Holidays to Japan can be enjoyed all year round, however one of the best times to visit is during the spring.
Early flowering plants and trees deliver the first signs of spring, and the weather becomes noticeably milder. Towards the end of March the cherry blossom season starts. By April the weather is pleasantly milder and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Once May arrives the vegetation is lush, yet temperatures remain comfortable.
Aside from the weather, another reason why holidays to Japan are so popular during spring, is due to the number of big festivals that take place. Many people choosing holidays to Japan do so, because they want to experience the culture and tradition, the country has to offer.
If you intend to visit the ancient imperial city of Kyoto during your stay, the Aoi Matsuri festival which takes place on the 15th May is one not to be missed.
The Aoi Matsuri festival is one of Kyoto’s most famous festivals. Its main attraction is a large parade in which over 500 people dress up in aristocratic styled clothing from the Heian Period (794-1185). The parade starts at the Southern gate of the Imperial Palace at 10:30am and crosses over the river in front of the Shimogamo Shrine at 11:15am. Ceremonies take place within the shrine and last approximately two hours. The procession then departs for Kamigamo Shrine, with the head of the parade arriving at approximately 15:30pm. In order to watch the procession from beginning to end you will need to allow yourself about an hour. There is some paid seating within the Imperial Palace and both of the Kamo Shrines, although you can just turn up on the day. It is however advisable that you arrive early.
During May there are also several major festivals that take place in Tokyo. Whilst Tokyo is over 300 miles away from Kyoto, you can catch the Tokaido Shinkansen, the world’s first high speed railway, and be there in just over two hours.
The Kanda Matsuri festival consists of a number of different events that take place over an entire week, although the main action can be seen during the weekend closest to May 15th. It is the festival of the Kanda Myojin Shrines which enshrines three dieties: Daikokuten – the god of good harvest and matrimony, Ebisu – the god of fisherman and businessmen, and Tairo Masakado – a feudal 10th century lord who was revered and deified. Highlights include a day long procession throughout the city, plus parades of portable shrines by the various neighbourhoods.
The other main festival taking place in Tokyo is the Sanja Matsuri. This festival is held on the third full weekend in May. It celebrates the three founders of the Sensoji Temple, who are enshrined as Shinto gods in the Asakusa Shrine next door to the temple. It is one of the largest festivals held in Tokyo, with over two million people visiting Asakusa during the three days.
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