Metropolis Recommends – April edition gives you the best gigs, festivals, exhibitions and other events going on in the capital this month.
Held in Okunitama Shrine, one of Tokyo’s oldest shrines, the Kurayami (“darkness”) Festival runs for several days, with family-friendly events available between morning and evening. The highlight of this event, however, is its late-hour ceremonies. During this festival, eight mikoshi, portable Shinto shrines, are carried around Fuchu at night time, as it was once believed that sacred objects were tainted if seen by the naked eye. After a long and gratifying march, these mikoshi are hauled back at 4am the following morning.
Apr 30–May 6. Event schedule posted online. Okunitama Shrine, 3-1 Miyamachi, Fuchu-shi. @Fuchu. ookunitamajinja.or.jp
Tokyo Rainbow Pride
The LGBTQ community and allies come together to generate a feeling of communal love in Yoyogi Park. Expect performances and booths from LGBT-friendly businesses as well as a fabulous 3 km parade around the Tokyo area on May 6.
Apr 28–May 8, 11am–6pm. Free. Yoyogi Park Events Square, 2-3 Jinnan, Shibuya. @Harajuku, Yoyogi-Koen. tokyorainbowpride.com
63rd Akabane Baka Festival
Pictured above, the Akabane Baka Matsuri (All Fool’s Festival) has celebrated April Fool’s Day and all its silly traditions since 1956. Filled with a community of friendly kooks and a sleeve full of gags, the streets are nothing but fun. This two-day event will include dance, song, music, a street parade and a large flea market for leisurely browsing. A great way to spend time with family and friends.
Apr 28–29, 9am–3pm. Akabane Park, 1-14-17 Akabane-minami, Kita-ku. @Akabane. akabanebakamatsuri.com
Motor Sport Japan
This free event aims to showcase cars, trucks and motorbikes through the excitement of motorsports. There’s something for everyone, with an ‘Experience Zone’ where you can be driven around the race track, a ‘Legend Zone’ where you can see classic race cars and a kid’s kart track for your little ones.
Apr 14–15, 9am–5pm. Free. Odaiba Event Site, 1-1 Aomi, Koto-ku. @Daiba/Tokyo Teleport Station. motorsport-japan.com
Tokyo Coffee Festival
Over 50 roasters, baristas and coffee shops in one venue. Find Tokyo’s greatest coffee achievements all in one location. Held in a section of United Nations University, this crowd-favorite festival unites coffee-lovers from all parts of the world to sample a great variety of roasts and flavors. There are also plenty of wholesome booths that sell flowers, healthy snacks and books.
Apr 14–15, 11am–5pm. UNU Farmer’s Market, 5-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. @Omotesando. tokyocoffeefestival.co
The Wedding Present
Legendary Leeds indie band The Wedding Present come to Japan this month to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary of seminal debut album George Best. One of the greatest English bands of the 80s/90s, The Wedding Present, fronted by enigmatic David Gedge, are seen as one of the biggest influences on British indie music. George Best, featuring songs like “My Favourite Dress” and “Give My Love to Kevin”, tell of breakups and adolescent heartbreak which have yet to be surpassed.
Apr 11–12. Starts at 7:30pm. Advanced ticket ¥5,800, at-the-door ¥6,300. O-Nest Shibuya, ON AIR WEST bldg. 6F, 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya. @Shibuya. shibuya-o.com/nest
French chanteuse Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of infamous singer and bon vivant Serge Gainsbourg, shows off her latest album Rest which has some perfect bangers on it such as the sublime “Lying with You.” Gainsbourg, also an accomplished actress, has released some critically acclaimed recordings over the last few years including 2009’s Irm album. Sophisticated and cerebral, the queen of the French arts scene is sure to deliver the goods at Ex Theater in Roppongi.
Apr 9. Starts at 7:30pm. Advanced standing ¥8,000 (tax incl.,1 drink charge), advanced reserved seat ¥9,000 (tax incl., 1 drink charge). Ex Theater, Nishi-Azabu 1-2-9. @Roppongi. tv-asahi.co.jp/ex-theater
Kuniko Kato “BACH: Solo Works for Marimba”
The world-renowned percussionist Kuniko Kato will be performing in Tokyo, “BACH: Solo Works for Marimba.” First recorded with Linn Records from Glasgow, Scotland, her work was awarded as being Linn’s #1 album of the 2017. It has garnered praised all around the globe for the earthy tones brought out by wooden instruments, creating an organic feel to the orchestral classics. BBC Magazine has praised Kato’s talent and “the sheer technical elan she brings to the violin fugues.” Her musical talent is on show at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art.
Apr 13–14, Starting 7pm on the 13th, 8pm on the 14th. Non-reserved seating (includes museum admission) at ¥6,000, reduced-price ticket for both evenings at ¥10,000. Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, 4-7-25 Kitashinagawa, Shinagawa-ku. @Shinagawa. kunikohm.peatix.com
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum: Art Deco Revival
The Teien Art Museum have completed renovations on their remarkable museum building, the former residence of Prince Asaka, who had an enduring love of Art Deco. To celebrate, they are holding a double exhibition on Art Deco Revival. French Picture Books: Collection of Shigeru Kashima showcases the work of the Francophiliac scholar and Walls that Talk: Stories from the Former Prince Asaka Residence explores the history of the museum’s own building.
Mar 21–Jun 12, 10am–6pm. Adults ¥900, university students: ¥720, high school students/over 65s ¥450. Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, 5-21-9 Shirokanedai, Minato. @Meguro. teien-art-museum.ne.jp