Tokyo may be roasting right now, but there are plenty of ways to chill out this weekend. Fireworks, summer dances and a trip to space are just some of the events lined up – so clear your schedule and kick back.
Beat the heat by emerging from your cheapo pad in the late afternoon to catch the Chill Out Evening at Kyu Yasuda Teien Garden between 16.30-20.30 on Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great chance to experience Japanese tea ceremony and traditional koto music, as well as tasty festival food like yakisoba and fruit on sticks (also greasy cheesy things on sticks, sausages on sticks, and a variety of other snacks on sticks).
Then it’s time for the fireworks. There are lots of displays happening on Saturday night, with the biggest being the Edogawa Fireworks Festival, where an impressive 14 000 fireworks will be shot up over the river. As it’s a massively crowded event, you might want to read our handy tips here. The Itabashi Fireworks Festival is a good alternative, with 11 000 shots. Also on is the Atsugi Hanabi Taikai in Kanagawa, which features 10 000 “fire flowers”. It happens from 19.00-20.30 at the meeting point of the Sagami, Nakatsu and Koayu Rivers. If you’re not one for crowds, you might be keen on the much smaller Ome City Nohryo Fireworks Festival. Keep an eye out for other small fireworks shows happening in your neighbourhood too.
Feel a dance coming on? Head to Tsukiji Honganji between 19.00-21.00 Thursday to Saturday to see some classic bon odori, or mosey over to the Hachioji Matsuri on Saturday and Sunday for night parades, food (more stuff on sticks, also stuff on giant crackers) and festivities. The Ueno Summer Festival is still on too.
If you need a break from the seething masses, the lotus flowers blooming at Shinobaze-no-ike Pond in Ueno Park and Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura (special white lotus flowers there) might offer a bit of respite. Be sure to get there early in the morning, though.
And if you feel like a quick trip to space (a virtual one, anyway), grab a burger and drink at the Space Cafe in Omotesando, where the second part of the Summer Space Festival starts on Friday.
Harajuku, the home of fashion, cuteness, crepes and more crepes, here's a guide to some fun free things to do.