January 1


Hatsumode is the the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year.


Februaty 5-18

Sapporo Snow Festival

An international festival now in its 66th year, it features enormous and breathtaking snow statues on display in Odori Park in Sapporo, Hokkaido. www.snowfes.com


February 28

The Tokyo Marathon

The 2016 marathon begins at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building and finishes at Tokyo Big Sight, in Odaiba. Some 36,000 runners took part in 2015. www.marathon.tokyo


March 3


Also known as Girls’ Day, it is an annual celebration of the wellbeing of daughters in the household. It is a custom to decorate homes with ornate dolls on a special platform.

April 8 – 10 (Gold Coast)
April 15 – 17 (Melbourne)
June 17 – 19 (Sydney)
June 24 – 26 (Perth)

April / June

Supanove Pop Culture Expo

This is a celebration of pop culture in all its forms – TV, film, books, comics, toys, gaming, animation, cosplay and more! A number of high-profile personalities are scheduled to appear, including actors, comic book illustrators, authors and voice over artists. Check the website regularly for ticket release dates, prices and schedule amendments.

gion festival

July 1-31

Gion Festival

Lasting for an entire month, Kyoto’s Gion Festival is one of the three biggest festivals in Japan. The festival showcases many traditional events, foods, clothing and activities, but the centrepiece of this religious festival is a large float parade that takes place on July 17.


August 2-7

Aomori Nebuta Festival

A parade of lanterns shaped like samurai warriors through the streets of the city of Aomori. Some can measure up to eight metres high and fifteen metres wide! This is the largest nebuta float festival in Japan, attracting a large number of tourists each year. Since 1980, this festival has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.


August 12-15

Awa Odori

This festival is the largest dance festival in Japan, dating back over 400 years.
Over 1.3 million tourists visit the city of Tokushima every year to see the traditional dancers performing. www.city.tokushima.tokushima.jp/english/awaodori.html

Kishiwada daijiri


Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, a float festival, takes place in Kishiwada, Osaka. Thirty- four unique and intricately designed floats are carried through this castle town. www.city.kishiwada.osaka.jp/site/ danjiri/english.html

September 24

The Cowra Sakura Festival

The Cowra Sakura Festival, or the Cherry Blossom Festival, is held each year at Cowra. The festival showcases Japanese arts, crafts and cultural activities, including a traditional tea ceremony, flower arranging, calligraphy and bonsai. www.cowragarden.com.au

October – November

Japanese Film Festival

In 2015, Australia plays host to one of the largest Japanese film festivals worldwide. This event is presented by the Japan Foundation (Sydney) and will be travelling around the country to Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth. A variety of films will be screened, showcasing both classics of Japanese cinema, as well as more modern offerings.


November 15


Hatsumode is the the first Shinto shrine visit of the Japanese New Year.