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Best Japanese festivals & matsuri

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri in July 2022 [Kanto-Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Tochigi]

Are you itching to go to Japanese festivals or matsuri, but feeling a little overwhelmed with all the different options and information out there? Do you want to find the best Japanese festivals and matsuri in July 2022, so you don’t miss out? Here, we have compiled the best Japanese festivals and matsuri in July 2022 in the Kanto region in Japan, including cities such as Tokyo, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Tochigi!

Tokyo

東京大神宮 七夕祈願祭 July 7th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri 東京大神宮 七夕祈願祭
Credit: kabegamikan.com

This Tanabata festival is held at the Tokyo Grand Shrine, known for its worship of the gods of the Ise Shrine and the god of marriage, and is said to make wishes for love come true.

From 1st-7th July, the bamboo branches in front of the worship hall are lit up until 21:00, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful bamboo branches and the fantastic atmosphere of the shrine at night.

四万六千日・ほおずき市 46,000-day and Hozuki Market, July 9th-10th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri 46,000-day and Hozuki Market
Credit: Tokyo trip

The 46,000th day of the year is the anniversary of the Buddhist bodhisattva Kannon (Goddess of Mercy), and is said to be a day with 46,000 days’ worth of merit.

It is believed that by accumulating merit, one will receive rewards and benefits. It is also believed that if you visit the deity or Buddha on a lucky day, you will receive more benefits than usual.

In other words, if you visit the temple on 46,000 days, you will receive the same benefits as if you had visited the temple for 46,000 days. The two days of 9 and 10 July have been designated as the ‘fair days’ up to the present day.

The Hozuki Market is held in the precincts of the temple, with a variety of stalls and a large number of people.

On these two days only, Senso-ji Temple issues a ‘thunder protection’ talisman.

靖国神社みたままつり Yasukuni Shrine Mittama Festival July 14th-16th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Yasukuni Shrine Mittama Festival
Credit: イベントチェッカー.

The Mitamatsuri Festival, which began in 1947 to commemorate the souls of the war dead, is a popular summer event in Tokyo and attracts many worshippers every year.

During the festival, approximately 10,000 large lanterns are hung along the approach to the outer garden of Yasukuni Shrine and 20,000 smaller lanterns are hung in the inner garden, creating a fantastic scene as the shrine grounds are enveloped in the golden light of the lantern offerings (Miakashi).

Bon dances, portable shrines, the Aomori Nebuta and various votive entertainments are held during the festival.

うえの夏まつり Ueno Summer Festival, July 16th-31st

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Ueno Summer Festival
Credit: 東京とりっぷ

During the festival, a wide range of live performances can be enjoyed at the Water Music Hall, including professional wrestling, Enka Festival, Sakura Wars, JAZZ and Maseki’s Laugh Fest, as well as entertainment and music events, an antique market and ice sculptures. A lantern floating ceremony is also held at Shinobazuno Pond, offering a fantastic view.

Ueno will be transformed into a festival scene on a daily basis for about a month, with the three major festivals of the Tohoku region taking part in the Summer Festival Parade on Saturday 20 July, making it even more spectacular.

地蔵尊盆踊り大会 Jizoson Bon Dance Festival, July 22nd-23rd

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Jizoson Bon Dance Festival
Credit: Livedoor Blog

Bon dancing is said to have started as a dance performed to send off and welcome the spirits and to make offerings to them and developed as a votive dance to the accompaniment of ondo and folk songs from the end of the Muromachi period (1336-1573). The Bon Dance Festival is held as a memorial service for the Jizo that protects the Jizo.

On the day of the festival, restaurants and stalls from the Tokyo Prince Hotel and other establishments will be set up for visitors to enjoy gourmet food.

There will also be a ‘fun raffle’ with a variety of luxury items to be won (raffle tickets will be distributed at the Ankokuden ticket office on both days, limited to 1,000 tickets).

The Tokyo Tower can be seen in the background of the temple, so you can also enjoy the view.

Why not visit the “Jizoson Bon Odori Festival”?

恵比寿駅前盆踊りEbisu’s Bon Odori Summer Festival, July 29th-30th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Ebisu's Bon Odori Summer Festival
Credit: Omatsuri Japan

The Bon Odori is a major event, attracting some 60,000 visitors over two days. It is held in front of Ebisu Station.

This event has a history of more than 60 years.

It was started soon after the war in the hope of rebuilding and reconstructing the town of Shibuya, and has continued to the present day.

There are also food stalls, making it a festival where you can enjoy both dancing and eating.

Several types of dance can be performed, including the Ebisu temperature.

Many people in yukata (summer kimono) can be seen at the Bon Odori dance held around a turret lit by lanterns and accompanied by the sound of taiko drums, creating a summer atmosphere.

千代田区納涼の夕べ Chiyoda Lantern Floating Evening, July 29th-30th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Chiyoda Lantern Floating Evening
Credit: PR TIMES Inc.

From the ward-operated Chidorigafuchi boatyard, visitors who wish to take part in the festival float lanterns on about 80 boats. The faint flickering lights of 600 lanterns against the backdrop of the Imperial Palace forest and Kitanomaru Park create a magical atmosphere (prior application by return postcard is required to board the boats).

(To board the boat, you need to apply in advance by return postcard.)

新宿エイサーまつりShinjuku Eisa Festival, July 30th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Shinjuku Eisa Festival
Credit: GTF Greater Tokyo Festival

The Eisa Festival, an Okinawan ceremony to send off the spirits of ancestors during the old Bon Festival and to pray for family safety and prosperity, will be held in Shinjuku, Tokyo. This year marks the 17th time the festival has been held, and it has become a summer tradition.

To the sound of drums, male and female hand dancers, sanshin (three-stringed instrument) dancers, chants, clowns and other performers dance in a large formation around the city.

The loud sound of the drums and the energetic dancing creates an atmosphere of excitement in the hall.

かせい阿波おどりKasei Awa Odori Festival, July 31st

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Kasei Awa Odori Festival
Credit: カラスの足跡

The Kasei Awa Odori dance was first held in 1979 with the aim of revitalising the town. The event is not limited to the local “Kasei-ren”, but also includes ten other dance troupes, such as the Koenji Tengu-ren and the Meguro Ginza-ren, which dance with single-minded devotion, creating an atmosphere of great enthusiasm in the hall.

The Kasei Chanren also make an appearance at the festival, dancing and performing to the ‘Kasei Chan theme’.

Saitama

本庄祇園祭りHonjo Gion Festival, cancelled in 2022

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Honjo Gion Festival, cancelled
Credit: Yamatake

The Honjo Gion Festival began when people carried mikoshi (portable shrines) to ward off plague and disease at Yasaka Shrine in Daicho. In addition to the mikoshi, the Daicho Lion Dance, a Saitama Prefecture-designated Intangible Folk Cultural Asset, is dedicated at Yasaka Shrine.

幸手夏祭りSatte Summer Festival, July 16th-17th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Satte Summer Festival
Credit: Satte City

The Satte Summer Festival boasts over 300 years of history and tradition. The festival begins with a splendid portable shrine being unveiled, followed by a parade of children’s portable shrines and seven floats decorated with a variety of carvings for each town, which are paraded around the city to the accompaniment of musical accompaniment. On the final day of the festival, the seven floats run up the hill in front of the station and a contest is held to see how strong the floats are, which is very exciting. After sunset, the seven floats fan out in front of the station roundabout, illuminated by lanterns, and a ‘handover ceremony’ is held to hand over the town on duty, bringing the hot summer festival in Satte to a close. *Some events will be cancelled due to the reduced scale.

秩父川瀬祭 Chichibu Kawase Festival, July 19th-20th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Chichibu Kawase Festival
Credit: 埼玉県タウンなび

Summer festival of Chichibu Shrine. Kasaboko and yatai floats are paraded through the town. The portable shrine is carried from the Take-no-hana riverbank on the Arakawa River into a clear stream, where it is violently washed and firsed, in a procession that is said to wash away any bad luck.

The highlight is the afternoon of 20 July.

In an event known as the Mikoshi-Awai no Shinji, the portable shrines depart from the shrine and are washed in the clear waters of the Arakawa River.

The floats and kasaboko are pulled around the town until late at night, and the ‘Hiki-Barai’ and ‘Passing Each Other’ are also highlights of the festival.

熊谷うちわ祭 Kumagaya Uchiwa Festival, July 20th-22nd

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Kumagaya Uchiwa Festival
Credit: ニッポン旅マガジン.

This festival, known as the largest Gion in the Kanto region, features gorgeous floats and stalls being pulled around and lively Kumagaya music being played.

The ‘Tatakiai’, where drums and bells are illuminated with lanterns and struck with great fanfare.

The sight of the many floats and stalls gathered together is a sight to behold.

The name of the festival comes from the fact that red rice, which had been served since the Edo period, was changed to uchiwa (Japanese fan) in the Meiji period (1868-1912), which became popular and became a popular drink.

小川町七夕まつりOgawa Town Tanabata Festival, July 23rd-24th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Ogawa Town Tanabata Festival
Credit: フォトさいたま

The finale on the first day is a fireworks display.

Bamboo decoration competition, stall pulling, Ogawa Matsuri-bayashi, Ogawa Tanabata Odori, Ogawa Washi Festival and other events are held.

川越百万灯夏まつりKawagoe Million Lights Summer Festival, July 30th-31st

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Kawagoe Million Lights Summer Festival
Credit: モバイル銭湯ライター〝桶〟

Citizen-participatory festival with many lanterns decorating the streets, dances of various genres and mikoshi parades. The festival originated in the Edo period when lanterns were displayed in front of the eaves of houses in memory of the virtue of the lord of the castle.

Kanagawa

川崎大師風鈴市 Kawasaki Daishi Wind Bell Fair, July 1st- August 7th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Kawasaki Daishi Wind Bell Fair
Credit: Kanagawa Shimbun

  Around 30,000 wind chimes in 900 varieties are gathered from all over Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south.

The festival features a variety of wind chimes made from metal, stone, pottery and other materials, including Kawasaki Daishi’s original Yakuyaku Daruma wind chimes, which create a cool sound in the precincts of the temple.

Many stalls will be set up at the Kawasaki Daishi Wind Bell Fair. Not only food, but also goldfish scooping and super ball scooping are available for children and adults.

江の島天王祭 Enoshima Tenno Festival July 10th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Enoshima Tenno Festival
Credit: 般社団法人 藤沢市商店会連合会

The Tenno Matsuri refers to the annual festival of Yasaka Shrine, the youngest shrine of Eshima Shrine, which is held at the same time as the Koyurugi Shrine on the opposite shore.

During the Shinko Matsuri, portable shrines are carried out from both Yasaka Shrine and Koyurugi Shrine, and they pass through the town and head for the coast. The procession reaches its climax when the mikoshi prepares itself and enters the sea.

After the parade is over, the mikoshi heads for Ryukuchi-ji Temple, where it joins the mikoshi from Koyurugi-jinja Shrine, and the two mikoshis go together with the mikoshi from Koyurugi-jinja Shrine.

This is one of the 50 best festivals in Kanagawa.

湘南ひらつか七夕まつりShonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival

The Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival is known as a major summer event representing the Shonan area.

The gorgeous Tanabata decorations displayed around the arcade at the main venue are mainly unique decorations featuring popular characters and popular people.

At night, the festival is lit up with lights, making it a very lively event.

A wide variety of stalls line the streets around the festival site, which has become one of the festival’s special features.

神奈川大和阿波おどりKanagawa Yamato Awa Odori dance, July 30th-31st

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Kanagawa Yamato Awa Odori dance
Credit: 神奈川大和阿波おどり振興協会

The Kanagawa Yamato Awa Odori Dance started as a local shopping street event. Many local and other dance troupes from outside the city and prefecture take part, and it is regarded as one of the three major Awa Odori dances in the Kanto region. On the day of the event, there are also Niwaka-ren, which not only allows people to watch but also to jump in and dance.

Awa Odori dance classes and a stage performance called ‘Zomeki Yamato’ (for a fee) are also held on different dates before the festival.

Chiba

成田祇園祭 Narita Gion Festival, July 8th-10th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Narita Gion Festival
Credit: katorisi

Summer festival in Narita is held in honour of Dainichi Nyorai, the main Buddha of Shinsho-ji Temple. The Mikoshi, the sacred palanquin, parades through the town. On the last day of the festival, all the floats and carts run up the hill of Nakamachi in a spectacular display of bravery.

佐原の大祭夏祭り(本宿祇園祭)Great Sawara Summer Festival, July 15th-17th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Great Sawara Summer Festival
Credit: katorisi

This is one of the three major festivals in the Kanto region and has a 300-year tradition.

Floats carrying large dolls and ornaments of historical figures are pulled around Koedo Sawara while ‘Sawara-bayashi’, one of Japan’s three major musical instruments, is played.

The unique development of the floats has influenced neighbouring festival cultures and their value has earned them a place on UNESCO’s World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

浜降祭 Hamafuri Festival, cancelled in 2022

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Hamafuri Festival
Credit: Tokyo Day Trip

The Hamaguri Festival is held every July from midnight to morning on the day of the sea, and heralds the arrival of midsummer in Shonan Chigasaki.

More than 30 portable shrines gather at midnight to go to the sea, and at dawn, the portable shrines enter the sea for the ‘Misogi’ ceremony.

After a solemn ceremony, the mikoshi is carried through the community on its return journey, wishing for the safety and good health of each family.

This is a festival that has been handed down from generation to generation in the Chigasaki and Samukawa areas and gives a sense of history and culture.

Ibaraki

山あげ祭 Yamaage Matsuri, July 22nd-24th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Yamaage Matsuri
Credit: Kakaku.com, Inc

Around 150 young people assemble the 10-metre high ‘Harika-yama’ one after another, quickly creating a stage that is worth seeing as the middle of the road is transformed into an open-air theatre each time it is performed 4-6 times a day.

真壁祇園祭 Makabe Gion Festival, July 23rd-26th

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Makabe Gion Festival
Credit: 下館祇園まつり

This is an annual festival of Gosho Komataki Shrine with a 400-year history.

In 1986, it was selected as a National Intangible Folk Cultural Asset to be recorded as a ‘Gosho Komataki Jinja no Matsuri’ (Festival of Gosho Komataki Shrine).

Four gorgeously decorated floats parade through the streets of Makabe. 

下館祇園まつり Shimodate Gion Festival, July 28th-31st

Best Japanese festivals & matsuri Shimodate Gion Festival
Credit: cable4K

Centred on Haguro Shrine in Omachi, this is one of the best summer festivals in the prefecture, held over a period of four days. Early in the morning of the final day, a misogi ritual called ‘Kawatogyo’ is held on the Tsugyo River, which flows through the city, to purify the portable shrines by washing away the dirt that has been attached to them during the festival.

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FLIP GUIDE TEAM

Hey friend!

Just like you, we are foreigners from all around the world.

When we first arrived in Tokyo, we all found this city to be overwhelming, not sure where to begin.

During the years that we have lived here in Japan, we have discovered and visited countless famous tourist attractions as well as unique and underground places.

We are now proud to say that we are experts of Japan and would love to share the knowledge with all of you!

 

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