Your Guide To Tokyo’s Fall Festivals
Autumn – the glorious time of nature’s colour spectacle, hot drinks and feeling everything burst with beauty. As L.M. Montgomery once said: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” (And not just for the Pumpkin Spice Lattes). Tokyo always has lots of festivals going on, but to celebrate this favored season, here are some of Tokyo’s fall festivals that you shouldn’t miss out on:
The Tokyo Yosakoi Festival
All around Ikebukuro Station during mid-October, over 100 teams from all over Japan gather to show their traditional yosakoi dance. This is not just an average dance; but rather, a composition of energetic music, lively costumes and unique variations of style. Every group is different, though all their soundtracks are based on a song called Yosakoi. However, the song is mixed according to their individual group concepts.
The Pickle Fair (or Nihomabashi Ebisu-ko Bettara-ichi)
In this pretty fair (which began in the middle of the Edo period), you will find lots of food stalls from numerous vendors selling local specialties – especially the one the festival is named after, which is the sweet and salty radish pickles bettara-zuke. This festival originated as a way for merchants to sell their foods and goods during the Ebisu-ko ceremony, which is a day to celebrate the god Ebisu, who represents one of the seven deities of good fortune. You can find over 500 street stalls selling food and souvenirs until late at night on October 19th and 20th in Nihombashi.
Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony
A unique Japanese experience is granted with this special event. From the beginning to the end of October you can go to the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum or the Hama-rikyu Gardens in Koganei-shi to experience the tea ceremony, which showcases the tea-based traditions that have been passed on and teaches you about the “way of tea”.
In the beautiful Showa Kinen Park, one of the largest parks in the city, there are around 20,000 square meters of beautiful cosmos fields. This cosmos fields erupt with flowers come autumn. Once you arrive, you’ll find that everywhere you look there will be cosmos flowers and you’ll be mesmerized with the beauty nature has to offer. You can also enjoy various activities like cosmos picking events or different workshops from mid-September until early November. It’s a great chance to give your nose and eyes an extraordinary treat!
Ikegami plays host to this Buddhist festival each year, as this is where the most precious temple, the Ikegami Honmonji Temple, is located. This temple is where Saint Nichiren passed away and to whose honor the festival is held in. The event has been passed on for over 730 years and, in modern times, one of its biggest features is a special light rite, where around 10,000 lights are carried by thousands of people along a specified route from Ikegami Station to the temple. It is an unforgettable night and lights event is held from the October 11th to 13th. If you can’t make it to the actual event, do not worry – it will all be broadcasted on the Internet, too!
Let’s not forget THE special event that is taking place in October. For everyone who loves the spooky atmosphere as much as me and can’t wait to get their costumes out of the closet, there are plenty opportunities in Tokyo to unleash your own brand of hocus pocus. Mark the dates:
- Around Kawasaki Station are parades taking place from October 1st to 31st, with its main parade occuring on October 29th, from 2:30pm – 4:00pm. They only accept a certain number of participants, but it is one interactive parade that you won’t forget.
- Near Kagurazaka and Iidabashi is the Bakeneko Festival on October 15th, where you will find costumes which combine Japanese folklore with Halloween. There are dances and festivities all day long, which you will need to dress up for in order to join in. (That shouldn’t be so hard though, right?)
- In the Roppongi Area is a parade taking place along a 2-kilometer-long route. It is on October 22nd (and is different from the Roppongi Hills Halloween Parade on October 28th) and runs from 10:30am to 1:30am.
- In Ikebukuro, you can join the Halloween Cosplay Fest on October 28th to 29th and be part of an incredible runway of talented cosplayers! There are special security cautions, though, but after you register and get a wristband, you’re all in for the fun!
- Halloween Street Parties, which you would usually never expect in Tokyo, are always happening during Halloween. If you go to Roppongi or Shibuya you will meet crazy costumes with hyped party people out on the street and the promise that you won’t forget that night.