TOPIt’s Time to Get Festive: The Weekend(er)

It’s Time to Get Festive: The Weekend(er)

By Natalie Jacobsen

Whether you’re ready or not, your weekends are soon to be filled with exploding fireworks, street dancing, beer-glass-clanking, and endless summer fun: festival season is here!

Kicking off with the quiet, glittering arrival of fireflies, and continuing on with a parade marching through Ginza, there are plenty of events to choose from. Baseball season has stepped up to the plate, too! We saw Sadako and Kayako open the most recent game in Tokyo this week; you never know what lies around the corner when it comes to Japan. Keep your cameras close, and send us snaps from your adventures around Tokyo and the rest of the country!

Is there a summer festival, beer garden, or other event in your area we haven’t covered yet? Fill us in with all of the deets, and see it featured here next week.


The Fireflies Have Landed!

It’s now prime time to catch a glimpse of a firefly or two, or even a dozen, if you know where to look. Check out our guide for a run-down of nearby locations to camp out and wait for dusk to settle, and the fireflies to light up and take flight. Not something to miss out on!


International Tokyo Toy Show

We’ve already seen a fair few toy-centric showcases and exhibits, but this one takes the cake. With some of the largest toy makers signed up and toting their newest kid-friendly creations, the whole family will be dying to check it out. Just looking at the roster is getting us excited for some real “enter-toy-ment”! Get there early, and we recommend you take the train…

matcha beer

Matcha Beer Garden

Oh Japan, and your ceaseless energy to create the “next big thing.” Their latest attempt in combining things you would never have dreamed up, brewers are putting green tea into our beer mugs and calling is “culinary art.” But don’t judge a pint by it’s color, try it for yourself this weekend at the very green beer garden.


Nobuyoshi Araki: Sentimental Journey, Complete Sheets

His photos are entirely black and white, and ultimately more jarring and confronting than sentimental; perhaps it was his purpose behind his collection of over 500 sheets of rolls of film all along. Each depicts a severely intimate look into his life, with nudity, cats, and even death. Brace yourself for a journey into the whole of a single man’s life for over thirty years.

sanno matsuri

Sanno Matsuri

Ginza, usually visited primarily with shopping in mind, will be the backdrop for one of the “giant three” festivals of Tokyo. With days of parades, children in purple and orange, and enormous floats, this is one to see for sure. The parade will start from Hie Shrine, and will wind it’s way over to the Imperial Palace – if it’s too crowded in one area, you should have more luck in another.

ohara matsuri

Shibuya-Kagoshima Ohara Matsuri

Haven’t had the chance to make your way to Kagoshima quite yet? Get a taste of the southern prefecture of Japan at this Shibuya festival celebrating Kagoshima culture. Snack on tons of Satsuma-produced goods, see traditional Kagoshima dances, and listen to taiko drum beats from the South.



Tsukiji Shishi Matsuri

The more subdued and down-low festival on this list, but an important one, especially with us being on the brink of seeing Tsukiji market close down for the first time in over a hundred years of operation. This festival in particular is meant to protect sailors for the year, and keep natural disasters at bay; nothing stipulated there ever needed to be any blessings against bureaucracy, though…


Vietnam Festival

Looking for a festival focused more on food? Look no further than Yoyogi Park, home of all things festivals and food. The theme this weekend is Vietnam – and you may even see a fashion show, hear from traditional songs, and dance in their parade, if you go at the right time! Check for more details at the link.


Hydrangea and Iris Festivals

Flowers everywhere! The fluffy and multi-colored hydrangea flowers are in full bloom all across Japan. Check out the famous Bunkyo garden in Hakusan full of the pink, purple, and blue buds – if you aren’t hopping on the Romancecar out to Hakone to see the covered hills. Meiji-Jingu and Horikiri Parks will, in contrast, be sporting their array of irises blooming this weekend, too.

forest beer garden

Meiji-jingu Forest Beer Garden

After a walk through one of Tokyo’s most recognizable iris gardens, relax in the shade of trees and enjoy a beer into the summery dusk at Meiji-jingu surrounding park. Bring the family and try some BBQ, and enjoy conversations with other groups and families partaking in the festivities.


World Chocolate Dessert Buffet

Finally coming to an end this weekend, the very delectably successful chocolate-focused buffet is leaving customers with full tummies and sticky fingers. Come get your scoop of chocolate at the Westin Ebisu if you haven’t already, before this chance melts away!


Yosuke Takeda’s “Arise”

Closing out this Sunday! Takeda is a young photographer, bent on capturing nature in a unique way: using “digital flares” to paint the photographs. See the brilliant photos of branches hanging gently in the sun, bringing vibrant color to Taka Ishii Gallery’s walls.

Would you like to see your event, fundraiser, show, or exhibit listed here? It’s easy! Email details and photos, along with your name and contact information to [email protected]

Main & Tsukiji entry image credits: Salvador A. / Flickr, used under Creative Commons