There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Tokyo each year.
The main ones are listed below.
Dating back to the 17th century, for this event firefighters demonstrate both ancient and modern techniques used to fight fires. They also perform acrobatic stunts atop tall ladders. This is one of the most popular parades of the year in Tokyo and throughout Japan.January: Grand Sumo Tournament (local event)
The first of six annual sumo wrestling tournaments, each lasting for 15 days. Japan's top wrestlers face off at Kokugikan, the sumo stadium in the Ryogoku district of Tokyo. An experience not to be missed under any circumstances by all lovers of this ancient martial art.February 11 : National Foundation Day (Kenkoku Kinenbi, national holiday)
On this day, the Japanese commemorate the founding of Japan and the birth of the nation. Celebrations and cultural events are organized, all with the aim of reinforcing ties between Japanese citizens and their country.8 avril : Flower Festival (Hana Matsuri, celebrated nationwide)
Buddha's birthday is celebrated at all of Tokyo's Buddhist temples with processions and prayers. Small figurines of Buddha on display in the temples are sprinkled with sweet tea to express devotion.July 15: Obon Festival (celebrated nationwide)
For 500 years on this day, Japanese Buddhists have honoured the spirits of their ancestors. Over the centuries, what was once only a religious observance has evolved into a celebration of family ties. At this time of the year, Tokyo residents now tend to return to their native regions, when family spirits are also believed to return. Bon Odori, a three-day festival of traditional dance, is held during the same period.October : Tokyo International Film Festival (local event)
A major event on Tokyo's cultural calendar, this ten-day festival presents films from nearly 100 countries and regions. Venues include the cinema complex in the Mori Arts Centre at the Roppongi Hills Tower in Minato Ward as well as theatres, halls and other facilities throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area.December 23 : Emperor's Birthday (Tenno Tanjobi, national holiday)
On this day, one of the most important holidays for Japanese citizens, a public ceremony takes place at the Imperial Palace. Emperor Akihito appears on a balcony accompanied by Empress Michiko to acknowledge the adulation of festive well-wishes waving small Japanese flags, exceptionally permitted to enter the inner grounds of the palace. Parades and fireworks also mark the occasion.December 25 : Christmas (celebrated nationwide)
|Month||Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°)||Average Rains (MM)||Best Time to Travel|
|January||2/36||10/50||52/2.0||Not the best period to go|
|February||3/37||10/50||56/2.2||Not the best period to go|
|March||6/43||13/55||117/4.6||Not the best period to go|
|April||11/52||18/64||124/4.9||Not the best period to go|
|May||15/59||23/77||137/5.4||Not the best period to go|
|June||19/66||25/77||168/6.6||Good period to go|
|July||23/73||29/84||153/6.0||Good period to go|
|August||24/75||31/88||168/6.6||Not the best period to go|
|September||21/70||27/81||209/8.2||Good period to go|
|October||15/59||22/72||198/7.8||Good period to go|
|November||10/50||17/63||92/3.6||Not the best period to go|
|December||5/41||12/54||51/2.0||Not the best period to go|
Although Tokyo is a very dense city covering a massive area, it is relatively easy to get around. The city offers a range of ultra-modern public transport options. Nevertheless, certain modes of transport, such as rapid transit, are to be preferred, due to their convenience and efficiency.
The Tokyo Metro and Toei subway lines are certainly one of the best ways to get around in Tokyo. The system is perfectly workable for those who do not understand Japanese. However, be sure to carry a map with you.
Special unlimited passes for visitors are sold at Narita and Haneda airports for use on the Tokyo Metro, priced at JPY 600 for the 1-day version and JPY 980 for the 2-day version. A similar pass valid for all Tokyo Metro and Toei subway lines, the Tokyo Subway Ticket, is also sold at Narita and Haneda airports in 1-, 2- and 3-day versions for JPY 800, JPY 1,200 and JPY 1,500, respectively.
Using buses in Tokyo can be intimidating, unless you have some understanding of Japanese, because signs and other information are rarely provided in English.
If you are travelling on a small budget, you will want to avoid using taxis. Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis, making travel by vehicle challenging. In addition, taxis in Tokyo are among the most expensive in the world: the initial fare is JPY 730.
Standard driving licences issued by other countries are not recognized in Japan. However, international driving permits, based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, can often be obtained by travellers in their home countries in advance. Certain countries, notably Germany, Switzerland and Taiwan, do not issue permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, but instead have signed separate agreements with Japan allowing visiting drivers to drive in Japan provided they have obtained an official Japanese translation of their driver's licence, available through these countries' embassies or consulates in Japan.
Upon your arrival in Tokyo, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.Japan National Tourism Organization – Tokyo Tourist Information Centre (TIC Tokyo)
Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).
At various locations throughout the city, these other Tourist Information Centres offer information and recommendations for your stay in Tokyo and its surrounding area. Listed below are the main addresses for other TICs in Tokyo:
The official website of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) provides a wealth of information on Tokyo.
See your doctor before you travel.Vaccinations
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Japan, except for those arriving from risk areas, in particular countries where yellow fever has been reported.
For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:
Tap water is safe to drink in Tokyo.
Japan has entered into visa exemption agreements with a number of countries.
To find out whether you need a visa to visit Japan, see the list of countries benefiting from exemptions on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html
Here are a few basic Japanese phrases that will make your stay in Tokyo a little easier:
Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Konnichiwa
Good evening: Konbanwa
No, thank you: Kekko desu
Thank you very much: Arigato gozaimasu
I don't understand: Wakarimasen.
Could you repeat that: Mou ichido onegaishimasu.
Please: Onegai shimasu
What time is it: Ima nanji desuka?
Excuse me: Sumimasen.
Train station: Eki
I'm (…): Watashi wa (...)desu.
I'm looking for (…): (...) wo sagashite imasu.
How much is that ? : Ikura desuka?
Do you have (…): (…) wa arimasu ka?
Where can I find (…): (…) wa doko ni arimasuka?
Where can I buy (…): (…) wa doko de kaemasu ka?
I'd like (…): (…) wo kudasai(objet)./ ga shitaidesu(action)
And what about tipping?
Leaving tips is not recommended in Tokyo, and this is true throughout Japan. Apart from the fact that tipping is not customary, it may also be perceived as an insult, because it is considered equivalent to giving alms. Furthermore, at restaurants and bars a service charge is always included in the bill.