While traditional horseback archery is rather a rare sight in these modern times, this weekend you will have the choice of two different locations at which to admire the amazing skill of these archers as they fire off their arrows while riding past the target at a full gallop. One of the contests will take place at Sumida Park in Asakusa on Saturday from 1pm while the other will happen at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in Kamakura (link in Japanese) on Sunday from 1pm.  The closest station to Sumida Park is Asakusa Station while Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line is about a 10 minute walk from the shrine in Kamakura.

A little further down the Shonan coastline is the Ooka Echizen Festival (link in Japanese) in Chigasaki.  The festival celebrates Ooka Echizen – an 18th century bugyo (kind of like a powerful civil magistrate) who hailed from the area. The festival takes place on both Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st, but the major celebration with a parade and shoulder borne mikoshi shrines happens on the Sunday in the area around Chigasaki Station on the JR Tokaido Line. The parade is scheduled to start at 12:30 and run until 3pm.  Chigasaki is about a 45 minute journey from Shinagawa Station on the express.

If you’ve ever been to a school festival of any kind in Japan, it’s probably because you had to and the food probably consisted of pork curry with rice or a dried out maki sushi roll. However, if you’re in or near Hiroo this Saturday the 20th of April, you might want to grab your lunch at a school event with much better food – the Sacred Heart International School Festival.   Being a school with lots of different nationalities, there will be stalls serving Korean, Chinese, Thai, Hawaiian, Morroccan, Canadian (poutine?), Indian, Scandinavian, Russian, American, “Latin”, Irish, New Zealand and Japanese food. There will also be Segafredo Coffee and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream along with a ‘white elephant’ sale with all the expat cast-offs on sale for next to nothing.  Entry is free and the school can be accessed from Exit 3 of Hiroo Station.

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