Meiji Shrine Spring Grand Festival
The Meiji Shrine Spring Grand Festival is one of the most popular Tokyo events in May, and it is a great way to experience traditional Japanese culture. The festival features a parade of mikoshi (portable shrines), traditional music and dancing, and plenty of food and drinks.
The Meiji Jingu Shrine, located at 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho in Tokyo’s Shibuya City and surrounded by rich forest and nature, hosts the eagerly awaited annual spring grand festival. The festival is dedicated to Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, whose spirits are venerated at the shrine.
Preparations for The Festival
As of now, the dates for the late April-early May festival in 2024 have not been confirmed. However, preparation is already underway for the annual event during Golden Week. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of its establishment in 2020, the shrine invites visitors during this period to participate in a week-long celebration filled with various traditional performances.
Traditional Performances Showcase at Meiji Shrine
Japan’s most skilled artists take center stage at the festival, presenting numerous traditional arts that pay homage to Japan’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors can look forward to performances of bugaku – an ancient imperial court dance and noh and kyogen theater – traditional Japanese dramatic performances.
In addition, sankyoku chamber music, hogaku music, hobu dance, and satsuma-biwa (a type of Japanese lute) will be featured in the lineup of presentations — led by renowned masters in their respective fields. These performances represent centuries-old traditions and are sure to give attendees an immersive experience of Japan’s artistic lineage.
Exploring The Natural Scenery
Apart from enjoying the range of live performances, visitors can also partake in exploring the lush gardens surrounding Meiji Jingu Shrine. Filled with blooming azaleas, yamabuki (Japanese Kerria), and nanja-monja (also known as hitotsubatago), these gardens transform into a colorful array during springtime and early summer. This tranquil setting provides a serene backdrop for one of Tokyo’s most significant cultural events.
Meiji Shrine demonstrates Tokyo’s ability to balance bustling modernity with cherished traditions and natural beauty. As such, the Spring Grand Festival provides locals and tourists alike with an opportunity to witness a true fusion of traditional performance arts within a natural haven located right in the heart of the city.
While the Meiji Shrine Spring Grand Festival is a traditional Japanese festival, the Oedo Beer Festival is a more modern event that celebrates Japanese craft beer culture. Both festivals are held in May, so if you are looking for something to do in Tokyo during that month, you could check out either one.