men holding swords illustration

Japan’s world-class festivals

men holding swords illustration
Almost every town in Japan has their own traditional festival of two, but goo Ranking asked which are Japan’s world-class festivals.

The problem with a lot of the festivals in recent years are that they are far too crowded; the problem this year is that most have been cancelled or drastically scaled back.

I’d love to go to the Akita Nebuta Festival; as pictured above, huge papier mache float lit from the inside look impressive on television and probably even better in the flesh. I’ve been to the Gion Festival; not the actual parade, but the day before they have the danjiri – mobile shrines – on display so you can walk around and have a leisurely close-up view.

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is mental; the town itself is one of the rougher places in Osaka, and the danjiri are manned by the local neds and low-level gangsters (allegedly), who push the things through town at breakneck (sometimes literally…) speeds, occasionally knocking chunks out of buildings during tight turns. This is one that is safer to watch on the television.

What’s your favourite festival in Japan?

What people tend to get up to at summer music festivals

Following on from Disneyland, another big summer event is attending a festival. This ranking survey from goo Ranking looked at what sorts of things tend to happen at music festivals.


Between the 7th and 9th of July 2013 1,096 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 50.5% of the sample were female, 24.4% in their teens, 25.2% in their twenties, 24.8% in their thirties, and 25.6% in their forties; there was no-one older than 49 in this sample. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

Here’s a bunch of Santa Clauses playing with balls from about the only Japan music festival I can name, Summersonic:

Flaming Lips At Summersonic (6)

I’ve never been to a music festival either in Japan or elsewhere, so I cannot comment much; all I know is that Glastonbury usually ends up as a mud bath.

Fast food at firework festivals

As much part of Japanese fireworks festivals as the explosives themselves, the outdoor stalls selling various foodstuffs always attract lots of hungry punters. To find out what people just have to buy at these outdoor stalls, goo Ranking asked an unspecified number of people from the goo Research online monitor group that very question between the 19th and 21st of June 2007.

For me personally, the smell of cooking and sauces actually puts me off rather than attracting me! What do you like to eat?

A groundsheet, a fan and some beer for the perfect fireworks viewing

Do you plan to wear a yukata at the fireworks? graph of japanese statisticsI’ve rather given up on fireworks, as there are just too many people attending them these days so it never seems worth the hassle. Sadly, the numbers planning to attend fireworks this year was not reported, but a recent survey by goo Research conducted in conjunction with Metroguide magazine into fireworks displays came up with other interesting data.


Between the 7th and 8th of June 2007 1,092 members of goo Research’s internet monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. All respondents lived in Tokyo or the surrounding three prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba. No sex or age breakdown was reported.

The first year we stayed in my previous flat we had a great view of the Takarazuka fireworks from our balcony, but then they build a tower block right in the way, and although we lived barely 500 metres away from the heart of the party, we never bothered watching or going out. From our new flat, if we stand on chairs on the balcony we can just see parts of the Inagawa fireworks, but other than that, we haven’t been to fireworks for ages, and I don’t feel we’re really missing much.