16. Wakakusa YamayakiJapanese culture loves fire. There's a single word in Japanese for burning a mountain — yamayaki.
The annual Wakakusa Yamayaki involves setting Nara's Mount Wakakusayama on fire (fourth Saturday in January). The festival is delayed by a week if it's raining. It's difficult to burn a mountain in the rain. After the yamayaki there's a fireworks display.
17. Jidai MatsuriThe Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) in Kyoto is a large historical reenactment parade held annually on October 22nd. Celebrants dress in authentic feudal-era costumes — emperors, shoguns, samurai, military figures and common people.
18. Morioka Sansa OdoriThe largest largest taiko drum festival in Japan. Over 10,000 drummers and dancers parade through Morioka (August 1st ~ 4th).
19. Daimonji (Daimonji Gozan Okuribi)A large fire festival in Kyoto. Giant kanji characters are burned into the mountains surrounding the city in a spectacular display (August 16th).
20. Otaru Snow Light Path FestivalA small snow festival that takes place at the same time as the much larger Sapporo Yuki Matsuri and Asahikawa Winter Festival in the same region (Hokkaido).
Otaru is a pleasant seaside town. The festival features small snow statues and lanterns placed throughout the city (and in the town's famous canal).