The overriding themes for the festivals this summer, are in support of the North and to offer prayers for their revival. Included in this issue’s Top 10 are fireworks festivities and even traditional festivals that will still be held here in Tokyo and the Northern regions. Come and celebrate a truly Japanese summer of heat, fun, and overall, resilience and strength of spirit.
1. Nikkei Sports 2011 Jingu-Gaien Fireworks Festival
The Jingu-Gaien Fireworks Festival reigns at the top of our list for its accessibility and firepower (literally). With 12,000 fireworks and a wide range of seating choices (reserved and free), this event is a great getaway with friends, family, or even a hot date.
Where: Jingu Second Baseball Field
When: August 6th, 19:30-20:30
2. Sendai Tanabata Festival
The annual tanabata festival in the shopping streets of Sendai features intricately hand-crafted ornaments with incredible streamers in an array of colors and designs. Everyone is encouraged to participate by writing their wish to the tanabata spirits and hang them from the bamboo leaves. Come up North to support and celebrate a fantastic holiday.
Where: JR Sendai station
When: August 6th-8th
3. Katsushika-Nouryou Fireworks Festival
These fireworks will illuminate the night sky 7000 times. Although the location is not as close to Tokyo as the Jingu-Gaien, it is definitely still worth the trip.
Where: the Katsushika-shi Shibamata Baseball Field
When: July 26th 19:20~20:20
4. Aomori Nebuta Festival
Enthusiastic chants of “rasseru, rasseru” can be heard as men carry the traditional floats throughout the city.
Where: Aomori City
When: August 1st – 7th, 18:00 – 21:00
5. Goshogawara TachinePuta
22 meter tall tachineputa floats that have been preserved since the Meiji Era will be carried through the streets at night. This is unquestionably worth the effort for an authentic Japanese experience (and has extreme potential for phenomenal photography!)
Where: JR Goshogawara station (Aomori)
When: August 4th-8th
6. Hirosaki NePuta Festival
While you’re in Aomori visiting the Aomori Nebuta and Goshogawara Tachineputa festivals, the Hirosaki should also definitely be on the itinerary; although not as mainstream, it is still just as intriguing and culturally satisfying.
When: August 1st-7th
7. 61st annual Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival
Experience the classic decorations of tanabata without the hike to Sendai to see the originals.
Where: JR Hiratsuka station area
When: July 8-10, 19:00 – Late
8. Mikura Island Fireworks Festival
An excursion to Mikura Island with friends, topped off with a barbecue, and fireworks is what we envisioned when we saw this event happening on the 4th. Lounging on the bay with a nice cold one? I’m in!
Where: Mikura Island Bay
When: August 4, 19:30-20:00
9. Koto-ku “The Sky Night Live”
If three is your lucky number then this is the event to attend this summer! Lalaport (Toyosu) is hosting the “Sky Night Live” and will launch 333 fireworks at their Urban Dock. This already romantic date spot will definitely heat up on the 30th and 27th.
Where: Urban Dock Lalaport
When: July 30th & August 27th
10. 34th annual Sumidagawa Firework Festival
This festival is a great adventure for the whole family. In the highly accessible downtown area and at an hour and a half long, this event would be perfect après dinner.
Where: Sumida/Daitou-ku area
When: August 27th, 19:05-20:30