Music events in Tokyo
The best way to cool down in summer is heading to the music events in Tokyo for a fun-filled stress-free day! The music events range from EDM to rock to general music offering a range of different genres to suit everybody so no excuses for not coming out! The best part about the events is that Tokyo has many events to offer so you do not have to worry about missing an event since another exciting event or artists will be coming soon after! The events start from March to September and you can find out more information from the links below.
General Music Festivals
August - TOKYO SUMMER SONIC OFFICIAL LINK
Make sure that you keep an eye out for when all the events are happening and also what you are allowed to bring since in some events some items are forbidden in the venue.
Tokyo EDM Musical Festivals
September - Ultra Japan official link
Rock Musical Festivals
March - Knotfest Japan official link
Jazz and Blues in Tokyo
Another popular form of music event in Tokyo you can enjoy live Jazz music. Don’t miss the chance to be able to experience an incredible performance by well-known artists from all over the world. The events are from January to September. Keep up with all the events by regularly checking the legendary Blue Note in Tokyo and the Billboard Cafe’s live schedules. The same company that runs the billboard music charts in the US, also run a cafe with live Jazz and blues.
Here are some additional websites to get a full list of helpful Jazz bars in Tokyo:
Concerts in Japan
Concerts in Japan are fun just like anywhere else. Many artists travel to Japan to perform for their loyal fans. Depending on how popular the artist is in Japan and how much the artist loves Japan, they may come every year or every several years. Legendary older music acts like Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Kiss, and New Order come every 5 to 10 years.
Many will only perform an event in Tokyo but some artists might also do another concert in another city like Osaka in the hope of trying to meet all of their fans. The artists will try their best to give an amazing performance and if you are lucky, you may even get to hear them sing a song in Japanese. Search on Live nation, Japan concert tickets or Bandsintown to see whether your favorite stars are visiting Japan! Check out the websites below that offer concert information:
Concert search site
International Festivals Events in Tokyo
There are several international festival events in Tokyo each month. An international festival usually involves one country being represented and you have the opportunity to spoil yourself and eat a lot of food from that country and experience music and other cultural experiences from that country. These events are often run by their embassy and the booths are run by expats from those countries. Most often they are held at Yoyogi Park, but you can find something in Odaiba and Yokohama as well. Make some new friends, dance and be merry, and overall have a good time at these events in Tokyo
- Date 04/05/2019-04/07
- Date 04/26/2019-05/06/2019
- Date 05/11/2019-05/12
- Date 05/12/2019
- Date 05/26/2019- 05/27/2019
- Date 8/6/2019
- Date 09/28/2019-09/29
Tokyo Event websites:
For events in Tokyo or anywhere in Japan, the best websites I personally use to find the latest events are Japanistry and Japan Cheapo. On Japanistry, you can specifically find what you are looking for by filtering your search and clicking on the most relevant subheading like “eat and drink” or “fireworks”. While for Japan Cheapo, you can look at all the events and filter them based on the date by week, this month or the specific month. These two sites are really useful because they show a variety of events and if one site does not include an event, the other site is bound to include it!
Official event page for all regions
Here are the links to the official events page of Tokyo and surrounding cities. The best thing to do is to check out all the links below and note down where you want to go so that you do not forget about the event. Each city has something different and unique so please do not just limit yourself to visit around Tokyo while you are in Japan. These websites are run by the local government, especially the Japanese version, so you will be able to see events that foreign sites may have missed. The link below is the English version.
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Music and Broadway events in Tokyo
Japanese Performances in Japanese
The theatres in Japan always have something going on, at the Gekidanshiki you will find many performances from Cats to Little Mermaid while in Takarazuka, they are performing A Fairy Tale -The Spirit of the Blue Rose and I am from Austria –A Sweet Melody of Home. You will be able to find at least one event that you are interested in and it is easy to book for the events online, book before the tickets sell out (due to how popular the event is this could happen). The performances can last for 7 days till even a year for some of them depending on the theatres. Come and see a show this weekend and be surprised how much fun it is!
Western performers in English
You may also be able to find western performers and plays that are being played in English so also keep an eye for that. At Yokohama Noh Theatre, they include performers from different countries.
The broadway in Japan offer the latest films turned into a musical. The classical favorites currently are Aladdin and Lion King. The reviews are all positive and states that the show is very entertaining, why don’t you be the judge of that and go and see Aladdin today? Follow the page to Broadway website to see what musicals events in Tokyo are in store for you! I have also included the links for the listings:
Japan Cultural events in Tokyo
The Japanese cultural events in Tokyo give a good understanding of Japanese culture. I am sure before heading to Japan, most of you would have searched for things to do in Japan and Sumo would have definitely come up. That's right, Sumo is also included in our list for cultural event because it is an event too famous to ignore! Go and see what the hype is about! There is also Noh drama and the eerie Butoh events that are worth visiting too and more information is provided below.
Sumo wrestling tournaments are held around six times a year in Japan among the six events three are held in Tokyo and the other three are held in other regions of Japan. Tickets are around ¥2000 and are actually pretty close up and is a good deal for what you pay for.
Noh drama in Tokyo
Noh drama is a great way to understand the history behind Noh and how the character has changed from the 8th century to the 21st century and how the stages, masks, and costumes all relate to the historic period. You will also understand the meaning behind the expressions, masks, and costumes and be able to take home something new that you have learned from the play.
Butoh events in Tokyo
Butoh dance is more of a dark dance that is expressed using violence and humor. Each butoh dancer creates their own piece and audiences watch their performances and try to guess what they were trying to portray. If you are in Japan, you may not get the chance again so do yourself a favor and see whether Butoh dance is your style or not!
For the Japanese cultural events, I would recommend to search on facebook for the events since most of the events do not have a specific website and Facebook will have accurate information and you will be able to find what you are looking for there instantly.
Japanese Festivals in Tokyo
Japanese people love their festivals and something is going around somewhere every weekend. You could go to one festival each week in Japan and still have more to see.
Here I have put together some of the most famous festivals in Japan, some festivals have more to offer than others but they are all great fun so do not underestimate the event. We will look at these festivals: Sanja Matsuri, Kanda Matsuri, Hanami Festival, Sanno Matsuri, Mitama Matsuri, Shinjuku Eisa Festival, Fukagawa Hachiman Festiva, Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi, Asakusa Samba Carnival, Kita Hanabi Taikal 2019 and Showa Kinen Park Cosmos Festival 2019. Each of the festivals have a memorable history so we will also look into the history.
March- April: Hanami Cherry blossom Festival
The Hanami cherry blossom festival is really a beautiful site and if you have booked your tickets for Japan for May then make sure to visit any of the parks in Japan since the cherry blossoms will bloom between March to May. This might not be a festival that you would want to go to or you might not understand why people would want to go and see the cherry blossoms since they are just flowers but this is where you are wrong, it's a memorable experience. I would suggest to head out and bring a picnic mat and snacks and drinks so that you can comfortably sit in the park and view the cherry blossoms. You will be able to see a sight full of pink bloomed cherry blossoms that makes you want to take Instagram worthy photos, trust me you will definitely want to take pictures that's a given. A tip I have is to go to the Chidorigafuchi moat and take a boat ride and see the cherry blossoms, this is another nice way to be surrounded by the flowers. You can surround yourself with the lake, flowers, and wind, sounds great doesn't it? During the cherry blossom season, the boat ride is 800 yen for 30 minutes. You could also listen to music while the wind blows and the cherry blossom falls, this is a perfect relaxing spot. Anyone can join this festival, whether it is couples, families or friends and you will see many people enjoying this time as well so you should enjoy it too with your loved ones!
May: Kanda Matsuri
The Kanda Matsuri is in the list of one of the most popular festivals in Tokyo as well. The festival is usually held in mid-May and the festival is only held in odd-numbered years. This means if the recent festival was in May 2019 then the next festival will be on May 2021. The reason some of the festivals do not happen every year is because of all the different stories of the festivals, lots of the famous festivals have been put up against each other which ruins the appreciation so each festival will be more appreciated when they happen in different times. History fact two, Kanda festival explains how Tokugawa Ieyasu's team won the battle. This festival will make you remember the history and the Japanese believe that Kanda Myojin's main shrine represents prosperity and good fortune. This is another reason why the festival is so important to them. The festival lasts for one week and there is plenty of time to enjoy the festival and walk to the different areas. Similarly to the other festivals, the portable shrine is taken around many cities including central Tokyo and right behind the shrines, you will be able to spot priests on horses and also people playing instruments and wearing traditional costumes. Some of the areas that were covered in 2018 were: Kanda, Nihonbashi, Otemachi, and Akihabara as you can tell, they walk to cities that have a different feel to each other. Join the next festival in May 2021 and learn more about how the Kanda Matsuri was created and understand the reason why the festival is so popular!
May 8: Sanja Matsuri
One of the famous festivals in Tokyo is the Sanja Matsuri which takes place on the third Friday of May to Sunday. This is where the Asakusa Shrine’s 3 Mikoshi is carried around the neighborhood and then they bring it back to the original place. Before we look into the festival more, History Fact number one: this festival is held to appreciate the three people: Hinokuma Hamann, Hinokuma Takenan and Hajino Nakatamo that created the Sensoji temple. Everyone comes together to carry the Mikoshi and it is quite a challenge but also a fun experience for everyone. During this festival, there is a parade full of music ranging from taiko drumming to flute making the festival more enjoyable. This is not the end of the festival, you can also enjoy the games that are provided in the area and be able to eat good food. This is a chance to learn about Japanese culture and see people in traditional costumes. Also, visitors should bear in mind that nearly 2 million people attend this event so it will be quite crowded and busy so it is best to only take what is required since you could always buy things on the way. This festival only happens once a year so make sure to come to Asakusa if you are in Japan, it would be a shame to miss it especially if you are already in Tokyo.
June: Sanno Matsuri
The Sanno Matsuri compared to the other festivals has fewer people attending but the number is still quite high, a total of 500 people attend the festival. The festival takes place in mid-June and the next one is on June 2020. This festival is held in even-numbered years so mark that on your calendar so you do not miss the next one. History fact 3, the Sanno festival is another celebration of the political rulers Tokugawa shoguns and the period began from 1603 to 1867. The festival will last for one week and you can join the 9 hours parade filled with smiles. Also in the Sanno Matsuri festival, 3 portable shrines are carried by everyone and they march through to Yasukuni Shrine and Tokyo Imperial palace so it is a great chance to walk with everyone and see some famous sites.
July 13-16th: Mitama Matsuri
The Mitama Matsuri is a festival that is both colorful and relaxing. It takes place in the Yasukuni Shrine and usually lasts 4 days, this year in 2019, the event happened from 13 to 16 July. There were around 30,000 lanterns that were displayed which reflected a bright yellow light under the dark night. This makes the festival even more special because you are just surrounded by pretty lanterns and you can take pictures in front of the lanterns making sure that you capture the perfect moment. You can take a picture in the morning sunlight or at night and come whenever you want whether you want to come in the afternoon or evening. This is one of the best things about the Mitama matsuri festival, there’s no time limit, unlike the other festivals. If you were wondering about food, do not worry because food is involved in this festival as well! There were stalls that offered snacks and also fun games so the lanterns weren’t really the only thing that you would be able to see. There is also a shrine ceremony and you can catch some bon Odori dance which is nice because you get to see more things than what you would have come here for! Food, pretty designs, dance, and games, this sounds like a perfect day out!
July 27th: Shinjuku Eisa Festival [link in Japanese]
Next up is Shinjuku Eisa Festival, this is a pretty famous location in Tokyo so why not come to the festival and then do some shopping or go and visit a Michelin star ramen place? Let's get back to the Eisa festival, first of all, the festival happens around July. This 2019 year, the festival took place on 27 July and unfortunately the festival runs only one day. In this festival, they showed people a traditional dance which involved using drums and you can see a group of people happily performing together on the streets and bringing smiles to people around them. During the festival, people cheer for the dancers and sit on the road filming and paying attention to the dances. I will give you another tip since I think this item is needed, during my time in Japan, I have concluded that fans are a necessity for the hot weather so make sure that you take one with you! I like this festival because everyone performs together whether they are girls, boys, kids or older adults and this kind of theme is very sweet.
August 11-15: Fukagawa Hachiman Festival
The Fukagawa Hachiman Festival lasts for 5 days and starts in the middle of August. This year it took place from 11 to 15 August. This is the perfect festival for the summer weather, is that enough clue to try and guess what it will involve? I’m not sure if any of you got it right but this festival involves water! That’s the right water! Basically what happens on Sunday is that many people carry 53 portable shrines and the people around them will cool them down with water using buckets and even a large hose! This is a chance to get the whole family outside having a water splash, there is no need for a waterpark! Anyone can join this event and you will see many happy faces, especially little kids being very shy to splash water on older adults and their parents trying to help them join in the fun! Come and get splashed, it will be fun!
August 24-25th: Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi
This festival is another one that I have been too and I got to say it is very amusing! It's just packed with positive vibes! The festival happens during the middle of August around 24 to 25th and they offer a 2-day street dance event and you can see many people dancing to a variety of dances, for example, Yoshiko dance. Around 100 teams come together for the event and they impress the crowd with their good moves. It is such a great sight to see and there is not only girls that perform but a few boys too so it's nice to see a mixture of people trying their best to please the crowd. The event even offers fans and leaflets that you can take home which is very useful, I have been using the fan I got from this festival every time the weather is hot. Take this chance and go at least to one of the festival days and see how it is for yourself!
August 31st: Asakusa Samba Carnival
This is another event that I have been able to see while I arrived in Japan. The Asakusa Samba Carnival in one word is unique. This carnival festival is where all of the performers will wear flashy and color clothing and big feathers and long-length dresses that have special extra touch. Some people will not be able to miss because they will have horses and they will dominate the road. If you are in the Asakusa area when the carnival is about to start, you will be able to see many people coming in a group in different clothing passing by and holding up a big sign which says that photography is not allowed and it is a surprising moment at that time well, it was very surprising for me anyway. The event is very popular and around 500,000 people come every year so it is treated as one of the most important festivals during August. This year the event happened on the 31st of August and like the Shinjuku Eisa Festival, there is only one festival so if you miss it, that's it, you'll have to wait for next year. This festival out of all the festivals I mentioned is the only one that has a friendly competition where the samba groups will compete against each other and whoever wins will get the crown! Doesn’t it sound fun? Let's go to the samba carnival and see who wins!
September 14- Nov 4th: Showa Kinen Park Cosmos Festival 2019
The Showa Kinen Park has a cosmos festival which features 6 million flowers and the flowers bloom from September 14th to November 4th so you have nearly 2 months to visit the park so you can not even say that you are busy because I doubt that you are busy every day for 2 months and can’t even keep an hour for this. Please bear in mind that this is roughly when they start to bloom and sometimes it can be earlier or later. The good news about this festival is that there are over 20,000 square feet of flowers and you can find 6 million flowers, that's amazing, right? There are also 30 different cosmos flowers so you will not get bored seeing the same cosmos flowers and that can not be used as an excuse to not come. I will let you onto a fact, this cosmos festival is one of the largest flower festivals in Japan and can be found right in Tokyo. This means that you do not need to travel a few hours away to just the see flowers and can just hop on to the train.
September 28: Kita Hanabi Taikal 2019
The Kita Hanabi Taikal festival is a fireworks festival near the Arawa river which makes it even more spectacular. If you have missed the other fireworks festivals that happened last month or earlier this month, then it is a good chance to attend this one and not miss it this time! This year it will happen on Saturday 28 September from 4:30 pm to 20:30 but the event will start at 6:30 pm so make sure to get there early. There will be free seating available near the event place but also paid seating starting from 1,000 yen but there is a couple of seating, individual seating and group seating for 4 people and also 8 people. They are all individually priced so it is better to check out the Kita Hanabi Taikal website. According to the event team, if you like fireworks and do not like how busy the event is then this is the right place to come to! Fireworks are a perfect way to spend time with your family or friends and it is also an Instagram worthy place so why go outside and see the amazing fireworks? I am sure the event will be good and I can guarantee you that so I hope you guys will trust me and go and have fun!
Here are three websites that are updated regularly that will keep you up-to-date with Japanese festivals events in Tokyo
That is all of the festivals that I am aware of and I have tried my best to give a variety of festivals so that you can try and enjoy a bit of everything. I hope this article was helpful and you can check back on our BFF Tokyo website since the events page will get updated regularly. Thank you for sticking to the end and I hope you enjoy your time in Japan!
Unique events in Tokyo and Kanagawa
Tokyo and unique go very well together. Even before I was about to visit Japan, I wanted to try out unique events that I would not get a chance to if I was in my country. Here in Tokyo, there is the Yokosuka open day, Imperial palace open day and Japanese festivals in Japan. Go to the Yokosuka or Imperial palace open day since you only have one chance a year to visit! It will be a shame if you purposely miss this event because you forgot! Why don’t you visit and show off to your family and friends?
Unique Yokosuka base open day
Every year for one day, the public can go onto the base and buy American goods. There will also be live music and food so come along with your family and enjoy your time! The Yokosuka base will be open on August 3rd, 2019 and Mikasa Park will also be open. Everyone attending the event will have a different entrance, so visitors head to the main gate and CAC holders enter through Mikasa gate. I think they have some Carl’s Jr and some other restaurants you cannot find off the base in Japan.
Imperial palace open day
The Imperial Palace is open one day a year to the general public and the emperor usually makes a greeting.
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