As far as once-a-year cultural events are concerned, we’ve got two biggies going down this weekend: the first being the Lantern Festival in Yokohama’s Chinatown at the Ma Zhu Miao Shrine. This Thursday, March 5th, why not participate in the age-old tradition of ringing in the lunar New Year with a display of stunning lit-up paper lanterns, each with a unique wish for the year ahead that get sent up into the heavens. Anyone who wants to update their Facebook cover photo should definitely attend and bring a good camera.
On Sunday, March 8th will be the event of the weekend: the Mt.Takao Fire-Walking Festival. The festival is exactly what it sounds like: Buddhist monks walk (barefoot!) over sacred fire as an act of purification and cleansing. They also wish for good health, world peace and a bunch of other good stuff as they chant Buddhist prayers. If you want to check out the action or are crazy brave enough to try it yourself, you should head to Mt. Takao between 1–5 pm.
These first two events are so highly recommended, they made our 5 Events Not to Miss this Spring list. So, really, do not miss them!
And for the really dedicated cheapo, we dare you to do as many things from our 101 free and cheap things to do in Tokyo list. Why not start with #4 and visit the Parasitological Museum, which is completely free, as well as being the only such museum in the world! (Disclaimer: they’ve got some pretty icky stuff there, so it’s not for the easily creeped out.)
Or how about check out #35, a visit to one of Tokyo’s largest and most undervalued park: Show Kinnen Park. Be assured it’s no dinky park, there’s a large area for picnics and sports-playing; a jungle gym for little ones; beautifully landscaped trees and gardens; a waterfall; and in some areas a bit of an Alice in Wonderland quality. For only a few hundred yen you can take the kids, take some friends, or just take a book and enjoy the scenery. There’s usually something blooming all year round so you’ll never waste a trip there.
Whichever ones you choose to do, let us know how many you got up to this weekend. Ready, set, GO!
Harajuku, the home of fashion, cuteness, crepes and more crepes, here's a guide to some fun free things to do.