Celebrate: Golden Week 2016

The craziest time of Japan's travel calendar is almost upon us. Who's ready for Golden Week 2016?? Golden Week is made up of four individual holidays. Starting off the spree on April 29th is Showa Day. This date marks the birthday of the late Emperor Showa (known to most non-Japanese as Hirohito, Japan’s Imperial ruler during... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Silver Week

Think Japan's holiday travel madness is reserved only for Golden Week? You're nearly right, but every five to six years, a special holiday comes around on the calendar - Silver Week. I have to admit, with the craziness of the move and the trip to Tohoku this past summer, I almost forgot entirely about this... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Tanabata 2014

Happy Star Festival, fellow Japanophiles! Today, July 7th, is Tanabata, one of Japan's more colorful national festivals. The holiday is officially celebrated on July 7th, but in the weeks leading up to it, bamboo cuttings begin appearing outside shops and in front of department stores, near train stations and next to shrines. People write their wishes... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Culture Day

Happy Culture Day, everyone! Yes, welcome to the fourth of fall's many three day weekends. I'm taking advantage of this one as much as possible, with a visit to the Karatsu Kunchi (festival). So what's Culture Day all about? Well, interestingly enough, today actually celebrates the current Japanese constitution. "Now, hold on a sec ...",... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Shichi-go-san

If you're in Japan tomorrow, my advice to you is to hightail it to a shrine. November 15th is Shichi-go-san (literally 7-5-3), a celebration of children aged 3, 5 and 7 and you haven't lived until you've seen adorable toddlers kitted out in full kiddie kimonos.*   This colorful holiday was once reserved for samurai... Continue Reading →

Celebrate: Obon

Mid-August is a hard time to travel around Japan. It's hot, it's muggy, everything's crowded because the kids are out of school and then - BAM - all of a sudden, it seems that everyone and their brother (which is very nearly the truth) is crowding onto your train to Kyoto! Where on earth did... Continue Reading →

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