If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, you’re in for an absolutely awesome time. With a frenzy of fireworks festivals, dance, dance and more dance, good food and flower shows, there’s something for all cheapos.
First off – the fireworks! Tokyo’s biggest fireworks event takes place in Asakusa on Saturday evening. The Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival is a 90-minute show of all manner of fancy “fire flowers” (the literal translation of the Japanese word hanabi). This is one of the capital city’s major summer events, consistently drawing humungous crowds. As a result, the banks of the Sumida River get extremely crowded – so you might want to read our survival guide before setting out!
A less crowded alternative also happening on Saturday is the Showa Kinen Park Fireworks Festival – a much smaller display, but still well worthwhile. There will also be a small fireworks show over in Hachioji.
A summer weekend in Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without dance – which there is plenty of! The Eisa Festival on Saturday in Shinjuku is a celebration of eisa – a traditional dance from the Okinawa region. It’s a colourful, vibrant affair with energetic drumming and, of course, large crowds of spectators (expect around a million people).
You can also check out the awa odori style of traditional dance at the Kagurazaka Festival on Saturday and Sunday evening. There’ll be festival chow and pretty lanterns. In Itabashi, Saturday’s Nakaita Heso Matsuri might be a bit of light fun for the family too – there will be all sorts of dance going on, including a humorous “belly button” dance.
You can always count on Yoyogi Park to have some sort of international festival going on, and this weekend is no different. There will be both a Hawaiian Festival and Thai Festival happening, so go hungry!
Flower-loving hippy types (like this cheapo) might want to drop by Yasukuni Shrine (yes, that controversial one) to see the morning glory exhibition which starts on Sunday and runs until August 3rd. You’ll need to get there early in the day to catch the flowers before they droop. You can also ooh and ah over the gorgeous lotus flowers blooming at Shinobazu-no-Ike Pond in Ueno Park. Again, go early in the day. You can see them until mid-August.