Things to do in Tokyo this summer

Things to do in Tokyo this summer

Metropolis Magazine

July 29, Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival 

As the largest fireworks festival in Tokyo, the Sumida River hosts a dazzling show for a whopping 90 minutes on the last Saturday of July each year, Bring a picnic mat (and a little tent, seats and cooler if you’re a total pro!) and set up camp along the banks of the Sumida River ahead of the event to grab the perfect viewing spot. The area between the station and the banks has a buzzing festival vibe, with food stalls and lots of families wearing summer yukata, so enjoying the atmosphere ahead of the display is well worth it. 

Sumida River, 1 – Mukojima, Sumida-ku
7:30pm – 8pm

September 16 – 17, ULTRA Japan 2023

The ultimate outdoor urban dance music festival is back with more of its world-class DJs and immersive sets. Last year’s lineup included electrifying performances from Oliver Heldens, Zedd, DJ Keiko, Martin Garrix and more, with the 2023 lineup to be announced throughout June and July. Experience the immersive fusion of top musicians and visionary minds as they unite in Odaiba for the japan edition of the trailblazing Miami-born festival. Tickets are already on sale, so don’t miss out. 

Tokyo Odaiba ULTRA Park 1-8 Daiba, Minato-ku
From ¥26,000

Until September 24, Forest Beer Garden

Throw your summer body diet plans out the window in exchange for an all-you-can-eat-and-drink beer and barbecue festival. The Forest Beer Garden has been hosting this food festival since 1984, catering to families and groups of friends alike, so you know they’ve found something good here. Stuff yourself with as much sizzling lamb, beef, pork and sausage as you please–and yes, vegetable platters are also available for vegetarians–and pair it all with refreshing beer and other beverages. Like many tabehodai establishments in Japan, there is a two-hour time limit, so reserve in advance and arrive on an empty stomach. 

Meiji Jingu Outer Gardens, 14-13 Kasumigao-kamachi, Shinjuku-ku
Times vary
¥2,500 – ¥5,500

Late July – Early August, Tsukiji Honganji Temple Matsuri

The solemn grounds of the Tsukiji Honganj Temple explode into sound and color for its summer matsuri. vibrant taiko drum performances, Bon-odori dances, and percussion by ensemble Oedo Sukeroku Taiko set the festival atmosphere bar high, while beautiful decorations adorn the festival as festival-goers stroll in a rainbow-colored crowd of traditional yukata. Another highlight is the stalls run by local restaurants owners based in and around the Tsukiji Outer Market, presenting delicious Tsukiji cuisine and other classic festival treats such as taiyaki, yakisoba and kakigori

Tsukiji Honganji Temple, 3-15-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku
Times vary

August 5 – 13, Rock in Japan Fes 

Whip out your favorite band T-shirt and head to Japan’s biggest rock music festival. Almost 100 iconic Japanese artists are already confirmed in the lineup, including Gesu no Otome, Indigo la end, New School Leaders, Shonan no Kaze and Haruka Mirai. Pop, jazz and indie artists will join the stage–even the Harajuku queen herself, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Why do Japanese bands have such weird names, you ask? We don’t know, but we get great joy in announcing that Orange Spiny Crab, THE ORAL CIGARETTES, SUPER BEAVER, Chilli Beans., My Hair is Bad, and the shes gone are also set to perform. 

Chiba City Soga Sports Park, 1-20 Kawasakicho, Chuo Ward, Chiba
Times Vary
From ¥15,000

August 18 – 30, Summer Sonic and Sonic Mania

Arguably one of the most epic summer music festivals in the city, Summer Sonic and its warm-up event Sonic Mania open their doors this year to sensational international artists including Thundercat, Blur, Fall out Boy, Pale Waves, Holly Humberstone and Slow Thai. K-pop superstar group New Jeans will also be taking over the stadium in what promises to be one of the most exciting weekends of the summer. 

ZOZO Marine Stadium, 1 Mihama, Mihama Ward, Chiba
Times vary
From ¥18,500

Early August, Asagaya Tanabata Festival

The Japanese calendar celebrates Tanabata, or “Star Festival”, on the seventh day of the seventh month. According to legend, this is the one day when Altair and Vega, two stars usually parted by the Milky Way, are able to meet. Tokyo’s Asagaya Tanabata Matsuri stands out among the city-wide celebrations as its kilometer-long shotengai (shopping arcade) blooms with handmade paper-mache decorations. This year’s inspiration is drawn from Ghibli, Disney and Sanrio characters. Along with shopping, dive into the festival’s street food, drinks and traditional festival games including goldfish scooping for that special local feeling experience. 

Asagaya Station, 3-58 Asagayaminami, Suginami-ku

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