While the Obon season is coming to a close, Tokyo is ratcheting up the matsuri celebrations. Every region, city and neighborhood has their own stylized version of the summer Bon Odori dance. They will be on festive display in the streets of Tokyo this weekend. Here is just a sampling:
The grandaddy of them all. This enormously popular festival draws in more than 10,000 of revelers and tourists. So while the streets of northwest Tokyo will be teeming, the atmosphere will be electric.
This matsuri at the Roppongi Hills Arena is unusual for its indoor venue, featuring a big wooden stage called yagura, around which visitors can freely join the dynamic crowd of dancers.
Although only started in 2001, Harajuku Omotesando Super Yosakoi Festival has become one of Tokyo’s most spectacular dance festivals, in which more than 80,000 people gather to watch as 106 regional teams parade, perform and compete around the streets and stages of Omotesando and Harajuku.
This traditional Japanese summer festival blends perfectly with its neighborhood’s cool and stylish atmosphere and is well-known for its delicious edible offerings. Azabu-Juban’s summer festival is known as Noryo Matsuri.
Hibiya Park’s 16th annual dance tournament is the first since the reopening of the park. The impressive tower structure and hundreds of local dancers will captivate the crowds around the park’s illuminated fountain in front of a backdrop of skyscrapers.
While there probably isn’t any dancing, head to Saitama Super Arena where you can get up close with lizards, snakes, turtles, scorpions, tarantulas and all kinds of small creatures.
There could very well be some dancing as rugby fans and curious onlookers are invited to this matsuri to play rugby for the first time, participate in three-on-three “street rugby” matches and meet professional athletes.
Dancing of a livelier sort will be on full display at this annual carnival as 18 Brazilian samba teams from across Tokyo (and beyond) compete to take home the title. Expect dazzling costumes, sequins, feathers, and plenty of shimmying and shaking to the samba rhythms blasting out along Kaminarimon Dori.