Meiji Festival

As well as being one of the best times to visit Japan with the abundance of changing autumn leaves (beautiful), November in Japan hosts a whole month of interesting events and culturally significant festivals.

One of the best is the Meiji Shrine Autumn Festival in central Tokyo, which celebrates the birthday of Emperor Meiji. The festival spans three days of cultural demonstrations that introduce visitors to a wide range of Japanese performances and martial arts.

The festival includes Bugaku dance, Noh theatre, Kyogen comedy, traditional music such as Hogaku and martial arts such as Aikido. The most popular demonstrations are Yabusame (流鏑馬) horseback archery and a Sumo ring entering ceremony that are often included in the program.

Meiji Shrine is an Imperial shrine with connections at the top levels of Japanese society. The performers at the festival are often at the top of their art. For example, the Sumo ring entering ceremony is often performed by a Yokozuna grand champion. Less than 100 sumo wrestlers have gained Yokozuna status since the 17th century.