Japan is a country that likes to celebrate. Well actually, what country doesn’t like to celebrate? But it seems that the rapid changes in seasons has inspired festivals to appreciate the beauty of nature before it is gone for another year. This is no more apparent than in the cherry blossom season when families flock to admire the pretty petals before they are gone for another year. There are also the traditional Shinto and Buddhist celebrations, and let’s not forget the Emperor’s birthday! Fifteen of these festivals count as a national holidays, so that’s fifteen days off for work for me.

On first thought I’d planned trips to places to see the biggest, most famous festivals in Japan. The dolled-up twenty year olds in Kyoto, the Ice Festival in Sapporo and, the naked man festival in Okayama! Yet several inconvenient events happened, such as my car broke down and I got the date of a festival wrong, that made me realise that: 1) it’s much more convenient for me to write about local festivals, and 2) it may even be more interesting to write about rural, small town festivals than the ones which are in all the guidebooks. So Fukui’s festivals it is.

Here is what you expect to read about in the next twelve months:

January – New Year and Coming-of-Age Day (for twenty year olds)

February – Daffodil festival on Echizen’s coast

March – Doll’s Festival (to pray for young girls’ growth and happiness)

April – Hanami – cherry blossom viewing

May – Golden Week and Children’s Day

June – Rice planting

July – Firework festivals

August – Obon festival – a Buddhist event to remember the spirits of ancestors

September – Respect for the Aged Day

October – Chrysanthemum festival – famous in my city

November – Kouyou –  Autumn leaves viewing

December – The Emperor’s birthday

Here’s a taste of what to come.

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