Here are our recommendations for the Top 5 Activities for a Tokyo Family Weekend June 4 & 5, 2016. This weekend might be the last sunny weekend for until July due to rainy season officially beginning next week so venture out! Check out a new neighborhood you have never been to by enjoying one of the many festivals.
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Tokyo Family Weekend June 4 & 5, 2016
1. Shinagawa Tennosai Festival – しながわ天王祭(Shinagawa) – This festival runs from Friday the 3rd through Sunday the 5th. However, the most exciting time is on Sunday mid-day when the mikoshi (portable shrines) are carried, pulled and danced through the crowded streets. This is a great festival where two main shrines in Shinagawa (Shinagawa Jinja & Ebara Jinja) come together with groups of young, strong neighborhood folks to carry super heavy portable shrines through the street to the local temples. This festival started in the Edo Period when the mikoshi were carried into the bay of Tokyo. The festival is also known as the Kappa Matsuri since the men who would carry the Mikoshi would come out of the water with hair that made them look like Kappa (mythical frog-like creatures). **Image and video courtesy of the Shinagawa Tourism Board.
Date of Event: Friday evening June 3rd – Sunday, June 5th, 2016. Best time to attend is mid-day Sunday, June 5th.
Address: 2-30-28 Kita Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Access: 1 min walk from Shinbamba station on the Keikyu Line from Shinagawa
Japanese language website: http://ebarajinja.org/maturi/tenno.htm
2. Fure Ai Matsurida Shiba Chiku 2016 (Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo) – Have kids and looking for something to do this Saturday? The annual Minato-ku Fure Ai festival will take place this Saturday, June 4th at Shiba Park. There will be games, pony rides, a flea market, huggable characters and food from 10:00 – 15:00.
Address: Shiba Koen (Park), Shibakoen 4-8-4, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Access: 1 min walk from Shiba Koen Park on the Mita and Oedo Lines, or 3 min walk from Onarimon Station on the Mita Line
Official website: http://www.city.minato.tokyo.jp/shibakanri/20160604.html
Address: Yoyogi Park zelkova Tree Lined Event Area, 2-1 Yoyogi Kami zonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Access: 5 min walk from Harujuku Station on the Yamanote Line
Japanese language website: http://ecolifefair.env.go.jp/
Address: 5 Sugacho, Shinjuku 160-0018, Tokyo
Access: 7 min walk from Yotsuya-sanchome Station (Exit M11) on the Marunouchi Line, or 10 min walk from Yotsuya Station on the Chuo or Sobu Lines.
Japanese language website: http://www.sugajinjya.org/
5. CLOSING JUNE 12th – Dinosaur Expo at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno (国立科学博物館) – The newly renovated (completed July 2015) National Museum of Nature and Science is a great place to slow down, have fun and learn! I was very impressed with the renovations in the permanent exhibit area that include the animal, dinosaur and science and technology areas. Here is a short video that will give you a taste of what you can experience. There is also a great special exhibit running through June 12, 2016, titled Dinosaur Expo, which includes a skeletal reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a reconstruction of the Spinosaurus, the largest known carnivorous dinosaur to have walked the Earth. Note: Buying a ticket to the special Dinosaur Expo gives you access to the permanent exhibit. Plan to spend 2-3 hours in the museum.
National Museum of Nature and Science Details
Address: 7-20 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Days and Hours: Open Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays); 9:00 – 17:00 (last admittance 16:30)
Admission: Permanent exhibits – adults 620 yen, high-school students and below free;
Special exhibits vary but usually cost 1,600 yen for adults and 600 yen for children
Access: 5 min. walk from JR Ueno Station (Park Exit), 10 min. walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Line/Hibiya Line Ueno Station, or 10 min. walk from Keisei Line Keisei Ueno Station
Azabu Juban Sculpture Walk – Do you know about the Azabu Juban sculpture walk? If you have ever walked down the main Azabu Juban shopping street, you probably have seen a few sculptures. However, did you know there are 16 sculptures that have been collected and installed in Azabu Juban since 1968. These sculptures are from a variety of very talented and famous international and domestic artists. Unfortunately, I have seen people using the sculptures as bike props so if you see bikes propped up against a sculpture please politely move the bike.In the 1960’s the Azabu Juban community decided they wanted to position themselves as a liveable city neighbourhood, not one that people visited. The theme of sculptures is Smile (ほほえみ). Many of the sculptures are from embassies in the area showing the partnership between the Japanese and international community.
A fun family activity is to go on an Azabu Juban sculpture search walk. Can you find all 16? Hint: 13 are on the main Azabu Juban shopping street, and three are on side streets.
Tokyo Family Weekend June 4 & 5, 2016
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