My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: June 16, 2023
If you're a fan of Japanese festivals, July is a perfect month to visit Tokyo. From Tanabata Matsuri celebrations at the start of the month, to the breathtaking Sumida River Fireworks Festival in late July, there are great memories to be made throughout the month.
The average temperature in Tokyo in July is 25.7ºC (78.3°F), and it rarely drops below 20ºC (68°F). You will likely experience some rainy days, especially in early and mid-July. Make sure to bring breathable clothes that you can feel comfortable in.
Sumida River Fireworks Festival is Tokyo's most popular fireworks festival: On average, 950,000 people attend each year. Close to 20,000 fireworks light up the sky above the Sumida River in Asakusa, making this one of Japan's biggest fireworks events.
Find a spot on the banks of the Arakawa River and enjoy Tokyo's earliest summer fireworks festival. The Adachi Fireworks Festival has been held for over a century, and is known for setting off a huge number of fireworks—around 15,000 of them—in just one hour.
Showa Kinen Park provides wide, open views of the night sky. Highlights of this event include the colossal size of some of the fireworks—the shakudama variety explode into flowers of fire around 400 meters in diameter—and a competitive performance of unique and innovative fireworks that did well in national competitions.
Tachikawa Festival and Fireworks at Showa Kinen Park
On July 7, Weaving Princess Orihime and Cowherd Hikoboshi are said to cross the Milky Way to be together for just one day. This meeting is celebrated nationwide with the Tanabata Matsuri. At Tokyo's Zojoji Temple, candles made from Japanese washi paper are lined up to symbolize the Milky Way, creating a magical atmosphere. Browse the Tanabata decorations at the Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri, or head to Tanabata Kigansai at Tokyo Daijingu Shrine, where people pray in hopes of meeting a special someone.
In 2023, the Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri will be held on a reduced scale.
Goldfish-scooping stalls are a quintessential part of Japanese summer festivals. Tokyo's Edogawa City is famous for its goldfish, and it celebrates them each year at an annual festival. Goldfish are displayed and sold, and there are goldfish-scooping competitions. Visitors to Sumida Aquarium, located inside Tokyo Skytree, can see around 15 types of goldfish. There, you can learn all about the creatures themselves, as well as their cultural significance.
Those who offer a prayer at Asakusa's Sensoji Temple on July 9 or July 10 are said to receive 46,000 days' worth of blessings. The Hozuki-ichi—a fair where hozuki (Japanese lantern plants) are sold—is held during this auspicious period. In Japan, hozuki are said to guide the spirits of ancestors to the family home for the summer Obon festival, so they are popular decorations at this time of year.
In the past, the gardeners of Iriya created around 1,000 varieties of morning glory plants through cross-pollination. That history is celebrated at an annual event—the largest festival in Japan dedicated to morning glory plants. There are around 40 stalls specializing in them, and around 100 other stalls to enjoy as well.
Iriya Morning Glory Festival (Asagao Matsuri)
Kagurazaka Matsuri is one of Tokyo's most popular summer festivals. It features the Japanese Lantern Plant Market, and the Awa-odori Dance Festival. On the days when the market is held, the streets are lined with yatai food stalls, and Japanese lantern plants are sold on the grounds of Bishamonten Zenkokuji Temple. Then comes the Awa-odori dance performances, which notably take place on a hill road.
The Kiyose Sunflower Festival offers a sweeping view of brilliant yellow flowers under the dazzling summer sun, and is the biggest event of its kind in Tokyo. The vast venue, measuring roughly 24,000 square meters, is filled with some 100,000 sunflowers, a sight that draws crowds of visitors each year. The brilliant yellows and greens of the sunflower field offer a perfect opportunity for photos, so make sure to bring a camera. More serious photographers may be interested in the annual photo contest held during the festival. Visitors can purchase cut flowers and fresh local vegetables at the event.