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.

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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.

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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.

Wakanagi Concert
Traditional Japanese Instruments and Entertainment~The Wandering Journey~

We are a Japanese music organization based in Osaka!! We will perform in English as well!
PLACE : Creo Osaka east 1F hall
20170521
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Koinobori Festa 1000(Carp Streamer Festival)

You can see more than 1000 of carp streamer in the sky!
PLACE : Akutagawa Sakurazutumi Park
20170506
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Taishi Holy Candle Ritual

Light 10,000 candles to respect the Spirit of Harmony of Shotoku Taishi and offer prayers for the happiness of the people.
PLACE : Eifukuji Temple
20170423
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Shoryo-e Ceremony

In this 1,000-year-old ritual, court music and dancing is performanced to celebrate the anniversary of Prince Shotoku's death.
PLACE : Shitennoji
20170422
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Tokimeki Beach Clam Digging

Spring is the season for clam digging. Collect as many clams as you can then enjoy a fresh catch with a BBQ on the beach.
PLACE : Tokimeki Beach (Tannowa Bathing Beach)
20170604
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Yamakage Style Kitchen Knife Ceremony

Lord Yamakage who opened Sojiji Temple is respected as the forerunner of kitchen knife ceremony. Yamakage style ceremony is still preserved to this day.
PLACE : Sojiji Temple
20170418
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Mt. Inunaki Releasing of Trout festival

Let's fishing in the greenary mountain.
PLACE : Upper stream of Inunaki Ohashi (Bridge)
20170429
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Shell gathering at Nishiki no Hama

Let's go seashell digging!!
PLACE : Nishikinohama Beach Park
20170604
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O-taue Shinji Rice Planting Ceremony

A ceremony that recreates the activity of rice planting in a comical fashion.
PLACE : Kumata Jinja Shrine
20170413
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Passing through the Mint Bureau under cherry blossoms

Scene to represent Osaka spring. Cherry trees lining approx. 560m road in the Mint Bureau forming a beautiful pink tunnel.
PLACE : Japan Mint
20170417
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Haru Matsuri Hosha Shinji (Spring Archery Ritual)

A spring festival, designated as an intangible folklore cultural asset, commonly known as Daijasai (Great Snake Festival).
PLACE : Yasaka Jinja Shrine
20170402
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Eiraku Sakura Festival

Eiraku dam has 2km long trim course around it and about 1000 of Somei-yoshino cherry blossom trees all along the way. The night, cherry blossom lit up by countless lanterns and make fantastic scenery.
PLACE : Eiraku Dam
20170409
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Oizeki Cherry Festival

The Cherry blossom viewing place next to Hine Shrine."Roji Valley" in the center is chosen as one of 100 selected Green areas, offering breathtaking views.
PLACE : Oizeki Park
20170409
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Passing under roadside cherry trees

Passing under approx. 160 Somei Yoshino cherry trees. Some are older than 50 years old, well worth viewing.
PLACE : Kunijima Waterworks
20170409
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Yamanakadani Sakura Festival

On 2nd of April, the festival is held at Wanpaku Oukoku and surrounding, with Japanese drum performance, Yosakoi dance, concert and more including some attractions for kids.
PLACE : Yamanakadani District, Wanpanku Oukoku
20170402
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Rapeseed Offering Festival

Special festival to give away ripe plum shaped dumplings in rapeseed color on the anniversary of death of Michizane Sugawara, the patron saint.
PLACE : Domyoji Temmangu Shrine
20170325
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Expo Park Sakura Festival

Here is one of the best cherry blossom scenery in Osaka.
PLACE : Expo Park
20170409
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Ikeda Satsukiyama Cherry Festival & Lit Up

The foot of the mountain is tinted pink with approx. 35,000 cherry trees.
PLACE : Ikeda ruins of a castle park
20170409
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Aqua Metropolis Osaka River Opening Hachikenya Ccherry-blossom Viewing Festa

This riverside festival is a local feature of the Osaka springtime. Enjoy cherry blossoms on the waterfront or on the river from a boat.
PLACE : Hachikenyahama
20170416
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Okukawachi Nagano Park SAKURA Lit Up

Enjoy spring in Kawachinagano by participating in fun events surrounded by cherry blossoms, or visiting parks and other interesting spots around the town.
PLACE : Nagano Park
20170409
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