Tokyo may have a long way to go until Shibuya Halloween nights are back in full force but there are plenty of other events for you to mark on your calendar this October. As the weather begins to cool down, there’s outdoor festivals and events to enjoy including the return of the Oedo Antique Market and the inaugural Mind Travel music festival. If it’s arts and culture you’re after, you can enjoy a dance at Tahiti Festa or catch your new favorite movie at Tokyo International Film Festival. Costumes optional.
September 10 – October 10
21,081 Step Up Challenge
With the pandemic taking its toll over the past couple of years, conversations surrounding mental health remain as pertinent as ever. TELL Japan, an organization dedicated to providing professional counseling and support for Japan’s international community, is challenging runners across the country to step up in the name of mental health. The first race in 2019 called everyone to the top of Tokyo Tower. This year, use a fitness tracker and participate anywhere you are in the country. Can you make it to 21,081 steps?
Admission: ¥6,000 (Team), ¥1,500 (Adult), Free (Children under 12)
October 2 – 17
Tahiti Festa 2021
Japan’s largest Tahiti event is back offline and will be held in Odaiba Venus Fort this October. Dance along to performances from Tahitian dance groups or stroll through vendors’ booths for Tahiti-related goodies. Even though the dream vacation destination may still feel distant you can still explore Tahitian culture and find a piece of the famous French Polynesian island here in Tokyo.
Odaiba Venus Fort
1-3-15 Aomi, Koto-ku
October 4 & 24
Oedo Antique Market
Looking for something…old? If so, you’ll definitely find something worthwhile in Oedo, the largest outdoor antique market in Japan. Transformed in the past few months as the venue of the Olympic and Paralympic games, the Tokyo International Forum again welcomes thrifters and lovers of antique wares to its monthly market.
Tokyo International Forum
5-1-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
October 9 – December 19
Makoto Wada Exhibition
Makoto Wada (1936–2019) is widely known as an illustrator and graphic designer but he also spanned the mediums of film, essays, music composition, animation and art direction. This exhibition is the first to get a closer look at Makoto Wada’s enormous and diverse range of work. Experience sides of Makoto Wada that you have never known before and develop new appreciation for one of Japans seminal contemporary artists.
Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery
October 15 – 17
François Chaignaud has received widespread acclaim in France for his work as a dancer and a choreographer and Akaji Maro is one of the foremost representatives of the Japanese modern dance known as butoh. Now, Chaignaud and Maro are working together to create and perform a dream collaboration at SePT. After seven years in development “Gold Shower” is a chance to see two of the worlds most acclaimed theater performers together in action.
Setagaya Public Theater
4-1-1, Tashido, Setagaya-ku
Admission: ¥4,500 (student and member discounts available
October 16 – 17
Mind Travel Music Festival
Mind Travel is the newest outdoor music festival to hit Japan. The first music festival to be held in the Lotte Arai Resort in Myokyo, Niigata, the festival is set to feature three music stages, bonfires, a tent sauna and CBD stands for all your live music and chill out needs. Packages include options for hotel stays and camping experiences featuring onsen pools for you to unwind after a long day of partying in the mountains with some of the best indie, pop, rock and hip-hop artists Japan has to offer.
Lotte Arai Ski Resort
1966 Ryozenji, Myoko City, Niigata
Admission: ¥20,000 (two day festival ticket)
Aya Gloomy, NTsKi, Tamana Ramen
WALL & WALL
3-18-19, Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku
Admission: ¥3,000 (live), ¥1,500 (streaming)
Tokyo Art Book Fair 2021
This year’s Tokyo Art Book Fair will be held in a smaller — but more dynamic — format. Held concurrently with a virtual version of the fair for those who may be unable to attend in-person, TABF booths display a vast array of art books, zines and publications of both local and international artists. Explore exhibitions such as 2020 Solidarity, involving posters of over 50 supporting artists, Covid “Positive”, featuring works from all over the world centering on the pandemic, and more.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (In- person venue)
4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku
TABF Website (Virtual venue)
Admission: 1,000 (In-person venue), Free (Virtual venue)
October 30 – November 8
Tokyo International Film Festival 2021
The 34th Tokyo International Film Festival centers on the concept of crossing borders. The selected films concern themes such as communication disruptions, gender discrimination and international conflicts. This year’s visual concept was designed by acclaimed fashion designer Junko Koshino, who invites viewers to explore film that moves forward into the wind and into the future.
Ticket info will be made available via the website
Jindai Botanical Gardens Chrysanthemum Show
As Japan’s imperial flower, many festivals all over Tokyo will be celebrating its bloom this season, but we recommend this Chrysanthemum show held in Jindai Botanical Gardens. The sprawling botanical garden is probably most known for containing the largest rose garden in Tokyo, but it also offers beds of seasonal blossoms for variety all-year round.
Jindai Botanical Gardens
5-31-10 Jindaiji Motomachi, Chofu
Jindai Botanical Gardens Website
Elsewhere on Metropolis:
Love for the Abandoned
A ray of light in the dark side of Japan’s pet industry
Tokyo Music Scene: New Japan Releases this September
Featuring exciting collabs and independent releases from some of our favorite artists right now
What’s New in Translation?
Two newly translated Japanese novels to read this autumn