In Tokyo and want to participate in some festivals during Golden Week? Here’s 5 festivals you shouldn’t miss*!
Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival (Tokyo)
If you love flowers in general and wisteria in particular, this festival is for you. Kameido Tenjin Shrine (亀戸天神社) holds this festival every year when the wisterias bloom. The vines at the shrine were planted during the Edo Period and are featured with the shrine’s landscape in many ukiyo-e prints. Apart from the flowers, the shrine itself is beautiful and in the heart of Tokyo, while you can enjoy Tokyo Sky Tree in the background. You would definetely want to take a picture of the red arched bridge, and the wisterias reflecting in the pond. Plus, the festival features food stalls, and you may take part in traditional activities, such as tea ceremony.
Meiji Shrine Spring Grand Festival (Tokyo)
Whether you’re traveling solo or with a tour, it’s likely you will visit Meiji Shrine; so this will be a good opportunity to enjoy some traditional Japanese arts. According to the website, shinto rituals and ceremonies will take place, as well as artistry performances, especially in the first three days of the month. The performances include archery, noh theater, different traditional dances and music.
Kurayami Matsuri (Fuchu)
Said to be one of the oldest festivals in the region, Kurayami Matsuri or Darkness Festival takes place at Okunitama Shrine. This is one of the most famous shrines in the Tokyo area; it’s surrounded by greenery and its zelkova trees are considered natural monuments. There are small events all week long, such as a plant fair. The main event of the festival is the procession of mikoshi at darkness; it departs at 6 PM on May 5 and returns at 4 AM on May 6.
You may want to come here for Greenery Day; check here what it’s about.
Shibazakura Festival (Saitama)
Head to Hitsujiyama Park in Saitama prefecture and follow the crowd to enjoy its beautiful moss pink fields. These cover about 16,500 squared meters and are home to eight different varieties, from pink to white to purple-ish. As you will see, the colors alternate with different patterns for a more spectacular effect. With good weather conditions, you might be able to gaze at Mount Fuji!
The festival will run until May 26, check the official website for more info & live camera.
Koinobori Carp Streamer Village Festival (Gunma)
If you’re all in for festivals around Tokyo for Golden Week, you’d not want to miss this one in Gunma prefecture. In 2005 the festival saw more than 5,200 koinobori, and earned the Guinness World Records title for the largest festival of its kind. There are different locations among which to choose. In the city of Kanna, you can enjoy about 800 koinobori above the river and roads, while watching taiko and band performances and eating traditional foods. In Tatebayashi people hang koinobori along and across the Tsuruuda River; the river is popular for its over 400 cherry trees lit at night – you might be able to still enjoy the flowers.
*the festivals will last for the entire duration of Golden Week, except where noted. Check official tourism websites for more info and changes.