Frugal fun for the weekend:
Shitamachi Tanabata (July 6-11): Many Tanabata festivals take place throughout Japan and (as the legend go) celebrate the love of two deities who are allowed to meet but once a year in the summer. During the festival, you write down a wish on a strip of colorful paper and tie it to a tree (usually) bamboo with everyone else’s wishes. The Shitamachi Tanabata event takes the celebrations up a notch on the weekend with a parade on Saturday and dance/street performances on Sunday in the Asakusa and Ueno areas. More details.
Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata (July 8-10): Much like the one above, this tanabata festival is more than hanging wishes with colorful festivities near Hiratsuka Station spanning the weekend. More details.
Oceans Peoples Tokyo (July 9-10): Calling all beach lovers…to Yoyogi Park, where a beach-themed party/market will take place over the weekend. More details.
Africa Hibiya Festival (July 9-10): Head to Hibiya Park for this festival celebrating African culture and lifestyle through food, dance, music, workshops, art and performances. The festival aims to increase multicultural knowledge in Japan. More details.
Ueno Summer Festival (July 9-Aug 7): A 5-week long summer festival with different events each day, which in the past has included a paper lantern floating festival, an antiques market and an ice sculpture display. The main parade, however, will be held on July 23. More details.
Enoshima Tenno Festival (July 10): At this festival, a mikoshi (portable shrine) from Yasaka Shrine will be carried over a bridge, pseudo-baptized in the water, and then carried off again to meet the mikoshi from Koyuguri Shine. Along with a big crowd, the shrines will subsequently parade the streets together until 18:00. More details.
Edo Goldfish Wonderland (ongoing until Sep 30): This event held at Sumida Aquarium is a throwback to the Edo period, with a fishy twist. Amongst 31 tanks displaying a variety of goldfish, enjoy recreated Edo-style cocktails to lanterns to ice cream and more. More details.
H.K. Art Exhibition (ongoing until July 28): Artist H.K. explores life, death and the “in-between” through flowers and the human body. Check out his unique take on the world at Kinosho Kikaku Gallery (Closed Sundays) More details.
“Shape Your City” Art and Music Pop-Up (ongoing until July 21): This Friday and Saturday, hang out at the city’s coolest art and music pop-up. Come mix with people you have yet to meet, listen to music you have yet to hear, and experience art and culture you have yet to encounter at UltraSuperNew Gallery in Harajuku. Event is from 11:00-21:00, bar opens at 17:00, and the first drink is on the house—very cheapo, baby, yeah! More details.