Asakusa Tori-no-Ichi Fair I (Nov 11): Held at Otori Shrine in Asakusa since the Edo period, this colorful festival falls on rooster days (according to the Chinese calendar) and provides good luck, good health and good wealth blessings. Pick up an ornamental rake (representing good luck and prosperity) or just walk around and enjoy the colorful atmosphere. Should you get hungry, there will be food stalls serving up traditional Japanese street food.
Cheese Festa (Nov 11-12): It’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s a two-day cheese-tasting festival in Ebisu that coincides with World Cheese Day on Nov 11. The festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and will include cheese and wine tasting, cheese-related cooking classes, “talk shows” and more.
Snow Bank Pay It Forward (Nov 12-13): Ready for some snow at Yoyogi Park? A slope made of real snow and a rail will be set up in the event square where you can snowboard. From last year’s photos, though, it seems like sledding is acceptable as well. There will also be food, music, a trampoline(!) and skateboarding ramps if you’re just not ready for snow to be in your life yet. This event is partnered with Red Cross to raise awareness about becoming a bone marrow donor, hence the “Pay It Forward” part of the event name.
Museum of Western Art – Free Admission Day (Nov 13): This Saturday, check out the extensive collection at the Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park—an activity that which would normally cost you 430 yen. Works includes paintings from the late medieval period through to the 20th century and modern French sculpture. Artists include Ruebens, Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock and many more.
Winter “Cherry Blossom” Illuminations (until Jan 15): Got the winter blues? See this pretty-in-pink cherry tree light-up at Ueno Park—reminiscent of springtime!
Tokyo Dome Winter Illumination (Nov 10-Feb 19): Tokyo Dome—one of the wintertime heavy-hitters when it comes to illuminations—is celebrating 150 years of Japan-Italy relations with its all-Italian-inspired light-up installation. Travel from Venice to Rome to Pisa all in one go! (For other illumination events starting this week, read our guide here.)
Chrysanthemum festivals (various dates): Chrysanthemums are popular autumn flowers that get a whole lot of love in Japan. Tokyo has several festivals dotted around the city dedicated to these pretty, petal-y puffs. See our guide to autumn flowers (linked above) for more details.
Harajuku, the home of fashion, cuteness, crepes and more crepes, here's a guide to some fun free things to do.