If you’re in Tokyo this weekend, you’re in for a treat. Expect traditional festivals, displays of hydrangeas, short films, Okinawan food and more.
First on the list is the Tenno-sai Festival at Shinagawa Shrine on both Saturday and Sunday. The event, which honours past emperors, involves a parade of people carting a heavy portable shrine, known as a mikoshi, up and down steep flights of stairs – making for quite a scene. You can expect traditional music and tasty festival food too.
If you only emerge after dark (like some of our Cheapo writers), you can always check out the Night Festival of Torigoe Shrine (access from Asakusabashi or Kurumae Station) on Sunday evening. There will be lanterns, a 4-tonne mikoshi hefted by more than 150 people, and appearances by costumed creatures from Japanese folklore.
You’ll also be able to see awesome displays of hydrangeas (ajisai) at shrines and temples, and probably all around your neighbourhood too. One of the best places to see them though is at Hakusan Shrine, where the Bunkyo Ajisai Festival kicks off on Saturday. It’s free entry to ooh and ah at the 10 000 plants doing their flowering thing. Did you know that the colour of hydrangeas depends on the acidity of the soil? Apparently the more acidic it is, the bluer the bloom.
On that nature-stuff note, the Eco Life Fair will be happening over at Yoyogi Park between 11am and 5pm on both days of the weekend. You can expect “eco food” and “eco idols”, whatever that means. We reckon it’s an excuse to eat and listen to music, but at least you’ll be surrounded by greenery.
If you’re hungry, head to Sunshine City in Ikebukuro and grab a bite to eat at the Okinawa Mensore Festa. And if you’re in the mood for a movie, check out the awesome ShortShorts Film Festival in Omotesando. You can watch around 200 films, from countries all over the world (Poland, Mexico, France – to name a few), for free. You just need to reserve your seats online.