Shinjuku Eisa Festival
Photo: Teratani Kouichi

July 2022 events in Tokyo

Plan your July in Tokyo with our events calendar of the best things to do, including fireworks, summer festivals, gigs and art exhibitions

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July is when summer really hits with full force in Tokyo, with fireworks shows, bon odori celebrations and a wide range of other seasonal festivals taking place. Large events and festivals are also making a comeback including fireworks festivals, wind bell (fuurin) fairs and beer gardens. Just make sure to hydrate – the heat and humidity can be suffocating, especially later in the month. Make sure you don't miss out on anything with our guide to all the best events going on in Tokyo this July.

Note: venue opening hours and capacity limits may change depending on current Covid-19 situation.

Our July highlights

  • Things to do

Fitted with 360-degree digital dome theatres, Konica Minolta Planetaria is an excellent place to go if you wanted a break from Tokyo's brightly lit nighttime skyline and gaze up at a star-filled galaxy. Constellations, however, aren’t the only thing that get projected onto these immersive dome ceilings.

This summer, the planetarium in Yurakucho is putting on a special tribute to legendary rock band Queen. The programme, which begins in July and runs through late November, features 80 minutes of the British band’s greatest hits, concert footage and commentary from Queen’s legendary lead guitarist Brian May.

The 360-degree experience is one that a number of planetariums around the world have hosted following its 2001 debut in Germany, but it’s taken a while for the immersive spectacle to reach Japan. In honour of the band and its legacy, the planetarium's cafe will be serving an exclusive beverage created for the event called 'Delilah', made with the Twinings Earl Grey tea that Freddie Mercury liked to drink at Garden Lodge. 

Tickets can be purchased up to three days before a screening. Screening dates for August onwards will be announced at a later time.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Roppongi

From China to Dubai, this travelling showcase has been touring the world and it’s finally landing in Tokyo this summer. The special exhibition, held at Roppongi Midtown's open lawn, is here to celebrate the luxury fashion house’s 160-year-long history. 

Expect to browse through Louis Vuitton's historical archives from the La Maison Heritage Collection as well as some of the latest ready-to-wear creations via an immersive digital experience. You’ll also be able to examine a selection of the brand's most iconic bags including the Speedy, Steamer and Twist styles. There's even a dedicated room for you to learn more about Louis Vuitton's iconic monogram. 

Advance reservations are required – book your spot via Line.

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  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
  • Harajuku

Step into an enchanted digital forest in this collaborative exhibition between teamLab and Galaxy. This interactive experience is based on the concept of catching different digital animals to study them before releasing them back into their habitat. Rather than using butterfly nets or jars to catch, however, visitors of this digital art space can use an app on their smartphone to collect different animals in the mystical forest. 

Be gentle when approaching these critters! If you try to touch them they might run and disappear into the forest. Instead, aim your phone camera at them so they’ll appear on your screen. You can also work together with other exhibition visitors and create an observation net at your feet by surrounding the animals projected on the floor and shepherding them to the centre of the space. 

While the exhibit is free, reservations are required so as to avoid overcrowding the venue. Each session is an hour long, with the exhibition open from 11am until 7pm daily. You can book a timeslot via the event website.

The end date of this event is yet to be announced. 

  • Art
  • Tokorozawa

Good news for art lovers – it turns out we won’t have to wait until July to experience Van Gogh in immersive digital form after all. In addition to the Immersive Museum’s Impressionism exhibition coming to Nihonbashi in July, a digital art exhibition dedicated solely to Vincent Van Gogh is opening at the Kadokawa Culture Museum in Saitama this June. The exhibition will run from June 18 through November 27, in the same 1,100sqm space that hosted last year’s Dreamed Japan, Images of a Floating World digital ukiyo-e showcase.

For this Van Gogh special, moving imagery will be projected from floor to ceiling to give visitors exploring the space the illusion of walking into – and becoming a part of – the Dutch Post-Impressionist master's revered paintings. Expect to be immersed in some of Van Gogh’s most famous pieces including 'The Starry Night', 'Sunflowers' and 'Cypresses', to name a few. There will be accompanying music to evoke the beautifully poetic and complicated inner world of the artist. 

General admission is ¥2,200 for those who buy their tickets online (available now), while same-day tickets will be sold for ¥2,400 at the door. Tickets for high school students and junior high school students are ¥1,800 (same-day ¥2,000), while tickets for elementary school students are ¥1,100 (same-day ¥1,300).

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  • Things to do
  • Shiba-Koen

Enjoy a late night stroll under an artificial Milky Way at Tokyo Tower’s main deck. As an alternative solution for constellation lovers, Tokyo Tower has recreated the Milky Way using 21,000 LED lights, so you can gaze up at the (artificial) stars in the middle of the city.

Every 15 minutes the blue LED lights that represent the starry sky turn pink and gold, while the Milky Way changes from white to a rainbow of seven colours. This optical special effect makes the Tokyo skyline look even more mesmerising, as if our beloved city is under a magical starry night.

The event takes place daily from 9.30am until 10pm (until 10.30pm on Sat).

  • Restaurants
  • Omotesando

Summer in Japan is hot, humid and heavy. So what could be more refreshing than some wonderful kakigori shaved ice desserts? The annual Omotesando Hills Adult Kakigori Festival, which runs from June 24 to August 31, will have some unique versions of this icy treat. Don't worry about the festival's slightly odd name – it's all about showcasing grown-up versions of this classic childhood treat.

Seven stores featured in the festival will offer special frosted creations with surprising flavour combinations. At Yasaiya-mei you can enjoy a kakigori made with freshly ground wasabi and muskmelon (¥2,000). The shaved ice is placed inside one half of a melon, while a large dollop of melon-and-wasabi-flavoured espuma sits on top.

Bar à vin Partager, on the other hand, serves a kakigori topped with Japan’s famous shine muscat grapes, grape syrup and a shiso leave-flavoured mousse (¥2,300). The surprise, however, is a gorgonzola cheese cream hidden inside the mountain of shaved ice. 

Other exclusive kakigori variations include one made with ground Himalayan rock salt and condensed milk. It’s topped with raspberry sauce and filled with nata de coco jelly (¥2,300). Coffee lovers will enjoy a shaved ice that’s made with espresso from Vietnamese coffee beans, boasting a smokey yet fruity flavour (¥750). It turns into a frappe when mixed with regular and condensed milk. 

Note: some of the festival kakigori are limited to between 10 and 30 servings per day, depending on the store and day of the week. Hours vary by store, see the website for details.

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  • Things to do
  • Hibiya

Tokyo Midtown Hibiya’s summer event is making it more comfortable for you to spend time outdoors. The Hibiya Step Plaza will feature seating made from recycled wooden pallets, which are decorated with plants and flowers. Come evening, the staircase at the plaza is lit up with blue lights, with the area enveloped in cooling mist from 6pm to 11pm. You can even sip on fruity cocktails such as rosehip cassis sour and kiwi mojito, available from several of the shopping mall’s restaurants from 5pm to 8pm daily (until September 30).

The event at Hibiya Step Plaza takes place from July 22 to August 28; cocktails are available throughout summer until September 30.

  • Art
  • Aoyama

It’s been a century since the birth of contemporary Japanese artist Taro Okamoto, and the Okamoto Taro Memorial Museum is out to celebrate the late artist's anniversary in style. This exhibition not only commemorates Okamoto’s 84 years of life, but also the projects and artistic initiatives that arose since his passing in 1996.

The first half of the exhibition will feature a retrospective display of Okamoto’s works created between the 1940s and the 1980s. The second half, on the other hand, will explore his legacy and impact as an artist.

Look forward to seeing masterpieces like the untitled 1947 painting and ‘Mother and Child’ (1981) in the very studio where Okamoto created them, now known as the Okamoto Taro Memorial Museum.

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  • Things to do
  • Meguro

Hotel Gajoen, known for its halls adorned with marvellous Japanese art, is hosting an art illumination exhibition at its famed Hyakudan Kaidan (100-step staircase), which is a registered tangible cultural property of Tokyo. 

The theme ‘Light and Shadow: One Hundred Stories’ is inspired by the tradition of telling ghost stories in the summer to send a chill down your spin. The installations at each room use light and shadow to illustrate the stories, which progress as you walk further into the maze.

You’ll see lanterns carved with ornate patterns and figures of ghosts, as well as illustrations of yokai (Japanese demons) in hidden places. Legend says that real ghosts will appear to greet you after you finish all 100 stories.

Spooky tales aside, there’s no shortage of photo opportunities here, including the goldfish paper lanterns and bamboo lanterns by Akarinowa that adorn the entrance to the Hyakudan Kaidan Staircase. Entry costs ¥1,500 (students ¥800) per person, which you can purchase at the door, or get an early bird ticket online by July 1 for ¥1,200 (students ¥800).

  • Art
  • Takebashi

This season, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo is celebrating the 90th birthday of German visual artist Gerhard Richter though a compresenvie exhibition that showcases the artist's oeuvre from the last six decades of his career. Featured works range from abstract paintings and photographs to digital prints and conceputal art made with glass, demonstrating Richter's astonishing versatility as an artist.

The pièce de résistance is one of Richter's most recent works titled 'Birkenau', which has never been shown in Japan before. The work comprises four large paintings created by layering images copied from photographs secretly taken by a Holocaust prisoner at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps. According to the Momat, Gerhard first attempted the project in the 60s but abandoned it several times due to the weight of the subject at hand. It was only in 2014 that he finally completed the paintings, content that he had successfully completed what he had set out to do at the beginning of his career. 

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