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Shaved Ice Delights, Fireworks, Tropical Islands & More: Tokyo Reveals 2019 Summer Highlights

June 25, 2019 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

Often dubbed as the ‘metropolis that never sleeps’, Tokyo is set to be more buzzing than ever with the city revealing a number of exciting events, activities and experiences for this summer.

Think traditional festivals, beer garden openings, foodie experiences and dance competitions, add the enticing rhythm of taiko drums and the heavenly scent of BBQ and you will see why Tokyo summer is one not to be missed.

According to Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, here are Tokyo’s Top 2019 Summer Highlights:

Sample Seasonal Food: Japan embraces the changing seasons and summer festivals mean food stalls proffering Japanese junk food favorites yakisoba and okonomiyaki. Cool down with traditional salted cucumbers or slices of watermelon or try mango shaved ice (kakigori).

Visit a Beer Garden: Head to the roof for Tokyo’s best summer beer gardens. From cheap and rowdy, through to truly elegant, the beer garden options are endless. For the best views, head to Mt. Takao Beer Mount, which, at an elevation of 500 meters, is the highest beer garden in Tokyo.

Watch the Fireworks: Dress up in yukata and make your way to the river as the songs of cicadas compete with the colourful explosions in the sky. The biggest is the Sumidagawa Fireworks Festival (the last Saturday in July), but there are many smaller ones too. For the full fireworks guide click here.

Admire Illuminations: As every summer, illumination events are held across the city, many of them at Tokyo landmarks and tourist attractions. Hotel Gajoen Tokyo combines lights with art, Tokyo Tower recreates the Milky Way, and Tokyo Midtown introduces Japanese summer traditions. For a full illuminations guide click here.

Dance Festivals: Every year, Tokyo’s streets come alive with a number of dance festivals and competitions. Kagurazaka Matsuri revives the lively ambience of old Tokyo; at the Koganei Awa-odori Dance Competition many dance troupes from Koganei and across Japan participate to show off their best dance moves.

Visit the Islands: Some of the islands can be reached within 3 hours by high-speed ferries. Oshima is one of the closest. Niijima is famous for its white sand beaches and ferry services are available between nearby Shikinejima where you can enjoy hot springs.

Delve into Tradition: On any given night through July and August, you can hear the taiko drums in every neighborhood, calling locals to celebrate summer and honor their ancestors with Bon dancing, snacks and games. Don’t miss Tanabata, the star festival in Asakusa (July 5-9), Yasukuni Shrine’s Mitama Matsuri (July 13-16) and Koenji’s raucous Awa Odori Festival (August 25-26).

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