10 Best Festivals in Japan in June 2023

yosakoi festival Events
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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with traveling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. She also loves to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.

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Joining a festival is one of the best and most exciting ways to immerse yourself in Japanese tradition and culture. Throughout the year, a great number of festivals are held across Japan, especially during the summer season. If you want to experience traditional Japanese festivals earlier before the arrival of sweltering summer heat, why not participate in festivals which are held in June? Here we’ve rounded up the 6 best festivals in Japan which take place in June!         

1. Yosakoi Soran Festival (Hokkaido)

Let’s start exploring Japan’s best festivals from Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan which boasts abundant nature, delicious local specialties and unique cultural experiences! Yosakoi Soran Festival is a famous festival which is annually held in June in Hokkaido. This festival was originally started by local young people who were inspired by Yosakoi Festival, a traditional summer festival which has been held in Kochi prefecture every August since 1954. One of the highlights of Yosakoi Soran Festival is the enthusiastic dance performances which can be enjoyed at 20 sites across Sapporo City. Energetic dancers are dressed in colorful outfits, play traditional Japanese instruments (wadaiko, Japanese drums and naruko clappers), and passionately dance to Hokkaido’s folk music called “Soranbushi”.     

MIKI Yoshihito, CC BY 2.0, via flick

Yosakoi Soran Festival 2023

Dates: June 7th (Wed.) – 11th (Sun.) 2023

Admission free

How to get there

About 5-minute walk from Odori Station, Sapporo Municipal Subway

2. Kifune Festival (Kyoto)

Widely known as the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto is home to not only historic temples and shrines, but also traditional festivals that have been carried out for over centuries. Kifune Festival is the most important festival of Kifune Shrine, a sacred Shinto shrine which is dedicated to the god of water. This beautiful ancient shrine is nested in a peaceful mountainous area in northern Kyoto City, and probably best known for the picturesque approach featuring symbolic red lanterns standing along the stone steps. This annual festival is held on June 1st every year to pray for a good harvest of the year and healthy growth of local children. During the festival, the deity of Kifune Shrine is carried to a portable shrine (called mikoshi in Japanese), and goes around the Kifune area. At the shrine grounds, you can also enjoy impressive performances of gagaku, traditional Japanese imperial court music and dance, in a solemn atmosphere.        

kifune shrine

Kifune Festival 2023

Date: June 1st (Thu.) 2023

Admission free

How to get there

About 5-minute bus ride from Kibuneguchi Station, Eizan Railway

3. Tsukiji Lion Dance Festival (Tokyo)

Tsukiji Lion Dance Festival is held at Namiyoke Shrine in Tsukiji, Tokyo. This festival has been carried out for over 360 years since the establishment of the shrine in 1659. According to legend, this festival was originally started to commemorate the successful completion of reclamation work in the Tsukiji area. During the time, the reclamation work didn’t see a smooth progress because of rough waves and storms from the ocean nearby.

One day, people found a shining object floating in the sea which turned out to be the statue of Inari Okami, deity of agriculture. People revered and enshrined the statue immediately and threw a festival for the deity, and everything suddenly changed after – the waves and storms calmed down.
Highlight of this historic festival is the gigantic lion heads which are over 2 meters tall, and beautifully painted in gold, red and black. Participants carry them on portable shrines and march through the streets. If you are planning a visit to Tsukiji Fish Market, joining this festival is a perfect way to experience both Japanese tradition and its food culture on the same day! Enjoy the energetic atmosphere of the historic festival while feeling the arrival of early summer!               

Namiyoke Shrine
江戸村のとくぞう, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tsukiji Lion Dance Festival 2023

Dates: June 9th (Fri.) – 11th (Sun.) 2023

Admission free

How to get there

About 7-minute walk from Tsukiji Station, Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line

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4. Atsuta Festival (Aichi)

Located in Nagoya City, Aichi, Atsuta Jingu Shrine is one of Japan’s most important and visited Shinto shrines which dates back over 1,900 years. This ancient shrine is well known for the sacred sword called “Kusanagi-no Tsurugi”, which translates “The grass-cutting sword” in English. This legendary sword is one of the three sacred treasures of Japan which appears in Japanese mythology. Atsuta Festival is annually held in Atsuta Jingu Shrine and attracts around 250,000 people every year from all over Japan. Highlights of the festival include beautiful fireworks displays at night, as well as “Kento Makiwara” (献灯まきわら), the symbols of the festival which are basically giant floats decorated with countless traditional lanterns. You will also be able to get a chance to enjoy impressive performances of Japanese traditional martial arts such as Kendo, Sumo and Kyudo (Japanese archery)!   

Michael Zimmer, CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr

Atsuta Festival 2023

Date: June 5th (Sun.) 2023

Admission free

How to get there

About 3-minute walk from Jingu-mae Station, Meitetsu Railway

5. Yoshiwara Gion Festival (Fuji)

Yoshiwara Gion Festival is a traditional festival which has been held in Fuji City, Shizuoka for over 350 years. This festival takes place on the second weekend of June, and draws around 200,000 visitors every year. Yoshiwara is the previous name of Fuji City, and the origin of the festival dates back to the Edo period (1603 – 1868). During the festival, you can enjoy watching 21 floats which are gorgeously decorated by locals. They are carried around the downtown area of Fuji City, including Yoshiwara Shopping arcade which is home to about 200 food stalls selling delicious local specialties and street foods. Dynamic Japanese drum performances are also held in the evening.     

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Yoshiwara Gion Festival 2023

Date: Usually mid-June
*We will update the dates for 2023 when it’s officially announced

Admission free

How to get there

A short walk from Yoshiwara Honcho Station, Gakunan Railway

6. Sanno Matsuri (Tokyo)

Sanno Matsuri is one of the three biggest festivals in Tokyo which is held at Hie Shrine every two years. Along with the Kanda Festival at Kanda Myojin Shrine and Fukagawa Festival at Tomioka Hachimangu Shrine, this festival is considered one of the three biggest festivals in Japan. Hie Shrine is a sacred Shinto shrine located in Chiyoda-ku, and it is particularly famous for the picturesque red torii gates which resemble the symbolic thousand torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. This shrine is also believed to have a strong connection with the Tokugawa Family, which dominantly ruled Japan for over 260 years throughout the Edo period (1603 – 1868)

What you shouldn’t miss during the 10-day long festival is the parade of 500 people who are dressed in traditional costume, and carry mikoshi, the portable shrines through the bustling streets in the heart of Tokyo. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of traditional Japanese performances, such as Kagura dance, dynamic drum performances and Bon Odori dance (traditional Japanese dance at summer festivals).  

superidoljp, CC BY-SA 2.0, via flickr

Sanno Matsuri 2023

Date: Usually mid-June
*We will update the dates for 2023 when it’s officially announced

Admission free

How to get there

About 3-minute walk from Akasaka Station, Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line

7. Tokkawa Firefly Festival (Okazaki)

Every weekend in June, you can visit the Tokkawa Firefly Festival. Located at the Okazaki City Firefly School to the southeast of Nagoya, you can witness thousands of fireflies lighting up the night sky. As June is their mating season, this month from 6 pm to 9 pm will be the best chance of witnessing the shining creatures in their natural habitat. Here, you can also learn about them while enjoying the view of the peaceful Tokkawa River. So, if you’re interested in exploring the Japanese countryside, this is a perfect excursion for you. 

Tokkawa Firefly Festival 2023

Date: Every Weekend in June

Admission free

How to get there

By car; parking available at Okazaki Firefly School

8. Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival (Tokyo)

When over 3,000 hydrangeas bloom at Hakusan Shrine in Tokyo, you don’t want to miss the Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival. This quaint historical shrine is known for its connection to marriage and dental pain. While you can pray to the deity Kikurihime to resolve marriage issues at any time, this festival is the only time you can hold a service to hopefully provide some relief for toothaches by bringing your old toothbrush to the shrine. You can also enjoy free concerts and toothbrushes, as well as buy potted hydrangeas at the festival. This year, it will be held from June 10th to June 18th.

Dokudami, (CC BY-SA 4.0), via Wikimedia Commons.

Bunkyo Hydrangea Festival 2023

Date: June 10-18

Admission free

How to get there

About 3-minute walk from Hakusan Station, Mita Line

9. Aizen Festival (Osaka)

Held on the last day of June through July 2nd is the Aizen Festival in Osaka. As one of the city’s major and oldest festivals of the year, this event often attracts many participants. Originally, the Aizen Temple was built in 593 AD as a place to pray for the good health of local residents. Now, activities such as the Hoekago parade, food stalls, and Miss Aizen contest are typically included in this festival located in Tennoji Park. This year will be the first in six years that the food stall will be reopened. So, come enjoy this unique experience in the food capital of Japan.

Jose Cruz, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), via flickr.

Aizen Festival 2023

Date: June 30 – July 2

Admission free

How to get there

About 10-minute walk from Dobutsuen-Mae Station, Midosuji Line

10. Hokkaido Shrine Festival (Hokkaido)

Also known as the Sapporo Festival, the Hokkaido Shrine Festival is celebrated from June 14th through the 16th. This event hosts food and game stalls, a motorbike performance, haunted and magic houses, and a parade to the heart of Sapporo from the Hokkaido Shrine. Thousands of people dressed in traditional yukatas line the streets to participate in this major festival, so arrive early to ensure you can enjoy each event. Try the local street foods and play some games in Nakajima Park and then watch the parade on the last day to experience this festival like a local.

Panoramio upload bot, (CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons.

Hokkaido Shrine Festival 2023

Date: June 14-16

Admission free

How to get there

About 14-minute walk from Maruyama Koen Station, Tozai Line

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