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Summer in Tokyo – Festivals, Fireworks & So Much More

June 28, 2008

Summer in Tokyo – Festivals, Fireworks & So Much More

Summer in Japan is well known for it’s heat and humidity but it is also time to dust of your yukata (summer kimono) and head out to a festival or to your local park for a bento picnic. You can also catch some great hanabi (fireworks) shows or head out to a baseball game.

Many festivals are held throughout the year and you can attend one on almost any weekend during the summer months. The Japan Times provides a Monthly Guide to Festivals in Japan which is a great resource for visitors and residents alike. Attending a festival is a great way to get some insight into Japanese culture by sampling some of the street food or taking in some of the entertainment or festival games. The festivals usually held on the grounds of historic temples or shrines and lend a historic atmosphere to these great events.

Hanabi, or fireworks, are very popular during the summer months. The Sumida River Fireworks Festival, scheduled for July 26th (weather permitting), is the oldest fireworks show on record in Japan. It dates back to 1733, when the Shogun staged a ceremony the Sumida River to pray for the souls of the victims of a famine the previous year and to drive away disease.

If you just want to relax on a sunny afternoon, pick up a bento from your local grocery store and head out to one of these great parks:

  • Yoyogi Park, a huge green area near the Meiji Jingu Shrine (map). Sundays are great for people watching as the Gothic Lolitas and their friends are usually out in force strutting their stuff.
  • Ueno Park offers a relaxing stroll around the Shinobazu pond, where you can rent pedal powered boats, or you can visit the Ueno Zoo before claiming a spot for your picnic. (map)

You can also dine by the light of fireflies until July 18th or cheer on your favorite team at a baseball game.

It might be hot outside, but why would you want to stay home with the air conditioner going full blast when there are so many great things to do and see over the summer in Tokyo!

Photo Credit: Flickr, Yukata Couple, Fireworks 04 & Yoyogi Park