Trivia: What is the Obon Festival?

Aug 03, 2020

Q.

Every August, Japanese people celebrate Obon. What exactly is the Obon festival?

A.

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist tradition celebrated every year to honor the spirit of ancestors. Japanese people believe that during Obon, the soul of their ancestors returns to their hometown.

The celebration takes place in mid-August over three days. Despite Obon being a sacred time of the year, it is not a public holiday. Because of this, you might want to check if any venues you’d like to visit are open or closed during this time.

As a foreigner in Japan, you have two options: The first is that you can join in on a Bon Odori festival to see people dance and enjoy Japanese summer street foods. The second option is that since many people will go back to their hometowns during this period, it is the best time of the year to explore Tokyo without having to wait in long lines. If you are visiting Tokyo, try out restaurants, cafes and go to events during this time to avoid the crowds!

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