All Japan loves a festival and Himeji is no exception. Spring is for cherry blossoms, when Himeji Castle is at its most dazzling. Welcome to the Himeji Castle Cherry Blossom Party, held on the Saturday around April 10. View the blossoms, drink, dance, and make merry.

Cherry Blossom Party

June 22 to 24 it's a hello to summer and on with yukata (cotton kimono) for the Yukata Festival. With more than 800 stalls, the night fair held near the castle is the biggest in western Japan. But the biggest Himeji festival is the Castle Festival, held from the first Friday until Sunday in August, when 400,000 people turn out to watch the Procession of Feudal Lords, the parade of the Queens of Himeji Castle, and the Himeji Great Dance. The magical Himeji Castle Takigi Noh (torchlight performances of Noh plays) is also held at this time.

Feudal Lord Procession

In autumn, it's the famous Nada Fighting Festival, held October 14 and 15, when men in loincloth, carrying portable shrines, clash and, sometimes, fight. The gods, they say, like the rough and tumble spirit of fighting men. And in winter, there's the All-Japan Kite-Flying Festival, held on a Sunday in mid-January, which draws kite lovers from all over to fly homemade kites big and small. For centuries, Japanese children have flown kites to celebrate the new year.

Nada Fighting Festival

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