Metropolis Recommends – July 2018 edition gives you the best gigs, festivals, exhibitions and other events going on in the capital this month.


Yokohama Sparkling Twilight

Tokyo’s big neighbor might be the perfect place to enjoy hanabi season without the hassle and the crowds of the capital’s main festivals. Yokohama Sparkling Twilight is a two-day festival with around 3,000 fireworks being launched from the shore off Yamashita Park each night. In addition, the festival features a parade of mikoshi portable shrines from every district in Yokohama (including Yokohama’s Chinatown district), live performances and boat illuminations.

July 14 – 15 11:30am – 8:30pm (Fireworks from 7:30pm – 8pm). Free. Around Yamashita Park.  Motomachi-Chukagai.

Nakagin Capsule Tower Tours

Nakagin Capsule Tower is undoubtedly one of the strangest architectural pieces in Tokyo. Straight out of a dystopian movie, the building is emblematic of the Metabolist movement and was thought to satisfy the needs of the fast life of future salarymen. Nobody lives in Nakagin Capsule Tower anymore as it failed to be a pleasant place to live and the building is due to be demolished in the near future. Fortunately, you can see and tour the interior of the tower and get a taste of its retro-futuristic aesthetic. Each tour lasts 50 minutes and reservations are required in advance.

July 1, 22, 29 at 11am, 12pm, 1pm; July 21 at 12pm and 1pm. ¥3,000 (enquire in advance regarding English tours).
Nakagin Capsule Tower, 8-16-10 Ginza, Chuo-ku.  Shimbashi, Shiodome


Shonen Knife

Seminal Japanese rock girrrls Shonen Knife are still at it after nearly 40 years of crashing around the world with their ramshackle cooler-than-thou sounds. Loved by Nirvana, Teenage Fanclub and other 90s legends, Shonen Knife has changed line ups a lot over the years but have been led by Naoko Yamano since the beginning. Kooky, indie and honest, Shonen Knife is a truly great live band so get your BMX Bandits tees on and head down to Shimokita for a memorable night.

shonen knife shimokitazawa band music rock pop

July 7 Open 5:30pm. Start 6pm. Adv: ¥3,500. FEVER, 1F, 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku.  Shindaita, Shimokitazawa.


If you have never heard Japanese experimental masters Mono, don’t ever admit it to your cool friends. Get ahold of their masterpiece album Requiem For Hell, plug in your earphones and lose yourself in the noise and rough melodies. It’s all very Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine and Acid Mothers Temple, but it’s glorious. Catch them with fellow Japanese hardcore noisemasters Envy in Ebisu and you’d do well to bring your earplugs.

mono band

July 8 Open 5pm. Start 6pm. Adv: ¥3,500. LIQUIDROOM, 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku.  Ebisu.

Jon Hopkins

Electronica master Jon Hopkins brings his banging tunes to Tokyo for a must-see gig in Shibuya. His latest album Singularity is an absolute belter and has some outrageously great tracks such as “Everything Connected.” Multi-talented Hopkins is also known for soundtracks in addition to collaborations with other legendary musicians such as Brian Eno. This is most definitely going to sell out so best get your tickets as soon as possible.

July 26 Open 6:30pm. Start 7:30pm. Adv: ¥5,000 Door: ¥5,500. WWW X, 2F, 13-17 Udagawa, Shibuya-ku.  Shibuya.

Art & Exhibitions

Yoshitomo Nara “Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone ‘take your time, it won’t be long now’ ”

World-renowned artist Yoshitomo Nara is famous for his cute and devilish characters. However, this exhibition will not feature his signature paintings but is instead displaying his photographs and films. Nara, one of Japan’s most celebrated artists, is heavily influenced by punk rock and the subversion of manga-like images and this exhibition, at Taka Ishii Gallery, is sure to be an intriguing departure from his more known works, which have gathered him fans from all corners of the globe.

Yoshitomo Nara, “SAKHALIN”, 2014, pigment print © Yoshitomo Nara photography artist japanese

July 7 – August 10 11am – 7pm. Free. Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film, 2F, 5-17-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku.  Roppongi.

Boys for Sale: Film screening and discussion

Boys for Sale, directed by Itako, examines the life of urisen (rent boys) in Shinjuku Nichome, Tokyo’s gay district. The boys themselves, many who identify as straight, narrate the film by discussing their experiences in sex work on camera.

After the film, producer Ian Thomas Ash will take questions from the audience. Film in Japanese with English subtitles, discussion in English.

July 6 6:45 – 8:30 PM. Institute of Comparative Culture (ICC)  Sophia University, Bldg. 2, 3F, Rm 309, 7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku.   Yotsuya. No registration necessary.


Art Aquarium 2018

The Art Aquarium, held in Nihonbashi, is a true sensory delight for attendees. This summer the theme is “Edo: Coolness of KINGYO.” Kingyo, or goldfish, have a deeply rooted history in the Nihonbashi area, where people would come to view goldfish and cool down while taking a break from the summer heat. The aquarium will have 8,000 elegantly dancing, ornamental fish displayed in tanks arranged into Japaneses works of art, alongside other aesthetic displays and must-visit events.

July 6 – September 24 Sun – Fri: 11am – 10:30pm (Last entrance 10pm). Saturdays & days prior to a public holiday: 11am – 11.30pm (Last entrance 11pm). Adult (13 and up): ¥1,000, Child (4 to 12): ¥600, Under 4: Free of charge. Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall: 5F (entrance on 4F), COREDO Muromachi 1, 2-2-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku.

Sakaya Kaku-uchi Festival

Check out Kaku-uchi Fes where you can buy and drink alcohol by the glass in the kaku (corner) of a liquor store underneath the blue sky. You can try over 100 different brands of Japanese sake and other alcohol at 18 different booths representing around 20 liquor stores from several prefectures. There will be many rare drinks that aren’t available at restaurants or internet stores. From Junmaiginjoshu “Tokyo” to Torigoe and Nakanoshinbashi, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy.

July 14 – 16 Starter set: ¥2,000 with glass at door. Advance ticket: ¥1,800 with glass (only available through website). 10am – 6pm. Ueno Park Fountain Square.  Ueno

ECO EDO Nihonbashi 2018

Now an annual event, ECO EDO Nihonbashi 2018 ~Enjoy “Cool Edo” with All Five Senses~ is back to host numerous summer-themed activities throughout the Nihonbashi district. They’ve given a modern twist to Edo cooling techniques that speak to all of your senses: goldfish, lanterns and fireworks to see, food to smell and taste, yukata to wear and touch, and wind chimes to hear. Many stores will also give you a discount if you’re wearing a yukata or have a ticket to the 2018 Art Aquarium.

July 6 – September 24 10am – 9pm. Free. Around Nihonbashi.  Mitsukoshimae.