This month marks the start of summer fun, so grab your yukata and get ready for dance parades, processions, and rice festivals galore. Here’s a round-up of the best June events in Japan.

Whether you’re after dance performances or mud competitions, there’s something for everyone this month in Japan. Every prefecture has its own summer traditions and celebrations — all great to experience and unlikely to be similar to anything else you’ve seen.

For events in Tokyo and the surrounding area, head to our event listings on Tokyo Cheapo.

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Kansai events

These are events in Kyoto, Osaka, Hyōgo, Mie, and the surrounding areas.

Himeji Yukata Festival 

Said to be the oldest yukata festival in Japan, this event is the first official chance for the people of Himeji to don their summer outfits. There are hundreds of food and drink stalls to peruse, and yukata-wearers receive discounts at various local sites and attractions.

Izawanomiya Otaue Rice Festival

This is one of the three major otaue (rice-planting) festivals in Japan and is recognized as an intangible cultural asset. Expect plenty of planting, as well as groups of men in loin clothes scrambling to carry off a blue bamboo pole placed in a field. The mythology involves sharks visiting the shrine, so local fishermen suspend fishing on the day of the festival.

Aizen Festival 

Considered to be Osaka’s first major summer festival of the year, it’s also one of the prefecture’s three biggest — and a great spectacle if you don’t mind big crowds. The most popular event is the Hoekago Parade, where a lady is carried in a basket in a procession around Aizendo Temple.

Hokkaido events

Yosakoi Soran Festival

Filling Odori Park in Sapporo with crowds, the Yosakoi Festival has been a major event in the city since 1992. Look forward to teams of dancers performing energetically in bright costumes to drum-heavy music.

Tōyako Manga Anime Festa

This is one of the biggest cosplay events in Japan. The usually quiet town of Tōyako Onsen is filled with parades, exhibitions, and contests featuring die-hard cosplayers. It’s also known for its giant meetup of blinged-out anime cars.

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Tōhoku events

These are events in Aomori, Miyagi, and the surrounding areas.

Chagu Chagu Umakko 

Photo by Iwate Tourism Association

Watch as 100 elaborately dressed horses make their way between Onikoshi Sozen Shrine in Takizawa to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine. The horses are decorated with bells, leading to the name of the festival, which is an onomatopoeia of the sound they make as the horses walk.

Tanbo Rice Field Art

A chance to see some creative designs in rural Aomori.

Hiroshima events

These are events in Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, and the surrounding areas.

Hiroshima Toukasan Matsuri

This annual event is a yukata festival that marks the start of summer — which is when the lighter versions of kimono are worn. Large crowds of over 450,000 people will gather over the three days to receive blessings at Enryu-ji Temple.

Chūbu events

These are events in Nagano, Aichi, Fukui, Shizuoka, Yamanashi, and surrounding areas.

Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Festival

This spectacular festival celebrates the rich culture and old traditions of Kanazawa, which was once a major urban center of Edo-era Japan. The three days all have different schedules, with Saturday being the busiest.

Horikawa Festival

This festival features two distinct but equally impressive days. On the first is an evening procession of taiko drums and lantern-covered structures. On the second day, you can watch a huge tower being towed through the streets, including an impressive negotiation of power lines!

Kyūshū & Okinawa events

Kashima Gatalympics

One of the most unusual events in Japan, the Kashima Gatalympics is a muddy sports celebration taking place on the mudflats of the Ariake Sea. Including races and sumo wrestling, the competitions are open to locals and visitors alike and leave everyone covered head-to-toe in mud.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in June, 2016. Last updated in May, 2024, by Alex Ziminski.

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