It feels like there’s always something going on in Tokyo. Here is our list of festivals and holidays in japan listed by season and month.
Spring Festivals In Japan
The Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival (End of March and beginning of April). Perhaps the Major Event in Japan. The start of the cherry blossom season can vary from year to year by as much as two weeks, so check it out before you arrive.
See More: Parties, Picnics, Sake And Fun At Cherry Blossom Festival In Tokyo
Hana Matsuri Floral Festival (April 8th).
It’s Buddha’s Birthday, and the event is celebrated by placing a small baby image of Buddha in all Buddhist temples in Tokyo.celebrated by placing a small baby image of Buddha in all Buddhist temples in Tokyo.
Golden Week (April 29th to May 5th). 3 Traditional Japanese Festivals are celebrated during this week. Expect crowds at every major Attraction since the Japanese take the entire Week off.
Children’s Day (May 5th). It used to be called Boy’s Festival, but now it includes parades with kids wearing their Traditional Kimonos.
Kanda Matsuri (Mid-May, The Saturday and Sunday closest to May 15th). This Tokyo event is among the three largest Japanese Holidays. Thousands of people parade through central Tokyo with portable shrines and decorated horses.
Asakusa Sanja Matsuri (May, Third Sunday and preceding Friday and Saturday). A colorful parade with portable shrines departs from Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo.
See More: Asakusa Japan: Tokyo’s Geisha District
Summer Holidays In Japan
Sanno Matsuri Festival (June, between 10th-l6th) . Locals dressed in ancient Japanese clothing parade through the heart of Tokyo holding Mikoshi – portable shrines, drums and horses.
Star Festival, Tanabata (July 7th). One of the most Romantic Japanese Festivals. According to a very touching Chinese legend, two lovers represented by the stars Vega and Altair, were spending so much time together they forgot to do their jobs. The king was angry at them and separated them to opposite sides of the Amanogawa River (Milky Way). This is why Tanabata is known as the star festival. The lovers are allowed to meet only once a year. The special customs for this celebration include writing poems or wishes on strips of paper.
Japanese couples and families write their wishes down and tie them to bamboo branches in the garden.
Sumida River Fireworks Display (Last Saturday of July. An exciting demonstration as evening skies light up for more than an hour.
Bon festival (August 13th-15th). In spite of a somewhat depressing theme (a reunion of the ancestor’s souls with the living) you’ll be surprised to find that it’s one of the happiest Japanese celebrations, and includes dancing and drinking all night long.
Autumn Festivals In Japan
Oeshiki Festival (October 11th – 13th). A mystical night parade with lights fixed on tall poles, chanting and praying to drums and flutes. The parade starts at Ikegami Station and proceeds to Ikegami Honmon Temple.
Shichi-go-san – the shrine-visiting day for children aged 3, 5 and 7 (November 15th). Japanese kids dress up in their sweet little Kimonos, and visit Meiji Jingu Shrine for a touching little ceremony. It’s a great photo opportunity and Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is the Best place to participate.
See More: Meiji Jingu Shrine
Winter Festivals In Japan
Christmas in Japan (December 25th) is not a national holiday in Japan. Japanese Christmas celebrations take place on Christmas Eve. Christmas decorations in Japan are spectacular.
See More: Best places in Tokyo for Christmas Decorations
Japanese New Year (January 1st) is celebrated by wearing the traditional Kimono and visiting Meiji Jingu shrine.
See More: Japanese New Year
Setsubun Bean Throwing Festival (February 3rd or 4th) – According to the Japanese tradition, if you eat the same number of beans as your age, you’ll enjoy good health.
Locals celebrate by throwing soybeans and chanting to chase away evil and welcome good luck.
Hina-matsuri Doll Festival (March 3rd) – One of the sweetest Japanese Holidays. Dolls in traditional clothes are arranged on shelves and displayed in the in every home blessed with girls. The mystical background of this ritual is to transfer bad fortune from the children to the dolls, then the dolls were floated away on the river.