Around 300,000 people flock to Yasukuni Shrine during its annual Mitama Matsuri, one of Tokyo
‘s biggest Obon festivals. First held in 1947, the festival is best known for the 30,000 lanterns that light the way to the shrine each evening – so don’t forget your camera. Given that the event is intended to honour the dead, some visitors might be surprised to discover that the attractions include a popular obake yashiki
haunted house; there are also mikoshi
parades, concerts and traditional dance performances held over the four days.
Open July 13-16
Venue Yasukuni Shrine
Address 3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Transport Kudanshita Station (Hanzomon, Shinjuku, Tozai lines), exits 1, 3 or Ichigaya Station (Chuo, Nanboku, Shinjuku, Sobu, Yurakucho lines), exits A3, A4
Tokyo Bay Noryosen 2013
The capital’s very own booze cruise departs from Takeshiba Terminal at 7.15pm every night throughout the summer (weather permitting), and does a lap of the bay while serving up all-you-can-drink beer, wine and cocktails. The tackiness of the setting is compounded by touches like the yukata (light kimono) dance performance, and you can get ¥1,000 off the price from Monday to Thursday if you go in a yukata yourself.
Open July 1-September 23
Time Departs 7.15pm, returns 9pm
Admission ¥2,500 (¥1,000 yukata discount Mon-Thu)
Venue Takeshiba Ferry Terminal
Address 1-16-3 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Transport Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome Line), Hamamatsucho Station (Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku lines)
World Press Photo 2013
A panel of judges sifted through submissions from 5,666 photojournalists in 124 different countries to select the winners of this year’s World Press Photo Contest, whose work goes on display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography over the summer. Not surprisingly, many of the biggest news stories of 2012 feature in the selection: Sweden’s Paul Hansen scooped the top prize for his striking (if controversial
) shot of a funeral procession in Gaza, while other photos depict the Syrian uprising, border wars in Sudan and gang warfare in Central America. But it isn’t all
harrowing – the competition also showcases images from the fields of sport (including the London Olympics), nature, arts and entertainment and daily life.
Open June 8-August 4 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a national holiday)
Time Tue-Sun 10-6pm (Thu, Fri until 8pm)
Admission Adults ¥700, university students ¥600, high school/junior high students and over 65s ¥400
Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
Address Ebisu Garden Place, 1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Transport Ebisu station (Yamanote line), east exit; (Hibiya line), exit 1.
Jazz Art Sengawa 2013
The alternative to Tokyo Jazz Festival is both far less commercially minded and rather more predictable in its booking choices. The same musicians tend to pop up at every installment of Jazz Art Sengawa, most of them plucked from the orbits of the event’s three main organisers: Hikashu leader Koichi Makigami
, cellist Hiromichi Sakamoto and bassist Kiyoshi Fujiwara. Highlights this year include outlandish free-jazz-vaudeville outfit Hihokan, a duo between bassist Kiyoto Fujiwara and volatile psych musician Keiji Haino, and – of course – the climactic performance of John Zorn’s ‘Cobra’, conducted by Makigami himself. The main concerts are supplemented by gigs at the nearby Jenny’s Kitchen and Kick Back Cafe, though note that these must be paid for separately.
Open July 19-21
Time Performance times vary
Admission One day ¥3,000 adv (July 19)/¥5,000 adv (July 20, 21); single concert tickets ¥2,500 on the door
Venue Sengawa Theater
Address 1-21-5 Sengawacho, Chofu, Tokyo
Transport Sengawa Station (Keio line)
Picasso: Love and Art in Prints
Never mind that he was among the most influential artists of the 20th century: Parco Museum seems far more interested in the romantic exploits of Pablo Picasso in this summer show. As the title suggests, this trawl through Picasso’s woodblock prints (which number roughly 2,000 in total) picks out works that focus on male-female relations, including the notorious womaniser’s many portraits of the fairer sex.
Open July 19-August 19
Time Daily 10am-9pm (Aug 19 until 6pm)
Admission Adults ¥500, students ¥400, elementary and under free
Venue Parco Museum
Address Parco Part 1 3F, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)
Bacardi Midpark Cafe (2013)
If beer gardens
aren’t your thing, head to the lawns outside Tokyo Midtown to sip mojitos instead, at this summer-only outdoor cafe sponsored by Bacardi. There’s seating for 150 people, and a menu of drinks including frozen mojitos and Japan originals that change every week – plus a selection of food to soak up all that alcohol.
Open July 19-September 1
Time Mon-Fri 5pm-10pm (Aug 12-16 from 3pm), Sat, Sun & hols 3pm-10pm
Venue Tokyo Midtown
Address 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Transport Roppongi Station (Oedo line), exit 8/(Hibiya Line), exit 8 via underground passageway near exit 4a; Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda line), exit 3
Creative Departures feat Tokimonsta
Though she was always one of the more pop-savvy acts on the roster of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, it still came as a surprise when Jennifer ‘Tokimonsta’ Lee revealed that she’d signed to Ultra Music, home to the likes of Steve Aoki and Calvin Harris. While new album Half Shadowsretains some of the dreamy ambience of her earlier work, there’s a sharper focus this time, with harder, crunk-influenced beats and guests including cult rapper Kool Keith. Having shared a tour bus with Skrillex and Diplo, Lee should be on confident form when she plays at Air, with live painting from fellow LA resident George Thompson.
Open July 19
Time Doors 10pm
Admission ¥3,500 on the door; ¥3,000 with flyer
Address Hikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).
MOOV 16th Anniversary feat Tom Middleton
Aoyama’s recently opened 0 Zero seems to be staking its spot as the go-to destination for clubbers with extremely long memories. UK scene stalwart Tom Middleton hasn’t quite got the pedigree of previous visitors such as John Morales, but he has an impressive resumé all the same – Global Communication and Jedi Knights, to name but two – and the kind of ravenously eclectic taste that’s likely to appeal most to seasoned dancefloor warriors. Expect to hear a wide range of house, techno and chill-out in the course of his DJ set, which he’ll be supplementing with a live performance with local flutist Eliko Flight.
Open July 19
Time Doors 10pm
Admission ¥2,500 on the door; ¥2,000 with flyer
Venue 0 Zero
Address B1F, 2-9-13 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)
Brazilian Day Japan (2013)
Formerly held at the beginning of September, Yoyogi Park’s annual Brazilian festival now takes place at the height of the summer – just to ensure maximum sweatiness, we presume. Expect big crowds, exposed midriffs and plenty of hip-shaking, all fuelled by generous quantities of churrasco barbecue and caipirinha. The stage performances include capoeira, drumming and appearances by the likes of Anotonio Inoki and Ruy Ramos, culminating in a Sunday headlining set by 22-year-oldsertanejo universitário singer Luan Santana, a legitimately huge star in his native country.
Open July 20-21
Venue Yoyogi Park
Address 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizounocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda line), Yoyogi-Hachiman station (Odakyu line)
HandMade In Japan Fes’ 2013
Over 2,000 creative types from around the country will be converging on Tokyo Big Sight for this two-day festival of handicrafts. Most of the action is focused on market stalls (645 at the last count), though there’ll also be workshops, live painting and music from a few well-known acts including reggae-tinged pop trio Bonobos and electronica doyen De De Mouse.
Open July 20-21
Admission 1 day: ¥1,000 on the door, ¥800 adv; 2 days: ¥1,800 on the door, ¥1,500 adv
Venue Tokyo Big Sight
Address 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto, Tokyo
Transport Kokusaitenjijo Station (JR Rinkai Line) or Kokusai-tenjijo-seimon station (Yurikamome Line)
Disney on Ice (2013)
Featuring all your favourite Disney characters hurtling around on ice skates to the sound of your favourite Disney show tunes, this annual spectacular is a regular fixture on the summer holiday calendar in Tokyo. Naturally, Disney on Ice is mostly for the fans, though there’s enough of a circus aspect to the event to mean that casual bystanders probably won’t get bored.
Open July 20-24
Time July 20, 21: performances at 10.30am, 2pm, 5.30pm; July 22: performances at 1pm, 4.30pm; July 24: performances at 11am, 2.30pm, 6pm
Admission Adults: S ¥5,800, A ¥3,900; children: S ¥4,800, A ¥2,900
Venue Yoyogi National Gymnasium
Address 2-1-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines)
Bolshoi Circus in Tokyo (2013)
Some 8,000 people and over 3,000 animals contribute to the spectacle that’s known as the Bolshoi Circus. The greatest show in the world – well, one of them, at least – has been coming to Japan since 1958, and while it’s lost some ground to the slick antics of the Cirque du Soleil, it still retains a certain old-school charm. After all, it’s not like the Cirque has bears, is it?
Open July 20-28
Time Performances from 10:30am, 2pm & 5pm (except July 24, 28)
Admission Arena seat ¥6,000, S ¥5,500, A ¥4,500, unreserved ¥3,500
Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium
Address 1-17-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station (Oedo line), exit A4 or Sendagaya Station (Chuo line)
Daido Moriyama 1965~
That great documenter of Japan’s post-war urban wildlife, photographer Daido Moriyama was recently the subject of a major show at London’s Tate Modern that paired him with American cohort William Klein. Neophytes and dedicated fans are both likely to appreciate this exhibition at the bayside Gallery 916, in which museum co-curator Yoshihiko Ueda (a highly regarded photographer himself) selects 70 key images from Moriyama’s vast catalogue, ranging from 1965 to the present.
Open June 1-July 20 Closed Sun, Mon
Time Tue-Sat 11am-8pm (Sat & hols until 6.30pm)
Venue Gallery 916
Address 6F No. 3 Suzue Bldg, 1-14-24 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Transport Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome line), Daimon Station (Oedo line)
La Méditerranée dans les Collections du Louvre
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is borrowing over 200 works from the collection of the Louvre for its summer show, an exhibition covering four millennia of Mediterranean history. The pieces on display include the 1st century AD Roman statue ‘Diana of Gabies’, which is being shown in Japan for the first time.
Open July 20-September 23 Closed Mon (except Sep 16, 23), Sep 17
Time Tue-Sun 9.30am-5.30pm (Fri until 8pm)
Admission Adults ¥1,500, students ¥1,300, over 65s ¥1,000, high school students ¥800
Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Address 8-36 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Transport Ueno Station (Yamanote line), park exit; (Ginza, Hibiya lines), Shinobazu exit
Rural 2013 After Party
The official after party for last weekend’s Rural 2013 techno fest in Yamanashi Prefecture features some of the acts who played at the event, including resident DJ Atsushi Maeda, Sardinia-born producer and electroacoustic experimenter Claudio PRC, and an as-yet-unannounced special guest. There’s a ¥1,000 discount on the door for people still wearing their Rural wristbands – and we’re sure there’ll be a few of those.
Open July 20
Time Doors 11pm
Admission ¥2,500 on the door; ¥1,500 with Rural wristband
Address B1F, 1-11-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), east exit
There’s no need to stop partying when the Brazilian Day fest in Yoyogi Park wraps up on Saturday evening. If you haven’t overindulged on caipirinhas, head to Shibuya’s Grande for a Mardis Gras-style all-nighter, complete with samba dancers, drag queens and DJs spinning carnaval-spliced electro. There’s limited space, so book online to avoid disappointment.
Open July 20
Time Doors 11pm
Admission ¥3,500 on the door (subject to availability); ¥2,500 adv, ¥1,500 early bird
Venue Grande Shibuya
Address B1/B2F Humax Pavilion Shibuya Koendori Bldg, 20-15 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), Hachiko exit
Art Aquarium 2013
Self-proclaimed ‘art aquarium producer’ Hidetomo Kimura deploys a range of lighting tricks and traditional Japanese motifs – not to mention thousands of live kingyo goldfish – in this annual summer exhibition in Nihombashi. During the daytime, visitors can contemplate high-concept displays like the ‘Kaleidorium’, which uses kaleidoscope-esque visuals, and the 8m-long ‘Four Seasons Aquarium’, where projection mapping recreates a traditional Japanese garden vista. Come evening, it switches into ‘Night Aquarium’ mode, complete with a menu of cocktails and DJs and live music on Saturdays.
Open July 12-September 23
Time Art Aquarium 11am-7pm, Night Aquarium 7pm-11.30pm
Admission Adults ¥1,000, elementary school and under ¥600
Venue Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall
Address 5F Coredo Muromachi, 2-2-1 Nihombashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Transport Mitsukoshimae Station (Ginza, Hanzomon line)