August 2018 events in Tokyo

Plan your August in Tokyo with our events calendar of the best things to do, including summer festivals, fireworks, gigs and dance parties
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August in Tokyo is usually when the summer heat hits its peak, resulting in plenty of sweaty messes on the trains, peak electricity usage and incessant dehydration warnings. However, August is also the month for some of the city's best summer festivals, firework shows and outdoor drinking events, not to mention the Obon holidays and after-dark activities on water. Find the right beer garden, hit a public pool or head out to Chiba for Summer Sonic – our guide to all the best events in Tokyo this August helps you avoid FOMO for good.

Our August highlights

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Theatre

Star Wars In Concert

icon-location-pin Marunouchi
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After well-received performances in the UK and North America, orchestral extravaganza ‘Star Wars In Concert’ makes its way to Japan again, complete with enormous cinema screens and spectacular laser lighting. Mark Watters conducts the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra in a show that draws upon John Williams' scores from the original trilogy, running in chronological order from ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’ to ‘Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’, and accompanied by clips from the films. Don’t forget your lightsaber. 

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しのぶ連
Things to do

Koenji Awa-Odori

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Around 10,000 dancers pile out on to the streets of Koenji over the two days of the annual Awa-Odori, undoubtedly one of Tokyo's most energetic festivals – and one with crowds to match. The awa-odori ('awa dance') tradition can be traced back to Tokushima in Shikoku, where the story goes that the local daimyo plied his citizens with booze to celebrate the completion of the local castle in 1586, leading to a citywide outbreak of dancing in the streets. Whatever the accuracy of that tale, the enthusiasm was contagious, and Koenji has been holding a dance of its own since 1957. While the action starts at 5pm, you'll need to arrive much earlier if you want to snag one of the best viewing spots.

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Things to do

Kiyose Sunflower Festival

icon-location-pin Tama area
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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and dive into a sea of yellow at Kiyose Sunflower Festival. Every summer a wheat farm on the outskirts of Tokyo turns into a magnificent sunflower field. The 100,000 sunny blooms here aren’t the only attraction as local farmers will also be selling fresh produce on site. Get ready to flood your Instagram feed with these towering beauties or indulge your inner Van Gogh and take a sketchpad and pencils, but bear in mind that your shoes might not emerge from Kiyose mud-free.

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Bon Odori in Minato Mirai
Things to do

Bon Odori in Minato Mirai

icon-location-pin Minato Mirai
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Dance the traditional way at Rinko Park's Bon Festival, where you can also catch a taiko drumming performance, snack on above-average festival grub, get buzzed on nihonshu and beer and take in the sweaty summer atmosphere of Yokohama. Definitely an event enjoyable for visitors of all ages.

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写真提供:浅草サンバカーニバル
Things to do

Asakusa Samba Festival

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One of the biggest summer festivals in Asakusa, this colourful parade runs from Umamichi-dori to Kaminarimon-dori, and teems with hundreds of dancers and numerous giant floats. It boasts teams from all over Japan, including long-established ensembles and mega-groups that have as many as 200 members. This spectacular samba carnival is a little slice of Brazil.

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建築の日本展:その遺伝子のもたらすもの
Art, Architecture

Japan in Architecture: Genealogies of Its Transformation

icon-location-pin Roppongi
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Japanese architecture has proven to be quite the hit, with architects from Kenzo Tange to Kengo Kuma and Tadao Ando getting much national and international acclaim. High time for a full-scale exhibition, the people at the Mori Art Museum must have thought. Structured as a veritable time travel through Japan’s history of architecture, the exhibition is divided into nine sections explaining architecture with keywords such as ‘the possibility of wooden architecture’ or ‘coexistence with nature,’ supported by architectural documents, models, and hands-on installations. The highlight is a full-scale reproduction of the 'Tai-an', a tea ceremony house connected to Sen no Rikyu, a tea master from the 16th century. If your knowledge is a bit rusty, you can also read up in the book lounge, full of famous modernist furniture pieces.

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下北沢一番街阿波おどり
Things to do

Shimokitazawa Ichibangai Awa-Odori

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Granted, it's a minnow compared to the Koenji Awa-Odori that takes place a week later, but Shimokitazawa's version of the famed dancing-in-the-streets fest (originally from Tokushima) has a unique charm of its own. Held for the 53rd time this year, the Shimokitazawa Awa-Odori sees teams of dancers romp along the neighbourhood's main shopping streets in the evening, then dazzle the assembled hordes with their own special routines later on. Be sure to hang around afterwards, when the area is engulfed in a wave of booze-sodden joie de vivre.

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東京湾納涼船
Things to do, Food and drink events

Tokyo Bay Noryosen

icon-location-pin Takeshiba
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The capital's very own booze cruise departs from Takeshiba Terminal at 7.15pm every night between June 29 and September 24 (weather permitting), and does a lap of the bay (all the way to Haneda Airport) while serving up all-you-can-drink beer, wine and cocktails. The tackiness of the setting is compounded by touches like the yukata dance performance, but the silver lining is you can get ¥1,000 off the price from Monday to Friday if you go in a yukata yourself.

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Things to do

Dancing in the Universe

icon-location-pin Ikebukuro
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Konica Minolta Planetarium will take the audience on a journey into outer space while jamming to music by the Underworld, including their top hits like “Born Slippy Nuxx” and “If Rah.” An optical projector,” “Infinium Σ,” will project stars onto the walls and floors of the planetarium, creating a magical atmosphere.

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2.六本木ヒルズ盆踊り 2016
Things to do

Roppongi Hills Bon Odori

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Now back for its 16th edition, this lively Roppongi Hills event features traditional Bon Odori dance performed in a purpose-built arena by yukata-clad dancers – feel free to join in, as long as you're appropriately dressed. Decorations add to the atmosphere, while the surrounding stalls cater to hungry crowds with all the usual festival fare, as well as gourmet choices provided by area restaurants. Note that there's no dancing on Friday.

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