As summer draws to a close, so does the seasonal festival frenzy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t traditional Japanese festivals to check out in September—there are a number of them to catch. But for our roundup of must-attend Tokyo events in the coming weeks, we’re featuring five with more of a modern feel.
1. Tokyo Jazz Festival (Sept. 1-3)
Where: Around Exit 13 of Shibuya Station; NHK Hall; and Yoyogi Park’s Keyaki Street (Access: Harajuku or Meiji-jingumae Station)
Time: From 4:00 pm on Sept. 1; From 10:00 am on Sept. 2; From 11:30 am on Sept. 3
Admission: Free for street performances; tickets required for NHK Hall performances
Featuring big names such as Ron Carter and Dave Weckl, as well as up-and-coming musicians from here and abroad, the Tokyo Jazz Festival is a must if you’re even remotely interested in this type of music. Aiming for the Festival (now in its 16th iteration) to become a city-wide event, and hoping to make the music more accessible to people of all ages and walks of life, the organizers have moved it to Shibuya this year. While some shows require admission fees, cheapos can enjoy free street performances along Keyaki Street and around Exit 13 of Shibuya Station.
2. Hibiya Oktoberfest 2017 (Sept. 1-10)
Where: Hibiya Park Fountain Square (Access: Hibiya Station)
Time: 4:00 pm-10:00 pm on weekdays; 11:00 am-10:00 pm on weekends
Attention, beer lovers: head to Hibiya Park for an early Oktoberfest! You can take in the lively atmosphere and enjoy Japanese and German beer, sausages and other German food, and live music. Note that last orders will be taken at 9:30 pm, and that you have to pay a refundable deposit of 1,000 yen for beer glasses.
3. Tahiti Festa (Sept. 16-18)
Where: Palette Plaza/Megaweb area, Venus Fort (Access: Tokyo Teleport Station)
Time: From 11:00 am
Events celebrating foreign cuisines and cultures are regularly held in Tokyo, especially at Yoyogi Park, but here’s one that’s being hosted someplace different. Featuring Tahitian music, dance, handicrafts, food, and drinks (including booze, of course), this Tahiti Festa is a chance to get acquainted with the sunny Polynesian island. Tahitian culture isn’t that well-known in Tokyo, so go down and show it some love.
4. Tokyo Game Show (Sept. 21-24; Public days Sept. 23-24)
Where: Makuhari Messe (Access: Kaihimmakuhari Station)
Time: 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Admission: 1,000 yen (advanced), 1,200 yen (at the gate), free for children of elementary school age and younger
Japan’s largest gaming event (and one of the major entries on the global gaming calendar) continues to grow in scale (and number of visitors) each year, so be sure to arrive early to make the most of the day. Participating in the Tokyo Game Show are not only the who’s who of the gaming industry, but also rising talent such as indie developers from all over the world. Be prepared for long, long lines as exhibitors offer test-plays of upcoming games, release event-exclusive merchandise, and more.
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The stage events (most, if not all, of which will, unfortunately for non-Japanese speakers, be in Japanese) are also worth paying attention to, as some may involve announcements such as new games, much-awaited sequels, release dates, and more. Lastly, further livening up the event are the cosplayers. (If you want to cosplay, you’re more than welcome to do so for a fee of 1,000 yen—see the guidelines here.)
5. Tourism Japan Expo 2017 (Sept. 21-24; Public days Sept. 23-24)
Where: Tokyo Big Sight Halls 1-6 (Access: Kokusai-tenjijo or Kokusai-tenjijo-seimon Station)
Time: 10:00 am-6:00 pm (until 5:00 pm on Sept. 24)
Admission: (Per day) Advanced purchase – 1,100 yen (adults); 600 yen (children) | At the gate – 1,300 yen (adults); 700 yen (children)
Have you been bitten by the travel bug? Then Tourism Japan Expo 2017 is the event for you! Despite its name, the event is not just about tourism, as some booths are geared towards different kinds of travel—exchange programs, international volunteering, and more. “But I’m a tourist visiting Tokyo, why would this interest me?” you ask. This event will give you an idea of what each of Japan’s prefectures have to offer. You can sample local delicacies, buy or get freebies of regional specialties, and see some special performances.
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