Kanagawa Culture & Traditions: Local History, Customs, Festivals

Kanagawa Culture & Traditions: Local History, Customs, Festivals

Kanagawa Culture & Traditions: Local History, Customs, Festivals

Kanagawa, located in the Kanto region of Japan, is a prefecture rich in history, culture, and traditions. From ancient temples and shrines to vibrant festivals, this region offers a glimpse into the traditional customs and heritage of Japan. Discover the unique culture of Kanagawa with this travel guide.

Local History and Heritage

Kanagawa has a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. One of the must-visit historical sites is the Kamakura City, known for its iconic Great Buddha (Daibutsu) statue. Built in the 13th century, this massive bronze statue is a symbol of Japan's religious heritage and is considered a national treasure.

Another historical gem in Kanagawa is the historic town of Hakone. This town is famous for its hot springs and its picturesque views of Mount Fuji. Visitors can explore the Hakone Shrine, a sacred Shinto shrine nestled in the forest, or take a traditional boat ride on Lake Ashi.

Traditional Customs and Etiquette

When visiting Kanagawa, it's important to respect and adhere to traditional customs and etiquette. One common custom is the practice of bowing as a form of greeting. Bowing is considered a sign of respect and is commonly used when meeting someone for the first time or showing gratitude.

When entering a temple or shrine, it is customary to cleanse your hands and mouth at the purification fountain. This ritual, known as "temizu," is believed to purify the body and mind before entering sacred spaces.

It is also customary to remove your shoes before entering someone's home, as well as certain establishments like traditional ryokans (Japanese inns) and teahouses. Slippers are usually provided for guests to wear indoors.

Festivals and Celebrations

Kanagawa is renowned for its vibrant festivals and celebrations that showcase the region's cultural heritage. One of the most famous festivals is the Kamakura Matsuri, held in April, which commemorates the rich history and traditions of Kamakura. Visitors can witness colorful processions, traditional music and dance performances, and indulge in local street food.

Another popular festival is the Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu, a samurai procession held annually in Hakone. During this festival, locals dressed as samurais march through the streets, reenacting the historical procession of a feudal lord and his retainers.

Other notable festivals in Kanagawa include the Yokohama Port Festival, featuring impressive fireworks displays and parades, and the Kawasaki Halloween Parade, where participants dress up in elaborate costumes and march through the streets of Kawasaki.


Kanagawa offers an immersive experience into the rich culture and traditions of Japan. From its historical landmarks to its vibrant festivals, this prefecture embraces the past while also embracing modernity. Explore the customs, etiquette, and celebrations of Kanagawa to truly immerse yourself in the local culture.