Summer in Japan is synonymous with festivals and Bon odori dances. From local community gatherings to grand festivals at shrines and temples, there are events held almost every day. In the summer of 2023, the festivals that refrained from being held due to COVID-19 are making a comeback! We would like to introduce some recommended festivals and Bon odori events in Tokyo, so please consider participating.
Tsukiji Honganji Bon Odori
Tsukiji, a popular spot for foreign tourists, continues to thrive even after the fish market moved to Toyosu. At the iconic Tsukiji Honganji Temple, a four-day Bon odori dance event will be held. Let’s dance in front of the fantastical main hall! Please note that bringing outside food and drinks is not allowed.
Event Duration: 19:00-21:00 August 2 (Wednesday)- August 5 (Saturday), 2023
The final day is from 18:00 to 20:30
3-15-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045
TOEI Oedo Line Tsukijishijo St.(E18), Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Tukiji St.(H11)
Tomioka Hachimangu Grand Festival
In the Fukagawa district, a historic area of old Tokyo, the Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine holds a grand festival once every three years. This festival is considered one of the three major festivals of Edo (old Tokyo) and has a long history. Each neighborhood parishioner carries their portable shrine through the streets, and the enthusiastic carriers are encouraged by people along the route who splash water on the shrines, earning it the nickname “Mizu-kake Matsuri” or “Water-Splashing Festival.” Due to COVID-19, the previous grand festival was canceled, making this year’s event the first in six years.
Event Duration: August 11th (Friday) – August 13th (Sunday), 2023
Neighborhood Portable Shrine Procession: 8:00 – 16:00 August 12th (Saturday)
The portable shrines will parade through a wide area of the neighborhood. There will be children’s portable shrines as well. Although there are 120 portable shrines, the scale of the event is small.
Mizu-kake Matsuri (Water-Splashing Festival): 7:30 – 15:30 August 13th,
The main event of the grand festival.
Around 1:00 PM, 53 large portable shrines will return to the shrine one after another, so it’s best to wait near the shrine to witness this.
Please note that the route and schedule of the portable shrines are available in the Japanese-only PDF document.
1-20-3 Tomioka, Koto-Ku, Tokyo 135-0047
TOEO Oedo Line, Tokyo Metro Tozai Line: Monzen Nakacho St.(E15 or T12)
Nearby, there is also Fukagawa Fudoson, renowned for its solemn Goma (fire ritual). I highly recommend visiting this place as well.
Our Blog: The most powerful spiritual site in Tokyo
Oedo Matsuri Bon Odori Taikai
The “Oedo Matsuri Bon Odori Taikai” is a local Bon odori festival organized by the Chuo Ward residents, but it boasts one of the largest scales among Tokyo’s festivals. Many citizens participate in the dance, and the dance circles expand multiple times, with people of all ages enjoying themselves. Given its location in Nihonbashi, there are also many foreigners elegantly dressed in yukata, adding to the festive atmosphere. Children also have the chance to dance on the elevated platform, so be sure not to miss the announcements.
There are numerous food stalls, and it’s necessary to purchase food tickets in advance within the dance venue. Keep in mind that there can be long queues for buying these food tickets! Outside the dance venue, there are also stalls representing regions other than Tokyo and gourmet food stalls to explore.
Event Duration: 16:00-21:00 August 25th (Friday) – August 26th (Saturday), 2023
2-59-1 Nihonbashi Hamacho, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo 103-0007
TOEI Shinjuku Line Hamacho St.(S10)