Furusato Matsuri

Events Food & Drink - January 7th, 2013

Local-food festival takes over Tokyo Dome

Even though you may not have a Japanese hometown, this is the perfect event at which to sample delicacies from all over the country!

Furusato can mean ‘hometown’ or some kind of ‘nostalgia’ in Japanese, and that link is especially meaningful in a huge city like Tokyo. Many Tokyo dwellers did not grow up in the megalopolis, hence the ghost-town feel around the New Year celebrations, when everyone goes back to their hometown.

Small towns in Japan are particularly known for always having a ‘famous’ food or art specialty. And when we say always, we mean it! Even the most remote, rural towns boast a local item you simply “must” try – perhaps Japan’s tourist industry at its best…

Regardless of where you’re from or whether or not you have a Japanese ‘hometown’, you don’t need to hop in the Shinkansen any time soon to try many of the best dishes they can offer as they gather under the roof at the Tokyo Dome for over a week.

If you expect a small-scale festival with a few stalls scattered around, you’ll be surprised to find out that this is actually a sizable extravaganza, with rows and rows of food stalls, and a large performance area.

You can find a selection of (almost) all of those ‘famous’ local specialities (or kyōdo ryōri) from all over Japan, ranging from different kinds of seafood, noodles and rice to snacks and sake. You can try anything, such as ice cream from Okinawa and mehari-zushi (rice balls wrapped in pickled greens) from Nara. If your stomach is full, you can sit back and enjoy some traditional dance performances from different areas of Japan.

You may want to put those New Year diet resolutions on hold for a little longer…

Furusato Festival (Japanese)

When: Jan 12 – 20 (10:00 – 20:00 Saturday – Monday; 10:00 – 19:00 Tuesday – Thursday; 10:00 – 21:00 on Friday)

Where: Tokyo Dome

How much: ¥1,000-¥1,200 (weekday/weekend advance tickets, you’ll pay an extra ¥200 on the door but get in slightly cheaper in the evenings – when there’ll be less time to look around and decide)

Text by Vivian Morelli

Main image: Sanuki udon by wakanmuri on Flickr