International Museum Day (May 18): Ok, so it’s not on the weekend, but it’s a pretty notable day; the day where you can go to most major museums for free—cheapo win! In particular, the Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, the National Museum of Western Art and the Shitamachi Museum (all in Ueno) will have free admission.
Tokyo Cheapo Downtown Drinks (May 19): Join the TC gang and fellow cheapos for a drink (or few) and casual mingling at ABC Coffee in Jiyugoaka—Japan’s first subscription cafe. This is our 17th casual monthly meet-up and all are welcome—from readers to travelers to mysterious strangers.
Sanja Matsuri 2017 (May 19-21): Sanja Matsuri is considered one of the three great Shinto festivals in Tokyo honoring the founders of Sensoji Temple. Dancers, geisha, performers, and people carrying mikoshi (portable shrines) will begin their procession from the temple and make their way around the neighborhood, and finally return to the temple at night. Millions of spectators make there way to see the festival—join the crowds or miss out of one of the year’s most awe-inspiring events. The main parade happens on Saturday from 12 noon starting at Asakusa Shrine.
The Okinawa Festival (May 20-21): No time and no money to visit Okinawa? No problem! Just head to Yoyogi Park this weekend for the annual festival which showcases the prefecture’s food, culture, music and crafts. Expect lots of performances including Eisa—Okinawa’s unique style of traditional dancing
Shibuya Kagoshima Ohara Matsuri (May 20-21): This traditional festival hailing from Kagoshima has got it all: a parade with taiko drums, marching troupes and kimono-clad dancers. You can also take your taste buds on an adventure with various foods and delicacies of the Satsuma Domain (which represents the provinces of Satsuma, Osumi and Hyuga in modern-day Kagoshima prefecture).
Tokyo Ukraine Parade (May 20): This parade celebrating vyshyvanka (traditional Ukrainian embroidery) returns for the 5th time to Tokyo. Anyone is welcome to participate—even if you don’t have a traditional embroidered clothing, you can wear yellow or blue (representative of the Ukrainian flag). The parade will depart from Mizutanibashi Park in Ginza at 2pm and ends off at Hibiya Park with a picnic.
Forest Beer Garden (from May 19 til Sep 24): The opening of this annual beer garden officially marks the beginning of summer in our book. Located in Meiji Shrine’s Outer Garden, you can enjoy a cold one, some grilled grub and nature-y vibes smack dab in the heart of the city. We recommend making a reservation as this hot spot fills up pretty quickly.