Cherry blossom viewing in Japan

Cherry blossom viewing in Japan

The cherry blossom is dear to Japanese hearts. As the blossoms emerge every spring, families and friends will gather across Japan to view their national flower (sakura) in bloom, drink warm sake and snack on sweet dumplings, in a tradition known as hanami...
Plum blossom festival heralds spring in Kyoto

Plum blossom festival heralds spring in Kyoto

On a cool February day in Kyoto, geisha serve tea and sweet cakes in an outdoor ceremony beneath plum blossom. This annual Plum Blossom Festival heralds the start of spring and honours a 9th century scholar and poet, Michizane Sugawara, a court official who greatly...
Valentine’s Day in Japan

Valentine’s Day in Japan

They do things differently in Japan. On Valentine’s Day in Japan it’s the girls who give to the boys, and it’s always chocolate. A girl can give chocolate to as many men as she likes but the quality and quantity will indicate how she really...
Coming of Age Day in Japan

Coming of Age Day in Japan

The Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi) festival in Japan is celebrated on the second Monday in January, and honours young Japanese who reach the age of 20 in the current year (from April to April). Twenty marks the transition to adulthood, and is also the age at which...
Obon Festival honours ancestral spirits

Obon Festival honours ancestral spirits

Obon is an annual Japanese festival to honour ancestors. In the belief that the spirits of the dead return every year to visit their relatives, people tidy up family graves, clean house, hang up lanterns and set out food offerings to welcome their ancestors. A...

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