Japan in May
Visiting Japan in May is arguably the best time of the year to do so because the weather and temperature are so comfortable. There are also some very interesting spring events happening. Here is a list of 6 things you should definitely consider doing while you are in Japan in May.
Attend the Sanja Matsuri in Tokyo
Sanja Matsuri is one of the major spring festivals in Japan. It is held in Asakusa on the grounds of the Senso-ji temple. The festival is a celebration for three deities that each has its own huge floats called omikoshi. Dozens of smaller ones are also carried by different groups. Looking at the procession of floats is the way to enjoy this high-intensity festival. Expect lots of people and a lot of noise. There are plenty of food stalls, so make sure to enjoy the foods and drinks as well. What's more, this is a rare chance for you to see real Yakuza members displaying their tattoos in public special because they have a special relationship with the Shinto festival for some historical reasons.
Go to the Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto
Aoi Matsuri is one of the three main festivals of Kyoto. You can see processions of people dressed in Heian Era traditional aristocratic garments carrying portable shrines. There is also an equestrian archer show, and one float carries a young woman called "saio-dai" (斎王代), which performs a ritual once she arrives at the Kamo Shrine in the northern part of the city.
Visit the Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture
The park is one of the most famous in the country, and for good reasons! You get to see a scene of almost unimaginable beauty: old and majestic wisteria trees in full bloom. The best season to visit it for the wisteria flowers is from mid-April to mid-May. Aside from 150-year-old trees that are supported by a grid system that makes the branches grow horizontally, there are tunnels of wisteria flowers of different colors you can walk through.
Enjoy the Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo
Imagine taking part in a traditional festival that has its roots in the Edo Era. Kanda Matsuri is just that: A huge mikoshi (portable floats) festival related to the Shinto religion. It is one of the three main matsuris of the sort in Japan (the other two being the Sanno Matsuri and the Fukagawa Matsuri). Kanda Matsuri is held on odd years in May. The event lasts a full week, but the main thing to see is the procession of the mikoshi on the weekend. On Saturday, there are the three main mikoshis of the Kanda shrine that are carried through the Nihonbashi, Akihabara areas.
Seize a rare chance to see traditional geisha dance at Kamogawa Odori in Kyoto
Kamogawa Odori is a popular annual Geisha dance event that takes place every year in Kyoto from the 1st to the 24th of May. This is a rare chance to see real geishas and their apprentices called maikos. The performances often recount historical events. Even if you are not knowledgeable about the stories and do not understand Japanese, watching the graceful synchronized dance of the geishas and maikos is enjoyable in itself.
Visit Yuki No Otani in Toyama Prefecture in Toyama
Leave it to the Japanese to build a road in the middle of one of the snowiest places on the planet called Yuki No Otani (雪の大谷). The Japanese word literally means "large valley of snow". It is such a surreal place that you might want to visit it if you go to Japan in the spring or winter. Spring is quite a good period to see the impressive snow walls along the road because the temperature is mild and the snow is still near its peak even though it has started to melt.