Japanese Calendar Holidays & Festivals

Labor Thanksgiving Day  (kinrou kansha no hi)  National Holiday


Labor Thanksgiving Day (kinrou kansha no hi) marks the official end of the year's harvest. Families give thanks, and the Emperor offers new rice to God. This is a national holiday for all.


The two-day "Night Festival" (Chichibu Yo-Matsuri) will be held on December 2nd and 3rd (Mon-Tues) at Hitsujimaya Park in Saitama. This is one of the largest annual float festivals in Japan.

Outdoor stalls and street entertainment will be accompanied by kabuki plays on the afternoons of both days. The big parade of ornate lantern-lit floats will take place on the evening of the 2nd, starting at about 7 p.m., from the Chichibu Shrine. One hundred fifty to two hundred young men in costume will bear the huge illuminated floats. Later in the evening, after brief Shinto rites, there will be a fireworks display at Hitsujiyama Park. (Dress warmly for this chilly night festival, and don't miss the last train back to Ikebukuro.)

To get there, take the Seibu Chichibu Line from Ikebukuro (westward) to Chichibu (last stop). (by Paul Abramson)

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