There is a slight calming in the summer action this weekend as we approach O-bon time, but there are still plenty of free events at which to sweat, dance, drink, get wet, relax or what have you. Here are our recommendations.
Although there are fewer traditional festivals on this weekend, there is one massive festival on that more than takes up the slack. The Fukagawa Festival is officially one of the big three festivals in Tokyo along with the Sanno Matsuri and the Kanda Matsuri. It runs from the 11th to the 15th of August, but the major procession with floats, mikoshi (shoulder borne shrines) and a massive water fight will take place on Sunday, August 12th. The procession starts at Tomioka Hachiman Shrine (also referred to as Fukagawa Shrine) at 7:30am, does a big circuit around the neighbourhood and returns to the shrine between 1pm and 4pm. Up to 7 hours in 30 degree plus temperatures carrying very heavy mikoshi is an impressive feat, so you can understand how the water would help. The closest stations are Monzennakacho on the Oedo and Tozai lines and Kiba Station on the Tozai Line.
If you’re still not tired of watching stuff being blown up, there are a couple of fireworks festivals to sate your destructive appetite this weekend. The first is the Jingugaien Hanabi Taikai which is great for all those central city residents who are too lazy or disinclined to make their way out to the rivers in the east in order to watch fireworks. Ground Zero is Jingu Stadium – the idea being you buy tickets so you can watch it from the stadium. However, it can be viewed easily from anywhere within about a kilometre of the stadium. This is in the central city though, so the higher you get the better the view – so if you have friends who live in the area, you might want to invite yourself around. The fireworks begin at 7:30pm and they’ll be blowing stuff up continuously for an hour. Closest stations are Gaienmae and Aoyama Itchome on the Ginza Line, Kokuritsukyogijo on the Oedo Line, Sendagaya and Shinanomachi on the JR Chuo Line and Kitasando on the Fukutoshin Line.
Talking of ‘high rise’, on Saturday evening there is the much smaller but very interesting Okutama Nouryou Hanabitaikai (Okutama Refreshing Fireworks Festival) near Okutama Station in the far west of Tokyo. They’ll be taking advantage of the local geography by lobbing their pyrotechnics from the 890m summit of the nearby Mount Atago.
Tokyo’s LGBT pride event, the ‘Tokyo Pride Parade’ was scheduled to take place this weekend at Yoyogi Park, but it seems the organiser was suffering from poor health so it was promptly cancelled. However, it seems that the cancellation was not taken well by some, so a hastily organised replacement event “Save the Pride‘ will be held at Yoyogi Park on Saturday, August 11th. The event runs from 11am with the parade starting at 3pm and closing out with a performance from the cast of the Japanese production of the musical Rent at 5pm and the closing ceremony at 5:20pm.
Our video guide to the tuna auctions at the shiny new Toyosu Fish Market