Each year numerous holidays are celebrated in Japan and in Osaka, which has no less than 15 holidays (a world record). Here are the main ones:January 1: New Year's Day - Ganjitsu (national)
The Japanese take advantage of the change of year to make resolutions and do a grand cleaning of their houses. In order to attract divine favour, they make offerings at the altars in their homes and go to the temple where they taste the first sake of the year. It is customary not to work during the first days of the year: women therefore prepare traditional dishes in advance (including soba (literally ‘debts') broth with noodles, symbolizing debts paid) to be served during major festive meals.January 6: New Year's Parade - Dezomeshiki (national holiday)
Old traditional holiday during which fireman show people ancient and new firefighting techniques. Famous for its numerous acrobatic performances on bamboo ladders, this parade is among the most popular in Japan.From 9 to 11 January: Successful business celebration - Toka Ebisu (local)
This ‘successful business party' is particularly well celebrated in Osaka, an industrious city and a mecca for commerce in Japan. The Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, dedicated to Ebisu, patron deity of business and fishing, is visited by thousands of pilgrims on this occasion. On 10 January, the Palanquin Parade for good luck is held: several hundred people, including notables, geisha, and fukumusume (lucky young girls), distribute amulets to passersby. It is under these favourable auspices that the most demands for marriage take place each year.Second Monday of January: Passage to adulthood - Seijin Shiki (national)
Every year on this ‘passage to adulthood' day, which is a holiday for the whole population, young people celebrating their 20th birthdays during the year go to their town halls dressed in traditional costume to receive a few words from the mayor and people of the city. After this very official ceremony, all young adults engage in a festive evening.February 11: Creation of the State - Kenkoku Kinen No Hi (national)
The reason why the date of the founding of Japan by Emperor Jinmu was set for 11 February in the year 660 BC is a mystery to historians. This does not prevent the Japanese, animated by a fervent patriotism, from celebrating the anniversary of their nation by marching under the flag and streaming the nation's symbols from buildings.February 23: The Emperor's Birthday - Tenno Tanjobi (national)
This national holiday commemorates the birthday of the current emperor, Naruhito. At night, the emperor delivers a formal speech that is broadcast on television.April 8: Flower Festival – Hana Matsuri (national)
All day long in Buddhist temples, Japanese people celebrate Buddha's birthday with prayers and offerings.29 April: Showa Day - Showa No Hi (national)
Another highly patriotic date, the birthday of Emperor Hirohito, who ruled Japan during the Showa era (1926-1989). On this day, the Japanese are invited to meditate during official ceremonies and solemn processions.May 3: Constitution Memorial Day - Kempo Kinen bi (Kinenbi) (national)
This festival commemorates the enactment of the Constitution of Japan, in 1947. On this occasion, the parliament in Tokyo is, exceptionally, open to the public. It is also customary for the Japanese to go to the temple to make a wish for prosperity.May 5: Children's Day - Kodomo No Hi (national)
This ‘Children's Day' is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. To ensure their purification, growth, strength, courage, and perseverance, their parents plunge them into iris-accented baths and serve them traditional pastries. The boys are even allowed to dip their lips into iris-flavoured sake. It's a day devoted to family celebrations and the enjoyment of the little ones, who receive gifts and wishes for good health.July 15: Ghost Festival - O-Bon (national)
For 500 years, this Buddhist celebration honours the spirits of the ancestors. Along the years, the religious feast slowly turned into a family reunion. On the occasion, Japanese people usually travel back to their home region. A festival of traditional dances, the Bon Odori, takes place in Osaka during that time.July 24-25: Tenjin Festival - Tenjin Matsuri (local)
This major Japanese festival, held in Osaka, is under the protection of the Tenmangu shrine dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the god of education and the arts. On the banks of the Okawa River, traditional trade stalls are installed and a majestic fireworks display is lit upon the water. In the streets of the city, several thousand people parade, dressed in traditional costumes of the Imperial Court of the 8th to the 12th century. Boats occupied by Danjiri-bayashi (traditional light) dancers also move about on the water.September 22 or 23: Autumn equinox - Shubun No Hi (national)
The autumnal equinox is the opportunity for the Japanese to honour the memory of the deceased. The rites associated with the event (ceremonies, flowers placed on graves) are complemented by a meal with family or friends and a walk—in nature or in a Japanese garden—at a time when the vegetation shows its brightest colours.October 2: Health and Sports Day - Taiiku No Hi (national)
This ‘day for health and sport' is taken to heart by the Japanese, for whom it is essential to enjoy a ‘healthy mind in a healthy body'! Created to celebrate the anniversary of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, this is a day of great sporting events organised not only in schools and colleges but also in some companies.November 3: Culture Day - Bunka No Hi (national)
Celebrated since the Meiji era, this cultural festival celebrates Japanese arts. Exhibitions, cultural shows, and various festivals are held in all cities. It is also the day of the awarding of the prestigious Order of Culture, an imperial award granted to those—both in Japan and internationally—who have significantly advanced the sciences, the arts, or culture.November 23: Labour Day - Kinro Kansha No Hi (national)
‘Labour Day' in Japan is not an opportunity for workers parades, and even less for strikes. November 23 is the day when the country is grateful to the workers who contribute to its influence and prosperity. It is an occasion for speeches on the part of leaders, but it's also a time for the entire population to say ‘thank you' to those around them.December 25: Christmas (national)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||2||9||48||Not the best period to go|
|February||2||10||66||Not the best period to go|
|March||5||14||104||Not the best period to go|
|April||10||20||123||Good period to go|
|May||15||24||144||Good period to go|
|June||20||28||201||Not the best period to go|
|July||24||32||160||Not the best period to go|
|August||25||33||104||Good period to go|
|September||21||29||164||Good period to go|
|October||14||23||125||Good period to go|
|November||9||17||73||Not the best period to go|
|December||4||12||49||Not the best period to go|
The Kansai Osaka International Airport is located on an artificial island about 50 kilometres south-west of Osaka.
Osaka traffic is fluid and well organized: it is a pleasure for pedestrians as well as for drivers! Regarding public transport, the metro, which is extensive, fast, and reliable, is ideal for exploring the city.
Traffic in the city of Osaka is generally fluid. It is important to note that a driving license is not valid in Japan if it is not accompanied by a Japanese translation of the document. For this, you must ask the competent authority, the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF), once you are there. For more information, click here. Bear in mind that all traffic signs are only in Japanese!
Osaka city is crossed by nine subway lines serving its main axes: the Midosuji line, connecting Esaka to Nakamozu; the Tanimachi line (Dainichi to Yao-Minami), the Yotsubashi line (Nishi-Umeda to Suminoe-Koen), the Chuo line (Cosmosquare to Nagata), etc.
The trains run from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., approximately (depending on the lines and stations), every two to four minutes during rush hours. The ticket price varies depending on the lines taken and distances travelled (count 200 JPY on average per trip). You can purchase your tickets from vendors present at the ticket counters at stations or buy them in vending machines (also in stations).
You will recognize taxis by their green license plates and lit signs placed on their roof. You can hail them in the street or go to the taxi ranks near subway stations. Allow about 700 JPY per kilometre.
Unlike Tokyo, Osaka is a human-scale city and you can easily get around by bike. Numerous bike rental agencies are available, especially in the most touristic areas (count JPY 1,000 per day).
Once you arrive in Japan, don't hesitate to get in touch with tourism professionals for information and help in organising your stay.Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau
Offers practical information and useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).
At various locations throughout the city, these other Tourist Information Centres offer information and recommendations for your stay in Osaka and its surrounding area. Listed below are the main addresses for other TICs in Osaka:
The official website of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) provides a wealth of information on Osaka.
See your doctor before you travel. It is recommended that you obtain insurance covering health care expenses as well as medical evacuation or repatriation. Osaka counts several hospitals and medical institutions, as well as quality medical practitioners and health specialists.Vaccination
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Japan.
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
There are no food safety risks in Japan.Water
Tap water is safe to drink in Japan.
For visitors from more than fifty countries, a simple passport is all that is needed for a stay of 90 days (maximum) in Japan. To see the list of these countries, click here.
For more information, consult the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan: www.mofa.go.jp
To enjoy peace of mind during your stay in Osaka, visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country.
Here are a few phrases in Japanese that might be useful during your stay in Osaka:
The custom of tipping does not exist in Japan. A Japanese person will feel very uncomfortable if you leave one. 'Service' is included in the bill.