Hope you are enjoying the three day weekend, despite the rain. Hoping it will clear up! Monday is Japan’s Culture Day (November 3rd). It looks like rain on Saturday but might clear-up for Sunday and Monday. Curated 5 Fun Tokyo area activities for the long weekend; 1. Deutschland Fest, 2. Aneby TrimPark, 3. Lee Mingwei Exhibit at the Mori Art Museum, 4. Makers Base Workshops and 5. the Farmers Market at the UN University building.
First a quick tutorial on “What is Culture Day?”. Culture Day (文化の日 Bunka no Hi) is a national holiday held annually in Japan on November 3 for the purpose of promoting culture, the arts, and academic endeavour. Festivities typically include art exhibitions, parades, and award ceremonies for distinguished artists and scholars. Culture Day was first held in 1948, to commemorate the announcement of the post-war Japanese constitution on November 3, 1946. However, November 3 was first celebrated as a national holiday in 1868, when it was called Tenchō-setsu (天長節), a holiday held in honor of the birthday of the reigning emperor—at that time, the Meiji Emperor.
1. Deutschland Fest (Roppongi, Tokyo) – Supported by the German Embassy and many German and multi-national companies the Deutschland Fest will take place this weekend. The weather is perfect for a mini Octoberfest in Tokyo. Enjoy a variety of beer, sausages and other German food, while you review German products and enjoy German music. Should be a fun family outing!
Dates: Friday, October 31 – Monday, November 3
Times: Fri 16:00-21:00; Sat-Mon 11:00-21:00
Address: Aoyama Park (South ground area) 7-23 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Cost: free admission
Access: 5 min walk from Nogizaka sat on the Chiyoda line, or 5 mins walk from Roppongi sat exit #4, Also 5 min walk from Aoyama station
Website: http://www.deutschlandfest.com/ (in Japanese only)
Toilets: Portable toilets will be available
Child friendly: If nice weather this will be crowded so strollers might be tough
2. Aneby TrimPark (Odaiba, Tokyo)
This play-center for babies to 12 year olds is a great place on a rainy day. The facility opened in July 2014 so it is very clean and orderly. The name Trim Park came for the concept of “trimming” a sail; keeping balance and control. The facility offers trampolines, extensive climbing gyms, a peddle go-cart area, play food area, and many other activities for kids. I personally think it is ideal for 2-6 year olds. Baby and I went for two hours and it was just enough for her to enjoy being a sushi cook, climbing some challenging gyms, having mom push her on the go-cart and make a arts-and-craft project. The facility is located on the first floor of the Venus Fort in Odaiba which has plenty of parking and is right near the train station. I visited on a week day and the place was empty, although they said it gets crowded on the weekend. Baby was very upset when we had to leave. Nice change of pace and new Tokyo Area Activity.
Address: Venus Fort 1F, Aomi 1-3-15 Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064
Times: Open 10:00am – Close 20:00pm（Last admission 18:00）
Cost: child – 1,000 yen for 1st hour +250 yen for extension; parent: 1,500 yen
Access: Parking available in building. 5 mins walk from Tokyo Teleport Station on the Rinkai Line from Osaki. Follow signed to Venus Fort
Website: http://anebytrimpark.com/en/ (in English)
Toilets: Provided on site for babies and kids under 6 years, kids above 6 and adults must use public toilet in Venus port.
Child friendly: Yes, strollers and wheelchairs ok, also lockers provided in the facilities for bags.
3. Lee Mingwei Exhibit at the Mori Art Museum (Roppongi, Tokyo)
I highly recommend the Lee Mingwei exhibit at the Mori Art Museum. I only had one hour but could have spent three. The exhibit is about Lee Mingwei’s relationships with people, art and art patrons. The exhibits are very provocative and cause one to think about one’s relationships with family and friends past and present. Lee and other artists since the 1990s have been very focused on “relationship arts” with audience-participatory projects. You can participate in projects not just by viewing but by touching, writing, reading and giving. If you are lucky you can even eat and maybe sleep in the museum – don’t want to give away all the surprises. I really enjoyed unwrapping boxes that held memory items from people with personal stories about relationships; also the letter writing booths where you can write or read the letters which express thanks, regrets and secrets. The flower exhibit is very interactive since you are asked to take a flower and passed it on to a stranger once you leave the museum. Honestly it took a few tries to find someone outside who would take my flower. Interesting take on relationships and how we are engaged and participate or not. I think I will go back with the kids who would also enjoy.
Location: Mori Art Museum, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Dates and Times: September 20, 2014 – January 4, 2015; 10:00 – 22:00
Cost: Adults 1,500 yen, College and High school 1,000 yen, 4-12 years 500 yen, under 4 free
4. Makers Base 100 Workshops (Meguro, Tokyo)
Makers Base in Meguro is a year old cooperative workshop facility where members can use the space and machinery to create their own works of art, many of the artist them sell their products on and offline. This long weekend Makers Base is holding a special three days open house offering over 100 workshops to the public. This is a special collaboration between Makers Base × iichi (which is an arts and crafts website – “the Etsy of Japan”). 100 creators will gather from November 1st – 3rd to offer 100 workshops from jewellery making to wood working to 3D printing. The workshops are held in Japanese, however, since everything is hands-on creation it is fairly easy to understand what to do even with no Japanese ability. Most of the workshops are for adults, but there are a few that parents can do with their children. Workshops are 2-4 hours long and cost from 2,500 to 15,000 depending on product and materials. If you have a few hours and there is still space left you should definitely try Makers Base this weekend. Never know you may find your creative passion, quit your day job and sell online :-). All details below. You must reserve and pay for your sessions online.
Dates: Saturday, November 1 – Monday, November 3
Times: 10:00 – 22:00
Address: 2-5-12 Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Cost: Depends on workshop typically 2,500 – 15,000 yen
Access: 10 min walk from Meguro station on the Yamanote or Namboku lines
Website: https://makers-base.com/event/?type=100mob (Japanese language only)
Toilets: available but artistically rustic
Child friendly: not for young children, a lot of dangerous and valuable machinary
5. The Farmers Market at the UN University (Omotesando, Tokyo)
Love, love wondering through the farmers market at the UN University between Omotesando and Shibuya stations. Over 70 vendors come to sell their fresh produce, honey, rice and more. There are also food and drink trucks for hearty appetites. My kids and I bike to the market and spend a hour or so tasting the samples. We never walk away empty handed, usually buying more than enough to fill our bike baskets. A lot of the produce is also organic. Enjoy the fresh season harvest.
Dates: Saturday, November 1 & Sunday, November 2
Times: Saturday & Sunday 10:00 – 16:00
Address: 5-53-70 Jingue Mae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Cost: free admission
Access: 5 min walk from Omotesando station or 7 min walk from Shibuya station
Website: http://farmersmarkets.jp (in Japanese only)
Toilets: No toilets
Child friendly: Stroller friendly, lots of samples for kids to nibble, also wheelchair friendly