1/28-3/25 Tsubaki Matsuri, Camellia Festival on Oshima Island, Tokyo. Various species of camellia bloom during the festival period. The festival feature local performing arts site Anko-no-Teodori (dance performed by Oshima local girls in traditional costume), Oshima Minho (traditional folk songs), and Yomatsuri (night festival). Daily 9:30-15:30 Oshima local performing arts at Tsubaki Plaza. 2/2-3/18 Friday, Saturday, Sunday 19:30-21:00 Yomatsuri at the passenger waiting room in Motomachi Port. Access: Take the Tokai Kisen ferryboat (8 hours) or hydrofoil (1hr. 45 min) from Takeshiba Pier, Tokyo to Oshima Island. Or, fly there from Chofu Airport (25 minutes).
2/4-3/11 Yugawara-bairin Ume-no-Utage, Japanese Plum Blossom Festival at Makuyama Park in Yugawara, Kanagawa Prefecture. Enjoy viewing about 4,000 Japanese plum trees. Admission is 200 yen. Access The JR Tokaido Honsen Line to Yugawara Sta., and then take direct bus to Makuyama Koen Bus Stop (15 min.).
2/8-3/8. Yushima Tenjin Ume Matsuri, Plum Blossom Festival at Yushima Tenjin Shrine, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. Access: 1) Chiyoda Line to Yushima Station, then walk 2 minutes. 2) Ginza Line to Ueno-Hirokoji Station, then walk 5 minutes.
2/17-3/31 Mito-no-Ume Matsuri, Japanese Plum Festival at Kairakuen Garden, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture. Various events are scheduled. Admission to this garden is free. Flowers are lit up from sunset to 9pm from 3/2-21. Access (1) The JR Joban Line to Kairakuen Rinji Sta. (temporary station). Direct local trains & Limited Express trains leaving Ueno Sta. between 8 am to 2 pm are operated on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays during the period. (2) The JR Joban Line to Mito Sta. (North Exit), and then take bus to Kairakuen Bus Stop (15 min.).
3/11 Hi-watari-sai, rigorous religious practice of walking on burnt charcoals at Takaosan Yakuoin Temple, Hachioji City on the outskirts of Tokyo. Following the lighting ceremony, Yamabushi (mountain priests) walk barefoot on the burning embers from 1 pm. This is believed to drive away the sins and filth of the world. Anyone may participate in this practice toward the end of the event. Access: The Keio Line from Shinjuku Sta. to Takaosan-guchi Station, and then walk 5 min. to Jidosha Kitoden-Hiroba.
3/16-4/15 Nihonbashi Sakura Festival, Nihonbashi, Yaesu, & Kyobashi areas especially Nihonbashi Coredo, Chuo Ward, Tokyo. Sakura tunnel daily from 11:00-22:00, installation show times 17:30-20:00. Sakura menu walk (limited time cherry blossom themed food items sold at shops & restaurants). 3/31-4/1 Sakura Stalls 12:00-18:00 (or when sold out) – food stalls selling gourmet cuisine. Access: Ginza & Hanzomon Lines to Mitsukoshimae Station. https://nihonbashi-sakurafes.art/en/
3/17-4/10 Bokutei Sakura Matsuri, Cherry Blossom Festival in Sumida Park and near Sakurabashi Bridge, Sumida Ward, Tokyo. Flowers lit from 18:00-21:00 from 3/21-4/10. Street performances on 3/31. Access: Ginza or Toei Asakusa Subway Line to Asakusa Station, then walk 5 minutes. Or, 10 minutes from Honjo-Azumabashi Station.
3/18 Kinryu-no-mai, Golden Dragon Dance at Sensoji Temple, Taito-ku, Tokyo. The dance to pray for a rich harvest of the year is performed three times at 11:00 / 13:30 / 15:00 within the temple grounds. Access The Ginza or Toei Asakusa Subway Line to Asakusa Sta. (G 19, A 18), and then walk 5 min.
3/21~4/08 Ueno Sakura Matsuri, Cherry Blossom Festival at Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo. Enjoy viewing about 1200 cherry trees in bloom even in the evening, as thousands of Bonbori (paper lanterns) are lit up from 17:00-20:00 daily. Open-air antique market set up from 10:00-20:00 daily. Access The JR Yamanote Line, the Ginza or Hibiya Subway Line to Ueno Sta. (G 16, H 17)
3/24-25 Anime Japan 2018, Tokyo Big Sight, Koto Ward, Tokyo. The fair is the world’s largest in scale of this kind and brings together anime-related Japanese and overseas companies. 10:00-17:00 Entry fee: 2200 yen (advanced ticket discount 1800 yen). Access: Yurikamome Monorail Line to Kokusai-Tenjiji-Seimon Station, then walk 3 minutes. Or, Tokyo Rinkai Kosoku Railway Rinkai Line to Kokusai-Tenjijo Station, and then walk 7 minutes.
3/25 Shinkisai or Taimatsu Matsuri, Torchlight Festival at Kameido Tenjin (Tenmangu) Shrine, Koto-ku, Tokyo, features a torchlight parade of about 200 children & adults from around 6 pm. When it rains, the parade will be canceled, and only the Shinto ritual will be held indoors. Access The JR Sobu Line to Kameido Sta. (North Exit), and then walk 15 min.
3/31-4/8 Kan-ou-no-yube, Cherry Blossom-viewing Festival at night, at Sankei-en Garden, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. This Japanese-style landscape garden has about 300 cherry trees. Enjoy cherry blossom-viewing in the evening. The garden is lit up until 9 pm during the period. (Please enter by 8:30 pm.) Admission to the garden is 700 yen. Access (1) The JR Negishi Line to Negishi Sta. From there, 10 min. by bus to Honmoku Bus Stop, then walk 10 min. (2) JR Keihin Tohoku, JR Tokaido or the Tokyu Toyoko Line to Yokohama Sta. (East Exit). From there, 30 min. by bus to Honmoku Sankeien-mae Bus Stop, then walk 3 min.
3/27 Yudate-no-Shishi-mai, Lion Dance of Suwa Shrine, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa Prefecture, from 13:00-15:00. One of Shishimai lion dances, Kama-Meguri-no-mai is distinguished for its dance by splashing hot water with bamboo leaves over visitors. It is said that people getting splashed water is a sign to bless good health for the year. There will be a Shinto ritual from 11:00-13:00. Access (1) TheJR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, JR Tokaido Line or the Odakyu Line to Odawara Sta. From there, about 50 min. by Hakone Tozan Bus to Sengoku Bus Stop, and then walk 10 min. (2) Hakone Tozan Line from Odawara Sta. to Hakone Yumoto Sta. From there 25 min. by Hakone Tozan Bus to Sengoku Bus Stop, and then walk 10 min.
3/29-4/8 Chiyoda-no-Sakura Matsuri, Cherry Blossom Festival at Yasukuni Shrine, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. Enjoy a view of cherry blossoms along the Chidorigafuchi path and in the precincts of Yasukuni Shrine even in the evening, as the cherry trees are lit up (sunset-22:00). Access The Tozai, Hanzomon or Toei Shinjuku Subway Line to Kudanshita Sta. (T 07, Z 06, S 05), and then walk 5 min.
Late March – Early April: Odawara Sakura Matsuri, Cherry Blossom Festival in Odawara Joshi Park and surrounding area. 3/30-4/1 10:00-17:00 Odawara Kamaboko (Boiled fish paste) Sakura Matsuri also takes place. Access: Head to Odawara Station (East Exit) and then walk 10 minutes.