Tokyo Festivals

Japan’s capital, Tokyo, stands at the forefront of high technology, but the metropolis isn't preoccupied with robots and gadgets alone. When it comes to wild parties, Tokyo is in the race, too. From brewing parties during the beer festival to the bean throwing frenzy in Tengu Matsuri, tourists are sure to get a kick out of their Tokyo holidays.

  • Japanese Beer Festival. Forget about sake for a while. During the renowned Japanese beer festival held in May, craft beers and imported beers are the stars. Since 1998, Japan Craft Beer Association has been hosting this special event in Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama, where almost 200,000 beer drinkers gather together. Pay only the minimal entrance fee, and sample over 120 craft beers! While you’re at it, don’t forget to minimise trash; only use the one glass that you get at the entrance!
  • Tengu Matsuri. Long- and red-nosed goblins take over the Shimokitazawa area of Tokyo during the festival Tengu Matsuri. This is in honour of Tengu, also known as “The Slayer of Vanity,” the Japanese god of mischief and patron saint of the martial arts. Don’t miss the mamemaki or bean throwing ceremony in Shinryji Temple on the first day. Here, people throw beans at those wearing oni(demon) costumes, a ritual of driving evil spirits away. Other festival highlights include the Tengu Parade and Wadaiko drum performance.
  • Sumida River Fireworks Festival. A year after the great famine in 1732, fireworks were set off by the Sumida River during the water ceremony for the victims. This ceremony grew into one of the biggest festivals in Japan, which is famous today for its dazzling pyrotechnics display. See the night sky transform into a canvas of beautiful and colourful “paintings” during the festival, and marvel at the different fireworks which have symbolic meanings. Hot sake and corn on the cob from the street stalls are nice treats during the event.
  • Asakusa Samba Carnival. Brazil goes to Tokyo during the Asakusa Samba Carnival! Every last Saturday of August, Brazilian dancers and their Japanese counterparts strut in their skimpy but flamboyant costumes along Asakusa. A burst of bright colours greet spectators as samba beats fill the air. Here, participants compete against each other singing, dancing, and playing instruments while marching. Colourful, themed floats and allegoria handcarts with sound systems also provide visual feasts. The passista(solo dancers) catch everyone's attention with their bright, feathered bikinis.
  • Asagaya Tanabata Festival. Multi-coloured ornaments fill the 700-metre shopping street in Asagaya in August! It’s not yet the preparation for Christmas, but a celebration of the Asagaya Tanabata Festival. See floating papier-mâché in various designs—colourful balloons, different kinds of animals, and even popular anime characters. The festival dates back to the chaotic post-war period of 1954, when shopkeepers attempted to “breathe new life to the era” by putting up colourful decorations.

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