Entries by Becki Benedict

Takayama Festival Autumn 2017

Takayama holds one of the most beautiful festivals in Japan. Three hundred year old floats elegantly decorated with intricate carvings, dolls, curtains, and lacquerware parade the streets. The festival takes place twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. The Spring Festival or Sanno Matsuri is held every

Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

The Kishiwada Danjiri Festival, or Danjiri Matsuri, dates back over 300 years and is held every year in September in Osaka. Around 500,000 tourists visit Kishiwada to experience this exciting festival. Danjiri are traditional floats used in festivals in Japan. The floats at this festival are hand-made from wood and

Mount Fuji Climbing Season Ceremonies

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and is open to climbers for only a couple of months of the year. The climbing season starts on July 1 and opens with an official ceremony at Kitaguchi Hongu Fuji Sengen Jinja, a shrine in Yamanashi prefecture at the base of

Japan First Impressions: Hospitality

My first trip to Japan was as a student studying abroad. Upon arriving, I was instantly impressed by the kindness and hospitality of the people. At the train station, strangers went out of their way to help me carry my three large, 50-pound suitcases down the stairs. I had no

Hamamatsu Festival 2017

Hamamatsu, known as the windy city, is an excellent place for a kite festival. Every year in May, the 450-year old Hamamatsu Festival, or Hamamatsu Matsuri, features around 170 gigantic kites that take to the sky at Nakatajima Dunes in a beautiful display. Each kite, measuring 3.5 x 3.5 meters,

Fuji Rock Festival 2017

The Fuji Rock Festival is Japan’s largest outdoor music festival held every year at the Naeba Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture. It is a 3-day event that draws in over 100,000 people from all over the world. This year, the event will be held July 28-30. The lineup includes musicians

Anime Japan 2017

Anime Japan, one of the largest anime fairs in the world, will take place at Tokyo Big Sight on March 25-26 this year. There will be over 150 exhibition booths, Cosplayer’s World, a Food Park, and shopping. Exhibition booths include Japanese and foreign production companies, toys, games, and software. 

Cherry Blossom Viewing at Ueno Park 2017

Cherry blossom viewing, or hanami, is a big event in Japan. Every year, forecasts are released recommending the best time frame to view the cherry blossoms in each area of Japan. There is only about a week and a half to enjoy the cherry blossoms, so the viewing is celebrated

Japan First Impressions: Crowds

When I first arrived in Japan, I couldn’t believe the sheer number of people everywhere I looked. I had expected large crowds, but had never experienced so many people in one place. It was as if the big game had let out in all directions. I couldn’t imagine any open

Okayama Naked Festival 2017

The Naked Festival in Okayama, or Saidai-ji Eyo Hadaka Matsuri, is one of the most famous festivals in Japan. Every year more than 9,000 men take part in this 500 year old tradition. The purpose of the festival is to bring good luck to the participants. The men, wearing only