Monday, 15 August 2011

Enjoying Summer Nights in Tokyo

We are already in mid August. It's my favourite time of year in Japan even though it can be hot and sticky. There's nothing like ending the day setting outside and drinking something cold and refreshing, listening to the cicadas and the distant crackle of hanabi fireworks. The sounds of summer will be forever ingrained in my memory. The month of August is full of festivals, folk dancing and fireworks, especially at night. I know it can be such a relief sitting in your air conditioned serviced apartment in tokyo and hard to move but you got to get yourself out there and enjoy the fantastic experiences that Tokyo summer nights have to offer. We are already half way through August, there's still so much to do. Here's a list compiled by the Japan National Tourism Organization. However, if you want to escape the heat of Tokyo you can find more things to do in other areas of Japan at this link.

Bon Odori folk dance
Aug. 20 to Aug. 21
Noryo Bon Odori, a folk dancing meet, open to the public, is held at Shinjuku Chuo Koen park, Shinjuku-ku, from 6 pm to around 9 pm on the 20th and the 21st. When it rains, it will be canceled.

Access: (1) The Marunouchi Subway Line to Nishi-Shinjuku Sta. (M 07), and then walk 3 min.

(2) Walk 10 min. from JR Shinjuku Sta. (West Exit).
(3) The Toei Oedo Subway Line to Tochomae Sta. (E 28), and then walk 3 min.

Summer Grand Festival
Aug. 25

Kameido Tenjin Taisai or Annual Summer Festival of Kameido Tenjin, Koto-ku. On the 25th, about 1,100 Kentomyo, lighted lanterns are lit up in the precincts from around 7 pm. The festival is small in scale this year.
Access: The JR Sobu Line to Kameido Sta., and then walk 15 min.

Annual Summer Festival of Suwa Shrine
Aug. 26 to Aug. 28

Suwa Jinja Rei-Taisai or Annual Summer Festival of Suwa Shrine, Tachikawa, on the outskirts of Tokyo. Sumo tournament for children is held in the precincts from 1 pm to 4 pm on the 27th. Shishi-mai, Lion Dance is performed at the Shrine from 4 pm to 5 pm on the 27th and the 28th. Mikoshi (portable shrines) and floats parade on the city's main streets from 1 pm to around 5:30 pm on the 28th.
Access: The JR Chuo Line to Tachikawa Sta. (South Exit), and then walk 12 min.

Hanabi Taikai 
Aug. 27

Sumidagawa Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Display) over the Sumida River, Taito-ku, is held from 7:05 pm to 8:30 pm (10,000 fireworks in total). In case of rain or when with a strong wind, it will be canceled.
Access: The Ginza or Toei Asakusa Subway Line to Asakusa Sta. (G 18, A 18) (There are some other stations close to the sites to see the fireworks, such as Honjo-Azumabashi Sta. (A 19) on the Toei Asakusa Subway Line, Ryogoku & Asakusabashi Sta. on the JR Sobu Line or Narihirabashi Sta. on the Tobu Isezaki Line.)

Awa Odori folk dance
Aug. 27 to Aug. 28

Koenji Awa Odori, folk dancing originated in the Awa region in Tokushima Pref., is enjoyed and demonstrated by people on the streets around Koenji Sta., Suginami-ku, from 3 pm to 6 pm on both days. When it rains heavily, it will be postponed to the 29th.
Access: The JR Chuo Line to Koenji Sta.

Harajuku Omotesando Super Yosakoi 2010
Aug. 27 to Aug. 28

Super Yosakoi 2011, a big folk dancing event similar to that of Kochi Pref. in Shikoku Island, is held in Tokyo, and is participated by about 6,000 people from all over Japan. The event is held on Harajuku-Omotesando Street, in Meiji-Jingu Shrine, in Yoyogi Koen Event Square, and on Keyaki-Namiki-dori Street in front of NHK, from 10 am to around 6 pm on both days, regardless of the weather conditions.
Access: The JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku Sta., the Chiyoda Subway Line to Meijijingu-mae Sta. (C 03), the Chiyoda, Ginza or Hanzomon Subway Line to Omotesando Sta. (C 04, G 03, Z 02)

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