This Weekend: Tokyo Area Events for Mar. 26–27

By The Savvy Team
March 26, 2016

It's finally spring! With the recent announcement that Tokyo's cherry blossoms are now officially blooming, many will be spending the weekend outside, either testing their photographic skills or cheerfully wining and dining under the stunning pink blooms. In addition to hanami, this weekend is also full of other outdoor entertainment experiences, including morning outdoor yoga, koto performances and fun events for the kids in Shinjuku. There are also several must-see exhibitions, including dance, art and a rare exploration of political opposition expressed in Cuban art.

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Hanami Picnics and Festivals Across the City

It’s a hanami (cherry blossom viewing) weekend, so grab your camera or picnic mat, a few drinks and tasty nibbles, and head to any of the famous hanami spots in the capital, namely Shinjuku Gyoen, Ueno Park, Yoyogi Park, Showa Memorial Park, Sumida River, Meguro River, Chidorigafuchi and Inokashira Park, just to mention the basic eight. For those preferring yozakura (night hanami) visit Tokyo Midtown, which will be holding its annual light up of the beautiful cherry trees and a Martini Blossom Lounge, a great afternoon or evening in the company of classy champagne and food. The annual Bunkyo Sakura Festival near Myogadani station is also worth a visit this week. There will be a petting zoo, musical performances, parades and other events happening under the famous location’s 120 sakura trees. The special “hanami cruise” along the Meguro River, the Nihonbashi sakura boats and the sakura viewing boats on the Sumida River will also operate this weekend. Though less popular among the foreign population in Japan, the Oedo Fukagawa Sakura Festival in Tokyo’s Monzen Nakacho, will also be held starting from Saturday  and going through April 10. There will be plenty of sakura viewing spots, food stalls and many other local entertainment activities. Last but not least, the 15-meter high famous weeping cherry in Rikugien will also be at its best for the public as it is lit up in the evening for a magical viewing experience.

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Seiki Kuroda, Master of Modern Japanese Painting

Seiki Kuroda was one of the first modernizers of Japanese art, traveling to France to learn European techniques under the tutelage of masters like Raphaël Collin. Held to mark the 150th anniversary of Kuroda’s birth, this show looks at Kuroda’s artistic achievements through masterpieces including “Portrait of a Woman (Kitchen),” which were painted while he was studying abroad, as well as those from after his return to Japan, such as “Maiko Girl.”

When: Wed, Mar. 23 through Sun, May 15, 2016, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. (closed Mondays except for Mar. 28, Apr. 4 and May 2)

Where: Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum, 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥1,600 for adults, ¥1,200 for university students, ¥900 for high school students, free for junior high school students and below

cuban posters

Cuban Posters for Films

Cuba is famous for many things, but not so many people know that it’s one of the “largest” cinematic countries in the world. Since the 1959 revolution, Cuba adopted a “revolutionary” means of film publicity, which focused on commissioning a variety of designers and painters to create movie posters by using hand operated silkscreen techniques instead of mass production’s offset printing style. This exhibition introduces 85 posters created from the revolutionary era up to around 1990. It is perfect for anyone interested in political and national movements expressed through art.

When: Now through Sun, Mar. 27, 2016, 11 a.m.–6:30 p.m. (last entry 6 p.m.)

Where: National Film Gallery Exhibition Gallery (7th floor), The National Museum of Modern Art, 3-7-6 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥210 for adults, ¥70 for university students and seniors

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Tokyo Outside Festival 2016

Organized annually since 2013, the Tokyo Outside Festival is one of the largest outdoor family events in Tokyo. It features a wide array of outdoor activities and workshops for the kids, including “treeing,” a new take on tree climbing, bungee/trampoline jumping and, strider bike rides. There will also be food booths and outlet stalls. It’s a great place to play, experience, shop and eat outside while enjoying the sunny weather. Worth mentioning–it’s also free!

When: Sat, Mar. 26, 2016, 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Sun, Mar. 27, 2016, 9:30 a.m.–3 p.m.

Where: Shinjuku Chuo Park, at the back of the Metropolitan Government Buildings (near Tochomae Station, Exit 5)

How much: Free!

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Shinagawa Spring Terrace

Enjoy the arrival of spring through this event, featuring a wide array of Japanese traditional entertainment activities, all held under the beautiful sakura blossoms. On the list are a Japanese wagasa parasol installation light-up in the evening, a koto performance, a Japanese tea ceremony experience, professional photo shoots for the kids, and morning yoga. Note that there are various times for each event and some require reservations in advance. See more information here (Japanese only).

When: Fri, Mar. 25, 2016, 12 p.m.–8 p.m.; Sat, Mar. 26, 2016, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sun, Mar. 27, 2016, 11a.m.–6 p.m. (light up 5–8 p.m.) 

Where: Shinagawa Season Terrace, Konan 1-2-70, Minato-ku, Tokyo

How much: Free! (¥1,300 for the yoga class)

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Yukio Suzuki Dance Performances

One of Japan’s most dynamic contemporary dancers, Yukio Suzuki presents the first installment in a new series, Warp Mania #1. A veteran of the legendary butoh dance studio Asbestos-kan, Suzuki launched his solo career in 1997 and has won prestigious prizes like the Toyota Choreography Award. The founder of the Kingyo dance troupe, Suzuki’s style is informed by butoh, but he performs without body paint in a documentary style more familiar to fans of global contemporary dance forms.

When: Fri, Mar. 25 and Sat, Mar. 26, 2016, 7 p.m. and Sun, Mar. 27, 2016, 3 p.m.

Where: Theater Tram, 4-1-1 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

How much: ¥4,000 per person or ¥6,000 for two

Tickets: Book online or call 03-5432-1515


Cosmos & Flowers & Human Being

Hiroki Maeno, one of Japan’s most prominent and innovative practitioners of ikebana, wishes to separate the art from the common misperception that it is merely a form of decoration. Last year, Maeno and his wife, creative director Junko Maeno, teamed up with designer Mizuki Yamahashiri, makeup artist Yoshio and Tokyo based British photographer Anatole Papfilippou to create a book of modern ikebana. Now, the team have partnered with voice actor Shoo Munakata to create “Cosmos & Flowers & Human Being,” an audio visual exhibition of photography and ikebana in the lobby of the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa.

When: Now through Sun, Apr. 3, 2016,  11 a.m.–8:30 p.m.

Where: Lobby of the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa, 3-13-1 Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tokyo 

How much: Free!


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