Best time to go to Tokyo

Kurayami Matsuri (Darkness Festival) 2020

Watch this surreal night-time light procession which will throw you back in times of ancient Japan

Kurayami Matsuri (Darkness Festival) in Tokyo 2020 - Best Time
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Kurayami Matsuri or the Darkness Festival is one of the oldest celebrations in Kanto area. It is held annually between April 30th and May 6th, at Okinatuma Shrine, one of the oldest in Japan, located in Fuchu City, Tokyo. The festival usually includes yabusame or horseback archery competition, and traditional dances in masks by adults and children. There is also a daytime parade accompanied by the beat giant taiko drums. But most people come to Okinatuma to watch a nighttime parade of 8 portable shrines held on May 5th.

Mantou Competition at Kurayami Matsuri 2020
Mantou Competition at Kurayami Matsuri

Fuchu is located 20 minutes from the centre of Tokyo. Okunitama Shrine was founded here in the 2nd century AD. The Kurayami festival dates back to Utagaki, an ancient gathering of farmers. Teenage boys and girls traditionally go to the festival together, so it is very popular among youth.

Each of eight floats has its own theme and colour. The floats are lit up with lanterns and lights, which creates a mystical and surreal atmosphere. There is even a haunted house on the site. The shrine carrying ceremony lasts for the whole night till morning.