Cheapo Weekend for December 20-21: Hagoita, Winter Festivals and Illuminations

Carey Finn

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Photo by Shoko Muraguchi used under CC

This weekend in Tokyo is going to be a cold one. Wrap up warm and head out though – there’s fun to be had at festivals and last-minute Xmas shopping to be done!

If you’re in the Yokohama area, we suggest easing into the weekend with a visit to the Aloha Yokohama event that’s happening from Friday through Sunday. It’s a celebration of Hawaiian food, beer and music. Over 200 000 people are expected to attend, so sharpen those elbows.

Anytime from Sunday to Tuesday, take yourself over to the Kasukabe Hagoita Market in Saitama (the venue is about an hour from central Tokyo) for a spot of traditional Japanese culture. Hagoita are ornamental bats that are based on a very old-school (7o0 years old school) New Year’s game. The bats are brightly decorated with famous kabuki actors, sports stars and other celebs.

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Also happening on Sunday is Nishiarai Daishi Temple’s End of Year Festival, a good chance to experience the typical Japanese festival scene, complete with chow and charms. If you’re lucky enough to have Monday off, you can also enjoy the Winter Solstice Festival in the Waseda area.

And of course, don’t forget the twinkling winter illuminations all around the city.


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