January 2019 events in Tokyo

Plan your January in Tokyo with our events calendar of the best things to do, including concerts, winter festivals and art exhibits
Furusato Matsuri
By Time Out Tokyo Editors

January in Tokyo can be cold and dreary, especially once the New Year's holidays are over. However, while most of the city illuminations are still up, the first month of the year is also the time for classic winter festivals, tasty food shows and ice skating under the starry sky – not to mention the Coming of Age celebrations or those rare but hilarious snowy days when this oh-so-orderly city is thrown into disarray. So calm down, take a break from those New Year's resolutions and check out our picks of the best events Tokyo has to offer.

Our January highlights

大江戸骨董市 あさの様より/小滝

Oedo Antique Market

icon-location-pin Shibuya

The Oedo Antique Market, the largest and oldest outdoor market of its kind in Japan, is great for picking up some cool art, unique handicrafts or vintage decorative items. Keep an eye out for real Edo-era treasures hidden among the heaps of merchandise, which range from ceramics and clothing to ukiyo-e prints. You can visit the bazaar at two different locations throughout the month...

Tokyo Opera City
Photo: Tokyo Opera City
Music, Classical and opera

Tokyo Opera City – Lunchtime Concerts

icon-location-pin Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Hatsudai

Head over to Tokyo Opera City's concert hall and enjoy their monthly lunchtime performance entirely free of charge. This 45-minute recital, which is part of the ‘Visual Organ Concert’ series, usually consists of four pieces. Expect stellar acoustics from the 3,826-pipe organ, which holds pride of place in the pyramid-like space that's all decked out in a stunning oak wood finish...

Truth in the Air 1

5 Rooms II – The Truth Is In the Air

icon-location-pin Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, Yokohama

In Kanagawa's Prefectural gallery, five exhibition rooms are joining forces in a new exhibit that's ambitious both in subject explored and space utilized. Each of the five rooms will display contemporary art installations, the theme of which is 'Truth is in the Air' – art that serves to reveal essential truths that can't be seen by the naked eye but as certainly present all around us...

Furusato Matsuri
Things to do

Furusato Matsuri 2019

icon-location-pin Tokyo Dome, Suidobashi

The annual Furusato Matsuri (‘Hometown Festival’) is a chance for the residents of Japan’s other prefectures to dazzle Tokyoites with their region’s unique culture – and, of course, its food. After you’ve sampled enough specialities at the food stalls, sit back and watch recreations of up to 20 popular regional festivals including Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri and the Akita Kanto Matsuri, or cheer on your favourite at the costume character dance contest.

Photo: fb.com/texti1efabrics
Things to do

Nunohaku in Tokyo Vol.12

icon-location-pin Pario Machida, Machida

This long-running textile fair happens every spring and summer – but this year, they’re debuting an inaugural winter fair. At ‘Sunny Winter Weave’, you can browse through a vast selection of seasonal fabric and knit goods from January 18 to 20. The following week, the fair will go back to its roots, with the ‘Waiting for Spring’ fair running from January 25 to 27. Here you’ll find more accessories, textiles and interiors goods for sale.

Things to do, Festivals

Daikoku Matsuri

icon-location-pin Kanda Shrine, Suehirocho

Honouring Daikoku, the deity of fortune, this annual January celebration at Kanda Shrine attracts revellers looking to secure a helping of good luck for the year ahead, and also includes a few interesting 'performances'. The hocho-shiki ritual (from noon on January 27) sees a master of the cutting arts demonstrate some serious kitchen knife moves in chopping up fish...

Shinagawa yaki-imo terrace
Photo: yakiimo.sonotega.com
Things to do, Food and drink events

Shinagawa Yaki-imo Terrace

icon-location-pin Shinagawa Season Terrace, Shinagawa

Sure, snuggling up underneath your kotatsu with a roasted sweet potato is pretty damn comfy, but the real way forward is to eat it outdoors, handed to you steaming from a cart – and this week-long event in Shinagawa lets you do exactly that. The size of the festival area is huge, so there will be plenty of stands covering sweet potato types you wouldn't usually be able to eat in Tokyo, plus all sorts of other yaki-imo-flavoured snacks and drinks...

Finnish sauna
Things to do, pop-ups

Corona Winter Sauna

icon-location-pin Shimokitazawa Cage, Shimokitazawa

This winter, Shimokitazawa Cage is partnering with Corona to recreate a Finnish bathing experience right here in Tokyo's bohemian hub. From January 19 to March 17, the space will host a Finnish sauna tent plus two cold baths; yes, you read that right – COLD baths in winter. As per Finnish bathing tradition, you're supposed to alternate between the two extreme temperatures and this will, surprisingly, help you deal with the freezing chills. Right next to the sauna area is a line of Asian food stalls, plus plenty of Corona beers for sale...

Jesus Rafael Soto Espace Louis Vuitton
Jesus Rafael Soto, Pénétrable BBL Bleu (1999, ed. Avila 2007). © Adagp, Paris 2018

Jesús Rafael Soto: Pénétrable BBL Bleu

icon-location-pin Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, Omotesando

Espace Louis Vuitton's latest exhibition features work by the late Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto. This installation is quite unique as it encourages guests to interact with it by walking through the space and immersing themselves in both kinetic and optical ways. 

The Great Wave off Kanagawa | Time Out Tokyo
Museums, History

Making The Great Wave: A Demonstration of Japanese Woodblock Printing

icon-location-pin Tokyo National Museum, Ueno

Visitors to the Tokyo National Museum can see a demonstration of the reproduction of Katsushika Hokusai's (1760-1849) world-famous woodblock print ‘The Great Wave’. Hokusai may be credited with creating the master drawing of this iconic seascape with Mt Fuji in the background, but the polychrome woodblock print was actually made in collaboration with two other artisans – a carver and a printer. To be held on just two days (Jan 26 and Mar 30), there are two bilingual (English and Japanese) sessions per day, limited to 80 people each. The hour-long session will showcase the final step, which is the printing process. Don't miss this rare chance to witness Japan's traditional printing technique, which has been passed down from one generation to the next through the centuries.

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