The month of June in Tokyo marks the beginning of Summer and it’s also when the rainy season peaks. Tokyo’s Summers tend to be hot and humid, but June’s temperatures are mild. Rice planting and eating bamboo treats are traditions that the Japanese associate with June.
Mizu-youkan” in bamboo tube (竹筒水ようかん)
Yokan (羊羹) is a dessert food made from ingredients like sweet beans, green tea powder, and brown sugar. The mizu-youkan is made with more water, which is why it’s been a traditional Summer treat. It is wrapped and stored in bamboo tubes and the price is around 400 to 500 yen each.
Rice planting is when the seedlings are moved from the seedbed to a rice paddy. The timing of this event can vary by region, but most areas perform rice planting in June. Traditionally, the process was extremely time consuming. Back in the day, Japanese rice farmers would be working non-stop from dawn till dusk until the planting was completed. Inadama is the spirit of the rice plant and a number of rituals performed as offerings to the spirit are still practiced to commemorate the season.
Tokyo Festivals in June
The Sanno Festival is one the biggest festivals in Tokyo. In the Edo period portable shrines and festival floats were able to be carried into Edo Castle. Shoguns of the era celebrated this festival and the spectacle was enjoyed by the people of many classes.
Many events occur each day during an 11-day period, as spectators can marvel at something different throughout this timeframe. The Annual Festival and Offering: Prayer for the Safety of the Imperial Palace and Peace in the Capital of Tokyo is a solemn ceremony that focuses on history. Traditional Shinto dance and Sanno taiko drums create an amazing atmosphere and are a great way to take in some Japanese culture.
Dates: June 7th – 17th 2015
Location: Tameike-Sanno Station or Kokkai-gijido-mae Station
The Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri (Hydrangea Festival) displays over 3,000 hydrangea plants that further beautify the Hakusan Jinja Shrine and Hakusan Park. Apart from the spectacular flowers, the festival food and games are so much fun. Kids and adults alike will have a blast, but the rainy season can make plans somewhat difficult; check the weather reports.
Dates: June 6th – 14th 2015
Location: 5-31-26 Hakusan Bunkyo-ku Hakusan Jinja Shrine