IDEAS

Events In and Around Kanazawa, a Masterlist

14.11.2019

Pick your season:

Winter
(December, January, February)

Spring
(March, April, May)

Summer
(June, July, August)

Autumn
(September, October, November)

Year-Round
(every month, or nearly so)

Winter (December, January, February)

Gokayama, winter time photo by Nik van der Giesen

New Year’s Holidays

Temples and shrines are the hot spots for New Year’s events. Ring in the new year (literally!) at a temple around midnight and eat new year’s soba noodles. Welcome the spirit of the new year within the first 5 days at a shrine. While you’re there, don’t forget your paper fortune!

Japan’s new year holidays are as special as English Christmas. This means that many restaurants and shops will be closed, but you can see unique cultural events and enjoy sightseeing without crowds.

DATE
Dec. 31 – Jan. 5

MORE ABOUT…

dezome shiki firefighter acrobats of the kaga region in Kanazawa

Acrobats in the Snow: Dezome-Shiki

Samurai often entered civil servitude in times of peace, and fighting fires suited their sense of bravery and physical fitness. For more than 300 years, the firefighters of the Kaga region around Kanazawa have readily displayed theirs in grand shows. Climbing atop bamboo ladders, they suspend their bodies over the ground below, held aloft by only one or two points of contact.

DATE (2020)
Jan. 5

TIME
10:00 (a.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park

MORE ABOUT

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Winter Snows

One of several seasonal garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with the peak of winter snowfall. Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2020)
Jan. 24 – Feb. 2
Feb. 8 – 16

TIME *
17:30 – 21:00
(5:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Filling the Ice House: A 500-year-old Onsen Town Tradition

In Kanazawa’s sleepy onsen town of Yuwaku, nestled in the forests of the southeastern mountains, locals welcome a god of ice and snow during the last Sunday of January, packing a traditional thatched cottage full in the hopes of ice in summer.

DATE 2020
Jan. 26

TIME
10:00 a.m.

PLACE
Yuwaku Ice House

MORE ABOUT…

traditional Japanese falconry demonstration at Kanazawa Castle
Traditional Japanese Falconry Demonstration

Falconry enthusiasts keep an Edo tradition alive in front of Kanazawa Castle.

DATE
late February (TBA)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park

Spring (March, April, May)

Nishida Kitaro Philosophy Museum, Tadao Ando, Kanazawa architecture photo by Nik van der Giesen

Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Season

This is the busiest time in Japan for world travels. Make reservations at least three months in advance! Also keep in mind that the sakura forecast can change at the dates approach.

DATE (2020)
TBA in late January, 2020

DATE (2019)
April 1 (first bloom)
April 7 – 13 (full bloom)
April 8 (peak)

MORE ABOUT…

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Cherry Blossoms

One of several garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with the peak of cherry blossom season. As such, the dates are selected at the last possible moment. Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2020)
TBA in late March, 2020

DATE (2019)
Apr. 5 – 11

TIME *
18:30 – 21:00
(6:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Haru-la-la-la Spring Crafts Festival

More than 150 stalls of handmade crafts and home cooked treats—many of which are made in front of you—are gathered together in Kanazawa Central Park. Entertainment includes live music, petting zoos and geisha performances.

DATE (2019)
Apr. 5 – 6

TIME
10:00 – 17:00
(10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Central Park, Shiinoki Culture Complex

Golden Week

Golden Week is one of Japan’s longest and busiest holidays, so hotel and transportation costs will be higher than usual. If you want to avoid the crowds, plan to travel before or after these days.

DATE (2020)
April 29
May 3 – May 6
(5 days)

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Golden Week

One of several garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with Golden Week. Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2020)
TBA in late March, 2020

DATE (2019)
Apr. 26 – May 5

TIME *
18:30 – 21:00
(6:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Otabi, Children’s Kabuki Festival

Komatsu City’s mid-May Otabi Festival is all about children’s kabuki. For more than two and a half centuries, children have trained to perform on hikiyama, beautifully detailed hand-crafted mobile stages.

DATE (2019)
May 10 – 12

PLACE
around the city of Komatsu

MORE ABOUT…

Kites in the sky at the Peaceful World Kite Festival in Uchinada, Japan photo by Benjamin Ryo Ogawa

Peaceful World Kite Festival

This beach-side festival is known internationally known among kite enthusiasts, with visitors from all over the globe. A competition is held, and of course, kites are on sale at the event as well.

DATE (2019)
May 12

TIME
9:00 – 15:00

PLACE
Uchinada Beach

MORE ABOUT…

Summer (June, July, August)

Cloudy sun setting over the leves of Kanaiwa's beach, in Kanazawa, Japan. photo by Nik van der Giesen

Hyakumangoku Matsuri, Kanazawa’s 3-day Long Festival

Taiko drums, marching samurai warriors, music on Japanese flutes and shamisen, lion dances, noh plays, yosakoi dancing, tea ceremony, and over 10,000 people dancing in the streets at once!

DATE (2019)
May 31 – Jun. 2

MORE ABOUT…

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Hyakumangoku Weekend

One of several seasonal garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with the Hyakumangoku Festival. Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2020)
TBA in late March, 2020

DATE (2019)
May 31 – Jun. 2

TIME *
19:00 – 21:00
(7:00 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Yuwaku Onsen Ice House Opening

In this 500-year-old tradition, the snow preserved from the onsen town’s winter festival is brought out from the thatched ice house and shared with the public. The event marks the first day of summer in Kanazawa.

DATE
June 30

TIME
10:00 a.m.

PLACE
The Himuro Koya Ice House
Yuwaku Onsen, Kanazawa

MORE ABOUT…

Kiriko Festivals

Throughout the Noto Peninsula, massive lantern floats have lit up the evening streets for hundreds of years.

DATE (2019)
Jul. 5 – Sept. 21

PLACE
throughout the Noto Peninsula
(Nanao, Wajima, Suzu, Shika, Anamizu, Noto)

MORE ABOUT…

Tatemachi Roof Top Film Festival

Tatemachi Rooftop Film Fest Mockup with Bohemian Rhapsody
Film Festival at parking that built for 40 years, powered by Kanazawa Film Festival. It’s a chance to watch Bohemian Rhapsody and some premier movie on roof top.

DATE (2019)
Jul. 12 – 14

TIME
sunset; time varies

PLACE
Tatemachi Parking Lot, 6th Floor

MORE ABOUT…

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Firefly Viewing

One of several seasonal garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with Golden Week. Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2020)
TBA in late March, 2020

DATE (2019)
Jul. 13 – 14
Jul. 19 – 20

TIME *
19:00 – 21:00
(7:00 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Hokkoku Fireworks Festival

Over 10,000 fireworks, explore in the sky. Japanese way to enjoy fireworks is a bit different from western style. Sit on the riverside or park, grab can beer and see fireworks beautiness. Clap their hands for the craftsmanship for shokunin. Heart mark, Smily shape, star mine and more! We amaze it to see it like to see a fire flower bloom in a night sky.

DATE (2019)
Jul. 27

PLACE
Oomameda Hon-machi, along the Sai River

Mizukake Mikoshi

Portable shrines are marched around the 21st Century Museum and the surrounding neighborhoods. At several shops, priests bless the business, and buckets of water are sprayed over the crowd. The event always includes music and alcohol, and is a cheerful and unique way to beat the heat.

DATE (2019)
Jul. 28

PLACE
Kakinokibatake
Hirosaka
Kohrinbo
Katamachi
Tatemachi

MORE ABOUT…

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Obon Season

One of several seasonal garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with Japan’s summer holidays on August weekends. Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2020)
TBA in late March, 2020

DATE (2019)
Aug. 2 – 3
Aug. 10 – 11
Aug. 16 – 17
Aug. 23 – 24

TIME *
18:30 – 21:00
(6:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Yosakoi Soran Dance Festivals

Throughout the summer and into autumn, competitions and dance festivals centered around yosakoi crop up throughout Ishikawa Prefecture. This high energy dance incorporates old and new dance styles with brilliantly colored costumes and props.

This year, there are 8 separate times and locations. See our article (linked below) for details outside Kanazawa.

DATE (2019)
Aug. 10 – 11

PLACE
Kanazawa Station,
Hyakumangoku-dori Road,
& Akebana Hall

MORE ABOUT…

Mikuni Fireworks Festival

Every year on August 11th, it is unfolded with the setting of Sangoku Sunset Beach. Including fireworks of up to 2 measures, work fireworks, star mine, etc. About 10,000 fireworks will dye the midsummer night sky beautifully. Among them, underwater fireworks are now a summer feature of Hokuriku.

DATE (2019)
Aug. 11

TIME
19:30 – 20:30
(7:30 – 8:30 p.m.)

PLACE
Mikuni Sunset Beach, Mikuni-machi
Sakai City, Fukui Prefecture

Autumn (September, October, November)

View of Shirakawa-go from the observation point. photo by Nik van der Giesen

Noyaki Earthenware Baking Festival

Noyaki, the wild fire kiln, turns into a bonfire after sunset.photo by Nik van der Giesen
Noyaki, literally translated as “wild burning” or “wild baking,” has been the yearly Shinto ritual of the family-run Hokutoh Pottery House for almost half a century. Spend 24 hours tending a low-heat bonfire along Kanazawa’s beaches.

DATE (2019)
Sep. 7 – 8

PLACE
Kanaiwa Beach, Kanazawa

MORE ABOUT…

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Moon Viewing Season

One of several seasonal garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with Japan’s early autumn holiday of Tsukimi, or “Moon Viewing.” Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2019)
Sept. 13 – 17

TIME *
18:30 – 21:00
(6:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Owara Kaze no Bon Festival, Toyama

The featured musical piece, set to shamisen strings and taiko drums, is the local “Ecchu Owara Bushi,” one of the most sophisticated and difficult folk songs in Japan.

DATE (2019)
Sept. 1 – 3

PLACE
Echu-Yatsuo, Toyama

MORE ABOUT…

Kanazawa Odori: Every Geisha Dancing Together

Coinciding with Silver Week, a small collection of holidays in mid-September, the Kanazawa Odori is the only time of the year when geiko from all 3 of Kanazawa’s Geisha Districts can be seen together in one spot.

DATE (2019)

PLACE
Kanazawa Ongakudou Music Hall, Kanazawa Station

MORE ABOUT…

21st Century Kanazawa Kogei Festival

Yamanaka Laquerware Experience, Kaga Onsenphoto by Nik van der Giesen

You can experience the diversity and potential of various crafts. Futuristic Tea Ceremony, Spacial collaboration of craftsman and chefs, special exhibition of crafts in the city.

DATE (2018)
Oct. 11 – Nov. 25

PLACE
Kanazawa, various

Doburoku Sake Festival

Shirakawa-go is one of the very few places in Japan allowed to home brew doburoku sake. So white as to be nearly opaque, doburoku sake has a sharp, astringent flavor and is so thick, it is as much eaten as drunk. The Doburoku Festival is not only a chance to try this potent drink, but to see dances, costumes and customs unique to Shirakawa-go Village.

DATE
Oct. 14 – 19

PLACE
Shirakawa-go, various shrines

MORE ABOUT…

Sake Marche

Sake Noguchi, Komatsuphoto by Nik van der Giesen

Sake brewers gather from all over Ishikawa Prefecture to offer samples of their most popular and novel concoctions. Pay for a set of tickets and a glass at the front, then hand some tickets over to have your glass filled with the samples of your choice.

DATE (2019)
Oct. 5

PLACE
Kanazawa Central Park, Shiinoki Culture Complex

MORE ABOUT…

Kanazawa Marathon 2019

Runners from around Japan and the world complete at this highly popular event. So popular is it, that runners must submit their applications for a lottery system in early April if they have any hope to run. Their route runs throughout Kanazawa, including many sightseeing places. And crowds gather to cheer for them as taiko drums play on.

DATE (2019)
Oct. 27

Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Light-up: Autumn Color Change

One of several seasonal garden light-ups throughout the year, this one coincides with the color change of autumn foliage and is the longest of the light-up events. Kenroku-en Garden is free to enter during light-up events.

DATE (2019)
Nov. 2 – 24

TIME *
17:30 – 21:00
(5:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

PLACE
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kenroku-en Garden Park
Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

MORE ABOUT…

*Last entry is 15 minutes before closing.

Year-round Events

Kanazawa Castle & Gyokusen’inmaru Light-up

Every weekend and on special holidays, the Japanese castle and private royal garden are lit up and set to music against the night sky. Entry is free.

DATE
Fridays, Saturdays
evenings before public holiday

TIME
sunset – 21:00 (9:00 p.m.)

Geisha Events

Geisha can be spotted almost any time of the year, though special events may only occur a few times a month. Prices and dates vary by event type, so we’ve written a whole article to cover it all!


And these aren’t the only events! Every season, somewhere, some festival or event, big or small, is happening in Japan.
If you are interested in a particular kind of event, don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll find it for you!

Enjoy your travel!

Nao
Nao

Nao can tell you anything you need to know about crafts, music and sake and was herself a singer in Tokyo for nine years. She is now living in a machiya, a kind of old Japanese townhouse, for her project, hitonoto. insta@yasutanao