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Introducing "Nouryomatsuri" (Summer Festivals) in Tokyo

This video, titled "[4K]Tokyo summer, Bon odori, Tokyo Trip, Tokyo Travel, Tokyo tourism" ([4K]Tokyo summer 夏の東京•納涼祭(夏祭り) 東京観光 盆踊り Bon odori Tokyo Trip Tokyo Travel Tokyo tourism) is a video about "Nouryoumatsuri" (Tokyo summer festival), produced by Discover Nippon.

Japan is colored by the nature of the four seasons.
Tokyo is the capital and has many popular sightseeing spots where the past and present intersect.
In Japan, there is a tradition of enjoying the coolness of the summer months by making various efforts to avoid the hot weather.
The gentle, cool sound of wind chimes and the sprinkling of water along roads and in gardens to relieve the heat have become an ancient Japanese tradition.

This is one of those summer festivals that have been passed down throughout Tokyo, and we present it to you with high quality 4K video clips.
There are many photogenic and Instagram-worthy spots, such as yukata-clad, colorful and spectacular fireworks displays, goldfish swimming gracefully at food stands, and rows of wind chimes.
Nowadays, many foreign tourists come to Japan for these summer festivals, and this article and video will give you information about Japan's most popular summer festivals across the globe.

Introduction of Tokyo's Summer Festival "Jindaiji Hozuki Matsuri"

Image of hozuki

We'll start with "Jindaiji hozuki matsuri," introduced at 0:42 in the video. This festival is held at a Jindaiji Temple in Chofu City, Tokyo, where spirits are welcomed with lantern-like "hozuki" decorations.
There are stalls such with wind chimes, ground cherries, ramune, dumplings and shaved ice on the approach to the temple, and you can see people wearing Yukata, enjoying themselves at the festival.
The sound of the water flowing in the Chozusha provides a cooling effect in the hot Tokyo summer.

Introduction to Tokyo's Summer Festival "Asagaya Tanabata Matsuri"

The next introduction is the "Asagaya Tanabata Matsuri" which can be seen at 1:25 in the video.
Colorful Tanabata decorations line the shopping street in front of Asagaya Station.
The highlight of the Asagaya Tanabata Festival are the Tanabata decoration of deformed anime characters made with "Haribote" (paper mache)."
You can also see characters such as Anpanman in the video from 1:51.

Introduction to Tokyo's Summer Festival "Asakusa Hozuki-Ichi"

Next up is "Asakusa Hozuki-Ichi."
This festival is held on July 9th and 10th on Asakusa Nakamise Street, and can be seen from 2:04 in the video.

The solanaceae perennial "Hozuki" is written in Kanji as 鬼灯 (devil's lamp).
Japan's "oni" (demons) are a scary image, but before Buddhism became popular among the common people, it was believed that human souls would leave their bodies and become oni.
In other words, oni were a subject of worship as well as fear.
It is said that when the idea of Shinto and Buddhist practices were established, hozuki, whose shape resembled a lantern, were used as a guidepost to guide the souls of ancestors who had turned into souls/oni.
Based on the Buddhist belief that the spirits of the dead become Buddhas, Hozuki-ichi was established as a summer evening festival at Sensoji Temple.

Many people wear yukata and enjoy shooting games and goldfish scooping, as well as yakisoba and takoyaki, staples of the festival.

This "Hozuki-Ichi" has another special meaning as well.
It is also known as the "46,000 days"
If you visit Sensoji Temple on this day, you will be recognized by the Goddess Kannon for having accumulated 46,000 days of virtue.
It's great to be able to gain virture while having fun.

Introduction to Tokyo's Summer Festival "Edogawa-Ku Goldfish Matsuri"

Next we have the “Edogawa-ku Goldfish Matsuri” which can be seen from 3:05 in the video.
At the Goldfish Festival held in July every year in Edogawa-ku, Tokyo, where goldfish farming has been popular since the Meiji period (1868-1912), there's goldfish as far as the eye can see!
Various types of goldfish will be on display and for sale, as well as a variety of breeding products, and there's also the very popular luxury goldfish scooping event.

Introduction to Tokyo's Summer Festival "Yukatadeginbura"

Inage of A couple wearing Yukata
Photo:A couple wearing Yukata

The next introduction is “Yukatadeginbura.” It can be seen from 3:51 in the video.
Put on a yukata and enjoy "Dai-Ginza Bon-Odori," and "Uchimizu" to help you cool down!

Introduction to Tokyo's Summer Festival "Tsukishima / Sumiyoshi Shrine Kagematsuri"

The next introduction is “Tsukishima / Sumiyoshi Shrine Kagematsuri” that can be seen from 4:27 of the video.
The festival is held for two days on August 6 and 7 every year, and is held once every three years. A boat ride on the Mikoshi (portable shrine) is performed as well. In the video, you can see the parishioners carrying the mikoshi and pouring water over themselves to keep cool.

Introduction to Tokyo's Bon Odori "Sugamo Bon Odori Tournament" and "Zojoji / Jizo-son housan Bon Odori Tournament.

You can see Bon Odori from 7:06 in the video.
Various summer festivals are held in various parts of Japan, and among them, Bon Odori is a very festive summer festival.
In recent years, Bon Odori has attracted attention from overseas as a very unique event.

Lively music and drums, as well as stalls and yukata, are the standard features of Bon Odori.
People dressed in yukata and jinbei form a circle around a Yagura (tower) and dance happily with fans. This is an important part of the festival as you can enjoy the company of your ancestors that have returned to Obon. (It is a time when Buddhists remember people in their family who have died).
"Tokyo Ondo" is the most popular Bon dance in Tokyo, but the choreography differs by region.

It would be fun to learn how to dance all the Tokyo Ondos in the 23 wards and become a Tokyo Ondo Master.
In addition to the Tokyo Ondo, Tokyo's Bon Dancing is also known for its unique theme songs. Songs from “Ikyyu San” based on the monk (Rinzai sect, Ikkyu Sojun) of the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573 AD), as well as world-renowned songs like Living on a Prayer by rock musician Bon Jovi, are used to create a unique experience. Bon Jovi even mentioned it on his twitter page and it was a hot topic for a minute.
One of the characteristics of Bon Odori is that it is highly diverse, not bound by tradition.

Introduction of Tokyo's Fireworks Displays: "Sumidagawa Fireworks Display" and "Itabashi Fireworks Display"

Image of fireworks

The Sumida River in Tokyo Bay and the Jingu Shrine, which are crowded with people in yukata every year, are also popular places to visit in Tokyo.
This can be seen at 9:35 in the video.
Did you know that these fireworks have a spiritual meaning as well?

The loud noise of fireworks is a deliberate design, and summer was a time when infections and food poisoning were more likely to occur In the Edo period (1603-1867), when medicine was not as advanced as it is today. The loud sound of fireworks was used to exorcise evil and bring good health. It is said that prayers were made at the beginning of the fireworks display.
It is said that the origin of the ceremony comes from the practice of beating drums when paying a visit to a shrine, and the beating of drums at festivals and Bon Odori.
Fireworks festivals are held all over the country, and many people enjoy the colorful fireworks in the summer's night sky.

Introduction of Tokyo's Summer Festival "Mitama Matsuri"

“Mitama Matsuri,” introduced at 12:04 in the video, is a festival held at Yasukuni Shrine in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, to memorialize the souls of those lost in the war. It began in 1947.
More than 30,000 large and small lanterns and Bonbori (paper lanterns) decorate the grounds of the temple, and the whole area is colored gold.

Introduction to Tokyo's Summer Festival "Nogawa Lantern Sinking"

Introduced at the end of this video is the "Nogawa Lantern Sinking." You can see it from 12:22.
The Nogawa Lantern Sinking is a festival held in Choufu City, Tokyo, but the Japanese event "Toronagashi" (Lantern floating), in which lanterns made of Japanese paper are floated into the river and the sea to mourn the souls of the deceased, is held not only in Tokyo, but also in other parts of Japan. Like “Nouryo Matsuri,” this one, too, is one of Japan's summer traditions.

Summary of the Nouryo Matsuri and Summer festival in Tokyo

As summer approaches, posters and illustrations of summer festivals are posted on the bulletin boards of shopping streets and stations, people are seen in yukata, and when you hear the sounds of the music and the shouts of the portable shrines and floats from the streets, you know that summer has finally arrived.

Many festivals were introduced in this video, but don't forget to check online articles and magazines for the schedules of events, including times and locations, as Tokyo hosts many more popular summer festivals!
Some of the other popular summer festivals and events in Tokyo are listed below.

Asakusa Sanja Festival: Sensoji Temple, Taito-ku
・ Azabu Juban Festival: Azabu Juban, Minato-ku
Awa Odori: Koenji , Suginami-ku
・ Shinjuku Eisa Festival: Shinjuku Shinju-ku
・ Asakusa Samba Carnival: Asakusa International Street, Taito-ku
・ Iriya Sagao Matsuri: Iriya, Taito-ku

Enjoy the summer atmosphere of Tokyo in this high quality 4K video of Tokyo's Summer Festivals.
Tokyo, a popular tourist spot where past and present intersect, has a ton of traditional festivals that have been passed down since the good old days of Japan!

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori
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