Takayama Festival or Gion Festival?
Traditional Japanese Culture, Fun, & more at a Japanese Matsuri
It seems at least once a week, one of us here in the office at Japan Deluxe Tours is asked the difference between the Takayama Festival in Spring vs the Takayama Festival in the Fall. There's also a few who don't know the difference between the Gion Festival in Kyoto and the festival in the mountains of Takayama. To help answer a few questions about each festival, and help you pick which is the perfect tour package for you, Japan Deluxe Tours would like to give you a little history about each festival and what to expect during a fully guided Japan vacation package during the festival.
Arguably our most popular of festival package around, the Spring Takayama Festival Tour is a consistent
best-seller vacation package offered through Japan Deluxe Tours. Showcasing the same destinations and attractions on our standard Highlights Japan Tours and Cherry Blossom tours with the added fun of two days exploring Takayama, Matsumoto, and Kanazawa.
The Takayama Festival itself is a celebration held once in Spring and again in the Autumn. The Spring festival is made better with the lively sound of drums in the air, the smell of delicious Japanese foods, and the dancing cherry blossoms lining the skies as the trees bloom bright. Often regarded as one of the most beautiful celebrations in Japan, the Spring Takayama festival draws thousands of local and domestic travelers to view the majestic procession of floats. The Autumn festival also draws in crowds, albeit not as large as the Spring festival in April. Regardless of the season, there's incredible food to enjoy, sights to see, and fun to be had at the Takayama Festival in the hidden Japanese mountain village of Takayama.
If you're looking to do your traveling during the Summer, the Gion Festival is an absolute must. Held in the former capital of Japan (Kyoto), the Gion Festival is easily one of the most famous festivals in all Japan. Held over the span of July, the festival is a month-long celebration of the Yasaka Shrine. The real treat to the exciting Japanese festival celebration is the procession of floats through the city square. 32 Yamaboko (or moving floats) parade themselves through the city while traditional music fills the sounds. This massive festival is the perfect opportunity to see real Geisha, beautiful traditional Japanese clothing, and see just how lively things get at a Japanese festival. The summer sun isn't the only thing heating up in the culturally significant city of Kyoto.
So now that you know each festival is held during a distinct season, which do you plan to explore? Keep in mind, both of our festival tours for Takayama and Gion include the same attractions between Tokyo and Kyoto. The Takayama Festival Package includes two days to explore the mountainous region surrounding Takayama, including great sights like Shirakawago Village (UNESCO Heritage Site) and the traditional Japanese gardens in Kanazawa. For those leaning towards our Kyoto Gion Festivals, enjoy the sights on our fully-guided highlights of Japan tours, with an added day in Kyoto to soak in the festival fun. Follow the sound of roaring taiko drums to yatai filled with amazing festival snacks. Dance to your hearts content, or enjoy the magnificent processions of floats at either festival. One tip, if you do plan on enjoying either festival, keep plenty of water on you and stay hydrated so you don't miss a beat from start to finish during your next dream vacation in Japan.