Events

The Narita area is rich in tradition and many events are held throughout the year. Learn about the biggest festivals (matsuri) and other seasonal celebrations right here and see which ones will coincide with your visit.

Spring

Plum Blossom Festival

Plum Blossom Festival

Mid-February – Early March

Ume, known as Japanese apricot or plum, have beautiful blossoms in early spring and are nearly as popular as sakura for flower viewing in Japan. This festival is held in Naritasan Park, where hundreds of ume plum trees of both red and white varieties come into bloom each year. On weekends during the festival there are performances of traditional Japanese music, including tsugaru-shamisen, koto, shakuhachi, and erhu (niko), all held in the western garden below the Great Peace Pagoda. Enjoy a free cup of amazake, see an open-air tea ceremony, and welcome the delicate flowers signaling the start of spring.

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Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

28th of every month except January

Countless antiques, dolls, glass art, and character merchandise are on display at the monthly Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair. Stop by to admire collections from bygone days, and you may even find something to strike your fancy.

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Naritasan Flower Festival

Naritasan Flower Festival

Early April

The Flower Festival celebrates the birth of Gautama Buddha, who is said to have been born on April 8 at the foot of the Himalaya some 2500 years ago. On the first day of the festival a large parade is held, led by the music and dance clubs of local schools, and followed by other local clubs, monks, and a statue of the Buddha sitting atop a white elephant. The parade moves from the entrance to Omotesando Street to the plaza below the main hall of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple, where the music, dance and baton clubs give a splendid performance. On the last day of the festival a special Buddhist memorial service is held to celebrate the Buddha’s birth, and anyone can attend.

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Doramu no Sato Sakura Festival

Doramu no Sato Sakura Festival

Early April

The Sakura Matsuri (festival) is one of Sakae’s biggest annual events, held when the green open space of Doramu no Sato, adjacent to Boso no Mura Prefectural Theme Park, is filled with beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms.

The event typically includes fun activities such as dance, karaoke, folk song performances, and taiko drumming. Refreshments and flea market stalls add to the festive atmosphere.

Narita Drum Festival

Narita Drum Festival

April

One of the largest drum festivals in Japan, the Narita Drum Festival takes place over two days and features many different performances. The “Pray for Peace” event is guaranteed to thrill with the powerful sound of 800 taiko drummers playing together in the plaza before the main hall of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. In the Street Concert event, over 20 drum teams perform on stages located throughout Omotesando Street, adding much excitement along the path to the temple from JR and Keisei Narita stations. The darkening sky is filled with sound in another main event, the Night Drum Concert. Finally, for a truly impressive sight, witness the Drum Parade in which dance and drum teams perform in harmony.

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Dedication Dance at the Great Pagoda of Peace Festival

Dedication Dance at the Great Pagoda of Peace Festival

Early May

This dance began as a celebration of the completion of Naritasan Great Peace Pagoda, constructed as a prayer for world peace and happiness for all people. Hundreds of dancers perform along Omotesando Street, in front of the temple’s main hall, and in front of the Great Peace Pagoda.

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Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

May, September, December

This Buddhist ritual is conducted by followers to ward off evil and pray that wishes be fulfilled. Prayer sticks (called gomagi) are burned in a consecrated bonfire, and afterwards brave worshippers can try fire walking. Reservations for the fire walking are not necessary, but priority is given to those who purchase prayer sticks (500 yen).

Summer

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

28th of every month except January

Countless antiques, dolls, glass art, and character merchandise are on display at the monthly Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair. Stop by to admire collections from bygone days, and you may even find something to strike your fancy.

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Hydrangea Festival

Hydrangea Festival

Mid-June

Tako’s Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival) is held during Japan’s rainy season in June when the 10,000 hydrangea flowers growing along the banks of the Kuriyama River bloom in gorgeous blues, purples, pinks, and whites. The festival opens with a ritual rice offering in which townspeople, dressed up as lords, ladies, and samurai, take to the stage for this annual ceremony.

The celebrations include traditional folk performances, concerts, and river cruises on traditional sappa boats.

Narita Gion Festival

Narita Gion Festival

Early July

At this major summer event, ten huge floats and a sacred mikoshi (portable shrine) are pulled through the streets of Narita over the course of three days, with lots of folk music and dancing. The festival culminates on the last day with the thrilling Sobiki parade, in which all the floats are rushed up the slope of Omotesando Street.

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Boso no Mura Ennichi Festival

Boso no Mura Ennichi Festival

July

This matsuri is held at Boso no Mura Theme Park. During the day there are street performances and a small mikoshi portable shrine carried by children through the streets. After the sun goes down, storytellers entertain young and old with scary tales, and fireworks light up the night. All in all it’s a quintessential small-town summer festival. Wear a yukata to the festival and gain free admission.

Gion Festival of Tako

Gion Festival of Tako

July 25 – 26

This traditional summer festival dates back to the Edo period. Festival floats from each neighborhood, including one built in 1839, are paraded around town to the sounds of lively music from taiko drums and flutes. On the 26th there is also a special performance called the Shiika Dance that takes place in front of Yasaka Shrine. Wearing animal masks, the ten dancers pray for a good harvest, health, and divine protection for the town. The highlight of this dance is when a huge pole is erected with thick ropes, and the dancer wearing the monkey mask performs gymnastics at the top, sure to take your breath away.

Autumn

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

28th of every month except January

Countless antiques, dolls, glass art, and character merchandise are on display at the monthly Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair. Stop by to admire collections from bygone days, and you may even find something to strike your fancy.

See Details

Boso no Mura Rice Festival

Boso no Mura Rice Festival

September

Held at Boso no Mura Theme Park, the Sakae Rice Festival is all about celebrating and giving thanks for the autumn harvest. Learn about traditional Japanese farm tools hands-on, and enjoy a full program of street performances and other activities. Festival attendees receive an ear of rice as a free souvenir (while supplies last).

Shibayama Haniwa Festival

Shibayama Haniwa Festival

Second Sunday in November

Ancient burial mounds (called kofun) were discovered in Shibayama, and excavations have dug up haniwa terracotta figures sculpted by people living here long ago, 150 of which are on display in the Haniwa Museum at Shibayama Nioson Temple. The Shibayama Haniwa Festival is a celebration of the art and lifestyle of these people with ceremonies symbolizing their return to greet today’s residents, the fraternization between people of each era, and finally the ancient people’s ascent back to the heavens. Children dress up in costumes to represent the residents of old, and adults don armor for a procession of ancient warriers.

Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

May, September, December

This Buddhist ritual is conducted by followers to ward off evil and pray that wishes be fulfilled. Prayer sticks (called gomagi) are burned in a consecrated bonfire, and afterwards brave worshippers can try fire walking. Reservations for the fire walking are not necessary, but priority is given to those who purchase prayer sticks (500 yen).

Winter

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair

28th of every month except January

Countless antiques, dolls, glass art, and character merchandise are on display at the monthly Naritasan Shinshoji Temple Antiques Fair. Stop by to admire collections from bygone days, and you may even find something to strike your fancy.

See Details

Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

Goma Ritual and Fire Walking

May, September, December

This Buddhist ritual is conducted by followers to ward off evil and pray that wishes be fulfilled. Prayer sticks (called gomagi) are burned in a consecrated bonfire, and afterwards brave worshippers can try fire walking. Reservations for the fire walking are not necessary, but priority is given to those who purchase prayer sticks (500 yen).

Osame Fudo Fire Festival

Osame Fudo Fire Festival

Late December

At the Osame Fudo Fire Festival a great bonfire is made and all the wooden prayer sticks, votive tablets, and omamori good-luck charms of the past year are burned in this Buddhist goma (homa) ritual. Moving their arms in rhythm with the flames, attendees give thanks for the divine protection granted them over the past year.

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Close-of-Winter (Setsubun) Festival

Close-of-Winter (Setsubun) Festival

February 3

Held the day before the official start of spring, the Close-of-Winter Festival, or Setsubun festival, is a traditional event in which prayers are made for happiness in the coming year. At Naritasan Shinshoji Temple prayers are also made for peace and a plentiful harvest. Although it is traditional on Setsubun to shout, “out with demons, in with good luck!” while throwing beans to drive away evil spirits, at this festival only, “In with good luck!” is said. This is because the compassion and benevolence of Ofudo-sama, the temple’s main deity, is so great that even wicked demons yield to him and become reformed. Soybeans and peanuts are thrown three times during the festival, at 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 4:00 pm.

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