The Obon festival, also known as the Bon Festival, is one of the largest celebrations held in Japan and takes place during the seventh month of the year, typically from the 13th through the 15th. Depending on the region and which kind of calendar is being followed—the solar or lunar calendar—celebrations are held in either July (Shichigatsu Bon) or August (Hachigatsu Bon).
During this annual festival, or matsuri, families gather to celebrate their ancestors with paper lanterns, special offerings, and traditional dances. Obon week is one of Japan’s three major holiday seasons; many people take off work and some places close. The Obon festival is culturally and traditionally important, all while being a popular time for both domestic and international travel.
Learn more about Japan’s Obon festival with this guide.