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Okazaki City Guide

  • July

  • Summer here is hot and humid. Good time to visit one of the beer gardens. The first festival of note is on July 7th - Tanabata (Star festival). This was an old Chinese festival, celebrating the day two stars - the Herdsman (Altair) and the Weaver (Vega) - meet in night sky, like separated lovers. It's also a good excuse for a party. Compared to Okazaki, the neighbouring city of Anjo has the best events. On the 7th, children write a wishes onto colored paper and tie it to a leaf of bamboo.

  • August

  • Most people have a holiday from the 13th to the 15th. This is called "O-Bon," a "Lantern Festival" or "The Festival of the Dead" where people remember their ancestors. A visit to graves is a common activity. The tradition is that everyone returns to their hometown to tend the graves and family altars, making it difficult (and expensive) to travel.For Okazaki, the beginning of August is festival time. The first Saturday of the month brings the massive Okazaki Fireworks Festival. Half a million people turn up to watch what is effectively a showcase of Japan's most advanced fireworks designs - it goes for hours until the spectcular climax. The previous night in Kosei-cho is the "O-Mikoshi" festival, with teams carrying portable shrines through the streets, spinning them around, shouting and cheering. It's colorful and exciting, worth a look. The night before (Thursday), the Gomangoku Odori (a Bon festival dance) passes through the same streets.

  • September

  • The seasons in Okazaki are quite pronounced. In September, one day it is hot, humid and a bit oppressive, and then within a few days it suddenly changes and becomes pleasant. The evenings become cooler and you feel more like walking. Many people buy crickets in stores and keep them in small tanks in their homes, the chirping of the cricket ringing in the autumn.

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