MARCH: Festivals + Events

 Click on Tell me more to read about the event, then use the search term below to find out the exact dates and times for the year you’ll be there.

Girls’ Day

March 3rd is Girls’ Day, when sacred doll sets like these are displayed in most homes with daughters, and petitioned for good luck and good health in the coming year. Dolls like these can’t be thrown away, however (they have to be cremated at a shrine) so many families are now donating them to towns like Katsuura, where grand displays go up for the weeks leading up to the holiday. Katsuura is a great day trip from Tokyo at this time of year.

Tell me more!

Search term: Girls’ Day; hina matsuri

Firewalking Festival at Mt. Takao

Every year this shrine at Mt. Takao (on the outskirts of Tokyo) invites the public to a grand firewalking ceremony. When the enormous bonfire has dwindled to red hot coals, priests belonging to a strict ascetic order walk across them, then the public is allowed to follow (if they dare!)

Tell me more!

Search term: Firewalking Mt. Takao; hiwatari matsuri

Cherry Blossom Season (Hanami)

Yes, cherry blossom season is really spectacular. Click on the link below to see lots more photos & maps to the best Insta-snapping spots in Tokyo

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The best SECRET cherry blossom spots in Tokyo

It goes without saying that the tourists nearly outnumber the cherry blossoms during the Season, but I’ve discovered a few spots where the cherry blossoms are bursting at the seams, but the crowds aren’t

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Cherry Blossoms Lit up at Night

One of the best things about going to see the cherry blossoms lit up at night is that it doesn’t matter how many people are crowding around, because you don’t even notice them! Click on the link for the most spectacular places to see the glowing pinkness

Tell me more!

You can search for more detailed information on these by Googling the names in bold, or searching for them on Tokyo Cheapo or TimeOut Tokyo, which I think have the most reliable info for events that change dates from year to year.

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

 For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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