Lots going on this weekend—take your pick!
Tokyo Game Show 2016 (Sep 17-18): The Tokyo Game Show remains one of the top gaming shows in the world. While it runs from the 15th to the 18th, only the latter two days (Sat-Sun) are open to the public. The theme for 2016 is “Press Start to Play the Future”. The show is on a huge scale with booths from all the major game publishers, console makers and mobile gaming platforms with a few indies and international booths thrown in as well. Arrive early if you want to try out any of the games.
Mokojima-Hyakkaen Garden Moon-Viewing (Sep 14-16): Moon-viewing (tsukimi) events are typically reserved for autumn. Tsukimi at the historical Mukojima-Hyakkaen Garden will include koto (a traditional Japanese string instrument) performances, as well as tea ceremonies and lantern painting. Entrance to the gardens is 150 yen, and if you want to participate in the tea ceremony it will set you back 2,000 yen.
Nakanobu Nebuta Festival (Sep 17): If you missed your chance to visit Aomori for its world-famous Nebuta Festival, there’s a mini-version taking place in Shinagawa that’s been running since 1989. The main parade with the iconic Nebuta floats will go from 5pm-8pm. However there will be music, dancing and street food all afternoon starting at 12pm.
Nezu Shrine Festival (Sep 17-18): An annual and traditional Japanese festival at the Kyoto-esque Nezu Shrine with a mikoshi (portable shrine) parade and street food stalls.
Setagaya Hachimangu Autumn Festival (Sep 17-18): Can’t get enough traditional shrine festivals? Head to Setagaya Hachimangu Shrine’s Autumn Festival for the usual dose of mikoshi (portable shrine) parades, but with the addition of ritual sumo on a dohyo in front of the shrine. The sumo portion starts at 2pm on the first day. The main procession—in which mikoshi are paraded around the neighborhood and then returned to the shrine—starts at 10am on Sunday and goes for most of the day.
Akasaka Hiwai Matsuri (Sep 16-18): A community festival featuring a procession of dashi (traditional floats) topped off with festival food, music and dancing at the shrine on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm.
250th Sakaki Festival (Sep 17-18) This centuries-old festival will take place around Hiyoshi Shrine and involves the parading around of a Sakaki tree (Japanese evergreen) with strips of paper tied to it. Plus music/drum performances, traditional garb and more!
Oedo Antique Market (Sep 18): Stop by the Tokyo International Forum for Japan’s largest antique market. A great place to pick up souvenirs, housewares and assorted bric-a-brac.
Live from the Kitchen Disco (Sep 18): Jam out at a free show featuring the best of Tokyo’s indie music scene—from alternative rock to Japanese folk-punk. All taking place at Papera restaurant in Shinjuku.
Escape Tokyo for the day, see mountains, hot springs, the modern, the traditional, the old and the ancient!
Hibiya Oktoberfest (Sep 9-19): Beer, sausages and music await you at Hibiya Park. And if you’re not a beer person, there’s wine and non-alcoholic options as well. Just head towards the fountain for all the action.
The Full Gamut Theatre Shows (Sep 18-19): The Full Gamut is a double bill of physical theater shows presented back to back at the World Peace Theatre in Kawasaki. The shows are suitable for the whole family, so bring your kids. And you can watch one show, or both (better value option), at any time during the weekend. Both shows contain very little spoken language and are appropriate for English and non-English speakers alike.
Belgian Beer Festival 2016 (Sep 16-25): Belgian Beer Weekend is back. And while on the surface it might not seem like a cheap event (3,100 yen for 3 super strength Belgian beers, a very fancy beer glass and lots of entertainment), it’s good value compared to the many Belgian beer bars around town. Roppongi Hills Arena is where it’s at.
Red Spider Lily Festival 2016 (Sep 17-Oct 2): One of the more impressive flower festivals, the Red Spider Lily blankets the Kinchakuda fields in Hidaka, Saitama (just a short jaunt outside of Tokyo).
And don’t forget Mon, Sep 19 is a national holiday—expect a higher volume of people in public places.
Our guide to prepay SIM cards, wifi routers, cafe wifi and other places to quickly find wifi whilst visiting Japan.