Sumida fireworks
Photo: Genki/Pixta

Things to do in Tokyo this week

This week’s hottest events and exhibitions happening around the capital

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When you're spending time in a city as big as Tokyo, it's never too early to start planning for the week ahead. From art exhibitions and foodie events to seasonal festivities and outdoor happenings, you can pack a lot into seven days in the capital.

Wondering where to start? We've sorted through the many events and venues in Tokyo that are still open and running during this time, plus we're keeping an eye on hottest new openings around the capital.  

Best things to do this week

  • Things to do
  • Kagurazaka

While it's usually one of Tokyo's more peaceful neighbourhoods, Kagurazaka gets a little frenetic each July, as hordes of yukata wearers and Awa Oodori dancers flood the streets for four days of traditional festivities. This year marks the festival's 50th anniversary, so the 2024 matsuri could turn out to be the biggest one the neighbourhood has ever hosted.

The festival will kick off on Wednesday July 24, where food stalls will be open from 5pm until 9pm every night. Children can partake in traditional festival games, like fishing for colourful water balloon yo-yos, while adults can register for a guided tour of Kagurazaka (¥1,000) in their yukata, or pick up a Chinese lantern plant at the market in Bishamonten (Zenkokuji) temple.

The main festivities will take place over the weekend, with a two-hour Awa Odori procession scheduled at 7pm on Friday July 26. The next day, there will be a children's Awa Odori procession from 6pm to 7pm on the main street.

  • Things to do
  • Mukojima

Tokyo's biggest fireworks display is returning this summer on Saturday July 27. The Sumida River Fireworks Festival is also Japan's oldest fireworks event, dating back to 1733, when it was staged as part of a ceremony to pray for victims of a severe famine the previous year. It turned into an annual event in 1978 and attracts close to a million people every year.

This year, the Sumida River Fireworks Festival starts at 7pm and will run for around 90 minutes, with a staggering 20,000 shells of fireworks. The fireworks are launched from two sites on the Sumida River around Asakusa Station: one near Umaya Bridge and the other near Sakurabashi Bridge. You can check out the locations on the festival website.

 

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  • Things to do
  • Tachikawa

It may not be the biggest of Tokyo's many fireworks events, but Tachikawa's hanabi is certainly one of the more comfortable ones. Held at the spacious Showa Kinen Park, the festival always draws massive crowds, so make sure to arrive early to secure the best viewing spot.

This year’s event will see around 5,000 shells of fireworks launched during the hour-long show from 7.15pm to 8.15pm. Paid seating with the best views will be sold online from July 1 at 10am, on a first come first served basis. Tickets are priced at ¥8,800 for a seat, or ¥13,200 for a picnic blanket seating two people. Alternatively, you can catch the fireworks anywhere in the park for free.

Do note that the park charges a ¥450 admission fee. But for this event, entry is free after 6pm.

  • Things to do
  • Katsushika

Held every year for more than half a century along the Edogawa River, Katsushika's popular fireworks festival is known for the short distance between where the around 15,000 rockets are shot up and where onlookers are allowed to sit, allowing spectators to watch, listen and feel the fireworks up close.

It also features the spectacular 'Niagara Falls' and 'Digital Star Mine' crackers, both supposedly representing the latest in firework technology. On your way to the river, walk along the picturesque street reaching from Shibamata's Taishakuten temple and you'll get a taste of what Edo must have been like in summer.

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  • Things to do
  • Nakameguro

Beat the heat this July at one of Tokyo's premier sake festivals. Held three times a year, Washu Fes celebrates the culture and tradition of sake-making. For the festival's 25th edition, 45 breweries from around Japan will set up shop in Nakameguro, where you can sample over 200 varieties of sake. Some of the participating sake makers such as Hachioji Shuzo and Iwase Sake Brewing are based around Tokyo, while others hail from faraway prefectures like Akita or Yamaguchi.

Types of sake selected for the summer cover a wide range from chilled sparkling and fruity ginjo-shu to unpasteurised namazake and cloudy nigori sake. If you find something you like, you’ll be able to purchase full bottles of your favourite sake on-site.

Besides sake tasting, the festival's programme will feature performances including a shamisen showcase. Entry tickets are ¥3,300, and with limited spaces available, it's wise to arrive early (reception starts 15 minutes before opening) or secure your tickets online in advance.

  • Art
  • Koganecho

Yokohama’s artsy Koganecho area serves up a diverse programme of family-friendly workshops and classes for the school summer holidays. Local artists and college students will be teaching everything from pottery to stand-up paddleboarding from July 22 to August 25, while an exhibition highlighting participants’ creations and achievements during the Bazaar will be held from August 30 to September 1. Encompassing drawing classes open to toddlers, an intro to camera obscura geared towards elementary and junior high school students, tapestry-making for all ages and much more, the extensive lineup has something for everyone – see the website for full details (in Japanese only).

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Ueno

One of Tokyo's biggest annual festivals is celebrating its 73rd edition this year. Held at its namesake park, Ueno Summer Festival is a month-long programme packed with a diverse array of traditional events, live performances and seasonal festivities. These include a traditional lantern-floating event on July 17 at 7pm, as well as Japanese taiko drum street performances on July 21 and 27 (1pm and 3pm) at Ueno Park’s Shinobazu Pond. 

That said, the festival offers more than just classic Japanese celebrations. The antique market, which will run every day from July 20 to August 4 at the banks of Ueno Park Shinobazu Pond, for instance, is a great place to look for small treasures and summer mementoes.

As always, there will be plenty of food and drink stalls throughout the park selling popular street eats like yakisoba and kakigori shaved ice – a staple summer treat.

Check the event website for the full programme (in Japanese only).

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Tennozu

Studio Ghibli fans can get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of the anime powerhouse’s much-loved films, and of its own Ghibli Park theme park, at this travelling exhibition that hits Tokyo on June 28. The event’s three-month Tokyo run, ending September 23, is the finale of a two-year roam around Japan that has included a stop in Aichi prefecture, home to Ghibli Park.

Three vast halls of Warehouse Terrada, in the waterfront Tennozu district, will house a wealth of exhibits that range from initial sketches by Goro Miyazaki and models used in the production process, to life-size recreations of scenes from some of Ghibli’s most popular productions. These include the train carriage from ‘Spirited Away’, in which you can put yourself in the position of protagonist Chihiro by taking a seat next to the mysterious Kaonashi (aka ‘No Face’). Elsewhere, Catbus from ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ looms large.

For the event’s duration, an adjacent floating restaurant will bring some of the retro vibes that pervade Ghibli productions, and serve up dishes including napolitan (ketchup spaghetti) and ramen.

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  • Things to do
  • Odaiba

See some of your favourite characters and personalities from Fuji Television at this month-long summer festival in Odaiba. From July 20 to August 25, the broadcasting network will be hosting a programme of live performances, pop-ups, games and other family-friendly fun at the 'Meet Your Favourites!' edition of Odaiba Bohken – Oh 2024. Highlights include an exhibition for the famed anime series 'Sazae-san', which is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year, and an activity space dedicated to the cutesy 'Chiikawa Adventure' franchise.

For live entertainment, the Mezamashi TV Stage will feature a variety of musical acts throughout the festival. You'll have the chance to see both popular and up-and-coming bands covering a wide range of genres, and witness their talent in the flesh (see the full list of artists here). There will also be food trucks and concession stands if you get hungry, selling bites like massaman curry and shaved ice to keep you cool in the summer heat.

A one-day ticket is ¥2,800 for adults, and ¥1,800 for primary and junior high school students. You can purchase them on the day or in advance via their website.

The festival is held at Fuji Television headquarters and peripheral areas of Odaiba and Aomi.

  • Things to do
  • Roppongi

Tokyo Midtown has a packed programme of summer fun this year. If you want to take it easy, cool down at Midtown Garden’s Ashimizu area. The gentle stream here has been transformed into a foot bath, open between 3pm and 9pm (closed on Tuesdays). It can accommodate up to 70 people at a time and best of all, it’s free. Towels are available at ¥100 each, but of course, you can always bring your own.

At the adjacent outdoor Midpark Lounge (5pm-10pm; Sat, Sun and hols 12noon-10pm), you can enjoy casual meals like buttermilk fried chicken, summer vegetable and seafood curry, and vegan cob salad, as well as sweet treats like fruity panna cotta and Basque cheesecake. The drink menu, on the other hand, offers a selection of cooling refreshments such as yuzu gin and tonic, green tea gin and ice cream soda. There are tables and seats for 120 people. 

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  • Things to do
  • Shiba-Koen

Enjoy a late night stroll under an artificial Milky Way at Tokyo Tower’s main deck. As an alternative experience for astronomy enthusiasts, Tokyo Tower has recreated the Milky Way using 30,000 LED lights, so you can gaze up at the (artificial) stars in the middle of the city.

Every 15 minutes, the blue LED lights that represent the starry sky turn pink and gold, while the Milky Way changes from white to a rainbow of seven colours. This special effect makes the Tokyo skyline look even more mesmerising, as if our beloved city is under a magical starry night.

The event takes place from 9.00am until 10.30pm.

  • Things to do
  • Shiba-Koen

Tokyo Tower's alternative to the ubiquitous summer beer gardens is welcoming the outdoor drinking season with a double dose of whisky highballs. Head to the terrace at the base of the tower for a lengthy menu of highballs combined with a variety of drinking snacks (think karaage and grilled bacon).

There's also a meatier option on the roof of the Tower Foot Town building. The Tokyo Tower Rooftop Highball Garden serves up all-you-can-eat jingisukan, the Hokkaido-born lamb barbecue named after the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan.

Two hours of all-you-can-drink alcohol and limitless jingisukan can be had for ¥5,800 (teens aged 13-19 ¥3,800, primary school students ¥2,800, children aged 4-6 ¥1,800, all with non-alcoholic drinks, of course).

The Tokyo Tower Cho-Ten Highball Garden at the base of the tower is open until October 6, from 4pm-10pm on weekdays and 12noon-10pm on Sat, Sun & holidays.

The Tokyo Tower Rooftop Highball Garden is open until October 14, from 5pm-9.30pm daily. Make your reservations here.

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  • Shinanomachi

Taking over the expansive outdoor lawn within the children’s play area at Meiji Shrine’s Outer Gardens, the Forest Beer Garden distinguishes itself from other boozy events in town with its lush green surrounds and bubbling waterfall.

The popular two-hour all-you-can-eat (¥5,880) option includes everything from barbecue beef, pork and lamb to veggies, yakisoba noodles, grilled onigiri and even ice pops. It includes an all-you-can-drink selection of seven kinds of beers including Kirin and Heineken, in addition to whisky, sours, wine and soft drinks. Despite being one of the largest beer gardens in Tokyo with a capacity for around 1,000 people, the event can get extremely busy at weekends, so advance bookings are recommended via the website.

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink events
  • Shinjuku

The rooftop of Lumine Shinjuku has transformed into a beer garden where you can watch movies curated by Cinema Caravan, also known as the organisers of the annual Zushi Film Festival. You can choose from three kinds of cuisines – American, Korean or Mexican barbecue courses, all offered in light (from ¥5,390), standard (from ¥5,940) and premium (from ¥6,490) plans. The World Trip BBQ Premium Plan offers a taste of all the cuisines in one course, for ¥7,590.

The all-American course comes with classic beef short ribs, pork, jerk chicken and sausage, accompanied with condiments like buffalo sauce, magic mustard and Kansas City barbecue sauce. The Korean course, on the other hand, features a one-centimetre-thick slab of samgyeopsal (pork belly), beef short rib, scallops, kimchi and four kinds of dips including dadaegi miso and yangnyeom (sweet and spicy) sauce. The Mexican course comes with beef, jerk chicken, pork, as well as seafood options like scallops, salmon and shrimp, and a side of guacamole. All courses come with 90 minutes of all-you-can-drink beverages from a list of 160 cocktails and soft drinks.

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  • Things to do
  • Food and drink events
  • Ikebukuro

Popular German craft beer brand Schmatz takes over the Lumine Ikebukuro rooftop with its annual beer garden serving modern German cuisine. It features four original craft beers, plus a range of beer cocktails including shandy gaff, cassis beer, mango beer and even a banana weizen. Additionally, there are regular cocktails, highballs, shochu and wines to choose from as well. 

The standard barbecue plan (¥6,000) includes sauerkraut, camembert cheese ahijo with baguette, sausages, beef, pork, and an array of veggies to grill. You can order drinks as you go, but we recommend adding an additional ¥500 to get an all-you-can-drink deal on its four speciality beers on tap.

  • Things to do
  • Oshiage

Tokyo Skytree is getting a Pokémon-themed makeover for summer. From now until September 24, the 634m-tall tower will be illuminated in colours inspired by popular Pokémon.

At one of its observation decks, the 450m-high Tembo Galleria, you’ll find photo spots featuring Captain Pikachu and friends. Avid fans will be delighted with the special Pokémon-themed menu at the lower observation deck’s Skytree Café. There’s a cute fruit parfait (¥1,400) with three ice cream flavours plus a Pokéball biscuit. And if you get the special kiwi-melon soda or the ginger mango soda with Pokémon illustrations (¥1,000 each), you can then order the mystery cupcake as a dessert set, which will come decorated with one of six Pokémon picks.

To make the most of your visit, be sure to stay until sundown and catch screenings of Pokémon anime. The evening shows are projected onto the observatory windows at the Skytree Round Theater. This will surely make the Tokyo skyline look even more mesmerising. Each screening runs for six minutes, with shows at 7.30pm, 8.15pm and 9pm daily.

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  • Art
  • Harajuku

In teamLab's new pop-up exhibition in collaboration with the Galaxy store in Harajuku, the digital art collective's enchanted forest has been transformed into an underwater fantasy. This latest installation is also an interactive one, where visitors can use smartphones to catch, study and release the colourful sea creatures they encounter in the space. There's a great variety of marine animals to see, including fish like tuna as well as aquatic creatures that are endangered or extinct. 

To catch a creature to study it, you can use the designated app on a Galaxy smartphone to scan fish swimming in the space, or throw out a 'Study Net' towards the floor if you see something interesting darting around your feet. 

Each session is an hour-long, with daily exhibitions open from 11am until 7pm. 

Note: an end date for this exhibition has yet to be announced.

  • Art
  • Waseda

Yayoi Kusama is celebrated worldwide for her abstract paintings and objects that feature repetitive rendering of a single motif: most famously those iconic polka-dotted pumpkins. The very beginnings of her artistic journey, however, saw Kusama pursue accurate and finely detailed depictions of animals, plants and familiar everyday items. As this exhibition reveals, these fledgeling works nonetheless contain the seeds of Kusama’s later practice of translating her visions and inner perceptions into figurative, abstract forms.

Works featured here, spanning the 1940s through to the present, include sketches and traditional Japanese paintings that predate Kusama’s career-shaping 1957 relocation to the United States. There are also collages that the artist worked on intensively from the 1970s to the 1990s, and prints representative of those she has been producing prolifically since 1979.

Documenting the later decades of this ongoing artistic journey, meanwhile, are 21st-century paintings characterised by figurative images, such as eyes repeated to fill the entire canvas. Finally, the artist’s three-dimensional work is represented by an infinity room installation originally created to mark this museum’s inauguration, along with the world premiere of a soft sculpture-covered boat which embodies a concept Kusama first explored in the 1960s.

Note that tickets are not available at the door; they must be purchased in advance online.

The exhibition is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays (except July 15, Aug 12).

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  • Art
  • Kamiyacho

Alexander Calder (1898-1976) is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century, primarily for works that revolutionised modern conceptions of sculpture. This US-born artist fused artistic sensibility with his engineering training to invent the kinetic abstract mobile: the kind of moving sculpture with which he is most closely associated.

Calder’s dynamic metal-based creations loom magnificently large at what is the artist’s first Tokyo solo exhibition in almost 35 years, alongside static sculptures dubbed ‘stabiles’, as well as oil paintings and works on paper. ’Calder: Un effet du japonais’ explores, via around 100 pieces, the enduring resonance that this modernist artist’s work has with Japanese aesthetics and traditions. Though Calder never travelled to Japan, and avoided explaining the inspirations and concepts behind his work, a Japanese-style sensibility is perceptible in pieces such as 1963’s ‘The Pagoda’, a 10ft-high stabile featured here.

Other highlights reveal how Calder’s mobiles and stabiles embraced the extremes of stark all-black rendering on the one hand and pops of primary colours on the other. ‘Black Beast’ (1940) is a 14ft wide and 9ft tall stabile with a foreboding air, while ‘Untitled’ (1956) is a hanging mobile whose arrangement of leaf-like sheet-metal shapes demonstrates the artist’s pursuit of what he called ‘disparity’, over symmetry. The latter work is also a great example of how Calder’s mobiles can appear subtly different with each viewing, thanks to their multiple moving elements.

A special touch to this exhibition is given by the spatial design, which combines geometric principles favoured by Calder with references to modern Japanese architecture and materials.

The exhibition is closed on June 4, as well as July 2 and Aug 6.

  • Art
  • Omotesando

British-born artist Mark Leckey is a product of the UK’s ever-vibrant pop culture, and through diverse mediums he confronts youth, dance music, nostalgia, social class and history from an often countercultural perspective. The subcultural edge of his work – which encompasses film, sound, sculpture, performance, collage and more – additionally takes on a gritty incongruousness when enjoyed at Louis Vuitton’s sleek Omotesando exhibition space.

The French luxury house here presents two Leckey works from its collection. 'Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore feat. Big Red Soundsystem' (1999-2003-2010) is a film that, through a mash-up of archive footage, vividly traces the development of the UK’s underground dance music scene from 1970s disco through to the ’90s rave scene.

2013’s 'Felix the Cat', meanwhile, is a giant inflatable rendering of the cartoon cat that Leckey considers a pioneer of the digital age. Almost a century ago, this feline character was one of the first subjects to be transmitted as a TV signal.

Text by Darren Gore

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  • Art
  • Roppongi

This debut Japanese solo show from Chicago-born Theaster Gates takes place at one of Tokyo’s most prestigious art venues. Gates’s rise to prominence is very much part of the art world’s increasing recognition of the voices of African-American and other non-white communities. A truly multi-disciplinary creative – focused primarily on sculpture and ceramics but also working in architecture, music, performance, fashion and design – Gates strives to preserve and promote Black culture via projects as large as a Chicago initiative that has transformed over 40 abandoned buildings into public art spaces.

Also key to Gates’s vision, and a central theme of this show, is the influence that Japanese cultural and craft traditions have had on the artist over the past two decades. From initially travelling to Japan in 2004 to study ceramics, encounters and explorations over the subsequent decades have led Gates to formulate 'Afro-Mingei'. This is a creative ideology inspired by Gates’s identification of a spirit of resistance shared by Afro-American culture and Japan’s Mingei folk crafts movement. It imagines Black aesthetics and Japanese craft philosophies coming together in our globalised era to form a future hybrid culture.

This exhibition explores the Afro-Mingei concept through installations including a revolving, mirror-surfaced 'iceberg' that pays homage to Chicago house music, and an endlessly reverberating church organ. There are also works utilising materials as disparate as Japanese incense and firefighters’ hoses, ceramics and sculptures from both Gates and fellow US and Japanese artists, and much more.

The exhibition closes early at 5pm on Tuesday (except August 13).

  • Art
  • Ueno

Kyuyoh Ishikawa, born 1945 in Fukui prefecture, has truly dedicated his life to Japanese-style calligraphy. This encompasses not only research and criticism, in his capacity as a professor at Kyoto Seika University, but also the creation of a vast body of calligraphy work that has helped keep the art form vibrant and contemporary.

This exhibition is a comprehensive overview of Ishikawa’s own calligraphy, comprising around 300 works divided between the show’s two month-long parts (first half, June 8–30; second half, July 3–28). These creations convey how, from the earliest days of his career, Ishikawa has sought to avoid the constraints of tradition. As demonstrated by pieces seen in the exhibition’s first half, many of which are based upon classic tales such as ‘The Fifty-five Tales of Genji’, this was the case even when he was working with the earliest elements of the Japanese literary canon.

The second half of the exhibition, meanwhile, is based upon Ishikawa’s own assertion that calligraphy is not simply the writing of characters: rather, it is a means of expressing words. This notion is explored through work whose inspiration ranges from haiku poetry to the chaos of the modern world. Exhibited during this time is one of Ishikawa's most renowned pieces from his Gray Period, an 85m-long work inspired by religious text.

The exhibition is closed July 1-2.

Free things to do in Tokyo this week

  • Art
  • Aoyama

The debut Tokyo solo show from Los Angeles-based artist, filmmaker and writer Miranda July is one that is pertinent to our social media-fixated times. F.A.M.I.L.Y. (the initials standing for ‘Falling Apart Meanwhile I Love You’), taking place at luxury house Prada’s landmark Aoyama building, is an Instagram-facilitated video installation born from the artist’s favoured method of initiating exchanges that she controls to some degree, while simultaneously inviting her counterpart in the dialogue to express desires and perform actions. An array of screens span a section of the Herzog & de Meuron-designed flagship store, showing the results of a year-long artistic experiment in which July collaborated with seven complete strangers via Instagram. The artist sent these individuals a series of prompts, with their subsequent video responses then manipulated in her studio using the basic ‘cut-out’ tool of a social media video editing app. These surreal performances see July and her participants together explore intimacy and personal boundaries through a new form of physical language, with the artist hoping the project might achieve what she sees as one of the promises of Instagram: that the user is looked at so lovingly that they finally ‘feel okay’.

  • Things to do
  • Yokohama

Taking place around Yokohama Port, Yokohama Sparkling Twilight lights up not only the city but also the sky above it. It's a stunning sight as the fireworks are set off above the illuminated boats crisscrossing the sea in front of Yamashita Park.  This time around, there are 13 five-minute fireworks displays scheduled from April to September. Depending on the date, the fireworks are launched at either Osanbashi Pier and/or Shinko Pier. This makes the seaside Yamashita Park an ideal vantage point to catch all the explosive action. Along with the fireworks, Yokohama is also hosting several fringe events in the city, including Yokohama Frühlingsfest (April 26-May 6), Belgian Beer Weekend Yokohama (May 16-19), Hama-Fes Y165 (May 25-26) and more. See the event website for updates. Fireworks are held on June 22, July 13, 27, August 10, 31, September 14, and 21. (2024)

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  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Aoyama

The UNU farmers’ market is one of Tokyo’s longest running and best-attended markets. Taking place every weekend in front of the university’s Aoyama headquarters, this one always attracts a knowledgeable crowd. Organic and local fare is readily available every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm, with the farmers themselves happy to provide details about their wares. Plus, there's always a few food trucks on hand if you wish to enjoy a quick meal.

  • Art
  • Omotesando

British-born artist Mark Leckey is a product of the UK’s ever-vibrant pop culture, and through diverse mediums he confronts youth, dance music, nostalgia, social class and history from an often countercultural perspective. The subcultural edge of his work – which encompasses film, sound, sculpture, performance, collage and more – additionally takes on a gritty incongruousness when enjoyed at Louis Vuitton’s sleek Omotesando exhibition space. The French luxury house here presents two Leckey works from its collection. 'Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore feat. Big Red Soundsystem' (1999-2003-2010) is a film that, through a mash-up of archive footage, vividly traces the development of the UK’s underground dance music scene from 1970s disco through to the ’90s rave scene. 2013’s 'Felix the Cat', meanwhile, is a giant inflatable rendering of the cartoon cat that Leckey considers a pioneer of the digital age. Almost a century ago, this feline character was one of the first subjects to be transmitted as a TV signal. Text by Darren Gore

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Ueno

One of Tokyo's biggest annual festivals is celebrating its 73rd edition this year. Held at its namesake park, Ueno Summer Festival is a month-long programme packed with a diverse array of traditional events, live performances and seasonal festivities. These include a traditional lantern-floating event on July 17 at 7pm, as well as Japanese taiko drum street performances on July 21 and 27 (1pm and 3pm) at Ueno Park’s Shinobazu Pond.  That said, the festival offers more than just classic Japanese celebrations. The antique market, which will run every day from July 20 to August 4 at the banks of Ueno Park Shinobazu Pond, for instance, is a great place to look for small treasures and summer mementoes. As always, there will be plenty of food and drink stalls throughout the park selling popular street eats like yakisoba and kakigori shaved ice – a staple summer treat. Check the event website for the full programme (in Japanese only).

  • Things to do
  • Tachikawa

It may not be the biggest of Tokyo's many fireworks events, but Tachikawa's hanabi is certainly one of the more comfortable ones. Held at the spacious Showa Kinen Park, the festival always draws massive crowds, so make sure to arrive early to secure the best viewing spot. This year’s event will see around 5,000 shells of fireworks launched during the hour-long show from 7.15pm to 8.15pm. Paid seating with the best views will be sold online from July 1 at 10am, on a first come first served basis. Tickets are priced at ¥8,800 for a seat, or ¥13,200 for a picnic blanket seating two people. Alternatively, you can catch the fireworks anywhere in the park for free. Do note that the park charges a ¥450 admission fee. But for this event, entry is free after 6pm.

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  • Things to do
  • Harajuku

Taiwanese food is becoming increasingly popular in Tokyo, with many neighbourhoods and commercial facilities hosting their own versions of Taiwan Festival, including this one at Yoyogi Park. Inspired by the island’s famous night markets, the three-day Taiwan Festa features an array of booths selling a host of local delicacies including breakfast egg crepe, lu rou fan (braised pork over rice), shaved ice with fruit, and of course, dumplings aplenty. Wash them down with a refreshing Taiwanese beer while you enjoy popular Taiwanese performances on the stage. If you want to take a break from eating, head to the workshops to learn about the language, tea, culture and more.  Be sure to stay until the evening, as the festival features a night-time art installation by art collective Mirrorbowler. Utilising mirrors and lights, the mesmerising art display is said to symbolise the image of friendship between Japan and Taiwan.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Harajuku

Expect a colourful, caipirinha-fuelled, energy-packed couple of days as the Brazil Festival takes over Yoyogi Park's event square. There will be plenty of dancing and live music, featuring bossa nova singers, samba dancers, percussionists and capoeira performers. The abundant food stalls, on the other hand, will be serving plenty of grilled meat, churros and fruity beverages.

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  • Things to do
  • Yokohama

A staple of summer at Yokohama’s Zou-no-hana Terrace, this border-crossing celebration of dance is back for its tenth edition. More than 1,000 dancers representing 66 troupes will take to the venue’s seaside stage every weekend between July 27 and August 25 to show off their moves across genres ranging from a wide variety of folk dances to hula and hip-hop. Noteworthy guests include tap dancer Masaki Murata and buto performer Ryugoro Kuze, with the latter set to appear together with the dance and music show outfit Circustik Orchestra​​. During the event, the Zou-no-hana café will serve a special menu of summery eats and drinks such as loco moco, Okinawan taco rice and refreshing mojitos. See the website for the full programme.

  • Art
  • Harajuku

In teamLab's new pop-up exhibition in collaboration with the Galaxy store in Harajuku, the digital art collective's enchanted forest has been transformed into an underwater fantasy. This latest installation is also an interactive one, where visitors can use smartphones to catch, study and release the colourful sea creatures they encounter in the space. There's a great variety of marine animals to see, including fish like tuna as well as aquatic creatures that are endangered or extinct.  To catch a creature to study it, you can use the designated app on a Galaxy smartphone to scan fish swimming in the space, or throw out a 'Study Net' towards the floor if you see something interesting darting around your feet.  Each session is an hour-long, with daily exhibitions open from 11am until 7pm.  Note: an end date for this exhibition has yet to be announced.

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