ANNUAL, SEASONAL EVENTS

Osaka's numerous festivals provide revealing insights into historical and contemporary Japan. Temples and shrines play host to the majority of events: Japan’s first Buddhist temple, Shitennoji Temple, is always a hub of activity, while Sumiyoshitaisha Shrine, in the city’s south, is widely considered the most popular. Another highlight is the Narita Fudoson Temple in Neyagawa, which hosts Kansai’s largest setsubun (bean throwing) event. Temples and shrines also host plum and cherry blossom festivals in winter and spring, to other more offbeat affairs such as Namba Yasaka Shrine’s tug-of-war. Contemporary festivals include the stunning 3D Mapping Super Illumination of Osaka Castle and the Namba Hikaritabi, a 540,000 bulb light installation spanning blocks of downtown Osaka.

To find out what’s on, use our search tool or browse a list of festivals below.

Celebrating the passing of the seasons

Every season of the year in Osaka has its festivals. From beautiful cherry blossom viewing in spring to the dynamic Tenjin Matsuri Festival in the summer to the festivities on Mido-Suji Avenue in autumn, Osaka's annual events are like a clock, marking in festivities the passage of the year in the great metropolis.

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Tenjin Matsuri:
Experience the excitement of Osaka's biggest event

The spectacular Tenjin Matsuri is Osaka's most popular summer event, and one of Japan's three biggest festivals (along with Tokyo's Kanda Festival and Kyoto's Gion Festival). Held on July 24 and 25 every year, the festival is dedicated to the Osaka Temmangu Shrine, and is comprised of two days of festivities and events that draw thousands of participants and well over 1 million spectators.

hokonagashi

The festival has been celebrated for over 1,000 years. It is said to have originated with a sacred halberd, which was found floating in the water not far from Osaka Temmangu Shrine where the 10th century scholar and warrior Sugawara no Michizane is enshrined. When the halberd landed, a feast was organized and a Shinto purification ceremony was held. This was the start of the festival. During the Edo period when Osaka was considered the marketplace of Japan, the festival became the main summer event and remains so today.

Following initiation ceremonies on the 24th, on the festival day of the 25th, some 3,000 people in elaborate traditional costume take to the streets. Led by a portable shrine housing the enshrined Sugawara no Michizane, the procession, including other portable shrines, horses, and wagons pulled by oxen, heads down toward Mido-Suji Avenue. At Tenjin Bridge the participants board some 100 boats, which is the climax of the festival. After dark, the boats with countless torches and lanterns proceed from the Hokonagashi Bridge on the Dojimagawa River to Enokoshima, creating a spectacular pageant that passes in front of spectators and reflects beautifully on the water. The festival ends in the evening with a grand display of over 1,000 magnificent fireworks. It is a festival of fire and water.

hanabi

A variety of events are organized as part of the festival, ranging from a ceremony of floating sacred halberds to a boat display to an exciting and animated dragon dance. This is one festival you do not want to miss!

Other major annual festivals

In addition to the fantastic Tenjin Matsuri, Osaka also has numerous other festivals and special events; there's something taking place all 12 months of the year. As in ancient times, these festivals mark the passing of the seasons, and draw the people of the area together to share a common festive moment, and express thanks for the good fortune received throughout the year.

ebisu

Major Festivals in January
Toka Ebisu (10th day of Ebisu) Festival

Held on January 9-11 at the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine, the lively Toka Ebisu Festival draws throngs of people who come to pray for prosperity in their business and buy new "fukusasa" sacred bamboo branches decorated with lucky items in hopes of the success of their endeavor. The deity of commerce at Ebisu shrines is affectionately called "Ebessan" and is professed to be good luck by those engaged in commerce and business. Everyone in the merchant city of Osaka knows and loves the Toka Ebisu Festival. The shrine itself is visited annually by 1 million people who come to pray for commercial prosperity.

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Shitennoji "Doya Doya" Festival

Held on January 14, the dynamic Doya Doya Festival at Shitennoji Temple takes place on the final day of the Shushoe Order Memorial Service. During the main event, two groups of young men clad only in headbands and loincloths confront each other and struggle for possession of a cow god amulet. As they struggle, they shout "doya-doya," and the so-called "strength water" is poured on them. This water is said to evaporate quickly from their bodies due to the heat and energy exerted by the young men.

cherry

Major Spring Festivals
Cherry Blossom Festivals

With the arrival of spring comes the season of “sakura”, or flowering cherry trees. And with the blossoming of the sakura comes the ritual of the cherry blossom festival. Festivities are held throughout the city, almost anywhere cherry trees are found. Visit any shrine or park for various sakura viewing activities both by day and by night, including traditional dances, lantern lighting, and food and drink.

shoryo

Shoryo-e Festival

Held at Shitennoji Temple on April 22, this festival is a memorial service for Shotoku Taishi, the founder of Shitennoji Temple, to pray for the repose of his soul. Gagaku court dance and music is performed according to ancient rituals on a stone stage set up on the Kame-no-ike pond.

shoman

Major Summer Festivals
Aizen Matsuri Festival

Held between June 30 and July 2 at the Shoman-in Temple in the Tennoji area, the Aizen Matsuri is one of Osaka's three big annual festivals. The focus of the festival is "Hoekago-Mode" where young women in summer kimono ride “kago” (a type of transportation) up the route from the station to the temple, shouting encouragements along the way.

The festival is a Buddhist memorial service at the temple dedicated to Aizen Myo, a guardian deity of charm and love, which has many devotees among entertainers.

sumiyoshi

Sumiyoshi Matsuri

Held in late July or early August at the Sumiyoshitaisha Grand Shrine, the noble ancient rites of the Sumiyoshi festival include Nagoshi Oharai (purification in summer) with the participation of nagoshi girls, children and citizens of the area. After the spirits are transferred to the “mikoshi” portable shrine and Horen palanquin, the procession makes its way through the streets all the way to Sakai. When the mikoshi reaches its destination, a ceremony takes place. It is similar to many other festivals across Japan, but with a distinctly Osakan flavor. This festival is a great opportunity to see the some of the ancient customs of Naniwa still in practice today.

mido

Major Autumn Festivals
Mido-Suji Parade

Although not a festival by the traditional definition, the Mido-Suji Parade is held every year on Mido-Suji Avenue, usually on the second Sunday in October. It has a festive, international flavor with colorful floats, traditional artists and performers from Japan and abroad involved in the fun. Every year about 10,000 participants parade down the long avenue, to the delighted clapping of as many as 1.2 million spectators.

sukunahikona

Major Winter Festivals
Shinnosai Festival

Held on November 22 and 23 at Sukunahikona Jinja Shrine, this is a festival dedicated to the guardian god of Dosho-machi, Osaka's medicine district, and to Shinno, the divine founder of medicine from China. During the festival, the shrine is crowded with people holding bamboo branches with a paper tiger attached believed to ward off evil, and who pray for protection against illness and other misfortune. People in the drug and pharmaceuticals business people also come here for assistance from this god.

Renaissance of Light in Osaka

A decorated Norwegian fir will be on display in front of City Hall. The Miotsukushi promenade connecting Midosuji and Nakanoshima library will be illuminated.

Bell Ringing on New Year's Eve

Ring the bell on oath of hard work for the new year, looking back on the passing year.
PLACE : Dainembutsuji Temple
20180101
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Laughter Ritual

The most unique and heartwarming event "Laughter Ritual" is held on Christmas day at Hiraoka Shrine. Let's laugh for a good start to the New Year!!
PLACE : Hiraoka Shrine
20171223
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Kotsuma Pumpkin Festival

An annual festival for protecting against palsy and for staying happy.
PLACE : Ikune Jinja Shrine
20171222
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Santa Diver at Osaka Aquarium

The annual santa diving display is on again in the Pacific Tank.
PLACE : Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
20171225
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Special Night Time Autumn Foliage Viewing "Kouyou no Utage"

This Japanese garden in Daisen park is beautifully lit up and opened to the public for special night time autumn foliage viewing. The Japanese garden is light-up with live jazz music. 
PLACE : Daisen Park Japanese Garden
20171126
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Ushitakiyama Maple Foliage Festival

Senryo maple in the mountain of Daiitokuji Temple is designated as a natural monument of the city.
PLACE : Ushitakiyama Daiitokuji
20171123
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Shinnosai Festival

A festival of the Shrine worshipping the god of medicines. Paper tigers will be given away to ward off evil.
PLACE : Sukunahikona Shrine
20171123
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Maple Festival at Aizendo

Maple leaves in the temple enclosure turn to red, adding color to the vermillion of the Main hall, presenting beautiful scenery.
PLACE : Shomanin Aizendo Temple
20171210
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Kyuanji Temple Maple Festival

Enjoy the stunning scenery of an ancient temple blanketed in beautiful maple leaves.
PLACE : Kyuanji Temple
20171119
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Kansai Culture Day

Admission to museums, galleries and other cultural facilities is free of charge in 10 prefectures of the Kansai region. Why not fully enjoy the best season for art?
PLACE : Participating cultural facilities in Kansai
20171119
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Festival of the lights in OSAKA 2017

The collaboration between Osaka Hikari-Renaissance, Midosuji Illumination and other programs of light put on in various Osaka localities.
PLACE : Nakanoshima Park, Midosuji Street and various places in Osaka
20171231
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Terraced Paddy Fields Light-up & Hervest Festival

The one of "Japan's Best 100 Terraced Paddy Fields are light-up with 3000 of candles!
PLACE : Tanada (The terraced paddy fields) and Chihaya-akasaka mura Junior high school
20171111
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Maple foliage in Settsukyo Park

The best time to see maple leaves in Settsukyo Park is around the end of November.
PLACE : Settukyo Gorge Park
20171210
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Peak of foliage at Ushitakiyama

The combination scenery of the Tahoto pagoda designated as an important national cultural property and the colored autumn leaves is definitely one of sights to see.
PLACE : Ushitakiyama Daiitokuji
20171130
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Shitennoji Wasso

Shitennoji-Wasso festival is a modern reenactment of early cultural exchange and trade between Japan and its Asian neighbors.he parade of more than 1,000 people clad in accurate reproductions of ancient costumes, shouting "Wasso! Wasso!" is spectacular.
PLACE : Naniwanomiya Ruin Park
20171105
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Special Exhibition of Sakai Cultural Property

You can view precious historical cultural properties including temples, shrines, and town houses not usually open to the public.
PLACE : Nanshuji temple, and more other temples and shrines
20171112
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Peak of foliage in Osaka Castle Park

Gingko and maple...Osaka Castle has a full range of sites to appreciate these beautifully colored leaves.
PLACE : Osaka Castle Park
20171210
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Expo Park Autumn Foliage Festival

Maples, ginkos, taxodium distichums , acer buergerianum and others , total 10000 trees, 20 kinds will be colored in Expo park.
PLACE : Expo Park
20171208
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David Austin Autumn Rose Festival

The garden that has one of the largest and most up-to-date collections of English Roses.
PLACE : Hanasaki Farm English Rose Garden
20171130
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Yabusame Shinji Ritual

YABUSAME is a traditional 'horseback' archery exhibition from ancient times. Archers wear the clothes of the Japanese aristocrat of 1000 years ago and shoot arrows while riding horses running at full speed.
PLACE : Osaka Temmangu Shrine
20171025
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