The Bon Bon Dance Festival, Matsumoto’s Biggest Event of the Year

Posted on 2023.07.04 in Events

Matsumoto may be best known as the home of Japan’s oldest castle tower, but those who live here know that this town lives and breathes through the many and varied festivals that take place each year. And the biggest event of them all, the Matsumoto Bon Bon, is right around the corner!


The Biggest & Liveliest Festival of Them All

When I participated in the Tour de Utsukushigahara cycling race in 2003 I thought that had to be Matsumoto’s biggest yearly event. Years later I moved to Matsumoto and saw I was wrong; the Craft Beer Festival had to be the biggest show in town. Then I went to the even bigger Matsumoto Castle Taiko Festival – which I would soon realize was not as big a production as the Daidogei Street Festival. And on and on and on.

Matsumoto Bon Bon Festival

But after almost a decade living here in Matsumoto I think I can safely say that the summertime Matsumoto Bon Bon Festival is - by far - the biggest, liveliest, most enthralling event of the entire year. Not that I don’t enjoy street performers and taiko drummers and good craft beer,


Filling the Streets With Music, Food & Fun

For one Saturday the streets of downtown Matsumoto will be flooded with people dancing to the music that will be filling the air. Private companies, public entities, schools and institutions, and people who just want to get out for some fun with their neighbors; they’ll all be out there, group by group, dancing their way through the streets in one massive, winding, circular parade.


The 2023 Matsumoto Bon Bon Festival will be held on August 5th from 17:00 to 19:00Admission is free.


Shopfronts and sidewalk stalls everywhere will be serving up all kinds of food and drink. The crowds will be so thick that it will be hard to tell if there are more people dancing or watching. As the evening comes and the air cools the line between the two will blur as the dancers yell out to the spectators to come join them.

A dancing parade in downtown Matsumoto

If you are anywhere in the area – or anywhere in this part of Japan – come downtown and join in the fun of the Matsumoto Bon Bon, the town’s biggest event of the year.