Festivals are super common in Japan, especially during the summer. There’s food, games, and usually a stage area with a constant line of performances. Every July, Minoh has its own festival, apparently to celebrate it’s mascot’s (Yuzuru) birthday. I was lucky enough to have arrived in Minoh in time to attend the festival (and to see Yuzuru open his presents).
I went to several festivals the last time I came to Japan in 2015 – they’re all pretty similar. Lots of people and lots of fried food. You can play games too, maybe do a little bit of souvenir shopping, but I’d say the highlight of festivals has to be the food. There’s tons of it. AND festivals are the only and place where it’s acceptable to eat while walking, which I made sure to take full advantage of.
You’ll usually see the same type of foods at festivals, like yakitori, karaage, and yakisoba, to name a few. Minoh Matsuri had about ten different stands selling yakitori alone. There were stands featuring foods that I’d never seen before too, like roasted marshmallows, hot cakes, and even Indian curry with naan!
My favorite treat to get at festivals though, is kakigori, which is finely shaved ice with a choice of syrup. (You’ll know a stall is serving it if you see this signature flag.) It’s just ice, so it’s super refreshing, especially in the summer heat – a welcome dose of cool amidst clouds of hot, mildly suffocating yakitori smoke and an endless swarm of sweaty festival-goers
There were tons of kakigori stands at Minoh Matsuri – some with different flavors, some with higher prices and larger cups, some with ice cream even – which made picking a stand difficult. I walked through the entire festival ground, attempting to select the best one. I ended up very satisfied with my stand of choice though, because it offered toppings! ^_^
Mine came with mangoes and strawberries, little mochi balls, and condensed milk, all of which I’d never had on kakigori before. By far, the best kakigori I’ve had – and for 350 Yen. I’ll never be able to go back to mochi-and-condensed-milk-less kakigori again – I’ll definitely be searching for that stand at every festival I go to in the future.
*If you’re not in an area with readily available kakigori stands, here’s a recipe I found that you should try! (I know I will.)