Tokyo Summer Festivals

June 13th, 2012By Category: Arts & Entertainment, Culture, Events, Travel

When people think of summer, it’s always the beach that comes first in mind. When people think of summer colors, it’s either the fiery hues of the sun or the calm blue waters of the sea and sky. But whatever colors they try to associate with summer, they’re all but for one purpose: fun. If you want to have fun and experience the beauty of summer, Tokyo is the place to go to. Colors, music, fireworks,  you got everything here with Tokyo’s lineup of summer festivals.

Asakusa Samba Carnival

Just like Brazil’s Carnavale, Asakusa, which is originally known for its temples and Geisha houses, transforms every year into a colorful place where the Samba Carnival is held. This festival started in 1981, when the Mayor of Taito City invited the winning group of the Rio Carnival in Brazil to appear on a parade. The event attracts about 500,000 visitors every year and the main attraction of course, is the samba parade contest.

Summer Sonic Festival

In Japan, they really know how to rock. Aside from the popular Fuji Rock Festival, Japan holds Summer Sonic, a 2-3 days rock festival held in Chiba and Osaka each summer in August. This year, the event will be held on August 18 and 19 in Tokyo and Osaka with international artists such as Ke$ha, Green Day and Rihanna, among others, to perform. (See the full lineup here)

Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi

In Tokyo, the Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi is a two-day festival that takes place in five locations in Harajuku and Yoyogi Park. This festival has occurred annually since 2001, featuring traditional summer dance and style and very colorful costumes and designs.

Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival

A festival of the best fireworks in the city, this event is held every last Saturday of July and attracts a million yukata-wearing celebrants. This is said to be the world’s oldest fireworks festival, which started in 1732. Several pyrotechnic groups often compete for the title to be the best in this event.

Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri

Since it’s summer and it’s supposed to be hot, Japan celebrates this by holding the Fukagawa Hachiman festival, Tokyo’s biggest summer water fight festival. Every year, several mikoshi lines up with dancers and musicians on the streets of Koto-ku and a crowd of spectators cheers them and throws water at them, a belief that the gods (in the mikoshi) enjoy a good summer soaking.

Koenji Awa Odori

The Tokyo Koenji Awaodori Dance Festival is held every year on the last Saturday and Sunday of August. There are 12,000 dancers performing every year in this parade, dancing their way on the streets of Koenji.

Tokyo Bay Fireworks

This fireworks festival is held on the second Saturday of August each year at the Chuo City Harumi Gounds, where the two foremost fireworks companies of Japan, namely Hosoya and Marutamaya compete in displaying the most spectacular firework displays for the onlookers.

Shinjuku Eisa (Okinawan Dance) Festival

Eisa is a form of Okinawan dance that is performed to mark the end of the Obon period. It is held at the end of July in Shinjuku, with a total of 23 dance troupes performing on the streets of Shinjuku.

Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival

One of the biggest fireworks display in Tokyo, the Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival is held on the first week of August, often on a weeknight. Not only does the festival features unique and colorful fireworks, there are also musical performances after the display.

Setagaya-Ku Tamagawa Hanabi

Held at the Tamagawa river between Kawasaki and Tokyo, this event is celebrated at the las week of August.Two sides of the river compete to put on the best show and the best and most colorful fireworks in the area.

Photos by sarpon28 (back, anendFor (é um anagrama, pô), kidperez, kazuyo.mori, Tanenhaus, cyawanjetalone, Ikusuki, pjacobs13 and sh0oter via Flickr Creative Commons

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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  • zoomingjapan says:

    So many great festivals! I wish I could attend them, but I live too far away from Tokyo. Luckily other cities have great festivals as well 🙂


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