Never mind that it'll be a wet weekend, with a typhoon (yes, another one, really) slowly making its way towards Japan – this weekend is so packed with gourmet festivals that it's worth braving the rain just to fill up your stomach. Tokyo is the gourmet capital of the world for a reason, and September 29 and 30 have enough going for them to hammer the point home just a little bit more. Get out of your comfort zone and head to these foodie festivals.
Pleasant coffee aromas fill the air again at Aoyama's UNU farmer's market this weekend, as a few dozen roasters, baristas and coffee shop operators from all over Japan show off their craft from Saturday morning. Pick up one of the sampler tickets for the chance to try small amounts of several different varieties, and check out the stalls selling all kinds of coffee-related paraphernalia. Tokyo representatives include Lattest and Cafetenago, with a plethora of national and international guest brewers bringing up the rear – see the entire list here. You'll also find stalls selling books and flowers, plus a wide range of coffee-compatible eats. UN University courtyard, 5-53-70 Jingumae, Shibuya. 11am-5pm. Starter kit, with tasting tickets and original cup, from ¥1,500.
Shortened to 'chocomint' in Japanese, the combination of chocolate and mint is considered a summer thing in Japan, so this festival is breaking all seasonal conventions by hosting a chocolate mint festival at the start of autumn. Fans of all things mint-green and chocolate-y can go all-out with the selection of desserts on offer – that includes choco-mint mille-feuille, choco-mint daifuku, choco-mint-covered croissants and even a chocolate mint pizza. You'll either leave in a mint-induced stupor wanting more or with an aversion to the combination. Until Oct 3. Tokyu Food Show, inside Tokyu Department Store Toyoko Branch, 2-24-1 Shibuya, Shibuya. Opening hours differ per venue.
Carrying the slightly clunky official name of 'Osake and harvest festival in Hibiya, festival of your hometown in autumn', this festival is full of beer, wine, nihonshu and all the local gourmet drinking snacks you can muster. They've definitely gone beyond the simple peanuts or senbei rice crackers, with anything from juicy dumplings to the full-on steak pictured above on offer. We've never been as excited to eat while drinking as now. Hibiya Park, 1-6 Hibiya Koen, Chiyoda. Sep 28 11am-9pm, Sep 29 11am-8pm, Sep 30 11am-6pm, cancelled in case of heavy rain. FREE entry.
With Japan's Indian community being one of the largest minority groups, and one that is well-represented in the culinary department, it should come as no surprise that Namaste India is a crowdpleaser year on year. There will be traditional music and dance performances, sari dressing opportunities, relaxing yoga sessions and more. But the reason why everyone really comes is the large variety of food stalls, set up by some of Tokyo’s top Indian restaurants. Leaving with an empty stomach is not an option. Yoyogi Park, 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya. Sep 29 10am-8pm, Sep 30 10am-7.30pm. FREE entry.
Being vegan in Tokyo and trying to eat out hasn't always been easy, but things are looking up – and this vegan festival is here to prove the point. Food vendors who pride themselves for not using any animal products are descending on Kiba Park, with food offerings including fully vegan 'beef' kalbi skewers, vegan sushi, sweets, and much, much more. Each food stall will list the ingredients used (in Japanese), so you can be 100% sure that no animal was harmed in the process. For those looking to sample the lot, consider picking up one of the coupon books (¥100) sold at the event, which can get you over ¥1,500 in discounts. Kiba Park, 4-6 Hirano, Koto. Sep 30, 10am-4pm, FREE entry.