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If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a weekend in Kansai, be sure to visit the Umeda Yukata Festival, on July 18 and 19. On this weekend in July, Umeda, Osaka, springs to life with a full itinerary of sights, sounds, and celebrations.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about the festival is that many people are dressed in the same sort of thin cotton kimonos. They are called yukata and are the ideal clothing in warm weather.
The festival is about more than the kimono, though. Venues around Umeda host many events, so there is always something to do, including taking some time to rest in the shade while enjoying the upbeat, festive atmosphere. Let’s take a look at the two main events at the festival, which you’ll be sure to enjoy, even if you’re not wearing a yukata.
Uchimizu Beginning at 4PM on the day of the festival streets and gardens are sprinkled with water, which cools the wind. The hot weather of the season means that Uchimizu isn’t just a quaint custom at the Umeda Yukata Festival, it also creates a very welcome cooling experience. It’s definitely a fun thing to try in Osaka. After a long day in the heat, you’ll be eager to take part in this fun custom.
Bon Dance The Bon Dance is performed throughout Japan during the summer months. This ancient dance commemorates the lives of loved ones who have passed away. The Bon Dance is performed at the Umeda Yukata Festival, between 8pm and 10pm in the evening. Although the purpose is solemn, the experience can be a lot of fun.
Dancers gather at Grand Front Osaka Umekita Plaza, at least 30 minutes before the start. A ring of people is formed around a wooden scaffold called a Yagura, which is located at the center. The dance steps are very easy to learn, so joining in shouldn’t be problem. Take a few moments to watch the people around you, and before you know it, you’ll be dancing along. The Bon Dance is an excellent way to sample traditional Japanese culture while enjoying the warm summer evening.
Everyone can join in with the events at the Umeda Yukata Festival, and there’s no need to reserve a place for the main events. Visitors only have to turn up as everyone is welcome. And, even though it’s called the Yukata festival, and the Yukata is an excellent choice of clothing in the heat, there are no special clothing requirements for those wanting to take part.
This festival is one of the best free things to do in Kansai. There’s no charge to either attend the Bon Dance or take part in the Uchimizu; it’s all free fun to be had in the Japanese sunshine. If you’re in the Kansai area over the weekend of the 18th and 19th July, the Umeda Yukata Festival is one of the best events in Osaka.
The Umeda Yukata Festival can be reached in a 6-minute walk from Umeda Station (Midosuji Line).
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