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Tokyo Summer Festivals, Best Living Japan

Tokyo Summer Festivals 2016

Tanabata, wind chimes, fireflies, lotus flowers and oceans, are all reasons to celebrate at Tokyo Summer Festivals.  Despite the heat and humidity, throw on your yukata and head to a Tokyo Summer Festival.  I love the noise, sights and smells at Japanese summer festivals. All of your senses are bombarded at once screaming “Japan.”  Enjoy the food, the games and the dancing at local festivals and get to know the flavor of each neighborhood of this huge metropolis we call home. Enjoy!2016 Tokyo Summer Festivals, Best Living Japan

The list be updated with more details as the summer progresses. The list below is in order of the Tokyo Summer Festival date.

July & August Tokyo Summer Festivals 2016

Iriya Asagao Matsuri July 6 –  8:  Iriya Asagao Matsuri (Morning Glory Festival)(Shitaya, Taito-ku) – More than 100 vendors are on hand to sell there Irya plants and flowers to you. The Iriya is a very popular summer flower in Japan; a symbol of the goddess of childbirth and children. Over 400,000 visitors will come to shop and have fun searching for flowers, food stalls, and other merchandise.Iriya Asagao Matsuri
Address: Iriya Kishimojin, 1-12-16 Shitaya, Taito-Ku
Date: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 – Friday, July 8, 2016
Time: 06:00 – 23:00
Access: Train to Uguisudani Station (JR Yamanote Line or Keihin Tohoku Line) then a 5 min walk or Metro to Iriya Station (Hibiya Line) then a 1 min walk
Website: http://www.kimcom.jp/asagao/

July 1 –  7:
Tokyo Daijingu Tanabata Kigansai (Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku)  – Enjoy the festival from July 1 to 7 to celebrate Tanabata. Make a wish on a tanzaku slip for 300 yen and hang it a nearby bamboo. The bamboo with beautiful coloured slips of paper will be illuminated on Tanabata night, July 7th. A beauiftul sight.ph_saiten
Address: Tokyo Daijingu, 2-4-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo (東京都千代田区富士見2-4-1)
Date: Friday, July 1  – Thursday, July 7, 2016 (illumination on July 7)
Time: 14:30 – 22:00
Website: http://www.tokyodaijingu.or.jp/saiten/ (Japanese language only)
Access: 3 min walk from JR Iidabashi Station; 5 min walk from Tokyo Metro Tozai Line / Namboku Line / Yurakucho Line / Toei Oedo Line Iidabashi Station


July 1 –  7:  Zojoji Tanabata Festival (Shiba, Minato-ku) –  Grab a friend or bring you family and appreciate the hundreds of candles displayed on July 7. Join Zojoji as they celebrate Tanabata festival, the night when two lovers separated by the Milky Way meet. Write your dream and wishes on colourful tanzaku and enjoy the matsuri stalls or the romantic atmosphere.
Address: Zojoji Temple,4-7-35 Shiba-koen, Shiba-Koen
Date: July 1, 2016 – Thursday, July 7, 2016  (Candles are lit up on July 7)
Time: 09:00 – 20:00
Access: Metro to Shiba-Koen Station (Mita Line) A4 exit or Daimon Station (Asakusa Line, Oedo Line) A6 exit


July 2 – 31: Fuurin Matsuri 2015, Nishiarai, Adachi-ku – A fuurin means wind chime in Japanese. Summer is a time when Japanese families place glass, metal and ceramic fuurins in their gardens to hear the beautiful ting-a-lings of summer breezes. At the Adachi Nishiarai Daishi temple fuurin craft people from across Japan set up booths to sell their creations. There are thousands of fuurin on display and the sound is amazing if the breeze is blowing. Highly recommend the beautify of sight and sound.
Fuurin Matsuri 2015Event:
Saturday, July 2 – Sunday, July 31, 2016; 10:00 – 16:00, Sundays until 17:00
Address: Nishiarai Daishi, 1-15-1 Nishiarai, Adachi-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3890-2345
Website: www.nishiaraidaishi.or.jp
Access: 8 min walk from Daishimae Station on the Tobu Daishi Line


Shitamachi Tanbata festivalJuly 6 –  11: Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri This festival is a fun event which runs between the Asakusa shrines and Kappabashi Dori (Kitchen town) so you can spend a fun full day in the area. The streets are lined with colorful streamers, vendors, performers and parades.
Address: Kappabashi-Dori, Asakusa
Date: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 – Monday, July 11, 2016
Time: All Day
Access: Asakusa Station (Ginza Line, Asakusa Line), JR (Tobu Skytree Line, Tsukuba Express)
Website: http://shitamachi-tanabata.com/ (Japanese link)


July 8-10: Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri ( Hiratsuka City, Kanazawa-Ken) This is one of the Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsurilargest Tanabata festivals in the Kanto area. It is well know for the huge size of the tanbata decorations, lively parade and illuminations. I have never had the chance to attend, but my friends speak highly of the event.
Dates and hours: Friday, July 8  – Sunday, July 10, 2016; Runs from around noon to 21:00 on Saturday and until 20:00 on Sunday
Address: Whole city around JR Hiratsuka Station north exit mall (Beniyacho, Hiratsuka-shi, akasityou play a key role.)
Official website: http://www.tanabata-hiratsuka.com/
Access: 2 min walk from JR Hiratsuka Station north exit
It is approximately 60 minutes by … JR Tokaido Main Line from Tokyo Station.
It is approximately 65 minutes by … JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku Station


Senso-ji image

July 9 –  10: Asakusa Hozuki-Ichi (Asakusa, Taito-ku)  – Senso-Ji is of the oldest temples and a great place to celebrate July 10th. It is believed that if you make a prayer on July 10th at this temple that it is worth 46,000 other prayer days. Needless to say, this temple is very busy on July 10th. You will also find over 250 vendors selling ground cherry pod plants (Hozuki-Ichi) and wind chimes; both symbols of summer in Japan.
Address: Senso-ji Temple, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo
Date: Saturday, July 9 – Sunday, July 10, 2016
Time: 08:00 – 20:00
Access: 8 min walk from Asakusa Station Metro (Ginza Line, Asakusa Line), JR (Tobu Skytree Line, Tsukuba Express)
Website: http://www.senso-ji.jp/about/index


July 10th – Enoshima Tenno-Sai, Kanagawa-ken (江ノ島天王祭 – 神輿海上渡御) – This is a fun festival to watch as men from different shrines carry a mikoshi (portable shrine) around town and then into the ocean waves of Endoshima Beach. After being carried in the sea, the mikoshi is safely returned to Yasaka Shrine. While in Enoshima, I recommend that you visit the Enoshima Aquarium and the Island Caves. A great day of sun and sea.
Event: Sunday, July 10th, 2016 from 11:00
Address: Yasaka-jinja Shrine, Koyurugi-jinja Shrine and a few other shrines in the area, Fujisawa, Kanagawa
Access: 15 mins walk from Katase-Enoshima Station on the Odakyu Enoshima Line, or 20 min walk from Enoshima Station on the Enoshima Dentetsu (Enoden) Line.
Website:  http://www.kanagawa-kankou.or.jp/event/ev_detail.php?eid=ek11244


Mitama MatsuriJuly 13 – 16: Mitama Matsuri (Kudansita, Chiyoda-ku) – One of the most attended festivals in Tokyo. This festival is to honor the dead each year, and over 30,000 lanterns are displayed. This festival does not offer food or drink but has a great line-up of traditional dances, music performances.
Address: Yasukuni Shrine,3-1-1 Kudan-kita, Chiyoda, Tokyo
Date: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 – Saturday, July 16, 2016
Time: 18:00 – 21:00 (Lanterns will light up during this time)
Access: Kudanshita Station Metro (Hanzomon Line, Shinjuku Line and Tozai Line) then a 10 min walk
Website:http://www.yasukuni.or.jp/news_detail.php?article_id=0084 (Japanese Link)


July 16 –  17: Setagaya Firefly Festival and Sagiso Market (Kamimachi, Setagaya-ku) – If you have attended the twice annual Setagaya Boroichi, you will know where you are going. This entire market street is taken over by food, game and merchandise vendors. You will also be able to see the local flowers and fire flies as a special treat during the festival. A great example of a local festival that attracts over 20,000 visitors. I do not recommend bringing stroller due to the crowds.
Address: Boroichi-dori, Kamimachi, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Date: Saturday, July 16  – Sunday, July 17, 2016
Time: 13:00 – 21:00
Access: 10 min walk from Kamimachi Station on the Tokyu Setagaya Line


New Bon Odori. IkebukuroJuly 16 –  17: New Bon Odori (Ikebukuro) – This festival is where one wears a yukata and dances or learns to dance. Everyone is encouraged to jump right in and enjoy the evenings. Not for the shy at heart, but a total blast to dance the night away Japanese Obon style. Here is a great video to get you in the mood!
Address: 1-8-26 Nishi Ikebukuro, Toshiba-ku, Tokyo
Date: Saturday, July 16 – Sunday, July 17, 2016
Time: starting at 5:30 running until about 22:00
Access: 2 min walk from Ikebukuro Station (West Exit)  on the Yamanote, Saikyo, Seibu, Marunouchi and Fukutoshin lines
Website: http://www.owlspot.jp/special/newbonodori/


July 17: Shimokita Night Market (下北夜市) (Shimokitazawa) – This is one of the best Tokyo neighbourhood himokita Night Marketsummer festivals. All the events and activities take place on the east side of the station on Sunday night. Wear a Yukata and you may even be given free food and drink.  You can also visit some of the great coffee shops and stores in the area.
Sunday, July 17th, 206: 16:00 -20:00
Address: Shimokitazawa Station area, Kitazawa 2-23-9
Website: https://shimokitazawa-east.com/?p=6960


July 9 – August 7: Ueno Summer Festival 2016 (Ueno) – This is the last weekend to enjoy the Ueno Park Summer Festival. While you are in Ueno I highly recommend you visit the newly renovated National Museum of Nature and Science (see below). The festival is throughout the park and includes music, food booths, plant sales and all kinds of antiques for sale. You can also enjoy the beautiful lanterns that are set a float on Shinobazu Pond. Put on your Yukata one summer day and enjoy.
Event: Saturday, July 9th  – Sunday, August 7, 2016
Time: Everyday 9:00 – 20:00
Address: Shinobazu Pond area, 2-Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3832-0084
Website: www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/event/kanko/uenonathumathuri.html
Access: 5 min walk from Ueno Station (Park Exit) on the JR Line, Ginza Line and Hibiya Line


July 27-30: Kagurazaka Matsuri (神楽坂まつり) (Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku) – This is a festival that you will definitely want to wear a yukata. If you wear a yukata the first two nights (Wednesday or Thursday), you can pick-up a lantern at Bishamonten (Zenkokuji) temple and join a group to tour the area. On Friday and Saturday, the festival becomes a bit busier and exciting as dancing begins and restaurants join in with great food and beverages discounted for visitors in yukata.
Event: Wednesday, July 27 – Saturday, July 30th
Time: July 27 & 28 17:30 – 22:00 is Ground Cherry Fair; July 29 & 30 17:00 – 21:00 is Awa Dori
Address: Bishamonten Zenkokuji, Kagurazaka
Website: http://kagurazaka6.jimdo.com
Access: The festival held in the Kagurazaka 1-6 neighbourhoods accessible via the Ushigome Kagurazaka station on the Oedo Line or Iidabashi Station on the Chuo-sobu, Tozai, Namboku or Oedo Lines. 


July 30: Shinjuku Eisa Festival (新宿エイサーまつり) – Eisa dance is a traditional dance of Okinawa, which was originally conducted for the worship of ancestral spirits during the Obon period. However post WWII Eisa dancing has changed to focus moshinjuku-eisa festivalre on youth and cultural competition in Okinawa where young groups of Eisa performers show great creatively in their music and dance. At the Shinjuku Festival, you can see close to 25 dance groups perform. Great way to experience Okinawa culture.
Event: Saturday, July 30th, 2015
Time: 12:00 – 20:00
Address: Shinjuku station east exit area
Website: http://www.shinjuku-eisa.com/ (In Japanese)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/shinjuku.eisa/


July & August Tokyo Summer Festivals 2016

August 3- 7:  Toshima Tanabata Matsuri – Toshima Chuo-dori Shopping Arcade , Kita – Wednesday August 3 2016 – Sunday August 7
August 5 – 7: Hachijoji Festival (八王子まつり) – This is one of the largest festivals in Tokyo with over 750,000Hachijoji Festival August 6-7: Asagaya Bali Dance Festivalpeople attending this weekend. The main highlights include the close to 20 floats and portal shrines. During the progression of floats and shines rival teams compete with cheers and music. A lot of power, sweat and passion in this festival so watch your little ones.
Date: Friday, August 5 – Sunday, August 7th, 2015
Time: Friday from 18:30 ~, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 20:00
Website: http://www.hachiojimatsuri.jp
Access: Area around the north side of Hachioji Station


August 5-9: Asagaya Tanabata Matsuri (阿佐谷七夕まつり) – This festival is celebrating the 62nd year and is known nationwide as one of the biggest Tanabata festivals (although Tanabata is officially July 7th). The shopping streets where the festival takes place is decorated with paper and bamboo decorations that local groups enteinto competition. The competition is quite impressive with grand awards given to best of many categories. My kids love the bright colours and all the super creative decorations from Godzilla to Amman last year. Read here for more information about Tanabata.
Event dates: August 5 – 9th, 2016
Address: 1-35-18 Asagaya Minami, Suginami-ku, Suginami-ku (held around the ten shopping streets including Asagaya Pearl Center)
Website: http://www.asagaya.or.jp/ Japanese language only
Access: 3 min walk from Asagaya Station on the JR Chuo or Soba lines, 5 min walk from the Minami Asagaya Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line

August 6
& 7:  Nakameguro Summer Matsuri
– This neighborhood festival is celebrating it`s 51st year and is one of my favourite annual festivals to watch the neighborhood adults and kids dressed in jimbeis beat Japanese drums and dance down the shopping street. The shopping street and side streets are filled with festival goers enjoying local restaurant specialties. GT Tower outside Nakameguro station is filled with games for the kids and musical live entertainment each night. Dress the family in Yukatas and enjoy.
Address: Nakameguro shopping street and side streets
Dates and times: Saturday, August 6th and Sunday, August 7th; 17:30 – 20:30 both days
Website: http://www.e-nakameguro.com/
Access: A 1-min walk from Nakameguro Station

August 13:  Asakusa Toro Nagashi – Sumida Park , Asakusa – Saturday August 13


August 19-20: Shimokitazawa Ichibangai Awa-Odori – Shimokitazawa area , Shimokitazawa – Friday August 19 2016 – Saturday August 20


August 24-25: Kinshicho Kawachi Ondo Bon Odori – Katagawa Shinsui Park , Koto- Wednesday August 24 2016 – Thursday August 25


August 27: Asakusa Samba Matsuri (浅草サンバ) (Asakusa) –  If you love Samba, this is the place to be Saturday, August 27th! Brazil and Japan are deeply intertwined since millions of Japanese migrated to Brazil in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. If you ever want to learn more about Japan migration history check out the Japan Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama. The Asakusa Samba Matsuri is celebrating the 35th year and is one of the biggest summer festivals in Japan. Over one half a million people come to see 16 teams compete for the grand award. The parade of samba dancers, floats and drummers travel down Kaminarimon Dori in front of the huge Asakusa shrine gate (Kaminarimon Gate).  I find the best place to access and view is closer to Tawaramachi Station on the Ginza Line (always thinking about kids Tokyo Area Family Weekend Activities - August 29 and 30, 2015with easy in and easy out).
Address: Kaminarimon Dori in Asakusa
Event dates and times:
Saturday, August 27th; 13:00 – 18:00
Website: http://www.asakusa-samba.org/ (Japanese language only)
Access: Asakusa Station on the Tobu Skytree Line, Toei Asakusa Line or Ginza Line, or Tawaramachi on the Ginza Line.


August 27-28: Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi Festival 2016 (Harajuku/Omotesando) – The Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri festival is a two day festival in the center of fashion forward Harajuku and Omotesando. Over 5,000 dancers from 100 teams come to Japan to dance.
Address: Matsuri takes place around Harajuku and Omotesando, Shibuya-ku
Event dates and time: Saturday, August 27th 10:00 – 20:00, Sunday, August 28th 10:00 -17:30
Website: http://www.super-yosakoi.tokyo/ (Japanese language only)
Access: 1 min walk from Harajuku Station on the Yamanote Line or Chiyoda Line; 2 min walk from the Meiji-jingumae Harajuku Station on the Fukutoshin Line


August 27-28: Koenji Awa-Odori (Kenji, Suginami-ku)  – This festival is short (3 hours), but filled with Koenji Awa-Odori extreme energy both Saturday and Sunday night. This year is the 59th Koenji Awadori which has over 10,000 dancers both professional and everyday fun folk having a great time. Over one million people are said to attend this festival so be ready for a crowd. Enjoy an energetic evening dancing away.
Address: Koenjiminami 2, 3, 6 4-chomes, and Koenjikita 2 & 3-chomes, Suginami-ku, Tokyo (held in shopping streets north and south of JR Koenji Station)
Event date and time: Saturday, August 27 – Sunday, August 28th; 17:00 – 20:00 each day
Website: http://koenji-awaodori.com/index.html (Japanese language only, there is an English tab but no content)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TokyoKoenjiAwaodori/
Access: Koenji Station in on the JR Chuo and Sobu Lines.


August 27-28: Azabu-Juban Noryo Festival 2016 (Azabu Juban, Minato-ku)  – This is one of my favorite annual festivals. The main Azabu shopping street and side streets are closed down to traffic and filled with festival goers enjoying local restaurant specialties. Ajiro Park (aka the slide park) is filled with games for the kids and musical live entertainment each night. Dress the family in Yukata and enjoy. This festival is so crowded that I highly advise not to bring strollers or pets. If you want to avoid the crazy time of 18:00 – 21:30 go when it opens from 15:00 – 17:00.
Address: main shopping street and side streets
Dates and times: Saturday, August 27th and Sunday, August 28th; 15:00 – 21:30 both days
Website: www.azabujuban.or.jp
Access: Azabu Juban station on the Namboku or Oedo Lines



Tokyo Summer Festivals 2016


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