Tenjin Festival

Festival—Floats, Fireworks, and Bonfires on Boats at Osaka’s Premier Festival


The Tenjin Matsuri is a sensational summer festival in Osaka, japan, known for its vibrant rituals, lively dance performances, and mesmerizing music. This historic festival dates back over a thousand years and is celebrated to honor Sugawara Michizane, the Japanese deity of scholarship and learning. The festival is considered one of Japan’s top three festivals and attracts thousands of locals and tourists each year. With its grand procession of portable shrines, breathtaking fireworks display, and unique boat parade, the Tenjin Matsuri is an event that should not be missed.

Quick Facts

The Tenjin Matsuri has a rich history and several interesting facts associated with it:

1. The festival began in the year 951 at Tenmangu Shrine, a significant religious site in Osaka.
2. On the night of July 25, a magnificent 100-boat parade takes place, floating down the Okawa River.
3. The Tenjin Matsuri is highly regarded as one of Japan’s top three festivals, alongside the Gion Matsuri in Kyoto and the Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo.

How to Get There

To experience the Tenjin Matsuri, visitors can easily reach the festival area by train or taxi. The nearest stations to the festival area are JR Osaka-Tenmangu Station and Minami-Morimachi Station on the Tanimachi and Sakaisuji subway lines. The festival’s main attractions are centered around Osaka Tenmangu Shrine and the Okawa River. On July 24, the opening rituals take place at Tenmangu Shrine, which is just a six-minute walk from Minami-Morimachi subway station. On July 25, the procession starts from Tenmangu Shrine and heads to the Okawa River, where the portable shrines are loaded onto boats from the Nakanoshima Park area. The shrine and the park are within easy walking distance from each other, ensuring convenient access for festival-goers.

Sacred Rituals and Drumbeats

The Tenjin Matsuri kicks off on July 24 with sacred rituals at Tenmangu Shrine and the Okawa River. These rituals are performed to invoke blessings for the safety and prosperity of Osaka. One of the highlights of the festival is the shishimai lion dance, a traditional Japanese dance believed to ward off evil spirits. The festival’s main focus is on Sugawara Michizane, the god of learning, who is enshrined at Tenmangu Shrine. During the festival, Michizane is moved from the shrine to a portable shrine and carried through the streets in a grand procession. This symbolic act is believed to ensure the city’s continuous prosperity.

The Big Procession Begins

On the second day of the festival, the streets of Tenjimbashi and Nakanoshima come alive with a vibrant procession. Traditional floats, portable shrines, and performers dressed in colorful costumes fill the streets, creating a lively atmosphere. The procession is led by drummers wearing red hats, who set the rhythm for the entire event. Spectators can witness the grandeur of the festival as mikoshi floats, carried by a group of enthusiastic participants, make their way down the streets. This procession is a sight to behold, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Osaka and its deep-rooted traditions.

Into the Night with Traditional Performances, Food, Bonfires, and Fireworks

As the sun sets, the festival takes on a magical ambiance. The highlight of the evening is the boat procession, where the mikoshi, or portable shrines, are carried on illuminated boats. Some of these boats even have bonfires on them, creating a breathtaking sight on the Okawa River. Visitors are encouraged to immerse themselves in the festival’s spirit by wearing yukata, traditional summer wear, and geta, traditional shoes. Floating stages are set up along the river, where traditional noh and bunraku plays are performed, captivating the audience with their artistry and storytelling. The festival reaches its climax with a spectacular fireworks display over the Okawa River, marking the end of the procession. The vibrant colors and patterns of the fireworks illuminate the night sky, leaving spectators in awe.

Throughout the festival, food stalls line the riverbank, offering a variety of delicious treats to satisfy the hunger of festival-goers. From traditional Japanese street food to local specialties, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The aroma of grilled skewers, savory takoyaki, and refreshing shaved ice fills the air, adding to the festive atmosphere.


The Tenjin Matsuri is a remarkable festival that showcases the cultural heritage and traditions of Osaka. With its ancient rituals, lively processions, and stunning fireworks display, it is an event that captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression on all who attend. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a lover of traditional Japanese culture, or simply seeking an unforgettable experience, the Tenjin Matsuri is a must-visit festival. As you immerse yourself in the festivities, you will witness the rich tapestry of Osaka’s past and present, as well as the unwavering spirit of its people.

Address And Maps Location:

2-1-8 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu

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