Things to do in Tokyo this weekend

Time Out Tokyo's editors pick the top parties, festivals, concerts, food events and more this weekend in the big city

Setagaya Ume Matsuri | Time Out Tokyo
By Time Out Tokyo Editors
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With so many things to do in Tokyo, it's hard to get a free weekend in the city. But just in case you need more recommendations, here are the top events and festivals taking place over city on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

RECOMMENDED: Get your tickets to events and gigs here

Our top picks this weekend

Things to do

See the best illuminations in Tokyo

The days may be getting shorter and colder, but even so, Tokyo doesn't turn into a dark and desolate place at this less than cheery time of year. In fact, as the city transitions from autumn into winter, millions of colourful LED lights are displayed in trees as well as on and around buildings, turning Tokyo into a sparkling wonderland...

Things to do, Ice skating

Glide on ice at these top skating rinks in and around Tokyo

Winter's no excuse to stay inside. In fact, when the cold starts to creep through the wafer-thin walls and shoddy window frames of Tokyo houses and apartments, rather than trying to hide under a mountain of blankets, one might actually be better off engaging in some healthy outdoor activities. Ice skating's obviously something best experienced out in the open, and quality rinks have been popping up all around the city in recent years...

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Yebisu International Festival
Photo: instagram.com/yebizo
Things to do

Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Ebisu

The festival is a two-week-long showcase of exhibitions, screenings, events and live talks. This year’s theme is ‘The Imagination of Time’ and the festival explores ways to convey history as well as the unpredictable future. The main exhibition is free, but some of the other screenings and events might have an entrance fee...

Things to do

Bar Bar Shimokitazawa

Multiple venues

Shimokita is always great for bar-hopping, but this special event looks set to make the exercise even more rewarding. Pick up your wristband-ticket (advanced ¥500, day of ¥700) and choose from a whopping 82 eateries and watering holes in the area; they are each offering a food set and a drink for the occasion, without costing you a seatig charge for any of the venues...

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Ginza Six illumination
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima
Things to do

Rooftop Star Garden

Ginza Six, Ginza

The rooftop garden at Ginza Six is piling on the romance for the year-end holidays. The illimunination feature calming water elements and sparkling LED pillars (there are 147 of them), turning the space into a star-filled galaxy come nighttime. In line with this concept, the 'forest' area has been turned into a small planetarium...

Things to do

Live in the Dark – Classic

Konica Minolta Planetaria Tokyo, Yurakucho

Konica Minolta Planetaria makes for a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially when you get to stare into space, or more specifically the ‘French night sky’, while listening to live classical music. The planetarium dome is equipped with the latest technology and a screen that stretches from floor to ceiling. Expect popular classics such as French composer Debussy’s ‘Moonlight’...

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Things to do

Yushima Cat Festival

Multiple venues

It’s no secret Japan loves its cats and there's no better way to celebrate them than giving the feisty felines their own festival. This Neko Matsuri, or Cat Festival, is held twice a year in Yushima, a sleepy town near Kanda known for its old-school charm and humble mom-and-pop stores...

Things to do

Setagaya Ume Matsuri

Hanegi Park, Umegaoka

Setagaya's Hanegi Park is home to over 600 plum blossom trees. These small, pink flowers bloom when the weather starts to warm up and Hanegi Park celebrates with a month-long festival. The Setagaya Plum Festival celebrates the flowering season with events like mochi pounding, tea ceremonies, traditional music performances and even a blood donation corner (Monday February 24)...

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Things to do

47 fashionable clothes to represent 47 prefectures

D47 Museum, Shibuya

Shibuya’s d47 Museum has always been committed to introducing the unique characteristics of Japan’s 47 prefectures through various media and exhibitions. Its current exhibition, which revolves around the theme of fashion, is showcasing a curated collection of clothes, shoes, bags and accessories that represent each prefecture...

Things to do

Bunkyo Ume Matsuri

Yushima Tenjin, Yushima

A popular place for plum blossom-watchers since the olden days, Yushima Tenmangu shrine still draws big crowds every year. The plum blossoms might get less hype than the cherry blossoms that follow, but they still make for some gorgeous late-winter scenery. The shrine’s Ume Matsuri complements the blossom-viewing with music performances and tea ceremonies...

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Things to do

Winter Wonderland in Moominvalley Park

Multiple venues

While the Moominvalley Park is not in Tokyo per se, it’s still worth the roughly one-hour trip from Ikebukuro Station. During the park’s winter illumination event – based on the iconic troll’s fifth book ‘Moominland Midwinter’ – you can expect a colourful and immersive spectacle complete with projection mapping, lights and sound. Finland’s northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, will be recreated around the Moomin troll's highly Instagrammable house...

Museums

Hyakudan Hina Matsuri

Hotel Gajoen Tokyo, Meguro

The Meguro Gajoen throws open its Hyakudan Kaidan – a series of seven extravagantly decorated rooms, linked by a 99-step staircase, that's usually closed to the general public – for Tokyo's fanciest display of historic Hina Matsuri dolls...

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Queen in the Park
Photo: Yasuyuki Takaki
Things to do, Exhibitions

Queen in the Park: Experience Music with Queen

Ginza Sony Park, Ginza

Find your inner Freddie Mercury and immerse yourself in Queen’s timeless music through interactive installations at Ginza Sony Park. Enter the exhibit through the We Will Rock You Melody Steps – get Freddie to sing by using the steps to create the iconic stomping, clapping rhythm from the song. The second floor of the basement is dedicated to Bohemian Rhapsody...

Things to do

Queen Exhibition Japan – Bohemian Rhapsody

Aso Building, Yokohama Station area

This special exhibition dedicated to the legendary British rock band Queen takes place at Takashimaya Nihonbashi until January 27, and then it'll move to Yokohama's Aso Building starting January 30. Expect a host of precious band memorabilia including actual costumes of the band members and posters from the 1970s to 1992's The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert...

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Things to do

A Railway Story in the Sky

Mori Arts Center Gallery, Roppongi

The 52nd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower is not just a great place to enjoy splendid aerial views of our concrete jungle, it also hosts temporary exhibitions, such as this showcase focusing on locomotive. The country's railway companies each operate their own museum, but many of them including Japan Railways, Tokyo Metro and the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Transportation have came together for this special exhibition...

Tokyo Mega Illumination
©Tokyo Mega Illumi
Things to do

Tokyo Mega Illumination

Oi Racecourse - Tokyo City Flea Market, Oimachi

The Oi Racecourse, aka the Tokyo City Keiba, will be lit up during the nighttime races with colourful illumination. What's more, there will be a 'time travel area' featuring designs and artworks from the Edo, Meiji, Taisho and Showa eras, as well as a 100 metre tunnel covered in lights, making it the biggest illumination in the Kanto area...

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Things to do

Kotatsu Terrace

Ride, Tennozu

Warm up with a simple yose nabe (basic Japanese hot pot) while sitting at a cosy kotatsu, a low table covered with a futon blanket embedded with an electric heater. For a limited time, Ride is offering a kotatsu dining experience with a view of the Tennozu canals, featuring a special yose nabe dish which includes duck and chicken tsukune (meatball), pork slices, crab and a variety of veggies...

Art, Mixed media

teamLab Planets Tokyo

Toyosu

This temporary teamLab museum right next to Shin-Toyosu Station offers a more intimate interaction with the collective's signature digital art. There are a mere seven installations, but they are spread out across a full 10,000sqm, giving them lots and lots of space each. All of them offer a more sensorial and immersive experience compared to the teamLab Borderless Museum nearby. We won't spoil all the secrets, but for starters, no shoes are allowed inside the museum, and you'll be wading through knee-deep water in some places...

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