October is one of the nicest months in Tokyo – it's still warm enough to have fun outside, and there's a boatload of great events going on all around the city. A number of autumn matsuri take place in October, in addition to Tokyo classics from Jinbocho's Book Town week to the Kappabashi Kitchen Tools Festival. October is also the season for moon-viewing, a wide range of food events and, of course, Halloween.
More October events
Chofu celebrates its connection to the movie industry in an explosive way: as several film scenes have been shot on the banks of the Tamagawa, and Chofu is home to multiple studios and film-related companies, the festival is dubbed 'City of Cinema: Chofu Autumn Fireworks'. It sees around 10,000 rockets launched over the river, choreographed to popular film scores.
The folks at Yokohama's Bay Quarter apparently had a hard time deciding on a theme for their summer beer garden – or how else do you explain the concept of serving up an eclectic American-Mexican-German menu of seasonal festival grub. Each country's concept was given a period of about two months. Confused cosmopolitanism aside, this one sure looks like one of the city's finer places for outdoor boozing. ¥4,000 gets you a eight-course meal and two hours of unlimited beer, wine and cocktails. New York Theme: April 16 - June 30Mexico Theme: July 1 - August 31German Theme: September 1 - October 31
Ever fancied yourself a sumo wrestler? You can try Japan's national sport for yourself at this tourist-friendly ʻdohyoʼ (ring) in Mitaka, where sumo newbies are taught the basic tricks of the trade – and with no fake sumo suit in sight. What's more, women are actually allowed in the ring here, contrary to professional sumo traditions. Equipment rental is included in the ¥9,500 fee (¥4,800 for children under 16), and all participants receive a short video of their efforts plus a card with a sumo-style handprint.
The Peninsula Tokyo’s signature restaurant Peter is hosting four award-winning chefs for a special culinary series. These chefs come from acclaimed restaurants, which are amongst the toughest reservations to score in the city. They will be partnering with Peter’s chef de cuisine Masateru Kiriyama to create special lunch and dinner menus over four weekends starting in August. First up is chef Masayoshi Nishikawa from the two Michelin-starred Gion Nishikawa in Kyoto (Aug 31-Sep 1). He will be showcasing the sublime art of kaiseki haute cuisine while featuring Japan’s local and seasonal produce. Plus, you can expect a meal which engages all your senses. Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa takes over on Sep 28 and 29; he’s the chef-owner of two Michelin-starred Den in Tokyo, a restaurant which is also ranked No. 2 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list for 2018. He will be serving a modern and creative take on kaiseki cuisine. Over the Oct 26 and 27 weekend, you can look forward to Chef Yoshiaki Takazawa’s complex and imaginative French-Japanese fashion dishes. His namesake restaurant in Tokyo has been named one of US Food & Wine Magazine’s World’s Top 10 Life-Changing Restaurants. The final installment, on Nov 30 and Dec 1, will be hosted by Chef Hiroyasu Kawate from Florilège in Tokyo. His restaurant has earned two Michelin stars as well as the No. 3 spot on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 list. Expect locally-sourced Japanese produce and ingredients interpreted through classic French tech
In commemoration of world-famous illustrator Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968), the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is hosting a grand retrospective encompassing his entire career. You’ll find a large variety of artworks, cutting across genres including landscapes, portraits and nudes. There’s also a substantial amount of pieces on loan from fellow art museums around the globe that will be on display for the first time in Japan. As a leading artist of the Ecole de Paris, Foujita spent half of his life in France and gained worldwide recognition with his ‘milky-white’ nudes – which, of course, are on display as well during this event.
Of course, Ikebukuro's Seibu Honten 9th floor rooftop wasn't going to be deprived of a beer garden for the summer. This year's edition was dubbed 'Garden in the Sky of food and greenery', with some suave light shows courtesy of lighting designers and background music chosen by jazz musician Senri Oe making for a decidedly grown-up atmosphere. There are two course menu options: set A comes with a main dish, appetisers and two hours of all-you-can-drink for ¥4,800, while set B is just the appetisers and drink deal for ¥3,000. If you're still feeling peckish, there's also an à la carte menu with (fried) snacks.
Better known as Cornelius, Keigo Oyamada’s new composition, Audio Architecture, is dissected by a variety of artists at this epic exhibition. Directed by Yugo Nakamura, who has worked with Oyamada in the past, nine artists have created their own interpretation of Audio Architecture in videographic works, which span anything from film, animation and dance to graphic design, illustration, programming and media design. Throughout it all, Oyamada’s piece will be played on loop creating an immersive experience.
Based on NHK’s educational TV series ‘Design Ah!’, which aims to ‘nurture the design mind’ of kids, this exhibition is a hands-on counterpart to the show. It’s all about looking, thinking and creating, with an Observation Room, Immersion Room and Imagination Room to get young creative minds buzzing and ready to be put to use in the Activity Room. Although the exhibition is geared towards children and making them aware of the power of design, it’s still fun for adults who like to nurture their creative side.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is examining how humans interact with one other through the lense of that most Japanese of lunches: the bento. The interactive exhibition centres on the charms of carrying a bento around, and will have participatory workshops led by leading artists in the bento and food world. Expect photographs detailing the social fabric of bento, a documentary on bento made by middle schoolers, unique bento boxes and more.