Events to Attend in Japan

Japan, being a country with 125 million in population, has thousands of events happening every day that you could possibly attend! But if you don’t speak fluent Japanese, many of these fantastic events are closed to you simply because you will never find them.

Read more: The top things I did when in Japan.

Shows and Performances

There are shows like sumo wrestling, Kabuki Theater, Makai wrestling theater, and the robot restaurant that have tons of scheduled dates available. Checking a calendar or keeping an eye out for posters is often the only way to find these events.

Seasonal Events

Spring: Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival, Kakunodate Cherry Blossom Festival

Summer: Gion Festival (Kyoto), Aomori Nebuta Festival in Aomori, and hundreds of other summer festivals

Fall: Fujiwara Fall Festival in Hiraizumi and the Kowagoe Festival, TIFFCOM film fest, and Tokyo Motor Show.

Winter: Sapporo Snow Festival and the Nozawa File Festival.

Friend-making Events

There are events like the Tokyo English Meetup FRON and Gaitomo that are tailored to foreigners and Japanese alike. Many of these events can be focused on dating, but some are more about practicing language skills with new people and making connections and friends. The events sometimes include all-you-can-drink (Nomihodai).

Notable Events

World Cosplay Summit

Once a year characters from anime and video games will completely overtake the city of Nagoya for the World Cosplay Summit. A cosplay festival where people dress as their favorite characters, the summit brings cosplayers from all over the world. Enjoy the hard work and passion of these amazing fans and enjoy looking for your favorite characters. The festival is held every year from the end of July to the beginning of August, with the parade and championship being held on the first Saturday and Sunday of August

Atsuta Festival

The famous 1,900-year-old Atsuta-jingu Shrine hosts the Atsuta Festival in early June every year, signaling the coming of summer. The festival comes to life with incredible dances, drum performances, Kento Makiwara floats and seasonal cotton kimono worn by the festival’s visitors.

Yamaga Lantern Festival

In Kumamoto Prefecture , the summer is filled with festivals and events. However, the Yamaga Lantern Festival is one of the brightest of these events. Yamaga is famous for its lanterns, and hundreds of them are used during the festival. Many women even wear them on their heads for the slow summer dance they perform as part of the festivities. The celebrations also feature a fantastic firework display with over 4,000 fireworks lighting up the sky.

Kanda Matsuri

Kanda Matsuri is a huge Shinto festival in Tokyo that has been ongoing since the Edo age. Held at the Kanda Myojin Shrine in Chiyoda City, the festival takes over nearby districts all the way from Kanda to Akihabara and beyond. Thousands of participants and thousands more spectators takeover the streets for the festival. The larger “honmatsuri” version takes place on odd-numbered years, and a smaller and simplified version is held on even-numbered years. Complemented by events throughout the week, the main attractions usually occur over the weekend closest to May 15. On the weekend there are day-long processions on Saturday and parades of mikoshi on Sunday.