Traditional festivals in Tokyo May 2018
150 years ago, the city of Edo was renamed Tokyo. Modern Tokyo is a city of constant change, but people here still celebrate traditional festivals. Matsuri, traditional festivals, bring back a taste of the old Tokyo.
May 2018 festivals in Tokyo’s old “shitamachi” area
Several shrines have their main annual festivals in May. Expect shrines and surrounding streets to be crowded. There are ceremonies and parades, but visitors don’t only come to watch them. Another draw are the “yatai” food stalls that set up for the duration of the festivities. Eating street food and checking out different vendor’s snacks is part of the celebrations.
May 11-13, 2018
Shitaya Shrine Festival near Ueno
The Shitaya Shrine Festival is the earliest summer matsuri in Tokyo’s old shitamachi area. On the 12th and 13th you can see many of the local Mikoshi of the different neighborhoods being carried. On the 13th, people will carry Shitaya Shrine's grand Mikoshi (portable shrine) in a parade. Many food stalls set up in the narrow streets around the shrine.
May 18-20, 2018
Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa
Asakusa Shrine’s Sanja Matsuri is one of the Three Great Festivals of Edo (Tokyo). On the 18th, the Daigyoretsu Parade through Asakusa takes place with performances of traditional music and dance. On Saturday the 19th, about 100 Mikoshi from different neighborhoods are carried through the Asakusa area and brought to the shrine for purification. Sunday, May 20: The three Mikoshi of Asakusa Shrine are paraded through the district’s neighborhoods.
May 18-20, 2018
Onoterusaki Shrine Festival near Iriya
The Onoterusaki Shrine is dedicated to Ono-no-Takamura, a famous scholar and poet from the early Heian period (794-1185). It has a “Fujizuka”, a miniature Mount Fuji.
May, 25, 2018
Gojo Tenjin Shrine Festival
The Gojo Tenjin Shrine is one of the three major Tenjin shrines of Edo (Tokyo). The shrine is located inside Ueno Park near the Shinobazu Pond.
Flower exhibitions and markets
May 23-28, 2018
Satsuki Festival – Azalea Bonsai Exhibition
This is an exhibition of Satsuki bonsai (Japanese azalea). The bonsai all have different shapes and are covered in flowers. Satsuki are very popular bonsai trees because of their bright flowers that come in many colors and shades. There is also a small market where you can buy plants. 9:00 to 18:00 (9:00 to 15:00 on the last day) near the fountain in Ueno Park in front of the Tokyo National Museum.
O-Fuji-san no Ueki-Ichi - Plant Fair
Sengen Shrine is also called “O-Fuji-san” and it’s market for flowers and potted plants is a summer tradition in Asakusa. Vendors set up in the streets around Sengen Shrine, located in the area behind the Main Hall of Senso-ji Temple. Make sure to visit Sengen Shrine’s Fujizuka miniature Mount Fuji It is believed that climbing the Fujizuka can bring as much good luck as climbing Mount Fuji.
Written by Tonia