While more Tokyoites are getting vaccinated every day, the vaccination rates in Japan remain way behind those of Canada, the UK, Spain, Italy and Germany according to the latest data. Now more than ever, be sure to stay updated with the latest information about Covid-19 measures, regulations and more.
Whatever you end up doing this weekend, be sure you are staying safe. If you decide to go out, keep your mask on and avoid crowds.
Note: Be sure to visit the official event websites for the latest information on Covid-19 measures.
This Weekend Only
Baku Takahashi’s glass pieces mix familiar forms with the memory of antique sculptures. For the works exhibited during this event, the artist was inspired by pictures he has seen online and various landscapes. Each sculpture represents “something I (the artist) might have seen somewhere, yet I cannot recall the context around that thing.” Takahashi assembled his complex pieces combining colors and shapes reminiscent of children’s brick sets and block games.
Influenced by anime and video games, Takahashi loves colorful objects, revealing in this new body of works, unexpected combinations of colors and forms and giving a fresh surprise to his fans.
When: Until Aug 29
How Much: Free
For this three-month-long exhibition, Picaresque Art Gallery asked 100 artists to create booklets, or collections, of their own works. Each booklet has its own unique finish－ some have a handcrafted feel to them, while others are professionally printed with a glossy cover. If you find one that you really like, all works are available for purchase at the gallery, but you can browse their catalog online too.
When: Until Aug 29
It’s important to cool down and stay hydrated to keep the summer blues at bay — and there is no better way to do so than lounging on the 15th floor of Hotel Ryumeikan Tokyo with a glass of umeshu (Japanese plum liquor) in hand. Golden-colored, delightfully sweet and pleasantly refreshing, you can now enjoy the authentic summer staple from this all-you-can-drink deal. There’s practically a bottomless booze option: 23 kinds of umeshu, 207 cocktail variants whipped upon demand and nine ways to drink. Guzzle down a few glasses, or take a brief break with another dizzyingly great grub. There’s a beautifully prepared 7-item basket “Umegozen” of cream cheese, fresh spring rolls, shrimp, and char siu on the roll. The restaurant recommends ending the feast with a scoop of ice cream poured over umeshu — and really, who can complain?
When: Until Aug 31
How Much: ¥5,000
Space-themed entertainment museum TeNQ will team up with Uchu Nanchara Kotetsu-kun this summer for a wholesome family-friendly event. Known for their cute characters and humorous, light-hearted dialogues, the popular kids’ anime chronicles Kotetsu-kun and his friends, who aspire to be astronauts, at the Animal Space Academy. There’s the dice stamp rally, where you go on a real-life treasure hunt for stamps and paint your own dice once you’ve collected them all. If you ‘enroll’ in the Space Academy and work your way through a card-type worksheet, you’ll get a “Space Academy Certificate of Completion”. The museum proves that no one is too young — or too old — to get a degree. Kotetsu-kun will welcome you in the science area during certain periods of the day, too, so make sure you don’t leave without taking a picture with him.
How Much: From ¥1,200
There is always something cute and pink for everyone at Hello Kitty Land Tokyo, also known as Sanrio Puroland. The family-friendly theme park invites fans to join the special summer festival “Natsu-Puro 2021” for a wholesome get-together. The festival brings fun activities with great food to combat the summer heat. There’s the famous Meat & Cheese Festival for a protein-loaded feast before you move on to the on-site shows and attractions. Anyone can see the Hello Kitty and Sanrio characters dance to popular summer songs and parade around in traditional yukata. Before the night ends, Hello Kitty and her friends will perform a new after-hours live show, so be sure not to miss them, too.
When: Until Aug 31
How Much: ¥1,000
Around Your Neighborhood
6. What’s new in your neighborhood
Every month, we publish a series of articles showcasing new restaurants, events and neighborhood-specific news. If you live in or near the following neighborhoods, check out the latest happenings this weekend:
- What’s New in Ikebukuro
- What’s New in Shibuya
- What’s New in and Around Kamakura
- What’s New in and Around Nakano
- What’s New in Roppongi
- What’s New in Shimokitazawa
- What’s New in Yokohama
- What’s New in Kichijoji
Is your neighborhood not on the list? We’re working on expanding this series in the near future so stay tuned!
Things to Do at Home
7. Learn about the life of Japanese craftsmen with our “Day in the Life” series
Japan has dozens – maybe even hundreds – of local crafts to enjoy. In our “Day in the Life” series, we talk to talented craftsmen about their art, life and the future of crafts in Japan. Below are some of our top picks from recent years:
- A Day in the Life of a Shamisen Maker
- A Day in the Life of a Matcha Whisk Craftsman
- A Day in the Life of a Japanese Noh Actor
- A Day in the Life of an Urushi Artist
Browse the full series.
8. Or see what the Japan creative community is up to with our “10 Questions With” series
Started last summer, our “10 Questions With” series offers insight into the lives of upcoming Tokyo creatives and entrepreneurs. Below are some of our favorite interviews from the last couple of months:
- 10 Questions with Photographer Yukari Chikura
- 10 Questions With Tokyo-Based French Photographer Allan Abani
- 10 Questions With Tokyo-Based Embroidery Artist Ria Paramita
- 10 Questions With Daniel Harris Rosen, CEO and Creative Director at TokyoDex
We’re always looking for amazing people to feature in this series. Email us at [email protected] to submit somebody worth featuring.
9. Try your hand at making homemade kakigori (shaved ice)
With summer 2021 being the second scorching hot season we live through with Covid, you’ve probably tasted every ice cream and frozen snack from your local convenience store freezer by now. Change up your cool dessert options by trying your hand at making kakigori at home. It’s easier than you think! And we wouldn’t leave you stranded without a recipe.
10. Or cook one of the many other Japanese dishes you can make at home
With so much extra time at home, the weekends are the perfect time to work on your cooking skills and add a recipe or two to your family cookbook. We have tons of articles on our site about cooking with specific Japanese ingredients. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started:
- Seasonal Japanese Ingredients and How To Use Them: Shiso
- How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie in Japan
- Seasonal Japanese Ingredients and How To Use Them: Yuzu
11. Play your way through Japan
Some very good video games were released in the last few years that offer great escapism. If traveling is what you’re missing, try playing Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, which can teach you the ins and outs of growing rice, or Ghosts of Tsushima if you’ve always wanted to be a samurai (not the Tom Cruise kind). Pokémon also recently released Pokémon Unite, a free multiplayer online game if you’re aiming to be only the very best trainer out there.
12. Lean about some lesser-known facts about Japan
Fun fact: We love fun facts at TW. If you find youself a bit bored this weekend and want to have something interesting to tell you friends druing your next Zoom gatehring, below are some fact-filled articles about a remote Okinawa island, Mount Fuji and trains in Japan:
- 9 Things to Know About Yonaguni
- 9 Fun Facts about Mount Fuji for Mountain Day
- Japan Train Superlatives: 23 Fun Facts for Dinner Party Convos
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13. Read a newly released Japanese novel
If you love Japanese literature, there are many anticipated releases to be excited for this year. The weekend is always a good time for reading but you can take a break from going down your reading list to pick up something new. Here are our top nine new novels to come out this year.
14. Alternatively, take a break from fiction and read a Japan memoir
Earlier this year the TW Book Club held its very first author Q&A with Hannah Kirshner. This inspired us to read more non-fiction and see what other members of Japan’s international community have experienced during their time here. Get inspired and browse our full list of recommendations.
15. If all else fails, read a spooky horror story
Horror is a popular genre to read in Japan during the month of August. Whether you prefer the ghostly folktale or a modern horror story, these books are sure to give the chills to get you through the hottest and most humid month of the year.
16. Clean your Tokyo apartment
A cluttered space can mean a cluttered mind. Take this extra time at home to dispose (responsibly!) of unused clothes, check you aren’t keeping expired medicine, flip your mattress, air out your closets. You might’ve been running your AC all day, every day – it’s probably time to clean that too. You can always look to Marie Kondo for inspiration on how to reorganize your home.
17. Plan your next Japan wellcation – whenever it ends up being
Just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean we can’t dream of our next travel. Japan was voted as one of the top wellcation destinations so the TW editors put together a list of tried and tested places that will take away all your worries. There’s no harm in dreaming, right?
Feature image by Anna Petek