Travels and Festivals

Japan: The Vibrant Gion Matsuri Festival


Japan is a country that truly shines during the summer months. The place has bustling festivals, stunning landscapes, and exciting cultural events. One such event that draws visitors from around the world is the Gion Matsuri Festival. It is a centuries-old celebration annually in the historic Gion district of Kyoto. 

The Gion Matsuri Festival is a summer destination from its colorful parades to its vibrant street food scene. The festival should be on every traveler’s list. Japan is a country that truly shines during the summer months.

With its vibrant festivals and delicious seasonal cuisine, there’s no shortage of reasons to visit this fascinating destination. Japan has something for everyone, whether you’re seeking adventure in the great outdoors. Explore the iconic cityscapes of Tokyo and Kyoto to the breathtaking vistas of Hokkaido and Okinawa. There’s no better time to explore the Land of the Rising Sun. 

The Beauty of Japan: Must-See Attractions

Japan offers a diverse range of must-see attractions that cater to various interests. Here are some of the top attractions: 

Tokyo Tower:


Location: Shiba-koen district in Minato, Tokyo. The famous structure is 332.9 meters tall and provides breathtaking panoramic city views. Visitors can also enjoy dining and shopping at the tower’s base. In addition to its observation decks, Tokyo Tower houses various facilities, including restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and museums.

Mount Fuji: 


Location: Border between Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. The majestic mountain is the highest peak in Japan at 3,776 meters. In the summer, you can climb the hill or admire its splendor from the hot springs and lakes nearby. The climbing season for Mount Fuji is from early July to early September when the weather conditions are the most favorable.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park:


Location: 1-2 Nakajima-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima 730-0811, Japan. The park is a moving reminder of the city’s devastation caused by the atomic bomb in 1945. Visitors can see the iconic Atomic Bomb Dome, the Children’s Peace Monument, and the Peace Memorial Museum. At the center of the park is the Peace Memorial Museum, which tells the story of the atomic bombing and its impact on the city and its people.

Himeji Castle: 


Location: in Himeji, Hyogo prefecture. The castle is a 17th-century castle. It is one of Japan’s most exquisite and well-preserved castles. Explore the castle’s many towers, gates, and gardens and learn about its rich history. One of Japan’s most well-known and well-preserved castles is Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Todaiji Temple:


Location: Zoshicho, Nara. The temple is home to the world’s excellent bronze statue of Buddha. The Daibutsuden, or Great Buddha Hall, is the largest wooden building in the world and houses a statue of Buddha that stands over 15 meters (49 feet) tall. Explore the temple’s impressive wooden structure and the surrounding park, home to hundreds of friendly deer.

The Best of Japan: Activities You Won’t Want to Miss 

Five major summer activities you might enjoy in Japan:

Obon Festival

This is a traditional Japanese festival held in August to honor the spirits of ancestors. It is a celebration of dance, music, and food. Many cities and towns have Obon festivals, a great way to experience local culture.

Matsuri (Summer Festivals)

Summer in Japan is full of lively and colorful festivals known as “Matsuri.” These festivals are held throughout Japan and include traditional Japanese dances, games, and food stalls. Some of the most famous Matsuri include the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori, and Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka.

Beaches and Water Sports:

Japan has many beautiful beaches along its coastline. Okinawa is the most famous. During the summer, people pack the beaches and enjoy water sports.

Climbing Mt. Fuji:

Japan’s highest peak, Mt. Fuji, is open for summer mounting. It is one of the most challenging climbs. However, the stunning views from the summit are well worth it. Many people climb through the night to watch the sunrise from the top.

Japan’s Disneyland:

Disneyland in Japan is one of two Disney parks in the country. It has a counterpart named DisneySea, located adjacent to it. Like other Disneyland parks worldwide, Disneyland in Japan bears some similarities in terms of its features and attractions.

Lavish Accommodations in Japan

Park Hyatt Tokyo – An iconic 5-star hotel in Tokyo with stunning city views and exceptional service.

Address: 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-1055, Japan. 


  • 24-hour fitness center
  • spa services
  • indoor pool 
  • multiple restaurants and bars
  • room service

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto -This luxury hotel is in the heart of Kyoto and offers a serene and traditional Japanese experience.

  • Address: Kamogawa Nijo-Ohashi Hotori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0902, Japan.
  • The hotel offers a refined dining experience. 
  • The hotel also features a spa, fitness center, and indoor pool.

Aman Tokyo – the hotel offers a panoramic view of the city skyline. 

  • Address: Otemachi Tower, 1-5-6 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan.
  • The hotel has 84 rooms and suites, each with a minimalist style with traditional Japanese elements. 
  • Features a spa, fitness center, and indoor pool.

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi – The hotel is known for its impeccable hospitality and attention to detail.

Address: Pacific Century Place Marunouchi, 1-11-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-6277, Japan. 


  • Fitness center
  • 24-hour business center
  • multiple restaurants and bars
  • room service,
  • complimentary Wi-Fi.

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo – A 5-star hotel with a prime location in the center of Tokyo, offering exquisite dining options and breathtaking city views.

  • Address: 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8328, Japan.
  • Mandarin Oriental has 179 rooms and suites, each with a contemporary Japanese style. 
  • The hotel has many eating options, many of which serve Cantonese food.
  • The hotel also features a spa, fitness center, and indoor pool.

Hoshinoya Tokyo – It is a unique hotel with a traditional Japanese atmosphere. It offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city.

  • Address: 1-9-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004, Japan.
  • The hotel features 84 rooms and suites, each with tatami flooring and shoji screens. 
  • The hotel also features tea ceremonies, calligraphy classes, and kimono dressing.  
  • The hotel also features a spa, fitness center, and indoor pool.

Ideal Season to Travel Japan

The Gion Matsuri Festival is one of the most famous festivals in Japan, and it takes place in Kyoto every July. If you’re planning to visit Japan during the Gion Matsuri Festival, here’s what you should know about the best time to visit:

Japan has four distinct seasons: Each season includes 

  • Spring: March to May
  • Summer: June to August 
  • Autumn: September to November
  • Winter: December to February

The festival takes place throughout July, with the main events happening on July 17 and 24.

The festival attracts many tourists and can be pretty crowded during this time. July can bring hot, muggy weather to Kyoto, with highs of 25–35°C (77–95°F).

Overall, the best time to visit Japan during the Gion Matsuri Festival is mid-July, with the main events happening on July 17 and 24. Be prepared for the crowds and hot weather, and consider staying in the Gion district for the entire festival experience.

Transportation Methods for Traveling Japan

Here are detailed instructions on how to reach Japan from Manila:

A. Book a flight from Manila to Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya.

Several airlines operate flights between Manila and Japan, including 

  • Philippine Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • All Nippon Airways

You can book directly through their websites or a travel agency.

B. Check the visa requirements.

Filipinos need a visa to enter Japan. Apply for a tourist visa to Japan by submitting your application directly to the Japanese Embassy.

C. Arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)

in Manila at least 2-3 hours before your flight departure time. Make sure to have your passport and travel documents ready.

D. Go through airport security and check in for your flight.

Follow the signs and instructions at the airport to find your designated check-in counter.

E. Board your flight and fly to Japan.

Flight time from Manila to Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagoya is around 4 hours.


Upon arrival in Japan, there are several essential things that you should do:

I. Customs and Immigration:

Once you arrive at the airport, you must go through customs and immigration. Ensure you have all the necessary documents, such as your passport and visa, ready for inspection.

II. Exchange currency: 

You can convert your money into Japanese yen at the airport or a local currency exchange booth.

III. Get transportation: 

Japan has excellent public transportation systems. You can quickly get around using trains, buses, and taxis. In addition, you can purchase a Japan Rail Pass or other transportation cards to make traveling more convenient and affordable.

IV. Check in to your accommodations: 

If you have booked a hotel or other accommodations, check-in and get settled.

V. Get connected: 

You can purchase a SIM card or portable Wi-Fi device at the airport or electronics stores nationwide to stay connected.

VI. Explore the area: 

Japan has much to offer, so take some time to explore your surroundings. Check out nearby attractions, restaurants, and shops to taste Japanese culture.

Some Travel tips for visiting Japan:

I. Research and Plan Ahead

  • Research the places you want to see and plan an itinerary accordingly.
  • Take note of the peak seasons and avoid traveling during those times.

II. Prepare Your Documents

  • Remember your valid IDs, passport, and any necessary visas.
  • Print out copies of your travel documents and keep them in a safe place.

III. Learn Basic Japanese Phrases

  • Learn basic Japanese phrases like “hello,” and “thank you” to help you communicate with locals.

 IV. Traveling with Children

  • Choose accommodations that are family-friendly and offer amenities such as cribs or childproofing.
  • Pack appropriate clothing and gear for your children, such as sunscreen, hats, and comfortable shoes, depending on the time of year you visit.
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