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5 popular Japanese matsuri (summer festivals) in Tokyo

15 August 2018 by Jojo

1. Mitama Matsuri

Mitama Matsuri is held at the famous Yasukuni shrine near Kudanshita station and is one of the biggest summer festivals in Tokyo. First held in 1947, at this festival people honor the spirits of the dead. Yearly thousands of people come to enjoy the sight of the 30,000 yellow lanterns lit up at night. There are also food stands with delicious festival food and a mikoshi portable shrine performance during the day. In the evening people will dance the bon odori traditional Japanese dance and you can even participate if you can keep up with the dance moves!

2. Sanno Matsuri

Sanno Matsuri is considered to be one of the three biggest summer festivals that take place in Tokyo in June. It only takes place in even-numbered years. It is a very famous and traditional festival that even shoguns attended during the Tokugawa era (1603-1868). In the morning about 300 people dressed up in traditional Japanese clothing parade around central Tokyo accompanied by musicians and mikoshi, portable shrines, the parade goes on until early evening!

3. Kanda Matsuri

Kanda Matsuri is one of the other of the three biggest festivals in Japan and is celebrate on uneven-numbered years which is due a compromise they made with Sanno Matsuri many years ago! This festival was first celebrated in the Edo era (1603-1867) over the years this festival became a celebration of good luck and wealth for people. This matsuri takes place for 8 days with the main parades on Saturday and Sunday where people dress up and parade carrying mikoshi and pray at several shrines including the one near Tokyo imperial palace!

4. Roppongi Hills Bon Odori

Roppongi Hills festival is not nearly as old as any of the previously mentioned festivals: In 2018 the 16th edition takes place. Its a very lively festivals with all kinds of people attending. In a special arena the traditional Japanese Bon Odori dance is performed. The area is decorated nicely and there are several food stalls to enjoy festival food!

5. Sumidagawa fireworks festival

Sumidagawa festival is the biggest summer fireworks festival in Tokyo! It starts in the evening and goes on for a full 90 minutes! Every year thousands of people visit the festival so it is recommended to go early to find yourself a good place to sit down. The fireworks can be seen from several places such as Shiori Park and the Oyokogawa Water Park.

Have you ever visited a Japanese summer festival or do you plan to visit one of these? Let us know in the comments below!


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