Anyone who says Halloween isn’t a Japanese tradition has probably failed to notice the black cats, bats and pumpkins adorning shops since the end of August.
Aside from the madness that is Roppongi at this time of year, there are a couple of big parades that happen in the Kanto region at which you can experience two quite different sides of Halloween. The more famous of the two is the Kawasaki Halloween parade that takes place near JR Kawasaki Station. It’s basically a giant cosplay party with some of the participants taking the event REALLY seriously and spending lots of time and money on their costumes. The other big parade is the Omotesando Pumpkin Parade along the stretch between Aoyama Dori and Meiji Dori. While the Kawasaki event has everything from witches to zombies to Boba Fett, the Omotesando parade is strictly for the kids – so it represents all that is cute about Halloween in Japan with participation restricted to kids under 12 years old. Last year’s Pumpkin Parade even featured a royal style convertible drive by from fashion monster Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
In addition to (although not necessarily free of) Halloween is the Koenji Festival that runs on both Saturday and Sunday. Amusingly, the festival bills itself as one of the “Big 4” festivals in Koenji. So apparently there are two other festivals apart from the monster Awadori Festival!
Elsewhere, Tokyo’s biggest street side sale of used books – the Kanda Book Fair – gets underway this Sunday and runs until Saturday the 2nd. There probably won’t be many English books on offer but there are bound to be plenty of good art books. Besides, just the smell should be enough to get some of you bookworms excited. The closest station is Jimbocho.
At Tokyo Midtown, Design Touch 2013 continues. In case looking at lots of interesting installation art isn’t motivation enough, you can do the “Stamp Rally” to force yourself to see everything.
There are certain times in the year that can make your visit to Tokyo less than idea.