It finally, very suddenly feels like Autumn. Not long now until the time of ‘changing of the leaves’, heading to mountain onsen and enjoying the traditional Japanese festival of Halloween!  Before that, you have a period of the most perfect picnic and barbecue weather available to you all year – so get out there!

While in spring there is ‘Hanami’ (literally ‘looking at flowers’) in Autumn there is ‘Tsukimi’ (looking at the moon). Yes, it’s just another reason to drink alcohol and eat rice cakes (not your crappy burgers McDonalds!) in public parks at night.  This Saturday you have an ideal opportunity to do so because it happens to be a full moon.  If you’d like somewhere to do this with your fellow Tokyoites listening to some refined traditional music, there is a Tsukimi Event (link in Japanese) at Mukojima Hyakkaen Garden in Sumida Ward.  The event runs all day (although moon watching might be best done after dark don’t you think?) from Saturday until Monday.  Entry is 150yen and the closest stations are Higashi Mukojima and Hikifune stations on the Tobu Line or Keisei Hikifune on the Keisei Oshiage Line.

Traditional festivals seem to be a bit thin on the ground this weekend. However, if you can’t let a weekend go by without your matsuri fix then the Shinagawa Shukuba Matsuri (link in Japanese) should do the trick. It’s a festival celebrating Shinagawa’s history as a rest stop on the Tokaido which was Japan’s main east west route during the Edo period. Consequently there should be more samurai, geisha and courtesans than an NHK period drama. The festival will be happening on Saturday and Sunday along a stretch of the ‘Old Tokaido’ (now a suburban street) near Kita Shinagawa, Shimbamba and Aomono Yokocho stations on the Keikyu Main Line.

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Although it’s not actually on the weekend, it could be worth skipping work to see sumo grand champion Yokozuna Hakuho performing a dohyo-iri ceremony at Meiji Jingu on Monday, October 1st.  Online info on this is scarce – I can’t even find a time.  However, it seems this usually happens around 10:30am. The new Yokuzuna Harumafuji probably won’t be performing as his first dohyo iri is scheduled to take place later this month.  If you really want to make sure it’s on (the info says subject to change) then give the shrine a call on 03-3379-5511.  Closest stations are Meijijingumae on the Chiyoda Line and Harajuku on the JR Line.

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