Rainy season is about to end and the hot, humid summer will follow. Put on some sunscreen and get out to enjoy some of the fantastic events happening in and around Tokyo this month.
7/4-8 Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival), Kappabashi, Nishi-Asakusa, Tokyo. Decorations are up on all days. Events, food stalls… only on 7/6-7. Access: Tawaramachi Station or Asakusa Station and short walk.
7/5-7 Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival), Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Main streets of the city are decorated with tanabata ornaments and strips of rainbow-colored paper. 7/5 from 10:30 tanabata odori, a parade of a thousand folk dancers. 7/6 from 10:30 Miss Orihime (beauty queen) parade. 7/7 9:30-12:00 folk performing arts on Tanabata stage, from 10:50 Tanabata wedding parade. Access: Near Hiratsuka Stations North Exit.
7/5-7 Narita Gion Matsuri (Annual Festival of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple), Narita City, Chiba Prefecture. 7/5 from 13:30 floats (mikoshi) will gather in front of the main hall of the temple and ritual praying starts. From 14:00 parade of floats – after soodori (folk music & dancing performed on the floats). 7/6 from 9:00 a parade of floats from Narita Station (after soodori performance). 7/7 from 13:00 sobiki (a parade of 10 floats) at the base of the temple. From 16:30 a parade of floats from the temple (after soodori performance). Access: Near Narita Station & Keisei Narita Station.
7/6-8 Kishimojin-no-Natsu Ichi (Summer Festival / Morning Glory Fair), Iriya Kishimojin Temple, Toshima Ward, Tokyo. 7:00-21:00 Stalls selling potted morning glories, wind chimes, goldfish, etc. are set up in the precincts of the temple. Access: Arakawa Line’s Kishimojin-mae Station / Fukutoshin subway line to Zoshigaya Station, then walk 5 min. / JR Yamanote line to Ikebukuro Station (East Exit), then walk 15 min.
7/6-8 Iriya Asagao Ichi (Morning Glory Fair), Iriya Kishimojin Temple (Shingenji), Kototoi-dori, Taito Ward, Tokyo 5:00-23:00 Around 60 stalls selling morning glories and 80 open-air stalls are set up in the precincts of the temple and on Kototoi-dori. Access: Hibiya line to Iriya Station / Jr Yamanote or Keihin Tohoku line to Uguisudani Station (South Exit), then walk 3 min.
7/9-10 Hozuki Ichi (Ground Cherry Fair), Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo 8:00-21:00, around 100 stalls selling ground cherries and wind chimes. Access: 5 min walk from Asakusa Station.
7/10 Kamakura Hanabi Taikai (fireworks display), Zaimokuza Beach & Yuigahama Beach, Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture. About 2,500 fireworks. The event will be canceled in case of bad weather. 19:20-20:10. Access: JR Yokosuka Line to Kamakura Station, then walk 15 minutes.
7/12-14 Sawara-no-Taisai Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival), along Sawara main street, Katori, Chiba Prefecture. The highlight of this festival is a parade of 10 beautiful floats topped with large-size dolls modeled after historical figures, birds, beasts and others on the main streets of the city from 10:00-22:00 daily. Folk dance with festival music in Omatsuri Stage Hiroba. 7/13 from 17:30 lanterns on floats are lit up and soodori folk dancing in performed around each float. 7/14 from 11:00 there will be a parade of mikoshi from the shrine to each neighborhood. Access: JR Narita Line to Sawara Station, then walk 10 min
7/13-15 Tsukudajima Bon Odori (Folk dancing Festival), Tsukishima, Chuo Ward, Tokyo. 18:00-21:30. Access: Yurakucho line or Toei Oedo line to Tsukishima Station, then walk 7 min.
7/13-16 Mitama Matsuri (‘Soul’ Festival of Yasukuni Shrine), Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Daily from 18:00. Over 30,000 lanterns are lit up along the approach to the shrine. Various events and traditional performances are scheduled during the festival period. Access: Tozai, Hanzomon, or Toei Shinjuku line to Kudanshita Station, then walk 5 min.
7/14 Mizudome-no-Mai (Dance of 3 Lions & 2 Dragons), Gonshoji Temple, Ota Ward, Tokyo 13:00-15:00, dance of three Shishi lions and two dragons to pray for rain to stop. Access: Keikyu line to Omorimachi Station, then walk 8 min.
7/14 Enoshima Tenno-sai & Mikoshi Kaido Togyo (Annual Festival of 2 shrines), Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture. 10:00 parade starts from Enoshima Shrine. 11:00 mikoshi goes into sea. 15:00 two mikoshi arrive at Koyurugi Shrine. 18:00 parade returns to Enoshima Shrine. Access: 15 min walk from Katase-Enoshima Station or Enoshima Station.
7/13-8/12 Ueno Natsu Matsuri (Summer Festival), Ueno Park and surroundings. Daily antique fair from 10:00-21:00 daily, floating lanterns on 7/17 from 19:00, parade on 7/20 (13:00-15:00 on concourse of JR Ueno Station / 15:00-20:00 around Suijo Ongakudo / 17:30-20:45 on Chuo-dori), street performances on 7/21 & 27 in Bentendo Temple at 16:00 and 17:00. Access: JR Yamanote line, Ginza or Hibiya line to Ueno Station.
7/17-20 Kawasaki Daishi Furin-Ichi (Wind Chime Market), Kawasaki Daishi Temple, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Access: Close to Kawasaki-Daishi Station.
7/19-20 Chichibu Kawase Matsuri (Annual Festival of Chichibu Shrine), Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture. The festival is modeled after Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri. 7/19 19:00 Ceremony to build a pillar to welcome Susanoo, the Shinto god, at Chichibu Shrine. From 20:00 a fireworks display and parade of 8 floats in the city. 7/20 from 10:00-22:00 parade of 8 floats in the city. 13:30 parade of mikoshi from the shrine to the river. 14:30 Mikoshi-arai (float washing) ritual. Access: Close to Chichibu Station and Seibu-Chichibu Station.
7/20 Sumomo Matsuri, Okunitama Shrine, Fuchu, Tokyo A festival named after the plum that warlord Minamoto Yoryoshi offered to the gods here. About 120 stalls selling plums are set up on the grounds of the shrine. Crow-pattern uchiwa (fans) are some in front of the main hall. Shinto dance with music from 15:00, 17:00, & 19:00. Access: Short walk from Fuchu or Fuchu-Honmachi Station.
7/20-22 Uchiwa Matsuri, JR Kumagaya Station area, Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. Annual festival of Yasaka Shrine with more than 250 years of history. 7/20 from 18:30 12 floats garner at the station’s east exit and move to north exit. 19:00 Tatakiai (young men compete in drumming on the floats) takes place in front of the north exit. 7/21 from 13:00-16:00 a parade of floats along Route 17. 18:00 Tatakiai along Route 17 to Yagihashi Department Store. 7/22 from 20:00 Tatakiai in Omatsuri Hiroba. From 23:30, parade of mikoshi to the shrine. Access: JR Takasaki Line to Kumagaya Station (North Exit), then walk 5 minutes.
7/23 Katsushika Noryo Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Display), along the Edogawa River in Shibamata, Katsushika Ward, Tokyo. 19:20-20:20. Access: Keisei Kanamachi line to Shibamata Station, then walk 10 minutes.
7/24-27 Kagurazaka Matsuri (Summer Festival), Kagurazaka main street, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. *24-25 is Ground Cherry Fair 18:00-20:00, 26-27 is Awa Odori Dance Festival 18:00-20:00. Access: Yurakucho, Tozai, or Namboku line to Iidabashi Station, Exit B3.
7/26 Noryo-no-Yube, Chidorigafuchi Park, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. Toro-nagashi (floating paper lanterns) on the moat. If it rains, the event will be postponed until the next day. 19:00-20:20. Access: Tozai, Hanzomon, or Shinjuku Subway line to Kudanshita Station, then walk 10 minutes.
7/27 18th Shinjuku Eisa Festival, East Exit Shinjuku Station, Tokyo. Over 20 Okinawan Eisa dance troupes perform to mark the end of Obon. From 12:00 to 20:00.
7/27 Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Festival), Sumida River, Taito Ward, Tokyo. Starts at 19:00. About 20,000 fireworks over the river. Depending on weather conditions, the event may be postponed to the next day. Access: Close to Kuramae, Asakusa, & Asakusabashi Stations.
7/28-8/3 Asagao-ten, Hibiya Park, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. Morning glory fair – flowers bloom in the morning. 8:00-11:00. Access: Hibiya, Chiyoda, or Mita subway line to Hibiya Station, then walk 4 minutes. Or, Yamanote Line to Yurakucho Staton, then walk 8 minutes.
7/28-8/4 Hono Asagao-ten, Yasukuni Shrine, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. Morning glory fair – flowers bloom in the morning. Daily 6:00-11:00. Access: Tozai, Hanzomon, or Shinjuku subway line to Kudanshita Station, then walk 5 minutes.
7/31 Ashinoko Kosui Matsuri, Lake Ashinoko, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa Prefecture. Toro-nagashi (floating paper lanterns) and fireworks display over the lake, followed by Shinto rites conduced by the Hakone Shrine’s priests on boats. 19:30 Toro-nagashi. 20:00 fireworks. Access: Train to Odawara Station or Hakone Yumoto Station. Then, take a bus to Moto-Hakone-ko bus stop.
7/31-8/3 Tsukiji Honganji Norio Bon Odori Taikai, Tsukiji Honganji Temple, Chuo Ward, Tokyo. Bon Odori (folk dancing) at the temple. Many food stalls will be set up within the grounds of the temple. 7/31-8/2 19:00-21:00, 8/3 18:00-20:30. Access: Hibiya Line to Tsukiji Station, then walk 1 minute.