Best Things to Do in Tokyo in May

Things to do in Tokyo in May
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Wondering how to savor the kaleidoscope of Japan in May, especially around Tokyo? Our comprehensive travel guide delves deep into the heart of this vibrant city, revealing the best things not to miss in Tokyo.

From the lively events and festivals held during the Golden Week to the quiet beauty of serene corners, this article will take you through the thrilling pulse of the metropolis.

By exploring hidden gems and tourist favorites, you’ll understand why May is an exquisite time to plan your Tokyo visit. Immerse yourself in our curation of delightful places, cultural hotspots, and delectable food trails, handpicked just for you. Benefit from our insights as you tailor your journey, ensuring that your travel becomes an unforgettable narrative of discoveries.

If you’re considering a visit earlier in the spring, don’t forget to check out our guide on things to do in Tokyo in April. But now, let’s dive into the exhilarating world of Tokyo in May together.

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Why Choose Tokyo in May: What Makes it Special?

May in Tokyo is a magical time when cherry blossoms bloom, illuminating the city in a breathtaking display of color and fragrance. It’s the perfect time to visit and experience the unique charm that Tokyo has to offer.

One of the must-visit places during May is Asakusa, where you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Japan. Don’t miss the Kanda Matsuri festival, a traditional event that showcases the vibrant energy and enthusiasm of the locals.

If you’re a meat lover, Tokyo is the place to be in May. Indulge in the delicious and succulent yakiniku, a Japanese-style barbecue, and satisfy your cravings.

For a change of scenery, take a trip to Yokohama and explore its beautiful waterfront and lively atmosphere. And don’t forget to visit the Ashikaga Flower Park, where you can witness the breathtaking beauty of wisteria in full bloom.

Tokyo in May offers an array of exciting activities and experiences that will leave you with memories to cherish.

1. Ascend Above The City: Tokyo Skytree Town Koinobori Festival

Tokyo Skytree Koinobori

Forget about the typical tourist activities in Tokyo; why not elevate your experience with the Tokyo Skytree Town Koinobori Festival?

This event, held in May, is a must-see for those seeking a unique and memorable experience in the city. The festival celebrates Children’s Day, one of Japan’s national holidays, and features a vibrant display of colorful koinobori, or portable carp-shaped windsocks. These koinobori are flown high above the city, creating a breathtaking sight.

The festival also includes a parade, where beautifully decorated portable shrines are carried through the streets. As you wander through the festival, you’ll also have the chance to explore Tokyo Skytree Town, a bustling area filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this stunning display of tradition and culture while enjoying the freedom to explore and indulge in all the activities Tokyo has to offer.

2. Carp Streamers in Iconic Locations: Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower Koinobori

Elevate your experience in Tokyo with the iconic Tokyo Tower. Adorned with vibrant carp streamers, it creates a captivating sight for visitors.

As one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, Tokyo Tower is a must-visit location for anyone exploring the bustling metropolis in May. The tower stands at a height of 333 meters and is a symbol of Japan’s technological prowess.

During this time of the year, the tower is enveloped in a festive atmosphere as it celebrates the Carp Streamer Festival. The carp streamers, known as ‘koinobori’ in Japanese, are traditionally flown to celebrate Children’s Day in Japan.

Seeing these colorful streamers fluttering in the wind against the backdrop of Tokyo’s skyline is a truly enchanting experience. So, make sure to include Tokyo Tower in your list of things to do in Tokyo this May for a memorable and uplifting adventure.

3. A Spiritual Celebration: Asakusa Sanja Matsuri

Sanja Matsuri

Immerse yourself in the dynamic spiritual celebration of Asakusa Sanja Matsuri, a time-honored festival that brings history to life in the bustling heart of Tokyo.

Held annually during the third weekend in May at Asakusa Shrine and Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, this grand festival pays tribute to the three founders of the adjacent Sensoji Temple and draws nearly two million visitors, making it one of the most popular festivals in Tokyo.

The main spectacle of the festival is the lively procession of approximately one hundred mikoshi, or portable shrines. These shrines symbolically house Shinto deities, or kami, and are paraded through the streets of Asakusa to invite good fortune for local businesses and residents.

Festival-goers dress in traditional attire and carry these mikoshi to the rhythm of taiko drums, creating an energizing and vibrant atmosphere. Smaller neighborhood mikoshi can be spotted throughout the festival, while the larger ones, belonging to the Asakusa Shrine, make their grand appearance on Sunday.

In addition to the procession of mikoshi, the festival features traditional music, dance performances, and the Daigyoretsu Parade. This parade includes priests, city officials, geisha, musicians, and dancers dressed in Edo Period costumes, providing a genuine immersion in Japanese culture.

4. Delving into Kanda Matsuri: One of Tokyo’s Biggest Festivals

Delve into Kanda Matsuri, one of Tokyo’s biggest and among the three great Shinto festivals, and experience the vibrant grandeur of this mesmerizing event where ancient traditions and modern celebrations come together. Held in May at Kanda Myojin Shrine, thousands of visitors are drawn to this lively Shinto festival each year.

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you witness a colorful procession of mikoshi (portable shrines) being carried through the streets.

Enthusiastic participants dressed in traditional attire add to the spectacle. Marvel at the intricate details of the beautifully decorated floats and let the rhythmic sounds of traditional music and chanting transport you to another time.

And of course, don’t forget to indulge in the delicious street food stalls that line the festival route, offering a variety of mouthwatering treats. Kanda Matsuri is a must-see event for anyone looking to delve into Tokyo’s cultural heritage and experience the energy and excitement of one of its biggest Shinto festivals.

5. Blooms of the Season: Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival

Kameido Tenjin Wisteria Festival

Get ready to be mesmerized by the enchanting beauty of the Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival. Here, you can stroll through a breathtaking display of vibrant wisteria blooms in full bloom.

This annual festival, held in Tokyo during May, is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and flower lovers. The Kameido Tenjin Shrine is known for its stunning wisteria trellises, which create a magical atmosphere as you wander through the shrine grounds.

The festival showcases the blooms at their peak, with cascades of purple, pink, and white flowers hanging delicately from the trellises. Capture the moment with your camera or immerse yourself in the tranquil surroundings.

With its peaceful ambiance and stunning floral displays, the Kameido Tenjin Shrine Wisteria Festival is a perfect addition to your list of things to do in Tokyo in May.

6. Immersed in Purple: The Great Wisteria Festival

Ninja Walking

Step into a sea of vibrant purple at The Great Wisteria Festival, where the wisteria blooms cascade like lavender waterfalls, enchanting you with their mesmerizing beauty.

This festival, held in Tokyo during the month of May, is a must-see for anyone looking for unique and captivating experiences.

As you wander through the festival grounds, you will feel completely immersed in a world of purple. The wisteria flowers hang delicately from trellises, creating a breathtaking display that will leave you in awe.

The scent of the flowers fills the air, adding to the enchanting atmosphere. Take your time to explore the festival, capturing the perfect photos and indulging in the freedom to enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.

The Great Wisteria Festival is a true celebration of nature’s wonders and a highlight of things to do in Tokyo in May.

7. A Sea of Blue Flowers: Nemophila Harmony

Nemophila Harmony

Immerse yourself in a mesmerizing sea of blue flowers at the Nemophila Harmony. The vibrant blooms create a stunning display that will leave you in awe.

This breathtaking flower garden is located in the Hitachi Seaside Park, just a short distance from Tokyo.

The Nemophila Harmony is only open for a limited time in May, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly. The park is especially popular during national holidays and school students’ vacations, so keep that in mind when deciding when to go.

The Nemophila flowers bloom in odd-numbered years, making this event even more special. It’s the perfect way to welcome spring and bid farewell to the rainy season.

In addition to the beautiful flowers, the park also hosts a variety of events and activities for visitors to enjoy.

So come and experience the magic of the Nemophila Harmony for yourself!

8. Witnessing Ancient Skills: Asakusa Yabusame (Horseback Archery)

As you stroll through the historic streets of Asakusa, be transported back in time as you witness the ancient skills of Asakusa Yabusame. Skilled archers on horseback showcase their remarkable precision and agility. This mesmerizing event takes place in Tokyo in May and is a must-see for anyone seeking a unique and thrilling experience.

Asakusa Yabusame is a traditional form of horseback archery that dates back to the samurai era. The archers, dressed in traditional attire, gallop down a track while shooting arrows at targets with incredible accuracy. The sound of hooves pounding against the ground and the whoosh of arrows flying through the air creates an electrifying atmosphere that will leave you in awe.

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness this captivating display of ancient skills during your visit to Tokyo in May.

9. Embrace the Night: Kurayami Matsuri (Darkness Festival)

When you wander through the historic streets of Asakusa, take the opportunity to embrace the night and participate in the mesmerizing Kurayami Matsuri, a festival that immerses you in the enchanting darkness and rich cultural traditions of Japan.

Held annually in May, this unique event celebrates the arrival of spring and showcases the beauty of Tokyo at night. As the sun sets and darkness descends, the streets come alive with vibrant lanterns, illuminating the path as you explore the festival grounds.

Experience the captivating performances of traditional dances and music, indulge in delicious street food, and witness the stunning fireworks display that lights up the night sky.

The Kurayami Matsuri offers a truly magical and unforgettable experience, allowing you to embrace the spirit of Tokyo and its vibrant nightlife fully. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the enchanting darkness and create unforgettable memories.

10. Breathtaking Blooms: Jindai Botanical Gardens Spring Rose Festival

The Jindai Botanical Gardens Spring Rose Festival in Asakusa is a must-visit for flower enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Located in Tokyo, this festival showcases the breathtaking blooms of roses in full bloom during the month of May.

As you explore the gardens, you will be immersed in a sea of vibrant colors and intoxicating scents. The festival offers a variety of activities, including guided tours, workshops, and photography exhibitions.

You can also indulge in delicious food and drinks at the garden’s cafes and restaurants. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or appreciate the beauty of nature, the Jindai Botanical Gardens Spring Rose Festival is a perfect addition to your itinerary when visiting Tokyo in May.

Don’t miss the chance to experience this enchanting event during your trip to the city.

11. Celebrating the Sea: Tokyo Port Festival (Minato Matsuri)

You can’t miss the Tokyo Port Festival (Minato Matsuri) if you want to celebrate the sea and immerse yourself in the vibrant maritime culture of Tokyo.

This festival, held in May, is one of the most exciting things to do in Tokyo during this time.

The Tokyo Port Festival showcases the city’s deep connection with the sea and its rich history as a bustling port.

You’ll be captivated by the colorful parades, lively performances, and delicious seafood stalls.

The festival also offers a variety of activities for all ages, such as boat rides, traditional games, and cultural exhibitions.

Whether you’re a sea enthusiast or simply looking for a fun and unique experience, the Tokyo Port Festival is a must-visit event that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

12. Honoring the Past: Kachiya Matsuri (Kachiya Festival)

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Tokyo and honor the past at the Kachiya Matsuri, a festival that showcases the vibrant cultural traditions of the city. Taking place in May, this festival is one of the must-see things to do in Tokyo during this time of year.

The Kachiya Matsuri is a celebration that dates back over 400 years and is held at the Katori Shrine in downtown Tokyo. The festival is known for its lively procession of participants dressed in traditional samurai attire, carrying portable shrines and performing traditional dances.

As you join the festivities, you will be transported to a bygone era, feeling the energy and excitement that fills the air. The Kachiya Matsuri is the perfect opportunity to experience the rich history and traditions of Tokyo while enjoying the lively atmosphere of a traditional Japanese festival.

Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Tokyo in May

Yes, May is an excellent month to visit Tokyo. During this time, the weather is mild and comfortable, making it ideal for exploring the Tokyo area. With the city bursting with life and color, it’s a great time to check off things to do and see in your itinerary, offering a variety of cultural events and natural beauty.

Yes, considering the popularity of the Golden Week and other festivals, it is suggested to book your accommodations and any specific events or site visits in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles. Planning a trip to Tokyo in May requires a bit of foresight due to the multitude of activities and events.

In May, Tokyo transforms into a vibrant cityscape painted with the lush green of spring. The cherry blossoms may have faded, but azaleas and wisterias take their turn, adding a splash of colors to parks and shrines. The city’s atmosphere is lively and pleasant, making sightseeing and outdoor activities enjoyable.

Japan in May, hosts several events. It starts with Golden Week, a collection of four national holidays within seven days. The Sanja Matsuri, one of Tokyo’s major festivals, also takes place in May. It’s an ideal month for those planning to visit Tokyo to soak in cultural experiences alongside exploring the city’s modern wonders.

Akihabara, Tokyo’s famous electronics and anime district, hosts various events throughout the year. In May, coinciding with the Golden Week holiday, you can often find many special sales and exhibitions happening in Akihabara’s stores. Keep an eye on local listings during your visit for up-to-date information.

May in Tokyo witnesses the end of spring and the beginning of summer. The average temperature ranges from 15 to 23 degrees Celsius during the day. It is one of the most comfortable periods to visit Tokyo.

Certainly! Apart from enjoying blooming flowers in parks, you can also experience the excitement of the Golden Week holiday period. Various festivals occur during May throughout Japan and these events provide a unique opportunity to understand and enjoy local Japanese culture.