fbpx

Ultimate Guide to Annual Events in Tokyo

By  Ava McKee | September 9, 2022

A colorful night view of the signs that line the streets of Shibuya

Are you looking for events in Tokyo,  but are tired of endlessly scrolling through website after website to find what works for you? Well look no further, because this is the ultimate guide to the annual events in Tokyo and where to find them. This comprehensive list covers everything from the festive events of the different seasons, to the best events to go to if you are single and looking, all the way to events that are great for job hunting. It can be frustrating to move to a new place and to feel so overwhelmed that you do not have the time or the energy to research which events are a worthwhile venture for you. This article is a one stop shop for you to figure out what to find at a wide variety of annual events in Tokyo.  

This article is part of our extensive series on Learning About Japan through Online Lessons at Japan Switch.

ebook on tablet

Stop wasting time.

Download your free copy of 29 TIPS + TRICKS TO HACK THE JLPT today and start preparing for the JLPT the right way!

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Events in Tokyo by Season

     

    Fall

    Tori-no-Ichi

    Are you ready to dive headfirst into ancient Japanese culture? Tori-no-Ichi is an event in Tokyo that originates all the way back in the Edo period of Japan! It used to be a harvest festival that was a dedication to the day of the rooster, but it has now evolved into an event where people visit the Ohtori Shrine and wish for wealth, health, and good fortune. The really unique part of this specific event is that Kumade or rakes are sold by vendors in various sizes! Each rake is made of bamboo and beautifully decorated, and you can purchase one to bring yourself or others happiness and prosperity. Tori-no-Ichi is free to attend and is held on November 4, 16, and 28 in Asakusa. This is the perfect event for you if you want a genuine look into how the local Japanese community keeps its traditions alive.

    Shinagawa Shukuba - Matsuri Festival

    Matsuri (festivals) are events in Tokyo worth attending if you want to learn more about Japan’s rich culture. Shinagawa Shukuba is one such event which celebrates the traditions and ancient culture of the Shinagawa ward of Tokyo. This is a great opportunity to see a parade, taiko drumming, storytelling, and eat delicious Japanese food. You are guaranteed to have a great time, whether you are looking for a solo trip to explore on your own terms, or if you are looking to do something fun with a large group of friends that you are trying to get to know better! This event is held in Shinagawa and is an annual two-day free event held on September 28. Disclaimer: This festival is not being held in 2022 for COVID-19 related reasons, but it is worth mentioning so that you can plan to visit in years to come. 

    Winter

    Ennichi Terrance Christmas Market

    There are some amazing events in Tokyo around Christmas time, and this is one of my personal favorites! This market has christmas decorations and festive lights galore for when you want to get in the Christmas spirit. You can find a wide variety of holiday food and treats, including hot chocolate, mulled wine, and even clam chowder! The unique thing about this market is that it takes place at the bottom of the Tokyo Tower! Imagine walking next to your new friends in the brisk weather with a warm hot chocolate in your hands, and you all look up at the beautiful Tokyo tower together and think about the unique holiday experience that you are having in this new city. It is held from October 30 through January 11 at Tokyo Tower and admission is free. You cannot miss out on this magical Tokyo event!

    Roppongi Christmas Market

    This is another Christmas Market if you are really looking for the Christmas spirit! The goal of this specific event is to resemble the Stuttgart Christmas market, which is said to be the world’s largest Christmas market! Because it is made to resemble the famous Stuttgart market, you will be able to have the unique experience of Germany in Japan as you can purchase many delicious German specialties such as German sausages, stollen and stews! You can also enjoy mulled wine and other treats as you walk around with friends and look at Christmas lights and stalls that offer many different holiday items! Roppongi Christmas is a great event for you and your significant other because there are other enjoyable parts of Roppongi nearby that you can visit before and after the market, such as museums, bars, and popular clubbing spots! This event is held from November 27 through December 25 in Roppongi and admission is free, so do yourself a favor and plan an incredible night by putting this event in your calendar!

    Annual event in Tokyo featuring a bustling crowd at the intricately decorated Roppongi Christmas market

    Spring

    Ueno Sakura Matsuri

    What is Japan known for if not its cherry blossoms? Ueno park is home to this event in Tokyo every spring as it is lined with picturesque Sakura trees that are in full bloom, and the park is adorned with lanterns to give it a dreamy feeling at night. There is no need to speak the same language for everyone to witness and feel a mutual sense of awe when looking at cherry blossoms at their peak beauty. Ueno Sakura Matsuri is perfect for bringing your friends, some delicious food, and a blanket and having an unforgettable picnic with the most beautiful backdrop imaginable. The pictures would be incredible! This event is held sometime at the end of March or early April (depending on the cherry blossom season) at Ueno park, and it is absolutely free! If there is only one event in Tokyo that you attend, make it a Sakura viewing event. 

    Want to know more about Ueno? Also check out Our Favorite Things to do in Ueno on Japan Switch! 

    Kurayami Matsuri

    This is an event in Tokyo that you cannot miss if you really want to feel the ancient nature of Japan’s culture. The Kurayami Matsuri is one of the oldest festivals that is celebrated in Tokyo. It is recommended that you attend this festival several different times in order to witness all the different attractions it has to offer, but you can certainly gain a lot from the festival even if you just make it to the main attractions. On May 1, you can take part in the prayers made for safety and dry weather throughout the festival; on the evening of May 3 you can witness Komakurabe or a horse procession that is meant to show the speed and prowess of this majestic animal; on the evening of May 4, you can witness the luminescent parade of 24 lantern floats that occurs! The main event, however, is where the portable shrines are carried through the darkness at night. You can also come during the day to witness beautiful plants brought to the plant fair by gardeners from all over! This eventful festival is held from April 30 through May at the Okunitama-jinja Shrine and it is free, so go and enjoy!

    Japanese-group-lessons-in-Shinjuku-600x400-1
    Group Lesson Student

    Affordable Online and Offline Morning Lessons in Tokyo

    Learn Japanese with us online or offline and make your Japan Switch.

    JapanSwitch Logo - LINEAR - 800 x 287
    • Affordable Japanese Lessons
    • Monthly Contracts
    • No Entrance Fees
    • No Hidden Fees
    • 200+ Students
    • Online or Offline Lessons

    Summer

    Sumida River Fireworks Festival

    A staple of summer is to go to see fireworks! This is Japan’s largest fireworks festival which allows you to see about 22,000 fireworks and attracts over one million visitors annually! You do not need to worry about being fluent in Japanese to go, because this is just about feeling the summer vibes and enjoying an amazing spectacle alongside others that feel the same way, regardless of the language you speak! The amazing thing about this specific festival is that the main venue will hold a contest in which the newest and brightest firework creations will compete for your amazement! Imagine how amazing a fireworks show can be with a little competition in the mix! This festival is held annually on the last Saturday of July on the riverbank of the Sumida River, and there is no charge or ticket that you need to buy. You have to bring your friends, some snacks, and some drinks, and make it a night to remember!

    Summer Sonic

    One of the most enjoyable experiences when you are young is to attend a music festival with your friends, and this is the one to go to! Summer Sonic is the largest music festival in Japan that you can attend, making it a must-see Tokyo event! It has been the host of many famous artists, such as Post Malone, THE 1975, Megan Thee Stallion, Rina Sawayama, Mrs. Green Apple, as well as many other well-known artists. This event is held annually in mid August at Maishima Sonic Park, and you can purchase a one day ticket for ¥17,000 or a two day ticket ¥31,000. This is an incredibly popular festival that draws people from all over the world, so make sure that you set yourself a reminder to purchase tickets the minute they go on sale so you do not miss out!

    WANT TO HAVE MORE FUN MUSIC EXPERIENCES IN TOKYO? 

    Check out our Guide to Karaoke in Tokyo for more options!

    Our 3 Favorite Day Trip Worthy Events in Tokyo

     

    Furusato Food Festival

    You cannot miss this event in Tokyo if you love food! This festival is a two-day event held in Yoyogi Park in the Tokyo Dome, and it features the local specialties from several different prefectures in different parts of Japan. Furusato Food Festival is perfect for you if you are someone that can never make up your mind about what you want to eat! You can try different Japanese takes on sushi and ramen, seafood delicacies such as urchin and salmon roe, brand name beef, and there are sections focused on different craft beer and sake specialties if that is what you are looking for! While the food is definitely the main event, there is also an emphasis on food production and preparation so that you can come to appreciate the thousands of years of history in Japanese cuisine. This event is held in March and is free to attend, although you will need to pay for the different foods and drinks that you just cannot pass up on.

    Design Festa

    Design Festa is a massive international art and design festival held in autumn every year. It is an incredible Tokyo event that allows for unique interactions between artists, customers, and observers that are simply there to experience new things. There are thousands of stalls to see and explore, and you will have a chance to enjoy workshops, witness live art demonstrations, listen to live music, and eat delicious food! I am personally most excited about the Show Stage which will shine the spotlight on acrobat performances, dance performances, live music, sword fighting, live comedy and more! This is a dream event for those who love creativity and respect artists and their work, and it is worthy of an entire day trip so that you can have plenty of time to explore this massive event in Tokyo! It is being held on November 11 and 12 this year, and you can purchase a one day exhibitor pass for ¥550 per person, or a two day pass for ¥1100 per person.

    Tokyo Rainbow Pride Fest

    This modern event in Tokyo is the ultimate event to attend to show off your LGBTQ Pride! People from all over the country come together adorned in bright and colorful costumes to celebrate love, positivity, and a beautiful sense of community. There are dozens of stalls as well if you want to grab food and buy Pride merchandise so that you can be a part of the celebration as well. It is held each spring near Shibuya and Yoyogi park. There are several parts to this event including the parade being held on April 22 through April 24, an online Pride Conference on June 3, and an online live Pride Talk on June 25 and 26. Disclaimer: It is normally an open event but the presence of COVID-19 has made it so that some events may require advanced registration.

    WANT MORE UNIQUE FOOD OPTIONS? 

    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Halal Japanese Food!

    Your Japanese leaving people in the dark?

    Let our newsletter for beginner to low intermediate learners guide your way.



    Top 5 Fairs in Tokyo

    Art Fair Tokyo

    This art fair in Tokyo offers a chance to see a very wide range of art pieces that will satisfy very different art tastes. You can find art from the antique, modern, and contemporary eras of art. You will have the chance to purchase high quality artworks from all of these eras, including Nihonga paintings as well as more modern sculpture and photographs. This event is held in the Marunouchi area of Tokyo in March each year, and is ¥4,000 when you purchase your ticket in advance and ¥5,000 the day of, so definitely plan ahead!

    Tokyo International Fair

    The Tokyo International Fair is a perfect event for finding one place to look at artwork from all over the world! 150 exhibitors from over 40 countries give you their take on artwork from the modern and contemporary eras. Several mediums are showcased, including sculpture, painting, print, drawing and more. Big names in the art world will be showing and selling their pieces at this fair, including Adriana Miranda, Agnes Lui, Annemarie Ambrosoli and so many more! This event is held in Roppongi on June 23 and 24, and I suggest going on Saturday for the free viewing! If you prefer the experience of a private viewing, you are able to purchase tickets for ¥1,590 each so that you can have a more personalized experience.

    Roppongi Art Night

    Do you prefer to hop around to different locations to see different art works? In this Tokyo event you will be able to see temporary art installations that are scattered across public spaces in the Roppongi neighborhood, such as the museums, art centers, and shopping districts located in the area. There is a big name that frontlines the event, this year’s being Takashi Murakami, as well as other local and international artists that exhibit their work, such as Madsaki, Chiho Aoshimam and Kasing Lung. There is an English guided tour offered if you feel that you need it! This event is held in Roppongi on September 17-19 this year, and some venues offer free entry while others offer discounted prices for this event, so make sure you check beforehand!

    Hanazono Shrine Antique Market

    I do not know about you but I sometimes get overwhelmed by large events that attract lots of people, which is why the Hanazono Shrine Antique Market is perfect for me and can be for you too! This is an event in Tokyo that will allow you to experience a small but mighty antique fair! It features 25-30 stalls that offer an assortment of small treasures to small pieces of furniture so that you can decorate your apartment and give that vintage Japanese vibe. Although this fair is not grand in scale, it is less intense and will allow you to have a more relaxed experience as you look around if that is what you prefer. One thing to note about this event is that it can be canceled on very short notice due to bad weather, so make sure to look out for that when you are planning to go! This event is held at the Hanazono Shrine in Shinjuku in September and it is free for you to attend (but you should bring extra cash for when you inevitably find something that you cannot leave without).

    Heiwajima Antique Fair

    If you are interested in a larger antique fair, this is the fair for you! The Heiwajima fair is much larger as about 200 vendors converge for this event in Tokyo to offer you various pieces of their history. Some vendors will be offering smaller pieces that are capable of being bargained for, but this fair attracts many professional vendors that are selling very special and high quality antiques that will have less of a bargaining range. You can find traditional toys, tools, and porcelain items, but you can also find old kimono, statues, and sculptures. There is something for everyone at this fair! This fair is held in the Tokyo Ryutsu Center on September 9 through September 11 and it is free! You can go to purchase a unique Japanese antique or you can go to look around and experience what a Japanese antique fair is all about!

    An antique Japanese ladle being sold at an antique market event in Tokyo featuring antique vendors

    Top 3 Events in Tokyo to Attend If You Are Single

    Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine Wind Festival

    This is a perfect event to attend if you are single and looking for love. The Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine is known as the ‘love shrine’ and regularly brings those together who are single and looking for the love of their lives. Therefore, this festival is a great opportunity to meet others looking for love among the colorful wind chimes and the romantic atmosphere of a summer night in Japan. The grounds of the shrine are split up into multiple sections that you have a chance to go to one area and see the Furin Komichi or“wind chime lane” which is adorned with dozens glass bells in various colors, and then you can go to another area and the Furin Kairo or “corridor of marriage wind chimes'' which contains the wishes of worshippers written on thin wooden strips and attached to the wind chimes. There are also many stalls that sell various food and drink items so that you have even more to do with the new people that you meet at this event. This festival is held at the Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine in Saitama prefecture at one point in July and September, and it is free to attend.

    Night Club Events

    Another way to meet others if you are single is to attend night club events in Tokyo. The TK Nightclub is a large nightclub that hosts many popular DJs every day! This venue was completely renovated so that it has a massive main floor, incredible music equipment, and luxurious decorations so that you have the time of your life and others come to spend their nights as well. You might choose to go there to listen to a specific artist and find someone there for the same reason, or you can meet someone and know that you both like to spend your free time in the same way, a perfect match!. Additionally, there are several other bars around this night club so that you and whoever you might can go and talk some more in a setting that is better for getting to know one another better. This night club is located in Shibuya and is ¥2,000 for men and ¥500 for women from 10pm-12am, and then it is ¥3,000 for men and ¥500 for women from 12pm and on.

    Concerts

    Concerts are a very common event in Tokyo. There are concerts practically every day of the week at various venues known as live houses all across the city. Concerts are a great way to meet someone that would normally never cross on the street but with whom you instantly have music taste in common. You can see some of your favorite artists as well as do some research and attend a concert of an artist you are interested in but have never heard of before, the options are endless! Prices can vary drastically based on who is performing, what seat you are looking for, which day of the week it is, and which venue is hosting the concert. Tickets for upcoming concerts can be as low as ¥3,500 per ticket and as high as ¥10,000 per ticket.

    WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR NEW MATCH?

    Check out The Best Things to do in Tokyo at Night

      

     

     

     

     

    Meetup Events in Tokyo

    Meetup events are a great way to meet the Japanese and Korean idols and otherwise famous individuals that you have been waiting to meet! Meetups are often located at the popular spots in Tokyo such as Akihabara, Ikebukero, Shinjuku, etc. These events are popular and it can be an incredibly competitive experience to purchase your ticket so you need to be prepared in advance. It is likely that you can purchase your tickets online and therefore do not have to worry about lacking the Japanese skills for this part of the process. Occasionally there are popup events that are completely free! They are sometimes held at large shopping malls and all you are required to do is show up. Larger meetup events held at popular venues, such as the Tokyo dome, may require you to purchase tickets for ¥4,200 per person or more. This just depends on the event you are choosing to attend! 

    Some of the specific locations that you can expect to meet famous idols are The AKB48 Theater in Akihabara, Sunshine City, Tokyo Dome, Zepp Tokyo, and Shin Okubo (the K-town of Japan).

    Are you looking not only for a meetup with idols but also for meetups with other foreigners? Living in a new and unfamiliar city can make you feel lonely and isolated at times, but attending meetups with other foreign individuals so that you can get to know one another and explore the city together can be really valuable for your experience.

    Two individuals dressed in business casual attire sitting across from each other at a table and working on ipads

    Job Fair Events in Tokyo

    Tokyo Career Forum

    This specific job fair hosts over 250 companies looking to talk to people just like you! It is the largest Japanese-English job fair and some companies will do company seminars that you can attend so that you can get a feel of whether you are interested in them or not, and some companies will invite you to do a walk-in or same day scheduled interview. This Tokyo event is unmatched in its ability to offer you opportunities to interact with companies in which you are interested, and the fact that it is Japanese-English will give you the confidence that you can have free range of the event and not be stuck to the small corner of English speaking companies. If you are interested but not in the country when this event is taking place in Tokyo, it also takes place in London, Shanghai, Sydney, and various other cities in the United States. This event in Tokyo is held twice a year at Big Sight, Odaiba and is perfect for international working professionals, and some of the events are aimed specifically at exchange students, so get your resumes ready!

    GL Doors!

    GL Doors! is another event in Tokyo that allows foreign individuals a way to do some job hunting. About 40 companies attend this job fair looking specifically for exchange students to join their team and bring their unique point of view. This event is the right one for you if you are an international student and you are wavering between returning home and finding a job or continuing your adventures abroad after graduation! This event is many times held online and while it is free, you are required to make a reservation for the specific sessions that are of interest to you.

    Go Global Career Fair 

    This fair is smaller than the Tokyo Career Forum but it is held more frequently and also offers many opportunities to interact with companies. Go Global Career Fair is slightly different though than the others I have mentioned because it is less common to do a walk-in interview and more common for an interested company to offer you an invite to a separate event where they will do a company introduction for the applicants that they could see as prospective employees. While this is common, some companies may ask you to do an interview while you are there if they really like you, so be prepared to let them know what makes you special! While smaller events in Tokyo like this may seem less attractive since they will not be on the same grand scale as others, you may find that you can have more personalized interactions with these companies which can be more beneficial in the long run. These events are held at Akiba Square in Akihabara at various dates throughout the year, so make sure to look out and make a reservation!

    WANT TO GET A HEAD START ON JOB HUNTING IN JAPAN? 

    Check out our Ultimate Guide to Jobs in Japan for Foreigners!

    Final Thoughts

    Tokyo is a large city with a multitude of fun and diverse events to see throughout the year. There is truly something for everyone, you just have to find what speaks to you. It is easy for work or school to be physically or emotionally draining so that you feel you do not have the energy to search for things to do in your free time, but fear not! We are here to help. Seeking out fulfilling adventures can be what uplifts you and makes your time in Japan worth it, and Tokyo’s rich historic and modern culture is definitely worth experiencing when you can. I suggest using this article as a start to your Tokyo bucket list! Happy exploring!

    Archer

    From Beginner to Pro

    Our bi-weekly emails for beginners to low intermediate students will give you the tips and motivation to self-study Japanese your way to Japanese fluency.

    Scroll to Top