If there is one summer festival you must see then it should be Mitama Matsuri. This yearly festival which takes places in July, is an absolute must-see event and draws large crowds eager to marvel at this lantern-magnificence. Though cancelled this year, we can celebrate in our homes. While Yasukuni Shrine might not have the best reputation for political and historical reasons, this otherworldy lantern festival is fit for a movie feature and definitely a highlight of Tokyo’s busy matsuri summer. The impressive walls of lanterns line the way up to the main shrine and are also the location of a small parade of dancers and musicians which will make their way down to one of the shrine’s main gates. You should obviously try to see this festival in the evening hours when the lanterns reveal their full beauty, but do make sure to stay for one of the wonderful processions where you can witness a beautifully curated mixture of traditional Japanese music, costumes and dance.
Saying: 門前の小僧習わぬ経を読む。 (Literally: An apprentice near a temple will recite the scriptures untaught: The environment makes our characters.)