May 2020 events in Tokyo

Plan your May in Tokyo with our events calendar of the best things to do, including Golden Week fun, outdoor festivals and hot gigs

Kohgen | Time Out Tokyo
By Time Out Tokyo Editors

May in Tokyo is always packed with unmissable festivals, parties and other open-air fun, beginning with the latter half of the Golden Week holiday and continuing with local classics like the 700-year-old Sanja Matsuri, Tokyo Port Festival and the quirky Kurayami Matsuri out in Fuchu. May is also when beer gardens all across town open for the season, while highlights like Yokohama's Greenroom kick off the music festival season. Make sure you don't miss out with our guide to all the best events going on in Tokyo this May.

Our May highlights


Tokyo Novyi Repertory Theatre Performance

Umewaka Noh School Hall, Higashi-Nakano

Leonid Anisimov, a Russian director known for combining Eastern and Western aesthetics in his stage performances, seeks to continue his unique style in a series of plays at the Umewaka Noh School Hall in Nakano. In these performances, Tokyo Novyi Repertory Theatre, where Anisimov is the artistic director, will reinterpret classical Greek dramas and Western operas...

Photo: Masahiko Terashi
Music, Classical and opera


New National Theatre, Tokyo, Hatsudai

This one-act opera is based on the eponymous play by Oscar Wilde and is undeniably one of the most provoking and shocking works performed today, let alone when it made its debut in Paris in 1896. Inspired by a story in the New Testament, ‘Salome’ is about a girl who demands the head of Johanaan, a man whom she had been infatuated with, after he scorns her. While the opera involves unsavoury themes such as necrophilia and all-consuming obsession...


Passing on Cultural Heritage: Buddhist Murals and Sculptures of Horyuji

Tokyo National Museum, Ueno

Horyuji, a Buddhist temple in Nara with one of the oldest wooden structures in the world, was struck by a fire in 1949, which severely damaged several 1,300-year-old murals from the Asuka period (593-710). At this special exhibition, you’ll be able to marvel at reproductions of these murals...

Peter Doig
Photo:《Night Bathers》2019, oil on hemp, 200 × 275 cm, collection of the artist © Peter Doig. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London.All rights reserved, DACS & JASPAR 2019 C3006

Peter Doig exhibition

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Takebashi

Contemporary Scottish figurative painter Peter Doig is having his maiden exhibition in Japan at the National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo, where you can see a range of his works, from his earliest to some of his most recent. His style draws on artists like Paul Gaugin, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Edvard Munch while incorporating imagery inspired by movie scenes and advertisements to create art with a romantic...

特別展「和食 ~日本の自然、人々の知恵~」
Things to do

Washoku: Nature and Culture in Japanese Cuisine

National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno

Traditional Japanese cuisine, also known as ‘washoku’, has proved itself to be an important element of cultural heritage ever since the ancient Jomon period. This large- scale exhibition at the National Museum of Nature and Science introduces you to how washoku has evolved, and the cooking techniques and preparations that have been in use throughout the years...

Timeless Conversations 2020

Timeless Conversations 2020: Voices from Japanese Art of the Past and Present

The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT), Nogizaka

This exhibition collects works by the best contemporary Japanese artists who are working at the forefront of art, photography, design and architecture. You’ll see works by important artists of our time including Tadanori Yokoo, Shiriagari Kotobuki, Shohaku Soga and Hokusai Katsushika...

Things to do

Shibuya Antique Market

Belle Salle Shibuya Garden, Shibuya

Held every second Sunday of the month, this antique market gathers 100 vendors at Shibuya Garden Tower. You’ll find all sorts of antiques and vintage handicrafts, jewellery, art, home goods, clothing, plants and organic foods from all over the world. The market will also feature a few food and drink stalls if you want a breather from shopping...

Things to do, Performances

The TCS Improvazilla Show

Crocodile, Harajuku

Spend your Friday evening laughing with Tokyo’s longest-running improv comedy show, Improvazilla. Expect some of the city’s best improv actors and singers, who will put on hilarious storytelling, musical performances, games and long-form montage. These actors will improvise scenes based on suggestions from the audience, so come see your ideas come to life...

Looking for more things to do in May?