July 20, 2024

Summer festivals in Japan are a time of unrivaled celebration, with parades, traditional music, dance performances, food stalls and incredible fireworks displays. And summer festivals in Tokyo have a particularly powerful charm.

Making your way through a neighborhood you’ve passed through countless times, you’re suddenly lured in by the chatter and bustle of lots of things happening all at once, and the enchanting sight of glowing, gently-bobbing lamps. Suddenly, you find yourself in the middle of a normally quiet street, but it isn’t the place you were expecting. It’s alive with shouting, dancing and drinking. There are people everywhere in a splendid variety of get-ups, from the dancers in shell-like hats to the shirtless men with drums on their back. People are bellowing the name of their wares — “Beer! Yakisoba!” — in a way that is not at all like the calm demeanor to which you’ve become accustomed. For today only: Everything is out and loose. It’s a Japanese summer festival.

But in case you’d rather plan an excursion in advance, rather than miraculously stumbling across one, here are some of the most notable summer festivals taking place in Tokyo in 2024.

Tokyo Summer Festivals Happening in July

Shitamachi Tanabata Festival 2024

Taking place around the infamous Kappabashi Street, Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. It’s a great place to enjoy festivities before the weather gets blisteringly hot. The event features a good amount of yosakoi dance teams, who perform throughout the streets during July 6 and 7. Food stalls offering typical Japanese festival fare will be set up around the vicinity.

Tanabata

Tanabata, also known as the “star festival,” celebrates the legend of deities Orihime and Hikoboshi who are star-crossed lovers separated by the Milky Way and are only allowed to meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month. Attendees are invited to write down their wishes on paper and tie it to the bamboo branches that line the streets.
The festival will feature colorful decorations, dances, food and drink stalls, and live entertainment. Street performances will include traditional instruments like shamisen and taiko on Saturday, and a parade on Sunday.

Shitamachi Tanabata Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Jul 6, 2024-Jul 7, 2024・12:00-・Tanabata decorations will be displayed from July 4 – 8
Price Free
Location Asakusa Kappabashi

Mitama Matsuri

One of the most famous matsuri events in Tokyo, Mitama Matsuri (also known as the Yasukuni Shrine Festival) kicks off summer festival season in the city. This year, it will take place from July 13 to 16.
During the festival, the Yasukuni Shrine grounds are adorned with more than 30,000 small and large votive lanterns, as well as paper lanterns bearing writing and art by notable figures. These will be illuminated from 6 p.m. every day of the festival. Additionally, rituals to comfort the enshrined spirits are performed nightly at the Main Sanctuary. Other events — including processions of mikoshi (portable shrines) and nebuta floats from Aomori, a special exhibition of flower offerings, and various performances — are also held.
The brightly illuminated main approach to the shrine also hosts the earliest Bon Odori dance in Tokyo. This dance, as well as the rows of night stalls, recreates the nostalgic atmosphere of ancient festivals for the modern day.

Mitama Matsuri Details and Location

Date & Time Jul 13, 2024-Jul 16, 2024・18:00-
Price Free

Adachi Fireworks

The Adachi Fireworks Festival, held on July 20, is the first of many large-scale fireworks festivals to be held in Tokyo, and known as one of the busiest. Explosions expected: approximately 13,000 fireworks will be launched in just one hour. There will also be a myriad of food and drinks stalls.

Date & Time Jul 20, 2024・19:20-
Price Free
Location Arakawa River
More Info Seated tickets sold out

Lantern Floating Festival at Chidori-Ga-Fuchi Moat

Every year, a traditional Japanese lantern floating festival is held at Chidori-ga-fuchi Moat, on the Imperial Palace grounds. For two nights, over 2000 lanterns, representing people’s gratitude, hope and wishes for peace, twinkle on the surface of the water.
This year’s event will take place from Wednesday, July 24 to Thursday, July 25. Visitors can come just to see the enchanting sight — there are multiple viewing sites around the moat — or they can participate in the festival directly, either by buying their own lantern or buy taking a boat ride on the water. Lanterns must be purchased in advance, for ¥2000, via the festival website. Boat rides can also be booked through the website, for a fee of ¥10,000; each boat can fit three people and comes with three lanterns. Note that the boat rental is a lottery which closes on July 2.
From the official website:

The solemn and fantastic scenery is as beautiful as a scene from a story. The predecessor of this event, “Chiyoda-ku Noryo no Yube” (Summer Evening in Chiyoda City), started in 1958 to heal the hearts of people devastated by the postwar period.
From the past to the future, from Chiyoda City to the world.
The wishes of the people are connected as one.

Chidori-Ga-Fuchi Moat Lantern Floating Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Jul 24, 2024-Jul 25, 2024・19:00-
Price Free for viewing; ¥2000 lanterns also available for purchase in advance
Location Chidori-ga-Fuchi Moat

kagurazaka awa odori

Editorial credit: dekitateyo / Shutterstock.com

Kagurazaka Festival

The Kagurazaka Matsuri celebrates its 50th year in 2024, making this year’s edition an unmissable one. The four-day event turns the peaceful streets of the Kagurazaka area into a lively venue full of street food and dancing. Wander through these picturesque areas and pick up yakisoba and chocolate bananas from street food vendors.
Awa-Odori dance performances will be held on July 26 and 27, from 19:00-21:00.

Kagurazaka Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Jul 24, 2024-Jul 27, 2024・19:00-21:00・Main event: 26 & 27
Price Free
Location Kagurazaka Dori

Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival

Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is one of the oldest fireworks festivals, with a history stretching back nearly 300 years, to 1732. It originated as an event to help locals pray for loved ones who had died after various tragedies befell the area, like disease and famine.
Nowadays, the festival is a wholly positive affair, a competition between various fireworks makers to see who can impress the public the most. Sumidagawa festival is one of the most popular firework festivals in the year, so be aware of crowding when you go and bring a lot of patience with you!
 

Date & Time Jul 27, 2024・19:00-20:30
Price Free
Location Sumida River

tanabata yukata festivaltanabata yukata festival

Tanabata Yukata Festival

Enjoy a Summer Festival While Wearing a Yukata

The Yume to Odoru Tanabata Yukata Festival at the Coredo Muromachi Terrace will celebrate Tanabata with live music, traditional performing arts and yukata fashion shows. Join performers on the bon odori stage and dance along. From 3:30 PM, you can dance to anime theme songs and hit J-Pop songs themed around stars to match the festival celebrations.
Tanabata is a great opportunity to wear a breezy yukata to escape the summer heat. If you wear a yukata or kimono to the event, you will receive special benefits throughout the festival shops.
The Tanabata festival held on the 7th day of the 7th month of every year, celebrates the legend of deities Orihime and Kengyuu, but it’s also a time when people write our their dreams and pray to the stars.
The festival collaborates with various companies and organizations to present a variety of shows and promote Japanese culture.

Tanabata Yukata Festival Event Details and Location

Date & Time Jul 7, 2024・11:00-19:30
Price Free
Location COREDO Muromachi Terrace Roof Plaza

Tokyo Summer Festivals Happening in August

Itabashi Fireworks Festival

The 65th iteration of Itabashi Fireworks Festival takes place over the Arakawa River. Famed for its grand finale of over 700 meters worth of fireworks, known as the Niagara Falls, this festival is a particularly memorable affair.

Date & Time Aug 3, 2024・19:00-・Paid ticket entry opens 17:00
Price ¥5000
Location Arakawa Todabashi Athetics Stadium

Nakameguro Summer Festival

Nakameguro’s beloved summer festival takes over the trendy neighborhood on the weekend of August 3–4, with two different nights of lively, traditional dance performances. On the first evening, around 20 teams of awa-odori dancers will take the the street; the following night, you can expect over 30 troupes of yosakoi dancers.
The festival has been held for nearly 60 years, welcoming teams from across Kanto to perform throughout its streets. The Nakameguro River and its surrounding areas are lit up with pink toro lanterns in celebration, and the streets are lined with food stalls and places to drink. Go ahead and spend the weekend!

Nakameguro Summer Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Aug 3, 2024-Aug 4, 2024・12:00-
Price Free
Location Nakameguro Ginza Shopping Street

Hachioji Float Festival

The famed Hachioji Festival — also known as the Float Festival, for obvious reasons — boasts a massive parade with 19 spectacular floats, elaborately decorated and decked out in lights, including a valuable float designated as a tangible cultural property of Hachioji City.
It’s held over three days in early August every year, attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators. On the final day, the floats pass by each other and compete in musical performances called batsuzuke, allowing visitors to enjoy the booming sounds of the Kanto Taiko Grand Battle.

Date & Time Aug 2, 2024-Aug 4, 2024・12:00-
Price Free
Location Hachioji, various

Asagaya Tanabata Festival

Asagaya Tanabata Festival

The 68th edition of Asagaya’s vibrant Tanabata Festival will take place in August this year. The neighborhood has a quite distinctive take on the holiday: Every year, its famous Pearl Center Shopping Street is decorated with massive, papier-mâché decorations — including effigies of characters from pop culture, like Disney heroes and well-known cartoons. Many of these are created by shops on the shopping street, but applications are open to anyone, leading to some incredibly inventive incarnations.
There will also be festive activities like dancing, food stalls and competitions to get everyone in the summer mood.

Asagaya Tanabata Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Aug 7, 2024-Aug 12, 2024・11:00-
Price Free
Location Asagaya Pearl Center

Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival

Tokyo’s inner-city fireworks festival donates a portion to earthquake relief funds, making buying a ticket even more appealing. With over 10,000 fireworks set off, alongside live performances, this is an especially  vibrant fireworks festival. As the event takes place in the Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium, seating is particularly well organized!

Date & Time Aug 10, 2024・19:00-20:00・Paid ticket entry opens 16:00, performance starts at 17:00
Price ¥5000
Location Meiji Jingu Stadium

Shimokitazawa Awa-Odori Summer Festival

Dance Throughout the Night

Shimokitazawa’s annual summer festival is back, bringing dancing and taiko drumming to the area, along with a big dose of festive spirit. Enjoy dancing around the yagura (festival tower) near the East Exit of Shimokitazawa Station, copying the traditional moves from the participating dancers. Come wearing a yukata and soak up the festival vibes, drinking with the locals.
For those who can’t make the Obon event, head over the following week for more fun and summer dancing.

Shimokitazawa Awa-Odori Summer Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Aug 17, 2024-Aug 18, 2024・12:00-
Price Free
Location Shimokitazawa Ichiban Gai

Edogawa Fireworks Festival

The classic Edogawa Fireworks Festival (the other of the Big Two festivals in Tokyo) hits its 49th edition in style with over 14,000 fireworks set off above the Edo River. Known as one of the busiest fireworks festivals in the country, this year, there are many paid-for seats and blue sheet spaces, so you can enjoy the fireworks in relative comfort.
 

Date & Time Aug 24, 2024・19:15-20:20
Price ¥6000
Location Edo River between Shinozaki and Edogawa Stations
More Info Limited amount of free tickets are available for local residents

Koenji Awa-Odori Festival

Experience the excitement of Awa-Odori as you say good-bye to summer. Koenji Awa-Odori Festival is one of Tokyo’s largest summer street festivals, with over 10,000 dancers and 1.2 million visitors across the two day event on August 24 and 25.
Awa-Odori is originally from the Japanese island of Shikoku and happens around obon, the Japanese summer holiday. Koenji hosts Tokyo’s version of the traditional festival, where odori — traditional Japanese dance and musicians with shamisen, flutes and taiko drums — will parade through the streets of Koenji.
Over 100 dance groups perform at the festival every year. One of the troupes, the Kikusui group, has approximately 90 members ranging from 3 to 65 years old. Men wear happi while women wear yukata and the iconic amigasa woven grass hats that have become symbols of the event.
We recommended using the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line to Shin-Koenji Station to beat the huge crowds that come in through JR Koenji Station on the JR Chuo Line.

Koenji Awa-Odori Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Aug 24, 2024-Aug 25, 2024・17:00-20:00
Price Free
Location Koenji

Awa odori

Sakae Street Summer Festival in Sangenjaya

Sakae Street in Sangenjaya hosts its own summer festival, now in its 43rd year. The streets around the Tokyo suburb explode with fun and dancing across two days. There will be a tug-of-war tournament on the Saturday, and awa-odori teams from across the area will perform on the Sunday. Local shops get involved in the festivities, too, by putting chairs and tables outside, and setting up beer stands and food stalls along the length of the street.

Sakae Street Summer Festival Details and Location

Date & Time Aug 24, 2024-Aug 25, 2024・16:00-・See website for individual performance times
Price Free
Location Sakae Street

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