Festivals to Look Forward to in 2022 in Kobe

ByJustin Hanus
Dec 27, 2021

Festivals to Look Forward to in 2022 in Kobe

Annual festivals and events have taken a hit in the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Things are some way off returning to normal, but there’s hope we can look forward to a brighter 2022 as some of the staples of our social calendar return. Kobe has a few well-established yearly celebrations on hold in 2020 and 2021. Some have been booked in for the coming year, albeit tentatively with a pencil at this stage. Here’s a handful that we can look forward to, fingers crossed!

Japan Grand Shoes Collection & Nationwide Sandals Fair

(Kobe International Exhibition Hall, January 19-20)

This key event in the Japanese footwear industry occurs three times a year in Kobe. The January 2022 event is the 171st national fair, where around 500 businesses and tradespeople will exhibit a range of the latest shoes and sandals to anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 attendees. Visit the website for the latest details on the event and what you need to do if planning to attend. Future fairs are scheduled for June 1-2 and October 12-13 in 2022.

Official website: https://www.csia.or.jp/tenjikai/

Kobe Festival

(May 14-15)

This annual citywide festival is probably the most significant occasion in the Kobe calendar. It occurs over a mid-May weekend and involves stage performances, market stalls, food stalls, and a general carnival atmosphere. On Saturday, all nine of Kobe’s wards have individual celebrations, and then the city comes together for a big parade and party in Sannomiya. The festival first took place in 1971. Sadly, the 50th-anniversary was canceled last year, but it’s penciled in for this year, having last taken place in 2019.

Official website: http://www.kobe-matsuri.com/

IJK – International Jewellery Kobe

(Kobe International Exhibition Hall, May 26-28)

IJK is Japan’s largest annual jewelry show and the largest trade fair of any kind in the western part of the country. It features hundreds of exhibitors showcasing fine jewelry, fashion jewelry, gemstones, pearls, and accessories. It takes place across three days, and you need to register to attend. The 2022 show at the end of May will be the 26th in its history.

Official website: https://www.ijk-fair.jp/en-gb.html

Kobe Jazz Street

(Various venues, October)

Kobe is widely viewed as the birthplace of jazz in Japan. It’s been popular in the city since the 1920s, and the enthusiasm for the art form blew up into an annual festival starting in 1982. It typically takes place across a weekend in early October around Kitano Street in Sannomiya. Around ten venues will put on gigs usually involving about 150 musicians playing traditional and contemporary jazz. The event isn’t confirmed yet for 2022, but there’s hope it will return with a bang (or at least a bebop) after its three-year covid-enforced hiatus.

Official website: https://www.kobejazzstreet.gr.jp/english/

Kobe Fireworks Festival

(Marine Port, October)

Another key annual event for Kobe residents is the Kobe Fireworks Festival. This fireworks festival lights up the harbor sky in late October, with up to 250,000 locals gathering in the past to see 15,000 explosives launched from between Harborland and Port Island. It’s free entry with Meriken Park, one of the most popular viewing spots. The exact 2022 date is not confirmed, but the city canceled it in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, so keep an eye on it.

Official website: https://minatohanabi.jp/

Kobe Luminarie

(City Center, December)

One of Japan’s best light shows, the Kobe Luminarie, runs for ten evenings each December to commemorate the terrible earthquake that struck the city in 1995. The display takes the form of giant colorful arches that you can walk beneath, running along the streets between Sannomiya and Motomachi stations and finishing in Higashi-Yuenchi Park. You can also get a birdseye view of the lights from the nearby city hall observatory.

Official website: https://kobe-luminarie.jp/

Mti, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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2 comments so far

Meredith KPosted on6:58 am - Sep 30, 2022

Came across your blog and hope you can help me. Will be in Japan in December & hope to attend the Kobe Luminarie. I have been unable to find the exact dates for 2022. Your blog links to the official website but it’s all Japanese. Cn you figure it out for me? Thanks, Meredith

    AdminPosted on10:03 am - Sep 30, 2022

    So bad news, I dug around the site, and it is… “postponed,” and no replacement date is specified. On the plus side, there is TON of stuff to do around that time in Japan anyway. Just do not come over new years or you will find us closed for business! =)

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