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It's party time! 5 fun things to do at the Grand Yokkaichi Festival

Summer in Japan means that it's time for festivals! The biggest one in Yokkaichi is the Grand Yokkaichi Festival. It's held every year on the first full weekend of August.

This year's festival was special because the city celebrated the 120th anniversary of the founding of Yokkaichi and Konyudo-kun's 20th birthday (even though he will forever be six years old).The whole city comes together to eat, drink, watch shows, and celebrate all things Yokkaichi! Here's my list of five things to do at the festival.

1. Eat the food

(Chocolate covered bananas)

Whatever the festival is for, people always show up for the food! Vendors travel the country selling their specialties. Make sure you come hungry so you can sample all the tako-yaki, kara-age, yaki-soba, fried food, and more!

2. Cool off!

(Japanese shaved ice)

Beat the heat with some refreshing drinks and desserts. There are plenty of options to choose from. Favorites include punch in a light bulb glass, ice cream, shaved ice, chu-hais, beer, and sake. Be on the lookout for local specialties!

3. Wear festival clothes

(Traditional Japanese mannequins in traditional Japanese clothes)

Wearing traditional Japanese summer clothes is a great way to enjoy the festival. You've got a couple of options when it comes to choosing your gear.

The first is a yukata. It's a light kimono that usually comes with an obi (belt). There are a variety of colors and patterns to choose from.

The second is a jinbei. Jinbei are made of a similar material to the yukata but it comes as a set of a separate top and bottom as opposed to the yukata's robe like form.

Both are available at most department stores and a few specialty shops. Check out online stores like Amazon or Rakuten for big sizes and possibly cheaper deals.

4. Watch the shows

(Taiko Drum Performance)

The Yokkaichi Festival has a lot of shows to see. There are rock bands, taiko drummers, traditional dancers and more! The main entertainment event of the festival is the Dance Festa (ダンス フェスタ) yosakoi competition. Competing teams dance in the summer heat testing their endurance and showing off their moves to earn bragging rights while entertaining the spectators.

5. See the parade

(Giant Onyudo float at the parade)

The festival is also famous for it's parade. On the second day, festival goers can see many floats showing off cultural items from Mie and Yokkaichi. The biggest attraction is giant Onyudo. It's said to be the biggest wind up doll in Japan!

That's it!

(Giant Onyudo float at the parade)

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed learning about the Yokkaichi Festival. Have any questions? What are you favorite Japanese festivals? Feel free to comment!