To enact this legend, a clown holding a bell and a treasure box leads a parade including the mikoshi (a portable shrine), dancers, and other happy participants to the Nyu Shrine. Along the way they shout “warae, warae” (laugh, laugh). And when they arrive at the shrine, they all laugh in unison.


Japan is an aged society, and they have a fall festival called Shukatsu, meaning “preparing for one’s death.” (I call it Try-Before-You-Die.) During this Tokyo festival, participants can put on funeral garments, get into a coffin, and learn how to write goodbye notes and obituaries. This one may be practical, but I think I’d rather go to the Laughing Festival!

(For more fall festivals, check out Episode 31 of my travel podcast, Places I Remember with Lea Lane.)