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Must-See Summer Events to Attend in Japan
We have four beautiful seasons in Japan. If you ask me will what you should do in the summer time then I will enumerate some of the most cool events in Japan during this time. There are many events during the summer time. The summer time in Japan usually starts between July and August. During this time, don’t be surprised about the explicitness of heat and humidity of Japanese summer.
1. Tanabata Festival
Tanabata happens on the 7th of July. It is an event based on a Chinese old fairytale. According to legend, if you see the Milky Way on that day, your will dreams come true. But it is kind of rare to see the Milky Way on that day because the event is in the middle of a rainy season. We decorate bamboo trees with many ornaments that are made by papers. Also, you have to hang your wish-paper on the bamboo tree. The food in Tanabata is Somen because it looks like Milky Way. It is composed of thin wheat noodles and it is customary to eat it on that day.
2. Doyo Ushi no Hi
After the Tanabata Festival, you have to experience the “Doyo Ushi no Hi” (The midsummer day of the ox). It is on the last Saturday of July. It is an event where you can eat eel. The most popular eel food is that of a rice bowl with boiled eels on it. We call it “Una Ju (うな重)”. We think that it is the most hottest day of the year. Therefore we think that we should eat something that will give you more energy. The eel is full of meat as an egg. But it is just a way to make people buy more eels from eel shops as in popular lore.
In the second week of August, we have “Obon”. It is an event that based is on religion and spiritual beliefs. Buddhists thinks that their ancestors comes back to the world on that time. So many people held memorial services for their ancestors. Most people go back to their parents home and visit the family’s graves to pray for them in the Obon days.
After the Obon, the Ancestors have to go back to where they come from. Therefore we burn the fire to shine light into the way to go there. Other than that, we dance on the day after the Obon. We call it “Bonodori”(盆踊り). That is held in a summer festival. You should go and try it.
Obon is like Easter festival in America. It is the biggest family event next to New Years day in Japan. Many companies give holidays to their employees as summer vacations. It would be usually three or four days between 12th ~18th of August.