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Iruma Air Show (Nov 3): On November 3rd (Culture Day in Japan), the Iruma Air Base opens its gates to the public and puts on an air show that’s sure to delight. Spectators, watch for the parachute drop and the Blue Impulse JASDF aerobatic demonstration team.
Yabusame at Meiji Jingu Shrine (Nov 3): Another one for Culture Day is this festival showcasing yabusame—the traditional Japanese martial art of horseback archery. See it in all its impressiveness against a Meiji Shrine backdrop.
Culture Day – Museum and Art Free Admission (November 3): Free admission to some of the major museums and art galleries is just one more Culture Day perk for you cheapos. View our guide (linked above) for which ones will let you in for zero yen.
Dream Yosacoy Festival (Nov 3-5): A dance-off like you’ve never seen before, this weekend is host to the Dream Yosacoy Festival in Odaiba—comprised of 7,000 dancers, 100 teams and 500,000 spectators. Yosakoi (how it’s really spelled) is one of the more flexible Japanese dance forms with teams incorporating contemporary fashion, hairstyles, costumes and dance moves into the traditional art form.
Hakone Daimyo March (Nov 3): Samurai, warriors, dancing girls, marching bands and the daimyo himself are the main draws of the Hakone Daimyo March (gyoretsu in Japanese), a parade recreating a feudal Japanese sankin kotai, or daimyo journey. This is definitely one for the history-lovers, or anyone with a jones for pomp and ceremony.
Suginami Festa (Nov 4-5): A large family-oriented community festival held at Suginami Kuritsu Momoiharappa Park. Organizers claim there will be over 140 stalls selling food and crafts. There will also be a stage with “character shows” from Pretty Cure and Kamen Rider along with various games and sports to try out.
Aoyama Festival (Nov 3-5): A traditional festival-parade combo taking place along Aoyama Dori from Aoyama Itchome Station right down to Aoyama Gakuin University between Omotesando and Shibuya stations. Participation will extend from various national groups and regions from throughout Japan. The festival also includes markets, concerts and a fashion swap party.
Smart Illumination Yokohama (Nov 1-5): For five days in early November, you can spend an evening oohing and aahing over the nightly illuminations that transform Yokohama’s waterfront area. The use of energy-saving technologies (like LED lighting) is a nod to the way of the future—hence “smart illumination”.
Tori no Ichi Fair (Nov 6): Held at Otori Shrine in Asakusa since the Edo period, this colorful festival falls on rooster days (according to the Chinese calendar) and provides good luck, good health and good wealth blessings. Pick up an ornamental rake (representing good luck and prosperity) or just walk around and enjoy the colorful atmosphere. Should you get hungry, there will be food stalls serving up traditional Japanese street food.
Last weekend to catch:
Kanda Used Book Festival (Oct 27-Nov 5): One of the biggest events of its kind, word nerds might just go gaga for the stacks and stacks of used/antique/rare books along Yasukuni Dori in the Jimbocho district of Kanda. Makes for a great souvenir too!
Tokyo Ramen Show (Oct 26-Nov 5): Try different ramen styles hailing from all over Japan at the Tokyo Ramen Show held in Komazawa Olympic Park. Bowls ring in at 850 yen—yum!
Design Touch 2017 (Oct 13-Nov 5): Tokyo Midtown is once again holding Design Touch. The main feature is the interactive art installation in the Grass Square, but there’s plenty of art, goods, flower exhibitions and more in the vicinity—and it’s all free.