Spring is coming, and we have a great list of events from traditional fire festivals to the much-anticipated cherry blossom parties.
1. Tokyo Marathon
The Tokyo marathon is a major event. Even if you’re not cheering for anyone, check out the Tokyo Marathon for the human interest aspect. It’s known for having costumed runners, which makes the event a spectacle and a novelty. The organizers have cracked down on costumes that are way too out there, so unfortunately, the (in)famous runner dressed as Jesus hasn’t been seen since 2014, but you’re still sure to see plenty of interesting characters alongside the professionals.
Tokyo Marathon 2024
Come join this yearly fire-walking ritual at Mount Takao, during which barefooted monks chant sutras and prayers for good health and other blessings while walking atop smoldering embers. Visitors are welcome to try walking atop the embers as well, but only after they’ve slightly cooled down—safety first, after all! This ritual is said to bring good luck, but for extra luck, auspicious items such as purifying salt will also be sold at the festival.
Note that while this event is organized by Takaosan Yakuoin Temple, which is atop Mount Takao, the fire-walking festival takes place at a public square that’s a 5-minute walk from Takaosanguchi Station.
Mt. Takao Hiwatari Festival
3. Sensoji Temple Golden Dragon Dance
The Kinryu no Mai is one of the highlights of the event calendar at the already popular Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. The event celebrates the founding of the temple back in 628 when two fishermen pulled a Buddhist statue from the river. Using the statue, they founded Sensoji and every year on March 18 a golden dragon dance is held. Why a golden dragon, you ask? Well, as legend has it, one night after the temple’s founding, Kannon appeared as a dragon and created a forest of over a thousand trees to represent prosperity, abundance, and longevity. Today’s dragon doesn’t quite swoop in from the sky but is instead a massive marionette, needing 8 people to support it as it dances through the crowds. We have the full history and details here if you want to know more!
Golden Dragon Dance
4. Anime Japan
You may have gone to an anime convention back home. Why not go to one in the country that started it all? Anime Japan has everything you’d expect: exhibitions, goods, special anime-business collaborations, and stage appearances and performances by some of the biggest names in the industry.
|Advance sales: ¥2,300||At the door: ¥2,600|
5. Cherry blossom festivals
Late March to early April
Lastly, no guide to events in March would be complete without Japan’s famous cherry blossom festivals. Some areas are suggesting against hanami parties and encourage visitors to keep moving, but the cherry blossom is still there to be admired. Try our mega guide and several handy articles to help you on your journey.
Whether you just want to see them in the daytime, to see them while doing something fun, or to admire them all lit up at night, we’ve got those bases covered. And if those still aren’t enough, we also have a guide to sakura-themed products! Stay tuned as we update these guides.