Mongolian wrestling, food, music and traditions wrapped up in one big event – if you decided to stay in Tokyo this Golden Week, you’re in for a treat…

Hawarinbayaru apparently means “Spring festival” in Mongolian, and it’s been a celebrated tradition here in Japan for over 40 years. In fact, every time Golden Week rolls around, the Mongolian Spring Festival makes its return to the steppes of Hikarigaoka Park in Tokyo, bringing along its fascinating troupe of performers.

This year’s theme is “Re-discover Mongolia”, a feat you’ll be able to achieve through the numerous eye-catching events: traditional dancing, folk music (throat singing and string instruments are key in Mongolian musical tradition), a calligraphy workshop and even a fashion show featuring traditional garments.

You can also try on the national costume (deel, or kaftan), which is worn on both workdays and special occasions – it consists of a long, loose gown which is belted with a sash. The most exciting part of the festival is definitely the Mongolian wrestling tournament; maybe we’ll get to the root of why Japanese sumo is so dominated by Mongolians?

Mongolian Spring Festival (click for more info)

When: May 4-5

Where: Hikarigaoka Park (see map)

How much: Free

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