Tokyo Events and Festivals

(Tokyo, Kanto, Honshu, Japan)




Picture of the Yokota Friendship Festival celebrationsTokyo observes a wealth of festivals throughout the year with celebrations ranging from religious ceremonies to international film festivals. The Japanese Beer Festival is particularly popular with visitors, as is the Sanja Matsuri Festival, which takes place in May.

Other highlights in Tokyo's calender of things to see and do include Gion Matsuri, held during July, and in August the week-long Samba Carnival, which attracts huge crowds from all over the world. New Year's Eve is a time of celebration in Tokyo and everyone visits their local temple to pray.


Tokyo National Public Holidays


  • Ganjitsu - January 1st (New Year's Day)
  • Seijin-no-hi - Second Monday in January (Coming of Age Day)
  • Kenkoku Kinem-bi - February 11th (National Foundation Day)
  • Shumbun-no-hi - March 20th or 21st (Spring Equinox)
  • Midori-no-hi - April 29th (Green Day)
  • Kempo Kinem-bi - May 3rd (Constitution Day)
  • Kokumin-no-Saijitsu - May 4th (Adjoining Holiday)
  • Kodomo-no-hi - May 5th (Children's Day)
  • Umi-no-hi - Third Monday in July (Marine Day)
  • Keiro-no-hi - Third Monday in September (Respect for the Aged Day)
  • Shubun-no-hi - September 23rd or 24th (Autumn Equinox)
  • Taiiku-no-hi - Second Monday in October (Health Sports Day)
  • Bunka-no-hi - November 3rd (Culture Day)
  • Kinro Kansha-no-hi - November 23rd (Labour Thanksgiving Day)
  • Tenno Tanjobi - December 23rd (Emperor's Birthday)

Tokyo Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015



January


  • Ippan Sanga - 2nd January, the Imperial Palace opens its doors every year on this day. The emperor stands behind bullet-proof glass and waves to the crowds. It is one of just two days when the palace grounds are open to the public
  • Dezome-shiki - held on 6th January each year, firemen dressed in Edo-period costumes organise parades and later on in the day, perform acrobatic stunts to eager crowds
  • Coming of Age Festival - also known as Seijin-no-hi. This festival honours people who have reached the age of 20 years with a traditional display of archery at the Meiji Shrine. When people reach the age of 20, they are officially recognised as adults. This is also a national holiday throughout Japan

February


  • Setsubun Festival - every 3rd February, this festival marks the coming of spring. There is a classical dance of the seven gods of fortune as well as the scattering of dried beans at most temples and shrines. This takes place to banish evil spirits

March


  • Doll Festival - known locally as Hina Matsuri, this festival is held in honour of young girls and sees girls display their dolls in their house along with peach blossoms. Presents are given and families come together

April


  • Yabusame Festival - 3rd April every year at Sumida Park, Yabusame is archery on horseback and dates back to the Edo era. The festival honours heroes of days gone by and sees performances of sacred dances at the Hachiman-gu Shrine
  • Hanami - early / mid April, celebration of cherry blossom time at Ueno-koen and Shinkuku-gyoen

May


  • Sanja Matsuri - is held on the third weekend of May at Sensoji Temple. Every year, it attracts over one million spectators and is regarded as being the liveliest of all Tokyo's festivals. The climax of the event is the grand procession, which sees performances by traditional musicians and dancers. Over 100 mikoshi (transportable shrines) are paraded through the streets, accompanied by thousands of people

June


  • Beer Festival - takes place at Yebisu Garden Palace. Visitors have the chance to sample over 80 different beers from both local and international brewers

July


  • Gion Matsuri - 17th July every year, a large parade of intricately detailed floats make their way through the town to the delight of the large crowds which congregate

August


  • Samba Carnival - held in the last week of the month, and sees samba lovers arriving in the city from all across the world. There are parades and parties held for the entire week
  • Obon Festival - marks the beginning of Obon week across Japan and also known as the Festival of Lights. Lanterns are lit in order to aid spirits of past ancestors on their journey home. Floating lanterns are set free on rivers, traditional Obon dances are performed, graves are visited and offerings are made at temples throughout the city

September


  • No significant events and festivals in Tokyo in the month of September

October


  • Maple Leaf Festival - held throughout the month of October, although it is especially celebrated at the weekends. Traditional Japanese street entertainers put on shows which signify the end of summer

November


  • Tokyo International Film Festival - is held every November and sees the screening of a wide range of new Japanese and Asian films as well as tributes and to world-famous film-makers. The main screenings take place at the Bunkamura theatre in Shibuya

December


  • Bonen-kai Season - late December, when many end-of-year celebrations are held
  • New Year's Eve - is literally rung in. At the stroke of midnight, every temple bell throughout the country is rung 108 times, marking every human passion. People wear their best kimonos and visit their local temple in order to pray for good fortune in the coming year







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