Iruma Air Show (Nov 3): November 3rd being Culture Day in Japan, the Iruma Air Base opens its gates to the public and puts on an air show that’s sure to delight. Spectators, watch for the parachute drop and the Blue Impulse JASDF aerobatic demonstration team highlights.
Yabusame at Meiji Jingu Shrine (Nov 3): Another one for Culture Day is this festival showcasing yabusame—the traditional Japanese martial art of horseback archery. See it in all its impressiveness against a Meiji Shrine backdrop.
Culture Day – Museum and Art Free Admission (November 3): Free admission to some of the major museums and art galleries is just one more Culture Day perk for you cheapos. View our guide (linked above) for which ones will let you in for zero yen.
Dream Yosacoy Festival (Nov 4-6): A dance-off like you’ve never seen before, this weekend is host to the Dream Yosacoy Festival in Odaiba—comprised of 7,000 dancers, 100 teams and 500,000 spectators. Yosakoi (how it’s really spelled) is one of the more flexible Japanese dance forms with teams incorporating contemporary fashion, hairstyles, costumes and dance moves into the traditional art form.
Suginami Festa (Nov 5-6): A large family-oriented community festival held at Suginami Kuritsu Momoiharappa Park. Organizers claim there will be over 140 stalls selling food and crafts. There will also be a stage with “character shows” from Pretty Cure and Kamen Rider along with various games and sports to try out.
Masako Whitehouse Art Exhibition (Nov 1-6): New art exhibition by Masako Whitehouse at the Musashiya Gallery. The artist calls on a range of senses—observe, listen and feel—to prepare for each work of art and knows when a piece is done once it “feels right.” There is a backstory behind every painting, so if you’re curious, the artist will be at the gallery every day to answer any questions (in Japanese or English).
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.
Last weekend to catch:
Kanda Used Book Festival (Oct 28-Nov 6): One of the biggest events of its kind, word nerds might just go gaga for the stacks and stacks of used/antique/rare books along Yasukuni Dori in the Jimbocho district of Kanda.
Tokyo Ramen Show (Oct 27-Nov 6): Want to complement the cooling weather with a hearty bowl of ramen? Look no further than the Tokyo Ramen Show held in Komazawa Olympic Park. Bowls ring in at 850 yen—yum!
Design Touch 2016 (Oct 14-Nov 6): Tokyo Midtown is once again holding Design Touch. The main feature is the interactive art installation in the Grass Square, but there is plenty additional art, goods, flower exhibitions and more in the vicinity—and it’s all free.
Koganecho Bazaar (Oct 1-Nov 6): A must-see for art lovers of any kind, Koganecho Bazaar features artists from across the world and Japan, with sculpting to photography and everything in-between. The bazaar is held in Yokohama, and focuses on every day life and community collaboration. Originally held to celebrate the revitalization of the area after it was cleared of hundreds of prostitution houses, the event has developed to use the city streets, reclaimed houses and specially built studio buildings to display artwork, hold talks and allow the public to explore the work of the artists. (Closed Mondays)