Summer Festivals in Japan
From May to August, summer festivals of various scales are held in various parts of Japan. These include rice planting festivals, purification festivals, festivals of souls or shinkosai (Shinto festivals in which mikoshi (portable shrines) are paraded through the streets). From the day before the festival, the area is enveloped in a festive atmosphere. The energy of the people carrying the magnificent portable shrines and the enthusiasm of the onlookers seem to bring the summer heat to a peak.
Today’s summer festivals feature mikoshi carried by men wearing hanten (short coat) and matahiki (drawers) and street stalls of goldfish scooping, cotton candy, masks, etc., comprising the festival attractions in summer.
Most summer festivals are observed to thank the gods for a peaceful and happy life in the past half year or to prevent any disaster and appease the spirits of the deceased.
Fireworks displays, the Bon Festival (featuring bon-odori dances), hozuki (Japanese lantern plant) markets and morning glory markets are also regarded as summer festivals.