hikawa matsuri

Thanks to “Respect for the aged” day, we have a long weekend – that’s three for the price of two! In terms of free events, there is something for everyone.

For matsuri lovers, there is the Akasaka Hikawa Festival and its closely connected Ark Hills Autumn Festival. The highlight of the festival is a procession featuring Sansha – basically ornately decorated shrines on wheels. At Hikawa Shrine in the evening, there will also be bon dancing, taiko drumming, kids’ festival games and lots of those delightful festival delicacies such as chocolate coated banana on a stick. Closest stations are Akasaka and Tameike-sanno.

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If you’d like to get out of the metropolis this weekend, you can see one of the longest continuously running festivals in the Kanto area – the 247th(!) Sakaki Festival at Hiyoshi Shrine in Tachikawa. The festival involves carrying and shaking large sakaki (a variety of tree) through the town and to the shrine. See the embedded Youtube video on the event page to get some idea of this. The closest station is Showajima on the JR Ome Line.

For ethnic festival fans, two nations with colourful traditions and delicious food face off against each other. The Vietnam Festival occupies the event square at Yoyogi Park on Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th, while the Fiesta Mexicana takes over the event area behind Fuji TV in Odaiba for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Vietnam Festival is closest to Harajuku/Meijijingumae stations while the Fiesta Mexicana is midway between Daiba and Tokyo Teleport Stations.

If you like your entertainment at an altogether more sedate pace, this weekend is your last chance to see the huge field of flowering cosmos at Hamarikyu Gardens. The park is a short walk from either Shinbashi or Shiodome Stations. Entry to the park isn’t free but it’s only a few hundred yen,

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