Metropolis Recommends: August

Metropolis Recommends: August

The best events for art, music and more this August


Editor’s pick

August 3

Acid Mothers Temple

Fans of psychedelic rock music will love Acid Mothers Temple. The band, formed in 1995, regularly play overseas and recently wowed audiences at legendary English music festival Glastonbury. Get your vintage tie-dye togs on and rock out to a group inspired by Krautrock and 70s progressive hard rock based around communal values and collective philosophy.

Akihabara Club Goodman
B1, 55 AS Building, Kanda Sakumagashi, Chiyoda-ku



Until September 23

Robert Frank: Why Don’t We Talk About Photography Once Again?

Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of all time, changed the photography world with his groundbreaking book “The Americans,” which documented his travels around the United States in the 1950s. The Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, in Yamanashi Prefecture, is displaying more than 100 prints from the museum’s own collection. It’s worth the trip out of Tokyo to appreciate some of the most significant photography of the 20th century.

10m – 6pm
Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts
3545-1222 Kiyosato, Takane-cho, Kitakoma-gun, Yamanashi

Aichi Triennale 2

August 1 – October 14

Aichi Triennale 2019

The fourth iteration of Aichi Triennale 2019, one of the largest art festivals in Japan, will feature international contemporary art exhibitions alongside film, performing arts and music programs. The showcase will bring together over 80 individual artists and collectives across a range of expressive domains to showcase their cutting-edge works. It’s a good chance to visit Aichi Prefecture, see some contemporary art and eat the local, and amazing, miso katsu (deep fried port with red miso sauce.)

See website for day prices and festival passport
At various venues in Aichi Prefecture so please check the website for details


August 9

tite-line x ODD Friday

A fascinating fusion between two of Tokyo’s underground party scenes, tite-line and ODD, takes place at Contact, arguably the best club in the capital. The night is headlined by the legendary DJ Krush alongside other big hitters in the Tokyo music scene such as O.N.O, Rebel Familia and Koudai. It promises to be a sweaty night of fun and frolics and a chance to see some of the biggest names in the business.

10pm – 5am
¥3,500 (¥1,000 before 11pm)
B2 Floor, Shintaiso Building No. 4
2-10-12 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku

Koenji Awa Odori 2-CMYK

August 24 – 25

Koenji Awa-Odori

Since its birth in 1957, Koenji Awaodori has justly established itself as one of Tokyo’s most energetic summertime spectacles. The awa-odori dance is said to trace back to Tokushima in Shikoku, where in 1586 the party loving daimyo (Japanese feudal lords) triggered dancing in the streets. Whatever the credibility of the tale, the bursting passion of Koenji Awa-odori has swelled to over 10,000 dancers and one million spectators, so get there before the action kicks off at 5pm for the best spots.

5pm – 8pm
Koenji Station Area
4-48 Koenjiminami, Suginami-ku

Asagaya Tanabata-CMYK

August 3 – 7

Asagaya Tanabata Festival

August marks one of Suginami-ku’s most beloved celebrations, the Asagaya Tanabata Festival. While Tanabata, a festival celebrating the meeting of the star-crossed lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi, is usually celebrated in July, since its inception in 1954 the 700-meter shopping arcade of Asagaya has been holding it in August. In recent years, the papier-mâché figures towering over the food stalls have had a face lift, with Godzilla and characters from Disney’s Frozen among their number. Expect large crowds so time your visit to avoid the crush.

All day
Asagaya Pearl Center
1-36-7 Asagayaminami, Suginami-ku

Rising sun 3

August 16 – 17

Rising Sun Rock Festival

Japan’s best rock acts join in Ishikari near Sapporo every year for the Rising Sun Rock Festival. Frequented by rock and roll fans and avid campers alike, the festival boasts an impressive lineup this year. Tokyo surf rockers never young beach, the post-punk quartet Ogre You Asshole and the Kyoto math-rock girl group tricot are amongst some of the most notable artists. Indie legends Number Girl will perform live for the first time since their disbandment more than a decade ago. The music goes all night on day two, so concert goers can watch the sunrise after hours of tunes, food and fun.

Times vary per day
¥11,000 – ¥22,000
Ishikari Bay New Port
Shinko Chuo 1-chome, Ishikari, Hokkaido

Tokyo Jazz Festival-CMYK

August 30 – September 1

Tokyo Jazz Festival

The country’s largest jazz event samples both the upper echelon of the Japanese scene and leading artists overseas. This year, the theme of the Tokyo Jazz Festival is “Crossing Borders, Transcending Generations,” in keeping with the organizers’ aim to introduce new music culture to Japan and revive legendary jazz traditions. There are two formal venues: The PLAZA in Yoyogi Park, where admission is free, and the nearby NHK Hall, which will house a concert with the likes of saxophonist-composer Kamasi Washington and Japanese vocalist MISIA. The free gigs at Yoyogi Park and surrounding streets will range from professionals to impressive newcomers. Last year saw some 90,000 attendees, so the 2019 festival promises to be a citywide celebration.

Times and prices vary
The PLAZA, Keyaki Street, Yoyogi Park
2 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku

Fiesta Mexicana-CMYK

Until September 30

Summer Barbeque and Beer Garden Fiesta Mexicana

The Oak Door Steakhouse, on the sixth floor of Grand Hyatt Tokyo, celebrates summer 2019 by opening its floor-to-ceiling windows for a delightful Latin spread. Fare in this “Fiesta Mexicana” includes carne asada nachos, sausages, smoked beef brisket, chicken lollipops and garlic chili shrimp — not to mention as many tortillas as you want — served on a sharing plate. The barbecue garden wouldn’t be complete without drinks, from house wines to Corona and mezcal margaritas. Large groups can opt for a seafood platter with free flow champagne. Combine Latin flavors with ice-cold drinks, an open-air terrace and midsummer cheer.

Dinner 6pm – 8:45pm
¥6,000 (drinks not included)
The Oak Door Steakhouse, Grand Hyatt Tokyo
6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku

Mucha 2

Until September 29

Timeless Mucha: Mucha to Manga – The Magic of Line

Alphonse Mucha was a prolific Czech painter and a key figure in the Art Nouveau movement. Japonism in Paris, which peaked in the late 19th century, was contemporary to Mucha, but his bold lines, delicate colors and characteristic flatness came to shape Japanese manga. Not only is Mucha’s poster work itself instantly recognizable, but his meticulous hand can be seen in the works of 1960s psychedelic artists and, of course, manga from the 1970s onwards. A display of some 250 posters, book illustrations, prints and artifacts at the Bunkamura Museum of Art explore the evolution of his linear style from modernism’s infancy to the 21st century. Rock posters and record covers will be accompanied by music.

10pm – 6am
Adults ¥1,600
The Bunkamura Museum of Art
2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku

Now it's time-CMYK

Until October 20

Now, it’s time to play 

With the beginning of summer vacation, a group of conceptual and 3D artists encourage you to come play at the Museum of Contemporary Art. By asking us to escape routine and be more flexible, play generates new ideas and creative energy. To harness this creativity, all works in this exhibition are participatory and friendly for all ages; go inside them, even paint on them. Participating artists and teams will conduct workshops and even put on hilarious performances. Photographs are encouraged. Get creative in this sprawling, newly renovated exhibition space because it’s finally playtime.

10am – 6pm
Adults ¥1,200
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Exhibition Gallery 1F/3F (Room B)
4-1-1, Miyoshi, Koto-ku