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 fireworks to enjoy.
For the top events in Tokyo throughout the year, check out our complete guide — organized by month.
1. The mando ceremony at Oeshiki FestivalOctober 12
Ikegami Honmonji Temple, Ota
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. The spectacular procession will start from around 6:30 p.m. and go on till midnight around the temple and Ikegami Station.
2. Kawagoe Festival
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.
3. Tamagawa Fireworks Festival
Futako Tamagawa Station
As one — if not the biggest — fireworks event of the autumn, the Tamagawa Fireworks Festival has a reputation to uphold. 6,000 bolts will be shot into the air on the riverbed beside Futako Tamagawa Station. It will be extremely busy (this is a popular area for families), so organizers recommend allowing for at least an hour to get to your spot before the fireworks.
4. Ikebukuro Yosakoi Contest
The first half of Ikebukuro’s Fukuro Matsuri took place in September, 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 takes on yosakoi.
5. HalloweenThroughout October
All over Tokyo
Halloween is October’s biggest event in Tokyo and celebrations have taken off in recent years. There are events all over: Kagurazaka, Roppongi, Omotesando, Ikebukuro, Kawasaki, and other parts of the city. 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”.
Four Halloween events to add to the diary are:
- Bake Neko (Supernatural Cat) Festival
- Kichijoji Halloween Festa
- Halloween Night in the Forest
- Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Festival
Check out our Tokyo Halloween 2023 guide for a full rundown of events.
While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.
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