10 Events and Things to do in Japan in October 2022

Kokia carnival seaside park Events
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Mao Goto is a Japanese freelancer who was born in Hayama, Kanagawa prefecture and raised in Tokyo. Since 2016 she lives in the Taito Ward, home to a lot of Japanese culture hotspots such as Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ueno. She has been interested in the field of English education in Japan and got her Master’s degree in March 2020. A lover of photography, travel, sweets, and cross-stitch. Contact her via Facebook.

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Autumn in Japan is famous for all of the autumn foliage viewing, but the festivals that take place during this time of year are also something you don’t want to miss. Japan is full of festivals and fun things to do all year round that locals and visitors can enjoy alike. Autumn is not only the season of changing colors, but also the season of art and harvest, and there are many events and things to do celebrating them. In this article, we will introduce 10 of the best events and things to do in Japan this October. 

1. Setouchi Triennale 2022 (Various Prefectures)

In Japan, there is a huge art scene surrounding what is called “autumn of the arts”, that are events that will take place this fall. The Setouchi Triennale is an art festival that will be held in four phases: spring, summer, fall, and winter. It is a major event that attracts a wide variety of people to the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, and by holding the art festival on these islands, it is a big help in revitalizing the local community. In this festival, you can enjoy a variety of different art, as well as performances by artists and bands.

When: September 29 – November 6

Official Website: Setouchi Triennale 2022

2. Huis Ten Bosch Kyushu Ichi Fireworks Festival 2022 (Nagasaki)

xiquinhosilva, (CC BY 2.0), via flickr

Huis Ten Bosch is a major Dutch-themed amusement park in Nagasaki prefecture. The Huis Ten Bosch Kyushu Ichi Fireworks Festival, will be held on Saturday, October 8 this year. It will be a 90-minute firework display that will lighten up the night. With 22,000 total fireworks, it is said to be one of the largest firework displays in all of western Japan. For those who want a better view of the fireworks, it is highly recommended you reserve a paid seat in advance. You will be able to enjoy the exceptional fireworks of Huis Ten Bosch to the fullest this way.

When: October 8

Official Website: Huis Ten Bosch Kyushu Ichi Fireworks Festival 2022

3. Kitano Odori (Kyoto)

Onihide, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kitano Odori is a traditional Japanese event held in October in Kyoto. Many maiko (apprentice geisha) perform in a stage theater near Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The stage is filled with colorful Japanese flowers, creating an amazing atmosphere. It is a beautiful stage play that is worth the visit if you are in Kyoto. To see this play, you need to purchase tickets in advance, so be sure to reserve your tickets by calling the management headquarters or visiting their official website. 

When: October 8 – 22

Official Website: Kitano Odori

4. Jidai Matsuri (Kyoto)

Patrick Vierthaler, (CC BY-NC 2.0), via flickr

Jidai Matsuri began in commemoration of the 1,100th anniversary of the relocation of the capital at the time, Kyoto, and is a major event held at Heian Shrine in Kyoto. People dressed in attire from the Heian to Meiji periods parade in the streets making for fun festivities for all of the visitors. You will be able to see participants dressed as historical figures from Japanese history, such as lords on horses and samurai who were active in the late Edo period. The clothes used in this festival are all authentic reproductions of the clothes worn at the time. This is a rare opportunity to see what it was like back in the day. 

When: October 22

Official Information: Jidai Matsuri

5. No Limit! Halloween at Universal Studios Japan (Osaka)

USJ Osaka

Universal Studios Japan is an extremely popular theme park in Osaka. Every October, they have a big Halloween event bringing visitors from all over. There are different areas throughout the park where you can be attacked by a group of zombies after dusk, see Halloween-related projection maps, and of course, there is a special attraction that is only available on Halloween Day. If you are planning on spending Halloween in the Kansai area of Japan, why not do it at Universal Studios Japan? 

When: September 8 – November 6

Official Website: No Limit! Halloween (Universal Studio Japan)

6. Nagasaki Kunchi Festival (Nagasaki)

©Nagasaki Prefecture, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, with a history of more than 400 years, is a festival that is held every year for three days from October 7-9 throughout the city of Nagasaki. The most popular part of the festival is “the dragon dance”, in which a number of people move a majestic dragon puppet as if it is alive, conveying its strength to the crowd. Another amazing part of the festival is when the participants carry a huge portable shrine weighing more than 700 kilograms up the stone steps in front of the Suwa Shrine, being cheered on by the massive crowd. 

When: October 7 – 9

Official Website: Nagasaki Kunchi Festival

7. Kokia Carnival (Ibaraki)

Autumn is an amazing season not only with good food and art, but also with various different plants and flowers in bloom. The Kokia Carnival is a fun event at Hitachi-Kaihin Park in Ibaraki prefecture that is full of colorful plants and flowers. The park is famous for its beautiful nemophila field, but in autumn, visitors can also admire the stunning red kokia plants. Kokia is a plant whose color changes along with the seasons, and in autumn, you can see the beautiful red Kokia fields. 

When: October 1 – 30

Official Website: Kokia Carnival

8. Yokohama Oktoberfest (Kanagawa)

Yokohama Oktoberfest is a German-themed festival held at the famous Red Brick Warehouse. At this festival you will have the chance to try many different kinds of German specialties such as delicious sausages and beer. Especially when it comes to beer, there is a large selection from all over Germany, and beer tasting at this festival is highly recommended. There are also other events such as live performances by German orchestras that are fun for younger and older people alike. 

When: September 30 – October 16

Official Website: Yokohama Oktoberfest

9. Paantu Festival (Okinawa)

Paantu Festival

The Paantu Festival is held annually in October on Miyako Island of Okinawa Prefecture. Considered one of the strangest festivals in Japan, it aims to chase out evil spirits. Three young men wear masks and vines, and smear mud all over their bodies. They are known as Paantu. When the Paantu approach the people at the festival, they throw mud at them and pray for their good health. Therefore, it is best to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty when you visit this festival. Paantu is originally a god of exorcism, but his appearance is said to be so frightening that everyone who sees him runs away.

When: Early October

10. Halloween in Tokyo (Tokyo)

Big Ben in Japan, (CC BY-SA 2.0), via flickr

Last on our list is an event that has gotten really big in Tokyo over the last few decades. And that of course is Halloween in Tokyo. The most famous is the Halloween event that takes place in Shibuya. At this time of year, the whole Shibuya area is full of young people dressed in flashy costumes. Not only your standard witch and ghost costumes, but also maids, anime characters, and pretty much anything else you can think of. At the end of the month, thousands of people gather(especially at Shibuya crossing and in front of the station) and it is a big costume party.

When: October 31st/last weekend in October

We hope you found an event or something to do in October that caught your eye. There are lots of different things to do in autumn in Japan whether they are art, food, traditional, or flower related, they are all unique and fun in their own way. Some of the events, times and dates may be subject to change, so be sure to double check on their websites. If you are in Japan in October, why not stop by one of the many autumn events that are held throughout the country! 

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