The line-up for this weekend includes two huge firework shows, lots of traditional dancing, Tanabata (again), good beer and, erm, yodelling.
First off, the firework displays! Provided it’s not too windy and rainy, Kumagaya City in Saitama will be holding their annual Fireworks Festival on Saturday evening. 10 000 shots will be fired. If you’re wondering where you heard the name before – Kumagaya is (in)famous for being Japan’s second hottest place (retaining the first-place title for many years until Shimanto topped it). The city’s slogan? “Atsui, zo!” – “Damn, it’s hot!” There will also be a tiny (1 000-shot) fireworks show in Okutama on Saturday evening.
Then on Sunday night there is the Tokyo Bay Fireworks Festival to look forward to. One of the big ones, it’s quite a spectacular affair with 12 000 shots fired. If you’re thinking of going, have a look at our handy tips.
A summer weekend wouldn’t be complete without a bit of dance. You can catch awa-odori in the evenings on the streets of Shimokitazawa, and you might find some bon-odori (a different style, don’t ask us for details, because we aren’t entirely sure either) happening at the parks in your neighbourhood.
You can also enjoy some folk dance at the Fussa Tanabata Festival (you may remember reading about Tanabata back in July – Fussa’s celebrations of the star-crossed event happen later because they use the traditional calendar to calculate the dates). There will also be Tanabata stuff going on in the long shopping street near JR Asagaya Station.
Meanwhile, over at Yoyogi Park’s event space, you’ll be able to experience yodelling, alphorns (no, not even remotely connected to alpacas, although it would be cool to see an alphorn-playing alpaca), Swedish and Irish dance, and lots of imported (and presumably rather pricey) European beer as part of Euro Fest.
A famous park, a former black market and a whole heap of museums—get to know Ueno: