April 2019 Events in & around Tokyo

There are many fantastic events taking place throughout the month of April. As I learn of other events, they will be added to this list. I do recommend, however, that you double-check the information before heading out.

3/30 – 4/7 Bokutei Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival), Sumida Park & Sakurabashi Bridge, Sumida Ward, Tokyo. Trees will be lit up until 4/10. Closest station: Asakusa

3/21 – 4/07 Ueno Sakura Matsuri, Ueno Park, Taito Ward, Tokyo. Cherry blossom festival. Daily 10:00-20:00 open-air antique markets are set up, 17:00-20:00 flowers are lit up. Closest station: Ueno

3/27 – 4/7 Chiyoda-no-Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival), Yasukuni Shrine, Chidorigafuchi area. Flowers will be lit up from sunset – 22:00. Closest stations: Kudanshita or Hanzomon

4/2-7 Gyoki Daie (Special Buddhist Ceremony for Priest Honen Shonin), Zojoji Temple, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Main events: bugaku (ancient court dance with music) daily, from around noon. Oneri-gyoretsu (procession of children in colorful attire), 4/5-7 13:30-14:00. Closest stations: Onarimon, Shibakoen, or Daimon

4/5-7 Shingen-ko Matsuri, Kofu Station, Maizuru-jo Park, Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture. Festival in commemoration of the famous feudal lord, Takeda Shingen (1521-1573). Closest Station: Kofu. https://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/shingen/english/about.html

4/6-7 Shinagawa Canal Festival, along canal between ocean and Shinbamba Station. 4/6 from 10-20:30, 4/7 from 10-15:30. Flea market, food stalls, hot air balloon, live music, kids programs… Closest Station: Shinbamba. http://unga.jp/Content/img/flyer_scf2019_190327-01.jpg

4/6-7 Haru Matsuri (Spring Festival), Ikegami Honmonji Temple, Tokumochi Kaikan, Ota Ward, Tokyo. A spring festival with 2 parts: 1). Goju-no-to – when the temple’s five story pagoda is open to the public on both days from 10:00-15:00. 2). Hana-no-sei’, a floral festival where the highlight is a parade of children pulling a papier-mâché white elephant from 13:00-13:40 – it leaves Ikegami shopping street and heads to the temple. Both days – 10:00-15:00 Nodate (open-air tea ceremony). Closest Stations: Ikegami, Nishi-Magome

4/7 – 5/6 Bunkyo Tsutsuji Matsuri (Azelea Festival), Nezu Shrine, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo. Enjoy viewing about 3000 Azelea bushes in bloom. Stalls selling potted plants, antiques, etc. are set up in the precincts of the shrine. 200 yen to enter the garden (9:00-17:30). 4/8 Mikoshi parade from 11:00. 4/28 Demonstration of naginata (long-handled sword) from 13:00, 4/29 & 30 Taiko drum performance from 12:00. 4/29 Parade of Kappore (traditional Japanese comic dance) on Sendagi 2-chome shopping street, from 14:00-15:30. Closest stations: Nezu, Sendagi, Todaimae. *Photo above.

Hana Matsuri – A floral festival to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday is held at all Buddhist temples on the days centering around April 8. At the temples, small images of Buddha are open to the public and Amacha (sweet tea) is poured over the images as an expression of devotion. Chigo-Gyoretsu, parades of children in fancy attire, pulling a paper-mache white elephant (a sacred animal associated with the Buddha), are also held at many temples.

4/8 Hana Matsuri, Gokokuji Temple, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo. Floral Festival to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday. Chigo-Gyoretsu in afternoon. Closest station: Gokokuji

4/8 Hana Matsuri, Koganji Temple, Toshima Ward, Tokyo. Floral Festival to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday. Chino-Gyoretsu in afternoon, JR Sugamo Station (South Exit) to the temple. Closest station: Sugamo

4/8 Hana Matsuri, Tsukiji Honganji Temple, Chuo Ward, Tokyo. Floral Festival to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday. Chigo-Gyoretsu is scheduled. One of the largest festivals of this type in Tokyo. Closest station: Tsukiji

4/8 Hana Matsuri, Sensoji Temple, Taito Ward, Tokyo. Tokyo. Floral Festival to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday. Chigo-Gyoretsu is scheduled. Closest station: Asakusa

4/13-14 Narita Taiko Matsuri (Taiko Drum Festival), Narita-san Shinshoji Temple, Narita City, Chiba Prefecture. Sengan Hana-Daiko (drum beating by 1,080 parishioners takes place daily from 10:00, Naritasan Sennen Yobutai (a millennium night stage show of drum-beating under torch lights in the compound of the temple, are the highlights. Both days, 11:00-19:00 drum beating performances on Omotesando Street. Closest station: Narita. https://www.nrtk.jp/translate/index.php?lang=en&path=/enjoy/shikisaisai/taiko-festival.html

4/13-17 Yayoi Sai, Futarasan Shrine, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture. 1,200 year old festival with a parade of Hanayatai (11 house-shaped floats) and mikoshi (portable shrines). Closest stations: Nikko, Tobu Nikko. Then, bus to Nishi-Sando Bus Stop and walk 7 minutes. http://www.futarasan.jp/yayoi/

4/14 Shirasagi-no-mai (White Heron Dance), Sensoji Temple, Taito Ward. 11:30 and 14:00. This dance has a history of over 1000 years. Various characters in traditional attire, including dancers, parade from Denboin Temple via Nakamise shopping street, to the Main Hall where shirasagi-no-mai is performed with Japanese musical instruments. Canceled in case of heavy rain. Closest station: Asakusa

4/14-21 Kamakura Matsuri (Spring Festival), Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. Highlights are archery on horseback (on 21st), Japanese dance, open-air tea ceremony, etc. Closest station: Kamakura.

4/14 – 5/6 Fuji Matsuri (Wisteria Festival), Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Koto Ward. 4/28 Mikomai (shinto dance with music is performed by shrine maidens) from 15:00-16:00. 4/29 Cha-kai (tea ceremony) from 10:00-15:00, Koto musical performance from 11:00-12:30, Tsugaru-shamisen performance from 13:30-14:30. 4/30 Tenjin-hayashi, festival music performances between 9:00-16:00. Closest station: Kameido

4/20 Asakusa Yabusame (Archery on horseback), Taito Ward, Sumida Park, Tokyo. Kusajishi (archery targeting a fake deer) – from 11:45. Yabusame from 13:00. Space is limited, get there early if you want to view the events. There are also advanced tickets for sale. Information (in Japanese) on this website. Canceled in case of heavy rain. Closest station: Asakusa http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/event/kanko/asakusayabusame.html

4/21 Negi-no-mai, Tenso Shrine, Ota Ward, Tokyo. Masked priests perform sacred dances to the tune of drum music – to drive away bad luck and wish for a good harvest for the year. It it rains, the dance will be performed indoors. From 15:00. Closest station: Ontakesan

4/21 Sakura Tulip Festival, Sakura Furusato Hiroba, Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. Closest Station: Keisei Sakura Station (North Exit). Then, 10 minute by shuttlebus or Sakura City Loop Bus. *DO NOT go on a windy day!

4/21-23 Yasukuni Shrine Shunki Reitaisai (Annual Spring Festival), Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Many Japanese performing arts are scheduled between 10:00-16:00 daily. Closest station: Kudanshita

4/26-28 Tennoz Isle Canal Festival, Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo. 4/26 17:00-21:00, 4/27&28 11:00-21:00. Live music, food stalls, kid’s programs, etc. Closest Station: Tennoz Isle

4/27 – 5/6 Mashiko Toki Ichi (Pottery Fair), Machiko Town, Tochigi Prefecture. Daily from 9:00-17:00. Besides 50 regular shops, about 500 stalls are set up around town. Closest station: Mashiko

4/29-5/5 Kasama-no-Toensai (Pottery Fair), Geijutsu-no-mori Park, Kasama City, Ibaraki Prefecture. Daily from 9:00-17:00. Over 200 stalls are set up in the park. Closest stations: Kasama (then walk 30 minutes or take temporary bus). Tomobe (North exit, then take shuttle bus)

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