81. Hatsumode Meiji ShrineHatsumode is the first shrine visit of the year in Japan. Japanese people aren't typically very religious. For many people, New Years day is the only time they visit their local shrine. Shines are packed for hatsumode — it's something to see. One possible place to do this is Tokyo's famous Meiji Shrine.
82. Kamakura Festival in AkitaAkita Prefecture gets 409 cm (161 inches) of snow each year. The Kamakura Festival is a Japanese Igloo festival held in Yokote City, Akita. The igloos were originally built for gods who were thought to visit the region for New Years. These days, the igloos are used for drinking parties.
83. Toshogu Grand Spring Festival in NikkoNikko is always worth visiting — more so when it's in festival mode. The main feature of this festival is a parade of 1,000 men dressed as Samurai warriors.
84. Katsuura Big Hina MatsuriHina Matsuri (doll festival or girl's day) is celebrated throughout Japan on March 3rd. Every girl has a set of festive dolls (in traditional court dress of the Heian period) that she displays on this day. It's good luck for a girl's future. This is a day when girls throughout Japan think about their future. For the most part, it's a family tradition celebrated at home.
The best place for tourists to experience the Hina Matsuri is the fishing town of Katsuura, Chiba. The town sets out 25,000 traditional dolls for the festival. About 1,000 are placed on the 62 steps of Tomisaki Shrine.
85. Hakata Dontaku FestivalA massive dancing festival that features unique costumes. According to local dance customs women clap wooden spoons (shamoji) together as they dance.
The festival dates back to 1179. It was banned by the Meiji Emperor (1852 – 1912) who thought it was a waste of resources (Meiji was busy invading Korea and Manchuria). It was restored after WWII as a way to raise the spirits of local residents.