Tokyo’s Priceless Shopping Culture and Persevering Festivals

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The Tokyo Koenji Awa-Odori festival is held every August in Koenji and is one of Tokyo’s most popular summer festivals, where large numbers of locals dance excitedly through the streets in celebration. To support the Koenji shopping district, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new event mixing real and digital media has been created called “Tokyo Koenji Awa-Odori plus+: The Festival of Dancing Lights.” (Japanese)

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Nihonbashi Marutamaya, located in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi area, is a company that plans fireworks shows and manufactures fireworks. Recently, it had streamed a couple of completely new online fireworks events on YouTube that works without an in-person audience.

It was done so as to provide a venue for those unable to attend firework events due to the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, the quality of online fireworks competitions is reaching new heights thanks to drones and multiple camera angles. They also offer VR Fireworks content in multiple languages but are currently available only in Japan. (Japanese)
Contact: Nihonbashi Marutamaya Co.,Ltd., Rei Shimano

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Even when faced with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Shibuya still manages to find new ways to reimagine itself. Located between Shibuya Station’s Scramble Crossing and Yoyogi Park lies Kitaya Park. On April 1, it has reopened with a completely different look.

Kitaya Park will be a brand-new kind of recreational area that has a relaxing café (Opens April 28th), places to rest, and next to the building is an open space with an attached roof. This area will host a new place where a wide range of community events, such as exhibitions, workshops, local festivals, and farmers’ markets, can be held.

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The sculpture exhibition “Kiinseido: Hirakushi Denchu and Works Connecting Tradition with the Future” has been postponed since last July due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but it’ll finally be held at the end of the art and culture festival celebrating the 100th anniversary of Meiji Jingu Shrine.
Contact: Meiji Jingu Forest Festival of Art Executive Committee (Art Powers Japan)
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Yayoi Kusama is set to join Pavilion Tokyo 2021, which will be held as part of the Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL Special 13, a series of cultural programs that are scheduled to take place in conjunction with the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Contact: Junko Nakayama, Rika Konno, PR Office for Tokyo Tokyo FESTIVAL Special 13
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On March 12, the commercial gallery “biscuit gallery” opened along Shibuya’s Shoto Bunkamura Street. The gallery will mainly feature young contemporary artists.
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Before the COVID-19 outbreak, international tourists were looking for more ways to enjoy Tokyo nightlife. In anticipation of tourism returning to the city, a few places have opened in areas where you can enjoy casino games. One such area is Ebisu. Though not as well-known as other tourist destinations in the city, Ebisu is definitely the spot to watch for new and exciting nighttime entertainment in Tokyo. (Japanese)
While you’re still unable to go see performances at the Kabukiza Theater, an app has been released for the US, UK, Italy, Australia, Canada, and France that lets you enjoy Kabuki using augmented reality. The app is available in English.
Contact: Administrative office of innovation promotion, Shochiku Co., Ltd.
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YUEN BETTEI DAITA is a hot spring inn operating on a former railroad track near Shimokitazawa Station. On March 26, it opened an annex, where you can enjoy spa treatments and stay at long-term lodgings named the “Residential Suite.”
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Baseball is a national sport in Japan, but many don’t know that the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located at the Tokyo Dome in Bunkyo City (a sacred spot for Japanese baseball and its fans). Ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Games, a special exhibition is being held from March 19 to June 9 to introduce the history of baseball in Japan, which also helped shape Bunkyo City. (Japanese)
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*【Updated】Useful information on COVID-19 in Tokyo

◆Updates on COVID-19 in Tokyo

◆Prevention Measures and Updates on COVID-19 by TCVB

◆Coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory information by JNTO (Updated)

◆Information related to New Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19) from Immigration Services Agency by Ministry of Justice (Updated)

Get Inquisitive

Tokyo Is for Shoppers

After becoming Japan’s capital in 1603, Tokyo (then called Edo) immediately established itself as a city of commerce. It started with the construction of the Nihonbashi Bridge, which acted as a terminal for Japan’s main roads, helping funnel goods from all over the country into the city. Even Japan’s first modern department store, Mitsukoshi, traces its history to Nihonbashi, which is currently undergoing massive redevelopment to become an even bigger commercial hub. Time will only tell if it’ll steal the unofficial title of “Tokyo’s Paris” from the legendary shopping district of Ginza.

But shopping in Tokyo isn’t all high-end. For more down-to-earth experiences, visit one of Tokyo’s famous shotengai neighborhood shopping streets, which are the best places to find local and unique Tokyo products. Especially recommended shotengai include Yanaka-Ginza with its sweets, the Azabu-Juban shopping street, which is perfect for casual dining, or Jujo-Ginza, where Tokyoites go to fill up on cheap and delicious food.

For non-food purchases, you will want to hit one of Tokyo’s specialty streets and districts. Kappabashi, for example, is known as the capital’s kitchenware town where professional and amateur chefs can find everything they need. Kanda & Jinbocho, on the other hand, is Japan’s premier destination for used books, and for electronics and Japanese pop culture, you need to head on over to the famous Akihabara Electric Town.

If, however, you want to shop like the locals, then find a “depachika,” the basement floor of a department store where you can find everything from ready-to-eat meals to fine sake. The “ekinaka” train station shopping complexes serve a similar role. And for international tourists that can’t visit Japan due to COVID-19 restrictions, we recommend shopping online. “Tokyo Omiyage Project -Tokyo Souvenir-” is a joint initiative between the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and local businesses to create a lineup of unique souvenirs promoting the Tokyo brand. Also, 「EDO TOKYO KIRARI ONLINE STORE」, which opened on March 25th to the UK and France, is worth a visit. Find the perfect Tokyo souvenir for yourself or loved ones from a wide selection of items.

Tokyo Omiyage Project -Tokyo Souvenir-

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  Tokyo Event Calendar

Check out these annual festivals and events held in Tokyo. You can see the list of all major festivals, fireworks, parades, religious events, and other events in Greater Tokyo.
*Depending on the situation, festivals and events scheduled in 2021 may be canceled. Please check the official website for the latest information.

Open Calendar

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Please click on the link below to download the photos, press releases and new opening accommodation list.


From Editor

The time of glittering cherry blossom petals and vibrant greenery has come again. For me, though, spring in Tokyo means lots of tasty sweets! In Japan, the feeling of each season is carefully considered when creating traditional confections. That’s especially true in spring as colorful sweets made with cherry blossoms, greens, and fresh tea leaves line the shelves of sweet shops. Recently, Japanese and Western-style sweets collaborate, producing a variety of alluring treats. Beneath department stores, walking through the spectacular array of springtime sweets feels like another kind of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. Would it be an exaggeration to say that you can really sense the beauty of Japan from such a scene?

Kyoko Higashi / TOKYO NOW Editorial Staff  


Issued by: Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Supported by: Tourism Division, Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.