Tons of goodies on this weekend! Take your pick from a slew of cultural events this weekend.

Tokyo Edo Week (Sep 22-25): A foreigner-friendly festival boasting old-fashioned crafts, sweet and savory Japanese food, and events to learn about kimono. The aim of the event is to share Japan’s traditional aesthetics and values, and to make the people who visit feel as though they have traveled in time to the Edo period.

Tokyo Cheapo Downtown Drinks (Sep 23): End off your week with some drinks and hangs with your fav frugal fam on the Seibu Ikebukuro rooftop. Whether you’re a lifer, just passing through, or a spy on a mission, all are welcome to join!

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Kyushu Shochu Night: A shochu-themed night where you can sample 12 different Kyushu-hailing varieties. Plus, you’ll get to meet the makers, hear lectures from shochu scholars, participate in quizzes and win prizes.

Ohara Naked Festival (Sep 23-24): Well, almost naked. A parade of men in loin cloths will walk the streets of Ohara carrying mikoshi (portable shrines) on their shoulders. The route leads to the sea where the shrines will be dunked before heading back to Ohara Shrine.

Surprise guests at the Ekoda Night Bazaar
Surprise guests at the Ekoda Night Bazaar | Photo by David Ishikawa

Ekoda Night Bazaar (Sep 24): This bazaar is a great way to spend your Saturday evening as it offers a medley of activities and fun. Take your pick from shopping market-style for local wares and vegetables; savoring Japanese street food and regional specialties; and winning prizes via an ink-stamp collecting rally. Bonus: this particular night will see a brass marching band hit the streets.

nikkan festival
Photo by Republic of Korea used under CC

Nikkan Festival (Sep 24-25): This is the annual Japan-South Korea Exchange festival held simultaneously in Tokyo and Seoul. Head down to Hibiya Park for two days of performances: from dancing to cheerleading to musical performances (traditional, K-POP, instrumental). Plus lots of tasty Korean cuisine offerings to be had.

Namaste India Festival (Sep 24-25): An Indian culture fest at Yoyogi Park with 32 different food and drink stalls, musical and dance performances, lectures and other displays.  There are scheduled performances all day on both Saturday and Sunday.

Shinagawa Shukuba Matsuri
Shinagawa Shukuba Matsuri | Photo by Coal Miki used under CC

Shinagawa Shukuba Matsuri (Sep 24-25): Historically, Shinagawa was the first rest stop between Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo period. Calling back to those times, locals dress up (pretending to be samurai, geisha, courtesans and other historical characters) and parade the streets tracing a section of the old route.

Roppongi Matsuri (Sep 24-25): A small, local festival in the Roppongi area focused around Tenso Shrine. The portable shrines are taken out for a spin around the neighborhood on Sunday at 12:30pm.

Fukuro Festival – Part 1 (Sep 24-25):This is Ikebukuro’s biggest festival. Taking place just outside the west exit of Ikebukuro Station will be tons of performances including cheerleading, hula, musical performances, tribal and belly dancing, taiko drums, yosakoi dance teams and an impressive shrine parade. Something for everyone! (And be sure to head back in October for part 2 of the festival.)

Photo by Chris Kirkland

Red Spider Lily Festival 2016 (Sep 17-Oct 2): One of the more impressive flower festivals, the Red Spider Lily blankets the Kinchakuda fields in Hidaka, Saitama (just a short jaunt outside of Tokyo).

Suggested Activity
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Belgian Beer Festival 2016 (Sep 16-25): Last weekend for the Belgian Beer Fest. And while on the surface it might not seem like a cheap event (3,100 yen for 3 super strength Belgian beers, a very fancy beer glass and lots of entertainment), it’s good value compared to the many Belgian beer bars around town. Roppongi Hills Arena is where it’s at.

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