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

Got no plans for the weekend? You'll be struggling for a free hour once you've checked out all our recommendations for the best things to do in Tokyo over Saturday and Sunday.

What's on this weekend?

Shibuya Pixel Art

Under the banner of "Let's pixellate Shibuya!", the annual Shibuya Pixel Art event (Time Out Tokyo is an official media partner) is taking over Cat Street and surrounds for two days with pixel art exhibitions and more.  You'll find a 1.8m tall pixel sculpture near the top of Cat Street (Omotesando end), while on the street itself a six-metre long banner painted with characters from the 'original pixel art game' Space Invaders. Fans can also go on a hunt for the other Space Invaders, 30 of which are hidden in at least 20 different stores. Take a snap with them and upload them to Twitter or Instagram with the dedicated hashtag #シブヤインベーダー to stand a chance to win prizes.  Gamers will be satisfied at Omotesando Hills, where up to 10 people at a time can play Space Invaders Giga Max. At the other end of Cat Street, the rooms at Trunk Hotel have also been decorated with original Space Invaders sketches and posters. It's Shibuya become square – in a whole different way.  

Cat Street , Harajuku Until Sunday July 22 2018

Shibuya Bon Odori

Prepare for more than three hours of wild dancing right in front of area landmark 109, as the second edition of the Shibuya Bon Odori takes over both Dogenzaka and Bunkamura-dori on the third Saturday of July. Both streets will be pedestrianised from late afternoon, making for a steamy festival atmosphere; last year's inaugural edition saw hundreds of revellers taking to the streets in matsuri garb and dance the day away. Although very few details have been released again, count on there also being at least a few food stalls selling classic matsuri grub.

Shibuya 109 , Shibuya Saturday July 21 2018

Washu Fes in Nakameguro

This sake shindig features over 100 varieties of Japan’s finest spirit from 35 invited sake makers hailing from all over the country, and for two hours, you can sample the lot. The ¥3,000 ticket price doesn’t just include the all-you-can-drink plan; you’ll also be treated to live music and comedy performances plus there are shopping booths so you can take home your new favourite tipple. Tickets must be purchased in advance, with a choose between two sessions: 1.30pm-3.45pm and 4.45pm-7pm.

Nakameguro GT , Nakameguro Saturday July 21 2018

Tea for Peace

The team behind the Farmer's market at UNU are at it again: this time, they're bring a love of tea to the courtyard in front of Aoyama's United Nations University. Black tea, green tea, white tea; roasted, fermented, or smoked, there's no discrimination here. Expect tea farmers, tea blenders and tea masters mingling with regular tea lovers geeking out over leaves in the calmest, low-key caffeinated of atmospheres. As the organisers put it, 'in this world... hot tea falls into our cups, not bombs' and 'make tea, not war'. Hippie as it may sound, that's something we can get behind. 

United Nations University Farmers' Market , Aoyama Until Sunday July 22 2018

Stay cool at a museum

Fancy seeing an art show this weekend but no idea where to go? Well look no further. You can't go wrong with one of these top art exhibitions taking place in Tokyo this summer. You could also check out Tokyo's best outdoor art, choose from all the exhibitions showing right now, or fill your Instagram feed at two of the hottest new museums this year: Mori Building Digital Art Museum Epson teamLab Borderless and teamLab Planets Tokyo.

By: Time Out Tokyo Editors

Ueno Summer Festival

Ueno's natsu matsuri kicks off for real with a parade down the area's central street on July 21 (from 5.30pm), while the rest of the event period includes happenings like the picturesque toro nagashi ceremony (July 17, from 7pm), in which paper lanterns are floated on Shinobazu Pond. There will be market stalls in the park throughout the four weeks of the festival selling antiques, potted plants and more, while street performances take place at the Bentendo temple in the afternoon on July 22 and 28. Make sure to also check out Ueno Park's open-air stage, where everyone from idols to jazz veterans will be performing almost every day. And if you're looking for a photo op, come on the afternoon of July 17 (from 2.30pm), when ice sculptors will conjure some (doubtless short-lived) works around the stage.

Shinobazu Pond , Ueno Until Sunday August 12 2018

Jurassic World Café

To celebrate the return of the Jurassic World series with the new sequel 'Fallen Kingdom', Ikebukuro Parco is now hosting a pop-up café until the beginning of August. As is customary, you'll be able to indulge in some prehistoric-themed dishes: you can devour Isla Nublar's volcano-themed curry or feast on dinosaur head- and egg-shaped cakes. 

Ikebukuro Parco , Ikebukuro Until Monday August 6 2018

Raien Sumo Experience

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.

Subaru Comprehensive Sports Centre , Mitaka Sunday July 22 2018 - Thursday October 11 2018

Onryou Zashiki

A haunted house with a twist – you have to walk around it without shoes on – has opened at Tokyo Dome City for the summer. With visual effects by teamLab, this seasonal scarer for the shoeless is clearly aimed at tormented soles.

Tokyo Dome City , Suidobashi Until Saturday September 1 2018
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Our favourite free events

Kawasaki Daishi Fuurin-Ichi

Annually held at Kawasaki Daishi temple, this festival is dedicated to traditional Japanese wind bells and has been going on for the better part of two decades now. Chime craftspeople from Hokkaido to Okinawa peddle their wares (which number in the tens of thousands), there's a recycling corner for old and decrepit bells, and tasty festival food is of course also available.

Kawasaki Daishi , Kawasaki Until Sunday July 22 2018

Tokyo Hula Festa in Ikebukuro

Spreading out all over Ikebukuro, the annual Hula Festival paints the area in distinctly Hawaiian colours. Outdoor gigs by Hawaiian bands and a dizzying variety of food and drink stalls complement the main event − as of last year, 171 teams and up to 5,000 dancers  showed off their hula skills across six stages. If you feel like swinging your hips too, start at the hula workshop held by Hawaiian master Ed Collier and Hide Kalanimoku or join the open Hula Night.

Sunshine City , Ikebukuro Until Sunday July 22 2018