What is Obon in Japan?

About Japanese Bon festival

Japan doesn’t have many holidays, but some like that of Obon are kind of one of the precious holidays for Japanese as well as around New year.

In most of regions of Japan, it is said that our ancestors’ spirits come back and stay in this world till around 15th August. Therefore, families in Japan gather and prepare to welcome these spirits.

What do they do at this occasion?

Each region has a different way to celebrate the Bon festival. 
I will introduce some of famous examples.

13th Mukae-Bi (welcome fire)

This light is a mark to tell the incoming sprits about the place to come.

16th Okuri-Bi (send-off fire)

On 16th, it is believed that the spirits return. So we put Okuri-bi. Some area do it on 15th.
One of the famous events is Gozan no Okuribi in Kyoto

https://medium.com/yoisho/one-of-the-most-famous-events-in-kyoto-gozan-no-okuribi-71df551353ec#.xx22kgst0

Bon Odori

It’s a dance for Obon. This is a video of the most famous Bon Odori — Awa Odori in Tokushima.

And other Obon symbol is Shou ryou uma. People say that ancestors’ spirits ride on this.

Even though, Obon is not a national holiday but people consider it as precious as the new year and celebrate it with zeal. You can also enjoy some special events.