Nakano Nigiwai Festival 2018 (Beat Park)
Nakano, the small but infinitely superior neighbor of Shinjuku, is a bustling part of Tokyo full of great wee stores, bars, cafes, restaurants and the legendary Nakano Broadway shotengai choc-a-block with shops and eccentric niche outlets. The Nakano Nigiwai Festival is a two-day extravaganza showcasing the neighborhood’s world-famous skateboarding scene, local cuisine, DJs, music and more. Bring the family, friends and some beers and see the real Nakano up close.
October 6-7 11am – 8pm. Free Entry. 4-9 Nakano, Nakano-ku.
Shimokitazawa Curry Festival
Shimokitazawa will be transformed into a near fantastical curry maze for a week, with an estimated 150 local restaurants setting up curry stations that will culminate in a competition, the winner coveting the “Shimokitazawa’s best curry” title. Don’t be intimidated by the number of spots to visit: fliers with maps will be provided at the station. Additionally, this year there is even an app to help you map out your route and collect stamps at each destination. If you collect enough stamps, you can win stickers or a t-shirt.
October 5-14 Free entry. Shimokitazawa, Setagaya-ku.
The Hokkaido Fair
The recent earthquake in Hokkaido put the northernmost island in Japan in the global news for all the wrong reasons. The Hokkaido Fair, held in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, celebrates the island’s wonderful people, history, culture and cuisine. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flocked to the event last year so expect a full crowd enjoying all that Hokkaido has to offer (including its delicious drinkies). It’s also a nice way to promote and help Hokkaido in times of hardship and dismay.
October 5-8 10am – 7pm. Free Entry. Yoyogi Park, 2-2-3 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku.
Diwali at Yokohama Miyashita Park
Diwali, or the Hindu “Festival of Lights,” is celebrated every autumn all around the world. Not one to be left out, Yokohama will be hosting the biggest Diwali celebration in Japan right in Yamashita Park. Thousands are expected to celebrate Diwali and Indian culture in general — there will be food stalls, a full entertainment program, including Bollywood-style dancing and a variety of attractions.
October 13-14 10am – 7pm. Free entry. 279, Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Motomachi-Chukagai
Tokyo Ramen Show Komazawa Daigaku
This is it. This is what you’ve been waiting for. For a week starting on October 25, 18 separate vendors will be showcasing 18 different ramen from all around Japan. Be sure to arrive with an empty stomach because this is your chance to finally learn all things-ramen and decide which style is your favorite. You’ll need to come back to the show for seconds, as the event is split into two halves, the latter half of its run stirring up 18 new ramen vendors. It’s the perfect autumn outing.
October 25 – November 4 10am – 9pm (exceptions on website). Free entry. Ramen tickets ¥850. Komazawa Olympic Park Plaza, 1-1 Komazawa Daigaku, Setagaya-ku. Komazawa Daigaku
Dance New Air 2018
The Dance New Air bi-annual dance festival will be held once again over two weeks in a number of locations around Aoyama. Enjoy dance-related exhibitions and take advantage of opportunities to dance with instructors and learn from professionals. Additionally, there will be performances by dancers whose styles and expressions will challenge your understanding of movement and the art of the body. Times and prices vary.
October 3 – 14
Forest Movie Festival
Combine your love for old-school outdoor cinemas with forest bathing, right before it gets too cold to spend a night out in the woods. The Forest Movie Festival is an all-nighter event, starting in the afternoon and ending just before dawn. Set in a Tochigi forest, visitors can watch much-loved Japanese fims as well as enjoying an incredible view of the stars. The Japanese films on offer include the incredibly moving 5-centimeters Per Second (which some say is the original groundbreaking slice-of-life, pre-Your Name).
October 6 2pm – 5am. ¥11,500. Twin Ring Motegi, Hikiyama-cho, Haga-gun, Tochigi.
Art & Exhibitions
Tokyo Dome Art Gallery (AaMo) Ig Nobel Prize Exhibition
The Ig Nobel Prize was created in 1991 to honor scientific achievements that “make people laugh, and then think.” Every year, ten individuals are awarded prizes, which are given out by genuine Nobel Laureates at Harvard University. In a world’s first, the Tokyo Dome Art Gallery will be exhibiting some of these prizes in collaboration with Improbable Research magazine, organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize. Winning work includes artificial replacement testicles for neutered dogs and a bra that turns into a gas mask. Visitors can also try out some of the products at a simulator booth.
September 22 – November 4 Weekdays 12pm – 6pm. Weekends 10am – 6pm. Advance: adult ¥1,200, junior high students and younger ¥700. At the door: Adult ¥1,400, junior high students and younger ¥900. Tokyo Dome Art Gallery, 1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku.
Mori Art Museum Smaller Exhibitions
Three smaller exhibitions taken from the Mori Art Museum’s permanent collection will run concurrently with the upcoming “Catastrophe and the Power of Art” exhibition. Artistic collective Chim Pom joins forces with Makoto Aida to celebrate the mythology of crows. Hsu Chia-Wei’s video installation delves into political and social history from multiple angles. Lastly, “Chronicle Kyoto 1990s” explores the city’s artistic explosion just before the new millennium which revolved around drag parties and contemporary art, as well as AIDS and LGBT education. It’s an eclectic showcase that’s not to be missed.
October 6 – January 20 10am – 10pm. At the door: ¥1,800 adult ¥1,200 students, ¥600 child, ¥1,500 senior. Mori Art Museum, 53F 6−11−1 Roppongi, Minato-ku.
Bokanté at Blue Note
The leader of three-time Grammy-Award winning jazz and funk collective Snarky Puppy is in Tokyo with his new project, Bokanté. Bokanté is an international music ensemble that creates music that reflects the group’s background (bokanté means “exchange” in Creole) in diversity and geography (the eight musicians come from four different continents). From “Zeppelin-esque blues stomp to folkloric Caribbean kaladja,” the group will leave you reflecting on the global community and the struggles faced by many—but most importantly, on how good the music can be when there is unity.
Wednesday October 10, open 5:30pm, start 6:30pm. Thursday October 11, open 8:20pm, start 9pm ¥7,500. Blue Note, Leica Bldg. 6-3-16 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku. Omotesando
Shibuya Music Scramble
When you hear ‘street festival’ you would be forgiven for thinking more of Rio de Janeiro than Japan but this month, Shibuya showcases its own unique take on a street music festival—Shibuya Music Scramble. The main event of the festival is the Shibuya Diversity Session, held on Sunday October 21, celebrating the variety and vitality of Shibuya’s top musicians. The festival’s aim is to bring together a diverse range of genres, generations and sounds. Organizers aim to unite visitors and residents alike with a wide variety of music in Shibuya’s biggest city-wide music festival.
October 20 – 21 All day. Free. Shibuya Crossing, Shibuya-ku.
Shibuya Music Scramble