When you think of September in Japan, what do you think of? Hot weather? The start of fall? I bet you don’t think of a nationwide sumo wrestling tournament, or a massive EDM music festival that features A-list DJs like The Chainsmokers and Steve Aoki. But these events are happening in September, among several others! You can’t miss these 10 incredible things happening in Japan this September 2018.
1. Kiyomizu-dera Blue Dragon Festival
Held at Kyoto’s famous Kiyomizu temple, the main event of this annual festival is a colorful dance procession done through the neighborhood of the seiryu, or “Blue Dragon”. Those participating in the festival wear costumes, carry props, play instruments, and chant in unison. It’s truly a sight to behold!
WHERE: Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto
WHEN: Sept 14-15
2. Sumo Wrestling Grand Tournament
As the national sport of Japan, sumo wrestling continues to sell out entire stadiums, even to this day. The national tournament is only held a handful of times each year, so if you want to witness this iconic traditional Japanese sport, this is your chance to do it.
WHERE: Ryogoku Kokugikan Stadium in Tokyo
WHEN: Sept 9 to 23
3. Danjiri Matsuri
Nationally regarded as one of the rowdiest festivals in Japan, this 300-year-old festival consists of neighborhoods vying for glory by racing 4-ton “danjiri” floats and around the city. Standing on top of the elaborately carved floats are musicians and dancers, who are forced to hold on for their lives as the men supporting the floats turn sharp corners. It’s an incredibly high-risk event; in fact, at least one person dies at this festival almost every single year.
WHERE: Kishiwada Castle, Kishiwada City, Osaka
WHEN: Sept 15-16
4. Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair
Lovers of Japanese manga and anime can’t miss this massive two-day trade show/market held at the Miyako Messe Convention Center in Kyoto. It is one of the biggest manga/anime events held in the Kansai region! Ticket price is 1200yen ($12 USD), but foreigners who bring their passports can get in for free!
WHERE: Miyako Messe Convention Center, Kyoto
WHEN: Sept 15-16th, 9am-5pm
5. Kinchakuda Higanbana Field
In Japan, haganbana, or red spider lily in English, is a very famous autumn flower. After they begin to bloom in mid-September, these gorgeous red flowers can be found in fields all over Japan until they peak at the end of month. The biggest of all of the haganbana fields is located in Saitama Prefecture, just outside of Tokyo. If you are visiting Japan in mid-to-late September, you simply can’t miss this incredible sight!
WHERE: Kinchakuda, Hidaka City, Saitama Prefecture
WHEN: mid to end of September
6. Universal Studios Japan Halloween Celebration
The second largest theme park in Japan, USJ sure knows how to throw a seasonal celebration! Halloween is a holiday that USJ takes very seriously, and from early September all the way through early November, the park becomes a fun, autumnal, haunted-house themed Halloween wonderland! Spend a day at USJ during this time to experience special horror attractions, spooky food, merchandise, and live music and shows.
WHEN: Sept 7 – November 4
WHERE: Universal Studios Japan, Osaka
7. Huisten Bosch Kyushu Ichi Fireworks Festival
The “Ichi” in the event title is there for a reason – this fireworks festival is known to be the number one fireworks display in all of Kyushu, and for good reason. Over the course of the 2 and 1/4 hour-long show, an astounding 22,000 fireworks will be released into the night sky.
WHERE: Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki
WHEN: Sept 22, 6:45pm-9:00pm
8. ULTRA JAPAN 2018
If you are a lover of EDM music, you’ll likely recognize some names from last year’s lineup at this festival – including The Chainsmokers, Steve Aoki, and Tiesto. Last year, over 100,000 fans turned out to see their favorite EDM artists, and this year is expected to be just as big. ULTRA JAPAN is by far the biggest EDM music festival in Japan, and it’s a party that you don’t want to miss!
WHERE: Tokyo Odaiba Ultra Park
WHEN: Sept 15-17
9. Kangestu no Yube (Full Moon Viewing)
A calm and enchanting nighttime experience, this traditional event dates all the way back to the Heijan era. If you attend this full moon viewing, you can float on a boat and look up at a clear autumn moon as it reflects down over Osawa Pond. There is also a tea ceremony with green tea and sweets, as well as musical performances.
WHERE: Daikakuji, Kyoto
WHEN: Sept 22-24, 5-8pm
10. Yamanakako Hanano Miyako Kouen
Lake Yamanaka, next to the infamous Mount Fuji, is the perfect place to view an endless field of golden cosmos flowers, which happen to be the “cherry blossom of Autumn” in Japan! Starting in mid-September, the golden flowers bloom for one month, and the Lake Yamanaka Flower City Park is the perfect place for anyone to come view them for free!
WHERE: Lake Yamanaka Flower City Park, near Mt. Fuji
WHEN: mid-September to mid-October
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