5 Local And International Festivals in Johor Bahru Happening Annually

5 Local And International Festivals in Johor Bahru Happening Annually

Mark down the upcoming festivals on your calendar and plan ahead so you don't miss these annual festivals in Johor Bahru!

If you need a new tonic in the form of entertainment, culture and some fun, make yourself available for these local and international festivals that are held in Johor Bahru annually. These are five you cannot miss: 

1. Bon Odori

Bon Odori, also known as Obon, is a major traditional summer festival observed by Japanese worldwide for over 500 years. Although it is mainly celebrated by the Japanese, this festival has gained popularity among tourists and locals not just in Johor Bahru but other parts of the world too. Join in the fun and immerse in the Japanese culture while learning more about the Bon Odori festival from the Japanese students and expatriates staying in Johor Bahru. The festival is to pay homage to the spirits of one’s ancestors and is quite similar to that of Chinese’s Ching Ming Festival.

The festival held in the city is organised by the Japan Graduates Association of Malaysia (JAGAM) Southern branch of Johor. Although it is considered a religious event in Japan, the festival at Johor Bahru is more cultural. There are various activities you can take part in during the two-day festival, such as martial arts and traditional music performances, cosplay and more. Apart from that, you can also try some Japanese food and drinks and view the crafts and arts. The major crowd puller is dancing on the street and many dancers will be decked in the stunning traditional Japanese kimono. 

Date: Normally held in July each year
Duration: Two days
Venue: Eco Botanic Convention Center, Nusajaya, Johor Bahru

2. Kuda Kepang Festival

Image credit: Lan Rasso

Image credit: Lan Rasso

Of late, there has been a squabble between Malaysia and Indonesia with regards to the origin of the kuda kepang. Kuda kepang is a horse-riding dance originating from Java Island. Johor Bahru is indeed the perfect place to watch the traditional kuda kepang dance; Due to the migration of migrants from Indonesia to Malaysia, there is a Javanese community residing in the state.

Immerse yourself in this unique festival while at the city and watch the dancers performing with their kuda kepang at the stage or public area. The dance movements will captivate your heart and you will be amazed. There is no specific number of persons required to perform the kuda kepang dance. Whether it is a solo effort or group performance, this colourful and lively festival is a must-see! 

Date: Usually August each year
Duration: One day
Venue: Festival Village, Dataran Bandaraya, Johor Bahru

3. Johor International Kite Festival

Image credit: Lan Rasso

This particular festival needs to be on your must-experience list. Come February next year, witness kites in various shapes, sizes and colours at the Johor International Kite Festival. Organized by Pasir Gudang Municipal Council with the cooperation of the Johor Kite Association, Johor Tourism Department as well as the Johor Culture and Art Department, this international event sees many contests, performances and items for sale.

Participants from 40 countries will showcase their kites to the public. You do not need to be a participant to be part of the festival as it is open to everyone. Most of the kites are of animation characters, animals and superheroes, so kids are sure to be delighted. Malaysia’s own traditional kites can also be seen during the festival. Other exciting activities to look forward to are the Public Kite workshop and the Lollypop Drop performances.

Date: February annually
Duration: Five days
Venue: Bukit Layang Layang, Taman Bandar, Pasir Gudang

4. Johor Art Festival

There is another mega-festival and it is one of the special highlights in the city. Look further than artworks. The Johor Bahru Art Festival is where you can watch, enjoy and experience visual arts, music, culture, dance, comedy, theatre, film and fashion. Various local and international artists, composers and fashion designers will be at the venue to showcase their talent and unique art. 

Date: Usually in June each year
Duration: Between two weeks to a month
Venue: Johor Bahru International Festival City

5. Chingay Parade

Image credit: 林添宝

Image credit: 林添宝

Ready for a lively and joyous atmosphere? The Chingay Parade in Johor Bahru has a 140-year history and the celebrations are on a large scale as compared to those in the neighbouring Singapore. You’ll be awed by a mix of acrobatic performances and the brightly decorated floats during the grand parade. Traditionally, it is only celebrated by the Chinese but nowadays you will see other races joining in the celebration. The parade is part of the Chinese New Year festivities and it is executed to commemorate the birthdays of Chinese deities in Malaysia.

Date: 20th to 23th day of the Lunar New Year
Duration: Four days
Venue: Around Johor Bahru city centre

Mark down the upcoming festivals on your calendar and plan ahead so you don’t miss these annual festivals. 

About Author

Adrian Chew
Adrian Chew

Adrian was born and raised in a small town called Muar, Johor in Malaysia. He likes reading, watching TV, surfing the internet and travelling (if he has time and budget). His favourite destinations are Perth, Siem Reap, Cebu and Singapore. In regards to writing, he loves travel writing too as it helps to broaden his horizon on the different countries, culture, food etc. around the world.


Related Posts