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Maid for Halloween: Costumed Revelers Descend on Shibuya (Japan in Photos)

Three young women decked out for Halloween roam the streets of Shibuya’s entertainment district on October 31, 2017. The occasion draws thousands of costumed revelers to the area each year and Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department bolstered its presence to head off potential trouble during the lively event. (© Jiji Press Photo/Taga Morio)

Gion Festival Organizer Raises over ¥10 Million via Crowdfunding (News)

Kyoto (Jiji Press)—The Gion Festival organizer in Kyoto has raised over ¥10 million through crowdfunding to cover patrolling and other costs for the festival which boasts a history of more than 1,100 years. A giant yamahoko float parades through the streets of central Kyoto on July 17, 2016, during the yamahoko junkō (float parade) event of the annual Gion Festival. Twenty-three floats took pa…

Dainichidō Bugaku: Ritual Dances in the Chill of Winter (Photos)Chikura Yukari

Amid deep snow, on the second day of the year, people from four northern Japanese villages gather to perform ritual dances known as Dainichidō Bugaku. These photos convey the atmosphere surrounding a tradition that dates back 1,300 years.

Float Festivals Inscribed on UNESCO Intangible Heritage List

On November 30, UNESCO selected 33 Japanese festivals for its list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity at an intergovernmental committee meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Building a Dragon God (Photo Gallery)Munakata Satoshi (Photographs)

It takes a day and a half to construct the giant dragon god used in the Suneori Amagoi Festival. See how it happens with our photographs.

Dragon God Brings the Rain at Saitama Festival

Every four years residents of a Saitama city construct a giant dragon god and carry it through the streets in a rainmaking festival whose roots date back to the seventeenth century.

Life and Rituals in the Yaeyama Islands (Photos)Yamashita Tsuneo (Photographs)

The Yaeyama Islands lie in the remote southwest of Japan, far from the mainland. They seem to follow a different time than the rest of the country or even other islands in Okinawa. Photographer Yamashita Tsuneo captures everyday life and local rituals in the archipelago.

“Ōmisoka” (New Year’s Eve)

December 31 is known as ōmisoka in Japanese and the many customs associated with the day range from ritual bell ringing to a marathon television song contest.

Christmas in Japan

Christmas may be a cultural import, but it has become a major festival in Japan, where it has developed its own local characteristics.

Asakusa Samba Carnival’s Dance Extravaganza (Video)

The Asakusa Samba Carnival has grown from modest beginnings in 1981 to become one of Asia’s largest summer festivals, attracting 500,000 spectators each year. With about 4,000 participants in 18 teams, the competition is fierce and passionate.                    

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