Major Tokyo Festivals

Here we introduce some of Tokyo’s prominent festivals.

Kanda-matsuri Festival

Kanda-matsuri Festival is held once every odd year at Kanda Myojin Shrine and is counted as one of the Three Great Festivals in Japan. In the shinko festival, one of the festival events, the mikoshi, or portable shrines, and festival floats are paraded through downtown areas such as Kanda, Nihonbashi, Otemachi, Marunouchi and Akihabara. The contrast between the cityscape and the traditional festival is one of many highlights.

Created by NTT TownPage based on "About the Kanda-matsuri Festival" on the Kanda Myojin Shrine website.

Sanno Festival

Held most years in June at Hie Jinja Shrine, this is one of the Three Great Edo Festivals. In the Edo Era, Sanno Festival was the festival most often permitted to enter the Edo Castle where the Shogun was allowed to witness the mikoshi. The procession of this religious festival in which the mikoshi and festival floats are paraded around the shrine’s parish by people wearing dynastic costumes is well worth seeing.

Created by NTT TownPage based on "Sanno Festival" on the Akasaka Sanno Hie Jinja Shrine website.

Fukagawa Hachiman Festival at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine

This festival is one of the Three Great Edo Festivals and is held at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine centered around August 15. A feature of the main festival, held once every 3 years, is the parading of around 120 town-mikoshi. It is also known as the “Water Sprinkling Festival” as the mikoshi bearers are showered in purified water by spectators along the route, so the bearers and spectators can enjoy a sense of unity in this festival.

Created by NTT TownPage based on "Fukagawa Hachiman Festival" on the Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine website.

Sanja Matsuri (Sanja-sama)

This is a large festival held at Asakusa Shrine over a 3-day period in the middle of May each year. Around 1.5 million people attend each year. In the Edo era, the festival combined with Senso-ji temple and was called the “Kannon Festival” or “Asakusa Festival”. Around 100 town-mikoshi are paraded through the towns around Asakusa on the 3rd Saturday in May, and 3 mikoshi from the main shrine are paraded on the Sunday.

Created by NTT TownPage based on "What is Sanja Matsuri?" on the Asakusa Shrine website.

Tokyo’s Three Major Summer Festivals

Tokyo Koenji Awa-odori

Launched from the youth group’s idea to liven up the town’s shopping district in 1957, the Awa-odori dance, a traditional art of Tokushima Prefecture, began to be performed in Koenji, Tokyo. Today, around 10,000 people perform the dance and 1 million people attend what is one of Tokyo’s three major summer festivals. Musical instruments accompanying the dancing, shamisen, drums and flutes are also highlights.

Created by NTT TownPage based on "What is Koenji Awa-odori?" on the Association for the Promotion of Tokyo Koenji Awa-Odori (NPO) website.

Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi Festival

Held each year on the last Saturday and Sunday in August, this is one of Tokyo’s Three Major Summer Festivals. Launched in 2001 and preserving the tradition of Kochi Prefecture’s Yosakoi Festival, it is held in the Harajuku, Omotesando and Yoyogi areas and is dedicated to Meiji Jingu Shrine. Visitors to this festival can enjoy the distinctive “Yosakoi Naruko Dance”.

Created by NTT TownPage based on "What is Super Yosakoi?" on shopping district promotion association Harajuku Omotesando zelkova tree meeting’s website.

Asakusa Samba Carnival Parade and Contest

Launched in Asakusa in 1981, this festival, modeled on the Rio de Janeiro carnival in Brazil, has become one of Tokyo’s Three Major Summer Festivals. In recent years it has become very popular as over half a million spectators come to experience it each year. It is not simply an exhibition of samba teams from around the country – it also involves a serious samba contest.

Created by NTT TownPage based on "About the Asakusa Samba" on the Asakusa Samba Carnival Executive Committee’s website.

Edited by NTT TownPage
(Updated August 2018)