Autumn

The Best 10 Water Festivals in Japan: Make a Splash Dive into the Water Fest!

Ryusei

Yuasa

Writer

Being a country surrounded by the ocean and having many water resources, Japan has a deep relationship with water. That is why we have many festivals based on the “water” theme. Usually, many of the water festivals are held in summer, but some are also held in winter, supporting the idea of mid-winter swimming. As there are so many festivals, it might be a challenge to choose a specific one to go. I hope this article would help you to choose the right one! I can give one major advice! Whether you want to attend a festival to have soaking fun or just to watch and relax, go light because there is a high chance that you will get wet! Bring that cloth that is fine to get wet. That being said, I would like to introduce great water festivals you can enjoy in Japan!

 

Contents:

Festivals You Can Actively Participate in

– The Kashima Gatalympics
– Rafting on Nabiki River
– The Fukugawa Hachiman Festival

Festivals You Can Enjoy Watching (Water Splashing Festivals)

– The Ojima Unjami Festival
– The Tenka Festival
– The Doya Doya Festival
– The Water Splashing Festival in Ohara
– The Water Splashing Festival in Oshima

Water Festivals Where You Can Relax

– The Onsen Festival in Beppu
– The Cherry Blossoms in Chidorigfuchi Park

Q.&A.

-I don’t have time to participate in water festivals, but I want to have fun! Where should I go?
-Is the water clean?
-Do you get wet just by attending the festival?
-Where else can I visit and enjoy the water?

Festivals You Can Actively Participate in

 

1. The Kashima Gatalympics

This festival might technically not be “watery”, but it’s somewhat “liquid” and is extremely fun so I am going to introduce it to you guys! Held in Saga prefecture, a festival is a crazy event where sports games are held in a field of mud! At the festival, there are various games such as mud-wrestling, mud-relays, where you can just go crazy with your friends. You can participate with your friends in the games, or just watch how people get dirty and laugh, but I guarantee you will have a great time either way!

Details and Access

The festival is a 5-minute walk from Hizen-Nanaura station, but coming by car is easier.
The festival is held in late May or early June, and my advice would be to bring an extra pair of clean clothes!
For more info, check here:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/3680/

2. Rafting on Nabaki River

Rafting is a famous and popular summer activity for many people around the world, including Japan. I am going to introduce a rafting festival. What makes this festival special is that you have to participate with your own handmade rafts! This event is taking place in Chiba prefecture each year at the end of July. Many people gather with their families and friends to compete in the rafting race on the Nabaki River. The winners are rewarded with prizes! Anybody can participate in the race, so get your fellow friends and have a great splashing fun on the river this summer!

Details and Access

The closest station is Mobara station, and from there, a bus will take you to your destination. To participate, you have to fill in a document you can get from the link below. Wish you all the best luck!
http://www.town.shirako.lg.jp/0000002290.html
For more info, check here:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2627/

3. The Fukugawa Hachiman Festival

The Fukugawa Hachiman festival is a festival to cool you down in the hot summer! This festival is held each year in mid-summer on the street to Tomioka Hachiman shrine in Tokyo. During the festival, people carry a portable shrine called “Mikoshi”, parading along the streets. The main part of this festival is when spectators throw water at the Mikoshi carriers, and that is why this festival is also known as the water splashing festival. Summer in Tokyo gets extremely hot and humid, so this is the festival to participate if you want to cool yourself down at a great event!

Details and Access

The nearest station is the Monzen-Nakacho station, about 3-minutes on foot to the festival. The dates vary each year, but it is basically held in the latter weeks of August. I recommend bringing towels and extra clothing as it gets really wet!
For more info, check below:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/780/

Festivals You Can Enjoy Watching (Water Splashing Festivals)

 

1. The Ojima Unjami Festival

The word “Unjami” is a special word used only in Okinawa, meaning “the God of the Ocean”. Held in Ojima, Okinawa prefecture, this festival aims to pray for good fishing and safety and conducts a boat race in the beautiful ocean of Okinawa. The rowboats with oars using man-power make the races very exciting to watch! After the races, local people play live traditional music and serve fresh seafood, so there is a lot to enjoy at this festival!

Details and Access

Ojima is located in the southern part of Okinawa prefecture, so I recommend renting a car at Naha airport. The festival is held in mid-June, so be sure to bring a swimsuit with you!
For more info, check here:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4228/

2. The Tenka Festival

When you think about water festivals, you might as well imagine that they are being held in the hot summer season, but not in this one! The Tenka Festival is held in mid-winter – in February, in Aichi prefecture. The festival `s purpose is achieving good luck, and to do so you must fight your way through being half-naked in a huge group of men in order to touch a sacred wooden sphere, soaked in water. Over 100 people attend this festival, and each one of them is fighting his way through splashed in the water. This is astonishing to watch!

Details and access

The festival takes place in Toyota city, which is about an hour by train from Nagoya station. The closest station is Toyota-shi station, and from there a shuttle bus will take you to the venue.
For more info, check here:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/4200/

3. The Doya Doya Festival

Here is another festival held in mid-winter that will give you chills by just watching it. The festival takes place at Shinto temple in Osaka every January, which is considered to be the coldest month of the year. In the festival people participate half-naked, getting splashed with ice-cold water and fight for an amulet thrown into the crowd, wishing for the best luck throughout the year. Over 600 people participate, and the view is astonishing, especially with the steam emerging from the bodies as it gets splashed.

Details and Access

The festival is a 2-minute walk from Shitenojimae-Yuhigaoka station.
It’s going to be extremely cold, so be sure to bring warm clothes.
For more info, check here:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2037/

4. The Water Splashing Festival in Ohara or Daito Ohara Mizukake Festival

Known as the “Crazy Festival of Ohara”, this festival takes place in Iwate prefecture, in mid-February when outside is freezing. Iwate prefecture is one of the coldest places in Japan, so just thinking about this festival gives me the shivers. This festival`s purpose is to pray for health, safety, and protection against fire accidents, and it has been going on since the Edo period. At this festival, men run half-naked down the streets of Ohara which represents fire. And people splash water on them as they come closer. It`s very exciting to watch, and that is not all. You can enjoy traditional entertainments and great food while you’re there!

Details and Access

The festival is held every year in February. The nearest station is Surisawa station, and from there you should take a bus to the site. You can watch this festival from a safe area too, but I recommend you watching it from where you can get soaked! The excitement is completely different!
For more info, check here:

https://www.jalan.net/event/evt_214404/

5. The Water Splashing Event in Oshima

This festival takes place in Oshima, Saga prefecture. Wishing for good harvest and health, people in Oshima have been conducting the water splashing event for over 200 years! Each year in February, each person holding a bucket in their hands waits for participants who split into 2 teams. Early in the evening, as the sun sets beneath the horizon, the water splashing begins! With participant`s fierce roars water splashes everywhere, soaking anything that comes on its way. The view is astonishing, and the heat of the festival is sure to drive coldness away.

Details and Access

You can see this festival every year in February, at the public hall of Oshima, which is in Kanzaki city in Saga prefecture. You can get there easily by car.
For more info, check here:
https://www.asobo-saga.jp/event/detail.html?id=2428

Water Festivals Where You Can Relax

 

1. The Onsen Festival in Beppu

Known as the land of hot springs – Beppu in Oita prefecture is a place for this festival. During the event, you can experience over 100 hot springs of Beppu for free and have a wonderful time! Each hot spring has a different health effect on you, so try as many hot springs as you can! Many other events take place during the festival such as food events and Mikoshi parades, so you can enjoy both exciting events and relaxing time in the onsen!

Details and Access

The festival is held every year from the 30th of March to the 3rd of April, so you have plenty of time to relax!
The closest station is Beppu station.
For more info, check here:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/791/

2. Cherry Blossoms in Chidorigafuchi Park

Cherry blossoms in spring are one of the most famous things of Japan. Every year people gather in parks under a cherry blossom tree to enjoy the beautiful view. There is a spot where you can enjoy the view, but what makes this spot special is that you can see the blossoms from the water! In the middle of Tokyo Chidorigafuchi Park has a huge pond that allows people to enjoy the 260 cherry blossom trees from above the water. Drifting on the boat under beautiful cherry blossoms – how well does that sound? I am sure you will have a wonderful moment, especially when you are tired of busy Tokyo.

Details and access

The nearest train station is Kudanshita station, and the cherries start blossoming from late March to the beginning of April.
There are no parking lots near the park, so be careful if you are planning to come by car!
For more info, check here:
https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/cherry-blossoms-in-chidorigafuchi-park-enjoy-hanami-from-boat-tokyo

Q.&A.

I don’t have time to participate in water festivals, but I want to have fun! Where should I go?
– There are many water parks in Tokyo where you can go throughout the year. Those places are extremely fun as well, so try considering it if you have little time.

Is the water clean?
– Many water splashing events use tap water, and Japanese tap water is extremely clean so don’t worry about getting anything.

Do you get wet just by attending the festival?
– You can stay dry if you don’t want to get wet, but it is better to have a towel with you just in case. After all, it’s a water event!

Where else can I visit and enjoy the water?
– Japan is surrounded by the ocean, so there are many beaches. Even if not, we have many beautiful rivers all over the country, so why not visiting one if you have some spare time and want to cool down a bit. You can always rent a boat or a raft!

Closing Remarks

Water festivals are extremely fun, and you can enjoy them throughout the year in Japan. My personal advice about participating in these events is “do not to hesitate”. We have many water splashing events in Japan, and it is possible for you to just watch it at the edge, staying away from becoming wet. Of course, that is one way of having fun, but I recommend you getting soaked standing in the front line! You might feel cold and become wet, but that way you can feel the festival better, and it will give you better memories! To do so, you should always bring extra pairs of clothing, and a towel with you. The festivals introduced here are all exciting, and I hope you will have a great time!

Experience Fire Festivals in Japan

Do you like that mystical scenes and atmosphere that fire creates in the darkness? I always liked watching the fire as it has a hypnotic effect. Even though there are not so many fire festivals in Japan, some of them are still taking place serving many religious purposes or victory celebrations. If you are looking forward to having some cultural experience in the dark with fire in Japan, the following article will introduce you to 10 Best Fire Festivals in Japan. Please click on the link below!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5190/

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Tokyo Stay!

Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/ 

Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Did You Know That There is a Festival Every Day Somewhere in Japan?

Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/6572/

Ryusei Yuasa

Hi I’m Ryusei. I’m a university student, and love to play sports, listening to music, and communicating with people.

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