26. Sanja Matsuri in TokyoSanja Festival is unquestionably Tokyo's wildest festival. It's the best place to see real yakuza — they are heavily involved in the festival. Around 2 million people attend.
The festival features mikoshi parades and dancing. There are also side events such as rare performances by Tokyo's geisha. Another side event is a performance of the Nihon Taiko Dojo (Japan's top Taiko drum academy).
27. Fukagawa Hachiman MatsuriAt first sight, the Fukagawa Hachiman Festival is a standard mikoshi festival. Around 50 mikoshi are paraded around the Fukagawa neighborhood of Tokyo for good luck. The only difference — people throw water on the mikoshi and each other. It's a giant water fight of sorts. Even the local fire department gets involved — spraying the crowd with a full pressure fire hose.
The full version of the festival only happens every three years 2014, 2017, 2020 ...
28. Sanno Festival in TokyoThe Sanno Matsuri is well known in Tokyo. It takes place in mid-June on even numbered years. The main event is a parade of about 500 participants. The parade route extends an incredible 25 kilometers through central Tokyo and takes 9 hours. It's not popular with local taxi drivers (it disrupts traffic all over the city).
The parade is better at the beginning of the parade route (when participants still have energy). By the end everyone looks bored.
29. Nagasaki KunchiThe Nagasaki Kunchi began as a way to find secret Christians in the late 16th century. At the time, Christianity was banned in Japan (Nagasaki was a hotbed of underground Christianity).
One festival tradition (niwamise ~ literally: garden showing) has local residents open their homes to the public. The festival also features performances of Dragon Dances by neighborhood teams. These dances are heavily influenced by Chinese culture.
30. Mifune MatsuriA spectacular recreation of a 1000 year old boat party in Kyoto that draws 100,000 spectators.
Kurumazaki Shrine, the shrine that sponsors the festival, is the patron shrine of performing arts. Well known Japanese actors and actresses visit the shrine the day of the festival.