字 Kotoshi no Kanji)
  The Kanji of the year chosen by the Japanese Kanji Proficiency Society is announced in a ceremony on December 12 at Kiyomizu Temple.
the end of the year in the Edo Period and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
     A writer depicts battles between debtors and bill collectors on New Year's Eve in the Edo Period. The battle is over at the dawn of New Year's Day. All of them spend tranquil New Year's Holidays.
snow designs and dried persimmons
    Dried persimmons are available from mid-December. Kagamimochi(a round rice-cake offered to the deity) decorated with a dried persimmon is seen in Kansai region. A dried persimmon has been used as a lucky charm more than 400 years.
casual traditional confections
    everyday confections handed down from Edo times
confection named Hatsushimo(初霜: the first frost of the season)

Daikyoji Mukashi-Goyomi(大経師昔暦)
   Daikyoji was an excellent scroll mounter(picture framer) under the patronage of the Imperial Court and was entitled to issue calendars. Today there are some scroll mounters in Tokyo that was given the title of "Daikyoji" as an excellent scroll mounter by the Edo Shogunate.They had the right to bear a surname and to wear a sword during the Edo period. They had access to the Edo Castle. Most commoners were not allowed to have a surname in the Edo Period.

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