Obon is the next BIG holiday (well, really it is the only big holiday) this year. Obon is the Japanese Buddhist festival which honors the departed spirits of one's ancestors. The custom has evolved over time and is now a time for family reunions, when families return to their ancestral homes, clean their ancestor's graves and wait for spirits to return to the household altars.

The official Obon (or Bon) period is 3 days (this year falling on August 12, 13 and 14), but is usually combined with a weekend to give businessmen a 5-day holiday (and for lucky ones who can take an extra 2 weekdays off - it becomes a 9 day holiday!!).

*The above picture shows one of the Obon customs - people floating lit paper lanterns on the river (this one taking place in the Sasebo river)

My school will be closed for 5 school days, and of course the weekends on either side, so I will be one of the lucky ones with 9 days off.

Lots of people also choose to travel abroad and domestically during this time which means one thing - raised prices (hotels, flights and even meals become more expensive during this period).

Another custom during this period is the Bon Odori (literally meaning the Bon Dance) and the exact style of dance differs from region to region in Japan. People of all ages practice this dance and perform it at school festivals, local festivals and at other gatherings.

As for me and my Obon plans, I will tell you more later... 9 days off involves a lot of planning ... and sleeping!


  1. Very nice images! It is always interesting to see your posts, knowing how you see Japan ;)


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