Cherry Blossoms at Meguro River 2019 – the Most Scenic View of Sakura in Tokyo
Tokyo, Yokohama and Kanto
Now, Tokyo is ready to greet Chloris, a nymph who brings spring, after saying goodbye to Old Man Winter. Various Tokyo spring events will make you sit back and enjoy yourself. In this article, I would like to introduce some of the events that convey the Edo idea of stylishness and express the modernity of current Tokyo.
Dubai, now a global city and business hub of the UAE in the Middle East, used to be a small fishing village centuries ago. Tokyo also started out as s small fishing village around 3,000 B.C. Its name was Edo, which translates as “estuary”.
Fortified in the 12th century, Edo became gradually an influential town in the Kanto region. And from the 17th century, Edo came to serve as the center of traditional values of Japan. It happened when Tokugawa Ieyasu founded his government in Edo and laid the groundwork for the base of the power for the subsequent 260-year-old Tokugawa Shogunate. During this period, Edo underwent unprecedented economic and cultural growth. By the 1720s the population had risen to over one million which made the former fishing village one of the largest cities in the world. In 1868, Edo changed its name to current Tokyo and remained the mainstream of economy, culture, and technology in East Asia.
The average daytime temperature stands at around 13℃, which is comfortable when it is sunny but still cold at night. It may be better to bring a light jacket or something to wrap yourself in when you go out.
Dates: March 3rd and 4th
Place: Jindaiji Temple, Chofu
Image courtesy of nakashi
The official name of the festival is “Jindaiji Temple Yakuyoke Ganzan Daishi Taisai (深大寺厄除元三大師大祭)”. This event takes place on March 3rd and 4th at Jindaiji Temple, the second oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Daruma doll has a round shape and bearded-face. Traditionally it is of red color resembling a Zen Buddhist monk Bodhidharma who lived in the 5th or 6th century. People often keep dolls with them or at their homes as a talisman for good luck. This popular spring event started in the Edo Period and boasts about 300 booths selling roly-poly dolls.
First, get your favorite daruma and write your wish on the back of the doll. Then, take it to a special stall and draw one of the doll’s eyes with a black-ink pen showing you have made a wish. One year later, come back and draw the other eye if your wish came true. Jindaiji Temple is also famous for its soba noodles, so have a good slurp! Please, visit the temple’s website for more information (Japanese only): https://www.jindaiji.or.jp/event/darumaichi.php.
Dates: March 8th – 10th
Place: Tokyo International Forum, Yurakucho, Chiyoda
Art Fair Tokyo is Japan’s largest international art event. Each of the annual modern art exhibitions in the past 13 years had different themes and concepts. In 2019 the theme is ‘Art Life’. At this large-scale exhibition, you will see a lot of artworks by promising young artists with the support of embassies of more than 90 countries. More than 160 art galleries present a variety of contemporary works.
Japanese and Western paintings, craftworks, and other works from various genres. Variety of works will surround you that you will feel how time goes by very fast even if you spend a full day exploring the venue. A walk-up pass good for one day costs ¥5,000 per person (¥4,000 for an advance pass). If you are planning to make a tour of art museums or galleries in Tokyo, this event is worth visiting. Please, see the official website for more information: https://artfairtokyo.com/.
Dates: On the second Sunday of March (March 10th, 2019)
Place: Yakuo-in Temple (Mt. Takao), Hachioji
There is a Japanese saying “Shinto-mekkyaku-sureba-hi-mo-mata-suzushi (心頭滅却すれば火もまた涼し)”, which means that a cool mind feels no heat. How about testing your courage by walking barefoot on the burning embers at the “Hiwatari (火渡り)” or “Crossing the Flame” Festival? This rite starts with burning a sacred fire – “goma (護摩)” by “Yamabushi” esoteric Buddhist monks of Yakuo-in Temple on Mt. Takao. According to their beliefs, fire purifies your mind. All the participants pray for good luck, good health, or the cleansing of bad luck. The monks first lead the way into the smoldering embers, followed by the participants. They perform the ritual chanting while walking on the embers. For ¥500 you can participate in the ritual. Please check the official website for more information: https://www.takaosan.or.jp/english/asceticism.
Dates: March 18th
Place: Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Taito
Image courtesy of Tak1701d
Sensoji Temple is one of the most popular tourist spots in Tokyo, and a lot of people from many countries include this spot in their itineraries. The temple was founded in the mid-7th century, which makes it the oldest temple in Tokyo. However, the current building dates to 1958. To commemorate the rebuilding, the temple started a special event that you can witness even today. This is the “Kin-ryu-no-mai (金龍の舞)” or the Golden Dragon Dance.
The dance is based on a traditional story about the Bodhisattva of mercy, who Sensoji Temple enshrines as a deity. According to the story, the Bodhisattva appeared as a golden dragon flying in the sky and created a forest of one-thousand pine trees in just one night. Don’t miss the 18-meter-long and 88-kilograms gorgeous dragon swirling around to the rhythm of the festive music. For more information, please check on the official website (Japanese only): http://www.senso-ji.jp/annual_event/23.html.
Dates: March 21st – April 7th
Place: Ueno Park, Ueno, Taito
There is a haiku poem by Matsuo Basho, one of the most famous poets of the Edo period in Japan. It says: “Hana-no-kumo (花の雲), kane-wa-Ueno-ka (鐘は上野か), Asakusa-ka (浅草か)”, roughly translating in English to “A cloud of cherry blossoms! Are those bells from Ueno or Asakusa?” As this poem mentions, the area of Ueno and Asakusa, both close to each other, has been a mecca for “hanami” cherry blossom viewing since the Edo period. About 1,200 cherry trees grow in Ueno Onshi Park, which attracts a lot of people who want to admire the beauty of the flowers and enjoy eating and drinking under the “flower roofs”. Dance performances and flea markets take place during the festival period as well. Before going out, please check on the following article for more information: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/cherry-blossoms-ueno-onshi-park.
This is the most beautiful month as its name suggests. The name of the month comes from the name of an ancient Greek goddess associated with beauty: Aphrodite. But, as it often happened with the Greek goddesses, she sometimes gets testy and mischievous, which makes the heaven doors open. Check on the latest weather report before you go out!
Dates: On the first Saturday and Sunday of April (April 6th and 7th, 2019)
Place: Ikegami Honmonji Temple, Ikegami, Ota
April 8th is the birthday of Buddha. Many Buddhist temples across the country celebrate his birthday around this time of year. And Ikegami Honmonji, one of the largest Buddhist temples in Tokyo, celebrates his birthday on the first Saturday and Sunday of April. On Saturday, its five-story pagoda is open to the public for a special exhibition. Visitors also can share the joy of admiring the beautiful flowers of the beautiful spring season at the “Flower Festival” the next day. The Spring Festival features a procession of wind band by small kids from nearby towns. Looking like the nutcracker soldiers in Tchaikovsky’s ballet: The Nutcracker, the kids are so cute and adorable. Please check the temple’ official website for more details (Japanese only): http://honmonji.jp.
Dates: In April (April 14th, 2019)
Place: The Sumida River, Asakusa, Taito
I would say this sports event is an exciting feature of spring in Asakusa. “So-Kei” is an abbreviation to denote the rivalry between the two universities in Tokyo: Waseda University and Keio University. These two have shared the rivalry over 100 years in many team competitions: baseball, rugby, soccer, and so on.
At the Sumida River, they race on the water in competitive rowing, attracting about 30,000 people to catch a glimpse of the heated rowing. “So” is for Waseda because its sound is the same as a Chinese kanji character “早 (sou)”, which is used in the name of “早稲田 (Waseda)”. On the other hand, “Kei” is for Keio, whose name in kanji looks like this: “慶應 (Keio)”. Though not as popular abroad as the rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge, or Harvard and Yale, the W-K rivalry on the Sumida River is worth looking at and livens up the excitement of the spectators. If you have an interest, please check the official website for more information: https://wkregatta.com.
Dates: April 14th – May 6th
Place: Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Kameido, Koto
Cherry blossoms surely represent spring in Japan, but the placid beauty of wisteria is also something you can’t miss in the season. Kameido Tenjin Shrine, one of 14,000 Tenmangu (天満宮) shrines that enshrines Sugawara-no-Michizane (菅原道真) as a Tenjin deity of learning, is the greatest spot for admiring the beauty of purple wisteria in Tokyo. The cascades of wisteria appeared in the Edo period and inspired many artists to create their works. Utagawa Hiroshige, a famous “Ukiyo-e (浮世絵)” artist in the late Edo period, included the temple’s purple wisteria in his “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” series. Please check the following article for more information: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/wisteria-festival-kameido-tenjin-best-wisteria-spot-tokyo.
Dates: April 20th
Place: Sumida Park, Sumida
Image courtesy of Takashi Hososhima
Galloping a horse off to the start, an archer on the horse pulls a bow and aims at the wooden targets. This is a traditional competition of Japanese archery – Yabusame in Japanese. Asakusa Yabusame used to be held in the grounds of Asakusa Shrine to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. But now it takes place in the mid-April at Sumida Park, just a stone’s throw away from the soaring Tokyo Skytree tower. Behind the park, there is an expressway running along the Sumida River.
The riversides are also famous as one of the best spots for cherry blossoms viewing in early April. Asakusa Yabusame consists of two events: a standard archery show and a horseback archery show. The former one is free, but if you want to have a seat with a nice view, you need to pay ¥3,000 per seat for the horseback archery session. Please visit the official website for more details (Japanese only): http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/event/kanko/asakusayabusame.html
Dates: On the final Saturday and Sunday of April (April 27th and 28th, 2019)
Place: Tamahime Inari Shrine, Kiyokawa, Taito
Image courtesy of Tokyo Asakusa
This event is a voluntary gathering of about 30 local shoemakers and companies, who all are the parishioners of Tamahime Inari Shrine. Setting up their merchandise booths on the grounds of the shrine, they sell their own products – men’s shoes, women’s shoes, sneakers, and sandals. They even deal with leather items like bags, belts, and accessories, selling 20 to 90 percent off the original prices. There are also other fun events: the parade of portable “mikoshi (神輿)” shrines in the shape of a shoe and the memorial ceremony – “kutsu-kuyo (靴供養). They hold this ceremony to burn the old shoes that have completed their lives. In November, the same type of event – “Kutsu no Megumi Matsuri (靴のめぐみ祭り)” takes place in the shrine. Please check the official website of the festival for more information (Japanese only): Kon-Kon Kusu Ichi: http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/event/kanko/konkonkutsuichi.html
Kutsu Megumi Matsuri: https://www.kutsumatsuri.com/.
Dates: Mid-April every year. April 19th – 29th, 2019
Place: Roppongi Hills Arena, Minato
You cannot leave Japan without trying the national alcoholic beverage – Sake. Craft Sake Week in Roppongi Hills is a new and outstanding event that attracts professionals and amateur drinkers of sake from all over the world. Here you will be able to taste and purchase numerous types of traditional rice wines from over 100 breweries. Did you know that there are 47 prefectures in Japan? The sake producers from each of them will be at the Sake fair happy to advise you professionally. Craft Sake Week attracts over 110,000 people every year and the number of curious people is increasing year by year! Don’t miss a chance to get acquainted with traditional craft sake in April! For more information, please check the following article: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/craft-sake-week-roppongi-hills-style-sake-one-event.
The month of May got its name after the Greek Goddess of fertility: Maia. In Japan, at the beginning of May, we have a Golden Week. And in 2019 there will be ten days of vacation in a row, from April 27th to May 6th. May in Japan features pretty peasant weather, so it is perfect for a picnic.
Dates: April 30th – May 6th
Place: Okunitama Shrine, Miyamachi, Fuchu
Image courtesy of Yuki Yaginuma
The name of this festival is interesting indeed. If you are in “Kurayami”, it means you are in the pitch-black dark. But this festival is far from the darkness. The festival takes place at night, but this one-week matsuri is bright and exciting with all the elements of a typical Japanese Matsuri. You will see mikoshi (神輿) shrines, traditional odori (踊り) dance performances, and en-nichi (縁日) food and game booths. In ancient Japan, people believed that seeing something related to a sacred being would bring bad luck to them. Hence, the Darkness Festival. This festival appeared in the Tokyo Metropolitan Intangible Cultural Assets list in 2010. Now, it is one of the spring features of Tokyo and attracts over 700,000 spectators every year. If you want to receive an exciting experience at this festival, check the official website (Japanese only): https://www.ookunitamajinja.or.jp/matsuri/5-kurayami.php.
Dates: On the second Saturday and Sunday (May 11th and 12th, 2019)
Place: Takahata Fudoson Temple, Hino
In Bakumatsu (幕末), which refers to the final years to the Edo Period (1603-1867), there was a young samurai – Miyagawa Katsugoro. He became the master of a traditional swordsmanship school at a local “dojo (道場)”, where he met other fellow samurai. These samurai later would become founding members of the “Shinsengumi (新撰組)” security guards to protect Bakufu (幕府) representatives in Kyoto. Katsugoro is famous by another name, Kondo Isami (近藤勇) for his leadership in Shinsengumi. This festival takes place in Hino, where the precursor of Shinsengumi was born. This event is perfect if you are a samurai fan and want the time to slip back to Bakumatsu. The two-day matsuri boasts a massive parade of 400 people in the Shinsengumi’s distinctive uniforms. Check the official website for more information: http://makoto.shinsenhino.com/archives/english/120426175930.php.
Dates: May 9th – 15th
Place: Kanda Myojin Shrine, Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda
image courtesy of © TCVB
About 300,000 festivals with “Matsuri (祭り)” included in their names, large and small, take place across the country in a year. I would say Kanda Festival on the top of that Matsuri. It is such a large and gorgeous festival that it earns the titles like “One of Japan’s three great festivals” or “One of Tokyo’s most famous Matsuri” and so on. The highlights of the one-week festival in central Tokyo are two main events. First, the gorgeous procession of three sacred “mikoshi” portable shrines that carry the three deities from Kanda Myojin. Plus, the parades by 200 “town mikoshi” on many streets also take place. The former event is on Saturday, and the latter is on Sunday. Please check the following article for more details: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/kanda-festival.
Dates: May 17th – 19th
Place: grounds of Sensoji Temple, Asakusa shrine, Asakusa
Sanja festival matches Kanda festival in popularity. It is also among the three best Tokyo festivals and nearly two million people visit Asakusa over the three days of the festival.
The festival usually lasts for three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). And you will see all the attributes of a traditional Japanese festival at Sanja Matsuri. On the first day, there will be the Daigyoretsu Parade featuring geisha, musicians, and dancers wearing Edo Period costumes, city officials, and much more. On Saturday you should see the mikoshi parade that boasts over 100 portable shrines from neighboring towns. The final day will be the busiest and impressive. You will see how many Japanese men carry huge portable shrines around the neighborhood while chanting and jostling. During the festival period, usually busy Asakusa area bursts even more with various food stalls and the atmosphere of excitement! Please check the following article for more details: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/sanja-matsuri-asakusa-enjoy-traditional-mikoshi-parade-spring
Dates: May 12th – 26th
Place: Ryōgoku Kokugikan, Sumida
Image courtesy of Travis
May is a perfect month to see a real Sumo tournament in Tokyo as you can see it here only in May, September, and January. I will be a misfortune to be in Tokyo during the tournament and miss the match. You can buy tickets for each day and enjoy it from morning till night. Usually, the lower division matches start from 8:30, the second division at 15:00, and top division matches from 16:00. In addition, you can bring your own food and drinks or buy it at the stadium and watch the matches as long as you wish! For more information and tickets, please visit the official website of the Japan Sumo Association: http://www.sumo.or.jp/EnTicket/year_schedule
Tokyo has one of the most developed public transportation networks in the world, which makes it easy to time your trips to some of the tourist spots. Put the network to good use and enjoy as many experiences in Tokyo as you can. If you would like a local guide to spend a day with you or take you to a festival and tell you even more about the city, please check the banner below!
Most of the travelers who come to Japan enter the country through Tokyo. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in the capital city for a few days. The biggest conglomerate in the world has much to offer to any kind of traveler. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Tokyo has it all. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Tokyo! Please, have a look, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/7726/
Cherry blossoms are an essential part of Japanese culture. And, viewing cherry blossoms (Hanami) is very popular in Japan during the spring. This is because cherry blossoms, which the Japanese call “Sakura” are stunning at this season.
If you are planning to visit Japan this spring and want to discover more cherry blossoms spots in Kyoto area, please check the following article. It’s covering the best Hanami spots in the old capital and provides you with the essential information, so you can get the most from your Sakura trip!
Here`s the link. URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/2566/
Kyoto has many beautiful spots to see Cherry blossoms. However, other areas also have excellent places for hanami. Tokyo features many of those spots as well! If you are in Tokyo around spring and looking for a place to see cherry blossoms, Why don’t you check the following article?
If you look at Tokyo from another angle, you will figure out that this is a city of festivals. Each part of the town has a local community with its traditions. And for Japanese people, it is essential to keep a sense of their community. Thus, you can see plenty of festivals almost every week in different parts of Tokyo. The following article will provide you with the best Tokyo festivals each month of the year!
A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!