1. teamLab Borderless
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    Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Wizarding World Publishing Rights JKR/Tokyo Studio Tour Public Garden entrance
  3. Jurassic World: The Exhibition
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10 best events and new openings to look forward to in Tokyo in 2023

From Cirque du Soleil and a Harry Potter attraction to the world’s largest anime store, we’ve got a lot coming in 2023

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen
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There was a time when 2023 seemed impossibly far into the future, but now we’re just around the corner from a new year of exciting concerts, festivals and long-awaited openings. Those of you who have been waiting to visit Japan for the past two years are well aware that there are countless new attractions to check out from the life-sized moving Gundam in Yokohama to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan.

Tokyo is only just beginning to gain momentum, however, with a host of dazzling events and openings slated to come next year, too. Kicking things off this winter, we’ve got Cirque du Soleil returning to Tokyo for the first time in five years, followed by the reopening of teamLab Borderless in time for cherry blossom season. As the old saying goes: you haven’t seen anything yet. 

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Following its success at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from 2017 to 2018 and its visits to London and New York in 2019, the touring exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of French designer Christian Dior is finally coming to Tokyo this winter. Opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art on December 21, this mammoth retrospective will celebrate 75 years of Dior couture with a collection of timeless dresses and iconic designs from the post-war era to now. There will be a lot to take in, but the exhibition will thankfully run until May 28 2023 to give couture lovers ample time to view the collection.

The circus is coming to town! It’s been five years since Cirque du Soleil’s last show in Tokyo, so we’re thrilled that the Canadian company’s world-class acrobats and performing artists are coming back to Japan in early February. For this upcoming season, Cirque du Soleil will be putting on a revived version of Alegría – one of the company’s most popular shows that has toured over 255 since it was first performed in 1994.

Alegría: In a New Light will open in Odaiba, Tokyo on February 12 2023 and run through June 4 2023. The show will then move to Osaka, where performances will begin in July 2023. Tickets are now available online from ¥6,800 for adults, ¥5,800 for students and ¥4,800 for children.

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You want it, you got it. Next spring, Animate will open a flagship store in Ikebukuro that will effectively be the world’s largest anime store. An otaku oasis dedicated to all things manga and anime, the building will have ten floors filled with shops, event spaces, character cafés and even a theatre. The building's grand opening is scheduled for March 16 2023, but the Animate Café Graffte on the first floor will open on January 26, so you can stay warm this winter with artful anime lattes.

For four years, the teamLab Borderless Museum was one of the hottest attractions in Tokyo with its interactive digital art exhibits that changed with the seasons. We sadly had to bid farewell to the museum’s original venue in August as the Odaiba area has been slated for a full-scale revamp, but the Guiness World Record breaker will soon re-open in a new location. Though the upcoming plans have been kept under wraps for quite some time, teamLab finally revealed that the new teamLab Borderless museum will reopen next year as part of the Toranomon-Azabudai Project.

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Cherry blossom season
Photo: Piti Sirisriro/Dreamstime

Cherry blossom season

It was the early spring of 2020 when the Japanese government hurriedly called for major events to be cancelled and for the public to refrain from going out in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This was also around the short window of time when Tokyo’s cherry blossoms were due to bloom, meaning spring of 2023 should mark the first time in three years when most of us will be able to enjoy the sakura season in full. With vaccines readily available and restrictions lifted, it’s safe to say that hanami parties will likely be back on and we can’t wait to celebrate sakura season once again. 

There are so many things packed into this complex opening in Shinjuku Kabukicho, it's as though there's a small city stacked into a single building. With 48 floors – plus five basement levels and a penthouse – the Tokyu Kabukicho Tower is set to open in 2023 as Japan’s largest hotel and entertainment complex. On top of a Bandai amusement centre, a cinema and a live music venue with a capacity of 1,500 people, the supersized commercial facility will also have a wellness area with a pool, two luxury hotels and a food court with a DJ booth. The venue is so over the top it’s hard to imagine what it will all look like when it’s finally unveiled, so we can’t wait to see it in person.

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After a knockout premiere in Paris, Jean-Paul Gaultier’s ‘Fashion Freak Show’ is now on tour and set to hit Tokyo in the spring of 2023. A revue crossed with a madcap fashion show, the production is a creative spectacle inspired by the life and career of legendary French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. Since its debut in 2018, the show has attracted a staggering 250,000 spectators and counting with its pop culture showcase spanning 50 years of Gaultier’s life.

‘Fashion Freak Show’ was directed and designed by Gaultier himself, and features over 200 of his original couture pieces. Beginning with his childhood before moving into his fashion debut in 1976 and onto his work with celebrities like Madonna, Rihanna and Pedro Almodovar, the show is a colourful exploration of fashion through the decades accompanied by the iconic songs that inspired Gaultier’s work.

The biennial Tokyo Motor Show is one of the world's biggest and most famous automobile trade shows, but the 2021 event had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. Next autumn, however, the show will return to Tokyo Big Sight for the first time in four years to unveil a hot new array of smart cars, sports cars and futuristic automobiles from the world's premiere industry leaders. 

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Potterheads, rejoice! Tokyo is soon getting a permanent attraction dedicated to the movie magic behind the Harry Potter franchise. The attraction will be modelled on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London where visitors can view production sets, get up-close with props like wands and potions, and meander down the shopping street of Diagon Alley.

The Tokyo version, which will be the second Harry Potter exhibition of its kind in the world, includes a re-created indoor soundstage and outdoor backlot (fancy terms for film set). It will be roughly 30,000 square metres and take about half a day to explore.

Come 2023, Osaka's Universal Studios Japan won’t be the only place in the country where you can meet the prehistoric creatures that appear in the Jurassic Park franchise. ‘Jurassic World: The Exhibition’ is set to land in Tokyo sometime next year, with a thrilling array of life-sized dinosaur animatronics that look astoundingly realistic.

The attraction will transport you to the volcanic island of Isla Nublar. You can explore the Hammond Creation Lab, where scientists recreate dinosaurs to release into the lucrative Jurassic World theme park, and look at dino eggs in their incubators.

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