Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience

by Kenzia - TripleLights travel specialist

Tokyo is an incredible and city, with so many attractions with different characters and appeal. You know what can make Tokyo even cooler? The interesting events and festivals!

 

If you want to are planning a trip to Tokyo and want to know what are the festivals and events you can go to, look no further!

 

In this article, I’m going to share the popular events and festivals you can experience in Tokyo, some travel tips, and more recommendations. So, read on!



Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo

1. Cherry Blossom Festivals 

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience It’s undeniable that one of the most popular aspects of Japan is the cherry blossoms flower, also known as Sakura. During spring in Tokyo, Tokyo gets even more crowded, with people from all over coming to see and enjoy the incredible cherry blossom flowers in Japan.

 

In spring, during the cherry blossom season, Cherry Blossom Festivals are held all over Tokyo and Japan. This is the most popular event of them all. During this (usually) 2-week period, tourists and locals celebrate the long-awaited cherry blossom season by gathering around parks and gardens to do hanami (cherry blossom viewing).

 

Hanami is usually done by having outdoor parties, such as making picnics under the trees with friends or families, and feast while enjoying the flowering trees (during daytime or night). You can also stroll around the park, or rent a boat and row around in ponds or moat in some parks, such as Inokashira Park and Chidorigafuchi Park.

 

During the festivals, the gardens and parks are not only filled with people and beautiful cherry blossoms but also filled with food and snack vendors. For recommended places to go to experience this festival, you can click here. For the complete guide on how to Hanami, click here.

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience

Here is a list of the schedule of the cherry blossom festival in Tokyo in 2018:


  • Sumida Park Cherry Blossom Festival

Date:  20th Mar–8th Apr 2018

Location: 〒131-0033 東京都墨田区向島1−2−5 (map)

  • Ueno Cherry Blossom Festival

Date: 21st Mar–8th Apr 2018

Location: 〒110-0007 Tokyo, Taitō, Uenokoen, 5−20 (map)

  • Chiyoda Cherry Blossom Festival

Date: 26th Mar–8th Apr 2018 *can change corresponding to the season

Location: 1-1 Kitanomarukōen, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0091 (map)

  • Nakameguro Cherry Blossom Festival

Date: 24th Mar–10th Apr 2018

Location: (map)

  • Bokutei Cherry Blossom Festival

Date: 22nd Mar–8th Apr, 2018  10:00am – 9:00pm

Location: 〒131-0033 東京都墨田区向島1−2−5 (map)

  • Nihonbashi Sakura Festival: A Digital Gourmet Wonderland

Date: 16th Mar–15th Apr 2018

Location: Nihonbashi

  • Midtown Blossom 2018

Date: 16th Mar–15th Apr 2018  

Location: around Tokyo Midtown, 9 Chome-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0052 (map)

Hours: 8:00am – 11:00pm

  • Edo Fukagawa Sakura Festival

Date: 24th Mar–11th Apr 2018  

Location: Edo Fukagawa

Hours: 9:30am – 9:00pm


Tip: keep in mind that this is peak season in Japan, so, places get very crowded, and accommodation and transportation tickets can go higher.

 

2. Fireworks Festivals

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience

Another popular festival in Tokyo is the fireworks festivals. Different from most countries, Japan doesn’t celebrate the New Year with fireworks but instead has its own fireworks festival during the summer.

 

The fireworks festival, known also as Hanabi festival, have a long history in Japan and are an important tradition during summer. Locals and tourists gather in parks and venues to watch the fireworks, enjoy the food and game from stalls before the show, and enjoy the nice evening summer weather.

 

As it can get very crowded, some of the shows sell tickets in advance for the best viewing spots, and for some that don’t, people show up hours in advance to reserve the best spots. Usually, not only the venues of the show, but transportation to the venues and accommodation around the venues will be very crowded because of this very popular event.

 

Here are some places to enjoy fireworks festivals in Tokyo in 2018:

Event

Date

Venue (location)

Koto Fireworks Festival

Early August (no specific date yet)

Arakawa Sunamachi Riverside Park (map)

Ome City Nohryo Fireworks Festival

Early August (no specific date yet)

7:30- 8:50 pm

Nagayama Park (map)

Akishima Citizen Whale Festival Yume Hanabi

Early August (no specific date yet, usually first Sunday of August)

Showa Park (Athletics Stadium) - (map)

Itabashi Fireworks Festival

Early August (no specific date yet)

Itabashi Fireworks Festival Venue (map)

Edogawa Fireworks Festival

Early August (no specific date yet)

Edogawa Fireworks Festival Venue (map)

Okutama Nohryo Fireworks Festival

Mid August (no specific date yet)

In front of Okutama Station(map)

Tamagawa Fireworks Festival

Mid August (no specific date yet)

Above Tama River near Futakotamagawa Station (map)

The Tsurumi River Summer Festival 2018

Mid August (no specific date yet)

Near Tokyo, in Tsukuno Park (map)

Jingugaien Fireworks Festival

Mid August (no specific date yet)

Meiji Jingu Stadium (map)

 

3. Local Shrine Festivals (Matsuri)

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience

The word Matsuri itself means festival in Japanese. There are lots of different kinds of local matsuris in Japan, mostly sponsored by shrines and temples. In Tokyo, some of the most popular matsuris are Kanda Matsuri, Sanja Matsuri, and Sanno Matsuri. Dates of matsuris in Tokyo vary, happening throughout the year.  

 

Japanese Shrine festivals are filled with mikoshi (portable shrine acting as palanquins to transport divine spirit) parades, food and snack vendors, festival game stalls, and cultural performances. The mikoshi is paraded up and down the streets by people wearing traditional clothing, chanting to keep energy levels high.

 

You can try various foods, and enjoy the festival games after or before the mikoshi parade from the food and game stalls around the shrine and its surrounding vicinity. Not all, but many shrine festivals include a special cultural performance such as dances, plays, an athletic event including sumo matches in the Nezu Shrine Autumn Festivals.

 

If you are in Tokyo, check ahead for shrines matsuris that will take place during your visit to feel the festivities. This is a great way for you to immerse yourself in the local culture in Tokyo.

 

Here's a list of some shrine festivals in Tokyo in 2018:

Shrine Festival

Date

Location

Okunitama Jinja Shrine: Kurayami Matsuri (Darkness Festival)

April 30- May 6, 2018

Okunitama Jinja Shrine

Kanda-matsuri Festival

Early May 2018 - Mid-May 2018

Kanda Myojin

Musashi-mitake Jinja Shrine Hinode Festival

May 7- May 8, 2018

Musashi-mitake Jinja Shrine

Sanja Matsuri (Sanja-sama)

Mid-May 2018

Asakusa Jinja Shrine

Torikoe Jinja Annual Festival

Early June 2018 - Mid-June 2018

Torikoe Jinja Shrine

Sanno Festival

Early June 2018 - Mid-June 2018

Hie Shrine

Tsukiji Shishi Matsuri (Festival)

Mid-June 2018

Namiyoke Inari Jinja Shrine

Nezu shrine Annual Grand Festival

Mid-September 2018 - Late September 2018

Nezujinja shrin

Ikegami Honmonji Temple - Oeshiki Festival

Mid-October 2018

Ikegami Honmonji Temple

 

 

Think that's all? Nope! 

 

4. New Year (Shōgatsu)

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience
One of the most celebrated events of the year is the New Year. Different from other countries, Japan has its own tradition to celebrate the New Year. This is the most elaborate Japanese event where people clean their homes, pay their debts, and prepare osechi (food in lacquered trays for the New Year).

 

Then, during the first 3 days of the New Year (January 1-3), people visit shrines and temples to pray and express gratitude. This tradition is called hatsumode. During these times, shrines and temples are filled with people and food vendors, queues to the temple are long. You can experience the New Year like locals through this tradition/ event. Just keep in mind that it’s incredibly crowded!

 

5. Winter Illuminations

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience

Tokyo is pretty popular for its winter illuminations. The winter weather is home to many illumination events, starting around November and end around February or March, pretty much when winter starts and ends.The sun sets a little earlier, making the night longer, perfectly lit with the beautiful illuminations. You can enjoy the bright and pretty illuminations and take good pictures with the dazzling illuminations.

 

There are numerous places offering beautiful illuminations in Tokyo. They are all pretty, but each has its own character and character, making seeing just one is not enough.

 

Here are some of the places to enjoy winter illumination in 2018:

Event

Date

Location

Tokyo Dome City Winter Illumination

Early Nov 2018–Mid Feb 2019

Roppongi Hills Arena (map)

Midtown Christmas 2018

Mid Nov–Late Dec 2018

Tokyo Midtown (map)

Caretta Shiodome Winter Illumination 2018

Mid Nov 2018–Mid Feb 2019

Caretta Shiodome (map)

Marunouchi Illumination 2018

Early Nov 2018–Mid Feb 2019

Marunouchi Nakadori

Roppongi Hills Christmas Illumination 2018

Early Nov–Late Dec 2018

Tokyo Dome (map)



A tip for your Tokyo travel

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience

Here’s a tip. If you want to find out more unique and interesting events and festivals in Tokyo, there is a way! How? Hire private guides!

 

Why?

Good guides will know what are the interesting events and festivals in Tokyo that may not be popular among tourists. This is a chance for you to experience something different from the usual tourist activities. You won’t have a boring trip in Tokyo, but hiring private guides can really enhance your trip and make your Tokyo trip more interesting.

 

You’ll have a chance not only to go to festivals and enjoy the festivities, you can also have a deeper understanding of the events, festivals and places you visit. There are still many more advantages in hiring a private guide, including free itinerary, hassle-free trip, and more!

 

Where to hire private guides?

Look:

There are many places where you can hire private guides in Tokyo, but are they good and trustworthy? It’s difficult to know. That’s why I’m recommending you TripleLights website. The website offers many local tour guides and also private tour options in Tokyo, from which you can choose according to your needs and preferences.

 

Recommended tours

Popular Events and Festivals in Tokyo to Experience

There are so many great private tours available from the TripleLights website. But, here are some of my recommendations:

 

Private Tokyo First Visitors Tour for Viewing Cherry Blossoms tour to view the cherry blossoms and visit the must-visit places in Tokyo.

Exploring Tokyo! -One day customized tour for you to explore Tokyo with a professional guide that will bring you to seasonal events at your request.

Personalized Tokyo Journey, you can choose where you want to go while in Tokyo, including the festivals and events along the way!

 

There are still many more private tour options in Tokyo, which you can check by clicking here.

 

Wait, there’s more:

If you are traveling to other areas of Japan after Tokyo, you can click here for tours in other areas of Japan.

If you don’t prefer looking through the private tour options but prefer to find the perfect guide for you, here is a list of great tour guides in Tokyo.

 

 

These are some of the most popular events in Tokyo. I recommend visiting the listed events if the timing is right! I hope this article is useful to helps you figure out the interesting and unique events in Tokyo. Wishing you the best time in Toyko! 

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


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