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JULY 2016

(Please confirm information before you go at the phone numbers listed)

(*) covered events
    Festivals Fireworks Displays
1 Fri *Mt. Fuji climbing season begins  
2 Sat *Ose no Shishimai  
    *Nishi Arai Daishi Fu-rin Ichi (July 2 through July 31)  
3 Sun *Ose no Shishimai  
4 Mon    
5 Tue    
6 Wed *Kappabashi Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri (July 6 through July 11)  
    *Iriya Asagao Ichi (July 6,7 and 8)  
7 Thu *Iriya Asagao Ichi (July 6,7 and 8)  
8 Fri *Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri (July 8 through July 10)  
    *Iriya Asagao Ichi (July 6,7 and 8)  
    *Narita Gion Matsuri (July 8,9 and 10)  
9 Sat *Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri (July 8 through July 10)  
    *Sensoji Hoozuki Ichi (July 9 and 10)  
    *Narita Gion Matsuri (July 8,9 and 10)  
    *Ueno Summer Festival (July 9 through Aug. 7)  
10 Sun *Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri (July 8 through July 10)  
    *Sensoji Hoozuki Ichi (July 9 and 10)  
    *Narita Gion Matsuri (July 8,9 and 10)  
    *Enoshima Shrine Tenno-sai  
11 Mon    
12 Tue *Kuki's Chochin Matsuri (July 12 and 18)  
13 Wed *Yasukuni Shrine Mitama Matsuri (July 13 through 16)  
    *Tsukudajima Bon Odori (13,14 and 15)  
    *Chidorigafuchi Toro Nagashi  
14 Thu  *Tsukudajima Bon Odori (13,14 and 15)  
    *Gonshoji Mizudome-no-Mai  
    *Yasukuni Shrine Mitama Matsuri (July 13 through 16)  
15 Fri *Tsukudajima Bon Odori (13,14 and 15)  
    *Unveiling of Enma at Shosenji Temple in Kita Senju (July 15 and 16)  
    *Unveiling of Konnyaku Enma at Genkakuji (July 15 and 16)  
    *Unveiling of Enma and Datsue-ba at Taisoji Temple (July 15 and 16)  
    *Yasukuni Shrine Mitama Matsuri (July 13 through 16)  
16 Sat *Unveiling of Enma at Shosenji Temple in Kita Senju (July 15 and 16) Kurihama Matthew Perry Festival Hanabi Taikai, 7:20 p.m.-8:10 p.m (3,500) 046-834-1111
    *Unveiling of Konnyaku Enma at Genkakuji (July 15 and 16) Yokohama Sparkling Twilight Yamashita Koen 7:30 p.m.-8 p.m. (3,000) 045-681-2353
    *Unveiling of Enma and Datsue-ba at Taisoji Temple (July 15 and 16)  
    *Yasukuni Shrine Mitama Matsuri (July 13 through 16)  
17 Sun *Hanahata Otori Shrine Shishimai Yokohama Sparkling Twilight Yamashita Koen 7:30 p.m.-8 p.m. (3,000) 045-681-2353
    *Shinobazu no Ike Toro Nagashi (lantern floating)  
    *Satte Summer Festival  
18 Mon National Holiday (Ocean Day)  
    *Kuki's Chochin Matsuri (July 12 and 18)   
19 Tue    
20 Wed *Kawasaki Daishi Furin Ichi (July 20 through 24) Kamakura (Kanagawa)(2,500) 0467-23-3050
    *Kumagaya Uchiwa Matsuri (July 20, 21 and 22)  
21 Thu *Kumagaya Uchiwa Matsuri (July 20, 21 and 22)  
22 Fri *Kumagaya Uchiwa Matsuri (July 20, 21 and 22)  
23 Sat *Edogawa-ku Kingyo Matsuri (July 23 and 24) *Adachi (Tokyo)(12,000) 03-3880-5853 Website URL
    *Ueno Summer Festival Big Parade  
24 Sun *Edogawa-ku Kingyo Matsuri (July 23 and 24)  
25 Mon    
26 Tue   *Katsushika (Tokyo)(15,000) 03-6758-2222
27 Wed    
28 Thu *Horoku-Kyu at Kagurazaka Zenkokuji Temple (Bishamonten) at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.  
    *Hibiya Park Giant Morning Glory Exhibition (July 28-Aug. 3)  
29 Fri *Kagurazaka Awa Odori (July 29 and 30)  
30 Sat *Kagurazaka Awa Odori (July 29 and 30) *Sumida River (Tokyo)(22,500) 03-5608-1111 Website URL
    *Shinjuku Eisa Tachikawa (Tokyo)(5,000) 042-527-2700
    *Doyo-no-Ushino-Hi "Eel-Eating Day" Ageo (Saitama)(10,000) 048-775-5917
      Omiya (Saitama)(5,000) 0180-99-3144
31 Sun *Haneda Shrine Annual Festival  
    *Yasukuni Shrine Giant Morning Glory Fair (July 31-Aug. 7)  

Hikawa Shrine in Ose, Saitama Prefecture
July 2 (Sat) and 3 (Sun), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The festival is held for two days on July 1 and 2 at Hikawa Shrine in Ose, Saitama Prefecture. On July 1, shishimai is dedicated to Fuji Sengen Shrine inside the precincts of Hikawa shrine to celebrate the opening of Mt. Fuji and on July 2, the shishimai is dedicated to Hikawa Shrine itself.

The shishimai of Ose's Hikawa Shrine is believed to have started in 1662 when the shrine was donated with shishi head gears from Tokugawa Shogunate retainer Morikawa. 12 performances will be held on both days and the stories are mostly based on episodes of climbing the Mt. Fuji.

URL: Ose-no-Shishimai
Access: From South Exit of Yashio Station of Tsukuba Express, take a Keisei Bus #11and get off at Shiodomebashi Minami
Telephone: Yashio City Shiryokan 048-997-6666
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Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri
July 8 (Fri) through July 10 (Sun)
Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Hiratsuka's Tanabata began after the WW II for the purpose to restore the economy of the city which was heavily damaged by the war. The festival which started as a copy of the Tanabata of Sendai achieved a great success during the couse of years thanks to active business activities of the region and it has become one of the biggest Tanabata festivals in Japan.

Access: Hiratsuka Station on JR Tokaido Line.
Telephone: 0463-35-8107 (Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri Jimukyoku)
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Kappabashi Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival)
July 6 (Wed) through July 11 (Mon).
Kappabashi Hon-Dori Street, Taito-ku.

On 6th (Sat) and 7th (Sun), various attractions and parades are scheduled at Kappabashi Hon-Dori street. Tanabata is of Chinese origin, the romantic fable relates the love of the Herdsman, represented by the star in the constellation of Aquila, and the Weaver - the star Vega, who dwell on opposite sides of the Amanogawa - River of Heaven, the Milky Way, come together on the 7th night of the 7th moon.

Kappabashi Street is a unique place known as "Kitchenware Town." All sorts of equipment and utensils, modern and traditional, for restaurants and home kitchens can be found here.

Access: Asakusa Station on Tsukuba Express.
Telephone: 03-5246-1016 (Taito-ku Koryu-ka)
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Iriya Asagao Ichi (Morning Glory Fair)
July 6 (Wed),7 (Thu) and 8 (Fri) Every year the same days.
Iriya Kishibojin Temple and along the Kototoi Dori Street in Taito-ku.

Asagao Ichi of Iriya is a sign of the arrival of summer in Tokyo.

More than 100 merchants set up stalls selling the morning glory pots from 5 a.m.. Asagao grows in over a hundred different varieties. The plant puts flowers in the early morning and droop away with the bright sunrise.

It originally came from China in the Nara Era (710-794) where it was principally grown for medicinal purposes. It blossoms in almost every shade and colour.

Access: Iriya Station on Subway Hibiya Line. 1 minute walk.
Telephone: 03-3841-1800 (Kishibojin Temple)
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Narita Gion Matsuri
July 8 (Fri), 9 (Sat) and 10 (Sun)
Narita City, Chiba Prefecture

Narita is a city in Chiba Prefecture 60 k.m. east of Tokyo. Today, the city is most known as the site of Tokyo's international airport Narita Airport. Narita gained and flourished when it became a popular pilgrimage site of Naritasan buddhist temple during the Edo period (1603-1868).

The Narita Gion Festival is a summer festival, which has continued for over 300 years. At this event, one of Naritasan Shinshoji's portable shrines (omikoshi), along with 10 other different floats are paraded down the Omotesando Road. It lasts for three days. Every year more than 400,000 spectators visit for the festival.

URL: Narita Gion Matsuri
Access: Narita Station on JR Narita Line/ Narita Station on Keisei Line
Telephone: 0476-22-2102 (Narita Kanko Kyokai)
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Hoozuki Ichi (Chinese Lantern Plant Fair)
July 9 (Sat) and 10 (Sun) Every year the same days
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Taito-ku.

On the days of the hoozuki market on July 9 and 10, Sensoji temple in Asakusa is crowded with huge number of visitors. There is another reason the temple is crowded on top of the Hoozuki Ichi. It is believed that if people visit the temple on July 10th, they are bestowed with the same benefits one visits the temple a thousand days.

Visiting the temple on this day is called "Sen nichi mairi." Around this time of the year, long tsuyu (rainy season) in Kanto region gets over and people feel the arrival of summer.

URL: Sensoji Hoozuki Ichi
Access: Asakusa Station on Subway Ginza Line, on Toei Subway and Tobu Isezaki Line.
Telephone: 03-3842-0181
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Kuki's Chochin Matsuri (Lantern Festival)
July 12 (Tue) and 18 (Mon)
Kuki, Saitama Prefecture

Kuki's Chochin Matsuri is the festival of the Yakumo Shrine in the city. Seven floats parade the main street near the JR Kuki Station on July 12 and 18.

During the daytime from 12 noon to 4 p.m., the floats which carry dolls of Japanese legendery and historical heroes on top parade the town and at night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. the dolls are removed from the floats and they are decorated each with about 500 lanterns. The floats gather at the square in front of the Kuki Station after parading the towns.

URL: Kuki Chochin Matsuri
Access: Kuki Station on JR Utsunomiya Line and Tobu Isezaki Line.
Telephone: 0480-22-1111 (Kuki City Sightseeing Department)
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Fu-rin (Wind Bell) Matsuri (Fair)
July 2 (Sat) through July 31 (Sun), 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Nishiarai Daishi Temple in Adachi-ku.

Various wind bells are gathered from all over Japan and the exhibited wind bells are sold on the spot. The fu-rin is made of metal or porcelain or glass. It is hung on the the eaves of houses. A piece of paper or card is fastened to the clapper and this catches breeze which sets the clapper in motion against the side of the bell producing cool and refreshing sounds in sweltering summer.

Address: 1-15-1 Nishi Arai, Adachi-ku
Access: Daishi Mae Station on Daishi Line (Extension of Tobu Isezaki Line from Nishi Arai Station). 5 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3890-2345 (Nishi Arai Daishi)
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Enoshima Yasaka Shrine Tenno-Sai Festival
July 10 (Sun) Every year on the second Sunday
Enoshima Yasaka Shrine in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Enoshima is a little island off Katase. A large mikoshi owned by the Yasaka Shrine (Enoshima Shrine) will parade from 9 a.m. and it will be carried into the sea from 11 a.m.

The island is a famous sightseeing spot since old time. Until a bridge was built between the island and Katase beach in Meiji Period, people walked to the island during an ebb tide if not by boats. Enoshima Shrine was erected by fishermen as a shrine for their guardian deity in the old days. While in 1182, Minamoto-no-Yoritomo, founder of the Kamakura shogunate, consecrated a statue of Benten in a cave of the island to pray for his successful pacification of the northern regions. Since then, Benten of Enoshima gathered public regard as the deity granting them happiness and luck.

Benten is the only female member of the Seven Gods of Luck. She is the Goddess of Music, Eloquence, Arts and Fortune.

URL: Enoshima Yasaka Jinja
Access: Enoshima Station on Odakyu Line. 20 minutes walk from the station.
Telephone: 046-622-4020 (Enoshima Jinja)
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Yasukuni Shrine Mitama Matsuri
July 13 (Wed) through July 16 (Sat)
Kudanshita, Chiyoda-ku.

July 13 - Edo Kappore (11:30 a.m.)/Bon Odori (6:30 p.m.)/ Brass Band Parade (6:40 p.m.)/ Aomori Nebuta (7 p.m.)/Japanese Drums (7 p.m.)
July 14 - Bon Odori (6:30 p.m.)/ Singing Show at Noh Stage (7 p.m.)
July 15 - Edo Kappore (5 p.m.)/ Children's Mikoshi (5 p.m.)/ Bon Odori (6;30 p.m.)/ Mikoshi (6:30 p.m.)
July 16 - Bon Odori (6:30 p.m.)/ Singing Show by Tsunoda - Hiro Concert (7 p.m.)/ Awa Odori (7:30 p.m.)

Mitama Matsuri (Festival for the spirit of the dead) is associated with the bon festival which is originally held around July 15th in lunar calendar.

Yasukuni Shrine is dedicated to Japan's war dead. During the Mitama Matsuri, various events are held such as a demonstration of martial arts, a parade of mikoshi, Japanese drum beating, a traditional Japanese dance, bon odori etc. Huge numbers of paper lanterns decorating the precincts and pathways are lit up at night.

Access: Kudanshita Station on Subway Tozai Line and Hanzomon Line.
Telephone: 03-3261-8326 (Yasukuni Shrine)
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Tsukudajima Bon Odori
July 13 (Wed) through July 15 (Fri)
Tsukudajima, Chuo-ku.

Bon Dance of Tsukudajima has a different atmosphere from other Bon dances in Tokyo. It is classical preserving styles of original "nenbutsu odori" (Buddhist invocation dance) reflecting the tradition of Kansai district (western district of Japan).

The settlers of this tiny island came in the early 17th century from villages of the rural area of Osaka in Kansai to Edo (Tokyo) when Tokugawa shogunate opened its capital in Edo. It is said that the original 30 fishermen who came here were entrusted with the task of supplying the shogun with fish.

URL: Tsukudajima Bon Odori
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by children 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. by adults
Address: 1-2 Tsukuda, Chuo-ku
Access: Tsukishima Station on Subway Yurakucho Line and Metropolitan Subway Oedo Line.
Telephone: 03-6228-7907 (Chuo-ku Kanko Kyokai)
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Chidorigafuchi Toro Nagashi
July 13 (Wed), 6:30 p.m., Every year on the same day of the month.
Chidorigafuchi, Chiyoda-ku.

Toro Nagashi or lantern-floating is the picturesque ending to the Obon service. It is usually held on the last evening of the Buddhist Obon festival to guide the ancestral spirits back to the other world. Little paper lanterns are lighted with candles and floated down rivers. Hundreds of such lighted floats are set off and people watch them float down the river carried far away by the wind from the shore.

At Chidorigafuchi, the event of Toro Nagashi is titled "Noryo no Yube" (enjoying coolness of summer evening) and for 40 first comers, boats are rent for 1,000 yen, deadline being June 30.

URL :Chiyodaku
Address: Sanbancho, Kudan Minami, Chiyoda-ku
Access: Kudanshita Station on Subway Tozai Line, Hanzomon Line.
Telephone: 03-3556-0391 (Chiyoda Kanko Kyokai)
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July 14 (Thu), 1 p.m.
Gonshoji Temple in Omori, Ota-ku.

The festival has a history of more than 500 years when the area was attacked by a severe dought. The monk of the temple prayed for the rain for a good harvest and his wish came true. However, the days of rain continued too long and people conversely had to pray for the rain to stop.

Men put and carried in straw bags represent dragons (the god of rain). Farmers who want the rain to stop chasten the dragons by splashing water on them. The dragons blow conchi horns pleading for the rain to stop and begging a pardon. On a makeshift stage in the precincts of Gonshoji Temple, three dragons present a dance to God praying for the rain to stop.
Parade starts from Omori Higashi Chugakko (Junior High Schoo) at 1 p.m. and proceeds to Gonshoji Temple.

URL: Gonshoji Mizudome
Access: Omorimachi Station on Keikyu originating at Shinagawa and 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3761-4945 (Gonshoji Temple)
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Hanahata Otori Shrine Shishimai
July 17 (Sun) Every year on 3rd Sunday
Otori Shrine in Hanahata, Adachi-ku

Shishimai of Otori Shrine in Hanahata is said to keep ancient styles of Japanese shishimai. It is believed started in the middle of Edo period (1603-1868). The shishimai began as a ceremony to dispel an epidemic which hit the village.

The shishimai is played by three shishis - a father, a mother and a son accompanied by four hanagasa girls who are wearing hats adorned with flowers and festival music of fifes.

URL: Hanahata Shishimai
Access: Bus for Kuwabukuro Danchi from Rokucho Station on Tsukuba Express/ Bus for Kuwabukuro Danchi from Yatsuka Station on Tobu Isezaki Line
Telephone: 03-3883-2908 (Otori Shrine)
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Unveiling of Konnyaku Enma at Genkakuji Temple
July 15 (Fri) and 16 (Sat)
Genkakuji Temple, Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku.

The Enma Daioh of Genkakuji temple is popular since the Edo period as "Konnyaku Enma." The legend tells that an old woman who lived near the temple had an eye disease. She was a faithful worshipper of the temple and earnestly prayed to the Enma for recovery. Her favorite food was "konnyaku" (jerry like paste made from the starch of the konjac) but she quitted to eat them and offered them to Enma instead. Finally, the Enma had a mercy on her and plucked his right eye and gave it to her. Hence, the right eye of the enma statue of the Genkakuji Temple is missing.

Every year on July 15,16 and Jan. 15,16 on the days when a cover of the hell opens, the temple exhibits Juo-zu (ten hanging scrolls of Enma) in the main hall.

URL: Genkakuji
Address: 2-23-14 Koishikawa, Bunkyo-ku
Access: Kasuga Station on Toei Subway Mita Line, Korakuen Station on Subway Marunouchi Line and Nanboku Line
Telephone: 03-3811-4482
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Unveiling of Enma and Datsue-ba of Taisoji Temple
July 15 (Fri) and 16 (Sat)
Taisoji Temple in Shinjuku

The doors of the building housing the Enma is open to the public only on Jan. 15 and 16 and July 15 and 16 though the visitors can see it any day beyond the lattice.

Housed together with Enma Daioh in the building is Datsue-ba, an old woman who takes clothes away from the rich dead whose clothes too heavy to swim the river of Sanzu-no-kawa that all the deceased has to cross. The weight of clothes is as heavy as sins the rich committed before his or her death.

Inside the precincts of the temple is a huge bronze statue of Jizo which was counted as one of the six Jizo of Edo.

Bon Odori is held at night of Friday, July 15.

Address: 2-9-2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Access: Shinjuku Gyoen-mae Station on Subway Marunouchi Line
Telephone: 03-3356-7731
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Unveiling of Enma at Shosenji Temple
July 15 (Fri) and 16 (Sat)
Shosenji Temple at Kita Senju, Adachi-ku.

Fierce-looking Enma-sama or Enma-Daioh (Great King Enma) is the regent of Hell or the judge of after-world. He passes judgement on all new comers. He is at the same time the keeper of those who are sent to Hades, and it is his task to torture all prisoners as punishment.

Japanese children are told by their mothers that "If you tell a lie, Enma-sama will come and pull out your tongue." Jan. 16 and July 16 are the only days in the whole year when Enma takes break from his duty. At Shosenji temple, they unveil the statue of Enma Daioh to public on Jan. 15,16 and July 15,16.

URL: Kitasenju
Address: 2-11 Senju, Adachi-ku
Access: Kita Senju Station on JR Joban Line and Subway Chiyoda Line
Telephone: 03-3881-2358
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Toro Nagashi (lantern floating)
July 17 (Sun) at 7 p.m. Every year the same day of the month.
Bentendo, Shinobazu-no-Ike, Ueno, Taito-ku.

Bentendo on a small island in Shinobazu Pond was built on the occasion when Tokugawa shogunate's family temple Kan-eiji Temple in Ueno was founded in 1625 by the monk Tenkai.

At Bentendo, a group of "komuso" (a mendicant Zen priests wearing a sedge hood and playing a shakuhachi bamboo flute) joins the ceremony of
Toro Nagashi.

Lantern-floating is the picturesque ending to the Obon service. It is usually held on the last evening of the Buddhist Obon festival to guide the ancestral spirits back to the other world. Hundreds of little paper lanterns are lighted with candles and floated on the water of the pond.

Address: 2-1, Ueno Koen, Taito-ku
Access: Ueno Station on JR Yamanote Line (Dobutsuen Exit of the station)
Telephone: 03-3821-4638
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Ueno Summer Festival
July 9 (Sat) through Aug. 7 (Sun)
Big Parade on July 23 (Sat)
1 p.m.-3 p.m. at JR Ueno Station
3 p.m.-8 p.m. at Suijo Ongakudo near Shinobazu-no-Ike pond
5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at Ueno Chuo Dori Street

Every year at Ueno, they hold a fantastic parade of Japanese festivals - teams gathered from many districts of the nation. It is a wonderful experience for people in Tokyo that they can experience many famous festivals of Japan while staying in Tokyo.

The picture on the right is Akita's Nishimonai Bon Odori Dance.

URL: Ueno Natsu Matsuri
Access: Ueno Station on JR Yamanote Line.
Telephone: 03-3833-0030 (Ueno Kanko Renmei)
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Kawasaki Daishi Fu-rin Ichi (Wind-Bell Fair)
July 20 (Wed) through July 24 (Sun)
Kawasaki Daishi Temple in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture.

This is the largest wind-bell fair in Japan. 900 kinds and 30,000 items - traditional and modern designs are displayed and sold on the spot. The price ranges from 1,000 to 100,000 yen. Various wind bells are gathered from 47 prefectures all over Japan. The fu-rin is made of metal or porcelain or glass. It is hung on the the eaves of houses. A piece of paper or card is fastened to the clapper and this catches breeze which sets the clapper in motion against the side of the bell producing cool and refreshing sounds in sweltering summer.

URL: Kawasaki Daishi
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Access: Kawasaki Daishi Station on Keikyu Daishi Line from Keikyu Kawasaki Station.
Telephone: 044-266-3420 (Kawasaki Daishi Temple)
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Satte Summer Festival
July 17 (Sunday)
Satte City, Saitama Prefecture

Satte is an old city located along the Nikko Kaido - a trunk road leading to Nikko from Edo (Tokyo) during the time of Edo period (1603-1868). The city has seven floats and the highlight of the festival comes on the last day of the festival at night. The carriers of the floats run a gentle up slope pulling the floatsl to the goal of Satte Station.

Entire schedules of the festival:
July 13 - Parade of the large mikoshi of Sachinomiya Shrine. The mikoshi leaves the shrine at 2 p.m. and parade through the town 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 17 - Joint parade of children's mikoshis 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
July 19 - Parade of floats 1 p.m.-10 p.m.
July 20 - Parade of floats from 10 a.m. All floats line up at Chuo Dori Street at 2:30 p.m. The floats start running a gentle slope one after another from 5:45 p.m.

Access: Satte Station on Tobu Nikko Line
Telephone: 0480-43-1111 (Satte City Hall)
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Kumagaya Uchiwa Matsuri
July 20 (Wed), 21 (Thu) and 22 (Fri)
Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture

The Uchiwa-matsuri is the festival of the Yasaka Shrine in Kumagaya City, Saitama Prefecture. The Uchiwa Matsuri which originally started as a ceremony to pray for protection of people from epidemics has gradually changed to praying for good harvests and business prosperity.

The name "uchiwa matsuri" originates from shops of Kumagaya in the old time offered sekihan (red bean-rice) to customers who shopped during the festival days. However, cooking red bean-rice was a lot of work for them and the shop owners started giving uchiwa (fan) instead.


Access: Kumagaya Station on JR Takasaki Line (1 hour trip from JR Ueno Station)
Telephone: 048-527-0002
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Kingyo Matsuri (Gold Fish Festival)
July 23 (Sat) and July 24 (Sun)
Gyosen Koen (Park) at Edogawa-ku

Edogawa-ku (Edogawa Ward) is located near the Edogawa River and was known for long as a center of gold fish productions. The area used to be a farming district of Tokyo but due to the urbanization of the area, many cultivation ponds of the goldfish moved out of Tokyo. Yet, the tradition of goldfish production still continues today. There will be exhibitions of the rare goldfish, on the spot sales, free goldfish scooping, etc. The festival will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.

URL: Edogawaku
Access: Nishi Kasai Station on Subway Tozai Line. 10 minutes walk
Telephone: 03-5662-0539 (Nosan Kakari, Sangyo Shinko-ka, Edogawa-ku Ward Office)
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Doyo-no-Ushino-hi "Eel-Eating Day"
July 30 (Sat)

People traditionally eat eels on the day of ushi (ox) of zodiac calendar in the doyo season (18 days period before the end of each season and it is usually referred to summer). It is the day when all unagi or eel shops do their record business of the year. Long advertisement flags (nobori) are often found at the eel restaurants or supermarkets promoting sales.

Eels are eaten on this day because it is commonly believed that broiled eels will give vitality in beating the Japan's hot and humid summer. Eel eating has been enjoyed by the people since ancient days, and kabayaki or broiled eels are particularly good with "sansho" pepper.
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Lotus Flowers at Shinobazu-no-ike Pond in Ueno Park, Taito-ku.

The plant is called "Hasu." It originally came from India and Egypt. The flowers open early in the morning and closes in the afternoon. The roots are eaten as a vegetable "renkon."

Lotus is a sacred flower closely connected with Buddhism, many images of the Buddha show him seated on lotus petals.

The lotus flowers at Shinobazu-no-ike put flowers from middle of July through middle of August. Visitors are recommended to visit in early hours of the day before the flowers close. The temple building at the center of the pond is Benten-do.

URL: Ueno Park
Address: 3-chome, Ikenohata, Ueno Park, Taito-ku
Access: Ueno Station on JR Yamanote Line.
Telephone: 03-3828-5644
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Horoku-Kyu at Kagurazaka Zenkokuji (Bishamonten)
July 28 (Thu) at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. (3,000 yen for those who want to participate)
Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku.

An oriental medical therapy "kyu" is moxa cautery or moxibustion in which a special fibre is burnt on the skin for the purpose of improving blood circulation. It was widely practiced in Japan for the alleviation of pain, and curing certain diseases. The dried leaves of the mugwort are usually used for the purpose.

At Bishamonten in Kagurazaka, the moxa is put on the "horoku" a saucer like unglazed earthen ware and a priest light it with a stick of a burning incense. During the Edo period (1600-1868), people believed the moxa works better if it is practiced during the period of the doyo season (18 days period before the end of summer). The believers gathered at the temple pray for their good health to Buddhist gods until the moxa on the pan over their heads is burned out.

Address: 5-36 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku
Access: Iidabashi Station on JR Chuo-Sobu Line, Kagurazaka Station on Subway Tozai Line
Telephone: 03-3269-0641
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Kagurazaka Awa Odori
July 29 (Fri) and 30 (Sat), 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku.

Awa Odori of Kagurazaka is the first Awa Odori festival held in Tokyo.

Awa Odori originated in Awa, today's Tokushima prefecture in Shikoku islands. It is a variation of bon odori dances. Awa Odori is danced in groups called "Ren." Each group has a different name and its own musicians accompanied.

Access: Iidabashi Station on JR Chuo-Sobu Line.
Telephone: 03-3268-2802 (Kagurazaka Shotenkai Jimusho)
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Hanabi Taikai (Fireworks Festivals)

Production of fireworks was introduced to Japan from China where gunpowder was first used in history. The Japanese liked hanabi and it became one of the most important outdoor events in the lives of the people of Edo (Tokyo). The ambition of every maker of fireworks was and still is to win awards at the annual display in July, at Tokyo, on the River Sumida.

Today, though the Hanabi Taikai on the River Sumida is most famous, it is very difficult for visitors to find good places to see because of high rise buildings alongside the river and too many viewers.

Recommended places of Hanabi Taikai in Tokyo are Adachi's Hanabi Taikai on July 23 at the Arakawa River near Kita Senju, Edogawa-ku Hanabi Taikai on Aug. 6 near Shinozaki at the Edogawa River and Katsushika Hanabi Taikai on July 26 at the Edogawa River near Shibamata.

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Shinjuku Eisa
July 30 (Sat) from 12 noon to 8 p.m.
Shinjuku Dori Avenue and other areas, East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station.

The Eisa Festival is a traditional performing art of Okinawa and it is a variation of bon odori (dance). The origin goes back to 1603 when the Jodo sect of Buddhism was introduced to Okinawa with "nenbutsu odori" (Buddhist invocation dance).

The characteristics of the Eisa is dynamic movement of dancers who march while beating drums. 20 teams including teams from Okinawa join the specutacular pageant which has become the seasonal event of Shinjuku in summer.

Place: Shinjuku-dori Avenue
Access: East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station
Shinjuku Station-Front Shopping Area Promotion Union
Telephone: 03-6416-3553
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Giant Morning Glory Exhibition
July 28 (Thu) through Aug. 3 (Wed)
Hibiya Park, Chiyoda-ku.

It is said that the Japanese are probably the only people in the world who cultivate asagao or morning glory as an ornamental plant to enjoy its blossoms.

The plant originally came from China in the Nara Era (7th century) where it was principally grown for medicinal purposes. In the Tokugawa days (1603-1867), the cultivation of asagao became so common and people took the best blossoms they produced and compared them with those brought by others. It later developed in the Meiji days into asagao exhibition. Asagao blooms at dawn before the sun rises, and droop in day time. It is recommended to visit in early hours of day.

A similar giant morning glory fair will be held also at Yasukuni Shrine July 31 through Aug. 7

URL: hibiya asagao
Access: Hibiya Station on Subway Hibiya Line
03-3605-0618 (Tokyo Asagao Kenkyukai Sponsor of Hibiya Park Exhibition)
Telephone: 03-3261-8326 (Yasukuni Shrine)
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Haneda Shrine Annual Festival
July 31 (Sun)
Haneda Shrine in Haneda, Ota-ku

In the morning, the miya mikoshi (shrine mikoshi) leaves the shrine at 8 a.m. and after parading all the town returns to the shrine at around noon.
In the afternoon from 3 p.m., 14 town mikoshis gather one after another at the big red torii (Otorii) area near the Bentenbashi Bridge and will receive shinto purification rituals. Then, the mikoshis return to each town parading until 6 p.m.

Hoisted fishermen's rich haul flags tell the Haneda airport area was before a fishing village.

URL: Haneda Shrine
Access: Otorii Station on Keikyu Haneda Line
Telephone: 03-3741-0023 (Haneda Shrine)
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