Forget trying to find the local street art. If you’re in Tokyo, you’ll want to make your way to Design Festa—Asia’s largest design and art event drawing both domestic and international creative talent. There are over 3,000 booths and 10,000 exhibitors for your perusing pleasure.
The event is held twice a year (once in fall and again in spring) at Tokyo Big Sight, Japan’s largest exhibition center. This year a third installment was introduced for summer, which saw the addition of Gakuten, an all-student-produced exhibition section. [Follow the links above for upcoming events.]
Free creative expression “regardless of an artist’s age, nationality, language or preferred medium” is the mantra of this festival. From live paintings (seeing a mural form before your very eyes is really quite impressive!), to special effects make-up, and even an all-things-cat booth—be prepared to see everything and anything. There are plenty of crafts, figurines, clothing, housewares and more if you like what you see and want to take home a little something.
And be sure to drop by both the indoor and outdoor stages, which host an array of performances: fashion shows, dance, music, band, comedy, drama and more.
A few things before you go
Buy your tickets in advance. The lines at the door are long and queuing is no fun. Besides tickets purchased in advance are cheaper (800 yen for a one-day pass versus 1,000 yen at the door).
Lastly, a small reminder to ask exhibitors before taking any photos of them/their works.
Tokyo and Japan have a reputation for the strange and unusual museums.
Recommended hotels located nearby
Ariake, from ¥18,500
Hamamatsucho, from ¥16,530
Ginza, Tsukiji, from US$85.00
Hamamatsucho, from ¥9,333