The Midtown Ice Rink, a winter tradition in the capital, is here again. Organizers have taken such sanitation measures as restricted admission, scrupulous sanitation and cashless payment for a safer experience. And as one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in Tokyo, there is ample space for fun. At night, the ice is illuminated, making this a perfect date spot.
When: Until Feb 28, 11:00-20:00
Where: Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Chocolate Paradise 2021, one of the capital’s largest chocolate fairs, is held on the 7th floor of Seibu Ikebukuro’s event area until Valentine’s Day. The theme for the event is to “connect,” featuring products that connect buyers to others during a pandemic. You can find chocolate bars that use cacao beans from Ghana, products that support nature conservation in Japan, colorful and unique chocolates for those weekend zoom parties, and much more.
When: Until Feb. 14, 2021
Where: Seibu Ikebukuro, 1-28-1 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
The asteroid explorer “Hayabusa2,” which was heading for asteroid Ryugu, will return to earth around December 2020 carrying with it the secrets of space, samples of space rocks and perhaps the secrets of the universe. This is the last weekend to learn more about this astronomic event at TeNQ’s special exhibition space.
When: Until Jan. 31, 2021, 11:00-18:00
Where: Space Museum TeNQ, 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku
During the Edo period, people in Japan began to realize the importance of enjoying life, more than constantly enduring hardships and war. The subject of paintings changed to that of daily life, depicting people who looked positively into the future. The exhibition displays ukiyo-e and genre paintings in the early modern era, including some that have never been featured in public exhibitions before.
When: Until Feb 7, 2021, 10:00 – 16:00 (Last entry at 15:30. Closed on Mondays.)
Where: Seikado Bunko Art Museum, 2-23-1 Okamoto, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Since its opening in 2012, d47 museum has introduced various local crafts, cultures and food from all 47 prefectures around Japan. From mass-produced products to handcrafted goods this year’s exhibition will highlight the beauty in all products.
When: Until Feb 22, 2021, 12:00-20:00
Where: d47 Museum, 2-21-1, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Shibuya Hikarie 8th floor
Shige works with a variety of techniques and materials, including painting, illustration, and mixed media sculpture. Starting from the uncertainty of language and doubt of language itself, his works develop motifs from the connection of different layers, with the intention of making things stand up out of belief and creating new creations out of the margins. The theme of this exhibition is peach buns and features a series of works derived from a play on words surrounded the theme.
When: Until Feb 20, 11:00-19:00
Where: Guardian Garden, 7-3-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Step into the positive world of Pinky Vision at the UK-based graffiti artist’s first ever show in Japan. Gaining recognition as part of the vibrant Graffiti Art scene that swept through Europe in the 90s, Pinky is known for his unique, hyper-saturated and sometimes psychedelic style full of love, peace and positivity. This exhibition showcases all new works on paper and canvas based on sketches produced during ‘lockdown’ throughout 2020. Colorful characters are waiting to greet you for a better new year, spreading the message of love and togetherness. Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing etiquette when you visit the gallery.
When: Until Feb 7, 2021
Where: WISH LESS Gallery, 5-12-10 Tabata, Kita-ku, Tokyo
8. Fukushima Disaster Area Virtual Tour
This virtual tour takes you through Fukushima’s coastal area, which was greatly affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and the nuclear disaster that followed. You will learn about the earthquake, tsunami, and what happened to the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant host towns and the people who were forced to evacuate from their homes in Fukushima. You will also learn about recent developments in the affected regions as evacuation restrictions are being partially lifted in some areas.
Tours such as this give us a real look inside the affected areas and open up conversations about the issues and current situations related to the disaster. While the tour is typically held on-site, the virtual tour is a chance for anyone to participate and learn from home. To book, contact the organizers through this inquiry form.
When: Every day, various times. See details here
Where: Online tour, via Zoom. Link will be shared after registration
Omohara no Mori, a small forest built on top of Tokyu Hands Omotesando will be illuminated with over sixteen thousand LED lights during the holiday season. The illumination is designed to give off a warm and relaxing feel, using blue and white lights that decorate the surrounding nature. Escape the crowds and enjoy the cool air of Tokyo mixed with the smell of natural trees, on top of a popular shopping mall in Harajuku.
When: Until Jan. 31, 2021
Where: Tokyu Plaza Omotesando, Omohara Forest 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
The National Ballet of Japan’s beloved production of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” is now available for a limited time online. This classic masterpiece is an enchanting holiday tradition. The production by Wayne Eagling features splendid, fast-paced choreography while the rich colors of the set and costumes describe the world of reality and dreams.
When: Until Feb 14, 2021
Puccini’s spectacular opera Tosca returns to the stage of the New National Theatre Tokyo. The dramatic production tells the story of doomed lovers Tosca and Cavaradosi in 19th-century Rome. The tale of love, jealously and betrayal contains many of Puccini’s most revered compositions such as “Recondita armonia,” “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore” and “E lucevan le stele.” With a cast including rising star Chiara Isotton alongside veteran opera stars, supported by the New National Theatre Chorus and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, this is not one to miss! The performance will be sung in Italian with English and Japanese surtitles.
In accordance with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 some segments of the original staging and cast may be altered. Please follow NNTT’s health and safety guidelines for all visitors.
When: Jan 28, Jan 31, Feb 3, 2021. Time varies. See more info here.
Where: New National Theatre, 1-1-1 Honmachi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
235 different crafts from all over the country can be viewed at the expo here and purchased online through the creator’s online stores. With such high-level talent on display this year there is a lot of marvelous work to be viewed.
When: Until March 11, 2021
An online performance of one of the most popular Noh plays, Funa Benkei, will be streamed for a limited time with English subtitles. This virtual experience offers something more profound than even watching the real thing at a theater — the organizers have created visual artwork to add to the performance, including a combination of video footage from the audience seats and on-stage, thus allowing to see the performance from all possible angles.
When: Until Mar 31, 2021
Explore Japan through the lens of your favorite Ghibli films. This virtual tour takes you through various locations in Japan, which are said to have inspired seven of the most popular Ghibli films, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke.
When: Until April 10, 2021
From lovely panda obento to gyoza from scratch and Carbonara taught by an Italian chef, you have a lot of options to choose from, but the best thing is that you’ll never wonder what to cook next. There is also a good selection of vegan recipes and such for people with different dietary preferences. Participants will be provided with a list of all necessary ingredients and cooking supplies prior to the class and when the food’s ready, you can sit down and enjoy the meal along with all other participants.
When: Until Mar 31, 2021
16. Netflix at home
Staying at home under your kotatsu (or blanket) doing nothing is one of the best things we can all do right now. Not only for ourselves but for the sake of everyone out there too. Here are a few of our own recommendations on what’s best on Netflix — old and new, there’s something for everyone.
- ‘Alice in Borderland’ is the Netflix Show We Need to Make Sense of 2020
- 5 Less-Known LGBT Movies To Watch on Netflix Japan This Year
- 5 of the Best Japanese Kids’ Shows on Netflix
- TW ScreenCap: The Best Documentaries on Netflix Japan
- 14 Netflix Shows To Binge Watch (And Study Japanese With) Now
- Top Japan Netflix Shows for Improving Your Japanese
- 10 Films And Documentaries On Black History And Systemic Racism You Can Watch In Japan
When: At your own pace
Where: At home
17. Reading at home
We also have quite a few book recommendations if you prefer the company of a good read and warm cup of coffee as relaxation time.
- 5 Japanese Books That Made Me Fall in Love With Japan
- 8 Japan Memoirs To Read in 2021
- 12 Heartwarming Children’s Books That Teach Kindness and Empathy
- 12 Japanese Books to Get You in the Mood for Autumn
- 9 Japanese Ghost and Mystery Books To Read This Summer
- The Books Behind Your Favorite Japanese Films
- 9 Essential Books for Your Japan Reading List
- Book Review: “Earthlings” by Sayaka Murata is a Scathing Review of the Society We Live In
For more recommendations, join our TW Book Club.
When: At your own pace
Where: At home