Festivals & Events
Tenjin Festival 天神祭
Festival—floats, fireworks and bonfires on boats at Osaka's premier festival
The Tenjin Matsuri is a sensational summer festival in Osaka full of rituals, dance and music and featuring a procession of portable shrines. The celebrations culminate in a dazzling fireworks display that lasts for an hour and a half.
This raucous festival is over a thousand years old, and honors Sugawara Michizane, the Japanese deity of scholarship and learning.
The festival began in the year 951 at Tenmangu Shrine
On the night of July 25, a 100-boat parade floats down the Okawa River
The Tenjin Matsuri is considered one of Japan's top three festivals
How to Get There
The festival area can be reached by train and 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 is centered around Osaka Tenmangu Shrine and the Okawa River.
On July 24, the opening rituals take place at Tenmangu Shrine, a six-minute walk from Minami-Morimachi subway station on the Tanimachi subway line.
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 area is an easy walk from the shrine.
Sacred rituals and drumbeats
The Tenjin Matsuri begins on July 24 with rituals at the shrine and river, a shishimai lion dance, and prayers for Osaka's safety and prosperity. When the preparations are complete, men in red hats begin playing drums, signaling the start of the festivities.
The festival is centered around the god of learning, Sugawara Michizane, enshrined at Tenmangu. He is moved from the shrine to a portable shrine and carried through the streets, before being taken on a cruise of the city to ensure Osaka's prosperity.
The big procession begins
Starting at 3:30 p.m. on the second day, traditional floats and portable shrines—along with characters in costumes, lion dancers, umbrella dancers and other performers—pack the streets of Tenjimbashi and Nakanoshima throughout the afternoon, led by the drummers in red hats.
You can watch the massive procession carrying mikoshi floats down the street in late afternoon in the vicinity of Osaka City Central Public Hall.
Into the night with traditional performances, food, bonfires and fireworks
The highlight of the festival is the evening boat procession carrying the mikoshi—portable shrines—on the river in illuminated boats; some with bonfires on them. You are welcome to put on a yukata (traditional summer wear) and geta (traditional shoes) and join in.
You'll also see traditional noh and bunraku plays performed on floating stages. The captivating fireworks show over the Okawa River in the evening signal the end of the procession, after which the mikoshi are taken back to Tenmangu Shrine.
There are thousands of festival food stalls set up along the river to satisfy the throngs of hungry festival-goers.