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The History of Japanese Languages


If you’re baffled by the title of this article or considering the possibility that we might have fallen victim to a typo, let’s start by saying neither of those ideas is accurate. While there is just one language known as Japanese, the Japanese language comprises various dialects and three very different writing systems. In this article, we’ll explore the Japanese languages and their intriguing history to explain why Japanese is as much of an art as a unique language!

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  1. History of Japanese
  2. Exploring the Different Dialects of Japanese
  3. Four Fascinating Japanese Language Facts
  4. Wrapping Up

1. History of Japanese

Old Photo of Mt. Fuji

A- Old Japanese

Did you know that Japanese history dates back some 2,000 years? Although there isn’t much reliable information on the Japanese language’s prehistory or origin, we know that the first evidence of the language dates back to the 8th century.

During that period, they used two kinds of writing.

Man’yogana – This was a writing system that used Chinese characters to represent Japanese phonetic sounds.

Kanbun – This writing system followed the Classic Chinese style and used Chinese characters to represent Japanese words.

Both writing systems relied on the use of Chinese characters, which was a lot of effort. The Japanese language needed its own writing system that could capture the essence of Japanese sounds. This was when Hiragana and Katakana were invented. At first, the Japanese used Hiragana and Katakana to annotate kanbun texts, which simplified the process of reading Chinese as the writing systems provided much-needed guidance on proper grammar and pronunciation of Chinese characters.

B- Middle Japanese

Early-middle Japanese was used during the Heian period between 794 and 1185. During this time, the Chinese language had its most significant influence on the Japanese language. Between 1185 and 1600, late-middle Japanese developed better phonology. This was also when the first loanwords from other European languages were incorporated into Japanese.

C- Modern Japanese

Aerial Shot of Tokyo

Starting in the 18th century, the Japanese language modernized quite considerably. Hiragana and Katakana were introduced shortly after WWII, and the writing systems formed the basis of the standard language still used in formal communications today.

Modern Japanese written language uses a mix of three writing systems:

Kanji – The Chinese Writing System

Kanji is a Chinese writing system used in Japan because they did not have an official writing system of their own. After Kanji was introduced to the Japanese language, the people started using it with Japanese terms, represented by characters that depicted meanings and not sounds. After the 7th century, Japanese people began using Kanji to write Japanese as a syllabic script, and this style was known as Manyogana.

Hiragana – Depicting Native Japanese Words

Hiragana was eventually developed based on Manyogana, and they used the basis of cursive calligraphic Chinese writing to create this writing system. At first, the elites and high-ranked Japanese people preferred using Kanji. Hiragana was often called “women’s script” because it was seen as a lower writing system than Kanji, and women didn’t have equal access to education as men.

From a contemporary perspective, Hiragana is used where there are no Kanji characters that represent the Japanese tense or mood. Hiragana is also used as suffixes to Kanji characters to indicate adjective and verb conjugations.

Katakana – Representing Loanwords and Modern Language

Developed in the 9th century by Buddhist monks, Katakana is also based on Kanji. Contrary to Hiragana, only the men used Katakana for writing official documents. From a contemporary point of view, the Japanese use Katakana to write foreign words or loanwords and to describe emphasis as well as names for flora and fauna.

Man Writing on the Train

D- What is Kana?

It’s really a simple equation: Hiragana + Katakana = Kana!

Kana characters represent sounds, unlike Kanji characters which represent meanings. Kana has characters that cover each syllable of Japanese words, with each alphabet comprising roughly 46 primary characters. This is also why it’s much easier to master Hiragana or Katakana than Kanji, which has more than 2000 characters.

2. Exploring the Different Dialects of Japanese

The Tokyo accent (or Standard Japanese) is the most common Japanese dialect, but there are many other regional dialects of the language. Although the dialects are mutually intelligible, there is quite a difference in pronunciation of Japanese words between one region and the other.

Here’s a look at some of the most widespread regional dialects:

A- Tohoku

Tohoku is a dialect that’s not always mutually intelligible from the other Japanese dialects. It’s considered a language isolate when compared to the two other significant dialects.

B- Kansai

Castle in Kyoto

Kansai is a dialect that’s widely spoken and mainly used in television production.

C- Okinawa


Okinawa is a dialect that reflects other indigenous languages that are endangered. These languages are collectively referred to as Ryukyuan.

3. Four Fascinating Japanese Language Facts

  • The East Asian language of Japanese is the native language of nearly 128 million people, and Japan is the only country that uses Japanese as its national language!
  • Although the Japanese language has no genealogically demonstratable relationship with Chinese, a large chunk of its vocabulary originates from the Chinese language.
  • We don’t know much about the prehistory of Japanese languages. There’s no direct evidence that depicts the earliest forms of the Japanese language.
  • The oldest Japanese language book is Kojiki. It was written in the year 712 and was written using Chinese characters.

4. Wrapping Up

There will probably always be somewhat of a linguistic dispute when it comes to the origins and history of Japanese languages. Most linguists and translation experts believe that the Japanese language trails back to the Ural-Altaic language family that includes East Asian languages like Turkish and Korean. Others think Indo-European languages might have influenced it with Greek or Latin roots. 

What is set in stone, however, is that the Japanese language is one that has the most apparent cultural influences of all. The fascinating language isolate has influenced many other cultures around the world. Although it’s one of the most fast-paced spoken languages on earth, its abundance of loanwords makes it easier to learn than its associates like Mandarin.

Author Bio:

Sean Patrick Hopwood is the President of Day Translations, an academic evaluation services company.

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Japanese Showa Day: The First Day of Golden Week

While many of us are enjoying the beginning of spring and looking forward to all that April (and May and June…) have in store, this feeling of excitement is perhaps strongest in Japan right now. 

You see, April 29 (Showa Day) marks the beginning of Golden Week! This is a several-day period during which many Japanese people receive time off work, allowing them to travel and enjoy the refreshing spring weather at will. 

The Showa Day holiday in Japan, or 昭和の日 (Shōwa no hi), commemorates one of the most trying (and most successful) periods of the nations’ history: the Showa era. In this article, you’ll learn all about Showa Day in Japan and gain some knowledge about the emperor behind it!

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1. What is Showa Day in Japan?

A Sketch Drawing of Emperor Showa

Showa Day is meant to be a time of reflection on the past and anticipation of the future, or 将来 (shōrai). The day shares a name with 昭和天皇 (Shōwa tennō), or Emperor Showa, who ruled as Emperor of Japan from 1926 to 1989—the Showa Period, which was marked by both crippling obstacles and amazing successes. 

In Japanese, the word 昭和 (Shōwa) means “enlightened peace.” This is the name given Emperor Hirohito (Showa) posthumously and the name of the era during which he reigned. 

Many consider Emperor Showa to have been a strong leader and credit him with having helped Japan recover economically following such tragedies as World War II, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and Japan’s first-ever occupation by foreign forces. Despite these setbacks, the nation was able to rise and become one of the leading nations from an economic standpoint—this success was further spurred onward by the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

    → Want to learn more about Japan’s most notable figures? Then head over to our lesson series Top 10 Japanese Historical Figures to learn about such people as Ieyasu Tokugawa and Takeda Shingen.

2. Showa Day Traditions

Several People Admiring Cherry Blossoms

Because Showa Day marks the beginning of Golden Week, many people begin making travel plans far in advance. 

Showa Day celebrations in Japan tend to be laidback in nature, with many people traveling to see friends, family, and other loved ones for quiet reunions. Emperor Showa was well-known for his great love of nature and the outdoors; in this spirit, many people opt to spend the day cherry blossom viewing or organizing other outdoor activities such as picnics. 

Some people also visit shrines, museums, or the Musashino Imperial Mausoleum in Tokyo (where the body of Emperor Showa is buried). Many museums, such as the National Showa Memorial Museum in Tokyo, hold lectures on this day and teach visitors about the Showa Period and World War II.

3. Greenery Day

Once upon a time, April 29 was known as Greenery Day. It was so named because of Emperor Showa’s love of nature, and the day encouraged things such as spending time outdoors and promoting environmental health. 

In 2007, Greenery Day was moved to May 4, and April 29 was renamed Showa Day. This allowed for Golden Week to contain a holiday dedicated to Emperor Showa himself and another holiday for the environment.

Even earlier on, before Emperor Showa’s death, April 29 was simply the Emperor’s holiday. 

Confused, yet? 

4. Essential Vocabulary for Showa Day in Japan

Black and White Image of the Show Era in Japan

Want to impress your Japanese-speaking friends by talking about Showa Day in Japanese? Here are some of the vocabulary words from the article, plus a few more. 

  • 祝日 (shukujitsu) – holiday [n.]
  • 誕生日 (tanjōbi) – birthday [n.]
  • 将来 (shōrai) – future [n.]
  • 昭和の日 (Shōwa no hi) – Showa Day [n.]
  • 昭和天皇 (Shōwa tennō) – Emperor Showa [p.]
  • 昭和 (Shōwa) – Showa era [n.]
  • 4月29日 (shigatsu nijū kunichi) – April 29 [p.]
  • 偲ぶ (shinobu) – commemorate [v.]
  • 復興 (fukkō) – reconstruction [n.]
  • 日本国憲法 (Nihonkoku kempō) – Constitution of Japan [p.]
  • 文化功労者 (Bunka kōrōsha) – Person of Cultural Merit [p.]
  • 顧みる (kaerimiru) – think back [v.]

Make sure to visit our Showa Day vocabulary list to hear and practice the pronunciation of each word and phrase! 

Final Thoughts

Due to the strength of leadership shown by Emperor Showa, Japan was able to bounce back better than ever after some of the nation’s most unfortunate and trying times. 

Are there any leaders of your nation, past or present, who have immensely helped your country in hard times? Is there a holiday to commemorate them? We look forward to hearing from you! 

If you enjoyed this lesson and would like to read more insightful blog posts on Japanese culture or the language, you might enjoy these articles:

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A Day of Rest for the Weary: Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan

From the Harvest Festival in Germany to Thanksgiving Day in the United States, many cultures around the world have a thanksgiving holiday of some sort. In Japan, this holiday is 勤労感謝の日 (きんろうかんしゃのひ), or “Labor Thanksgiving Day.”

In this article, you’ll learn how the Japanese show 感謝 (かんしゃ), or “appreciation,” on this special day, as well as the holiday’s origins. 

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

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1. What is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan?

Up-close Image of a Man in Work Gear

Each year on November 23, the Japanese celebrate Labor Thanksgiving Day. This is a national holiday dedicated to honoring all workers, reflecting on progress and production, and enjoying the company of family. 

While Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan does have some similarities to Thanksgiving in the United States, there are marked differences which we’ll discuss in the following section.

    → Feeling appreciative today? Learn different ways to say ありがとう。 (“Thank you!”) with our relevant blog post.

Labor Thanksgiving Day Origin

Labor Thanksgiving Day has its roots in a very old Japanese tradition, called Niiname-sai. This was a moveable harvest festival during which the Emperor would thank the gods for all of the food produced that year, offer rice and beans to the gods, and then eat some of the offering himself. During the Meiji Era, the holiday received its fixed date of November 23.

In 1948, following World War II, the harvest festival became Labor Thanksgiving Day. This was to commemorate the positive changes that were made to the Japanese Constitution following the war. 

2. How Does Japan Celebrate Labor Thanksgiving Day?

Labor Thanksgiving Day traditions largely revolve around giving thanks and showing appreciation to workers for all of their hard 労働 (ろうどう), or “labor,” all year long.

Children often write thank-you notes to their parents, take part in chores, and even try their hand in the kitchen to give their parents a break after working so hard. In addition, kids often write notes for and give gifts to workers whom they find inspirational or have much gratitude toward, such as police officers or hospital workers.

Labor Thanksgiving Day celebrations in Japan are not nearly as elaborate as those for Thanksgiving in the United States. Most businesses are closed on this day, giving workers time off to enjoy the holiday with family. Common Labor Thanksgiving Day activities include spending some quality home time with loved ones or heading to the outdoors for some fresh air. Certain organizations or companies may use this day to discuss important topics regarding the future or to show gratitude for their employees.

The Imperial House of Japan continues the original tradition of Niiname-sai, in which a food offering is given to the Shinto gods from that year’s harvest and then eaten by the Emperor. It’s important to note that this is done quietly and is not a large celebration.

Japanese Labor Thanksgiving Day food tends to be less important than Thanksgiving food in the United States. That said, because this holiday traditionally celebrated the autumn harvest, there’s often some type of ごちそう (“feast”) to be enjoyed with family or loved ones. 

3. Japanese Constitution Changes

We mentioned earlier that the Japanese Constitution underwent some important changes following WWII. Do you know what they were? 

The new Japanese Constitution was drafted by a team from the U.S. under Douglas MacArthur, with the help of Japanese scholars. The finished document made several provisions, such as the right to life, universal suffrage, greater equality between men and women, and the right to a fair trial. Additionally, Article 9 of the constitution prohibits Japan from declaring war. 

The new constitution also limited the Emperor’s power within the Japanese government, and the country created a new bicameral parliamentary system.

The Japanese Constitution is a topic of debate; some consider it a sensitive issue, though most people fully welcome and accept the provisions of the new constitution.

    → Do you want to learn more about how the Japanese view their constitution? Then look at our Culture Class lesson about Japanese Constitution Day.

4. Essential Labor Thanksgiving Day Vocabulary

An Industrial Building

Let’s review some of the vocabulary words and phrases from this article so you can talk about Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japanese!

  • ありがとう。-  “Thank you!”
  • 祝日 (しゅくじつ) – “holiday” [n]
  • 家族 (かぞく) – “family” [n]
  • プレゼント – “present” [n]
  • 勤労感謝の日 (きんろうかんしゃのひ) – “Labor Thanksgiving Day” [n]
  • 仕事 (しごと) – “job” [n]
  • 感謝 (かんしゃ) – “appreciation” [n]
  • 労働 (ろうどう) – “labor” [n]
  • 産業 (さんぎょう) – “industrial” [n]
  • 労をねぎらう (ろうをねぎらう) – “appreciate the pains somebody has taken”
  • ごちそう – “feast” [n]

Remember that you can hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase on our Labor Thanksgiving Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

Two Female Colleagues Shaking Hands

The Labor Thanksgiving Day festival is a time of gratitude, appreciation, and enjoyment. Is there a similar holiday in your country? If so, how do you celebrate?

If you enjoyed learning about this Japanese holiday, we think you’ll enjoy the following articles on

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Japanese Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Japanese


You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Japanese! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Japanese keyboard.

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  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Japanese
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Japanese
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Japanese on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Japanese Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Japanese Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Japanese

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Japanese

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Japanese language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Japanese websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Japanese teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Japanese

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Japanese. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Japanese, so all text will appear in Japanese. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Japanese on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Japanese language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

1. Go to Settings > Change PC Settings > Time & Language > Region & Language.

2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Japanese.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as 日本語 with the note “language pack available.”

3. Click on 日本語 > “Options” > “Download.” It will take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.

4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Japanese – 日本語.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Japanese.”

4. Expand the option of “Japanese” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Japanese.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Japanese,” and add the “Japanese” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Japanese Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Japanese will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Japanese keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Japanese” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select 日本語 from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Japanese Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Japanese can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Japanese keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

1. To toggle your IME on/off, you just need to hit “Alt + Tilde (~).” 

2. You can just type in Japanese words on your keyboard, if you know how they’re spelled in Romanization. (Like “a” = あ, “ko” = こ, and “re” = れ)But there are some points to be noticed:

 – To type ん, you need to type “nn” (double “n”). When you hit just “n,” you may have the chance to hit vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and it will make な, に, ぬ, ね, の. So you need that extra “n” to type ん.

 – To type small-sized vowel characters, as in ねぇ or あぁ, you need to hit “l” or “x + vowel.” For example, to type ぁ, you hit “la” or “xa.”

 – To get っ, the small “tsu.” However, you don’t have to type “ltsu” or “xtsu.” You just type it using a double consonant. For example, to type きっと, you hit “kitto.”

3. If you want to use Katakana instead of Hiragana, in most cases all you need to do is hit “spacebar” after you’ve typed the word in Hiragana. Then, your IME will most likely recommend that word in Katakana. But if this isn’t the case for you, or if you instead want a Katakana input mode, just hit “Ctrl + Caps Lock” to find it.

4. To convert to Kanji, you need to use the “spacebar” just like you do with Katakana words. Your IME will suggest a candidate Kanji list for the word. So hit the “spacebar” until you find the one you’re looking for, and then hit the “Enter” to determine the conversion candidate.

2- Mobile Phones

1. You can type Japanese words on a Kana-style keyboard as well as a Romanization-style keyboard. As for the Romanization-style typing, it’s almost the same as it is on the PC.

2. You’ll have only ten Hiragana letter keys, plus a punctuation key and a text face key to input with a Kana-style keyboard. The letter keys are arranged by consonant and each of them has three or more letters inside it. To select a letter, quickly tap the key to go through the different letters. Alternatively, you can simply hold down the key, which will bring up the options visually, and then slide your finger to the intended letter. 

3. The 改行 key is the equivalent to the Enter key, and the 空白 key is the equivalent to the space key.

7. How to Practice Typing Japanese

As you probably know by now, learning Japanese is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Japanese typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer.
If you’re a JapanesePod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Japanese keyboard to do this!

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The Autumn Equinox Festival in Japan

Is that autumn in the air, already? I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready for it! 

Today, we’re going to explore 彼岸の中日 (ひがんのちゅうにち), or “the equinoctial day,” on which the Japanese acknowledge the arrival of autumn. On the Autumn Equinox, Japanese people express appreciation for their ancestors and indulge in a few seasonal celebrations as well. 

Let’s take a closer look!

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1. What is the Autumnal Equinox?

the Autumnal Equinox

Autumnal Equinox Day, or 秋分の日 (しゅうぶんのひ), normally falls on September 22 or 23. This is the day on which summer officially becomes autumn; in addition, the sun will rise in the true east and then set in the true west. 

The Autumn Equinox celebration in Japan began as a holiday called 皇霊祭 (Kōreisai), literally meaning “a royal court event held in the autumn.” This holiday began in 1878, and on this day, people would worship and pay respects to the deceased emperors and other members of the royal family. Over time, the Japanese began to celebrate the holiday in a less-religious manner, instead honoring the dead in general and praying for a successful harvest.

Today, the Autumn Equinox celebration maintains its non-religious status, and the Japanese honor their ancestors while celebrating the coming season.

2. Autumn Equinox Rituals and Celebrations

an offering left at a grave

墓参り (はかまいり), or “visiting a grave,” is the most important tradition for Autumnal Equinox Day. Japanese people, over the course of 彼岸 (ひがん), or the “equinoctial week,” pay their respects to deceased ancestors by cleaning the gravesite and giving offerings of food and flowers. Many people also burn an “incense stick,” or 線香 (せんこう), to show respect. 

There are two main reasons for the popularity of this tradition: 

1) It resembles the traditions of the older Kōreisai holiday we mentioned earlier. 

2) The Japanese believe that the deceased go to another world in the west, the direction that the sun sets for the Autumnal Equinox. 

The Autumnal Equinox is also a time of appreciation for the coming season. In fact, there’s a saying in Japan: “No heat or cold lasts over the Equinox.” This refers to the fact that the weather during autumn tends to be more mild and tolerable than the weather at any other point in the year—certainly a reason to celebrate after a long summer, and before the coming winter! 

3. Autumnal Equinox Food

a tray of Buddhist cuisine

The Autumn Equinox Festival in Japan is the perfect time to sample some fall-time Japanese treats. Many people offer a traditional Japanese sweet called おはぎ, or “ohagi,” to their ancestors and enjoy some themselves. “Ohagi” comes from the word 萩 (hagi), meaning “Japanese clover,” which blooms around the time of the Autumnal Equinox. This dessert consists of cooked rice grains that have been crushed and covered in bean paste. 

One will also find a lot of 精進料理 (しょうじんりょうり), or “Buddhist cuisine,” available during this time. 

4. Essential Japanese Vocabulary for the Autumnal Equinox

a white myrtle blossom

Let’s review some of the Japanese vocabulary from this article! 

  • 花 (はな) — “flower”
  • 先祖 (せんぞ) — “ancestor”
  • 精進料理 (しょうじんりょうり) — “Buddhist cuisine”
  • 秋分の日 (しゅうぶんのひ) — “Autumnal Equinox Day”
  • おはぎ (おはぎ) — “ohagi”
  • 線香 (せんこう) — “incense stick”
  • 墓参り (はかまいり) — “visiting a grave”
  • 彼岸明け (ひがんあけ) — “the last day of the equinoctial week”
  • 彼岸の入り (ひがんのいり) — “the first day of the equinoctial week”
  • 彼岸の中日 (ひがんのちゅうにち) — “the equinoctial day”
  • 供え物 (そなえもの) — “offering”
  • 彼岸 (ひがん) — “equinoctial week”
  • 秋分点 (しゅうぶんてん) — “autumn equinox”

Remember that you can find each of these words, along with their pronunciation, on our Japanese Autumn Equinox vocabulary list

Final Thoughts

Due to the prominence of filial piety in Japan, one can see how important the Autumnal Equinox traditions are. But this holiday is just one drop in the ocean of Japanese culture! 

For more great content about Japanese culture and holidays, check out the following articles on

What are your favorite things about autumn? Do you have any special autumn celebrations in your country? Let us know in the comments.

Happy Autumn Equinox from the family!

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Hanabi: The Japanese Fireworks Festival!

Japanese fireworks are arguably the best part of summer. After a long and trying rainy season (tsuyu), people are just itching to get out and enjoy themselves!

Did you know there’s a firework display called the Niagara? These fireworks are arranged in a row, set off at the same time, and are specially designed to look like a huge wave or waterfall.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the fireworks festival in Japan: what to expect, how these festivals got started, and some relevant vocabulary you can use to impress your Japanese friends.

Let’s get started.

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1. What is the Hanabi Festival in Japan?

Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival

Every year during the summer, usually in July and August, the Japanese celebrate the Hanabi festival. Hanabi is Japanese for “fireworks,” but it literally means “fire flower.” The Japanese consider Hanabi to be the 夏の風物詩 (なつの ふうぶつし), or “epitome of summer.”

A History of Fireworks in Japanese Culture

It’s believed that Japan had its first taste of fireworks in the 1600s when the shogunate founder, Tokugawa Ieyasu, was given fireworks as a gift from someone representing King James I. He greatly enjoyed them, and over time, the Edo lords began using the fireworks for their entertainment by setting them off above the Sumida River.

It was at the Sumida River that one of the first public fireworks displays in Japan took place in 1733. During this time, the fireworks were used for both entertainment and to ward off evil spirits. Many Japanese during this era had taken ill or died from disease, so watching the Hanabi in Japan was both a means of easing one’s mind and of mourning.

Today, there tends to be a greater focus on the creative aspect of fireworks, and once you see the amazing fireworks in Japan, you’ll see that the Japanese take this creativity very seriously.

2. What to Expect During Hanabi

Exhibition Fireworks

How to Prepare

Because Hanabi takes place during the hottest months of summer, you’ll definitely want to wear cool summer clothes. Alternatively, you can purchase a 浴衣 (ゆかた), or yukata, which is a summertime kimono designed to keep you cool. You should also ensure that you have something to sit on, like a blanket or groundsheet.

The Fireworks

Japanese fireworks are known for their clever, fascinating designs. There’s no better time to see them than during the Hanabi festival. Japanese pyrotechnicians really put their heart and soul into these things! There are fireworks that are shaped like hearts, faces, cartoon characters, and other objects or elements.

Some of the best fireworks festivals in Japan are:
  • Nagaoka Fireworks
  • Osaka Tenjin Fireworks
  • 隅田川花火大会 (すみだがわはなびたいかい) – Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival

Of course, there are many more all summer long!

Another important note: If you really want to fit in while watching the fireworks, be sure to say 玉屋 (たまや), or “tama-ya,” and 鍵屋 (かぎや), or “kagi-ya,” as the fireworks burst. Everyone around you will be doing this, so why not join in the fun?

We highly recommend that you try something from a 屋台 (やたい), or “food stall,” while you’re out.

    → Take a look at our list of the top Japanese Foods and let us know which one is your favorite!

Tips for the Festival

Before you visit Japan for the Hanabi festival, keep in mind that it’s going to be crowded.

This means that if you want a good seat or view, you’ll need to arrive super-early. Many Japanese people show up to the fireworks location several hours before they actually begin. The same goes for tickets: If you need a ticket to attend a specific firework show, be sure to purchase it in advance. You normally can’t buy a ticket on the day of the show.

In addition, you’ll need to book a hotel room as soon as possible. If you wait until the last minute to take this step for your trip, you may find all of the hotels booked!

And big crowds mean long lines! Definitely use the bathroom before arriving at the firework viewing area. Otherwise, you’ll end up waiting a really long time to use the bathrooms there.

Finally, don’t leave immediately after the firework show. If you do, you’ll be squished between all the other people leaving; the trains will be full, and the roads will be jammed with traffic. It’s better to wait a little while and enjoy the other amenities before leaving.

3. Why Do We Say Tama-ya?

During the Edo period, there were two men credited with bringing fireworks to Japan. These two firework-makers’ names were Tamaya and Kagiya, and the Japanese shouted their names while watching the Hanabi.

Today, there’s less meaning in shouting the names, and it’s mostly done to make the show more exciting.

4. Vocabulary for the Japanese Fireworks Festival

Japanese Food Stalls

Here’s a quick list of some of the vocabulary words and phrases from this article.
  • 夏 (なつ) — “summer”
  • 甚平 (じんべい) — “jinbei”
  • 花火大会 (はなびたいかい) — “fireworks festival”
  • 浴衣 (ゆかた) — “yukata”
  • 屋台 (やたい) — “food stall”
  • 玉屋 (たまや) — “tama-ya”
  • 夏の風物詩 (なつの ふうぶつし) — “epitome of summer”
  • 隅田川花火大会 (すみだがわはなびたいかい) — “Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival”
  • 打上花火 (うちあげはなび) — “sky rocket”
  • 花火師 (はなびし) — “pyrotechnician”
  • 鍵屋 (かぎや) — “kagi-ya”
  • 火薬 (かやく) — “gunpowder”
  • 仕掛花火 (しかけ はなび) — “exhibition”

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, visit our Japanese Fireworks Festival vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

The Hanabi festival in Japan really is one of the most beautiful and exciting occasions all year long. There’s something about the coolness of the rivers, the company of fellow onlookers, and watching the brilliant Hanabi with a drink in your hand.

What are your favorite things about summer? Are there any special summertime events in your country? Let us know your experiences with them in the comments!

To learn more about fun things that happen in Japan throughout the year, and to pick up some new phrases you can start using today, check out these free articles on

Stay safe out there, and happy Japanese learning!

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The Rainy Season in Japan: Making the Most of Tsuyu

Rain, rain, go away…

I don’t know about you, but I get pretty depressed when it’s rainy or overcast—and more so with each day that the weather remains gloomy. Imagine that kind of weather for several weeks straight!

Each year, various regions of Japan experience a several-week period of much rainfall and cloud cover called the rainy season, or tsuyu. In this article, you’ll learn all about this rainy season, Japan’s most notable features during this time, what you can do during a rainy season visit, and some useful vocabulary.

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1. What is the Rainy Season in Japan?

梅雨 (Tsuyu) is the rainy season in Japan, and it literally translates to “plum rain.” This is in reference to when the rainy season generally takes place: mid-summer, around the time that the plums begin to ripen.

During the rainy season, Japan experiences several weeks of 大雨 (おおあめ), or “heavy rain.” This is caused by a 梅雨前線 (ばいうぜんせん), or “rain front,” that develops when cooler air from the north mixes with warmer air from the south.

2. When is Rainy Season in Japan?

Japan’s Rainy Season is in June The 梅雨入り (つゆいり), or “start of the rainy season,” varies slightly from region to region.

For most of the country, Japan’s rainy season starts in early June, though the rainy season in Okinawa is known to start about a month earlier. In contrast, Hokkaido and Ogasawara often receive very little rain compared to the rest of Japan and don’t really have a rainy season.

The 梅雨明け (つゆあけ), or “end of the rainy season,” also varies. For most of the country, it ends in mid-July. In Okinawa, it ends in mid-June.

  • Keep in mind that the Japanese Meteorological Agency announces the beginning and end of the rainy season each year. You can check in often to see any updates.

3. Visiting Japan During Rainy Season

People Walking the Streets with Umbrellas Rainy weather can be a bummer any day, even more so when you’re on vacation. If rain really isn’t your thing, we recommend that you schedule your trip to Japan for another time of year when you can better enjoy the great outdoors!

That said, there are a few things you can do in Japan during the rainy season—and a few precautions you can take before you even board your plane!

How to Prepare

A Seven-day Forecast Do your research. First things first, you’ll need to do your research before scheduling your visit. Check to see the start and end dates of the rainy season for the area you want to visit, and see if you can find information on what to expect there.

Buy an umbrella. In Japan, the rainy season makes owning an umbrella a necessity!

Pack clothes for any weather situation. In addition to pouring rain, you can expect the weather to be hot and humid at times and cool at other times. Pack clothes that you can wear no matter what the weather decides to do, and once you arrive, dress in layers.

Things to Do

Have you decided to visit Japan during the rainy season, after all? Great! There are several activities you can still enjoy—and a couple that you can especially enjoy—during the rainy season!

Hydrangea Festivals

Hydrangea flowers are to the rainy season as cherry blossoms are to springtime. If there’s one thing to truly look forward to during these gloomy weeks, it’s the blooming of the hydrangeas!

Throughout the rainy season, Japanese temples and gardens hold hydrangea festivals. This is the perfect time to see a variety of hydrangeas, which can vary in color from region to region.

Hydrangeas are a greatly loved flower in Japan, and some people even wish for the rains to continue so that the hydrangeas can bloom to their full potential!


Just because you’re trapped indoors or under an umbrella most of the time doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some good cuisine. Rainy season in Japan is a wonderful opportunity to taste seasonal dishes and explore a variety of foods from street vendors or small restaurants.


Because Japan’s rainy season generally takes place after Golden Week, you can expect to find prices quite low during this time. Perfect for shopping!


If there happens to be a 梅雨晴 (つゆばれ), or “sunny spell during the rainy season,” which there probably will be, you may enjoy going on a hike. Hiking in the mountains or taking a walk through a park is a fantastic way to see some of those hydrangeas we told you about. 😉

4. How Bad is the Rainy Season in Japan?

Heavy Rain in a Park Despite the beauty and adventure associated with the rainy season in Japan, the high humidity and perpetual rains can cause some damage. In particular, many Japanese households experience a mold problem during the rainy season: food goes bad, walls can begin growing mold, and personal items (especially clothes) can become damaged if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Do be mindful of this during your visit!

In addition, Japan is known to have typhoons. Generally, typhoons strike hardest after the official rainy season period (in August and September), though you should definitely keep this in mind while planning your trip, and stay aware!

5. Must-Know Rainy Season Vocabulary

Ladybugs on a Dripping Blade of Grass Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a quick list!

  • 梅雨 (つゆ) — “rainy season”
  • 雨 (あめ) — “rain”
  • 六月 (ろくがつ) — “June”
  • 大雨 (おおあめ) — “heavy rain”
  • 梅雨晴 (つゆばれ) — “sunny spell during the rainy season”
  • 梅雨入り (つゆいり) — “start of the rainy season”
  • 梅雨前線 (ばいうぜんせん) — “rain front”
  • 梅雨明け (つゆあけ) — “end of the rainy season”
  • 梅雨の中休み (つゆのなかやすみ) — “break in the rainy season”
  • 梅雨明け宣言 (つゆあけせんげん) — “announcement of the end of the rainy season”
  • 降水量 (こうすいりょう) — “amount of rainfall”

If you want to hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, be sure to visit our Japanese Rainy Season vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Japan’s rainy season may not be for everyone, though it does produce some beautiful sights and unique opportunities for tourists.

What are your thoughts on the rainy season in Japan? Does your country have a similar period where it rains a lot? Let us know in the comments!

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It’s our goal to make your learning as fun and effective as possible, so we do hope to see you around.

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Bunka no hi: Celebrating Culture Day in Japan

Bunka no hi, celebrated each year in November, is a relatively new Japanese cultural holiday that has experienced some adaptations over time. Originating during the reign of Emperor Meiji, and originally called Meijisetsu, this holiday was a day for Japan to celebrate the birth of its emperor until 1948.

In this article, you’ll learn the most pertinent facts about Culture Day in Japan: activities, meaning, and what role the Constitution of Japan played in evolving the holiday into what it is today.

At, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Culture Day in Japan?

Culture Day is a Japanese national holiday for appreciating peace and freedom, and was originally put in place to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Meiji. The entire week from November 1 to November 7 is designated as Education and Culture Week, with a focus on Culture Day. Various events such as public lectures and hands-on activities are held, and admission to art galleries and museums is free.

2. When is Culture Day?

November Holiday

On November 3, Culture Day in Japan is celebrated. Later in this article, you’ll discover why this date in particular was chosen. 😉

3. Japan Culture Day Events & Celebrations

On Culture Day, Japan puts on events with a deep connection to culture. For example, at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, a Fall Festival is held which is dedicated to traditional arts such as Bugaku and horseback archery. In Asakusa in Tokyo, and in Shiga Prefecture, parades are held in which people dress in costumes from different eras to demonstrate Japan’s history. In Kanagawa Prefecture, a reenactment of the Daimyo’s Procession from the Edo era is also held. Events such as these provide the opportunity to once again look at the culture that has been passed down through the ages.

At the Imperial Palace, an Order of Culture Ceremony is held. During this culture award ceremony, people who have made remarkable achievements in the development and improvement of science, technology, culture, and the arts are awarded a medal. In recent years, world-renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa, leading architect Tadao Ando, and famous fashion designer Issey Miyake have all been honored. Images of the emperor personally presenting the awards always appear on the news.

For National Culture Day, Japanese arts festivals sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs are also held. During this time, those with a proven track record of excellence in the performing arts give performances. In addition to this, from all of the participating performances and works of art, including those approved by the Executive Committee, a grand prize, excellence award, and newcomer award are presented to those who have made great contributions to the promotion of art and culture.

4. The Japanese Constitution & Culture Day

Child Doing Crafts

Do you know which law caused this holiday to be known as Culture Day?

The answer is the Japanese constitution. The constitution was proclaimed on November 3, 1946. Because of its focus on peace and culture, the anniversary of the proclamation of the constitution was designated Culture Day.

Incidentally, the Japanese constitution was actually enacted six months later, on May 3. This is also a holiday, known as Constitution Day.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Bunka No Hi in Japan

Couple Looking at Painting

  • 劇場
  • 十一月
  • 美術館
    Art museum
  • 美術館
  • 文化の日
    Culture Day
  • 文化
  • 休日
    Day off
  • 文化勲章
    The Order of Culture
  • 明治天皇
    Emperor Meiji
  • 授業参観
    Class observation day
  • 工作
  • 文化祭
    Cultural festival

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and see each one accompanied by a relevant image, be sure to check out our Japanese Culture Day vocabulary list!

Parting Words…

We hope you enjoyed learning about Bunka no hi with us, and that you took away something valuable from this lesson.

Does your country have a cultural holiday? If so, how do you celebrate it? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

Learning about a country’s culture may be the most enriching and exciting aspect of trying to master a language. If you want to continue delving into Japanese culture, you may be interested in the following pages:

We know that learning Japanese isn’t easy, but at, we do everything we can to make it fun! You really can master the language and come to understand Japanese culture, and we’ll be here with help and encouragement on each step of your language-learning journey!

Happy learning!

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Japanese Keiro no hi: Respect for the Aged Day in Japan

Have you ever wondered “How are the elderly treated in Japan?”

Each year, the Japanese population celebrates and honors the elderly people in Japan for their contributions to society. The aged are regarded with much respect, and Respect for the Aged Day is a special occasion on which to really go all out and show this admiration.

In this article, you’ll learn all about the Respect for the Aged Day meaning, and more facts about the elderly people in Japan. Learning about this holiday and what it looks like in Japanese society will go a long way toward helping you understand the culture of Japan.

At, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative! So let’s get started.

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1. What is Respect for the Aged Day?

Essentially, the Respect for the Aged Day meaning has to do with respecting one’s elders.

Respect for the Aged Day, Tokyo and all over Japan, is when Japanese people convey feelings of gratitude, respect, and good wishes toward the elderly population. Be it grandparents, parents, or elderly neighbors, the Japanese recognize the contributions that the aged have made for society to make it what it is today.

While there are several theories about this holiday’s origins, many people think it began in a rural village in the Hyōgo Prefecture in 1947. However, until 1964, this holiday was known as としよりのひ (toshiyori no hi), or “Old Folks’ Day.”

2. Respect for the Aged Day Date

Third Monday in September

Each year in Japan, Respect for the Aged Day is observed on the third Monday of September. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: September 16
  • 2020: September 21
  • 2021: September 20
  • 2022: September 19
  • 2023: September 18
  • 2024: September 16
  • 2025: September 15
  • 2026: September 21
  • 2027: September 20
  • 2028: September 18

3. How to Celebrate Respect for the Aged Day

Comparatively speaking, this holiday is a modern one. Therefore, Respect for the Aged Day traditions are few, though there are a few common Respect for the Aged Day activities that we’ll cover here.

The day before, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare finds out how many people are over 100 years of age. Local municipalities often give gifts or souvenirs to elderly people who are celebrating a milestone birthday that year, such as Sanju (which is when they turn 80), or Sotsuju (which is when they turn 90). Those turning 100 years old or older receive a visit from the city or town mayor. They’re then congratulated and presented with a congratulatory gift.

On Respect for the Aged Day, and the days surrounding it, the elderly gather together in public facilities, such as community centers, to watch entertainment—such as choir and dance performances—alongside the participants and local residents. Sometimes the elderly also receive souvenirs such as red rice, Japanese sweets, and magnifying glasses.

Kindergartens and nurseries invite grandparents to see their grandchildren, and elementary school students write letters of thanks to their grandparents. This day is a good opportunity for different generations to strengthen their bonds.

Naturally, households with elderly family members convey their gratitude on Respect for the Aged Day, but families who live apart get involved as well. Often, this involves not only saying thank you, but also giving gifts. Meals, flowers, handmade crafts by the grandchildren, and photos of the grandchildren, are high on the list of popular gifts.

4. A Declining Population

Old Woman with Flowers

Japan currently faces the prospect of a declining population, and this is a potential situation that could result in profound economic and social impacts.

Japan’s population is rapidly aging, which means that the number of people over 65 is rapidly increasing. Some people also call this phenomenon the “graying” of the population.

There are a few major factors behind this trend:

  • An increasing number of retiring baby boomers
  • Gains in longevity
  • Decreasing fertility

To combat this, the Japanese government has implemented a series of plans, beginning in 1995, with the goal of improving conditions for child-rearing.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Respect for the Aged Day

Longevity Rankings

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Respect for the Aged Day in Japan!

  • プレゼント (プレゼント) — present
  • 孫 (まご) — grandchild
  • 米寿 (べいじゅ) — 88th birthday
  • 敬老の日 (けいろうのひ) — Respect-for-the-Aged Day
  • 祝う (いわう) — celebrate
  • 高齢者 (こうれいしゃ) — senior citizen
  • 祖父母 (そふぼ) — grandparents
  • 長寿 (ちょうじゅ) — long life
  • お年寄り (おとしより) — elderly person
  • 9月の第3月曜日 (くがつの だいさんげつようび) — the third Monday in September
  • 長寿番付 (ちょうじゅばんづけ) — longevity ranking
  • 白寿 (はくじゅ) — 99th birthday
  • 卒寿 (そつじゅ) — 90th birthday
  • 傘寿 (さんじゅ) — 80th birthday
  • 喜寿 (きじゅ) — 77th birthday

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Respect for the Aged Day vocabulary list!

How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Understand Japanese Culture

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How to Celebrate the Obon Festival in Japan

Each year, Japan celebrates the Bon Festival (also called O Bon, The Obon Festival, or The Feast of Lanterns). This holiday is essentially a time for families to honor their deceased by throwing a celebration for them, a tradition we’ll go more into later.

In this article, you’ll learn about Japanese Bon Dance music, and many other Obon Japanese events and symbols. In learning about the Obon Festival Japan observes each year, you’re allowing yourself a deeper, more heartfelt glimpse into its culture and its history.

At, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative. So let’s get started learning about the Japanese Bon Festival holiday!

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1. What is Obon in Japan?

The Bon Festival is an event of Buddhist origin observed in order to honor the spirits of the ancestors. Essentially, this day is for families to hold a memorial service to welcome the spirits of their deceased ancestors.

The word Bon is said to be an abbreviation of the name for the Ghost Festival, which came from China. The Feast of Lanterns is an event held to save the spirits of deceased parents and ancestors from suffering. This event was brought over to Japan, and together with the Japanese custom of ancestor worship, O-bon in its current incarnation came to be held in the Edo Period.

2. When is the Bon Festival?

Paper Lanterns Hanging

Most of Japan celebrates the Bon Festival from August 13 to August 15, though some regions celebrate it in mid-July.

Many companies close for the Obon holiday, and people go back to their hometowns to visit their families, or go on a vacation somewhere with them. Obon is not just a religious event held to honor the ancestral spirits, it has also taken on a greater meaning as a national holiday.

3. Reading Practice: Bon Festival Japanese Celebrations

Read the Kanji Japanese text below to learn about how the Japanese celebrate the Bon Festival, and find the English translation directly below it.







Although the details of Obon vary depending on region, let’s look at some common customs.

On the 13th, lanterns are lit in order to welcome the ancestral spirits back to the home. The fire of these lights shows the spirits the location of the home.

On the 14th and 15th, time is spent with the ancestral spirits. Offerings of food are laid at the household Buddhist altar for the returning ancestral spirits.

On the 16th, the departure lamps are lit, and through these hanging lanterns the spirits depart.

Another custom is the Bon Dance that is performed at Obon. A watchtower is raised in a square, and people then dance around it in time with the beating of the drum on the turret. While originally it was a ritual dance for the memorial service in which the spirits are welcomed, these days with booths lined up, it feels more like a festival. There are regional variations of the Obon Dance. One famous version is the Awa Dance.

Do you know the phrase “It’s like Obon and New Year’s both came at once!”? Because Obon and New Year’s are both busy, enjoyable times when families gather together, this phrase is used to refer to busy times filled with happiness.

4. Horses & Cows

Floating Lanterns

It is thought that at Obon, ancestral spirits come back from the afterlife and then return to it. What do you think spirits use to go back and forth between the afterlife?

It’s thought that the spirits ride a horse and a cow to travel back and forth. At Obon, cucumbers, eggplants, and disposable chopsticks are used to create figures of the horse and cow, which are then put on display. The cucumber represents the horse, and the eggplant the cow. The idea is that the spirits ride on a horse to come home quickly, and ride on a cow to go back slowly.

5. Useful Vocabulary for the Japanese Bon Festival

An Offering

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the Bon Festival in Japan!

  • お盆 (おぼん) — Bon Festival
  • 提灯 (ちょうちん) — paper lantern
  • 仏壇 (ぶつだん) — Buddhist altar
  • 盆踊り (ぼんおどり) — bon dance festival
  • 精霊流し (しょうろうながし) — Spirit Boat Procession
  • お盆休み (おぼんやすみ) — bon holiday
  • 墓参り (はかまいり) — visiting a grave
  • 供え物 (そなえもの) — offering
  • 迎え火 (むかえび) — welcome fire
  • 霊 (れい) — spirit
  • 灯篭流し (とうろうながし) — floating lanterns
  • 送り火 (おくりび) — ceremonial bonfire
  • 盆踊り (ぼんおどり) — bon dance
  • あの世 (あのよ) — afterlife

To hear each of these Bon Festival vocabulary words pronounced, check out our relevant vocabulary list!

Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Master Japanese

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Japanese Obon Festival with us! What do you think about this holiday? Is there a holiday similar to it in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

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