Whether you’re of Irish descent and are looking to celebrate your roots or you simply enjoy a cold pint of Guinness and a good party, with St Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you might be curious about how you can get in on the fun in Tokyo. Just like Halloween created a boom of elaborate costume contests a couple of years ago, the Irish holiday, though celebrated in Tokyo for a quarter century, has been gaining traction in the last five years. We’ve created this itinerary if you’re looking to get the most of St Patrick’s Day weekend, from dawn ’til dusk.
Japan is the land of festivals and so it’s no surprise that this recent addition to the Irish festivities was made six years ago. It certainly is one of the most efficient ways to gather lovers of the Emerald Isle in a single place. Held at Yoyogi Park and organized by the Ireland Chamber of Commerce, the I Love Ireland Festival takes place March 16–17 and has everything from musical shows and dance performances to booths of food and drinks, as well as kiosks where visitors can purchase St Patrick’s Day-inspired gifts.
St Patrick’s Day Parade
The classic St Patrick’s Day celebration is a good, old-fashioned parade. No matter where you are in the world, chances are there’s one planned in the nearest big city. Japan is no different and this year there are about 13 parades throughout the country. The oldest one, however, organized by Irish Network Japan, will have its 27th rendition on March 17 in Omotesando starting from 13:00. It costs only ¥500 to participate and walk among the colorful clothes and drums (email [email protected] for more information).
If you want to get out of the city, there are two other parades going on in the Tokyo Bay area. The 15th annual Yokohama parade is held on March 16 from 14:00, and though far from the city center, participants and spectators will be rewarded with a special illumination at the end of the night. Scheduled for March 10 from 13:00, the St Patrick’s Parade in Chiba is held a little earlier than its counterparts. Don’t miss the flea market, where visitors can pick up a variety of snacks and drinks, or the after party.
Special Menu at Zelkova
Located inside The Strings Hotel, the coffee and dining spot Zelkova will have a special menu from which customers can order only on St Patrick’s Day weekend. The limited-edition meals and drinks inspired by Ireland’s color emblem include green beer and green lemonade to drink, and hearty dishes made with seasonal vegetables, including everybody’s favorite avocado toast. For dessert, indulge in a Japanese contemporary classic with a piece of matcha chiffon cake.
Those who enjoy more of an evening event are invited to throw on their suits and gowns and attend the Emerald Ball on March 16 for an extra elegant St Patrick’s Day celebration. Held at the Hotel Gajoen in Meguro ward, and with the promise of being the biggest party for the occasion, The Ireland Funds is hosting this charity for the 26th year. This is the only event that extends the celebration until midnight, perfect for the night owls among us.