Things to do in Tokyo this week

This week’s hottest events, gigs, films, festivals and more
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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. You can pack a lot of living into seven days, whether you're someone who likes to spend an afternoon at the museum or prefers to stay out late clubbing. We've sifted through hundreds of listings to weed out a handful of the week's best events, gigs, festivals and things to do.

On a budget? Check out our list of the best free things to do in Tokyo this week.

Best things to do this week

Art, Digital and interactive

Resonating Trees in Ginza Six Garden

icon-location-pin Ginza
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If you're having trouble getting into the fancy teamLab Borderless museum this summer, don't worry: you can get a feel for the 'ultra-technologist' work on Ginza Six's rooftop. These 'resonating trees' change colour when you walk past them and emit a specific tone, which is different for every tree. Best of all, it's absolutely free – who said entertainment in Ginza had to be expensive?

View of the East side (Mitsukoshi and Isetan Department Stores) from the Shinjuku Station
Photo: Gaetano Faillance / PPS (Pacific Press Service)
Things to do

Tokyo: 150 years

icon-location-pin Ryogoku
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It's been 150 years since the city of Edo was officially renamed Tokyo on July 17, 1868. Enough reason for some celebration and retrospection, the folks at the Edo-Tokyo Museum must have thought, with this exhibition full of photographs of the city in all its glory. See images of Shinjuku devoid of cars or of glitzy Ginza without the skyscrapers: it's the city like you've never seen it before, if you've been on this earth for less than half a century or so. 

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Things to do

Kiyose Sunflower Festival

icon-location-pin Tama area
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Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and dive into a sea of yellow at Kiyose Sunflower Festival. Every summer a wheat farm on the outskirts of Tokyo turns into a magnificent sunflower field. The 100,000 sunny blooms here aren’t the only attraction as local farmers will also be selling fresh produce on site. Get ready to flood your Instagram feed with these towering beauties or indulge your inner Van Gogh and take a sketchpad and pencils, but bear in mind that your shoes might not emerge from Kiyose mud-free.

Art

Jomon: 10,000 Years of Prehistoric Art in Japan

icon-location-pin Ueno
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The prehistoric Jomon Period in Japanese history is thought to have started over 13,000 years ago. There is still a remarkable amount of well-preserved artefacts from that time, including the trademark pottery beloved by sculptor Taro Okamoto, intriguing clay figurines and ornaments. A selection of the best is displayed at the Tokyo National Museum in this large-scale exhibition. Don’t miss the six National Treasures of the Jomon Period, including the humanoid clay female figurine ‘Jomon Venus’, on display from July 31 until September 2.

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Things to do

Free Hachijojima Glow in the Dark Mushroom Tour

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Less than an hour’s flight from Haneda airport is an island filled with exotic plants including Mycena chlorophos, aka glow in the dark mushrooms. Walk around the island to look for these luminescent mushrooms, said to be the brightest in the world. You can also find green illuminating mushrooms during the summer, which look like they came straight out of a sci-fi movie.

Things to do

Kawagoe Hikawa Shrine Wind Chime Festival

icon-location-pin Saitama
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Known as a 'love shrine', Kawagoe Hikawa out in Saitama attracts plenty of fed-up singles looking for help in finding the partner of their dreams. This relatively new summer festival is another chance to do just that, as the hot summer night atmosphere and pretty light-ups ensure that love will be in the air. Colourful fuurin (wind chimes) adorn the grounds and the food and drink stalls include a shrine café.

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Things to do

How to spend your summer evening

Tokyo becomes boisterous and energetic once the heat cranks up. After going through our list of the best summer festivals and enjoying lots of cooling kakigori, you'll be wondering if there's anything you can do after dark. From wandering bars to DJ sets in an aquarium, make sure to use our guide to make the most of these steamy summer nights. Oh, and don't forget the summer fireworks festivals, too. 

Things to do

Hang out at the pool – once the sun has set

As the rainy season ended earlier than usual this year, it looks like this summer will be a long one. You could treat yourself to some ice cold kakigori, or feast on hiyashi chuka, the refreshingly cold ramen noodles. Or make a splash in a city pool. The good news is, in summer, many hotels and attractions in Tokyo will be opening their pools to the public come nighttime, where you can cool down with a cocktail in hand while taking a dip in the water.

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Restaurants

Soiree Blanche Grand Hyatt Tokyo

icon-location-pin Roppongi
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Originating in Saint-Tropez, France of the mid-1970s, ‘Soiree Blanche’ is a summer night event with a strict all-white dress code. The Grand Hyatt Tokyo has taken the concept and turned it into a week-long extravaganza of food and booze. Adorn yourself in white, enjoy the night breeze on the terrace, and listen to some summer jams, played by a resident DJ.

Things to do

Tokyo Kingyo Wonderland

icon-location-pin Oshiage
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Perhaps looking to challenge Nihonbashi's annual Art Aquarium this summer, the Skytree's Sumida Aquarium puts on an artsy goldfish show of its own. Themed on old Edo and its cultural traditions, the Edorium area will be decorated in summer festival style with goldfish lanterns and fuurin wind bells, while the goldfish display zone – the largest of its kind in Japan – will also be spruced up for the occasion. Kid-friendly workshops will be taking place as well, while the cafés will be serving up goldfish-themed tipples.

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Film

Qualite Fantastic! Cinema Collection

icon-location-pin Shinjuku
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Held in a small indie theatre in Shinjuku, this movie festival’s line-up is diverse. Teen crime thriller ‘November Criminals’, starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Ansel Elgort, is among the new releases while the cult classics include ‘Attack of the Killer Tomatoes’.

Things to do

Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium

icon-location-pin Nihonbashi
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Deploying a range of lighting tricks, projection mapping and traditional Japanese motifs, not to mention thousands of live goldfish, self-proclaimed ‘art aquarium producer' Hidetomo Kimura’s annual exhibition is back again with an eclectic combo of stylised Edo culture and modern-day technology. Go after 7pm for a hot atmosphere, cocktails and DJ tunes courtesy of local stars including Ken Ishii, Kuniyuki Takahashi and Rina (gigs only on weekends). Finally, you'll need to keep in mind that this is usually one of Tokyo's most popular summer happenings – there will be queues.

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Art

Michelangelo and the Ideal Body

icon-location-pin Ueno
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Ueno's National Musem of Western Art is putting the spotlight on Michelangelo and his works on the body, starting off with his famed marble sculptures. In addition to two of the master's marble sculptures there will also be works from the Renaissance period, plus exhibits from the Roman and Grecian eras which served as inspiration. That includes a reproduction of the ancient Greek sculpture known as Laocoön and His Sons, which had a great effect on the Italian Renaissance art movement and was considered the ideal of beauty by many. Unusual for Japan, you'll even be allowed to take photos of the latter. 

Things to do

Tokyo Tower Milky Way Illumination

icon-location-pin Shiba-Koen
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Enjoy a late night stroll right under an artificial milky way at Tokyo Tower. As a temporary solution for constellation lovers, Tokyo Tower has made an artificial milky way using 154,000 LED lights so Tokyoites can gaze up at the (artificial) stars in the middle of the city. The blue lights can also be enjoyed from ground level, making for a night to remember.

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