What’s Happening in Tokyo this Summer?

What’s Happening in Tokyo this Summer?

Events to look out for this summer


July 15 – November 5
David Hockney Exhibition 

For anyone who doesn’t know yet, David Hockney is regarded as one of the most powerful and influential artists in the postwar era. His work mediums include everything from drawing, print work, photography and stage design. July in Japan marks the first chance for art lovers to see his most recent work, “The Arrival of Spring”. Can you believe he drew the 90-meter long work with his iPad? Despite being in lockdown, Hockney emerges back into the global art scene with a whole new oeuvre of work the world has yet to experience.

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku
10am – 6pm
¥1,000 – ¥2,300

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

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

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

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 12 – 13
Summer Comiket 2023 

Whether you’re a mainstream or an indie manga fan, discover a whole new selection of manga at Comiket. Also known as Comic Market, this is one of Japan’s most prominent pop culture events that’s held twice a year in summer and winter to celebrate the world of independently published manga. A good handful of amateur and professional manga artists alike use Comiket as a prime time to showcase their proudest works. Read a vast selection of genres and art styles yet to be discovered by mainstream markets. If you’re planning to cosplay, there will be a special ticket that grants you access to a changing room.

Tokyo Big Sight, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku
10:30am – 4pm
¥1,000 – ¥5,000

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

August 26 – 27
Koenji Awa Odori Festival 

Tokyo’s liveliest festival is back with performances by over 10,000 dancers. Beat the afternoon summer heat at the Koenji Awa Odori Festival, where the festivities begin with the setting sun. The performers, adorned in traditional yukata, geta, and straw amigasa hats dance the night away. The troupes, known as ‘ren’, skillfully synchronize their movements with the captivating melodies of traditional Japanese instruments, like the shamisen

Za-Koenji Public Theatre, 2-1-2 KoenjI-Kita, Suginami-ku
5pm – 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