Koenji Awa-Odori
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The best summer festivals in Tokyo in 2024

From Awa Odori and Bon Odori to mega fireworks, here are the most exciting events happening in Tokyo this summer

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Summer in Tokyo may be a time of scorching heat, but it’s also one of the city’s most vibrant seasons with fireworks, traditional festivals and dancing in the streets. These lively events undoubtedly help make the city's steamy nights a little more bearable. The celebrations start annually around Tanabata (July 7) and continue with events dedicated to everything from sunflowers to Awa Odori dances.

We've put together a list of all the major summer festivals happening in Tokyo from July through September 2024. Now's your turn to experience the magic of summer and fill up on delicious matsuri food.

RECOMMENDED: The best fireworks festivals in and near Tokyo in 2024

Festivals in July

  • Things to do
  • Kudanshita

Yasukuni Shrine's annual Mitama Matsuri is one of Tokyo's largest Obon festivals. First held in 1947, the festival is best known for its 30,000 lanterns – 10,000 larger lanterns light the approach to the shrine, while 20,000 smaller ones are set up at the inner shrine grounds.

This year, the lanterns will be illuminated daily from 6pm until July 16. You can also look forward to dance and taiko drum performances, portable shrine processions and more.

The event takes place daily from 5pm to 9.30pm.

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  • Things to do
  • Shiba-Koen

Join the dance of the annual Bon Odori Festival at Zojoji Temple this summer. A time-honored tradition, Bon Odori is an integral part of Obon, the Japanese Buddhist custom of honouring the spirits of ancestors.

The main attraction of this event involves a throng of participants circling the yagura tower as the rhythmic beats of taiko drums guide your steps in the Bon Odori dance. The dance is simple and communal, so even if you're a novice, you'll soon find yourself moving in sync with the crowd. As the temple grounds come alive at 6pm, you'll find dozens of food stalls serving up delicious festival favourites from savoury yakitori skewers to icy kakigori. 

As the evening unfolds, the Tokyo Tower lights up the night, adding an extra element of spectacle to this traditional celebration. It's a sight to behold and a testament to Tokyo's vibrant blend of the old and the new.

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  • Kita-Senju

This popular fireworks festival along the banks of the Arakawa River is back this year for another spectacle. The history of this annual affair goes back to 1924, and this year 13,000 fireworks will be set off during the hour-long event on Saturday July 20.

You can enjoy the fireworks from either the Nishi-Arai or Senju side of the Arakawa River between Nishi-Arai and Senjushin bridges. There are several parks along the banks, on which you can set up a picnic to watch the show, including the Arakawa Nishiarai Bridge Green Space.

While the event is free, there are ticketed seats available (bookable from June). Keep an eye on the website for the latest information.

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  • Things to do
  • Nogata

Get ready to get your groove on this weekend at Daibon, a modern rendition of the traditional Bon Odori festival held at Hachiman Shrine in Yamatocho. Here, the traditional Bon Odori festivities are fused with a modern line-up of DJs and contemporary artists, merging the timeless customs with the energetic pulse of new-wave beats.

Watch as the festival comes alive with live DJ sets, which have featured eclectic talents like Chinbantei Gorakushi and invigorating performances of Korean traditional percussionists in previously held years. Daibon takes the typical Bon Odori experience a step further, creating a fusion of sounds that strikes a chord with all, from the youth to those who've witnessed the beloved Japanese festival evolve over the years.

  • Things to do
  • Kagurazaka

While it's usually one of Tokyo's more peaceful neighbourhoods, Kagurazaka gets a little frenetic each July, as hordes of yukata wearers and Awa Oodori dancers flood the streets for four days of traditional festivities. This year marks the festival's 50th anniversary, so the 2024 matsuri could turn out to be the biggest one the neighbourhood has ever hosted.

The festival will kick off on Wednesday July 24, where food stalls will be open from 5pm until 9pm every night. Children can partake in traditional festival games, like fishing for colourful water balloon yo-yos, while adults can register for a guided tour of Kagurazaka (¥1,000) in their yukata, or pick up a Chinese lantern plant at the market in Bishamonten (Zenkokuji) temple.

The main festivities will take place over the weekend, with a two-hour Awa Odori procession scheduled at 7pm on Friday July 26. The next day, there will be a children's Awa Odori procession from 6pm to 7pm on the main street.

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  • Things to do
  • Mukojima

Tokyo's biggest fireworks display is returning this summer on Saturday July 27. The Sumida River Fireworks Festival is also Japan's oldest fireworks event, dating back to 1733, when it was staged as part of a ceremony to pray for victims of a severe famine the previous year. It turned into an annual event in 1978 and attracts close to a million people every year.

This year, the Sumida River Fireworks Festival starts at 7pm and will run for around 90 minutes, with a staggering 20,000 shells of fireworks. The fireworks are launched from two sites on the Sumida River around Asakusa Station: one near Umaya Bridge and the other near Sakurabashi Bridge. You can check out the locations on the festival website.

 

Festivals in August

  • Things to do
  • Itabashi

Taking advantage of a serendipitous schedule clash, Itabashi's annual fireworks display takes place at the same time as the one in Toda City (Saitama prefecture), just across the Arakawa River. You can expect a combined 13,000 shells of fireworks at this 90-minute event, including an enormous star mine and the spectacular ‘Niagara Falls’, a 700-metre chain of explosions that always draws the biggest cheers of the night. As a treat this year, there will be Pokémon-themed fireworks, too.

While the event is free, you might want to secure a paid seat for the best views. These reserved seats range from ¥4,500 to ¥6,000 for single tickets and ¥18,000 to ¥36,000 for groups of four to eight people. You can make your bookings online from June 10.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Tama area

Featuring 100,000 bright yellow himawari, the Kiyose Sunflower Festival is the closest a Tokyoite can get to frolicking through a flower field in August. Located an express train ride from Ikebukuro, the festival is known for its colourful flowers that contrast with the bright post-rainy season blue sky.

This large-scale sunflower field, roughly 24,000 square meters in size, is used every summer by local farmers to grow sunflowers as a natural fertilizer for agricultural produce. Take in the spectacular scenery of towering sunflowers while supporting local farmers by purchasing fresh local vegetables and cut flowers sold at the venue.

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  • Things to do
  • Edogawa

The Edogawa Fireworks Festival deploys over 14,000 rockets, with different themes every few minutes. This is Tokyo’s most eastern hanabi, but don’t be late: the show starts in style with 1,000 sparkling rockets shot up at once within the first five seconds, marking a breathtaking start into a colourful performance.

The event takes place from 7.15pm to 8.20pm on the banks of the Edogawa River near Shinozaki Park, a roughly 20-minute walk from Shinozaki Station.

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  • Things to do
  • Nakano

Bon Odori is a traditional summer dance festival held during Obon, a Buddhist custom to commemorate one's ancestors. This particular festival, one of the biggest in Tokyo, will be held right outside Nakano Station. 

Unlike most Bon Odori festivities in Tokyo which take place in the early evening, this Nakano event has an early start at around 10am with a series of music and dance performances. However, the main attraction only begins at 4pm, featuring celebrity guests and DJs playing J-pop tunes.

You can expect a lot of traditional dance sessions, where you’ll learn the classic Bon Odori choreography. But what we're really looking forward to is doing the Japanese dance to modern pop songs, like Bon Jovi ('Living on a Prayer') and Abba ('Dancing Queen') in 2022.  

Everyone is welcome to join in the Nakano Bon Odori Festival and it’s free.

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  • Nakameguro

Nakameguro is celebrating summer with a lively Awa Odori and Yosakoi dance performance over the August 3-4 weekend. The annual festival has been running for over 50 years now and attracts a crowd of around 26,000 people every year.

Come Saturday you’ll see around 700 dancers from 21 awa odori dance groups parading on the streets. Sunday, on the other hand, gathers about 600 Yosakoi dancers from 29 groups. The festival runs from 5.30pm to 8.30pm on both days.

Many restaurants and cafés in the area will have stalls set up outside offering takeout food and drinks for you to enjoy while watching the performances.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Shinanomachi

Yukata-clad spectators crowd the streets of Harajuku and Aoyama during the mesmerising Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival, a display that ranks as one of Tokyo's top summer festivals. Now in its 43rd year, this edition of the event will boast 10,000 fireworks.

The cluster of sports stadiums to the south of Sendagaya Station offer the best vantage points, with paid seating available at Meiji Jingu Stadium and Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium. Ticket prices are yet to be announced – more details here.

Alternatively, just wander around the surrounding area until you find somewhere you can see the action for free. The fireworks display lasts for one hour from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

In case of stormy weather, the festival will be postponed to August 11.

Do more in the summer

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