Things might look a little different this year, but ending the month on a high note isn’t only encouraged — it’s a must. Luckily, Tokyo has the trendiest attractions lined up to rally your crew (or yourself) for a good time. Jam to solid beats at the virtual Hibiya Music Festival, have a beer and awesome plant-based grub at the community event In the Loop or stroll down the newly reopened Four Seasons of Incense Rose Garden.
Note: Events details are subject to change. Check any event websites before heading out and keep respecting the measures against Covid-19 in Tokyo whenever possible.
In the Loop is a circularity-driven popup community event hosted by the creative community hub FabCafe. It’s also produced in partnership with Ekolokal, a new eco-friendly online-slash-community platform. The first “In the Loop” event invites like-minded creatives, startups and companies to connect and bring forth their sustainability-driven ideas, products and services. In addition to the DIY workshops, expect to find “circular” beers and lip-smacking plant-based grub from the popups involved. Check the FabCafe website to know more about this initiative or reserve your spot for the Indigo dyeing workshop, Swap Shop. Also highly recommended is the beer and fried “chicken” set of the future.
When: May 29
Where: FabCafe Tokyo, 1-22-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
When it comes to representation, the fashion industry is well behind the inclusion curve. Clothing for people with disabilities is still very much lacking — and the True Colors Festival is certainly what the metropolis needs to shift the current trend. The online fashion show, sponsored by The Nippon Foundation, gathers those with physical and intellectual disabilities of all ages to show what it truly means to celebrate diversity. It’s about looking beyond the surface-level to create clothing that embraces style and function. From unisex label Hatra‘s timeless trench coats (that you can put on without the use of arms) to seamless apparels by kotohayokozawa (for those with sensory sensitivity), these up-and-coming designers and leading brands are taking solid strides in adaptive fashion.
When: May 30
The Hibiya Music Festival will be a blast of music and entertainment. Energetic artists such as DREAMS COME TRUE, MIYAVI, Kazutoshi Sakurai, KREVA and Little Glee Monster will participate in this inclusive, borderless music festival. Immerse yourself in this energetic event while watching your favorite artist on stage, all in the comfort of your own home. Multi-angled shots of the concerts can be viewed from U-NEXT for free. Expect everything from fun workshops to talk shows and more. Please note that that the event will be live-streamed and performances will not be recorded.
When: May 29 – 30
4. A sunny stroll at Four Seasons of Incense Rose Garden
After its long hiatus following Tokyo’s state of emergency, the rose garden is finally welcoming the public back to once again experience the “flavors of roses” from over 320 varieties. Nestled in the Shikinokaori Park, the Four Seasons of Incense Rose Garden heightens visitors’ senses — smell, tactile and visual — through its impressive wild oriental and award-winning species. The roses bloom from spring to autumn in breathtaking marbled shades. Moving on to the herb garden, there are six deep scents to explore – damask, tea, fruity, blue, spicy and myrrh.
Where: 5-2-6 Hikarigaoka, Nerima-ku
The film opens at a Moscow airport where the German Shepherd dog Palma is abruptly denied boarding entry and is left by his owner who departs for Prague. Oblivious to his abandonment, Palma settles on the highway to wait for his master like the last-standing crew of a deserted ship. His firm loyalty quickly captures the hearts of passengers that spill across the highway grounds and yet as he tries to forge a connection with an Akita dog, a certain dejection arises. The other star of the movie is a 9-year-old boy named Kolya who is grieving over the recent death of his mother. As Kolya watches Parma, he begins to realize that the same great loneliness exists in dogs too. This heartwarming tale stars a Russian and Japanese cast, including Viktor Dobronravov, Leonid Basov, Hiroyuki Watanabe, Tomoko Fujita and Mitsu Dan.
When: From May 28
Where: Theatres nationwide
Meet imma — Instagram personality, Tiktok star, pink-bob-haired icon and, above all, Asia’s first virtual human. Since its debut in 2018, imma has baffled the world with its offbeat presence that transcends both reality and the virtual world. In this collaborative exhibition at the Diesel Art Gallery, 13 highly acclaimed Japanese artists base imma as the center of their graphic designs, digital data, photography and paintings. Led by the brilliant mind of art director Minoru Murata, various works centered around imma narrate for a dynamic space with the theme of ‘Heaven’. These works challenge the line between genuine existence and imitation.
When: May 22 – Sep 2
Where: Diesel Art Gallery, 1-23-16 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
On the second floor of Ginza Six, in the central atrium, there will be an installation of biomorphic sculptures by Kohei Nawa. The sculptor imagines a world in which life forms and matter, and those entities in between, coexist. A sculpture group – we see a deer, accumulations of ether – will be suspended in the atrium. Characteristically Nawa focuses on the material properties of these forms, covering them with alumina and microbead grains. After the end of April, 2022, an augmented reality show co-produced by choreographer Damien Jalet will take place.
When: Until Apr 1, 2022
Where: Ginza Six, 6-11-19 Ginza, Chuo-ku
European-born duo Rita Ackermann and Andro Wekua stage chaos and political fragments as the touchstones of their artistry. Using graphite and oil crayons, Ackermann paints large-scale compositions that are figuratively abstract and provokingly bold. Her final pictures bring viewers back to her early life in the 1990s Eastern Block. Wekua, too, evokes a dark emotional dialogue using Rothko-inspired bright hues of pink, magentas and acid yellow. Collaborating on the grounds of their common repressed experience and their long-time kinship, this dual exhibition oscillates between subtle symbolism and audacious artistic strokes. It also gives a fascinating view of the hazy past and the present.
When: May 1 – Jul 3
Where: Fergus McCaffrey Tokyo, 3-5-9 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku
For avid collectors, the Philatelic Museum in Toshima-ku is a must-visit. The current exhibition focuses on stamps with an archaeological theme. When viewing them, the images are only part of the story. It’s the traces of past lives the stamps evoke that give them meaning beyond their function. As well as providing glimpses into personal histories, they shine a light on the values and beliefs of past societies. The wildly different meanings the stamps held for various people is also a fascinating part of their history. A treasured possession for one person may have been a pretty adornment to a postcard or souvenir for another. The Philatelic Museum encourages us to think about the past in a different way through the stamps on show. It also gives us a chance to reflect on the ephemera in our own lives and the objects in which we choose to invest meaning.
When: Until Aug 1
Where: Philatelic Museum, 1-4-23 Mejiro, Toshima-ku
Our summer plans might look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still make this summer lots of fun. Summertime is the best time to enjoy the warm weather, relax, and make amazing memories. New York City has attractions lined up for this season that are perfect for every family, whether it’s taking a hike or enjoying a drive-in-movie. Finish off the summer on a high note with our Ultimate NYC Summer Bucket List.
The largest and oldest English-language theater company in Japan presents a wonderful theatrical experience. Tokyo International Players (TIP) will put on short plays by veteran actors and experienced playwrights in two spectacular online performances. Writers include Jessie Berman, Armelle Lajus, Alex Ohannessian, Alex Page, and Carlos Quiapo; with directors Brian Berdanier, Nadia Dayan, Lizzie Howard, and Karen Pauley; and actors Julius Fuentes, Nicolas Gregoriades, Tim Jeffares, Ian Martin, and Rian Zeleny along with newcomer Xander Coleman.
When: May 29
You’ll see a vast mosaic of petals and leaves at the Yamatane Museum’s 55th anniversary special exhibition with around 60 works on display. Since ancient times, artists in Japan across disciplines have loved flowers. Working based on the Chinese-style floral and vegetal art of the Middle Ages, artists after the Meiji Period sought to create new expressions while maintaining the aesthetics of the past. At the same time, they wanted to include Western painting techniques and modern sensibilities in their works. This exhibition focuses on contemporary Japanese paintings such as Taikan Yokoyama’s Cherry Blossoms, Kokei Kobayashi’s Lotus Petals and Gyoshu Hayami’s Camellias.
When: Until Jun 27
Where: Yamatane Museum of Art, 3-12-36 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku
With an eclectic lineup of feature films and genres, Short Shorts Film Festival is one of Asia’s highly-awaited — and binge-worthy — film events of the year. From top Hollywood pick “David” starring a crestfallen Will Ferrel to “in-side-out” directed by Mirai Moriyama, many of the movies on show touch on elements of solitude, reflecting present-day realities. With the theme of “CINEMADventure”, these 500 films create powerful visuals using experimental techniques. A hybrid event, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia is nevertheless hallmarked as the largest Asian film festival and one not to miss for any movie buffs.
When: Apr 27 – Jun 26
Where: Online and TORQUE SPICE ＆ HERB, TABLE ＆ COURT, 3-21-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
13. 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
The artist duo of Ken and Julia Yonetani draw on social issues in their work and are not afraid to deal with some of the biggest threats to our society, such as climate change, environmental destruction and the ongoing pandemic. They take the anxieties that naturally develop from these fears and channel them into artistic expression. By doing so, they challenge us to face our own fears. At the same time, they incorporate elements of beauty and humor. As a result, we can see the promise of hope beyond the fear.
When: Until May 31
Where: Kadokawa Culture Museum, 3-31-3 Higashi-Tokorozawa Wada, Tokorozawa-shi, Saitama
A bow to the 1995 exhibition ‘Ripples in the Water 95’, Watari-um has brought together works that were exhibited around Aoyama and Harajuku as part of the original exhibition. This gives audiences a chance to reflect on how the world has changed and how the meaning of art evolves and adapts over time. Modern artists working in Tokyo today and experiencing the ongoing pandemic were also commissioned to produce work for the exhibition. This helped to bring a fresh interpretation to the themes that guided the original artists. Reservations required.
When: Until Jun 6
Where: The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, 3-7-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
As an exhibition of recent acquisitions, there is no unifying theme here, but rather a showcase of the museum’s collective philosophy and recent progress. The collection itself is diverse, ranging from ancient Chinese paintings to contemporary Japanese art and is particularly strong on impressionist and modern Japanese paintings. This is reflected in the recent acquisitions. The museum’s desire to expand its range to include more abstract and contemporary works, as well as early modern Japanese art can also be seen.
When: Until Sep 5
Where: Artizon Museum, 1-7-2 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku
17. A chill reading at home
We also have quite a few book recommendations if you’d prefer to sit at home to read and relax with a a warm cup of coffee.
- 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.