Top Summer Festivals in Tokyo in 2023

Experience the quintessential Japanese summer with vibrant matsuri, or traditional festivals. Just as cherry blossom viewing is a springtime tradition, matsuri are an essential part of the summer season. These festivals offer a delightful array of gastronomic delights, including takoyaki (fried octopus balls) and refreshing kakigori, or shaved ice. Dressed in yukata, families, couples, and friends gather to enjoy captivating traditional and modern dances, dynamic drum performances, and breathtaking fireworks illuminating the night sky. Make lasting memories at these 11 epic festivals in Tokyo!

Mitama Matsuri 

Photo: Yasukuni

The Mitama Matsuri, held annually at Yasukuni Shrine, is a prominent Obon festival in Tokyo. Established in 1947, it is renowned for its 30,000 lanterns—10,000 larger ones illuminate the shrine’s entrance, while 20,000 smaller lanterns adorn the inner grounds. Until July 16, the lanterns will be lit daily from 6pm, accompanied by dance, taiko drum performances, and portable shrine processions.

Date: July 13–July 16
Time: 9:00am–8:00pm
Closest stations: Ichigaya Station, Kudanshita Station, Iidabashi Station
Website: www.yasukuni.or.jp/news_detail.html?id=479 

Adachi Fireworks

Photo: Adachi Kanko

With a history dating back to 1924, this year’s event will feature a stunning display of 15,000 fireworks during the hour-long spectacle on Saturday, July 22. To enjoy the spectacular show, there are two location options: the Nishi-Arai or Senju side of the Arakawa River, between the Nishi-Arai and Senjushin bridges. For an unobstructed view, the recommended location is the north side of the river. Attracting over 600,000 attendees, the Adachi Fireworks Festival is a highlight of the summer, drawing crowds eager to secure a spot along the river banks. Don’t miss out on this magnificent event!

Date: July 22
Time: 7:20–8:20 pm
Closest station: Kita-Senju Station
Website: www.adachikanko.net/en/adachi_no_hanabi45

Kiyose Sunflower Festival 

Photo: City Kiyose

The Kiyose Sunflower Festival offers Tokyoites a delightful opportunity to immerse themselves in a field of 100,000 vibrant yellow himawari flowers. Easily accessible by express train from Ikebukuro, this festival captivates visitors with its vivid blooms set against the clear blue sky of the post-rainy season. Alongside the enchanting floral display, the festival also presents special events. On July 23 at 10am and 3pm, there will be captivating Polynesian and Tahitian dance performances. Additionally, on July 30 at 2:30pm, attendees can enjoy live music performed by a talented local band.

Date: July 22–July 30
Time: 9am–4pm
Closest station: Kiyose Station
Website: www.city.kiyose.lg.jp/bunkasportskankou/shinaimidokoro/himawari.html 

Sumida River Fireworks Festival 

Photo: Sumidagawa Hanabi

Tokyo’s premier fireworks festival returns after four years, celebrating the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The 90-minute extravaganza on July 29 will showcase 20,000 fireworks from two locations along the Sumidagawa River. The sites run between the Sakurabashi and Kototoibashi bridges, and the Komagatabashi and Umayabashi bridges. To secure a prime spot for this awe-inspiring event, arrive early—before 5pm. More than a million spectators will flock to the nearby streets, buildings, parks, and even the river, all vying for the best vantage points to witness this remarkable show.

Date: July 29
Time: 7–8pm
Closest stations: Tokyo Skytree Station, Honjo-azumabashi Station, Hikifune Station
Website: www.sumidagawa-hanabi.com/

Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi

Yosakoi is a Japanese style of dance celebrated at this matsuri in the Meiji Jingu area. This festival is the event of the season in Harajuku / Omotesando, and drew more than 820,000 attendees in 2019. The festival this year will include more than 80 competing teams from various prefectures of Japan. Colorful costumes and unique dance routines are a hallmark of the festival, which will run during the last weekend of August.

Date: August 26–27
Time: 10am–8pm
Closest station: Harajuku Station and Yoyogi-Koen Station
Website: www.super-yosakoi.tokyo/outline/ 

Koenji Awa Odori

Photo: Koenji Awaodori

The Koenji Awa Odori is held annually on the last weekend of August. This two-day festival now covers the entire Koenji area, captivating more than 1 million spectators with its impressive procession of about 10,000 dancers. From 5pm to 8pm each evening, take in the vibrant pulse of shime daiko, odaiko, and okawa drum and the melodic strains of the shamisen—a three-stringed guitar-like instrument. The parade loops in a figure eight between JR Koenji Station and Tokyo Metro Shinkoenji Station.

Date: August 26–27
Time: 5–8pm
Closest stations: Koenji Station, Higashi-koenji Station and Shinkoenji Station
Website: http://koenji-awaodori.com/ 

Fukagawa Hachiman Festival

Photo: Journal 4

The Fukagawa Hachiman Festival offers a vibrant schedule filled with music performances, parades, and Noh theater. On August 13, enjoy the exciting water-throwing festivities, featuring the parade of the massive Ninomiya mikoshi (portable shrine) around the neighborhood. Departing at 7:30am from Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, the procession returns in the mid-afternoon. Additional events include a town parade on August 12 and shrine maiden performances on August 15. To stay up to date with the captivating activities throughout the festival, be sure to visit the official website for further details and make the most of this incredible event.

Date: August 11–15
Time: 8am–8pm
Closest station: Monzennakacho Station, Kiba Station, Etchujima Station
Website: www.tomiokahachimangu.or.jp/ 

Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival  

Photo: Kura/Pixta

The Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival, a mesmerizing spectacle and one of Tokyo’s premier summer festivals, attracts crowds of excited onlookers along the streets of Harajuku and Aoyama. Celebrating its 42nd year, this edition promises an impressive display of 12,000 fireworks. For optimal viewing, the sports stadiums near Sendagaya Station, including Meiji Jingu Stadium and Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, provide excellent vantage points, with seating options available.

Date: August 12
Time: 7:30–8:30pm
Closest station: Gaienmae Station, Aoyama-itchome Station, Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station
Website: www.jinguhanabi.com/ 

Shimokitazawa Bon Dance Festival

Photo: Wataru Namatame/Nobuco Coiqe

Experience the lively ambiance of Shimokitazawa’s Ichibancho shopping district in mid-August as the spirited Awa Odori festival takes center stage. Witness the nightly parades featuring 12 to 13 dynamic teams, including both local Shimokitazawa talents and impressive representatives from Tokyo’s diverse neighborhoods. The most famous group is from Koenji, renowned for its beloved Koenji Awa Odori Festival. Keep the excitement going beyond the parades with the pre-event Awa Night on Friday, where the streets of Ichibancho shopping street burst to life with delightful food and drink stalls.

Date: August 19–20
Time: 6:30–8:30pm
Closest station: Shimokitazawa Station
Website: https://theshimokitazawayattokoren.jimdofree.com/ 

Azabu Juban Noryo Festival

Photo: Tokyo Portfolio

This festival held during the last weekend of August in the fashionable Azabu-Juban neighborhood is all about the food. The Noryo-Matsuri of Azabu-Juban is a famous summer festival that attracts many locals and visitors alike. This festival boasts a remarkable 40-year legacy. Along the bustling streets of Patio-dori and Zoshiki-dori, local vendors, limited to those with stores in the area since 2012, come together to create a bustling marketplace and a vibrant ambiance.

Date: Aug 26–27
Time: 3–9pm
Closest station: Azabu-Juban Station, Akabanebashi Station
Website: www.azabujuban.or.jp/topics/topics_event/20663/ 

Asakusa Samba Carnival

Photo: Asakusa Samba

This unique end-of-summer event blends the vibrant essence of Brazilian carnival—costumes, samba music, feathers, and dance—with a touch of Japanese influence. Since its inception in 1981, the Asakusa Samba Carnival has grown into one of Tokyo’s major attractions, drawing approximately half a million visitors annually. The connection between Brazil and Asakusa is due to the significant Japanese community of about 300,000 in São Paulo—the largest outside of Japan.

Date: September 19
Time: 1–6pm
Closest station: Asakusa Station
Website: www.asakusa-samba.org/ 

 

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