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Natsu Matsuri

Summer has arrived! People are starting to feel the hot and humid weather that summer brings. This is also the time of the year where most people enjoy walking around wearing yukata, a traditional Japanese clothing worn by both men and women made with straight seams and wide sleeves.

When you say natsu matsuri, it means different festivals that take place during summer time. Matsuri refers to Shinto rituals that worships Shinreikon (the spirit of God). It is also called Sairei (rites and festivals) or Saishi (religious service). But there are also events that take place during summer that is associated with matsuri.

Matsuri has no specific days of celebration as it varies from different areas all over Japan. Festivals are often based around one event, with food stalls offering summer foods, entertainment, carnival games and festive mood to entertain visitors. It is said that there are more than 10,000 Matsuri festivals and events being held all over the country.

Hozuki-Ichi (Ground Cherry Pod Fair) at Senso-ji Temple. 
Hozuki-Ichi (Ground Cherry Pod Fair) at Senso-ji Temple

Said to be the oldest temple in Tokyo and popular among people from all over Japan. It is also said that a prayer offered in this temple on July 10 is equal to praying for 46,000 days. Today, you will find around 100 stalls that are set up selling ground cherry pods in the temple grounds, with people strolling around in their colorful yukata gowns. The summer breeze and sounds of wind bells add to the merry atmosphere.

Date: July 9 – 10
Time: Temple 6:00-20:00
Hozuki-Ichi 8:00-20:00
Place: 2-3-1 Asakusa Taito-ku Senso-ji Temple
Contact: 03-3261-8326

Shinjuku Eisa Festival.
Shinjuku Eisa Festival

Eisa is an accustomed dance that originated in the Okinawan islands.  They have their own traditional costumes worn and dancing to the beat of the drumming, which is quite different from other summer festivals in Japan. Organizers of this festival in the city expect one million or more visitors in attendance and Shinjuku is a place where you will not even notice that you will find more than a million to watch and mingle.

Date: July 29
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Website: http://www.shinjuku-eisa.com
Admission: Free
Place: Shinjuku Station East / West entrance and the streets
Contact: Shinjuku Eisa Festival Management Office – 03-6681-4858

Mitama-matsuri.

A festival that is being held at the Yasukuni Shrine to honor the spirits of the war dead. This is also called the “Festival of Light.” There are 30,000 lighted lanterns attached from towers of metal scaffolding to create a dazzling approach. A typical summer festival event with plenty of food, beer and music entertainment to offer. The festival runs for four days. The shrine is very close from Kudanshita Station on the Tokyo Metro Honzomon and Tozai Lines as well as the Toei Shinjuku Line.

Date: July 13 – 16
Time: 18:00 ~
Place: Kudanshita, Yasukuni Shrine
Contact: 03-3261-8326
Website: http://www.yasukuni.or.jp/ schedule/mitama.html

Iriya Asagao Matsuri (Morning Glory Festival).

This is the largest festival in Japan dedicated to morning glories. There 100 fair stalls along Iriya Kishimojin and Kototoi-dori Street that attract around 400,000 people during the three-day period each year.

Place: 1-12-16 Shitaya, Taito-ku (in and around Iriya Kishimojin)
Contact: Iriya Asagao Executive Committee – 03-3841-1800
Web: http://www.kimcom.jp/asagao/
Date: July 6 – 8
Time: 5:00 – 23:00
Access: By train: 5-min. walk from JR Yamanote Line / Keihin Tohoku Line (Uguisudani Station) and 1-min. walk from Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Iriya Station

Roppongi Hills Summer Station.

A unique entertainment offered to visitors with TV characters, Hero shows, music shows and food stalls are presented. Aside from life-sized anime characters, the festival also features daily concerts in the Roppongi Hills Arena from popular artists. This is their city type of entertainment festival.

Date: July (exact date is yet to be released)
Time: 10: 00 – 23: 00
Place: Roppongi Hills, TV Asahi Headquarters
Admission: Adult (above junior high school student) ¥ 2,000 (tax excluded), child (4 years old to elementary school student) ¥ 1,000 (tax excluded)
Website: http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/ summerstation/
Contact: 0570-055-525

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