Return to Top Page




MAY 2017

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


(*) covered events
1 Mon *Tatebayashi Koinobori (Carp Streamers) Festival March 25-May 7
    *Tatebayashi Azalea Festival April 10-May 10
    *Mashiko Pottery Fair/Festivals April 29 through May 7 (every day)
2 Tue *Ohme-no-Taisai (Grand Festival) May 2 and 3
    *Annual Spring Festival of Meiji Shrine: Noh and Kyogen at 11:45 a.m. and Sankyoku at 3:45 p.m.
3 Wed National Holiday (Constitution Day)
    *Ohme-no-Taisai (Grand Festival) May 2 and 3
    *Annual Spring Festival of Meiji Shrine: Sankyoku at 12:00 and Satsuma Biwa at 2:30 p.m.
    *Giant Kite Festival at Kasukabe Showa-machi May 3 and May 5
    *Kazo's Jumbo Koinobori
    *Omiya Bonsai Festival May 3-5
4 Thu National Holiday (Green Day)
    *Omiya Bonsai Festival May 3-5
    *Kurayami Matsuri (Pitch Dark Festival) at Okunitama Shrine in Fuchu.
5 Fri National Holiday (Children's Day)
    *Giant Kite Festival at Kasukabe Showa-machi May 3 and May 5
    *Omiya Bonsai Festival May 3-5
    *Kachiya Festival at Katori Shrine, Kameido, Koto-ku.
    *Takara-no-Mai at Sensoji in Asakusa
    *Kurayami Matsuri (Pitch Dark Festival) at Okunitama Shrine in Fuchu.
6 Sat *Spring Rose Festival at Furukawa Garden May 6-May 31
7 Sun  
8 Mon  
9 Tue  
10 Wed  
11 Thu  
12 Fri *International Roses and Gardening Show at Met Life Domea (Seibu Dome Ball Park) in Tokorozawa, Saitama, May 12-17
13 Sat *Kanda Myojin Grand Festival - Shinkosai Parade
14 Sun *Shishi-mai at Nagasaki Shrine
    *Kanda Matsuri 108 Town Mikoshis Visiting the Shrine
15 Mon  
16 Tue  
17 Wed *Nikko Toshogu Spring Festival (Yabusame at 1 p.m.)
18 Thu *Nikko Toshogu Spring Festival (1000 Musha Gyoretsu at 11 a.m.) 
19 Fri *Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa
20 Sat *Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa
    *Sanja Matsuri - Nishi Asa Sankita
21 Sun *Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa
    *Sanja Matsuri - Nishi Asa Sankita
    *Kifune Matsuri in Omori-Higashi, Ota-ku
22 Mon  
23 Tue  
24 Wed *Satsuki Festival at Ueno Park, Taito-ku May 24 through May 29
25 Thu  
26 Fri  
27 Sat *Asakusa Ofujisan Uekiichi
    *So-Kei Baseball Game (Waseda University vs. Keio University)
    *Itako Ayame Matsuri Yomeiri Bune (bridal boat) May 27 through June 25
28 Sun *Asakusa Ofujisan Uekiichi
    *So-Kei Baseball Game (Waseda University vs. Keio University)
    *Ueno Gojo Shrine Grand Festival
29 Mon  
30 Tue  
31 Wed  


Mashiko Pottery Fair/Festivals
April 29-May 7
9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Everyday during the festival)

The pottery fair or festival at Mashiko started in 1966. It is held two times a year in spring during the Golden Week holidays (late April to early May) and in autumn in November. Approximately 500 tents dealers and about 50 permanent pottery stores line the main street of Mashiko's Jonaizaka Street for about 500 meters. Mashiko potteries are sold from traditional Mashiko earthen wares such as daily necessities cups and dishes to artistic pottery products. Last spring in 2015, 350,000 people visited the festival for eight days.

URL: Mashiko Pottery Fair (Japanese)
URL: Mashiko Pottery Fair (English)

Access: Mashiko Station on Mouka Railways
Telephone: 0285-70-1120 (Mashiko Kanko Kyokai)
more photos

Ohme-no-Taisai (Grand Festival)
May 2 (Tue) and 3 (Wed)
Ohme City

This is the festival of Sumiyoshi Shrine in Ohme City. 12 festival floats parade the main street of the city on May 3.

Ohme City is located in the western suburbs of Tokyo a population of about 140 thousand. Festivals in this area often come with "dashi" (festival floats) and mikoshi are not main features unlike festivals of Tokyo. Beautifully decorated dashis are accompanied by festival flutes and taiko drums. On the floats are traditional Japanese comical characters such as hyotokko, okame, devils etc. Most of dashis here are one story vehicles while in the Edo period, many floats were in three layers and each dashi carried a doll of popular shinto heroes or heroins on top. Many disappeared when electric wires were lined in the streets. During the festival, five dolls are exhibited at the designated houses of each block which own them.

URL: http://www.geocities.jp/ometaisai/
Access: Ohme Station on JR Ohme Line from Tachikawa.
Telephone: 0428-22-1111 (Ome Shiyakusho)
more photos

Tatebayashi Koinobori Festival
Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture
March 25 through May 7

Along and over the Tsuruuda River which runs through Takabayashi, numerous carp streamers are flown.
In 2005 they counted some 5283 carp on the streamers, which was acknowledged to be a World Record for the number of koinobori being flown.

In Japan, there is a custom, which exhibits carp shaped colorful streamers as we wish to have good growing for boys. About 5,000 of the colorful carp banners are trailed at the five places in the city. The night time light up also is very gorgeous. (from Tatebayashi Tourism Association Website)

URL: http://www.utyututuji.jp/world/en.html
Access: 20 minutes walk from Tatebayashi Station along the Tsuruuda River
Telephone: 0276-72-4111 (Tatebayashi Sightseeing Association)
more photos

Kazo's Jumbo Koinobori (flying carp)
May 3 (Wed) at the Tonegawa River Bank
Kazo City, Saitama Prefecture

Kazo is a town about 50 k.m. north of Tokyo. The city produces about 50% of koinobori in Japan. The giant koinobori is about 100 meters long and weighs 350 kllo grams. The koinobori is flown at the riverside area of the Tonegawa River. It is flown two times at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. only for about 15 to 30 minutes. The reason for short flying time is to avoid sudden strong winds which might lead to unexpected accidents.

Free buses from Kazo Station north exit every 20 minutes from 8:30 a.m. It is about 20 minutes bus ride.

The jumbo koinobori flying is held on the occasion of the city's Citizen's Peace Festival which is held every year on May 3.

URL: Kazo Jumbo Koinobori
Access: Kazo Station on Tobu Isezaki Line
Telephone: 0480-62-1111 (Kazo City)
more photos

Koinobori at Kameido Umeyashiki
Kameido, Koto-ku
Until May 5
Open: 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (closed Mon)

During the time of Edo period, there was a villa owned by a merchant Hikoemon Iseya in Kameido. Many fine plum trees were planted in the garden and in spring viewers of plum flowers visited Kameido from Edo. The villa became popular and known as "Kameido Umeyashiki." The plum flowers of the villa were drawn by many ukiyoe painters and the most famous art was by Hiroshige Utagawa. The Kameido Umeyashiki of today was built in March, 2013 by a group of merchants of Kameido for the purpose of revitalizing the area. Inside the building are local product shops, restaurants, free rest place and a hall. Close to the Kameido Umeyashiki are Kameido Tenjin which is famous for plum flowers and wisterias, Katori Shrine which is known for Kachiya Festival on May 5 and Tokyo Sky Tree.

URL: http://www.kameume.com/
Address: 4-18-8 Kameido, Koto-ku
Access: 10 minutes walk from Kameido Station on JR Sobu Line
Telephone: 03-6802-9550
more photos

Kameido Shitamachi Koinobori Matsuri
Kameido, Koto-ku
April 29 through May 7

Kameido is located in eastern Tokyo at a so-called shitamachi down town area or commonners' area. The Kameido Go-chome Chuo Shopping Street is decorated with more than 200 flying carp streamers during the festival period. It is a fun to see the shops along the street which keeps the atmosphere of old Tokyo. You can also find many Chinese and Korean restaurants and food stores.

Access: Kameido Station on JR Chuo-Sobu Line.
Telephone: 03-3647-9111 (Koto Kuyakusho)
more photos

THE 34th BONSAI FESTIVAL in OMIYA
May 3,4 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) and 5 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.)
Bonsai Village in Omiya

The 8th World Bonsai Convention is decided to be held in Japan in 2017 at Saitama City (Omiya) in Saitama Prefecture. The show is held once in four years and this will be the second time the convention is held in Japan since 1989.

Bonsai Village in Saitama City (Omiya City) where the festival is held is a unique place of Japan's bonsai culture. The village was founded by bonsai cultivators who settled in Omiya in the Taisho era and the bonsai gardens opened around that time are still in operation today. The bonsai gardens are open to visitors for appreciation and also can purchase a small bonsai as souvenier.

During the bonsai festival days, more than 100 bonsai shops stand along the streets of the bonsai village. Last year, about 140,000 people visited the event.

URL: http://www.stib.jp/event/data/daibonsaimatsuri.html
Address: Bonsai-mura, Kita-ku, Saitama City, Omiya, Saitama Prefecture
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/CpXVE
Access: Omiya Koen Station on Tobu Noda Line/ Toro Station on JR Utsunomiya Line
Telephone: 048-663-3899 (Bonsai Matsuri Committee, Tojuen Bonsai Garden)/ 048-646-3093 (Omiya City Commerce and Industrial Department)
more photos


Giant Kite Festival
May 3 (Wed) and 5 (Fri) at Showa-machi, Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture

The origin of the festival goes back to 1841 when a buddhism priest who visited the town told the village people about a kite flying to pray for a bumper harvest of silkworm raising.

The giant kite weighs 800 kilo grams, 11 meters wide and 15 meters high. Bones of the giant kite are bamboos and its sail is made of around 1,500 sheets of specially made Japanese handmade papers pasted together. Kanji - chinese characters written on the two giant kites are different every year. Titles in the pictures read each Chi-iki (Region) and Katsu-ryoku (Vitality).

On both days, two giant kites plus many other enjoyable kites are flown (1 p.m. smaller kites and 2 p.m. giant kites). The town also has a kite museum housing 450 various kites of Japan and the world.

URL: Kasukabe Kite
Access: 25 minute bus ride from Kasukabe Station on Tobu Isezaki Line.
Telephone: 048-748-1555 (Odako Kaikan - Giant Kite Museum)
more photos

Annual Festival of Teppozu Inari Shrine
Teppozu Inari Shrine in Chuo-ku
May 2 through 5. This year 2017 falls on a minor festival year and no festivities are planned. Construction of the shrine will be finished in March, 2017.

Teppozu Inari is the guardian shrine of the area including Higashi Ginza (east of Ginza district). The parish covers the famous Kabukiza theater.

There will be children's kabuki on May 5 at the park next to the shrine from noon.

URL: http://www.teppozujinja.or.jp/
Address: Minato 1-chome, Chuo-ku.
Access: Hacchobori Station on Subway Hibiya Line/ Shintomicho Station on Subway Yurakucho Line. 10 minutes walk.
03-3551-2647 (Teppozu Inari Shrine)/ 03-3551-2893 (Shintomiza Children's Kabuki Organization)
more photos

Kodomo Kabuki (Children's Kabuki) at Grand Festival of Teppozu Inari Shrine
Teppozu Inari Shrine in Chuo-ku

There will be children's kabuki on May 5, 2017at the park next to the shrine from noon.

During the Edo period (1600-1868), there was a major kabuki theater "Shintomi-za" in the shrine's parish Shintomi-cho. Local residents and fans of kabuki in Chuo-ku, in view of their background and the history, wanted to restore the images of the kabuki theater in some form. Result was the children's kabuki which started three years ago. Since then, the children's kabuki is held two times a year at the shrine on the day of Setsubun in Feburary and during the shrine's annual festival in May. Players are all elementary school students.

URL: http://www.teppozujinja.or.jp/
Address: Minato 1-chome, Chuo-ku.
Access: Hacchobori Station on Subway Hibiya Line/ Shintomicho Station on Subway Yurakucho Line. 10 minutes walk.
03-3551-2647 (Teppozu Inari Shrine)/ 03-3551-2893 (Shintomiza Children's Kabuki Organization)
more photos

Children's Day (National Holiday)
May 5 (Fri)

Formerly, Children's Day was called Tango-no-Sekku meaning the festival on the fifth days of the fifth month. It was the festival for boys during the Edo period. The Tokugawa authorities encouraged the observance of the Tango festival as a means for stimulating a martial spirit. After the war (1945), it has become Children's Day for boys as well as for girls and has become a National Holiday celebrated throughout the country by families particularly with male offspings. It is a gala day for boys, especially for those tender age. Great floating paper carp (koi-nobori), symbolical of courage are flown from poles, whilst in the home, warrior-dolls, helmets, miniature armour, weapons are displayed.

Doll shops in Asakusabashi area are busy with parents and grandparents who are shopping the decorations for their boys before May 5.

Access to doll shops: Right off the Asakusabashi Station on JR Sobu Line.
more photos

Karasumori Inari Shrine Grand Festival
May 5, 11:30 a.m.
Shinbashi, Minato-ku

This year falls on a minor festival year and there will not be a parade of the grand mikoshi of the shrine from in front of the JR Shinbashi Station Square at 11:30 a.m. on May 5

A huge mikoshi of Karasumori Shrine in Shinbashi parade this year for the grand festival which comes every other year. Miya dashi (start of the festival) ceremony is held at the square in front of the JR. Shinbashi Station.

A legend tells during the Heian period in 940 when Taira-no-Masakado revolted in the eastern provinces, the@general@Fujiwara-no-Hidesato prayed for a victory in battle at an Inari shrine in the Bushu district. A white fox approached and gave him an arrow with white feathers. Using the special arrow, he quickly subdued the samurai in the eastern provinces. When Hidesato considered building a shrine to express his thanks, a white fox appeared to him in a dream and informed him that the place where sacred birds flock is holy ground. When he came to the forest at Takekuranokuni Sakuradamura, he found a large flock of birds in the forest as he had seen in his dream and erected the front part of a shrine there. That was the origin of Karasumori Inari shrine. In 1873, the name of Karasumori Inari shrine was changed to Karasumori Shrine (Jinja), and since then, has been worshipped by many people as the guardian deity for Shimbashi Karasumori district. (from Minato City Sightseeing Data)

URL: http://karasumorijinja.or.jp/
Access: 2minutes from JR Shinbashi Stn.
Telephone: 03-3591-7865
more photos

Kurayami Matsuri (Pitch Dark Festival)
May 4 (Thu) and 5 (Fri)
Okunitama Shrine in Fuchu.

Fuchu is a city located in the western suburbs of Tokyo. Okunitama shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Tokyo where the major shinito god Okuninushi is worshipped as the guardian of Musashi-no-kuni (Kanto region). The name of the festival comes from its mikoshi (portable shrine) used to parade at midnight after all city lights are turned off. Today, the parade starts at 6 p.m. leaving the shrine led by the nation's largest taiko (Japanese drums).

Highlights of the festival come on May 4 and May 5. On May 4, 24 floats parade the city from 6 p.m. and on May 5, eight grand mikoshis parade the street in front of the shrine from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. The festival pulls in around 300,000 visitors every year.

URL: https://www.ookunitamajinja.or.jp/
Access: Fuchu Station on Keio Line, Fuchu Honcho Station on JR Nanbu Line and JR Musashino Line.
Telephone: 042-362-2130 (Okunitama Jinja Shrine)
more photos

Takara-no-Mai
May 5 (Fri)
Sensoji Temple, Taito-ku.

May 5 is Japan's national holiday "Children's Day." On this occasion, children of the Sensoji Kindergarten parade in and around the temple pulling the treasure ship which "Shichi Fuku Jin" Seven Gods of Wealth and Happiness are on.

Fishermen's attires of the children are taken from the images of fishermen which were depicted in the old document of the shrine "Sanja Matsuri."

In Japan, many temples and shrines own kindergardens. kindergarteners of Sensoji Temple in Asakusa are often mobilized in many events of the temple.
Processions at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

URL: http://www.senso-ji.jp/annual_event/jimai.html
Nearest Stations: Asakusa on Subway Ginza Line and Asakusa on Tobu Isezaki Line.
Telephone: 03-3844-1221 (Asakusa Kanko Renmei)/ 03-3842-0181 (Sensoji)
more photos

Kachiya Festival Samurai Procession
May 5 (Fri)
Katori Shrine, Kameido, Koto-ku.

The festival features Musha Gyoretsu (parade of Samurai warriors in armors). The festival commemorates Fujiwara Hidesato (warlord in the 10th century) who prayed at this shrine for a victory before suppressing Taira no Masakado's revolt in the region. Fujiwara Hidesato is also known as Tawara-no-Tota who fought off the giant centipede of Mt. Mikami in Omi.
It is believed Hidesato offered his bow and arrow to the Katori shrine after the victory in the battle against Masakado.

The samurai parade will start from Kamede Shrine around 1 p.m. passing through Shin Ohashi Dori, Meiji Dori via JR Kameido Station and will arrive at Katori Shrine around at 3 p.m. A bow and arrows of thanks for the victory will be dedicated to the shrine. Kachiya means a victory arrow.

URL: http://katorijinja.jp/
Access: Kameido Stn. on JR Sobu Line. 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3684-2813 (Katori Jinja Shrine)
more photos

Kanda Myojin Grand Festival
May 13 (Sat) and May 14 (Sun)
Kanda, Chiyoda-ku

Kanda Matsuri this year (2017) falls on a major festival year.

May 13 (Sat) Shinkosai Grand Parade starts Kanda Myojin Shrine at 8 a.m. while Tsuke Matsuri (additional festival performances) joins the parade from Arima Elementary School in Kakigaracho, Chuo-ku at 3 p.m. and passes Chuo Dori Street in front of Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Department Store at around 4 p.m. returning to the shrine at 6 to 7 p.m. The shrine mikoshi pulled on a wheel during the parade will be carried by people from Akihabara at 5 p.m. and returns to the shrine at 7 p.m.

On May 14, Sunday 108 town mikoshis visit the shrine one after another from early in the morning till night all day.

The Kanda Myojin is one of the most popular shrines in Tokyo since Edo days. Myojin shrines are dedicated to Taira-no-Masakado (?-March 25, 940) who was for long a hero of Bando (the Kanto region). Masakado was a rebel in the Heian period of Japan, who led one of the largest insurgent forces against the central government of Kyoto.

URL: http://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp/
Access to Kanda Myojin Shrine: Ochanomizu Station on JR Chuo Line and Shin Ochanomizu Station on Subway Chiyoda Line and Ochanomizu Staton on Subway Marunouchi Line. 5 to 10 minutes walk from each station.
Access to Arima Elementary School: Ningyocho Station on Subway Hibiya Line and Suitengu Station on Subway Hanzomon Line
Telephone: 03-3254-0753 (Kanda Myojin Shrine)
more photos

Kanda Matsuri (Sunday) - Grand Festival of Kanda Shrine
Kanda, Chiyoda-ku

Kanda Matsuri this year (2017) falls on a major festival year.

May 13 (Sat) Shinkosai Grand Parade starts Kanda Myojin Shrine at 8 a.m. while Tsuke Matsuri (additional festival performances) joins the parade from Arima Elementary School in Kakigaracho, Chuo-ku at 3 p.m. and passes Chuo Dori Street in front of Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Department Store at around 4 p.m. returning to the shrine at 6 to 7 p.m. The shrine mikoshi pulled on a wheel during the parade will be carried by people from Akihabara at 5 p.m. and returns to the shrine at 7 p.m.

On May 14, Sunday 108 town mikoshis visit the shrine one after another from early in the morning till night all day.

The Kanda Myojin is one of the oldest and the greatest shrines in Tokyo. Since Edo days, its festival has been regarded as one of the two major festivals of the metropolis, the other being that of the Sanno Shrine.

URL: http://www.kandamyoujin.or.jp/
Access to Kanda Myojin Shrine: Ochanomizu Station on JR Chuo Line and Shin Ochanomizu Station on Subway Chiyoda Line and Ochanomizu Staton on Subway Marunouchi Line. 5 to 10 minutes walk from each station.
Access to Arima Elementary School: Ningyocho Station on Subway Hibiya Line and Suitengu Station on Subway Hanzomon Line
Telephone: 03-3254-0753 (Kanda Myojin Shrine)
more photos

Tsukuba Festival
Dates to be announced.
Tsukuba City in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Mountains people can see from Tokyo are two. One is Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san) in the west and the other Mt. Tsukuba (Tsukuba-san) in the east. People know about Mt. Tsukuba for its double peaks.

Nyotai-san (woman mountain) is 877 meters high (2,877 feet) and Nantai-san (man mountain) 871 meters high (2,858 feet). Climbers to the top can view on fine days the panoramic view of the Kanto Plain. Tsukuba-san is also famous for toad which grease (gama-no-abura) is believed to cure cut wounds.

Access to Mt. Tsukuba: Tsukuba Station on Tsukuba Express (45 minutes from Akihabara Stn.) then take a bus from Tsukuba Station to Tsukuba Shrine Gate (40 minutes), A cable car to near the top of the mountain..
Telephone: 029-869-8333 (Tsukuba Sightseeing Association)
more photos

Shishi-mai (Lion Dance or Deer Dance)
May 14 (Sun) at 1 p.m. (Every year on the 2nd Sunday)
Nagasaki Shrine in Shiinamachi, Toshima-ku

Shishi-mai of the Nagasaki Shrine has a history of 400 years and is designated as an intangible cultural asset by Toshima-ku. The shishi-mai was offered to god in the old time to pray for a good harvest and protections from plagues.

Shishi-mai is usually understood as a lion dance, however, it does not necessarily represent a lion. Shishi was applied to all kinds of wild beasts in old Japan. In some districts, shishi-mai is called shika-odori or deer dance. Shishi mask of Nagasaki Shrine has horns. It looks more like a deer than a lion.

"Sasara" a whisk made of bamboo is scraped along a serrated length of wood or bamboo producing a sound similar to that of maracas.

URL: Nagasaki Shrine Shishimai
Access: 2 minutes walk from Seibu Ikebukiro Line Shiina-machi Station.
Address: 1-9-4 Nagasaki, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Telephone: 03-3957-0481 (Nagasaki Jinja Shrine)
more photos

Shitaya Shrine Annual Festival
May 6 (Sat) and 7 (Sun)
Ueno, Taito-ku.

The festival of Shitaya Shrine is a harbinger of mikoshi season in Tokyo. It is a popular early summer event in downtown Ueno (formerly called Shitaya) in Tokyo. The major festival is held every other year and this year 2017 falls on a minor festival year. There will not be a big parade.

URL: http://shitayajinja.or.jp/
Access: Ueno Station on JR Yamanote Line.
Telephone: 03-3831-1488 (Shitaya Shrine)
more photos

Moto-Mishima Shrine Annual Festival
May 14 (Sat), May 15 (Sun)
Negishi, Taito-ku

This year falls on a minor festival year and there will not be a parade of Jinkosai and mikoshis. The grand festival of Moto-Mishima Shrine is held once in three years and in 2018.

Despite a long history of the shrine, the shrine compound is tiny cramped between other buildings - love hotels and restaurants of Uguisudani area. The shrine is dedicated to Jurojin, one of the seven lucky gods (Shichifukujin) in Shitara district.

URL: Moto Mishima Shrine
Access: Uguisudani Station on JR Yamanote Line
Telephone: 03-3873-4976
more photos

Roses at Jindai Botanical Gardens and Jindaiji Temple in Chofu City

This is the only metropolitan botanical garden in Tokyo which opened in 1961. About 100,000 trees and brushes of 4,500 species are planted in the space of 12,063 acres. The gardens, reminiscent of the Musashino region, provide a place to enjoy beautiful trees, grasses and flowers in all seasons. The rose garden of Jindai Botanical Gardens is famous and many people visit the garden in May for spring roses and in October for autumn roses.

URL: Jindai Botanical Gardens
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed Monday if Monday is a holiday on Tuesday. Yearend holidays Dec. 29-Jan. 1)
Admission: 500 yen
Address: 5-31-10 Motomachi, Jindaiji, Chofu City
Access: Jindai-shokubutsu-koen-mae bus stop on Keio Bus for Kichijoji or Mitaka from Chofu Station on Keio Line
Telephone: 042-483-2300
more photos

Yatsu Rose Garden - Spring Rose Festival 2017 May 6-June 12

The original Yatsu Rose Garden was owned by Keisei Electric Railways as a part of Yatsu Leasure Park. The park's rose garden was famous as the largest of its kind in the orient. The garden was closed in 1982 as the comapny shifted its leasure business to Tokyo Disney Land. The rose garden was remodeled and reopend in 1988 to answer the citizens requests of Narashino City.

A large rose garden (about 3 acres) houses more than 700 varieties and 6300 bushes of roses from all over the world. The rose garden is located close to the Tokyo Bay and The Yatsu Higata (tidal flat) Observation Center with a dimension of 1,000 acres is adjacent to the rose garden. A great number of creatures inhabit here such as lugworms, shells, crabs, fish and water-birds including shorebirds.

Admission (Rose Garden): 360 yen (May 1 through Nov. 15)
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Monday (open all day during May and June, and Oct 1 through Nov. 5)
Address: 3-1-14 Yatsu, Narashino City, Chiba Prefecture.

URL: Yatsu Rose Garden
Access: Yatsu Station on Keisei Line from Ueno. 5 minutes walk.
Telephone: 047-453-3772
(Photos were taken on May 15. Best time to see is from middle toward the end of May)
more photos

The 19th International Roses and Gardening Show 2017 at Met Life Dome (Seibu Dome Ball Park) in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture from May 12-17.

About one million rose flowers fromJapan, France and England will be exhibited inside the Seibu Ball Park in the suburbs of Tokyo.

The exibition features roses in pots and vases as well as bonsai roses since the show is held inside the dome. Also international gardeners compete their skills of designing gardens in various styles.

URL: http://www.bara21.jp/
Admission: 2,500 yen (advance sales ticket 1,900 yen at Ticket Pia, Lawson and Seibu Railway Stations)
Access: Seibu Kyujo (Ball Park) Station on Seibu Ikebukuro Line from Ikebukuro (30 minutes)
Telephone: 03-5777-8600
more photos

Spring Rose Festival
May 6 (Sat) through May 31 (Wed).
Furukawa Garden in Nishigahara, Kita-ku.

The garden has a Japanese-style garden and a western-style garden. The property was origninally the residence of a Japan's famous Meiji Period foreign minister, Mutsu Munemitsu. When his second son was adopted into the Furukawa family, it became the property of the Furukawa family - Japan's one of the major zaibatsu groups. The buildings from the previous era no longer exist and today's western-style residence and garden were designed by the English architect Josiah Condor (1852-1920) who also designed the Rokumeikan, the Nicolai Cathedral, the historic Iwasaki western-style residence, etc.

URL: Furukawa Garden
Admission: 150 yen
Address: 1-27-39 Nishigahara, Kita-ku.
Access: Kaminakazato Station on JR Keihin Tohoku Line/ Komagome Station on JR Yamanote Line.
Telephone: 03-3910-0394
more photos

Sanja Matsuri
May 19 (Fri), 20 (Sat) and 21 (Sun)
Asakusa, Taito-ku.

Sanja Matsuri is one of the three big shrine festivals of Tokyo. The other two are Kanda Matsuri and Sanno Matsuri. Sanja matsuri is popular for reasons it is wild and large in scales.
Every year, more than one million people visit the festival.

On Friday, 19th, there will be "Daigyoretsu" a big parade of ohayashi, tekomai, binzasara, shirasaginomai, etc. from 1 p.m. starting from Asakusa (geisha) Kumiai behind the main hall of Sensoji Shrine across Kototoi dori street.

On Saturday 20th, about 100 community mikoshi of Asakusa gather in the open space behind Sensoji Temple at around noon. Then they start off one by one for Asakusa Jinja Shrine where they will receive a Shinto purification before setting out into the streets of Asakusa.

On Sunday 21st, three large mikoshis of Asakusa Shrine will parade the towns all day from 6 a.m. (miyadashi) and return to the shrine one after another from 6 p.m. (miyairi). Each mikoshi weighs about one ton and takes at least 80 people to carry it.

URL: Sanja Matsuri
Nearest Stations: Asakusa on Subway Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line and Tobu Isezaki Line.
Telephone: 03-3844-1221 (Asakusa Kanko Renmei)
more photos

Sanja Matsuri: Mikoshi at Nishi-Asa(kusa) San-Kita Block in Asakusa
(For people who want see wild but powerful yakuza mikoshi)

May 20 (Sat) 10 a.m. Nishi-Asa(kusa) Community Mikoshi/ May 21 (Sun) 10 a.m. San-no-miya Shrine Mikoshi

Nishi-Asakusa San-chome Hokubu Chokai (North Block of 3-Chome, West Asakusa) is called Nishi-Asa- San-Kita in short. The place is near the Asakusa View Hotel which is located in front of the Asakusa Station of Tsukuba Express. The town has the largest mikoshi among all the mikoshis in Asakusa except the three mikoshis of the Asakusa Shrine.

In the town are two big yakuza groups, Takahashi-gumi and Nakamura-kai. They are there for a long period of time and the residents live with the yakuza groups without much worry about them. They don't have troubles with their neighbors according to the Asakusa Police.

The mikoshi of Nishi-Asa San-Kita has many fans and the town is packed with huge crowds every year during the Sanja Matsuri by spectators who want to see the Nishi-Asa San-Kita mikoshi carried by yakuza who have tattoos on their backs and fronts and by the earnest mikoshi carriers who come from afar wanting to carry the wildest and most powerful mikoshi in Asakusa.

Nearest Stations: Asakusa Station on Tsukuba Express, Subway Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line and Tobu Isezaki Line.
URL: Sanja Matsuri
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/MJfuv
Telephone: 03-3844-1221 (Asakusa Kanko Renmei)

Starting place of the yakuza mikoshi on Saturday is near the intersection where Kokusai Dori Street crosses Kototoi Dori Street at 10 a.m. by Takahashi-gumi and in the afternoon Nakamura-kai carries the mikoshi near their office of the town after the mikoshi came back from Asakusa Jinja Shrine after 1 p.m./On Sunday the Nakamura-kai carries the san-no-miya shrine mikoshi from 10 a.m. in front of their office and then the mikoshi is handed over to Takahashi-gumi. For the map: See Google Map above
more photos

Nikko Toshogu Shrine Annual Spring Festival
May 17 (Wed) Yabusame (horseback archery) from 1 p.m.


On May 17, a ceremony is held at the shrine in the presence of the head of the Tokugawa family, Sanshikai officials, and other dignitaries and guests.

From 1 p.m., yabusame (archery on horseback) in the Ogasawara tradition is performed in a special area set up on the front approach to the shrine.

Three shrine mikoshis are brought to Futarasan Shrine adjacent to Nikko Toshogu Shrine and the Yoinari-sai (Evening Arrival Ceremony) is conductedc by priests from both shrines. (from Nikko Toshogu website)

Nikko is located 75 miles north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture. Nikko has been a sacred place for over a thousand years in shinto as well as in buddhism, but it had to wait until 1616 to take off when Tokugawa Ieyasu - founder of the Tokugawa shogunate died. The shogun Ieyasu willed that a shrine deifying him be built at Nikko and since then it became famous as the site of Toshogu Shrine which contains the mausoleum of Tokugwa Ieyasu.

URL: http://www.toshogu.jp/
Access: Tobu Nikko Line from Asakusa. (Less than 2 hours trip by express trains)
Telephone: Nikko Kanko Kyokai 0288-54-2495/ Nikko City: 0288-22-1111
more photos

Nikko Toshogu Shrine Annual Spring Festival
May 18 (Thu) 1,000 Samurai Procession from 11 a.m.

On May 18, the Mikoshi-togyo-sai (Portable Shrine Precession) is held starting at 11 a.m. Referred to as the Procession of 1,000 Samurai, it includes over 1,200 attendants who are divided into 53 categories (including warriors in armor) and who escort the the portable shrines to the Otabi-sho (Sojurn Hall). Special food offerings are made, incantations are read by the Chief Priest and Yaotome-kagura (Sacred Artistic Rites performed by Eight Shrine Maidens) and Azuma-asobi (Entertainment of Eastern Japan) are performed. The ceremony is concluded when procession returns to Toshogu Shrine. (from Nikko Toshogu website)

Nikko is located 75 miles north of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture. Nikko has been a sacred place for over a thousand years in shinto as well as in buddhism, but it had to wait until 1616 to take off when Tokugawa Ieyasu - founder of the Tokugawa shogunate died. The shogun Ieyasu willed that a shrine deifying him be built at Nikko and since then it became famous as the site of Toshogu Shrine which contains the mausoleum of Tokugwa Ieyasu.

URL: http://www.toshogu.jp/
Access: Tobu Nikko Line from Asakusa. (Less than 2 hours trip by express trains)
Telephone: Nikko Kanko Kyokai 0288-54-2495/ Nikko City: 0288-22-1111

more photos

Annual Festival of Ono Teruzaki Shrine in Shitaya, Ueno
Weekend of May 3rd Week

This year 2017 falls on a minor festival year.There will not be a grand parade.

The shrine name Ono Teruzaki comes from a history that Ono-no-Takamura (802-853) a high government official, a scholar and a poet of the Heian period (794-1185) made a stopover at Teruzaki area of Ueno on his way to Gunma to become a governor there. Takamura was impressed and praised beautiful sceneries of Teruzaki and the people of Teruzaki revered him since then as the deity of the shrine in Teruzaki.

URL: http://onoteru.or.jp/
Access: Iriya Station on Subway Hibiya Line/ Uguisudani Station on JR Yamanote Line
Telephone: 03-3872-5514
more photos

Kifune Matsuri
May 21 (Sun) from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Kifune Shrine in Omori-Higashi, Ota-ku.

Kifune Shrines are found at many places throughout Japan. The shrine is dedicated to the god of water Takaokami-no-kami. The area was a seashore facing Tokyo Bay before it was reclamed. Omori was once famous for the production of "Omori nori " (dried laver) which is one of the unique table delicacies of Japan. It is often seen today in wrapping up sushi.

Unique with Kifune Matsuri is young women ride on the mikoshi (portable shrines). The mikoshi parade will be on Sunday, May 22 from 2 p.m.

URL: Omori Kifune Shrine
Access: Take a bus from JR Omori Station on Keihin Tohoku Line and get off at Omori Higashi Chugakko (Junior H.S.) 10 minutes walk from the bus stop.
Telephone: 03-3761-3912 (Kifune Shrine)
more photos

THE 67TH Satsuki Festival
Ueno Park, Taito-ku
May 24-May 29

Satsuki
(satsuki azalea) Rhodedendron indicum or Indian azalea.
Satsuki is a family of Tsutsuji and the flowers look very similar with Tsutsuji (azalea). Differences are Satsuki is evergreen while Tsutsuji leaves fall in winter. Tsusuji put flowers earlier than satsuki in middle of April to May while Satsuki in middle May to middle of June. Satsuki is a low tree and a popular Bonsai item.

URL: Satsuki Festival
Place: Ueno Park near the fountain, Ueno, Taito-ku
Time: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Access: Ueno Park exit of Ueno Station on JR Yamanote Line
Admission: Free
Telephone: 03-3821-8430 (Japan Satsuki Association)
more photos

Yushima Tenjin Annual Festival
May 27 (Sat) and 28 (Sun)
Yushima, Bunkyo-ku.

This year falls on a minor festival year and there will not be a grand parade. Town mikoshis parade on May 27 and 28.

Edo satokagura (sacred music and dances) will be performed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the precincts of the shrine on both days. Tenjin Taiko (Japanese drum team) will also be performed on Saturday at 12 noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., and on Sunday at 12 noon, 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. Bonsai and Ikebana (flower arrangements) will be exhibited on both days.

URL: Yushima Tenjin
Access: Yushima on Subway Chiyoda Line. 5 minutes walk.
Telephone: 03-3836-0753 (Yushima Tenjin)
more photos

Ueno Gojo Tenjin Shrine Grand Festival
May 28 (Sun)
The shrine is located inside the Ueno Park, Ueno, Taito-ku

This year falls on a major festival year and Shinkosai Grand Parade with the shrine mikoshi leaves the shrine at 12 noon and parading the parishes in Ueno returns to the shrine at 8 p.m. in the evening. Grand festival of the shrine comes once in three years.

Gojo Tenjin is dedicated to the god of medicine and learning. Special rites are held to the god medicine on the 10th of every month. The shrine is located on a slope leading to the Shinobazu Pond. It is a small shrine but neat.

Red torii gates lining a path to Gojo Tenjin is a secondary shrine of Gojo Tenjin, Hanazono Inari Shrine. Inari shrines are adorned with many red torii.

Address: 4-17 Ueno Park, Taito-ku
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/7oxcO
Access: Ueno Station on JR Yamanote Line
Telephone: 03-3821-4306
more photos

Annual Festival of Hanazono Shrine
May 27, 28
Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku.

This year falls on a minor festival year and there will not be a grand parade. The grand festival is held every other year.

The Hanazono shrine was built during the Edo Period and it has long been known as a protector of Shinjuku since it is located in the midst of Shinjuku near Kabukicho.

The shrine is also famous for its Tori-no-ichi (the cock fair) in December.

URL: Hanazono Shrine
Access: 3 minutes walk from Shinjuku Sanchome Station on Subway Marunouchi Line. 10 minutes walk from Shinjuku Station on JR Yamanote Line.
Telephone: 03-3209-5265 (Hanazono Shrine)
more photos

So-Kei Baseball Game (Waseda University vs. Keio University Baseball Game)
May 27 (Sat) and May 28 (Sun) at Meiji Jingu Baseball Stadium in Jingu.

The first baseball game between the two prestigious universities goes back to November 21, 1903. The following regular games between the two rival universities won great popularity among the public when there was not a professional baseball league in Japan.

The baseball games between the two colleges contributed greatly in popularizing baseball in Japan.

Today, the two teams belong to The Tokyo Six Universities Baseball League and the games are set at the last week of the league series in spring and autumn.

URL: Tokyo College Baseball
Admission: 1,300 yen-700yen
Place: Jingu Ball Park
Access: Shinanomachi Stn. on JR Sobu Chuo Line.
more photos

Asakusa Ofujisan Uekiichi near Asakusa Sengen Shrine
May 27 (Sat) and 28 (Sun) and June 24 (Sat) and 25 (Sun)

The Ofujisan uekiichi (garden plant or tree fair) is one of the largest of its kind held in Tokyo. The timing is good. It is held during the tsuyu - a rainy season in Tokyo and the plants transplanted at this time of the year is said to grow well.

Asakusa Sengen Shrine is located along the street one block behind the Asakusa Sensoji Temple in front of the Asakusa Police.

URL: Ofujisan Uekiichi
Access: Asakusa Station on Subway Ginza Line, Asakusa Station on Tsukuba Express
Telephone: 03-5246-1111 (Taito Ward Office)
more photos

Return to top of this page