Festivals are an important component of Japanese culture. Both the city, and the university have a number of festivals throughout the year.
In May, the dormitory festival (Yadokari-sai) provides a fun opportunity for students to relax and unwind. Student clubs provide a range of entertainments, including music, dance, and food. The festival cumulates with a parade, a beautiful yukata (Japanese summer robe) competition, and a fireworks display.
At the start of October each year, classes are cancelled while the annual University festival (Soho-sai) takes place. The festival brings together music, comedy, sports and cultural demonstrations with food from all over the world. As well as promoting the university's student clubs, the fair also allows members of the community to come onto the campus and enjoy the festival.
The University also holds two Sports days each year, in May and October, to promote sports and wellness. Students have the opportunity to give a wide range of new sports a try.
As well as the University festival, numerous local festivals take place throughout the year. In late-February and early-March there is a Plum Blossom Festival at Tsukuba Mountain. The mountain is home to a grove of approximately 1000 plum trees. From the viewing platform located just above the plum-grove, visitors can get great views of the surrounding countryside, including on clear days, the skyscrapers of Tokyo and Mount Fuji.
On April and November 1st, the Tsukuba Shrine Ozagawari festival take place. In Spring, the mountain gods are carried on a portable shrine from their winter resting place in the shrine at the base of the mountain to their summer residences in shrines at the top of the mountain. In Autumn, the gods are returned to the base of the mountain. Ogazawari is Tsukuba mountain's biggest festival.
In April, the Cherry trees blossom (Sakura), and many Japanese companies, clubs, and university research groups have 'hanami' parties (cherry blossom viewing parties).
Late August sees the annual Matsuri Tsukuba; the largest festival of the year in Tsukuba, with a large parade, music perfomances, food and music. Matsuri Tsukuba coincides with 'Art town Tsukuba'; a street performers festival with dancers, acrobats, clowns. September sees Tsukuba International Music Festival, with musicians from all over the world performing in the city.
The first Saturday in October sees the Tsuchiura Hanabi (firework) festival. This is one of the biggest fireworks competitions in Japan, with 50 fireworks manufacturers using over 20,000 fireworks, competing over a two and a half hour period.