One of the most famous matsuri events in Tokyo, Mitama Matsuri (also known as the Yasukuni Shrine Festival) kicks off summer festival season in the city. This year, it will take place from July 13 to 16.

During the festival, the Yasukuni Shrine grounds are adorned with more than 30,000 small and large votive lanterns, as well as paper lanterns bearing writing and art by notable figures. These will be illuminated from 6 p.m. every day of the festival. Additionally, rituals to comfort the enshrined spirits are performed nightly at the Main Sanctuary. Other events — including processions of mikoshi (portable shrines) and nebuta floats from Aomori, a special exhibition of flower offerings, and various performances — are also held.

The brightly illuminated main approach to the shrine also hosts the earliest Bon Odori dance in Tokyo. This dance, as well as the rows of night stalls, recreates the nostalgic atmosphere of ancient festivals for the modern day.

Mitama Matsuri Details and Location