Cheapo Weekend for June 11-12: Festival Splendor

Adriana Paradiso

Some of Tokyo’s most colorful events are taking place this weekend—and they’re all free, so you know we’ll be there!

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sanno matsuri
Sanno Matsuri | Photo by superidoljp used under CC

Sanno Matsuri (June 7-17): While this major festival—one of the three greatest in Tokyo—takes place over a couple of weeks, its grand parade (and main draw) falls on June 10th. Starting in the early am (∼7:30-8:00) at Hie Shrine, a procession of about 300 people dressed in traditional costumes, accompanied by musicians on floats and mikoshi (portable shrines), will make its way through central Tokyo before returning to the shrine around 5:00 pm.

International Toy Show (June 10): This is no boring trade show—this is the perfect family-friendly event with entertainment for the kids, including appearances from various characters , as well as a “kid’s park” with toys (of course) and activities. Free entry.

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Shibuya Ohara Matsuri
Shibuya Ohara Matsuri | Photo by Masaru Minoya used under CC

Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Matsuri (June 11-12): This traditional festival hailing from Kagoshima has got it all: a parade with the always fun-inducing taiko drums, marching troupes and kimono-clad dancers. You can also take your taste buds on an adventure with various foods and delicacies of the Satsuma Domain (which represents the provinces of Satsuma, Osumi and Hyuga in modern-day Kagoshima prefecture).

Vietnam Festival (June 11-12): Back again is this summertime favorite. Head to Yoyogi Park this weekend for traditional Vietnamese music and art performances as well as a tasty food market.

torigoe matsuri
Photo by Grigoris Miliaresis used under CC

Torigoe Matsuri (June 11-12): If you choose but one day to go to this festival, go on the Sunday—the day where a 4-ton shrine gets paraded around the shrine for good luck. Be ready for large crowds and a long day, the events goes from 6:30 am to 9 pm

Bunkyo Hydrangea Flower Festival (June 11-19): Although June is the rainy season, it still has plenty to offer nature-wise. Take, for instance, the stunning display of 10,000 hydrangea plants at Hakusan Shrine.

Iris Flower Festival (ongoing until June 20): If 10,000 hydrangea flowers don’t impress you, how about 14,000 lovely iris plants dispersed across the even lovelier Mizumoto Park? And don’t expect just nature to fulfill your weekend, there will be a variety of events including musical performances spanning the 20-day festival.

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