Japanese Summer Festivals

Japanese Summer Festivals 101

As the food stalls go up, yukatas go on and crowds begin to assemble it’s evident that the summer festival season has officially begun! Although I love nothing more than darting from booth to booth eating everything under a firework-lit sky, navigating a big festival can be trying and tiring to the uninitiated and unprepared. In order for you to avoid the hassles and get the most of your Japanese Summer Festival experience, we’ve offered up some of our top survival tips below!      

  • food stalls operate with cash only (no credit cards) coins or small notes make the payment process fast and easy
  • festivals get incredibly crowded so if you can avoid it don’t bring strollers, bikes, or anything you have to push through the masses
  • this one is pretty standard, wearing comfortable shoes will definitely make for a more enjoyable experience
  • bring something light and portable to sit on like a newspaper or plastic sheet, it will keep you clean and also reserve your spot
  • the smaller the bag or backpack you can bring, the better – you will be able to move in and out of the crowds easily
  • stock up on water or drinks prior to heading to the festival- while drinks are available for purchase when you get there, drink stalls are far less frequent than the food ones
  • plan your route and seating ahead of time to get the best viewing spots
  • for those visiting with children, make a meeting plan should you get separated from one another
  • locate a bathroom early on as you can pretty much guarantee the lines will be looooong
  • make sure to buy your return train ticket in advance at the station or have your icoca on hand and topped up so you can avoid the long ticket lines and go directly to the platform
  • keep in mind that if the nearest station is overcrowded it may be worth walking a bit further away and catching the train or subway from there

If there is anything we are missing that you find helpful for festivals we would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below.