In the blink of an eye, the first month of the year is over. We hope that 2023 has been good to you Cheapos so far, and if you made a New Year’s resolution to go out and explore the city, here’s your handy guide to Tokyo’s events in February.
Keep an eye out for the plum blossoms — they start blooming in mid-February, but this year is touted to be earlier than usual. We’ve got a full guide here. Don’t forget that you can also catch the last of the winter illuminations.
Drive out bad luck and evil spirits in your life, and welcome good fortune with Setsubun, a festival during which people throw soybeans while chanting “Out with demons; in with good fortune!”
This bean throwing ceremony is held in most temples and shrines around Tokyo — even small ones — but if you want to go big, the following are known to have large-scale Setsubun celebrations:
- Senso-ji (access: Asakusa Station)
- Zojo-ji (access: Daimon, Onarimon, Shibakoen, or Hamamatsucho Station)
- Kanda Myojin (access: Akihabara or Ochanomizu Station)
- Tomioka Hachimangu (access: Monzen-Nakacho Station)
These temples and shrines often have celebrities helping to throw beans, as well as other activities lined up, including ritualistic dances, performances, and free food and goodies. There may be some restrictions still, and you will have to apply in most places to throw the beans.
2. Lunar New Year
On the first weekend of February, the Lunar New Year celebrations that take place every year in Yokohama’s Chinatown will end with a bang. On Saturday, there will be the Chinatown Celebration Parade, which will feature traditional costumes, lion dances, and dragon dances; and on the Sunday, which is the last day of the festivities, there will be a display of paper lanterns on which people’s hopes and dreams for the year ahead are written.
2. Kawazu Cherry Blossom FestivalsMiura-kaigan Kawazu Cherry Blossom Festival: Feb. 5–Mar. 5
Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival: Feb. 11–Mar. 12
Kawazu, an early blooming cherry blossom, is the most common sakura tree in coastal Kanagawa Prefecture and is usually in full bloom by mid to late February. There are several hundred trees on the southern slopes of Mt. Matsuda, and the Matsuda Cherry Blossom Festival is the place to see them.
|At the door: ¥300|
Miura-kaigan also hosts a kawazu sakura festival, which attracts thousands of visitors each year. On the road from Miura-kaigan to Komatsugaike Park there are over 1,000 trees with intensely pink blossoms that make for great, vibrant photos.
4. Plum Blossom Festivals
We have a whole list of the best places to see plum blossoms for 2023, but we’ll highlight a few of our plum blossom festivals here:
- Yushima Tenjin Plum Blossom Festival (Feb. 8– Mar. 8)
- Setagaya Plum Blossom Festival (Feb. 11–Mar. 5)
- Koubai Red Plum Blossom Festival (Feb. 1–25)
5. Some no Komichi
The lesser known neighborhoods of Nakai and Ochiai have a colorful past. In the early 20th century, these areas were filled with dyeing factories, which led to this area’s unique heritage and reputation as a hub for traditional dyeing. Having inherited the craft, descendants of the first dyeing artisans have continued finding ways to keep traditional dyeing alive — and Some no Komichi is one way to spread the word.
During this town-wide event, you’ll see cloth strewn over the river, creating a “river gallery.” Shops will also proudly showcase their noren (Japanese-style curtains), dyed the old-school way.
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