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.

doya

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.

Minamimido Bon Dance Festival

This is biggest Bon Dance festival in Osaka which has more than 2000 visitors each year!
PLACE : Minami-mido (Namba Branch Temple)
20170828
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Kitamido Bon Festival Dance

Spend a spirited and fun summer night in Kitamido.
PLACE : Kita-mido (Tsumura Branch Temple)
20170825
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Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival

See fireworks displayed as chrysanthemums, tree peonys, coconuts and waterfalls.
PLACE : The Yodo River Area
20170805
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Grand Evening Fish Market

This revival of a festival held in the Kamakura era features bidding in the ancient customary style and spot sales of fish.
PLACE : Ohama Park
20170731
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Sumiyoshi Festival

Sumiyoshi Festival is the last of all the summer festivals held in Osaka. Visitors step through a large ring made of thatch to purify themselves and wish for a good health.
PLACE : Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine
20170801
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Kishiwada Port Festival

The summer night sky around Jizohama Beach in the Bay Area is lit up with beautiful fireworks during this festival.
PLACE : Kishiwada Port
20170729
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Tenjin Matsuri Festival Dedication Fireworks Display

See 5,000 fireworks displayed in the night sky while watching a boat procession.
PLACE : Around the Okawa River
20170725
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Tenjin Matsuri Festival River Procession/Land Procession Viewing Seat Ticket

Have a real experience of Tenjin Matsuri Festival!!
PLACE : Naniwabashi, Tenmabashi, Sakuranomiya
20170725
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Tenjin Matsuri Festival

This festival is the greatest in Osaka boasting of a history of a thousand years.
PLACE : Osaka Temmangu Shrine
20170725
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Yomiyasai(eve of a main festival) of Tenjin Matsuri Festival

The Yomiyasai festival starts from a solemn ritual.
PLACE : Osaka Temmangu Shrine
20170724
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Daigaku Festival

See a rare Daigaku with 79 lanterns dangling on the 20m tall pole only at Ikune Shrine.
PLACE : Ikune Shrine
20170725
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Osaka Castle extending opening hours

Osaka Castle will have extended opening hours during summer!
PLACE : Osaka Castle
20170827
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Soemon-cho Summer Festival

See street stalls of well-known shops and enjoy outside stage performances.
PLACE : Soemon-cho
20170723
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Umeda Yukata Festival

Umeda will be filled with people in Yukata for 2 days. Come experience 2 days of Japanese culture that is characteristic of summer in Japan!
PLACE : Umeda Area
20170723
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Sunflower Festa at Expo Park

Approx. 10,000 sunflowers in 22 varieties bloom in the Tulip Garden at the Natural and Cultural Garden.
PLACE : Natural and Cultural Garden "Tulip Garden", Expo Park
20170831
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Terakata Chochin Bon Dance

This bon dance was nominated as a City's Intangible folk cultural assets in 2000. The festival is held in front of the Moriguchi-shi station every year.
PLACE : In front of the Keihan Moriguchi-shi Sta.
20170718
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Summer Festival at Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine

The festival that showcases local talent...
PLACE : Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine
20170716
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Summer Fiesta in Minoh Park 2017-Festival of Fire, Water and Light

Minoh Waterfall and Ryuanji Temple illuminated by some 6,000 candles are extremely beautiful.
PLACE : Meiji-no-mori Mino Quasi-national Park (Mino Waterfall)
20170831
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Taikodai Festival

A festival in the Sensyu area featuring a big procession.
PLACE : Kanda Jinja Shrine
20170716
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Dotonbori River Funatogyo (Boat Procession)

A traditional ritual, reviving Funatogyo, which had not been celebrated since the mid-Edo era, after a lapse of 230 years.
PLACE : Dotonbori River(approx. 5km) Minatomachi Pier-Dotonbori River-Returning at Hiyoshibashi bridge-Dotonbori River-Returning at Nipponbashi bridge-Minatomachi Pier
20170713
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