Osaka was once the dominant center of Japan and it still has a strong commercial culture and many traditional festivals and events. There are also music festivals especially popular with young people, attracting visitors from all over the country year after year. There are also many events that will delight tourists.

    If you really want to take a deep dive into Osaka culture, make sure you check out the local festivals, which provide great opportunities to experience the enthusiastic character of the Osaka people. There's nowhere else quite like Osaka.


    Tenjin Matsuri

    Osaka's largest traditional festival is full of fun

    Tenjin Matsuri is one of the 3 major festivals in Japan, and various events and festivities take place during the month of July. Originating from a Shinto ritual held at Osaka Tenmangu Shrine when it was founded in the late Heian period (794-1185), the tradition of the Funatogyo (a boat procession as a ritual to place divine spirits on the boat to cross the river) on Okawa River has been carried on down to the present day. About 100 boats take part in the water festival, which is the highlight of Tenjin Matsuri.

    The Funatogyo is preceded by the Rikutogyo, an unmissable procession of portable shrines that begins with a drum performance. Spectacular fireworks are also set off during the boat procession. The Tenjin Matsuri Gal Mikoshi, in which Miss Tenjinbashi and others participate in carrying portable shrines, has become a tradition in the Tenjinbashisuji shopping arcade.

    Location: 2-1-8 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture 530-0041, Japan

    Open: July

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6353-0025


    Aizen Festival

    A festival of smiling girls carrying baskets

    Aizen Festival is celebrated yearly on 30th June and 1st July, with a grand fair and procession that bring festive color to Osaka's summer. Aizendo, the site of the festival, was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku and is famous for its sacred matchmaking tree, which appears in Kawaguchi Matsutaro's novel "Aizen Katsura".

    The Hoe Kago (palanquin) procession on the first day of the festival begins with the appearance of cheerful Aizen-musume girls in yukata (summer kimono) riding in the palanquin. Visitors to the festival pray for the disappearance of epidemics and for good fortune at the Nagoshi-no-harae (purification ceremony) and special openings of hidden Buddhist statues.

    Location: 5-36 Yuhigaokacho, Tennoji-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture 543-0075, Japan

    Open: 30th June, 1st July

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6779-5800


    Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival

    A summer festival unique to the city of water

    Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival is a community festival that’s been held every August since 1989. The name of the festival has been altered to Juso Dondokoi Festival and Heisei Yodogawa Fireworks Festival as its scale has expanded. The Yodogawa riverbed is the venue for the festival, where fireworks are launched into the night sky for about an hour.

    This elaborate fireworks display has many surprises in store, such as thematic music, underwater fireworks, and a chrysanthemum spectacular with 5 layers. Nights like this are what Osaka is all about.

    Location: Yodogawa-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture 532-0025, Japan

    Open: August

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6307-5522


    Cherry blossom viewing

    A springtime ceremony for the Japanese people

    Cherry blossom viewing is an essential part of spring in Osaka. In the city known as the aqua-metropolis, riverside cherry trees offer spectacular views throughout Osaka. Gathering at these cherry blossom spots and enjoying the arrival of spring together is a huge communal experience.

    The area is full of historic sites associated with warlords, including Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the great ruler of Japan, creating a magnificent landscape of castles, temples, and shrines combined with clusters of pink cherry blossoms. You’ll have a great time with a spring picnic under the cherry blossoms in parks and other green spots of Osaka.

    Location: Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan

    Open: March and April



    A long-running festival wishing for success in business

    Tokaebisu is a festival of the god Ebisu, who has long been affectionately worshipped as "Ebessan" in the Kansai region. The most famous festival in Osaka is the one held at Imamiya Ebisu Shrine around the 10th January. Each year, many visitors come to Imamiya Ebisu Shrine to receive a fukuzasa.

    This is a bamboo branch decorated with lucky omens and charms. You can find a wide range of good luck charms on sale, so look out for the ones designed to make your own wishes come true. Celebrities take part in the Hoe Kago Gyoretsu, a now-traditional summertime procession through the city.

    Location: 1-6-10 Kita-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture 556-0003, Japan

    Open: January

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6643-0150


    Sumiyoshi Festival

    A summertime Shinto ritual that purifies the entire city of Osaka

    Sumiyoshi Festival is a traditional Shinto ritual held at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine known for its spirited procession of mikoshi (portable shrines). The Omikoshi Togyo (portable shrine procession), which parades through the streets of Osaka on the final day of the festival, is particularly impressive and attracts large crowds every year. In the Nagoshi-no-harae ritual, women called "Nagoshime", adorned in white powder and period costume, pass through a circle of cogon grass to purify their bodies and pray for good health.

    The entire Osaka area is said to be purified through a series of rituals during this period. Make sure to visit Sumiyoshi Taisha, the headquarters of the Sumiyoshi Shrines and a popular spiritual hot spot.

    Location: 2-9-89 Sumiyoshi, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture 558-0045, Japan

    Open: 30th and 31st July, 1st August

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6672-0753


    photo by Ogiyoshisan (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Summer Sonic

    One of Japan's biggest summer music festivals

    • Unusual

    Osaka's Summer Sonic, commonly known as "Sama Soni", is one of Japan’s major rock music festivals. Since its inception in 2000, many big names both from Japan and abroad have performed here.

    Like its Tokyo equivalent, which is actually held in Chiba, Summer Sonic in Osaka is located in the suburbs. Held every August at a special venue in Maishima, the festival has grown in recent years to feature many artists from genres other than rock, gaining support from a wide range of age groups. Music fans are always keen to find out who'll be on this year's bill.

    Location: 2-1-128 Hokkoryokuchi, Konohana-ku, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture 554-0042, Japan

    Open: August


    photo by Edson Chilundo (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Kishiwada Danjiri Festival

    One of Japan's most energetic festivals

    Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is a traditional festivity with a history of about 300 years, dating back to the Edo period. It’s particularly well-known for the distinctive directional changes of the dashi (a decorative portable shrine with wheels), called yarimawashi, which require the skill and teamwork of the pullers to quickly turn the floats around. These powerful scenes are so intense that you won’t be able to look away. Daikugata (carpenters) dancing on top of the dashi together with the powerful sounds of musical instruments also heighten the festive atmosphere.

    Each town community is responsible for the management of its part of the festival, with each generational group playing a different role in keeping alive the long history of the festival. The entire Kishiwada area buzzes with the excitement of this autumn tradition.

    Location: 6-17 Miyamoto-cho, Kishiwada City, Osaka Prefecture 596-0054, Japan

    Open: September and October

    Phone: +81 (0)72-423-2121


    photo by Hhaithait (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Midosuji Illumination

    Osaka's winter festival of light

    Midosuji Illumination is a wintertime festive event that lights up the tree-lined Midosuji Avenue from the Hanshin-mae intersection to the Namba West Exit intersection. Seven zones with different colors of illumination produce a magical ambience, setting things up nicely for Christmas.

    The entire city glows as landmark buildings, commercial facilities, temples and shrines along Midosuji are all illuminated. The winter scenery of Osaka has even set some Guinness World Records, so don't miss it.

    Location: Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan

    Open: November and December

    Phone: +81 (0)6-6210-9304


    Setsubun Festival

    Spring kicks off with a TV drama actress throwing beans

    Among the Setsubun festivals held throughout Japan, Naritasan Temple is well known for its flashy bean-throwing rituals. These age-old rituals are held to pray for driving away evil spirits and for road safety. Every year, entertainers dressed in traditional costumes participate as bean-throwers, with beans thrown from the stage to calls of "Fuku wa uchi” (“Good fortune is inside").

    What they don't say here is "Oni wa soto" ("The devil is outside"). All are welcome to participate in the Shofuku-mame-maki (bean-throwing) ritual, and if you want to, you can throw beans while dressed in a jinbaori (traditional Japanese cloth worn over a kimono).

    Location: 10-1 Narita Nishimachi, Neyagawa City, Osaka Prefecture 572-0005, Japan

    Open: February

    Phone: +81 (0)72-833-8881


    Start planning your trip

    Back to top