November 2018 events in Tokyo

Plan your November in Tokyo with our events calendar of the best things to do, including concerts, autumn foliage light-ups and art exhibits
Happo-en Autumn Lightup | Time Out Tokyo
By Time Out Tokyo Editors

November is the time to embrace all things autumnal in Tokyo – in addition to the seasonal foliage, you can look forward to Tori no Ichi markets, quirky food celebrations, plentiful sports events and early illumination shows.

Our November highlights

Things to do

Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Festival 2018

icon-location-pin Shinanomachi

This festival begins as autumn turns the surrounding icho (ginkgo) leaves yellow. Adding to the event’s popularity are temporary stalls selling noted products from different regions of Japan – the food and drink stalls will be set up around the Jingu Gaien softball stadium and training grounds.

Art, Painting

Munch Exhibition

icon-location-pin Ueno

This retrospective exhibition celebrates the work of iconic Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, most famous for his masterpiece ‘The Scream’. Munch's work was heavily influenced by Impressionists the likes of Claude Monet and Edouard Manet, and he became a part of the Post-Impressionist movement, which was led by Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne.  Munch did not receive much appreciation for his art in his time, but he was eventually hailed as a pioneer of Expressionism in the world of fine arts. Nearly 100 pieces of his work will be exhibited, including oil paintings and master prints courtesy of the Munch Museum in Oslo. While there are multiple versions of ‘The Scream’, this is the first time the version created with oil paint and tempera is being shown in Japan.  Explore 60-plus years’ worth of paintings depicting deep human emotions such as anxiety and loneliness, as well as stunning natural landscapes of Norway, and works from his final years which feature vibrant, pigmented colours.

Things to do

Smart Illumination Yokohama 2018

icon-location-pin Yokohama

Held every autumn since 2011, Yokohama's Smart Illumination show makes use of the latest in energy-efficient lighting technology to turn the city's waterfront areas into a sea of colour. Workshops and interactive installations complete the lineup, so make sure to head south to Yokohama in late autumn and see this spectacle light up the evening. Note that although the main festival takes place from October 31 to November 4, the illuminations will remain in place until December 31.

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Hanazono Shrine Tori no Ichi

icon-location-pin Shinjuku

The famed triple Tori no Ichi markets at Hanazono Shrine get underway with a warm-up festival on the first night of each set of days, while the main event is the following day. There'll be 60-odd stalls selling decorative kumade rakes, said to bring good fortune for business, plus 200 other vendors hawking food and other festival knickknacks. The second festival, known as Ni no Tori, is on November 13, while the last celebration takes place on November 25. Don't miss this annual favourite, the roots of which reach back deep into the Edo era. 

神田カレーグランプリ 決定戦
Things to do, Food and drink events

Kanda Curry Grand Prix 2018

icon-location-pin Ochanomizu

There are over 400 curry shops in Kanda, and this event brings together 20 of them to do battle for the Grand Prix title. Sample the spicy delicacies and vote for your favourite – the winners will be announced on stage at the end of the event. Also, if a visit to the fest itself doesn't satisfy your curry cravings, make sure to take part in the 'Kanda Curry Stamp Rally'. This campaign runs until November 30 – eating at any of the participating restaurants amounts to one stamp, and juicy rewards are presented to those who collect enough of these marks.


Festival de Frue 2018


The willfully, brilliantly uncommercial Frue parties only seem to roll around every six months or less, presumably to give the promoters time to recoup some of the money they lost on the last one. Yet their festival, held for the first time last year in the Shizuoka countryside, turned out to be such a crowd-pleaser that it's back. Assembling at the Tsumagoi ski resort in Kakegawa will be genre-bending favourites Bruno Pernadas, Japanese DJ Powder, Brazil's Yamandu Costa, and Theo Parrish, while German dance innovator Acid Pauli is returning for a second round. The twin stages – one out in the open, the other indoors – will be rocking through the night on both Friday and Saturday, while the festival market will offer an eclectic selection of food, drink and crafts.

Music, Pop

Cigarettes After Sex

icon-location-pin Ebisu

Brooklyn-based dreamy pop band Cigarettes After Sex is making its way to Japan. They've bucked every traditional music promotion trend in the business, with a monochrome album cover and no music video, but their single 'Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby' has still managed over 40 million plays. Sit back, relax and let yourself be transported by Greg Gonzalez & co.  

Aoyama Sake Flea
Things to do, Food and drink events

Aoyama Sake Flea

icon-location-pin Aoyama

Attention, sake lovers: Aoyama Sake Flea is back for their biannual nihonshu bonanza. Started four years ago, this tasting event that takes place as part of the UNU Farmer's Market has proven very popular with a wide range of imbibers, and keeps on growing each edition. Over 30 breweries from across the country will be hawking their wares this time; if you ask nicely, they'll be able to tell you loads about the brewing process too. Grab a 'starter set' (sake cup and tasting tickets) at the entrance and sip away, or book tickets online if you're absolutely sure you want to get sloshed – you're allowed to take last event's cup with you too instead of buying a new one.   Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest updates; previous events have included anything from a 'sake-hopping' tour to a crash course in nihonshu knowledge by four of Tokyo's most legendary sake bartenders. 

Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association
Things to do

Rikugien Autumn Leaves Light-up

icon-location-pin Komagome

Rikugien's annual light-up returns again for when the park's trees turn red and golden in the autumn night. The view reflects beautifully off the water, creating a magical and unforgettable atmosphere. The park stays open until 9pm for the duration of the event, the cosy teahouses are open throughout, and you can catch guided tours of the park at 11am and 2pm daily.

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