Festivals (matsuri) of all kinds are a staple of Japanese culture and summer is the premier season to experience them. In recent years, the country has seen a bit of a boom in cultural festivals, to the point that it’s possible to book every weekend of your summer around them. We’re here to help by highlighting the best “fests” happening over the next three months.
Summer officially starts June 21, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from kicking things off a couple days earlier at the Tohoku Craft Beer Festival (Akita; June 19-21). The three-day event features drinks from nearly a dozen local brewers. The weekend is also a good chance to catch some smaller music festivals, before the heavyweights start later in the season. Dum-Dum Party (Daikanyama Unit, Tokyo; June 19) features British post-punk group The Raincoats and American indie-rockers La Sera alongside a bunch of Japanese acts, while those seeking something a bit heavier can turn to the Satanic Carnival (Makuhari Messe, Chiba; June 20), with Fact and Ken Yokoyama, for their rock fix.