My Tokyo Guide
See something interesting? Click on the heart button in the article to add a page from this site to My Favorites.
Main content starts here.
Updated: March 23, 2023
The beginning of May is marked by Golden Week, one of the major holiday periods in Japan. May is a month full of activity. It is a great time to experience festivals, including events rich in traditional values.
The average temperature is around 23.6°C (74.48°F) during the day, and 14.6°C (58.28°F) at night. The refreshing spring weather of May is perfect for denim and short sleeves. It's a good idea to also carry a light coat in case it gets a little chilly at night.
In Japan, May 5 is celebrated as Children's Day. It's a tradition to decorate your garden with koinobori (carp-shaped streamers) as a way of praying for the healthy growth of your children. 333 koinobori are displayed at Tokyo Tower, which is 333 m tall. At TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN, you can see over 1,000 koinobori swimming in the breeze.
Kanda Myojin Shrine's Kanda-matsuri Festival is considered one of the three great festivals of Edo (as Tokyo was once called). Its roots can be traced back to the 8th century. The Honmatsuri, or main festival, is held every other year in odd-numbered years. A scaled-down version is held in even-numbered years. The Honmatsuri features impressive processions of portable shrines through the streets of central Tokyo.
This three-day festival in mid-May honors the three men involved in founding the famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. It offers a great opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the old heart of Tokyo. Expect lots of music, portable shrines, and delicious festival food.
Sanja Matsuri (Sanja Festival)
This traditional event takes place in Sumida Park. It's a great opportunity to see an exciting ancient tradition in action. Archers on horseback, dressed in traditional hunting attire, strike a series of targets with arrows as they gallop past.
Asakusa Yabusame (Horseback archery)
This festival is held at Okunitama-jinja Shrine. It is called the "Darkness Festival" because the procession of mikoshi (portable shrines) takes place at night. Kurayami Matsuri takes place between April 30 and May 6. From May 3, gardeners from all over the Kanto region around Tokyo gather for a large gardening market held within the shrine grounds.
The Jindai Botanical Gardens are home to Tokyo's largest rose garden. It has around 5,200 rosebushes and 400 varieties. The best time to see them is during the Spring Rose Festival, which is planned to feature events such as concerts and market. You can also buy rose-related food and souvenirs.
The Port of Tokyo was opened to international trade on May 20, 1941. Each year, the Tokyo Port Festival is held in honor of the occasion. Numerous organizations associated with the port host a variety of events during the festival.
Nearly 1,100 years ago, Taira no Masakado took arms against the imperial court. After praying for good fortune at Katori-jinja Shrine, Fujiwara no Hidesato (a court bureaucrat) succeeded in suppressing the revolt. He then gifted a bow and arrow to the shrine as a token of gratitude and named the arrow "kachiya" (which means "winning arrow"). As part of the kachiya dedication ritual—performed on May 5—you can enjoy an impressive procession of samurai parading through the streets to Katori-jinja Shrine.
Kachiya Matsuri (Kachiya Festival)
Design Festa is a huge international art and design event. Held at Tokyo Big Sight, it brings together over 10,000 artists representing a broad range of creative activities, including music, painting, fashion, crafts, photography, performances, and more. At Design Festa, visitors can hear directly from artists about their work, and can participate in workshops and other experiences, too.