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Tokyo Events

Cherry Blossom Viewing

It’s not only a tourist dream, it’s the real thing. Families gather under the newly arrived blossoms to drink sake and share a picnic – and there’s nothing to stop visitors from joining in. One of the most popular places to see the Cherry Blossom in Tokyo and enjoy a drink with friends under the trees is Ueno Park.

Date: 15 March 2018 - 15 April 2018
Venue: Parks across the city, but Ueno Park and Chidorigafuchi Park in particular.
Cost:

Free.


Asakusa Sanja Matsuri (Sanja Festival)

At one of Tokyo’s biggest shrines, May sees one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals. Thousands fill the streets to watch the mikoshi (portable shrines) wobble along the streets on the shoulders of men, women and children. If the wobble looks like an intentional jolt, don’t be surprised. Jolting is supposed to increase the power of the deities.

Date: 17 May 2018 - 20 May 2018
Venue: Asakusa Shrine.
Website: http://www.asakusajinja.jp/english
Cost:

Free.


Sanno Matsuri (Sanno Festival)

This is another big festival involving parades of portable shrines through the streets of Tokyo. This one sets itself apart by having a phoenix on display plus a number of legendary goblins called Tengu. This creature with a red face and a long nose has supernatural powers (but apparently nothing to do with Pinocchio). Look out for flower displays and plenty of Japanese tea.

Date: 15 June 2018 - 15 June 2018
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Hie-jinja Shrine.
Website: http://www.hiejinja.net/en/
Cost:

Free.


Sumida Hanabi (Sumida Fireworks Festival)

Tokyo's biggest and most spectacular fireworks display erupts over the Sumida River, to commemorate those who died in the Great Famine of the Edo Period. Over the course of an hour, countless rockets are launched from the banks of the river into the Tokyo sky in one of the most spectacular displays anywhere in Japan. Stalls and kiosks selling mulled sake and Japanese specialities add to the bustling, party atmosphere.

Date: 28 July 2018 - 28 July 2018
Venue: Two sites along the Sumida River – see website for details.
Website: http://www.sumidagawa-hanabi.com/index_eg.html
Cost:

Free.


Tokyo International Film Festival

Japan's annual film extravaganza is held at various venues throughout the metropolis. Expect an international display that leaves you with plenty to think about.

Date: 01 October 2018 - 30 November 2018
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: TOHO Cinemas Roppongi Hills and Cinemart Roppongi.
Website: http://www.tiff-jp.net/en
Cost:

Tickets start at ¥1300 (£9).


Oeshiki Festival

Up to 350,000 people gather to watch a procession of 3,000 participants carrying lanterns and huge paper decorations to Honmonji. The Oeshiki Festival is observed throughout Japan in memory of the great 13th-century Buddhist priest Nichiren (1222-1282). The festival at Honmonji is the most prestigious of these because Nichiren is buried at this temple.

Date: 11 October 2018 - 13 October 2018
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Honmonji Temple.
Cost:

Free.


Hagoita-Ichi (Battledore Fair)

The Hagoita-Ichi (Battledore Fair) is an annual fair held at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Street stalls sell all shapes and sizes of hagoita - decorative wooden bats used as lucky charms. In the past they were used to play a form of badminton. Traditionally they are decorated with colourful portraits of kabuki actors, but today they may equally portray pop stars or characters from mangas (comics).

Date: 01 December 2018 - 31 December 2018
Venue: Sensoji Temple.
Website: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/festival/hagoitaichi.html
Cost:

Free.


O-Shogatsu (New Year)

After the convenient bonenkai parties, designed to forget the old year and start the new one with a clean slate, New Year in Japan signals the start of a major holiday. Unlike the West, it’s important to see the first sunrise rather than the switching of the clock from 23:59 to 00:00. People display pine and bamboo ornaments and it’s traditional to visit a shrine.

Date: 01 January 2019 - 01 January 2019
Venue: Shrines across the city, but the Meiji Shrine in particular.
Cost:

Free.


Dezome-shiki (New Year Firemen's Parade)

In an unusual mix of acrobatics and health and safety, firemen in Edo-period costume perform circus stunts on top of bamboo ladders to remind the whole city about the importance of fire prevention. There’s a good reason for this, though. The Tokyo firefighting organisation dates back to 1557, when a massive fire swept through wooden old Tokyo and killed over 100,000 people.

Date: 01 January 2019 - 06 January 2019
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight.
Website: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/festival/dezomeshiki.html
Cost:

Free.


Kanda Matsuri (Kanda Festival)

For a lavish display of portable shrines and floats, visit Tokyo during the three-day festival that honours the deities of the Kanda Myojin Shrine. Worshippers parade ornate golden mikoshi (portable shrines) through the streets in one of the three largest festivals in Japan. Revel in the Edokko spirit, famed for knowing how to have a good time.

Date: 01 May 2019 - 31 May 2019
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Kanda Myojin Shrine.
Cost:

Free.


Tokyo Motor Show

The huge Tokyo Motor Show promises to examine "next-generation automobiles and the social systems with which they interact". Expect to hear a lot about solar power and “low carbon” while surrounded by plenty of automobiles.

Date: 01 October 2019 - 30 November 2019
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Tokyo Big Sight.
Website: http://www.tokyo-motorshow.com/en
Cost:

Free.