Aug 27th
Aug 28th
Giant nebuta floats (Photo: Elizabeth Scally)

Matsuri Tsukuba

Traditional festival in Japan's Science City

By Elizabeth S    - 1 min read
Venue: Tsukuba Station When: Aug 27th - Aug 28th 2022

Tsukuba City is best known as the science and research hub of Japan, but it also hosts a massive street party. Matsuri Tsukuba, with traditional and modern entertainment and a huge variety of vendors, is held every August.

The main event of the festival is the parade of nebuta floats through the streets around the station. Nebuta, massive lanterns depicting characters in Kabuki plays, heroes and villains, originated in Aomori Prefecture as a variation on Obon ancestor lanterns. Like the Aomori lanterns, the Tsukuba floats are pulled by teams, accompanied by music on drums and other traditional instruments.

On the center stage, live music concerts, and spectacles such as superhero shows go on throughout the weekend. All over the central part of the city, there are street performers and street food vendors. Tsukuba is probably the only place you’ll see a fire-juggling pole dancer in kimono perform in front of a retired space vehicle while you savor takoyaki and ramune soda. There are lots of things to experience, too, including rides on ponies for the kids, and on Segway scooters for adults.

Was this article helpful?

Give us feedback

Elizabeth S

Elizabeth S @elizabeth.scally

You will see many of my stories on Japan Travel are about places and events outside of big city centers and tourist destinations. While I highly recommend the big name sights and experiences, I encourage visitors to see and feel the atmosphere off the beaten path, too. 

Join the discussion

Elena Lisina 3 years ago
My dream is to see summer festivals in Japan. They look great!
Elena Lisina 3 years ago
I'd like to see Tohoku summer festivals. Maybe in the north it's cooler? Actually I want some heat as we still have a lot of snow here. :(