Weekend trips

Ritual transfer of deity at Ise Grand Shrine

Ise grand shrine
Many Japanese were visiting the Ise Grand Shrine in central Japan on Wednesday, ahead of an important ritual that is closed to the public.

The event dates back 1300 years and involves the rebuilding of the shrine. All of the sacred wooden buildings at the site in Mie Prefecture are dismantled and built anew every 20 years.The event reaches a climax on Wednesday evening with the ritual transfer of the shrine’s deity to its new sanctuary. Worshippers prayed at the old sanctuary for the last time.

Shrine officials are preparing a special passage-way for the deity, lit with paper lanterns.

A group of 150 priests will make the transfer to the new building.

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Okinawa – a Shoppers’ Paradise

What’s on your shopping list?

Okinawa banner


In Okinawa, markets called “Machigwa” are filled with fresh and processed foods (including meat, fish and vegetables), clothing, and many other goods. These markets have a real Okinawan atmosphere. Okinawa also has the only tax-free mega store and outlet shopping complex in Japan. With its luxury brands and bargains, this paradise is sure to satisfy all shoppers.

fish marketFeel the power of Okinawa at its markets

Walking along inside the market (Machigwa), you will hear the cheerful voices of women exclaiming, “This is really tasty!” or “Get one of these as a souvenir!” These women, known as “Ammah”, stand in front of their small shops to call customers over to their stalls. Their bright smiles and cheerful voices combine to give power to the market.
The biggest and busiest Machigwa is “Makishi Public Market” in Naha. At first, you may be surprised by the sight of vividly colored tropical fish, and you may question whether they are edible, but in fact they are really tasty! Okinawan people say, “All parts of a pig can be eaten – except for their cries.” All types of pork are on sale here, from the head to the tail. If you buy foods on the first floor, you can ask for them to be cooked and served to you on the second floor, which is a great way of trying out the local dishes.

potsStreets full of Okinawa flavors

Every street in Okinawa has different kinds of shops. Many people walk along the main street of Naha, “Kokusai Street”, which is always busy and seems constantly to be in festival mode. The street extends for about 1.6km with many souvenir shops, traditional Ryukyu confectioners, Awamori shops and food stores, and the friendly shop assistants here will be happy to let you sample some delicious foods and drinks. There is an overwhelming variety of colorful, tropical goods on sale here, and you can find all kinds of Okinawan souvenirs.
There are more streets leading off Kokusai Street, and these also boast a variety of shops. “Tsuboya Yachimun Street” specializes in pottery (Yachimun means pottery in Okinawan dialect), with new pottery shops displaying the works of young potters in among the old potteries. Both traditional and modern works can be seen here. Other points of interest include shops specializing in “Shiisa”, which are ornaments of Okinawa’s protective god. You will definitely enjoy shopping and walking along the old town streets of Okinawa.

shoppingTax-free shop with world-famous luxury brands

DFS Galleria Okinawa” in Naha city center, Omoromachi, is Japan’s only duty-free mega store. The facility houses the only street-level shops in Japan where you can purchase foreign brand goods duty-free. The place attracts many tourists who stop by on a daily basis for shopping at prices with up to 30% savings after fully enjoying site-seeing around Okinawa. Upon making a purchase you will receive a receipt. You are required to present this receipt at the DFS pickup counter after baggage check at Naha Airport to receive the purchased goods. The DFS Galleria is connected to Omoromachi Station, 19 minutes from Naha Airport by monorail. The spacious food court in the store serves a variety of foods, including Okinawa dishes and cuisines from all over the world. In addition, there are big shopping centers and supermarkets in the surrounding Omoromachi area, so why not go shopping in the local area after enjoying some luxury brand shopping?

Okinawa outlet mallInternational shopping area

The town of Chatan is located in the middle of the main island of Okinawa. The town has many foreign residents and you will be able to hear different languages being spoken. “Mihama American Village” consists of a large-scale shopping mall, supermarkets, cinema complex and more. The weekend night market held in the nearby Hamby area attracts families and tourists with shops opened by locals and foreign residents alike. There is even room to bargain if something takes your fancy, so give it a try!
If you prefer shopping for reasonably-priced things, visit OKINAWA OUTLET MALL ASHIBINAA, a shopping area in Tomigusuku City. Here, quality goods and samples of famous brands newly introduced to Japan are sold at discounted outlet-level prices. Free shuttle bus services from Naha Airport make it easy to reach AHIBINAA.



health and beauty productsSpecialty beauty and health products
Okinawa’s specialty beauty and health products made locally from natural materials have been receiving a lot of attention. Many women now recognize “Ryukyu cosmetics” (Ryukyu is the name of the traditional Okinawa kingdom), which include facial masks and hair treatment goods made of “Kucha”, an ocean mud containing rich sea minerals. Locally produced skin lotions made with sugar cane, Shikuwasa (Citrus depressa) or Getto (galingale) are also popular as they are natural and gentle on the skin. “Washita Shop” sells Okinawan products and has a special section that contains a large selection of Ryukyu cosmetics.
Okinawa now has more than 30 salt producers, as it is surrounded by beautiful sea. Okinawan salt is a basic seasoning, rich in sea minerals and indispensable for healthy life. “Ma-suya”, on Kokusai Street, is a specialist shop offering some of the most unusual types of salt in Japan. They have 600 different kinds of salt products – not only Okinawan salt products, but also a large selection of salts of different origin, blended salts, and soaps and bath salts for beauty. Some shop assistants are able to serve in English and Chinese.


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Where to see all the famous movie sights in Kyoto

Kyoto, the city of samurai moviesIntroduction of Kyoto, a city associated with the master of classic Japanese cinema, Kenji Mizoguchi, and his movies, that even those who are new to Japanese cinema can enjoy


Kyoto is the Hollywood of samurai movies so to speak, with many temples and shrines in the city being used for shooting movies and having a studio for Japanese period dramas. Moreover, the city is noted in connection with Kenji Mizoguchi, one of the greatest movie directors in Japan, who influenced filmmakers of the world including Godard with his works such as “Ugetsu”. Nobuyoshi Nishida, a movie and book producer who has worked on collections of the works of Kenji Mizoguchi will introduce sites such as a theme park, movie locations, and a temple associated with Mizoguchi that is registered as a World Heritage site that can be enjoyed by any Japanese period drama fan.

golden templeSamurai movie Hollywood, packed with World Heritage Sites


Kyoto is one of the largest tourist spots in Japan, where many World Heritage Sites such as Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji temples are concentrated. In addition, the city has many sites for fans of Japanese period dramas, as it is the main shooting location for samurai movies.
In particular, the northern part of Ukyo-ku, the largest ward in western Kyoto City, is an area that Japanese period drama fans cannot miss. In addition to a period drama theme park where visitors can take a tour of a studio for period dramas and real movie sets, there is Myoshin-ji Temple, which is the main temple of approximately 3,400 Myoshin-ji branches of the Rinzai School of Zen Buddhism throughout Japan and often appears in Japanese period dramas. If you are a Japanese period drama fan, you might have seen the temple on a movie screen, as it is still used often as a location for filming swordfights or other scenes in samurai movies.
pagodetempleJapanese temple
Ninnaji Temple is also another World Heritage Site, located right by Omuro-Ninnaji Station on the Keifuku Railway Kitano Line, one stop after Myoshinji Station. Ninnaji Temple was favored by Director Kenji Mizoguchi, the master of classic Japanese cinema who won awards at the Venice Film Festival for three consecutive years for his works “The Life of Oharu“, “Ugetsu” and “Sansho the Bailiff”, which were highly praised by French New Wave directors including Jean-Luc Godard. Though the temple becomes crowded in spring as it is famous for beautiful cherry blossoms, it is fairly quiet in other seasons. There are many sights to see within the temple premises, including the Kon-do (Golden Hall), which is a National Treasure of Japan, Nio-mon Gate, located at the entrance, the vermilion-lacquered Chu-mon Gate, and a Five-Storied Pagoda, along with a garden that takes on a different look with each season.

Kenji Mizoguchi-directed film “The Cuckoo” (1927)

Kenji Mizoguchi-directed film “The Cuckoo” (1927)

Kenji Mizoguchi-directed film “The Cuckoo” (1927)Mizoguchi was especially fond of the area called “Omuro”, which includes Ninnaji Temple and its surrounding area. He lived in a rental house near Ninnaji Temple for a long time, and made his home in this area in his later years. He is known for a technique that captures more details including the surrounding ambience using long-takes, and influenced the Greek filmmaker Theodoros Angelopoulos, who directed “The Travelling Players”, which is one of the greatest masterpieces of global film history. Ninnaji Temple and its surrounding area are filled with the graceful atmosphere of Mizoguchi films.


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Festivals and Events for October 2013 in Japan

5-6 October 2013

Event: Oda Nobunaga Festival in Gifu
Location: Downtown Gifu City
Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price of Admission: Free

The festival honours the feats of Oda Nobunaga, a samurai warlord who used Gifu City as a base on his mission to unify Japan during the Warring States (Sengoku) period of Japan. It is a celebration of his contribution towards the construction of Gifu City and the legacy that he has left behind. The must see events are the memorial ceremony at Sofuku-ji Temple (Nobunaga’s family temple) and the samurai warrior parade down the main street.






Nagasaki Kunchi festival

7-9 October 2013

Event: Nagasaki Kunchi Festival
Location: Suwa Shrine Nagasaki
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

The Nagasaki Kunchi Festival is Nagasaki’s most famous festival and has been celebrated for close to 400 years now. The festival incorporates different aspects of both Chinese and Dutch culture, which have played an important part in the city’s history.




Takayama autumn festival

9-10 October 2013

Event: Takayama Autumn Festival
Location: Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine Takayama
Time: Times vary according to the event
Price of Admission: FREE

One of Japan’s greatest festivals, it is held twice a year in spring and autumn. The Takayama Autumn Festival is the annual festival for the Hachiman Shrine and is also referred to as the Hachiman Festival. The must see is the parade of elaborately decorated floats called yatai.


Health and sports day

14 October 2013

Event: Health and Sports Day
National Holiday

Health and Sports Day is a National Holiday in Japan that commemorates the opening of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. It is called “Taiku no Hi” in Japanese, and is a day to promote both sports and physical and mental health. A lot of schools in Japan hold their sports festivals on this day.







Jidai Matsuri

22 October 2013

Event: Jidai Matsuri
Location: Heian Jingu Shrine in Kyoto
Time: 12:00 pm departure
Price of Admission: FREE

The Jidai Matsuri or Festival of the Ages dates from 1895, and sees people dressed in costumes ranging from the 8th century (Heian Period) to the 19 century (Meiji Period), parade from Kyoto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) to Heian Jingu Shrine. It is one of Kyoto’s three most famous festivals.



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Where to go: Day trips and weekend breaks around Tokyo

Day trips and weekend breaks



If you only do three things…
The Inoh Tadataka Museum
Japan’s mapmaking pioneer acquired a taste for cartography after retiring from the family business in 1794, and created a map of the country’s coastline so detailed that it would remain in use for another century. This museum dedicated to Inoh’s life and work sits just across the river from his old house. Tue-Sun, 9am-4.30pm; closed Mon (except national holidays). Adults 500 yen, kids 250 yen. 1722-1 Sawarai, Katori, Chiba (0478 54 1118; www.city.katori.lg.jp/museum)

Gutter Bridge by TANAKA Juuyoh, on FlickrCanal trip
Sawara was once a thriving centre of commerce, and its old canal still survives today. Take a boat ride past the traditional buildings of Chiba’s ‘Little Edo’, and under the famed (though not particularly awe-inspiring) twelve bridges of Sawara. Daily, 10am-4.30pm (May-Sep). Adults 1,200 yen, kids 600 yen. Boats depart from outside Inoh Tadataka’s Former Residence (0478 55 9380; www.kimera-sawara.co.jp)

Sawara Municipal Aquatic Botanical Gardens
The 100-metre wisteria tunnel is at its peak in late April and early May, but that’s just a prelude for the Iris Festival that runs for a month from late May, with 1.5 million flowers in bloom. Daily, 9am-4.30pm. Adults 500 yen, kids 250 yen (during Iris Festival: adults 700 yen, kids 350 yen). Transport: Yodaura line bus from Sawara Station bound for Itako, getting off at Suisei Shokubutsuen-mae.

Where to eat
Koboriya Honten
It’s a tourist trap, sure, but it’s got pedigree: the original Koboriya opened 220 years ago, and its current home dates back to 1892. The house speciality is kurokiri soba, buckwheat noodles made with added seaweed that turns them squid-ink black (900 yen). 505 Sawarai, Katori, Chiba (0478 52 4128; http://koboriya.jp).

Where to stay
This homely ryokan compensates in price for what it lacks in elegance: full board costs a not-unreasonable 6,800 yen per person. 3839-1 Sawarai, Katori, Chiba (0478 55 2029; www.ichiransou.com)

How to get there
The trip by JR takes just under two hours from Tokyo Station, changing at Narita Station (1,620 yen).

Minamiboso Area

If you only do three things…
Shell fishing
The tidelands of the Boso Peninsula are prime territory for clamming, and at low tide hordes of parents and kids go ferreting in the mud for shellfish. There are a few spots around Kisarazu, Nakanoshima being the easiest to reach by train. Until Aug 3. Adults 1,400 yen (up to 2kg), kids 700 yen (up to 1kg). Nakanoshima, Kisarazu, Chiba (0438 23 4545; www.jf-kisarazu.jp). Transport: 20 mins walk from Kisarazu Station (JR Uchibo line)

Nokogiri Mountain by simimasa, on FlickrMount Nokogiri
This dramatic peak’s name literally translates as ‘Sawteeth Mountain’, a reference to the exposed outcrop at its top (the view from which is dubbed ‘jigoku nozoki’ – peeping into hell). It’s also home to a Buddha statue that dwarfs Kamakura’s in size, towering to 31 metres.Transport: Nokogiriyama Ropeway from Hamakanaya Station (JR Uchibo line). (Daily, 9am-5pm. Adults (12 and over) 900 yen round-trip, kids 450 yen. 0439 69 2314; www.mt-nokogiri.co.jp)

Mother Farm
A perennial family-pleaser since 1962, Mother Farm sprawls across 250 hectares of rolling countryside. The animal attractions include a sheepdog show, duck dash, and the chance to milk cows, though you can also stroll through fields of flowers – or go bungee jumping, if you’re so inclined. Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4.30pm; Sat-Sun and national holidays, 9am-5pm. Adults 1,500 yen, kids 800 yen. 940-3 Tagura, Futtsu, Chiba (0439 37 3211;www.motherfarm.co.jp/en). Transport: Shuttle bus from Kimitsu Station (JR Uchibo line); call 0439 37 3211 to reserve

Where to eat
Sushi no Kaede
You’ll have to reserve at least a day in advance if you want to snag one of the six counter seats, but if you’re looking for top-notch seafood, it’s worth it. Omakase sets start from 5,000 yen. Open by reservation only. 1-19-7 Gion, Kisazaru, Chiba (0438 98 5504; www.geocities.jp/sushi_kaede). Transport: Gion Station (Kururi line)

Where to stay
A popular option with group parties, the no-frills Futtsu Misakiso is housed within a park that stretches across a natural cape extending into Tokyo Bay. Full board starts from 6,900 yen per person. 2342-2 Futtsu, Futtsu, Chiba (0439 87 2611 www.tschiba.com/misaki). Transport: Nitto Bus for Futtsu Koen from Aohori Station (JR Uchibo line)

How to get there
The west coast of the Boso Peninsula is accessible by JR line from Tokyo via Chiba and Soga stations. The Tokyo-Wan Ferry runs once an hour between Kurihama, near Yokosuka (8-17-20 Kurihama, Yokosuka, Kanagawa), and Kanaya (4303 Kanaya, Futtsu, Chiba). Adults 700 yen one-way, kids 350 yen; cars from 2,300 yen one-way

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Things to do this week in Tokyo July 22nd- July 28th 2013

It Girl!!! Vol. 10

Mon Jul 22, 2013 Module
Nothing like a bit of pole dancing to get your week off to a proper start, eh? (No, you don’t have to answer that.) Tokyo‘s Grace A studio will be taking charge at Module in this monthly party, with head honcho Atsumi acting as MC for an evening of solo, duo and group pole performances.


Open July 22

Time Doors 7pm

Admission ¥2,500 on the door; ¥2,000 adv

Venue Module

Address M&I Bldg B1F-B2F, 34-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exits 3, 6.

Champagne Garden at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Mon Jul 22 – Sat Aug 31, 2013 Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo
Trust the Hotel Chinzano to supply a classier alternative to Tokyo’s beer garden booze-ups. The elegant Mejiro hideaway is putting its new rooftop Serenity Garden to good use for this summer-only promotion, where ¥5,000 gets you two hours of free-flowing Laurent-Perrier champagne – the same tipple served at Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding in 2011. The price also includes wine, beer and a selection of nibbles, though note that you’ll need to reserve by 6pm the day before in order to take advantage of the offer.


Open July 22-August 31

Time 1st session 3pm-5pm, 2nd session 5pm-7pm

Admission ¥5,000 per person

Telephone 03 3943 1111

Venue Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Address 2-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Transport Mejiro Station (Yamanote line), then 61 bus or Edogawabashi Station (Yurakucho line), exit 1A


Mon Jul 22, 2013 La Mama
Fresh from appearing at the weekend’s Jazz Art Sengawa festival, Swiss unit Superterz are taking their burbling stew of free jazz, improv and electronics on tour. The first date in their itinerary looks set to be a loud one: it features a guest appearance by Japanese noise overlord Merzbow. Catch them again later in the week with Hikashu’s Koichi Makigami.


Open July 22

Time Doors 7pm. Gig 7.30pm

Admission ¥3,500 on the door; ¥3,000 adv

Venue La Mama

Address B1F, 1-15-3 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Keio Inokashira lines)

David Murray Big Band featuring Macy Gray

Mon Jul 22 – Wed Jul 24, 2013 Blue Note Tokyo
One of the pivotal figures of contemporary American jazz, saxophonist David Murray combines the free jazz experiments of Ayler and Coltrane with a mainstream ear. Here he hooks up with sandpaper-voiced singer Macy Gray, who guested on the bandleader’s just-released Be My Monster Love album.


Open July 22-24

Time 1st show: Doors 5.30pm. Gig 7pm; 2nd show: Doors 8.45pm. Gig 9.30pm

Admission ¥8,400

Venue Blue Note Tokyo

Address Raika Bldg, 6-3-16 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Omotesando station (Chiyoda, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), exit B3.

Miran Fukuda

Tue Jul 23 – Sun Sep 29, 2013 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
A portrait of the Mona Lisa reclining on a sofa and a mirror image version of Hokusai’s ‘Great Wave’ are just two of the subverted masterpieces on show in Miran Fukuda’s solo exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. An adept stylist and mimic, Fukuda excels at these kinds of sly parodies, though she doesn’t shy away from tackling more serious themes: some of the pieces here – all of them dating from the 1990s onwards, and featuring 20 new works – deal with the aftermaths of 9/11 and the 2011 Tohoku disaster.


Open July 23-September 29 Closed Mon (except Sep 16, 23), Sep 17, 24

Time Tue-Sun 9.30am-5.30pm (Fri until 9pm)

Admission Adults ¥800, over 65s ¥500, students ¥400

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

Andy Warhol and Sunday B Morning

Tue Jul 23 – Sun Aug 4, 2013 Tabloid
If you can’t wait for the American Pop Art show at the National Art Center, Tokyo next month, the bayside Tabloid complex is hosting a warm-up exhibition that would do Andy Warhol proud. Those are his images adorning the walls, you see – but they’re also not. They’re actually credited to Sunday B Morning, the tag used for authorised reproductions of the great reproducer’s most famous work.


Open July 23-August 4 Closed Mon

Time Tue-Sun 11am-6pm (Aug 4 until 4pm)

Admission Free

Venue Tabloid

Address 2-6-24 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Hinode Station (Yurikamome line), Hamamatsucho Station (Yamanote line)

Kagurazaka Matsuri 2013

Wed Jul 24 – Sat Jul 27, 2013 Waseda-Dori and surrounding area, Kagurazaka
Usually one of Tokyo’s most refined neighbourhoods, Kagurazaka gets a little unruly each July, as hordes of yukata wearers and awaodori dancers flood the streets for four days of traditional festivities. On the first two evenings of the Kagurazaka Matsuri, you can pick up a Chinese lantern plant at the market in Bishamonten (Zenkokuji) temple, as well as join a guided tour of the area (which includes a free commemorative snap if you’re wearing a yukata). But the main action comes on Friday and Saturday evenings, when teams of dancers make their way along Waseda-Dori from Iidabashi and Kagurazaka stations, converging at the central crossing.


Open July 24-27

Time July 24, 25 5.30pm-10pm, July 26, 27 7pm-9pm

Venue Waseda-Dori and surrounding area, Kagurazaka

Radical Music Network 2013

Wed Jul 24, 2013 Club Asia
You can always count on this annual gig to snag some of the more world music-y acts playing at the weekend’s Fuji Rock Festival. This year’s Radical Music Network joins the dots between genre-mashing Basque rocker Fermin Muguruza, LA-based cumbia act Very Be Careful and veteran UK spinner DJ Scratchy. They’re supported by a reliable cast of local trouble-makers including Asakusa Jinta, Mitsukaze & Green Massive and Caribbean Dandy, and the music keeps rolling until dawn.


Open July 24

Time Doors 6.30pm. Gig 7pm (all night)

Admission ¥4,500 on the door; ¥4,000 adv

Venue Club Asia

Address 1-8 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exit 3A.

Shimbashi Koichi Festival (2013)

Thu Jul 25 – Fri Jul 26, 2013 Shimbashi SL Plaza
Shimbashi gets into the summer spirit at this two-day festival of dancing, boozing and taiko drumming. The highlight is the yukata (light kimono) beauty contest on Friday evening (6.30pm start), the winner of which stands to walk away with ¥200,000 and a four-night trip to Hawaii. There’ll be Bon Odori dancing both evenings, along with a range of food stalls and stage entertainment, and if you head to the fourth floor of the New Shinbashi Building you’ll find an evening beer garden that runs from 5pm to 9pm.


Open July 25-26

Time Noon-9pm

Venue Shimbashi SL Plaza

Address 2 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shimbashi Station (Tokaido, Keihin-Tohoku, Yamanote, Ginza, Asakusa, Yurikamome lines)

Fuji Rock Festival ’13

Fri Jul 26 – Sun Jul 28, 2013 Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture

With a Sunday night headlining set from Radiohead and three days of uninterrupted good weather, the 2012 edition of Fuji Rock ended up being our festival highlight of the year. Chances are that the weather won’t be as good when the event returns to Naeba, Niigata Prefecture in the final weekend of July – but the music might be. Nine Inch Nails, Bjork and The Cure have been confirmed as headliners, joined by EDM wunderkind Skrillex, stadium-folk sensations Mumford & Sons, The XX and acts ranging from Flying Lotus to Suzanne Vega. They’ve also snagged My Bloody Valentine, who were originally due to headline May’s abortive Tokyo Rocks fest. (Er… any chance we could get Blur, too?) Tickets are on general sale now (see ganban-frf.ocnk.net for details about overseas purchases); here’s the lineup so far:

Friday 26:
Nine Inch Nails, Skrillex, Morio Agata, Kenichi Asai & Bad Teacher Kill Club, Brahman, Bryan Burton-Lewis & Tadanobu Asano, Caribbean Dandy, Char, Chara x Yusuke Kobayashi x KenKen, Gary Clark Jr., Cro-Magnon, Death Grips, Dohatsuten, Flying Lotus, Fragment x Keikoto Band, Fun., The Gaslamp Killer, Gentlemans Pistols, Kaoru Inoue, DJ Izpon, Kemuri, Local Natives, My Bloody Valentine, DJ Nobu, Stefano Noferini, Of Monsters and Men, Peppertones, Phunk Investigation, Quattro, Radical Music Network, CJ Ramone, Rhye, Eddie Roberts’ West Coast Sounds, Porter Robinson, Route 17 Rock’n’Roll Orchestra, The Sea and Cake, Ron Sexsmith, DJ Shadow, Soil & “Pimp” Sessions, Sparks, Yabe Tadashi, Tame Impala, Tower of Power, Turtle Island, Yellowcard

Saturday 27:
Bjork, Karl Hyde, Jurassic 5, Priscilla Ahn, Baianasystem, Julio Bashmore, The Bawdies, Boys Noize (live), The Cherry Coke$, Coheed and Cambria, Maya Jane Coles, Darkstar, Adam Deitch (DJ set), Doberman, Mark Ernestus presents Jeri-Jeri, Feed Me, Foals, Garth Hudson, Hurts, Dr Ihara, Jack Beats (DJ set), Killswitch Engage, Kyte, Lama, Kendrick Lamar, Daniel Lanois, Kenta Maeno & Soaplanders, Aimee Mann, Mannish Boys, Modeselektor, Fermin Muguruza Kontrakantxa, Namba69, Mari Natsuki, Tom Odell, Tamio Okuda, Rocket from the Crypt, Ryukyudisko, DJ Scratchy, Raphael Sebbag, Skinny Lister, Steruss, Shugo Tokumaru, Suzanne Vega, Very Be Careful, Your Song is Good

Sunday 28:
The Cure, Vampire Weekend, The XX, Bauuer, Mulatu Astatke, Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Big Willie’s Burlesque presents Mambo Loco, Bo Ningen, Cat Power, Daughter, DIIV, Ego-Wrappin’ and the Gossip of Jaxx, Brinsley Forde, The Golden Wet Fingers, Goma & The Jungle Rhythm Section, Haim, The Hot 8 Brass Band, A Hundred Birds feat. Ten & Gebo, Takkyu Ishino, Jamie XX, Jazzanova, DJ Jim, Tokiko Kato & Theatre Brook, Fusanosuke Kondo & The 1968 Band, Daisuke Kuroda, Lettuce, Lite, Lotus, Mitsukaze & Green Massive, Muddy Apes, Mumford & Sons, Murasaki Baby Doll with JVC Force Trio, David Murray Big Band featuring Macy Gray, Tavito Nanao, Portugal, The Man, Savages, Shacho, Sheena & The Rokkets, Sotaisei Riron, Sugiurumn, Tahiti 80, The Telephones, Yosuke Tominaga, Toro Y Moi, Yo La Tengo


Open July 26-28

Time Doors 9am. Gig 11am

Admission 3 day ticket ¥42,800 adv, 1 day ticket ¥17,800

Venue Naeba Ski Resort, Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture

Tokyo 1st Foam Party

Fri Jul 26, 2013 Club Asia
Bikini-clad women wield foam cannons over the crowd while Block.fm’s Takeru John Otoguro and house scene stalwart DJ Yummy supply the tunes at Club Asia’s monthly bubble bonanza. Bring a change of clothes: this might get messy.


Open July 26

Time Doors 11pm

Admission ¥3,500 on the door; ¥2,500 adv

URL awapa.jp

Venue Club Asia

Address 1-8 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exit 3A.

Tokyo Idol Festival 2013

Sat Jul 27 – Sun Jul 28, 2013 Zepp Tokyo and other venues in Odaiba
Anyone who thought Japan’s infatuation with idol pop was just a passing fad need only look at the lineup for this two-day festival to realise how wrong they were. At the time of writing, there are 111 different groups lined up to take part in this year’s Tokyo Idol Festival, billed as the world’s largest event of its kind. The Fuji TV-created Idoling!!! (pictured) return for their fourth year, alongside a selection of acts you may have heard of (Bis, Negicco, Vanilla Beans) and a whole load you probably haven’t.


Open July 27-28

Time 10am-10pm

Admission One day ¥4,800 adv; two days ¥8,500 adv

Venue Zepp Tokyo and other venues in Odaiba

Address Palette Town 1F, 1 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo

Transport Aomi station (Yurikamome line) or Tokyo Teleport station (Rinkai line).

Sumida River Fireworks Festival (2013)

Sat Jul 27, 2013 Sumida Park Sumida River around Asakusa & Ryogoku
Japan’s oldest recorded fireworks festival dates back to 1733, when it was staged as part of a ceremony to pray for victims of a severe famine the previous year. Today, it’s by far the largest display in the capital – this year’s will involve a whopping 22,500 fireworks – and regularly draws close to a million spectators. Note that the event will be postponed until Sunday if the weather is poor.


Open July 27

Time 7.05pm-8.30pm

Venue Sumida Park Sumida River around Asakusa & Ryogoku

Address Mukojima, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Transport Asakusa Station (Toei, Tobu, Ginza lines)

Shinjuku Eisa Festival 2013

Sat Jul 27, 2013 Shinjuku area
Eisa is a form of Okinawan dance usually performed to mark the end of the Obon period. Like all things Okinawan, it’s been enthusiastically embraced by the rest of the country, and this Shinjuku parade proves a good example. 26 eisa dance troupes (including teams from Okinawa and Tohoku) will take to the streets around the east exit of Shinjuku Station to beat portable taiko drums and twirl their way through the crowds – a colourful and noisy event to brighten your weekend. Slap on the sun cream, grab yourself a handheld fan and get there early: it’s guaranteed to be crowded.


Open July 27

Time 1pm-8pm

Venue Shinjuku area

Thai Fair in Tokyo 2013

Sat Jul 27 – Sun Jul 28, 2013 Yoyogi Park
Get a taste of Thai culture at this two-day festival, which will feature tuk tuks, Muay Thai displays, music and, of course, plenty of fiery Thai food to gorge yourself on.


Open Jul 27-28

Time Daily 10am-7pm

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)

Celebrates the 20th Birth Anniversary of Maniac Love

Sat Jul 27 – Sat Aug 10, 2013 Galaxy-Gingakei

The club itself may be long gone, but Maniac Love’s notoriety lives on. Join a host of aging turntable terrorists at Harajuku’s Galaxy this summer, as they gather to mark the 20th anniversary of the techno hotspot’s opening. Held on consecutive Saturday nights, the three parties star a by-now familiar cast of Tokyo dancefloor warriors, among them DJ Wada, Dr Shingo, DJ Tasaka, Q’Hey and DJ Yama. And in true Maniac Love style, the action continues in post-5am after hours sessions, complete with free coffee.

July 27
DJ Wada, DJ Yama, DJ Jimihendrixxx aka Keiichiro Shibuya, DJ Shufflemaster, DJ Hiro. After hours: Toby, Yo-C

August 3:
Co-Fusion, DJ Tasaka, Dr Shingo, DJ Sodeyama, Osamu M. After hours: Shinkawa, DSKE

August 10:
Q’Hey, Mayuri, A Mochi, Takami, Rok Da House. After hours: Uiroh, ATT


Open July 27, August 3 & 10

Time Doors 10pm

Admission ¥2,500 on the door; ¥1,000 after 5am

Venue Galaxy-Gingakei

Address B1F, 5-27-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines), Harajuku Station (Yamanote line)

Ray-Ban Summer Party

Sun Jul 28, 2013 Roppongi Hills Arena
Top Tokyo DJs including Shinichi Osawa, Tomoyuki Tanaka and Taku Takahashi are on board for this free, Ray-Ban-sponsored party in Roppongi Hills Arena, though you’ll need to navigate a slightly cumbersome (and Japanese-only) registration process if you want to go. See block.fm/raybanor the Ray-Ban website for details.


Open July 28

Time 2pm-8pm

Admission Free (with invitation)

Venue Roppongi Hills Arena

Address 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi Station (Hiroo, Oedo lines)

Tokyo’s top 10 eggs benedict

Breakfast like a champion with the capital’s best eggy offerings

Tokyo’s top 10 eggs benedict

There are many delicious ways to enjoy the humble egg, each more enticing than the last – whether it’s boiled, scrambled, fried, cosied up to a slice of bacon, mounted on a slab of buttery toast, coated in a blend of clay, ash, salt and quicklime and buried for a few months until it’s brown… You get the gist. But none are more enticing than eggs benedict. It covers all the most important breakfast food groups (carbs, pig, protein, some sort of sauce), is usually less artery-clogging than the full English, more sophisticated than a stack of syrup-drenched pancakes, and delicious to boot. Here’s where you can find the best eggs benedict in Tokyo…


Popular New York import Sarabeth’s has been giving hungry expats a taste of home since it arrived on Tokyo’s dining scene in 2012. In keeping with the restaurant’s dainty decor, the eggs benedict is a real work of art, comprising a round of English muffin stacked with smoked ham and a perfectly poached egg, smothered in a glossy hollandaise sauce. Served with a salad garnish rather than the usual greasy hash browns, it even looks sort of… healthy.

Sarabeth’s Lumine Shinjuku store 3-38-2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Price: classic eggs benedict ¥1,400
Open daily 9am-10pm

Good Honest Grub

You’ll have to swing by on a weekend if you fancy a bite of Good Honest Grub’s eggy offering, as it’s only served at brunch. Choose between two or three eggs accompanied with hash browns, then spend the next ten minutes dithering over which toppings to pick: alongside the usual bacon and ham, you’ll find grilled aubergine, crab, caramelised onion, avocado, feta and more.

Good Honest Grub 2-20-8 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Price: eggs benedict ¥1,600 yen for two, ¥2,000 for three
Available at brunch only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 10am-4pm


Beacon’s take on eggs benedict is about as decadent as you can get. The classic English muffin base is swapped for toasted brioche, the hollandaise for lemon cream sauce, and instead of the usual side of hash browns you get a lobster cake. The quality is reflected in the price tag, of course, but at least you’ll leave satisifed – this is brunch done the American way, so expect the plates to be piled high.

Beacon 1-2-5 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Price: eggs benedict with brioche toast and lobster cakes ¥3,200
Available at brunch only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 11am-3pm

Kimono Wine Bar and Grill

Another one for Sunday brunch, Kimono has three types of eggs benedict on offer. Purists will want to go for the classic or florentine options, but if you’re a little more adventurous it’s worth sampling the Cajun-style version with andouille sausage. The salty, spicy meat offsets the eggs and hollandaise nicely, delivering a fiery wake-up to sleepy tase buds.

Kimono Wine Bar and Grill 1-15-28 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Price: eggs benedict Cajun style with spicy andouille sausage ¥1,365
Available at brunch only, Sundays 10am-4pm

Slappy Cakes

There’s usually a queue at this popular Portland import, currently one of Tokyo’s most prized pancake destinations. However, anyone looking for a slightly less stodgy breakfast can feast on their ‘Slappy Benedict’ instead. Available all day, the English muffin base is house-made, while the topping includes a purée of dried tomatoes, sautéed spinach, ham and roasted garlic, covered in the obligatory hollandaise sauce and topped with poached eggs. Tasty enough to give the pancakes a run for their money.

Slappy Cakes 7F Lumine Est, 3-38-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Price: Slappy Benedict ¥1,100
Open daily 11am-10pm

Rose Bakery Ginza

Given that co-founder Rose Carrarini authored a book called How to Boil an Egg, you’d expect Rose Bakery to know a thing or two about brunch. Their eggs benedict doesn’t disappoint: the base of toasted, buttery brioche is topped with poached egg, spinach, bacon and a generous coating of buttery hollandaise sauce, with a generous side order of baked tomatoes, green beans and potatoes to make it feel slightly less sinful.

Rose Bakery 7F Ginza Komatsu West, 6-9-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Price: eggs benedict ¥1,300
Available only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 11am-9pm


Mixing up the classic eggs benedict recipe has proved a smart move for Lauderdale, Roppongi’s eternally bustling spot for brunching expats. There are three adventurous combos to choose from – corned beef and veg; shrimp, avocado and cheese; and salmon and bacon – though you’ll have to go at brunch to sample them. The place gets pretty packed, too, so be sure to book yourself a seat on the terrace if you want to chow down in style.

Lauderdale 6-15-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Price: corned beef and veg eggs benedict ¥1,900
Available at brunch only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 8am-4pm

West Park Cafe

Expat families still flock to this long-running Yoyogi restaurant at weekends for some good old American-style brunch. Service can be a little sloppy, but it’s worth enduring it for the eggs benedict – a classic toasted English muffin topped with bacon, a perfectly cooked egg and generous serving of hollandaise. The eggs florentine is also worth trying, featuring all the usual components but with healthier, vegetarian-friendly spinach replacing the meat.

West Park Cafe 23-11 Motoyoyogicho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Price: eggs benedict ¥1,480
Available at brunch only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 10am-5pm


New York arrival Bubby’s achieved a hat-trick of stores when its Yaesu branch opened in 2012. The menu includes an ample selection of burgers, sandwiches, and chicken and waffles, as well as a vast array of pie. While other restaurants save their eggs benedict for weekend brunch, here you can have it on weekdays too. This orthodox rendition comprises the usual ham, poached egg, hollandaise and English muffin, and comes with a garnish of sautéed onions and potato.

Bubby’s Yaechika 2-1 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Price: eggs benedict ¥1,200
Available at weekday lunch 11am-4pm and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 9.30am-11.30pm

Royal Host Omotesando

When you’re chowing down on Western-style dishes in Tokyo, you expect to pay import prices – but if you don’t mind forsaking authenticity, there are other options. Dig ¥546 out of your pocket and wave it in the direction of Royal Host, and you can buy yourself a Japanese-style eggs benedict. All the usual components are in place (if not necessarily up to the same standards as the other dishes featured in this list), with the added bonus of, er, coleslaw sitting atop one half of the muffin. At least it’s one of your five-a-day.

Royal Host Omotesando 4-3-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Price: eggs benedict ¥546
Available at breakfast only 9am-11am

Basement Ltd: Ena release party

Sun Jul 28, 2013 Module
It’s kind of ironic that the qualities which stopped Ena’s debut album from blowing us away on first listen – depth, restraint and a minimal, bass-heavy palette that sounds rubbish over laptop speakers – are the same ones that have kept us coming back again, and again. The Tokyo-based producer moves from drum ‘n’ bass to something more approximating dubstep onBilateral, but these stark beat excursions are a long, long way from Skrillex territory. Get a hefty dose as he plays an extended two-hour set at Module, in a belated release party for the album. Jah-Light, Keihin and label boss Greg G lend appropriately dubbed-out support.


Open July 28

Time Doors 5pm

Admission ¥2,000 on the door; ¥1,500 with flyer

Venue Module

Address M&I Bldg B1F-B2F, 34-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exits 3, 6.

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Things to do: Concerts, poetry, dancing and even a puppet show at Lake Biwa


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Sing, dance and play on the scenic shores of Lake Biwa – Biwako Hall is an arts center fully equipped to provide exciting experiences of top class performing arts.

From the land of fresh water, the wings of arts spread free to fly into the future.

Opera, ballet, musicals and classical concerts – a kaleidoscope of performing arts is staged in the Main Theatre. Once the curtain rises, the performers and the audience join in a celebration of arts.

Biwako Hall Summer Festa will run from Sunday until July 28 in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture.

The event will feature concerts, storytelling, poetry reading, a puppet show and dancing. There is no admission fee for some of the attractions.

The hall is a three-minute walk from Ishiba Station on the Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line.

For further information about the event, visit www.biwako-hall.or.jp/natsufesta2013/ (in Japanese or in English) or call 077-523-7136.

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Things to do: Cartoon drawing classes at manga museum

Kyoto International Manga Museum will hold classes on Aug. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10 to teach interested people how to create illustrations and cartoons by hand and by computer.

Each session runs from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Participants are required to be the fourth graders at elementary school or older.

The cost per class is ¥2,000 in addition to the museum entrance fee.

Reservations can be made by visiting the museum in person or by sending a mail to www.kyotomm.jp/workshop/sws2013.php (in Japanese).

The museum is a two-minute walk from Karasuma Oike Station on the Tozai and Karasuma subway lines.

For details, call 075-254-7414.

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Things to do: Toyota Oiden Festival to feature dancing and fireworks

Toyota Oiden Festival will take place in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, on July 27 and 28.

A dance performance, near Toyotashi Station on the Meitetsu Mikawa Line, will run from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on July 27 and 12,000 fireworks will be set off between 7:10 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 28.

The dance performance will take place near Toyotashi Station on the Meitetsu Mikawa line.

The fireworks will be displayed around Shirahama Park, a 15-minute walk from Toyotashi Station and also the Shin-Toyota Station on the Aichi Kanjo Line.

For more information, visit www.oidenmaturi.com/index.html (in Japanese) or call 0565-34-6642.

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Things to do: (With the little ones) Kids’ theater to offer ballet, opera, story-telling

Kids’ theater to offer ballet, opera, story-telling

The Nagoya Touring Children’s Theater project will offer opportunities to enjoy opera on July 25 and 26, Aug. 1 and 2, ballet on Aug. 15, 16, 17 and 18, and traditional “kyogen” on Aug. 20 and 21, Classic concerts will be performed on Aug. 24 and 25. Kyogen is a theater form of short comic or satirical plays.

Admission is ¥700 for children 3 years old or above.

For details, please check www.bunka758.or.jp/id/kodomozyunkai/25-kamiki_print.pdf (in Japanese) or call 052-249-9387.

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