Groovy Osaka: July Summer Festivals

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On July 7, 2016
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Young men participating in Tenjin Matsuri, Osaka.

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.

Date
July 11 - 12
Location
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.

Date
July 11 - 14
Location
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.

Date
July 15 - 16
Location
Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine 〒540-0004, 2-3-8 Tamatsukuri, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Taikodai Festival

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.

Date
July 16 - 17
Location
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.

Date
July 16 - Aug 31
Location
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.

Date
July 18 - 19
Location
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.

Date
July 22 - 23
Location
Soemon Area 〒542-0084, 2/7 Soemon-cho, Chuo-ku, Osaka

Tenjin Festival

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.

Date
July 24 - 25
Location
Temmangu Shrine, 〒530-0041, 2-1-8 Tenjimbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka

Daigaku Festival

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.

Date
July 24 - 25
Location
Ikune Shrine, 〒558-0045, 2-3-15 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka

Sumiyoshi Festival

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.

Date
July 30 - Aug 1
Location
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.

Date
July 30
Location
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.

Date
July 20 - 31
Location
Umeda Area

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Groovy punky reggae nerd from Kansai.

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