Dear Curious and Creative, This week has been much colder than last, but still great weather for being out and about. Here are my recommendations for 4 fun Tokyo events and activities this weekend: 1. enjoy the Franciscan Chapel Center’s Christmas Boutique and Bake Sale (Roppongi), 2. view the “Diamond Fuji”, 3. grab lunch at the Icho Festival (Aoyama) and 4. walk in Meiji Jingu Shrine (Yoyogi) and see children dressed in kimono celebrating 7-5-3. Also remember this weekend will be peak Autumn foliage viewing in Tokyo so decide where you want to go with BestLivingJapan’s 8 Best Autumn Foliage Locations.
1. Franciscan Chapel Center’s Christmas Boutique and Mrs. Claus’s Bake Shop (Roppongi)
I am pretty loyal about not decorating for Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving (Nov 28th), but I do enjoy a good church Christmas Boutique and Bake Sale! If you are starting to get in the holiday mood, and maybe just missing home a bit, you should the Franciscan Chapel Center’s 5th annual Christmas Boutique! Bring a friend and share in the holiday spirit while shopping an assortment of Christmas decorations, gifts and crafts, including bone china accents, exquisite obi, handmade pottery, washi cards, jewelry and much more! Visit Mrs. Claus’s Bake Shop to purchase homemade goodies!
Date & Time: Sunday, November 16, 2014 9:00-14:00
Address: 4-2-37 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Cost: free admission
Access: 5 min walk from Roppongi Station
Website: http://franciscanchapelcentertokyo.org (in English)
Child friendly: yes
2. Viewing the “Diamond Fuji” (Anywhere in Tokyo where you can see Fuji-san)
What is ‘Diamond Fuji’? Diamond Fuji takes place typically twice a year around the solace; it is a result of the alignment of the sunset and sunrise perfectly on the crest of Fuji. If you are at the right viewing location the views are beautiful and guarantees some magnificent photos. All of the best viewing locations will be very crowded so go early to reserve a spot. Great viewing locations include 1. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Observatory 45th floor (Shinjuku), Tokyo Tower (Shiba Koen), 3. “Tokyo City View” of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower (Roppongi), and 4. Mr Takao, a great hiking mountain, in western Tokyo.
3. The Icho Festival (Aoyama)
As mentioned in the 8 best locations for autumn foliage article Icho Namiki (Ginko Avenue in Aoyama) is a magnificent location for viewing the brilliant yellow colors. At the end the main road there is an Icho Fesitval that will run from Saturday, Nov 15th through Dec 8th. Over 80 food, beverage and lifestyle stores will participate serving all types of Autumn matsuri delicacies. You can read more details on this brochure in Japanese. Mid to the end of November will be very crowded on the weekends so go on M-F, or early on Sat or Sun. Ginko Avenue is located 3 mins walk from Aoyama- Itchome station on the Ginza or Hanzomon Lines. The festival will be open daily from Nov 15-Dec 8th from 10:00-16:30
4. Walk in Meiji Jingu Shrine and see children dressed in kimono celebrating 7-5-3 (Yoyogi, Tokyo)
November is the month of foliage in Tokyo, but also the month that girls ages 7 & 3 and boys 5 celebrate coming of age. November 15th is the actual date of 7-5-3, but families celebrate by dressing up the children and visiting shrines across Japan throughout the month of November. You can find children celebrating at most major shrines, however Meiji Jingu is one of the most popular. Also this month there is a chrysanthemum exhibit in Meji Jingu Shrine to enjoy.
More details on Shichi-Go-San (七五三, lit. “Seven-Five-Three”) from wikipedia. 7-5-3 is a traditional rite of passage and festival day in Japan for three and seven-year-old girls and five-year-old boys, held annually on November 15 to celebrate the growth and well-being of young children. As it is not a national holiday, it is generally observed on the nearest weekend. Shichi-Go-San is said to have originated in the Heian Period amongst court nobles who would celebrate the passage of their children into middle childhood. The ages 3, 5 and 7 are consistent with East Asian numerology, which claims that odd numbers are lucky. The practice was set to the fifteenth of the month during the Kamakura Period. Over time, this tradition passed to the samurai class who added a number of rituals. Children—who up until the age of three were required by custom to have shaven heads—were allowed to grow out their hair. Boys of age five could wear hakama for the first time, while girls of age seven replaced the simple cords they used to tie their kimono with the traditional obi. By the Meiji Period, the practice was adopted amongst commoners as well, and included the modern ritual of visiting a shrine to drive out evil spirits and wish for a long healthy life.
Opening Days: open everyday
Times: November open 6:10 to 16:10
Address: Meiji Jingu, 1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizono-cho, Shibuya-ku,
Cost: free admission
Access: 5 min walk from Harajuku station
Website: http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/ (in English)
Toilets: public toilets about a 10 minute walk into the shrine park area, and then at the shrine
Child friendly: yes, but path is pebbles so strollers with small tires do not work well
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