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[2019 Edition] 5 Must-Visit Summer Festivals in Tokyo

If you're hoping to experience the traditional culture of a country, one way in which you can do so is to participate in local events such as festivals. This article will introduce you to 5 famous summer events that are held in Tokyo.

1. Tokyo Koenji Awa-Odori (Koenji)

This famous summer festival is being held for the 63rd time in 2019. Unfolding across eight different sites surrounding JR Koenji Station and the Tokyo Metro Shin-koenji Station, visitors can experience the passion and energy of an "Awaodori" dance performance. Dancers total as many as 10,000, and coupled with approximately one million guests, this enormous event fills the streets with cheering and fervent energy. The Awaodori dance itself boasts 400 years of history, and originated as a form of folk entertainment in the Shikoku and Tokushima regions of Japan. In order to pay respect to this regional culture and tradition, as well as invigorating the local area, the Koenji shopping district created this festival in 1957. During the event, visitors can enjoy watching the dance and savoring some food and drink from the stalls. Entrance is free, although there is a charge for viewing seats. The 2019 Awaodori Festival will be held on August 24th (Sat) and 25th (Sun).

1. Tokyo Koenji Awa-Odori (Koenji)

4 Koenji Minami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo

2. The Adachi Fireworks Festival (Kitasenju)

The Adachi Fireworks Festival is being held for the 41st time in 2019 and is one of the largest such events in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The summer night sky will be painted in beautiful colors by the brilliant lights of approximately 13,600 large and small fireworks over the course of one hour. This event is held on the banks of a river, meaning that revelers can enjoy the fireworks while seated on its sloping banks. The banks on the Nishiarai side of the river are larger and wider, so you will have more space to relax and enjoy the fireworks than if you were to choose to sit on the Senju side. Entry is free, however, there is a charge for viewing seats.

The 2019 Adachi Fireworks event will be held on July 20th (Sat).

2. The Adachi Fireworks Festival (Kitasenju)

Senju Okawa-cho, Adachi-ku, Tokyo

3. Azabujuban Noryo (Cool Evening) Festival (Azabujuban)

Azabujuban is home to both high-rise buildings erected in recent times as well as a traditional townscape that still remains from times gone by. This festival has been organized for more than 40 years by the shopping district that has long supported this district. During the festival, visitors can enjoy food from the local area but also sample regional delicacies from across the country at approximately 250 stalls and stands of various types. Visitors can also be entertained by a rich and varied line up of live performances including music and traditional Japanese arts, all performed on a stage set up specially for the event. Entrance is free.

This event is generally held between mid-August and late August.
※Specific dates for the 2019 event have yet to be announced.

3. Azabujuban Noryo (Cool Evening) Festival (Azabujuban)

2-3-10 Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo

4. OCEAN PEOPLES (Yoyogi)

At Yoyogi Park in central Tokyo, a summer festival is held with the conceptual theme, "Connecting everyone to the ocean to bring joy." This festival allows visitors to enjoy the food, music, sports, tourism, and environment offered by the oceans, while organizers also hope that it will act as an impetus to get visitors to also consider environmental issues. During the event, as well as enjoying the wares of more than 40 different food trucks, beach fashion and goods are also on offer. Art is on sale from popular domestic and international artists, and there are live performances from artists playing songs that perfectly match the vibes of the start of summer. Entrance is free.

In 2019, Ocean Peoples will be held on July 13th (Sat) and 14th (Sun).

4. OCEAN PEOPLES (Yoyogi)

(Yoyogi Park Event Square) 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

5. Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival (Taito and Sumida)

On an average year, this festival boasts crowds of 750,000 and is one of the most recognizable and celebrated fireworks festivals in Japan. It is held across two different sites, where cumulatively approximately 20,000 fireworks are set off. At Venue 1, you can enjoy a fireworks contest that features some of the most distinguished fireworks artists in Japan. It is one of the most famous celebrations of its kind anywhere in the country, and is a true artistic masterpiece. Venue 2 features a more creative and experimental display of fireworks and is a fantastic treat for onlookers. Entrance is free, although there is a charge for viewing seats.

This year, the Sumidagawa Fireworks is scheduled to be held for July 27th (Sat).

5. Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival (Taito and Sumida)

Sumida and Taito wards of Tokyo, Venue 1 is found between the Sakura Bridge (on the lower course of the Sumida River) and Kototoi Bridge (on the upper course), Venue 2 is found between the Komagata Bridge (lower course) and the Umaya Bridge (upper course)

If you are visiting Tokyo this summer, make sure to participate in some of these festivals and take some precious memories home with you!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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