Bon Odori in Minato Mirai

Best night festivals to check out in Tokyo this weekend


Whether you prefer to admire fireworks or join the crowds for a little bon dancing, summer in Tokyo is packed with numerous festivities for you to enjoy through the rest of the season. More specifically, this weekend (Aug 16-18) sees a number of evening festivals giving you more reason to stay out past sunset and enjoy the balmy nighttime weather. 

Bon Odori in Minato Mirai (Aug 16-17)

Dance the night away at Minato Mirai's annual Bon Odori festival. The lively festival in Yokohama features thumping music courtesy of taiko drumming as well as excellent matsuri grub and drinks. It's going to be another sweltering weekend, and what better way to spend the night than sipping a few cold pints while showing off your best dance moves?

Shimokitazawa Ichibangai Awa-Odori (Aug 17-18)

Shimokitazawa's annual Awa-Odori fest is back and better than ever for its 54th year of festive fun and traditional dancing. Join the crowds and watch as the awa dancers manoeuvre their way through Shimokita's charming shopping streets in perfect unison. Dances take place both during the day and night, but the evening sessions are what you should aim to catch, as the troupes dazzle the onlookers with their special choreography. Festival food and drink stalls will be popping up around the area, so you'll have everything you need to enjoy the evening in one of Tokyo's hippest neighbourhoods. 

Hagoromo Nebuta Festival (Aug 17-18)

Aomori's annual Nebuta Festival sees a smaller, more scaled-down version right here in Tokyo. But it still features the festival's signature massive papier-mâché floats and hoards of haneto dancers making their way through the streets. Happening out in the Tokyo suburb Tachikawa, this matsuri attracts approximately 160,000 visitors through the weekend enjoying the colourful parade and speciality food from northern Japan.  

Ukulele Picnic (Aug 17-18)

Okay, so this festival may not be of the traditional Japanese sort, but there's still a lot of fun to be had around Yokohama's Osanbashi pier, where the entire area is transformed into a massive Hawaiian luau for the weekend. Now in its 20th year, the Ukulele Picnic sees tons of Hawaiian music, hula dancers, and approximately 50 booths serving up Polynesian food, drinks and other fun goodies. 

When you're done with these festivals, don't call it a night just yet. Head to Tokyo's best bars for some craft beer or world-class cocktails. Don't drink? It's okay, there are still lots you can do in the city without hitting the bars and clubs. 

For more things to do in Tokyo this weekend, click here.

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