Summer’s not over yet: Last minute festival fun with this August festival itinerary!

Summer festivals reign over Japan from June to August: obon festivals, fireworks festivals, and festival street food are everywhere for anyone to enjoy! The festivities start to slow down in late August, as Japan slowly transitions into the fall season. 

If your trip is booked for late August, you may be a little bummed to find out that the festival season is almost over, or that you won’t have the chance to experience a slice of one of Japan’s most well-known summer activities. But hey, summer’s not over just yet! 

Have your share of your festival fun with this [3 Day] August Festival itinerary in Tokyo. 

Note: The dates in itinerary are specific to this year, but these festivals are held around the same time annually! Also keep in mind that festival times are subject to change if certain circumstances arise. 

August 25th, 2017

Hibiya Park Ondo Bon-odori Dance Festival
Hibiya is a business-y area day-in and day-out, so the Ondo Bon-Odori festival is a good change of pace! Businessmen, employees, and local residents alike come together in Hibiya Park to dance the “Marunouchi Ondo”. Dance the night away and experience a bite of “traditional Tokyo” with Ondo Bon-Odori, no dancing skill required!
  • Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm 
  • Venue: Hibiya Park, Hibiya
  • Fee: Free

August 26th , 2017

1. Asakusa Samba Carnival

Shrines, temples, tradition … and summer samba in Asakusa?! A little different from the Japan summer flavor, but a great one none-the-less! Asakusa, normally packed as it is, gathers even more onlookers while about 20 samba teams dance to claim the glory in this annual samba contest. Come early if you want to catch a good spot to see the “Queen of Drums”. Watch the flurry of samba-ing feathers at the Asakusa Samba Carnival! 

  • Time: 1:00pm – 6:00pm
  • Venue: Kaminarimon Dori, Asakusa
  • Fee: Free
2.  Azabu-Juban Noryo Festival
The Azabu-Juban Noryo Festival has been going on for over 50 years, and with that much background, it’s bound to be packed with dancing, food, and fun! Although Noryo (納涼) translates to “coolness”, it could be far from cool as you battle the crowds and the summer heat. Be sure to bring a bottle of water and dress comfortably!

  • Time: 3:00pm – 9:00pm
  • Venue: Azabu Juban
  • Fee: Free

August 27th, 2017

1. Super Yosakoi Festival
You can imagine Harajuku streets being closed to strut the latest fashion line or trend, but on this day, the streets are closed to… Super Yosakoi Dancers! These bright and colorful dancers compete against each other while dancing to the beat of “naruko”. Who knew that the same naruko (wooden hand clappers) that was used to scare away birds on the farm would be the beat thousands would dance to decades later? Be prepared to be hypnotized in Harajuku by the Super Yosakoi dancers as they chant, jump, and wave gigantic flags in complete sync!

  • Time: 10:00am – 5:30pm
  • Venue: Meiji Shrine & Inner Garden, Harajuku
  • Fee: Free
2. Koenji Awaodori Festival
Watch the hype and energy of the hundreds that come to dance at the Koenji Awaodori festival! Yet another one of Japan’s traditional dances. You can spot the awaodori from a mile away, since they uniquely dance which uchiwa hand fans, and walk in a squatting position. Many dancers also wear gyoza shaped hats, so you definitely can’t miss them! Bring an uchiwa fan of your own to stay cool while you watch, and maybe later you can use your fan to dance awaodori too.  

  • Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Venue: Central Koenji
  • Fee: Free

That’s not all folks! Here’s a transportation tip:
 All of these areas (except Koenji) are accessible by Tokyo Metro Subway. Considering the fact that this is a 3 day itinerary, that means that you can get the Tokyo Metro 72 hour ticket (1,500 yen for adults; 750 for children), and save some yen on transportation – and still have a blast at the festivals! 

As you can see, late August seems to be perfect to dance in bundles of thousands to the beat of the drums. Whether you’re dancing to celebrate history or just to have a little fun---what are you waiting for? Dance your summer night away in the heart of Tokyo!


Angie Rin