“There are various theories about how Awa Odori came to be, from celebrating the completion of Tokushima Castle to an offshoot of the prayers offered during the Obon period when ancestors’ spirits are said to return to this world to visit their relatives,” wrote Phoebe Amoroso in a recent feature on Awa Odori dance group Kasumiren.

These days traditional dance groups can be seen at summer festivals held throughout Tokyo, with one of the more fun, and interactive, festivals coming to Shimokitazawa this weekend. 

Enjoy a host of other events happening in Tokyo during the culmination of the Obon season.


Shimokitazawa Awaodori Festival 2019

Watch dancers and taiko drummers rhythmically glide through the narrow streets of this hip neighborhood as they wind past stalls offering snacks and beer. The main shopping street, Shimokitazawa Ichibangai, has an awaodori dance group specifically for foreign residents and tourists.

Sumo wrestlers at Kitte department store in Tokyo

Hakki-yoi Kitte

Amateurs of sports can attend an authentic sumo wrestling match in the Atrium of Kitte Marunouchi. On the last day of the event, visitors can see a yokozuna (a wrestler of the highest rank) in action.

trees and lights

Omohara Summer Illumination

Climb to the roof of Tokyu Plaza Omotesando and escape the neighborhood’s bright lights for a romantic enchanted forest ambiance complete with Kyoto’s premium ice cream and French non-alcoholic beer.

The Dinosaur Expo 2019

This exhibition commemorates the naming of the dinosaur Deinonychus in 1969, which founded the idea that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. Real fossils and whole body skeletons are on display, including Mukawaryu, Japan’s largest complete dinosaur skeleton.

Summer Sonic music festival in Tokyo

Summer Sonic 2019

While tickets for the Chiba festival are sold out, there is still a chance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this three-day musical menagerie in Osaka, which welcomes Rancid, Bring Me the Horizon, Red Hot Chili Peppers and so many more bands to the stage.

Artist Paul Wig brings a collection of artists to UltraSuperNew Gallery in Tokyo

We Cool?

UltraSuperNew Gallery hosts artists from around the world who have responded to the question proposed by gallery-represented artist Paul Wig, “We Cool?” Check out the opening reception on August 16.

Traditional Japanese crafts at Daimaru Tokyo

Tokyo Handicrafts Exhibition

Find traditional handcrafts made by skilled Japanese tradesman on display at the ninth floor exhibition space of Daimaru Tokyo. Visitors can also watch dyeing and weaving, metalwork, braiding and other demonstrations.

Japanese band The Novembers

The Novembers “Picnic” 11th Anniversary Concert

The Novembers celebrate 11 years since their debut album “Picnic” with a concert at Live House Fever where they will perform a host of songs from their freshman album and their most recent album, “Angels.”