Summertime is the best time for festival culture in Japan—from parades, to period costumes, to fireworks…and even human-powered flying machines!
Cheapo July Events in Japan
2016 Gion Festival – Kyoto (July 1-31): The Gion Matsuri is a month-long festival that takes place in Kyoto in July each year . The biggest draw are the parades (called Yamaboko Junkō) on the 17th and 24th of the month. Details.
Hakata Gion Yamakasa – Fukuoka (July 1-15): Join one million other spectators where men race elaborately decorated floats (weighing in at 1 ton!) at this festival whose history goes back 750 years. Details.
Grand Sumo Tournament – Aichi (July 10-24): This July is host to one of the 6 major basho (tournaments) that take place in Japan each year. For 15 days, see the iconic Japanese battle play out in Nagoya. General seating starts at 2,900 yen for adults. Details.
Belgian Beer Weekend Sendai – Miyagi (July 14-18): The Belgian Beer Weekend roadshow is setting up shop in Sendai’s Kotodai Park where you can take your pick of a plethora of craft beer. Plus, nothing quite beats a cold one at height of a Japanese summer! Details.
Nagoya Port Fireworks Festival – Aichi (July 18): Enjoy a quaint and colorful evening along the Nagoya Port with a display of 3,000 fireworks. Details.
Tenjin Festival – Osaka (July 24-25): One of Japan’s top three festivals, the Tenjin Matsuri starts off with a procession of 3,000 people dressed in the style of courtiers of the 8th to 12th centuries, after which the participants get on boats at Tenmanbashi bridge and sail up river. As the sun sets, fires are lit on board the vessels, creating a spectacle for those on the banks. The festival ends with a fireworks display. Details.
2016 Doshin/UHB Fireworks Festival – Hokkaido (July 29, 2016): Set up along the Toyohira River for Hokkaido’s most popular fireworks show. Four-thousand fireworks will illuminate the Sapporo night sky. Details.
39th Japan International Birdman Rally – Shiga (July 30-31): One of Japan’s more unique festivals, participants (or “bird men”) will attempt to fly as far as possible into the lake with the help of human-powered flying machines. Details.
Sumiyoshi Matsuri – Osaka (July 30-Aug 1): The highlight of this three-day festival is the nagoshi harai shinji ritual where participants (women and children) processioning through a straw rope ring wearing Muromachi period costume. Details.