Must-Visit Summer Festivals in Hokkaido

Jun 13, 2024

Kutchan Festival

Summer festivals in Japan are a time-honoured Japanese tradition, and Hokkaido is no exception. From local celebrations to large-scale events that draw international visitors, there is a diverse range of festivities to experience in this northernmost prefecture of Japan. To help you navigate the rich cultural landscape of Hokkaido's summer festivals, we have compiled a comprehensive list of highlights.

Here's your guide to your summer festival in Hokkaido!

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Hokkaido presents a unique opportunity to experience the rich cultural and natural landscape of Japan. Here at Uchi, we exclusively offer premium properties in Hokkaido.

Yosakoi Soran Festival (June 5 - 9)

Experience unique energy in Sapporo for five days during early summer with the Yosakoi Soran Festival. Inspired by the Yosakoi dance in Kochi, India, students from Hokkaido University brought a similar event to Sapporo with Hokkaido's folk song, Soran Bushi. Thousands of visitors attend this festival, which features dynamic performances and vibrant costumes.

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Hokkaido Shrine Festival (June 14-16)

Take the opportunity to witness Hokkaido's rich traditions and culture with the Sapporo Matsuri. This festival features the Mikoshi Togyo parade, where citizens would dress in costumes from the Heian period. Visitors can also enjoy the traditional performances and local delicacies.

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Shiraoi Beef Festival (June 1-2)

This annual culinary celebration showcases the delectable Shiraoi beef, tantalising visitors with its mouth watering aromas and flavours. The festival features the sale of premium Kuroge Wagyu Beef, providing an exceptional food trip.

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Doshin-UHB Fireworks Festival (Last Friday of July)

Also known as the Toyohira River Fireworks Festival, this spectacular event presents an awe-inspiring display of 4,000 creative fireworks. The fireworks can be enjoyed from various vantage points across Sapporo City, including the riverbank, Nakajima Park, Horohira Bridge, and the Ferris wheel at Norbesa.

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Sapporo Summer Festival (Late July to mid-August)

Sapporo's climate is ideal for brewing beer during summer. Thus, the Sapporo Brewery was established with a beer garden six blocks from Odori Park. Since then, the festival in Hokkaido begins with the Sapporo Odori Beer Garden, followed by the Hokkai Bon Odori, which takes place as a ritual to honour ancestors at the Yagura Tower through dancing and Japanese drums.

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Otaru Ushio Festival (July 26-28)

This three-day festival allows you to experience Otaru's local festivals, including Otaru Ushio Ondo and Ushio Odori Uta, as well as vibrant parades that showcase traditional culture. On the last day, the Ushio Citizen Regatta boat race is held, with a parade of fish boats in Otaru Harbor and a breathtaking fireworks display.

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Nakafurano Lavender Festival (Every Saturday in Mid-July)

Experience an unforgettable festival held in a lavender paradise in Furano. The Kitahoshiyama Lavender Garden boasts a beautiful and perfume-smelling fragrance of lavender landscape in the morning and a spectacular fireworks display at night.

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Kutchan Potato Festival (August 3-4)

Experience the biggest summer festival in the Niseko area. Celebrate the town's famous produce of humble potatoes. Witness games, musical performances, parades, fireworks, and local delicacies. Take advantage of the taiko drumming and jaga dance!

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Rising Sun Rock Festival (August 16-17)

One of Japan's biggest outdoor music festivals features an unforgettable experience of welcoming sunrise after a night-long celebration. Thousands of attendees participate to witness local and international artists' exhilarating performances.

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Mikasa Hokkai Bon Odori (August 13-15)

Mid-August is known as the Obon, a festival to remember and commemorate the spirits of the deceased. The Bon Odori ritual is performed to welcome spirits joyfully through a dance festival in Mikasa City. People can dance in circles at the city's central park and join the simple choreography. The festival ends with a stunning fireworks display.

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Noboribetsu Jigokudani Festival (Last Saturday and Sunday of August)

Located at the active volcanic hot spring called "Hell Valley” (Jigokudani), legend has it that the gates of Hell opened, and Enma, the King, visited the hot spring town with his demons.

Today, the festival showcases Noboribetsu drums, demon shrines, and dances. Highlights include the demon mikoshi tumult and the Jigokudani Burst Fireworks that brighten the valley.

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Hakodate Port Festival (August 1-5)

One of Hokkaido's oldest events, the Hakodate Port Festival, has a rich history that spans over 80 years. Inaugurated in 1935, it served as a beacon of solace and reconstruction in the aftermath of the devastating Great Hakodate Fire. The festival encompasses five distinct components, beginning with a fireworks display from Green Island in Hakodate Harbor. The festival's centrepiece, Wasshoi Hakodate, witnesses the participation of approximately 20,000 citizens adorned in diverse costumes, who dance madly through the streets to the rhythm of the Hakodate Port Dance and the Hakodate Squid Dance. The festival culminates with an awards ceremony on its final day, recognising the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups.


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