Cheapo Weekend for Aug 11-13: Festivals, Comiket and Dancing Pikachus

Adriana Paradiso

Friday is Mountain Day, which means it’s a 3-day weekend in Japan—giving you more time to check out these free and cheapo events!

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Tokyo Cheapo Downtown Drinks #21 (Aug 10): Join the TC gang and fellow cheapos for a drink (or few) and casual mingling at the new Commune 2nd in Omotesando. This is our 21st casual monthly meet-up and all are welcome—from readers to travelers to mysterious strangers.

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fukugawa festival
Photo by Duncan Taralrud-Bay used under CC

Fukagawa Festival (Aug 11-15): Known as one of the the three great Shinto festivals in Tokyo, this festival takes place at the Tomioka Hachiman-gu Shrine and features a procession of 120 mikoshi (portable shrines). The featured act, however, is when spectators (approx. 500,000 of them) splash water on the shrine bearers to keep ’em cool. Boiled down, you can treat this festival as a well-deserved and super-fun water fight to ward off August’s heat and humidity.

citta festival

Citta’ Summer Festival 2017 (Aug 11-13):  Feast your senses on musical and traditional performances, a street fair, workshops and much more. Enjoy juggling and bamboo flute performers, classic street foods (like yakisoba noodles and yakitori), and various hands-on experiences (like decorating your very own tenugui—traditional Japanese hand towel). Got kids? Bring them along as there will be entertainment and games for them as well. Plus the Kawasaki Oktoberfest will be held in tandem at the venue.

Summer Comiket (Aug 11-13): Make your way to Tokyo Big Sight for the summer edition of one of Tokyo’s biggest pop culture events. Comiket is a comics festival, with a focus on independently created and published manga (or dojinsha). You can cosplay at the festival, but be sure to arrive/leave the venue in “normal” clothes. The changing room fee is 800 yen, otherwise entry is free.

Asakusa Toro Nagashi (Aug 12): Giving you a sense of old Japan is the Asakusa Toro Nagashi on Saturday evening. Starting at 6:30pm at Sumida Park (in the bit between Azumabashi and Kototoibashi), lanterns will be lit and floated down the river. It’s rather picturesque.

Photo by Shimokitazawa Azuma Dori Shoutengai

Shimokitazawa Summer Festival (Aug 12-13): Shimokitazawa is a tight but very welcoming community, so their summer festival draws in the locals as well as the many fans of the trendy neighborhood. As is common with festivals of this type, the festival (literally) revolves around a yagura (festival tower) with kimono-clad bon dancers circling around the tower. Other activities include summer festival games and live music.

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Photo by Darryl Kenyon used under CC

Okutama Nohryo Fireworks Festival (Aug 12): There will be a small fireworks festival (a modest 1000 illuminations) in west Tokyo’s Tama area. The event lasts for 30 minutes starting at 7:45pm. (See our guide for more summer fireworks events.)

Photo by Luca Mascaro used under CC

Ueno Summer Festival (until Aug 13): Last weekend to catch the Ueno Summer Festival—a 5-week-long summer festival around Ueno Park with different events each day, which include a paper lantern floating festival, an antiques market and an ice sculpture display.

Pikachus parade | Photo by Yoshikazu TAKADA used under CC

Dancing Pikachu Horde (Aug 9-15): One of Tokyo’s newer events, the Dancing Pikachu Horde is back by popular demand. Catch (and join) 1000 electric mice shimmying and shaking around Yokohama’s Minatomirai area.

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