Here are our recommendations for the Top 5 Activities for a Tokyo Family Weekend June 11 & 12, 2016. The rainy season has officially started so remember your umbrellas when venturing out! This weekend the summer festivals begin in full force. Have fun, but remember to watch out for mosquitos. If you have kids, check out our tips on surviving the rainy season in Japan.
Lauren and Sandra
Tokyo Family Weekend June 11 & 12, 2016
1. View the beautiful hydrangea at the Bunkyo Ajisai Matsuri 2016 (Hakusan, Bunkyo-ku) – Officially rainy season has begun, which means the blooming of hydrangeas (Ajisai in Japanese). The most magnificent display of Ajisai in Tokyo is at Hakusan Shrine. We attended last year and had a wonderful time viewing the flowers, listening to the live entertainment and painting a bag (kids craft). The Shrine has over 3,000 Ajisai plants which when in full bloom are a sea of blue. Hakusan Shrine is also one of the most important shrines in Tokyo having been built in the 8th century to pray for a remedy for smallpox. The path leading up to the shrine is very charming with many small food booths and stone lanterns. The shrine is now a designated Important Cultural Property by the Metropolitan Government of Tokyo. Even if your kids are not big fans of flower viewing, they will be impressed by the sheer number!
Bunkyo-ku Ajisai Festival 2016 Details
Event dates: Saturday, June 11 – Sunday, June 19, 2016
Time: 10:00 – 17:00
Address: Hakusan Shrine, 5-31-26 Hakusan, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo (東京都文京区白山5-31-26)
Access: A 3-minute walk from Hakusan Shrine on the Toei Mita Subway Line; A 5-minute walk from Honkomagome station on the Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line
2. Torigoe Shrine Matsuri (Torigoe, Taito-ku, Tokyo) – The Torigoe Matsuri is one of the more authentic neighborhood festivals I have attended in Japan. The majority of participants have been raised and still live in the neighborhood. There are large groups of men, and some women, who fight for the rights to carry the enormous four-ton mikoshi through the streets surrounding the shrine. Here is a video I shot last year. Be careful if you do attend because the crowd of people moves quickly to avoid the weaving mikoshi. Enjoy the small booths selling drinks and food which spill out of people’s homes and parking spots. Fun early summer festival.
Torigoe Shrine Matsuri Details
Dates: Saturday and Sunday, June 11th & 12th, 2016; all day from around 10:00 unit 20:00ish
Address: 2-4-1 Torigoe, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Access: 3 min walk from Kurame Station on the Asakusa and Oedo Lines
Website: http://www.city.taito.lg.jp/index/event/kanko/torikoematsuri.html/ (Japanese language)
3.Vietnam Festival 2015 (Yoyogi/Harajuku) – The last two months there have been some great festivals in Yoyogi from Laos to Jamacia. This weekend you can eat, drink and learn all about Vietnam. I personally think the traditional dance and music performances are amazing. Go and grab a bowl of noodles, a beer and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Vietnam.
Vietnam Festival Details
Date: Sat – Sun, June 11 & 12, 2015
Time:1o:00 – 20:00
Address: Yoyogi Park Event Space, 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizounocho, Shibuya-ku
Cost: free entrance
Access: 5 min walk from Harajuku station on the Yamanote line
Website: http://www.vietnamfes.net/(Japanese and Vietnamese language only)
Stoller and wheelchair friendly. You can also take your dog, but keep on a short leash.
4. Shibuya Ohara Festival (Shibuya Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku) – おはら祭踊りパレード 渋谷道玄坂 – Every year in the Autumn, there is a two-day festival in Kagoshima city which is celebrated. Since not all of us will have a chance to go to Kagoshima, the festival is borough to Shibuya in early summer each year. This one day festival on Sunday takes over Shibuya area from the station up Dogenza. The highlight is the parade that begins at 11:50. A wonderful parade with dancing and music. Great Japan photo opportunity! The festival runs from 10:00 so get their early and enjoy some Kyushu delicacies sold at food stations. Great Sunday event if you are looking for something really Japanese!
Shibuya Ohara Festival Details
Dates: Sunday, June 12th, 2016; 11:50 – 15:10
Address: Shibuya Dogenzaka and Bunkamura areas
Access: 2 min walk from Shibuya station around Dogenzaka area
Website: www.shibuyadeohara.jp (Japanese language only)
5. Tokyo Toy Show (Ariake) – The annual toy show open to the public this Sat and Sun is a great place to play and explore. My 12 year old son begs to go to this event each year. You can spend a few hours or all day exploring all of the Japanese and International toy brand booths and exhibits. Some companies even offer hands-on workshops.
Tokyo Toy Show Details
Date: Saturday & Sunday, June 11 & 12, 2016
Time: 9:00 – 17:00
Address: Tokyo Big Site, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Cost: Adult one day ticket 1,000 yen, Elementary and
Access: 7 min walk from Kokusai-Tenjijo Station on the Rinkai Line; 3 min walk from Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station on the Yurikamome
Website: http://www.toys.or.jp/toyshow/ (website in Japanese and English)
Note: Parking available at BigSight for 250 yen per 30 mins.
6. Learn to Paint a Wall at the DIY Factory (Futako-Tamagawa) – If you love DIY, and you want to get your hands dirty, then you have to visit the creative shop called DIY Factory in Futako-Tamagawa. They offer workshops that are super fun for a weekday event, or with Mom or Dad on the weekend. This Saturday and Sunday they have one hour sessions for elementary and up on how to paint a wall, or board for artwork. You need to reserve your spot in the 11:00, 14:00, 15:30 or 17:00 class so reserve online. You can read details and reserve at the workshop schedule in Japanese here. Even thought the workshops are in Japanese they are very hands-on, so if your Japanese is not great, you will be fine (my opinion). I also recommend while you are in Futako-Tamagawa to have lunch at 100 Spoons which is a few store fronts down from the DIY Factory!
DIY Factory Details
Address: Futako-Tamagawa S.C. Terrace Market, 1-14-1, Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku
Business hours: 10:00 – 21:00
Access:5 min walk from Futako-Tamagawa station on the Den-en-toshi Line (connects directly to Hanzomon Line)
Bonus Idea for your Tokyo Family Weekend June 11 & 12, 2016
Tokyo Family Weekend June 11 & 12, 2016
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