Cheapo Weekend for February 9/10: Early Hanami, Cosplayers and an Island Festival

Greg Lane

Photo by GENuine1986 used under a Creative Commons license.

This is the time of year when everyone pretends that it’s getting warmer even though it isn’t. So if you’d like to join in with the mass delusions of spring, here are some ideas for the weekend.

Around about the time that ‘hanami’ (cherry blossom viewing) kicks off, it actually is warming up. However, if you just can’t wait – or you’d like to get in some practice – there is another kind of ‘hanami’ starting around now. The cherry blossoms upstart cousin the plum blossom (known as ‘ume’ in Japanese) should be out in full force this weekend. If you head to Hanegi Park near Umegaoka Station (see it’s even got ‘ume’ in the name) this Sunday from 10am, you can enjoy free Matcha (powdered green tea – the strong stuff) while you gaze with wonderment at the plum blossoms.  The tea won’t be served continuously, but it will be served 7 times. If you return the next day (a public holiday) you can enjoy a ‘koto’ (traditional Japanese stringed isntrument) performance at the park from 1pm.  Umegaoka Station is a local stop on the Odakyu Line.

The Wonder Festival (link in Japanese) hits halls 1 to 8 of Makuhari Messe this Sunday.  This festival is basically a massive trade show for the model and figurine industry in Japan with almost 2,000 exhbitors and upwards of 45,000 visitors.  While 2,000yen to enter is not particularly cheap, it’s free if you’re a cosplayer.  Presumably they’ve figured if you let the cosplayers in for free then the non cosplayers will pay extra to gawk at them. Smart people. Makuhari Messe is a short walk from Kaihin Makuhari Station on the Sobu Line which runs from Tokyo Station.


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If you’re missing the summer festivals in the event square at Yoyogi Park, you’ll be happy to know that the tiny island of Tokunoshima has decided to help you out. The island, located off the coast of Kagoshima, will pitch their local delights to a Tokyo audience at the 1st Tokunoshima Tourism and Produce Festival this Sunday from 10am until 4pm. The organisers don’t seem to have got a handle on how to promote events in the big city as the only official info seems to be this poster.  It does say there will be live music though.  Tokunoshima is famous for the deadly ‘habu’ snake, so with a bit of luck there will be some habu wrangling, but probably not. Closest station is Harajuku/Meijijingumae on the JR Yamanote Line and the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Lines.


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