Edo Neo-Confucianism, known in Japanese as Shushi-Gaku, refers to the schools of Neo-Confucian philosophy that developed in Japan during the Edo period. Neo-Confucianism reached Japan during the Kamakura period; the philosophy can be characterized as humanistic and rationalistic, with the belief that the universe could be understood through human reason, that it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship between the universe and the individual. The 17th-century Tokugawa shogunate adopted Neo-Confucianism as the principle of controlling people and Confucian philosophy took hold. Neo-Confucians such as Hayashi Razan and Arai Hakuseki were instrumental in the formulation of Japan's dominant early modern political philosophy. Neo-Confucianism has its origins in the Chinese Tang Dynasty; the Song Dynasty philosopher Zhou Dunyi is seen as the first true "pioneer" of Neo-Confucianism, using Daoist metaphysics as a framework for his ethical philosophy. Neo-Confucianism developed both as a renaissance of traditional Confucian ideas, as a reaction to the ideas of Buddhism and religious Daoism.
Although the Neo-Confucianists denounced Buddhist metaphysics, Neo-Confucianism did borrow Daoist and Buddhist terminology and concepts. Neo-Confucianism was brought to Japan during the late Kamakura period, it was spread as basic education for monks in training and others of the Five Mountain System network of Zen temples while its theory was completed by annotations brought by the monk Yishan Yining, who visited Japan in 1299 from the Yuan Dynasty, in the form of the Cheng-Zhu school of Neo-Confucianism. Moreover, Neo-Confucianist thought derived from the works of Cheng Yi, Cheng Hao, Zhu Xi, the then-orthodox ideology of China and Korea; the rise of Neo-Confucianism in Japan was aided by state support from the Tokugawa government, who encouraged the establishment of national secular ideology as a method of strengthening political rule over the country. The philosophy had arrived earlier in the 14th century, but knowledge of it was limited to Zen monasteries, who saw Confucianism as intellectually interesting, but secondary to Zen, some schools like the Ashikaga Gakko.
The pioneering Japanese Neo-Confucian was Fujiwara Seika, a former Zen practitioner interested in Confucian thought, who rejected Zen ideas to become one of Neo-Confucianism's foremost advocates in Japan. Fujiwara's student, Hayashi Razan, served the Tokugawa shōguns, through state patronage was able to establish the Shoheiko academy. After the Kansei Edict established Neo-Confucianism as Japan's official ideology, the Shoheiko academy became the premier authority on Confucian orthodoxy. Although heterodox schools of Neo-Confucianism were banned, the schools still persisted in Japan; the Japanese philosopher Toju Nakae is one such case, more influenced by the heterodox Wang Yang-ming than he was by the orthodox Zhu Xi. The influence of Neo-Confucianism was challenged by the rise of the Kokugaku philosophical school in the 17th and 18th centuries. Kokugaku advocates argued that the ancient Japanese were better representatives of Confucian virtues than the ancient Chinese were, that there should be more intellectual focus on ancient Japanese classics and the indigenous religion of Shinto.
Although philosophical competitors and Neo-Confucianism would co-exist as the dominant philosophical thought of Japan until the arrival of Western philosophy during the Meiji period. Like Chinese and Korean Confucianism, Edo Neo-Confucianism is a social and ethical philosophy based on metaphysical ideas; the philosophy can be characterized as humanistic and rationalistic, with the belief that the universe could be understood through human reason, that it was up to man to create a harmonious relationship between the universe and the individual. The rationalism of Neo-Confucianism is in contrast to the mysticism of the dominant Zen Buddhism in Japan. Unlike the Buddhists, the Neo-Confucians believed that reality existed, could be understood by mankind if the interpretations of reality were different depending on the school of Neo-Confucianism, but the spirit of Neo-Confucian rationalism is diametrically opposed to that of Buddhist mysticism. Whereas Buddhism insisted on the unreality of things, Neo-Confucianism stressed their reality.
Buddhism and Taoism asserted that existence came out of, returned to, non-existence. Buddhists, to some degree, Taoists as well, relied on meditation and insight to achieve supreme reason; the social aspects of the philosophy are hierarchical with a focus on filial piety. This created a Confucian social stratification in Edo society that had not existed, dividing Japanese society into four main classes: the samurai, seen as the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese scholar-bureaucrats, at the top of the social hierarchy the farmers and merchants; the samurai were avid readers and teachers of Confucian thought in Japan, establishing many Confucian academies. Neo-Confucianism introduced elements of ethnocentrism into Japan; as the Chinese Neo-Confucians had regarded their own culture as the center of the world, the Japanese Neo-Confucians developed a similar national pride. This national pride would evolve into the philosophical school of Kokugaku, which would challenge Neo-Confucianism, its perceived foreign Chinese origins, as the dominant philosophy of Japan.
Fujiwara Seika Hayashi Razan Nakai Tōju Yamazaki Ansai Kumazawa Banzan Kinoshita J
Amaterasu, Amaterasu-ōmikami, or Ōhirume-no-muchi-no-kami is a deity of the Japanese myth cycle and a major deity of the Shinto religion. She is seen as the goddess of the universe; the name Amaterasu is derived from Amateru and means "shining in heaven". The meaning of her whole name, Amaterasu-ōmikami, is "the great august kami who shines in the heaven". According to the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in Japanese mythology, the Emperors of Japan are considered to be direct descendants of Amaterasu. Records of the worship of Amaterasu are found from the c. 712 CE Kojiki and c. 720 CE Nihon Shoki, the oldest records of Japanese history. In Japanese mythology, the goddess of the sun, is the sister of Susanoo, the god of storms and the sea, of Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon, it was written that Amaterasu had painted the landscape with her siblings while she created ancient Japan. Amaterasu was said to have been created by the divine couple Izanagi and Izanami, who were themselves created by, or grew from, the originator of the Universe, Amenominakanushi.
All three deities were born from Izanagi when he was purifying himself upon entering Yomi, the underworld, after breaking the promise not to see dead Izanami and he was chased by her and Yakusan-no-ikaduchigami, surrounding rotten Izanami. Amaterasu was born when Izanagi washed out his left eye, Tsukuyomi was born from the washing of the right eye, Susanoo from the washing of the nose. Amaterasu became the ruler of the sun and the heavens along with her brother, Tsukuyomi as the ruler of the night, Susanoo as the ruler of the seas. Amaterasu shared the sky with Tsukuyomi, her husband and brother until, out of disgust, he killed the goddess of food, Uke Mochi, when she pulled "food from her rectum and mouth"; this killing upset Amaterasu causing her to split away from him. The texts tell of a long-standing rivalry between Amaterasu and her other brother, Susanoo. Susanoo is said to have insulted claiming she had no power over the higher realm; when Izanagi ordered him to leave Heaven, he went to bid his sister goodbye.
Amaterasu was suspicious, but when Susanoo proposed a challenge to prove his sincerity, she accepted. Each of them took an object belonging from it, birthed deities. Amaterasu birthed three women from Susanoo's sword. Claiming the gods were hers because they were born of her necklace, the goddesses were his, she decided that she had won the challenge, as his item produced women. After Susanoo's defeat he went on a rampage destroying much of the heavenly and earthly realm, Amaterasu's rice fields, hurled a flayed pony at her loom, killing one of her attendants in a fit of rage. Amaterasu, in fury and grief, hid inside the Ama-no-Iwato, plunging the earth into darkness and chaos, she was persuaded to leave the cave. Omoikane threw a party outside of the Ama-no-Iwato to lure Amaterasu out but it was not until the Goddess Ame-no-Uzume danced promiscuously outside of the cave that Amaterasu came out. Susanoo was punished by being banished from heaven. Both amended their conflict when Susanoo gave her the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi sword as a reconciliation gift.
According to legend, responsible from keeping balance and harmony within the earthly realm, bequeathed to her descendant Ninigi: the mirror, Yata no Kagami. Collectively, the sacred mirror and sword became the three Imperial Regalia of Japan; the Ise Shrine located in Ise, Mie Prefecture, houses the inner shrine, dedicated to Amaterasu. Her sacred mirror, Yata no Kagami, is said to be kept at this shrine as one of the imperial regalia objects. A ceremony known as Shikinen Sengu is held every twenty years at this shrine to honor the many deities enshrined, formed by 125 shrines altogether. At that time, new shrine buildings are built at a location adjacent to the site first. After the transfer of the object of worship, new clothing and treasure and offering food to the goddess the old buildings are taken apart; the building materials taken apart are given to buildings to renovate. This practice is a part of the Shinto faith and has been practiced since the year 690, but is not only for Amaterasu but for many other deities enshrined in Ise Shrine.
The Amanoiwato Shrine in Takachiho, Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan is dedicated to Amaterasu and sits above the gorge containing Ama-no-Iwato. The worship of Amaterasu to the exclusion of other kami has been described as "the cult of the sun"; this phrase may refer to the early pre-archipelagoan worship of the sun. Himiko Shinto in popular culture Sól Surya Vairocana Zalmoxis Ōkami Amaterasu, fictional character from video game Ōkami
Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator deity or transcendental absolute principle, which manifests immanently in nature. Most of the polytheistic deities of ancient religions, with the notable exceptions of the Ancient Egyptian and Hindu deities, were conceived as having physical bodies. Polytheism is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God, in most cases transcendent. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods but they can be henotheists, specializing in the worship of one particular deity. Other polytheists can be kathenotheists. Polytheism was the typical form of religion during the Bronze Age and Iron Age up to the Axial Age and the development of Abrahamic religions, the latter of which enforced strict monotheism.
It is well documented in historical religions of Classical antiquity ancient Greek religion and ancient Roman religion, after the decline of Greco-Roman polytheism in tribal religions such as Germanic and Baltic paganism. Important polytheistic religions practiced today include Chinese traditional religion, Japanese Shinto and various neopagan faiths; the term comes from the Greek πολύ poly and θεός theos and was first invented by the Jewish writer Philo of Alexandria to argue with the Greeks. When Christianity spread throughout Europe and the Mediterranean, non-Christians were just called Gentiles or pagans or by the pejorative term idolaters; the modern usage of the term is first revived in French through Jean Bodin in 1580, followed by Samuel Purchas's usage in English in 1614. A central, main division in polytheism is between soft polytheism and hard polytheism."Hard" polytheism is the belief that gods are distinct, real divine beings, rather than psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces.
Hard polytheists reject the idea that "all gods are one god." "Hard" polytheists do not consider the gods of all cultures as being real, a theological position formally known as integrational polytheism or omnism. This is contrasted with "soft" polytheism, which holds that gods may be aspects of only one god, that the pantheons of other cultures are representative of one single pantheon, psychological archetypes or personifications of natural forces; the deities of polytheism are portrayed as complex personages of greater or lesser status, with individual skills, needs and histories. Polytheism cannot be cleanly separated from the animist beliefs prevalent in most folk religions; the gods of polytheism are in many cases the highest order of a continuum of supernatural beings or spirits, which may include ancestors, demons and others. In some cases these spirits are divided into celestial or chthonic classes, belief in the existence of all these beings does not imply that all are worshipped. Types of deities found in polytheism may include Creator deity Culture hero Death deity Life-death-rebirth deity Love goddess Mother goddess Political deity Sky deity Solar deity Trickster deity Water deity Gods of music, science, farming or other endeavors.
In the Classical era, Sallustius categorised mythology into five types: Theological Physical Psychological Material MixedThe theological are those myths which use no bodily form but contemplate the essence of the gods: e.g. Cronus swallowing his children. Since divinity is intellectual, all intellect returns into itself, this myth expresses in allegory the essence of divinity. Myths may be regarded physically; the psychological way is to regard the activities of the soul itself and or the soul's acts of thought. The material is to regard material objects to be gods, for example: to call the earth Gaia, ocean Okeanos, or heat Typhon; some well-known historical polytheistic pantheons include the Sumerian gods and the Egyptian gods, the classical-attested pantheon which includes the ancient Greek religion and Roman religion. Post-classical polytheistic religions include Norse Æsir and Vanir, the Yoruba Orisha, the Aztec gods, many others. Today, most historical polytheistic religions are referred to as "mythology", though the stories cultures tell about their gods should be distinguished from their worship or religious practice.
For instance deities portrayed in conflict in mythology would still be worshipped sometimes in the same temple side by side, illustrating the distinction in the devotees mind between the myth and the reality. Scholars such as Jaan Puhvel, J. P. Mallory, Douglas Q. Adams have reconstructed aspects of the ancient Proto-Indo-European religion, from which the religions of the various Indo-European peoples derive, that this religion was an naturalist numenistic religion. An example of a religious notion from this shared past is the concept of *dyēus, attested in several distinct religious systems. In many civilizations, pantheons tended to grow over time. Deities first
A Shinto shrine is a structure whose main purpose is to house one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, not for worship. Although only one word is used in English, in Japanese Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen, -gū, jingū, mori, myōjin, -sha, ubusuna or yashiro. Structurally, a Shinto shrine is characterized by the presence of a honden or sanctuary, where the kami is enshrined; the honden may however be absent, as for example when the shrine stands on a sacred mountain to which it is dedicated, and, worshiped directly. The honden may be missing when there are nearby altar-like structures called himorogi or objects believed capable of attracting spirits called yorishiro that can serve as a direct bond to a kami. There may be a haiden and other structures as well. However, a shrine's most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects rather than for worship. Miniature shrines can be found on roadsides.
Large shrines sometimes have on their precincts miniature shrines. The portable shrines which are carried on poles during festivals enshrine kami and are therefore true shrines. In 927 CE, the Engi-shiki was promulgated; this work listed all of the 2,861 Shinto shrines existing at the time, the 3,131 official-recognized and enshrined Kami. That number has grown and exceeded this figure through the following generations. In Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan placed the number of shrines at 79,467 affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines; some shrines, such as the Yasukuni Shrine are independent of any outside authority. The number of Shinto shrines in Japan is estimated to be around 100,000; this figure may, or may not, include private shrines in homes and owned by small groups, abandoned or derelict shrines, roadside Hokora. etc. Ancestors are kami to be worshiped. Yayoi-period village councils sought the advice of ancestors and other kami, developed instruments to evoke them. Yoshishiro means "approach substitute" and were conceived to attract the kami to allow them physical space, thus making kami accessible to human beings.
Village-council sessions were held in quiet spots in the mountains or in forests near great trees or other natural objects that served as yorishiro. These sacred places and their yorishiro evolved into today's shrines, whose origins can be still seen in the Japanese words for "mountain" and "forest", which can mean "shrine". Many shrines have on their grounds one of the original great yorishiro: a big tree, surrounded by a sacred rope called shimenawa; the first buildings at places dedicated to worship were huts built to house some yorishiro. A trace of this origin can be found in the term hokura, "deity storehouse", which evolved into hokora, is considered to be one of the first words for shrine. True shrines arose with the beginning of agriculture, when the need arose to attract kami to ensure good harvests; these were, just temporary structures built for a particular purpose, a tradition of which traces can be found in some rituals. Hints of the first shrines can still be found there. Ōmiwa Shrine in Nara, for example, contains no sacred images or objects because it is believed to serve the mountain on which it stands.
Those images or objects are therefore unnecessary. For the same reason, it has a worship hall but no place to house the kami. Archeology confirms that, during the Yayoi period, the most common shintai in the earliest shrines were nearby mountain peaks that supplied stream water to the plains where people lived. Besides the mentioned Ōmiwa Shrine, another important example is Mount Nantai, a phallus-shaped mountain in Nikko which constitutes Futarasan Shrine's shintai; the name Nantai means "man's body". The mountain not only provides water to the rice paddies below but has the shape of the phallic stone rods found in pre-agricultural Jōmon sites. In 905 CE, Emperor Daigo ordered a compilation of Shinto rules. Previous attempts at codification are known to have taken place, neither the Konin nor the Jogan Gishiki survive. Under the direction of Fujiwara no Tokihira, the project stalled at his death in April 909. Fujiwara no Tadahira, his brother, took charge and in 912 CE and in 927 CE the Engi-shiki was promulgated in fifty volumes.
This, the first formal codification of Shinto rites and Norito to survive, became the basis for all subsequent Shinto liturgical practice and efforts. In addition to the first ten volumes of this fifty volume work, sections in subsequent volumes addressing the Ministry of Ceremonies and the Ministry of the Imperial Household regulated Shinto worship and contained liturgical rites and regulation. Felicia Gressitt Brock published a two-volume annotated English language translation of the first ten volumes with an introduction entitled Engi-shiki; the arrival of Buddhism changed the situation, introducing to Japan the concept of the permanent shrine. A great number of Buddhist temples were built next to existing shrines in mixed complexes called jingū-ji (神宮寺, lit. shri
A Kumano shrine is a type of Shinto shrine which enshrines the three Kumano mountains: Hongū, Shingū, Nachi. There are more than 3000 Kumano shrines in Japan, each has received its kami from another Kumano shrine through a process of propagation called bunrei or kanjō; the point of origin of the Kumano cult is the Kumano Sanzan shrine complex of Wakayama Prefecture, which includes Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Kumano Hongū Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha. The three Kumano Sanzan shrines are the Sōhonsha of all Kumano shrines and lie between 20 to 40 km from each other, they are connected to each other by the pilgrimage route known as Kumano Kodō. The great Kumano Sanzan complex includes two Buddhist temples, Seiganto-ji and Fudarakusan-ji; the religious significance of the Kumano region goes back to prehistoric times and therefore predates all modern religions in Japan. The area was, still is, considered a place of physical healing; each shrine had its own separate form of nature worship, but in the 10th century, under the influence of Buddhism, the three came to be worshiped together as the three deities of Kumano.
Because at the time Japanese kami were believed to be emanations of buddhas, the three came to be associated with the Buddhas. Kuniyasutamahime became associated with Sahasrabhūja Avalokiteśvara and Amitābha; the site became, therefore, a unique example of shinbutsu-shūgō, the fusion between Buddhism and Japanese indigenous religion. Thereafter the Kumano Sanzan site attracted many worshipers and became a popular pilgrimage destination. In the 11th century pilgrims were members of the imperial family or aristocrats, but four centuries they were commoners; the visit was referred to as the "Kumano ant pilgrimage" because they could be seen winding through the valleys like so many ants. Kumano Shrine The Tale of the Heike Acts of Worship D. Max Moerman, Localizing Paradise: Kumano Pilgrimage and the Religious Landscape of Premodern Japan. Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0674013956 Moerman, David; the ideology of landscape and the theater of state: Insei pilgrimage to Kumano, Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 24, 347-374 Japanese Wikipedia article "ja:熊野神社" accessed on June 12, 2008 Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau
Shinto or kami-no-michi is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified religion, but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of "spirits", "essences" or "gods", suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, applies as well to various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Nara and Heian periods; the word Shinto was adopted as Jindō or Shindō, from the written Chinese Shendao, combining two kanji: shin, meaning "spirit" or kami.
The oldest recorded usage of the word Shindo is from the second half of the 6th century. Kami is rendered in English as "spirits", "essences", or "gods", refers to the energy generating the phenomena. Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the singular divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, rivers, objects and people can be said to possess the nature of kami. Kami and people are not separate; as much as nearly 80% of the population in Japan participates in Shinto practices or rituals, but only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys. This is. Most of the Japanese attend Shinto shrines and beseech kami without belonging to an institutional Shinto religion. There are no formal rituals to become a practitioner of "folk Shinto". Thus, "Shinto membership" is estimated counting only those who do join organised Shinto sects. Shinto has about 85,000 priests in the country. According to surveys carried out in 2006 and 2008, less than 40% of the population of Japan identifies with an organised religion: around 35% are Buddhists, 3% to 4% are members of Shinto sects and derived religions.
In 2008, 26% of the participants reported visiting Shinto shrines, while only 16.2% expressed belief in the existence of a god or gods in general. According to Inoue: "In modern scholarship, the term is used with reference to kami worship and related theologies and practices. In these contexts,'Shinto' takes on the meaning of'Japan's traditional religion', as opposed to foreign religions such as Christianity, Islam and so forth." Shinto religious expressions have been distinguished by scholars into a series of categories: Shrine Shinto, the main tradition of Shinto, has always been a part of Japan's history. It consists of taking part in worship events at local shrines. Before the Meiji Restoration, shrines were disorganized institutions attached to Buddhist temples; the current successor to the imperial organization system, the Association of Shinto Shrines, oversees about 80,000 shrines nationwide. Imperial Household Shinto are the religious rites performed by the imperial family at the three shrines on the imperial grounds, including the Ancestral Spirits Sanctuary and the Sanctuary of the Kami.
Folk Shinto includes the numerous folk beliefs in spirits. Practices include divination, spirit possession, shamanic healing; some of their practices come from Buddhism, Taoism or Confucianism, but most come from ancient local traditions. Sect Shinto is a legal designation created in the 1890s to separate government-owned shrines from local organised religious communities; these communities originated in the Edo period. The basic difference between Shrine Shinto and Sect Shinto is that sects are a development and grew self-consciously, they can identify a founder, a formal set of teachings and sacred scriptures. Sect Shinto groups are thirteen, classified under five headings: pure Shinto sects, Confucian sects,mountain worship sects, purification sects, faith-healing sects (Kurozumikyo／黒住教, Konkokyo/金光教 and its branching Omotokyo/大本教 and Tenrikyo／天理教. Koshintō, literally'Old Shinto', is a reconstructed "Shinto from before the time of Buddhism", today based on Ainu religion and Ryukyuan practices.
It continues the restoration movement begun by Hirata Atsutane. Many other sects and schools can be distinguished. Faction Shinto is a grouping of Japanese new religions developed since the second half of the 20th century that have departed from traditional Shinto and are not always regarded as part of it. Kami, shin, or, jin is defined in English as "god", "spirit", or "spiritual essence", all these terms meaning "the energy generating a thing". Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami refers to the divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms. Rocks, rivers, objects, places
Japanese festivals are traditional festive occasions. Some festivals have their roots in Chinese festivals centuries ago, but have undergone great changes as they mixed with local customs; some are so different that they do not remotely resemble the original festival despite sharing the same name and date. There are various local festivals that are unknown outside a given prefecture. Unlike most people in East Asia, Japanese people do not celebrate Lunar New Year. In Yokohama Chinatown, Japan's biggest Chinatown, tourists from all over Japan come to enjoy the festival. Similar for Nagasaki's Lantern Festival, based in Nagasaki Chinatown. See: Japanese New Year. Festivals are based around one event, with food stalls and carnival games to keep people entertained; some are based around temples or shrines, others hanabi, still others around contests where the participants sport loin cloths. Matsuri is the Japanese word for a holiday. In Japan, festivals are sponsored by a local shrine or temple, though they can be secular.
There are no specific matsuri days for all of Japan. Every locale has at least one matsuri in late summer/early autumn related to the rice harvest. Notable matsuri feature processions which may include elaborate floats. Preparation for these processions is organized at the level of neighborhoods, or machi. Prior to these, the local kami may be paraded through the streets. One can always find in the vicinity of a matsuri booths selling souvenirs and food such as takoyaki, games, such as Goldfish scooping. Karaoke contests, sumo matches, other forms of entertainment are organized in conjunction with matsuri. If the festival is next to a lake, renting a boat is an attraction. Favorite elements of the most popular matsuri, such as the Nada no Kenka Matsuri of Himeji or the Neputa Matsuri of Hirosaki, are broadcast on television for the entire nation to enjoy. Sapporo Snow Festival is one of the largest festivals of the year in Sapporo, held in February for one week, it began in 1950. The event is now large and commercialized.
About a dozen large sculptures are built for the festival along with around 100 smaller snow and ice sculptures. Several concerts and other events are held. Lake Shikotsu is the northernmost ice-free lake, 363 meters deep; this festival features a moss-covered cave, which has evergreen draped on the inside and is covered in ice. This festival is held from late January to mid February; this festival features ice sculptures and large. At night the sculptures are illuminated by different colored lights. There is a fireworks show during the festival as well. Admission is free. Amasake is available for purchase to enjoy; this lake festival is held in the beginning of February. Held in the town of Yasumiya, this festival is on the south side of Lake Towada; this festival is open all day, but at 5 pm one can enjoy activities such as going through a snow maze, exploring a Japanese igloo, eat foods from Aomori and Akita prefectures. There is events held on an ice stage; this festival is held annually and features colorful lantern floats called nebuta which are pulled through the streets of Central Aomori.
This festival is held from about August 2–7 every year. This event attracts millions of visitors. During this festival, 20 large nebuta floats are paraded through the streets near Aomori JR rail station; these floats are constructed of wooden bases and metal frames. Japanese papers, called washi, are painted onto the frames; these amazing floats are finished off with the historical figures or kabuki being painted on the paper. These floats can take up to a year to complete. There is a dance portion of this festival. There are haneto dancers and they wear special costumes for this dance. Everyone is welcome to purchase their own haneto costume; this event is held every year. Thousands of artists from all over Tohoku and further regions come to Nango to perform; this is the largest open-air jazz concert held in Tohoku region. This festival began in a small venue indoors. There was such a large response from the fans. One must purchase tickets for this event; this summer jazz festival doesn't cost anything but potential members of the public still need to receive a ticket to enter the event.
Japan celebrates the entire season of the cherry blossoms. There are festivals in nearly every region of Japan, some locations, food is available or a park may be decorated with lanterns; some locations of cherry blossom festivals include: Yaedake Cherry Blossom Festival in Okinawa. This festival takes place from late January – mid February Matsuyama Shiroyama Koen Cherry Blossom Festival in Matsuyama-city, Ehime; this festival takes place early April. Matsue Jozan Koen Festival in Matsue-city, Shimane; this festival has a feature of illuminating the cherry blossom trees at night. This festival takes place late March-early April. Tsuyama Kakuzan Koen Cherry Blossom Festival in Tsuyama-cit