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A guide to the best of Japan's 2018 mid-summer festivals Summer in Japan brings a number of creative things to help you beat the heat — watermelon and salt sodas, kakigori, matcha flavored chu-hi, bon dance, and yukata — to name a few. But there’s only one place you can enjoy them altogether in a true Japanese experience: the late summer night matsuri. You’ll see a great deal of those festivals happening across Japan as early as in July through the end of the season: they’ll be at your local shrine or outside your station in the form of bon odori (bon dance) or yatai (food stalls); in the streets as parades or dashi festival cars; or as hanabi taikai — fireworks near rivers and lakes. You may also see communities getting creative by spicing up their summer matsuri with karaoke competitions or drink up events — all in the name of celebrating the season and getting that sweat out of your system! While there are countless of unique festivals across the country, here’s a round-up of our top ten to see in Tokyo and other parts of Japan. 1. Sumida River Fireworks Festival (Tokyo) Rumored to have had its first launch in 1733, the Sumida River Fireworks is one of the most popular (and crowded) summer festivals in Tokyo. With nearly four centuries of history, it’s survived the Meiji Restoration and continued strong until it fizzled out during the World Wars, and a few decades following. The festival was reinstated in 1977, and this year it celebrates its 41st anniversary in its current form. Visitors will see a spectacular view of 20,000 fireworks, but be prepared — last year nearly one million people went to this event, so expect large crowds, too! When: Sat, July 28, 2018, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. (In case of bad weather, the event will be held on July 29) Access: Nearest station for 1st Venue: Asakusa Station or Honjo-Azumabashi Station; Nearest station for 2nd Venue: Kuramae Station or Ryogoku Station.
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Closer to the mark is Bruges, though none of these are as good-looking as Utrecht. Just under 30 minutes by rail from Amsterdam, tourists typically overlook this ancient Dutch city. The fourth largest city in the Netherlands, Utrecht is easy to navigate by boat or on foot, making a point to stop along the many cafes and shops that line the city’s unique system of wharves. Fares to nearby Amsterdam are inexpensive year-round, especially on budget carriers like WOW Air. TRADE SPAIN’S MEDITERRANEAN COAST FOR LAMPEDUSA, SICILY Discover lesser-known stretches of the Mediterranean coast, such as the beaches on Lampedusa, Italy.Source:istock From Barcelona to Malaga, and especially Palma de Mallorca, Spain is overrun with tourists from around the globe, and locals have had enough . Heck, even other tourists have had enough of other tourists. Besides, there are much less hectic places along the Mediterranean to spread out a towel and soak in the very same sun. South of Sicily, the Italian island of Lampedusa isn’t exactly a secret, but it has emptied out in recent years as Italy struggles to handle the flow of refugees. Even August, usually the busiest month for Italian holiday-makers, isn’t as busy as in seasons past, and local businesses are eager for guests to return. So make the most of the uncrowded beaches while you can.
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