More than two-thirds of Japan will be traveling during the 10-day Golden Week holiday, so why not kick it in Tokyo with the rest of us? Celebrate the crowning of the new Emperor Naruhito (is there a crown?) with a hearty kanpai at random festivals throughout the city including Caribbean, German and Cambodian-themed celebrations in Odaiba, Nakano, Yoyogi and more. Welcome the Reiwa Era just as it was meant – by celebrating global diversity and inclusion.
While a Maifest celebration would seem more appropriate, why let common sense get in the way of a good time? Tokyo loves it some Oktoberfest with two festivals alone taking place during Golden Week in Nakano and Odaiba, with several more planned throughout the summer – and eventually October.
When you get tired of German beer and brats in Nakano head to the upscale Shibuya Stream and stay golden with the Scots and three varieties of whisky-inspired cocktails at this new bar in the shape of of Johnnie Walker’s icon, Striding Man.
Since the opening of the Midtown Hibiya development last year, this vibrant downtown neighborhood has angled to wrangle the title of Tokyo’s center for the arts. The second annual Hibiya Festival is chock full of cultural events from song to dance to theater to Drum Tao (pictured). We’re looking forward to the “Body Tights Men Show.”
All the meat you could ever want to eat, plus craft beers, sweet treats and wide array of live entertainment – it’s no surprise this is one of Odaiba’s most popular Golden Week activities.
Did you know there are 2 million hula dancers in Japan? Hawaii itself only has 50,000. That’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on. See some of Japan’s best hip-swivelers at Venus Fort in Odaiba during 10 days of Hawaiian festivities.
©Tokyo Rainbow Pride
The largest rainbow pride event in Japan includes five parades throughout Tokyo, a festival on the opening weekend and vivacious musical performances.
Stroll through mounds of pink and purple azalea bushes and a stunning torii-gate pathway in an exclusive area of the Nezu Shrine that is usually inaccessible to the general public.
Leading up to Children’s Day on May 5 the iconic Tokyo landmark will fly 333 koi carp banners (Tokyo tower is 333m tall) in front of the main entrance. Don’t miss the nightly illuminations.
If the title didn’t explain enough, this 10-day festival at Cinecity Square adjacent to the Toho Cinema in Shinjuku includes fashion shows, samba and salsa dance, African drumming and the Miss & Mister African American Caribbean Beauty Contest.
Fans of gothic and industrial music get all dolled up for the edgiest, spookiest and sexiest late-night party featuring post-punk, new wave, darkwave, batcave, deathrock, industrial and hardcore artists and DJs from Japan and overseas.
Celebrate the changing season with traditional cultural events, from solemn ceremonies to lively performances. During the main event shrine maidens perform “Urayasu-no-Mai,” a sacred dance based on a poem written by Emperor Showa, praying for peace around the world.
Catch the last weekend of this gathering of artisan sake producers from across Japan. Saturday’s offerings come from winners of the 2018 Sake Competition.
Kameido Tenjin Shrine is home to around 50 blooming wisteria trees and striking views of Tokyo Skytree visible in the background skyline.
Traders come from far and wide to Tokyo International Forum on April 28 to sell everything from old kimonos, toys and ephemera to coins, ceramics, jewelry and furniture.
Over 100,000 people come to Ome Station and the nearby Sumiyoshi Shrine to enjoy 300 food and goods vendors and the grand parade in which 12 giant, distinctive floats are wheeled through the streets.
Say farewell to the Heisei era with a phenomenal bumper lineup of international music headlined by touring Australian band FeelsClub (above).
Feature image: Shutterstock