Osaka Travel Guides

January

Toka Ebisu Festival: held at the beginning of the month, the Toka Ebisu Festival is a time when residents of Osaka visit shrines to pray for good business in the year ahead. Visitors buy good luck charms and at midnight (on the 10th) geisha are carried through the city on palanquins (decorated platforms).

Doya! Doya! Festival: is a vibrant festival in which young Japanese men wearing loincloths and headbands only, enact an ancient battle for possession of a cow-god amulet called the Goo Hoin. The festival is so-named because the warriors shout ‘doya-doya’ as they confront their enemy.

March

Hanami/Cherry Blossom Festival: the cherry blossom flower holds a highly significant place in the hearts of the Japanese and hence this time of year is a popular one. Residents and visitors alike are offered the chance to view this beautiful gift of nature at various sites around the city such as the Osaka Mint Bureau gardens and almost any of its many shrines and parks.

April

Hanami/Cherry Blossom Festival: the Cherry Blossom festival continues on into April for almost two weeks offering visitors plenty more chances to view the flowers and check out the cherry blossom activities at parks and shrines.

May

Boy's Day: although many now refer to this festival as Children’s Day, its roots and traditions essentially surround the male children of the family. On this day, the long leaves of the iris flower (which resemble the blades of a sword) are placed in the bath water of young boys in the hope that it will bless them with martial spirit. Other traditions for male children of the family include the flying of kites outside, the hanging of warrior dolls inside and the preparation and consumption of chimaki, which are rice cakes cooked in bamboo leaves.

June

Aizen Festival: this annual event is in honour of Aizen-myo-oh, the principle deity of the Shoman-in Temple. Residents of Osaka parade through the streets with palanquins decorated with red and white cloths, gradually making their way to Aizen-do.

July

Tenjin Festival: held towards the end of the month, this is one of three festivals whose origin dates back to the mid 10th century. The festival lasts a full 24 hours and sees traditional musical and cultural performances, purification ceremonies and an evening boat parade featuring over 100 brightly lit colourful vessels making their way down Osaka’s rivers.

August

Sumiyoshi Festival: this annual event is conducted at the Sumiyoshi shrine and sees the practice of a variety of religious rites, processions and ceremonies.

September

Chrysanthemum Festival: on 9 September, the whole country celebrates the annual Chrysanthemum Festival. This cherished flower is displayed across the nation with all the many unique Japanese species available for viewing. Clay dolls with robes made of chrysanthemums are arranged to portray popular historical scenes.Visit this website for photographs and further information about Kiku Matsuri (Chrysanthemum Festival)

October

Midosuji Parade: this popular annual event is an outdoor extravaganza which sees processions featuring colourfully decorated floats, marching bands and traditional cultural performances.

November

7-5-3 Festival: this annual event sees boys aged five and girls aged either three or seven, taken to the local shrine for the purpose of praying for good health, safety and prosperity in their future. The reason for the festival is that locals believe that children of these ages may be prone to bad luck and require some divine protection.