Most people are not aware that besides Valentine’s Day in February, Japan has many other interesting events going on and February brings a lot of unique festivals across Japan. Here are a few of our picks:

Kasedori Festival

As the name “Kasedori “(鳥-, tori, the kanji for bird) suggests, people participating in the Kasedori Festival (かせ鳥祭り) in Kaminoyama, Yamagata Prefecture cover themselves with straws and mimic birds while shouting “Kaah Kaah Kaah” (カーカーカー) and dancing. In Japanese, Kaah Kaah is the sound birds make and it is said that this festival brings good wealth.

However, dancing, “transforming” into a bird and performing is not all there is to this festival. While doing so, the performers have water thrown at them and they gradually get to the city with the water showers never stopping. Then, they begin to party and drink sake.

Furthermore, the festivals take place during February when is still snowing and outside is cold, so there have been times when the water turned into ice, too.


Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo snow festival is probably one of the most famous festivals during this month. However, this year, people were quite worried it wouldn’t take place because, from December on, there wasn’t much snow.

Some areas of Japan that get lots of snow during winter, felt more like spring rather than winter and not even a single snowflake appeared.

I went to visit Sapporo in December and even though I go there every year during winter, to enjoy the snowy season, I was surprised to see the changes in the climate and the view that didn’t look much different from Kanto.

Fortunately, before going back to Kanto, snow slowly started to fall from the sky, bringing back the scenery I was looking forward to. Nevertheless, the change in climate affects Japan and people were worried about the festival this year due to that.

The Sapporo festivals usually take place in February for around a week and it offers great pieces of art made of ice and snow.

The sculptures can be as high as 15 meters high and the main sites you can enjoy them while having a cup of hot cocoa or any other warm drinks at your choice are Odori Park, also the main site, Susukino, and Tsudome.

Besides the sculptures, you can also enjoy a lot of other activities in the snow and have a great time with your family.


Saidai-Ji Eyo Hadaka

Often considered one of the top three most eccentric festivals in Japan, Saidai-Ji Eyo Hadaka in Okayama Prefecture features naked, or almost naked participants competing in a game to catch the shingi (2 lucky sticks) and around 100 bundles of willow strips in the cold month of February.

Pretty crazy, but unmistakably a unique festival you shouldn’t miss.


Otaru Light Snow Path

Otaru Yuki Atari no Michi is a festival held in the harbor city of Hokkaido, Otaru where you can enjoy the numerous snow lanterns and the romantic atmosphere of this gorgeous town full in history and surprises.


Katsuyama Sagicho Matsuri

Music and the sound of taiko will reverberate in Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, on the 22nd and 23rd of February, 2020, offering a splendid performance and impressing the audience.

The ornaments used on New Year are burned in a ceremony called Dondo-Yaki and you can enjoy the final fire lighting from 8:30 to 9 pm.

Besides the frenetic atmosphere, you have many other activities you can enjoy during the day, so you shouldn’t miss it if you decide to come in February.


Namahage Sedo Festival

The Namahage Sedo Festival in Akita has brought many discussions on social media because of the custom of dressing up as oni (demons) and scaring the children.

Bonfires, taiko, good food, rental costumes, and many oni create a one of a kind atmosphere in Akita during the Namahage Sedo Festivals.

If you decide to go there during this time, I also recommend visiting the Namahage Museum, Nahagekan for more information regarding this practice and culture of Akita.


So there you have it. Those are 6 of our best picks. Hopefully, if you decide on coming here, you will also include these unique festivals on your list.

By - cinnamonellie.