Must-See Summer Festivals in Japan

Summertime festivals are a way of life in Japan, and there are multiple festivals to see all over the country during the summer months. Lovers of Japanese dining will be excited to taste all of the foods that are popular at festivals. Exploring a festival is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and to have a once-in-a-lifetimes experience unlike anything else in the world. If you plan to visit Japan in the summer, here are some of the festivals that you can consider attending.

Tanabata Festival

Tanabata festival is based on a myth about the gods Orihime and Hikoboshi. Legend says that they were separated by the Milky Way but are reunited each year on the seventh day of the seventh month. Tanabata translates to “evening of seven,” and as such, it often begins on July 7. However, there are some regional variations in the start date of the festival. Tanabata festival attendees write their wishes on colorful paper and suspend them from bamboo.


Obon, which is also known as the Bon festival, is one of the biggest in Japan. It is held to honor ancestors and lost loved ones. People celebrate Obon in multiple ways, including doing a dance called Bon Odori and visiting the gravesites of lost loved ones. Obon is not a national holiday, but traditionally, most people get three days or more off of work at this time to spend time with family.


Fireworks displays are considered to be part of summer festival season. They are often included in Tanabata and Obon, and they are also incorporated into small, local and regional festivals. Sometimes, fireworks displays themselves are the reason for community gatherings. These happen throughout the summer, all over the country.

If you have can’t make it to Japan for festival season, you can make it to House of Genji for Japanese dining at its finest. Indulge in a Japanese cultural favorite—teppanyaki—as well as hibachi and a range of other Japanese staple dishes. Find out more about teppanyaki in San Jose and our other menu items by calling (408) 453-8120.

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