Summer is the season of festivals and fireworks in Japan. Pull your yukata out of the closet and start planning! Following is a list of the larger festivals going on around the prefecture in the following months, but remember to keep an eye out for local festivals going on in your town throughout the summer as well! Be sure to also check out the YIEA announcement section of this issue for a list of Shimonoseki-area festivities.
Ukai: Cormorant Fishing at Kintaikyo Bridge (June 1 through August 31)
Watch traditional cormorant fishing – fishermen using flaming torches and cormorant birds to fish – down on the river running under our famous bridge. Fishing occurs during the evenings under an illuminated Kintaikyo Bridge.
Hotaru Matsuri: Firefly Festivals (early June)
Once the fireflies show up in early June, towns throughout Yamaguchi host local firefly festivals—look for one near you.
Ajisai Matsuri: Hydrangea Festival (June 17)
Come to Hofu to see the colorful displays of over 4,000 hydrangea of 100 varieties at their blooming peak.
Yamaguchi Gion Matsuri (July 20 through 27)
A Yamaguchi City festival with 600 years of history and origins in Kyoto’s famous Gion Matsuri. On the first day there is a parade, starting at the Yasaka Jinja shrine, featuring performances of the Sagi no Mai (heron dance), music, and dancing.
Nishikigawa Mizu-no-saiten: Water Festival at the Nishiki River (First Saturday in August)
Fireworks over the Kintaikyo Bridge along the Nishiki River in Iwakuni.
Hofu Tenmangu Natsu Matsuri: Hofu Tenmangu Summer Festival (August 5)
The festival culminates in a fireworks show featuring over 3,500 fireworks.
Yamaguchi Tanabata Chochin Matsuri: Tanabata Lantern Festival (August 6, 7)
Spectacular dancing and beautiful lanterns on display in Yamaguchi City to celebrate Tanabata draw visitors from all over the prefecture.
Onoda Tanabata Matsuri (August 7)
Competitions, a bazaar and a closing laser show are the main events at this festival.
Iwakuni Tenjin Matsuri (August 10)
A traditional festival held every year.
Kingyo Chochin Matsuri: Yanai Goldfish Lantern Festival (August 13)
This festival features beautiful displays of Yanai’s famous goldfish lanterns.
Shimonoseki Kanmon Straits Fireworks Festival (August 13)
Easily the biggest event of its kind in Yamaguchi, this festival sees around 13,000 fireworks being released from both sides of the straits. People travel from all over the prefecture and beyond to see this event.
Mantoe (August 13 through 15)
Rows of stone lanterns lining the Daishoin and Tokoji Temples in Hagi, where the feudal lords of the Mori Family are buried, are lit up only once a year, during the Mantoe festival, resulting in a solemn and mystical atmosphere.
Suo-Oshima Fireworks Festival (August 16)
Around 8,000 fireworks are set off during this festival, with other attractions including lanterns and dancing.
The Aio Shrimp-Catching World Championships (late August)
A very popular event that sees competitors run out to the sea to catch delicious kuruma ebi, in a bid to become shrimp catching world champion.