In case you’re new to this, Cheapo Weekend is a weekly preview of a few selected cheap or free events for the coming weekend. This weekend our recommendations include a festival with thousands of lanterns, a visit to a rose garden and Kyushu’s turn at taking over Yoyogi Park.
The Ikegami Honmonji Oeshiki Festival starts today (th 11th) and runs until the evening of Saturday the 13th between Ikegami Station on the Tokyu Ikegami Line (connecting to the Yamanote Line at Gotanda) and Ikegami Honmonji Temple. The festival honouring the memorial day of the Buddhist teacher Nichirei features a parade with thousands of lanterns suspended on beautiful elaborate structures which are described as ‘portable pagoda’ on the temple’s English(!) site. The festival is expected to attract 300,000 people with the main parades taking place on Friday evening (the 12th) and on Saturday evening.
Last week it was Hokkaido’s turn, now an island from the other end of Japan takes over Yoyogi Park for the Kyushu Festival on Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th. So if you’re hanging out for some grilled horse washed down with some excellent Kyushu sake, then head to the Event Square on the NHK side of the park. Closest stations are Harajuku/Meijijingumae on the JR Yamanote Line and Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Lines and Yoyogikoen Station also on the Chiyoda Line.
Mid October marks the beginning of the rose flowering season. There are a large number of carefully maintained rose gardens in the capital including those at Hibiya Park (closest station Hibiya) and at Shinjuku Gyoen (closest station Shinjukugyoen-mae) with a wide range of rose varieties. One of the nicer gardens is Kyu Furukawa Teien in northern Tokyo. The rose gardens surround a western style mansion (that’s an actual mansion – not a block of apartments!) constructed in the early 20th century. Closest stations are Nishigahara on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Kami-Nakazato Station on the JR Keihintohoku Line and Komagome Station on the JR Yamanote Line. Admission to the gardens is 150yen for adults and 70yen for seniors and children.
Tokyo flea markets are a great for bargain-hunting, pick up a new kimono or snag a new book on a shoestring!