Groovy Osaka: July Summer Festivals
By Quincy B. Fox
On July 7, 2016
Summer is the time for donning your yukata and heading out to the summer festivals. Osaka has a large number of summer festivals throughout the month of July. These festivals are free as long as you don’t plan on participating in extra activities, eating festival food, reserving special viewing seats, or buying trinkets. If you do want to partake in the extras, make sure to bring plenty of cash in small denominations as breaking a ¥10,000 bill for a chocolate-covered banana could be a challenge.
Ikutama Summer Festival
This festival is one of the two festivals on this list that features makura daiko, a drumming platform that is unique to the Kansai region. The festival also features a lion dance and a parade of carts.
- July 11 - 12
- Ikunitama Shrine 〒543-0071, 13-9 Ikutamamachi, Tennoji-ku, Osaka
Hiranogo Summer Festival
This is the largest float festival in Osaka. Hiranogo festival heralds the coming of midsummer with float pulling contests from July 12–13, culminating in all of the floats visiting the shrine on the last night. On July 14, there will be rituals taking place related to the floats.
- July 11 - 14
- Kumata Shrine 〒547-0046, 2-1-67 Hirano-Miyamachi, Hirano-ku, Osaka
Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine Summer Festival
This summer festival focuses on showcasing local artists and talented individuals while also remembering local people who have had an impact on various art forms. This year, the festival will remember the comedy writer Minoru Akita. The festival also features a locally grown zucchini-like gourd that is used in many different dishes you can try.
- July 15 - 16
- Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine 〒540-0004, 2-3-8 Tamatsukuri, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Over 270 years old, Kanda Shrine’s Taikodai Festival is unique for its seven large taikodai, or drum floats. These are closely related to makura daiko. The drumming will get your blood pumping, and the enthusiasm of the participants is seriously catchy.
- July 16 - 17
- Kanda Shrine 〒597-0003, 905 Kaizukashinaka, Osaka
Mino Park Summer Festival
Located in Mino City outside Osaka, Mino Park is a quasi-national park with an impressive gorge and beautiful waterfall. From July 16 to the end of August, the waterfall will be illuminated. On July 23, six thousand candles will be lit in order to form a road of candles to the waterfall.
- July 16 - Aug 31
- Mino Park 〒562-0002, Mino-Koen, Mino City, Osaka Pref.
Photos by Miki Uchida.
Terakata Chochin Bon Dance
This is a Bon dance using lanterns and music specific to Eastern Osaka. The style of music is called Kawachi ondo named after the ancient name of the area that is now Eastern Osaka. This cultural event corresponds with the July Bon festival to remember the ancestors.
- July 18 - 19
- In front of Keihan Moriguchi-shi Station
Soemon-cho Summer Festival
This summer festival takes place in the entertainment district and includes a "Miss Soemon-cho" contest and various stage performances. There is also a beer hall with international beer options. Summertime = beer time.
- July 22 - 23
- Soemon Area 〒542-0084, 2/7 Soemon-cho, Chuo-ku, Osaka
In Japan, the top three festivals are known as the "Nihon Sandai Matsuri". Tokyo has its Kanda festival and Kyoto has its Gion festival, but Osaka has its Tenjin festival. While there are float processions, and makura daiko, the 90 minute fireworks display from the Okawa River is the main focus of the festival. This is the big daddy of Osaka's summer festival offerings so if you can only pick one to go to, it should be this.
- July 24 - 25
- Temmangu Shrine, 〒530-0041, 2-1-8 Tenjimbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka
Over a thousand years ago, the farmers of the Nishinari region were devastated by a drought. In order to appease the gods and bring rain to the region, lanterns and bells were collected from important shrines in each of the 66 regions of feudal Japan and subsequently hung on large poles. The gods almost immediately granted rain and a prosperous season. To celebrate the occasion, the poles were paraded around as people danced and played music. Over centuries, this evolved into the current festival.
- July 24 - 25
- Ikune Shrine, 〒558-0045, 2-3-15 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka
In this festival, there is a large thatch ring that people can walk through and wish for good health. There's also a ritual in which women and children dress up in costumes from the 14th century and walk through the ring. As is typical for many summer festivals, portable shrines are carried around with the parade ending at the Shukuin shrine.
- July 30 - Aug 1
- Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, 〒558-0045, 2-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka
Kishiwada Port Festival
Fireworks are a huge part of many summer festivals. The 64 year old Kishiwada Port Festival is well known for its rapid and spectacular fire bursts. Watch the night turn into a rainbow colored day and enjoy.
- July 30
- Kishiwada Port 〒596-0015, Ganpeki, Hannan-ikku, Hannan-ko, Jizouhama, Kishiwada
Umeda Yukata Festival
If you like wearing yukata or like seeing people wearing yukata, then the Umeda Yukata Festival is the event to attend. There are many different events being held throughout Umeda, but there will be a large Bon dance that you can take part in dressed in your light cotton finery.
- July 20 - 31
- Umeda Area