Firework Festivals (Aug 5): If you didn’t catch the massive Sumida fireworks event last weekend, you have four more to choose from this weekend: the Itabashi Fireworks Festival (northwest Tokyo), the Edogawa Fireworks Festival (east Tokyo), the Ome City Nohryo Fireworks Festival (west Tokyo) and the Akishima Citizen Whale Festival Yume Hanabi (west Tokyo). The first two are fairly big productions (over 10,000 “fire flowers”—as translated from Japanese), with Ome and Akishima being smaller affairs with just 3,200 and 2,000 displays respectively. They run for about for 30 mins to 1.5 hours.
Tsukiji Honganji Bon Dance Festival (Aug 2-5): Dance to the beat of the taiko drums—or just watch—at this annual Bon dance festival at Tsukiji Honganji Temple. As a bonus of being so close to the gourmet hot spots of Tsukiji Market and Ginza, there will be various restaurants with stalls selling better-than-average festival fare.
Fussa Tanabata Festival (Aug 3-6): Tanabata is a popular summer festival where you write down your wish on a piece of colorful paper and hang it from bamboo trees. Accompanying that tradition are various parades including a folk dance parade, character shows and other events and 100 local-run stalls that line the street.
Asagaya Tanabata Festival (Aug 4-8): In its 64th year, the Asagaya district is celebrating its version of the Tanabata festival. The festival is famous for its paper-mâché recreations of cartoon characters as well as the traditional Japanese games and a great diversity of foods.
Design Festa Summer + Gakuten 2017 (Aug 5-6): Possibly the largest art and design event in all of Asia. The summer edition of Design Festa is back with works from 12,000 international artists, designers, musicians, actors. See our video for a taste of what to expect at Design Festa.
Nogi Shrine Summer Festival (Aug 5): A traditional summer shrine festival at one of the most serene shrines in central Tokyo. Expect all the summer festival standards: yatai (food stall), games, entertainment and lots of yukata-clad locals.
Nagashi Somen Experience (Aug 6): A chance to enjoy the traditional summer activity of Nagashi Somen along with other great cultural experiences in Yokohama for free! Nagashi-somen is the challenge of trying to catch noodles that are shooting down a split bamboo pipe with cold running water—perfect as a party entertainment in summer! After catching your lunch and perfecting your skills you can try your hand at the tea ceremony and calligraphy opportunities being held, as well as cosplay photography.
Chill Out Evening at Kyu Yasuda Teien (Aug 5-6): For a bit of peace and quiet, Kyu Yasuda Teien (a serene garden in the Ryogoku area close to the Sumida River) is having a “Chill-Out Evening” that includes lit-up gardens, tea ceremony performances and traditional koto playing.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Citta’ Summer Festival 2017 from Aug 11-13. Feast your senses on musical and traditional performances, a street fair, workshops and 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.
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Tokyo and Japan have a reputation for the strange and unusual museums.