Osaka is not only known for its food and shopping districts but is also home to dozens of festivals held during the summer season. If you are traveling to this beautiful city at this time of the year, you definitely won’t fall short of things to do. Among its numerous summer festivals, these three major and popular ones will absolutely make you love the city even more!
The earliest and oldest among the three major summer festivals in Osaka is the Aizen Festival. This festival is dedicated to Aizen Myo-o, the Buddhist god of good luck, charms, love, and happy marriage.
The Aizen Festival is a three-day event which happens from June 30 until July 2 every year. It is primarily held at Aizendo Shomanin Temple.
During the first day of the festival, June 30, the Aizen “musume” or Aizen daughters, in their colorful yukata, are carried on palanquins (portable shrine) and paraded on selected streets of Tennoji-ku in Osaka. The departure ceremony of the parade is held at Abeno Q’s Mall at 11:30 AM. It is then followed by a beauty pageant and a stage performance held at the temple grounds on July 1 and 2, respectively.
How to Get There
The nearest train station to Aizendo Shomanin Temple is Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka Station, which can be accessed through the Tanimachi Line. If you don’t mind walking, you can take the JR trains or the Midosuji Line and get off at Tennoji Station, then walk for a couple of minutes to the temple.
Tenjin Festival is one of Japan’s major festivals and one of Osaka’s biggest summer festivals. The highlights of this event are the land procession of the palanquins, river procession at the Okawa River, and the most awaited and biggest summer fireworks display.
If you want a comfortable seat and a better viewing venue for the processions and fireworks display, there are tickets (Japanese only) you can buy from 6,000 yen to 18,000 yen, which includes admission fee, soft drinks, a guidebook, a paper fan, an insect repellent, specialty items like Billiken (god of good luck), and a bento box depending on the ticket.
On July 25, 2017, the land procession will start at 3:30 PM at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine, while the river procession will start at 5:30 PM at Okawa River. The fireworks display will also happen by the river and the viewing spots are at Tenmabashi and Hishobashi.
How to Get There
The two nearest train stations to Osaka Tenmangu Shrine are Minami-morimachi Station on the Sakaisuji Line and Osakatenmangu Station on the JR Tozai Line.
If you are going to Tenmabashi, you can take the Keihan Main Line or the Tanimachi Line and get off at Tenmabashi Station.
One of the colorful summer festivals in Japan and considered the last of the series of festivals in Osaka is Sumiyoshi Festival. This is a three-day event celebration which happens from July 30 until August 1 every year.
One of the main highlights of this event is the Nagoshi no Harae Shinji ritual, a ritual participated by girls, children, and locals in the area. The participants, dressed in colorful traditional costumes from the Muromachi period, walk through a large ring made of grass/thatch. This annual purification ritual is believed to cleanse or purify a person from their sins and impurities. The event is free and visitors are also welcome to participate and pray for good health.
Sumiyoshi Festival is held at the Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine. On July 30, 2017, the pre-festival celebration, Yoimiya-sai, will be held. It is then followed by the Nagoshi no Harae Shinji ritual on July 31, and finally, the Togyo Mikoshi Parade on August 1, 2017. The mikoshi, a divine palanquin, will be carried to the Shukuin Tongu Shrine in Sakai wherein another ritual will be held.
How to Get There
The Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine can be accessed through the Nankai Line and Hankaidenki Uemachi Line. You can get off at Sumiyoshi-koen Station if you are taking the Nankai Line or at Sumiyoshitorii-Mae Station if you are taking the Hankaidenki Uemachi Line. From both stations, the shrine is just about a two-to-three-minute walk away.
Japanese festivals are full of fun and colors! They are events where you can enjoy and, at the same time, learn something about the culture of the place you are visiting. Familiarizing yourself with traditions, customs, and food can be the best experience in festivals. So if you are planning to go on a trip to Osaka during the month of July, try to catch these three major summer events!