Those of you who have decided to avoid the crowds by not traveling anywhere this Golden Week, let us be the ones to tell you that you’ve probably made the right choice, for there are plenty of golden opportunities to enjoy the long break in and around Tokyo as well! This week we’ve put the best of what’s happening in the city from April 28 until May 8, the last day of the Golden Week. There will be a flower festival, open-air Jazz event, a colorful exhibition, beer gatherings, organic and yoga events, traditional performances at Meiji Shrine, Mexico celebrations and two fun shows at Tokyo Tower for the young ones. May you all have a fabulous Golden Week with well deserved rest and lots of fun!
Jazz Auditoria 2016
Celebrate International Jazz Day with a three-day free concert in Chiyoda Ward. Organized by Blue Note Tokyo, the festival features some of Japan’s leading jazz acts including the Blue Note Tokyo All-Star Jazz Orchestra directed by Eric Miyashiro, the Yota Miyazato Quartet, and the Meiji University Big Sounds Society Orchestra. The fifth International Jazz Day on April 30 is a good fit for Japan, one of the world’s most important grounds for jazz and home to numerous expatriate jazz artists.
When: Now through Sat, Apr. 30, 2016, various times (see here for more information)
Where: Waterras Tower, 2-101 Kanda-awajicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
How much: Free!
Mika Ninagawa: Fashion Exclusive Photo Exhibition
Known for her bold use of vibrant colors and photographs of flowers and landscapes, Mika Ninagawa has been at the frontline of Japan’s fashion, photography and design scenes for years, with projects varying from Shinkansen decorations to photo collections of famous Japanese stars, and even film directing. This spring she has decorated Omotesando Hills’ walls with some of her newest photo projects for a colorful exhibition that is sure to excite fashion and photography lovers. Stop by if you happen to be near Harajuku or Omotesando—it’s definitely worth it!
When: Now through Sun, May 8, 2016, 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Where: Space O, B3F Omotesando Hills, 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
How much: Free!
Premium Malt’s Beer Festival
Though we still have to wait a few more months for the heat of summer, beer festivals are gradually taking over Tokyo’s scene, starting from Suntory Beer’s annual Premium Malt’s Festival. Here you’ll find various kinds of the brand’s trademark brews, including limited options for ¥100 beer stands, and even a posh indoor bar just in case it rains!
When: Now through Sun, May 8, 2016, 5–10 p.m. on weekdays, 1–10 p.m. on week and holidays Where: Roppongi Hills, 6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo How much: Free! (drinks and food charged separately)
Organic Life Tokyo
Participate in one of the biggest annual natural and organic-themed events in the capital, featuring yoga events with nearly 80 instructors teaching classes over a three-day period. On the agenda are also an onsite farmers market, a chance to sample craft beer and organic wines, and stalls selling ethical clothing and spices. This is a great event to enjoy meeting like-minded yogis and check out new natural and organic products.
When: Fri, Apr. 29–Sun, May 1, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: 3331 Arts Chiyoda, 6-11-14 Soto Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
How much: Free! (Charges apply for certain activities; see the official website for more details.)
Meiji Shrine Grand Spring Festival
One of the largest shrine festivals in the capital, the Meiji Shrine Grand Spring Festival offers plenty of opportunities to experience traditional Japanese culture. There will be several important Shinto ceremonies, including sacred dances, prayer offerings, performing arts such as Bugaku (ancient imperial court music), Hogaku and Hobu (classical Japanese dance), and Noh and Kyogen (classical Japanese theater).
When: Fri, Apr. 29–Tues, May 3, 2016, various times. For more information, see here.
Where: Meiji Jingu Shrine, 1-1 Yoyogi-kamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
How much: Free!
One Piece Live Attraction 2
Hugely popular with fans, though easily enjoyable for newbies as well, Tokyo Tower’s newly revamped version of its famous One Piece live show attraction is a powerful stage performance featuring dancing, singing and acting by live actors playing the roles of the famous manga crew with the characters’ real voices. It’s a 20-minute-long roller coaster of entertainment for both kids and adults! The new version is more powerful that the first, featuring new stage effects, projection mapping, magic, ghosts, and even some new faces.
When: Daily, various times. For more information, see here.
Where: 5F Tokyo Tower, 4-2-9 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
How much: ¥3,200 (day tickets); ¥3,000 if purchased in advance at Seven-Eleven convenience stores or online.
Alice in Science World
A century and a half after it was created, Alice in Wonderland’s story is being taken to a whole new level with this unique Tokyo Tower event, launched just in time for Golden Week. Watch the White Rabbit jump from the screen right in front of you in a 3D theater, enjoy some 3D art, have some delicious snacks, and enjoy many more cool surprises! An event promising to teach kids that science can be fun and that Alice and her crew are still as popular as they were among previous generations.
When: Now through Sun, May 8, 2016, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Where: Tokyo Tower Hall, B1F Foot Town, 4-2-9 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
How much: ¥900 (adults); ¥500 (children older than age three); free for toddlers under age three
Showa Kinen Park Flower Festival
Located just 30 minutes from central Tokyo, Tachikawa’s Showa Memorial Park is a heaven for family outings, for it offers a wide array of activities to choose from, including flower viewing, picnicking, playing sports, barbecuing, water play, or just enjoying a walk amid the park’s gorgeous scenery. Currently the park is hosting its annual Flower Festival, which includes hundreds of hectares of beautiful tulips and other spring flowers of all colors and kinds. To celebrate Children’s Day, the park will also be launching its annual Koinobori Spring Festival on May 1. A perfect venue to get away from the crowds of Tokyo and enjoy a day in the park!
When: Now through Sun, May 22, 2016, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: 3173 Midori-cho, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo (closest station: Nishi Tachikawa)
How much: ¥410 (adults), ¥80 (elementary and junior high school students)
Cinco de Mayo Festival 2016
Get in a groovy Latin mood, loosen up and come join Mexico’s largest national holiday through a series of fun events, including mariachi bands, rockabillies, tequila bars, Tex-Mex food stands, and more. Previously held at Yoyogi Park, this year the festival moves to Odaiba for even more fun!
When: Tue, May 3 to Thu, May 5, 2016, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Where: Odaiba-Aomi Event Zone J, Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo (right if front of Aomi station)
How much: ¥500 for advance tickets; ¥800 on the day. Purchase advance tickets online.