Summer is in high swing in Japan now and so are the summer festivities. Various parks and shrines are opening up their annual summer festivals to the public after three years of cancellation or limited activities. Check out the Ueno Summer Festival around Shinobazu Pond, Plum Festival at Okunitama Shrine and much more.


1. Ueno Summer Festival

The Ueno Summer Festival around Shinobazu Pond will consist of an antique market, monkey show, yukata photo session and music performances at the Ueno Park outdoor stage. Musicians will play a wide variety of genres, including jazz, enka and western music. The popular parade, however, won’t be happening again this year due to Covid-19 safety precautions.

When: Until Jul 31 | More Info

Okunitama Shrine

2. Plum Festival at Okunitama Shrine

The popular Plum Festival is held every year featuring 120 street vendors. Visitors can receive Japanese fans with crow designs from the shrine. Crows signify bountiful harvests and the banishment of evil, so it’s believed that if people use the fans, then crop pests will be exterminated and the sick will be healed. Also, using them as a front door decoration is said to ward off evil spirits from one’s home. This festival offers the chance to purchase sweet plums while enjoying the atmosphere of a fun summer event. In the evening, there’s the Edo no Sato Kagura (Edo Folk Dance).

Note that the festival lasts from 9am to 5pm on July 18 and July 19. On July 20 it starts at 6am and ends at 7pm.

When: Until Jul 20 | More Info

Tanabata Sky Lantern Festival

3. Tanabata Sky Lantern Festival

Rather than writing a wish on a strip of paper and tying it to bamboo branches, visitors can celebrate Tanabata by releasing LED-powered lanterns at the Tanabata Sky Lantern Festival. Parents can attend with their children for an exciting and safe celebration of Tanabata. There will also be food stalls and lively music at the event.

In case of rain, a glass roof will be used over the venue.

When: Jul 22–23 | More Info

Handmade in Japan

4. Handmade in Japan Festival

Visitors to the Handmade in Japan Festival can satisfy their desire to support local creators and create unique handmade pieces of their own. Attendees can participate in workshops to construct their own special handmade goods such as quail egg accessories, mini bonsai figures, fluffy cloud brooches and lavender flower embroidery pieces with the help of traditional craftsmen and other experts. It will also be possible to purchase art, miscellaneous items, clothes and accessories in the market while chatting directly to creators about their products. All this while eating hand-made meals from around the country.

You can also enjoy music performances by up-and-coming artists and well-established festival bands.

When: Jul 23-24 | More Info

Windmill Sunflower Garden

5. Sunflowers in Full Bloom in Windmill Sunflower Garden

This July visitors can enjoy the 15,000 sunflowers blooming at the Windmill Sunflower Garden in Chiba. They can ride tour boats, pick sunflowers and take photos in front of the idyllic scenery. Tour boats operate every Saturday and Sunday, priced at ¥1,000 for adults and ¥500 for children. Visitors can pick one sunflower for ¥100 and up to two sunflowers per person. This is the perfect chance to snap some stunning Instagram photos in front of a Dutch windmill surrounded by yellow sunflowers underneath a brilliant blue sky.

When: Until Jul 31 | More Info

6. Matsuri-Themed Summer Afternoon Tea at Park Hyatt Tokyo

The Peak Lounge, located on the 41st floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo, has an exquisite summer season afternoon tea inspired by traditional Japanese summer festivals. The food had been crafted to resemble traditional summer snacks or include mini versions of them such as dango (Japanese dumplings) and kakigori (shaved ice). Many of the sweets are a fun twist on Japanese savories, such the ‘karaage chicken’ being transformed into a vanilla cream-filled choux pastry. Conversely, the usually sweet taiyaki (fish-shaped) pastry is the inspiration behind a savory taiyaki filled with foie gras mousse.

Guests are encouraged and welcome to attend wearing a yukata.

Note: The number of seats per day is limited and a reservation three days in advance is required.

When: Until Sep 4 | More Info

Tokyo Bay Noryosen

7. Tokyo Bay Night Cruise

The Tokyo Bay Night Cruise will take place again for the first time in three years. Customers can enjoy a serene night view of Tokyo Bay onboard the Salvia Maru ship, while enjoying meals and events. Each night will feature a different special guest.

Tickets are ¥1,500 for adults and ¥500 for elementary school students. Customers can also purchase the restaurant plan, which varies in price starting from ¥4,000 and includes a bento meal and unlimited drinks. Visitors who wear a yukata get ¥500 off from Sunday to Thursday (excluding holidays). Those who reserve online by July 28, can also get ¥500 off.

When: Until Sep 11 | More Info