The spookiest month of the year is upon us, and that means the start of blood-pumping, heart-pounding, nail-curling events in Tokyo. But you’ll be relieved — or disappointed — to know that not all have a Halloween theme; there are also ancient Edo festivals, dance contests, and even pro-wrestling to enjoy.
1. Ikebukuro Fukuro Matsuri/Tokyo Yosakoi Contest (Oct. 8–9)
The first half of Ikebukuro’s Fukuro Matsuri was unfortunately canceled in our September events guide, but the second half is raring to go ahead — so be sure not to miss it.
Also known as the Tokyo Yosakoi Contest, this festival is devoted to yosakoi, an energetic traditional dance characterized by the use of clappers called naruko. Although the dance has traditional origins, it’s common nowadays to fuse the basic elements of yosakoi with modern music and/or dance moves. Since this event is a contest, you’ll see many different teams do their best to perform their own takes on yosakoi.
2. The mando ceremony at Oeshiki Festival (Oct. 12)
The highlight of the Oeshiki festival — a Buddhist festival commemorating the anniversary of the death of Nichiren — is the mando (10,000 light) rite in which about 3,000 people carry sacred lanterns decorated with cherry blossoms along a route towards Ikegami Honmonji Temple. This year, the procession will be shortened, starting from the main gate and finishing at the main hall, but will be just as spectacular.
Oeshiki Festival at Ikegami Honmonji Temple
3. Kawagoe Festival (Oct. 15–16)
Kawagoe is affectionately nicknamed “Little Edo” because some of its streets still resemble those of the Edo period. The festival features large, towering, elaborate floats that are paraded around Kurazukuri Street. Stick around into the evening as that’s when things become even rowdier — with traditional music performances, dancing, and paper lanterns. And of course, for a truly colorful sight, the floats will be lit up.
4. Koenji Festival 2022 (Oct. 29–30)
How many festivals in Japan feature free outdoor pro-wrestling? Not many, but Koenji Fes is just that kind of event. While not as famous as its other festivals (see Koenji Awa Odori), this community-run extravaganza is sure to get hearts pumping. Along with the wrestling action, there will be music held throughout the town, handmade markets, mascots, a stamp rally, and more.
Koenji Festival 2023
5. Shibuya Halloween (Oct. 29–31)
Needing no introduction, Shibuya Halloween is considered THE event of October — if not the whole year. Head to Shibuya in your brand-new costume that you spent way too much money on and see what all the fuss is about. Authorities are yet to announce any restrictions or rules for 2022, but if last year was anything to go by, it won’t stop the majority from parading the streets. Thanks to the live streamers, you can also watch it from the comfort of your own home.
If Shibuya ‘aint your Halloween haunt, see below for more events happening around Tokyo.
Shibuya Halloween 2023
Bonus: More Halloween events
Halloween is October’s biggest event in Tokyo and celebrations have really taken off in recent years. There are events all over: Kagurazaka, Roppongi, Omotesando, Ikebukuro, Kawasaki and, of course, Shibuya. The events come in different levels of family-friendliness, ranging from “perfect for small children” to “maybe it’s not such a good idea to bring kids here”.
- Bake Neko (Supernatural Cat) Festival (Oct 16)
- Kichijoji Halloween Festa 2022 (Oct 26–30)
- Halloween Night in the Forest (Oct 21–30)
- Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival (Oct 29–30)
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