Enjoy Summer Japanese Style! Five Recommended Fireworks and Summer Festivals in Tokyo
The summers in Tokyo are so hot and humid that the city is even referred to as a concrete jungle. A variety of events are held around the city to help make the summers more enjoyable and to enjoy the cool night air. Here are some select fireworks and summer festivals in Tokyo!
1. Sumida River Fireworks Festival
This fireworks show in Asakusa is known to be the longest running in Japan. It is also the largest in Tokyo, attracting nearly a million visitors each year to the banks of Sumida River. Approximately 20,000 fireworks are launched each year, including everything from traditional fireworks to novel and creative ones. The show is choreographed to keep the viewers enthralled by the beautiful lights that brightly color the summer night.
Festival date: Saturday, July 29, 2017
2. Kagurazaka Matsuri
This festival is held over four days around Kagurazaka-dori and the surrounding areas which includes Bishamonten Zenkokuji. Each year, the festival attracts more than 50,000 visitors who come to enjoy the feeling of good old Japan.
The first two days is an event called Hozuki-ichi (Chinese Lantern Plant Market), with 50 to 60 stalls and a stage where various traditional art performances are given. An Awa-odori event of the famous Awa-odori dance from Tokushima is held during the latter two days. The dance performed by a total of 3,500 people is quite impressive.
Event dates: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - Saturday, July 29, 2017
3. Tachikawa Showa Kinen Park Fireworks
This fireworks show is famous as a summer event in the Tachikawa area in western Tokyo and attracts about 800,000 people every year. It has the reputation as an exciting event where approximately 5,000 fireworks are launched. There is an entrance fee (410 JPY/adult, 80 JPY/child) to watch the fireworks in the park. Entrance is free after 6:00 pm, but we recommend entering the park early as it will get very crowded.
Event date: Saturday, July 29, 2017
4. Fukagawa Hachiman Festival (Tomioka Hachimangu Annual Festival)
The Fukagawa Hachiman Festival, the annual festival of Tomioka Hachimangu, is known as one of the three great festivals of Edo. Every year, it has more than 200 stalls and attracts approximately 300,000 people. There are three types of festivals with each type being held every three years. The most lively type, "hon-matsuri," will be held in 2017.
The main event is a parade of more than 120 portable mikoshi shrines, large and small. You can watch them being carried through the streets by bearers chanting the traditional call of "wasshoi," The Rengo Togyo procession of 53 giant mikoshi shrines is particularly impressive.
The hon-matsuri is also called "mizukake-masturi" (water-splashing festival) because of the purifying water splashed on the mikoshi bearers by spectators. It is quite moving to see the mikoshi bearers and spectators enjoying themselves together.
Event dates: Saturday, August 12, 2017; Sunday, August 13, 2017; Tuesday, August 15, 2017
5. Asagaya Tanabata Matsuri
This is festival for a traditional Japanese custom called Tanabata. It is famous for the variety of decorations that go up in the commercial district around JR Asagaya Station, and the paper mache decorations are particularly worth a look. The paper mache decorations are huge and represent the year's trends and ideas. Sometimes they take more than a month to make! Many of the stores also offer unique programs and events. Most event sponsors and participants are from the area, so it is a festival with a community feel.
Event dates: Friday, August 4, 2017 - Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Summer festivals and fireworks each have their own highlights and appeals. There are many more events held throughout Tokyo, so be sure to visit them.
*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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