Upcoming Events in May, in and Around Tokyo | Guidable Japan
events in may

Upcoming Events in May, in and Around Tokyo

By Margherita Apr 24, 2023

Are you searching for new and exciting places to visit and experiences to have during May in and around Tokyo? Look no further than the exciting events happening throughout the city during this time, from vibrant music festivals and cultural celebrations to local markets.

Events in May to Visit in Tokyo and Nearby Areas

Here is a list of some upcoming events in May that you’d be sad to miss!

Kanda Matsuri

kanda matsuri

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Kanda Matsuri is an awe-inspiring Japanese festival that takes place once every two years, and you’re in luck as it’s happening this May. The week-long event showcases the cultural heritage of Japan, with the main celebrations concentrated over the weekend. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the vibrant traditional parade with mikoshi takes place, featuring a portable shrine carried by large teams of people, weaving its way through the streets of Kanda and Nihonbashi. The procession culminates at the Kanda Shrine where various prayers, chants, and festivities take place, drawing thousands of visitors from all over the world who want to experience the captivating atmosphere of a traditional matsuri. From the colorful costumes to the rhythmic beat of taiko drums, Kanda Matsuri is an unforgettable celebration of Japan’s rich culture and heritage.

Rainbow Disco Club

Rainbow Disco Club (RDC) is a 3 days electronic music festival set against the backdrop of the stunning mountains and forests of Japan’s Izu Peninsula. RDC is a celebration of electronic music, art, and culture that brings together a diverse community of partygoers from around the world. With a lineup of world-renowned DJs and live performers, RDC is a non-stop journey of pulsing beats, vibrant visuals, and electrifying energy that will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired. Whether you’re a die-hard techno fan or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable party experience, Rainbow Disco Club is one of the biggest festivals happening in Japan you need to take part in.

Flea Markets

events in tokyo flea market

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Flea markets are a treasure trove of vintage and unique finds, offering a glimpse into the past and present of a city’s culture and history. Whether you’re a collector, a bargain hunter, or simply enjoy browsing, flea markets offer an endless variety of goods, from antique furniture and vintage clothing to handmade crafts and delicious local cuisine. With their bustling atmosphere and vibrant energy, flea markets are a hub of creativity and community, bringing together vendors and shoppers from all walks of life. So whether you’re exploring a local flea market on a lazy weekend afternoon or embarking on a shopping adventure in a foreign city, the experience of wandering through the maze of colorful stalls and discovering hidden treasures is one that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Some of the flea markets happening in May are:

Yoyogi Park Flea Market
May 5th, 10 am to 4 pm with 200 stalls

Nakano Central Park Flea Market
May 4th, 10 am to 4 pm with 200 stalls

Setagaya Koen Flea Market
May 6th, 9 am to 3 pm with 150 stalls

If you can read Japanese, check out this website with month-by-month details of all the major flea markets happening in the city.

Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa is one of the most anticipated traditional festivals of the year, together with Kanda matsuri and Sanno matsuri. The festival is always held on the 3rd weekend of May and this year falls from May 19th to 23rd.

Sanja Matsuri has a long history, dating back over 700 years. Despite facing various challenges throughout its history, including being canceled during World War II, the festival has managed to endure and remains an important cultural event in Tokyo today.

Even though you are surely familiar with the Sensoji temple in Asakusa, this huge festival is connected to the biggest Buddhist temple in the city but to the enclosed Shinto Shrine. 

The festival is known for its lively and energetic atmosphere, with over 100 mikoshi (portable shrines) being carried through the streets by groups of enthusiastic men and women. Each mikoshi is adorned with gold decorations and weighs several tons.

In addition to the mikoshi parades, the festival also features traditional Japanese music and dance performances, food stalls, and other cultural activities. The festival draws almost 2 million visitors each year, locals and tourists alike, making it one of Tokyo’s most popular and well-known events.

Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament

The Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournament, also known as the Natsu Basho, is a legendary event that attracts wrestling enthusiasts from around the world. Held six times annually in Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo sumo stadium, this two-week-long tournament features the world’s top sumo wrestlers competing for the championship title. With a history dating back over 200 years, the Grand Sumo Tournament is steeped in tradition and ritual, from the wrestlers’ elaborate costumes and pre-bout ceremonies to the fierce matches themselves. 

The Tokyo Grand Sumo May Tournament goes from May 14th to May 28th with tickets available from the beginning of April. The sumo rankings for the tournament are released a couple of weeks in advance: for this tournament on May 1st.

Two types of tickets are available for the event, offering different seating arrangements to cater to individual preferences. The first is a traditional Japanese-style box, where guests sit on the floor, offering a unique and immersive cultural experience, starting at 38000 yen (up to 4 people). Alternatively, arena seats starting at 3800 yen are also available, providing standard stadium seating arrangements that are more familiar to visitors from other countries. 

What to in and Around Tokyo in May

May, starting with the full week of the golden week holidays, is always a month of excitement in Japan, offering a plethora of fascinating events to keep you entertained throughout the sunny days. From eclectic music festivals and vintage markets to Japan’s most iconic cultural celebrations, the events in May happening in and around Tokyo are endless.

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