Culture

This Week in Japan July 17-23, 2017

Every Monday we serve top picks for this week’s events in Japan. To list your event, contact the editor of GaijinPot.

By 5 min read

From a Disney-inspired show in Yamanashi to a kid-friendly J-Pop event in Chiba to summer fireworks in Kamakura, there’s something for everyone this week in Japan! If you’re doing something cool, leave us a comment or send us an email to have your event listed.

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Blast! The Music of Disney

The brass-and-percussion with visual ensemble (dancers) spectacle that has wowed Japanese fans since its first tour in 2003 is back with an encore of last summer’s “Blast! The Music from Disney." The show features some of the most timeless Disney classics from movies including "Beauty and the Beast," "The Lion King," "The Little Mermaid" and “Fantasia 2000,” and is set to tour all 47 of Japan’s prefectures.

When & Where
July 18
Various
Yamanashi Prefectural Citizens Culture Hall , Kofu City - Map
¥8,000-11,500

Monday: Ancient pageantry

Kyoto Gion Matsuri

The first main event of Kyoto’s legendary Gion Matsuri festival has the ancient capital come alive with 32 grand parade floats known collectively as “yamaboko.” Nine are giant “yama” floats while 23 are smaller “hoko” floats. Crowds jam the streets to view sumptuously decorated yama that weigh as much as 12 tons and reach 25 meters in height.

When & Where
July 17
9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Kyoto (Shijo-Karasuma-Shinmachi-Oike) - Map
Free

Tuesday: Psychedelic visions

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Art in Belgium: From Bosch and Margueritte to Jan Fabre

A “bizarre journey through 500 years of Belgian art” has just gotten underway at Bunkamura in Shibuya. The region that we now know as Belgium saw paintings on fantastic themes emerge on top of traditional pictorial realism. Demons, monsters and other grotesque creatures drawn by Flemish painters — heirs to Bosch and Bruegel’s legacies — are on show. The exhibit covers more than 500 years of Belgian art history.

When & Where
July 18-Sep 24
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Bunkamura Museum of Art - Map
¥1,500

Wednesday: Fireworks over the ocean

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Kamakura Hanabi Taikai

Ditch the city this year and take in your summer fireworks with a cooling ocean breeze. The 69th annual Kamakura Hanabi Taikai will present about 2,500 fireworks at Zaimokuza and Yuigahama beaches, including marine fireworks which are continuously thrown into the sea from the boat, star fireworks and other pyrotechnics

When & Where
July 19
7:20-8:10 p.m.
Zaimokuza Beach, Yuigahama Beach, Kamakura, Kanagawa - Map
Free

Thursday: Sword-fighting and time travel

Samurai Spectacle At Alternative Theatre

The year is 2020. The population of Tokyo has passed 10 million. Among the residents appears a samurai named Alata, a shogun from the Sengoku Era of the 1500s who has time-traveled to the present day and must find his way home with the help of the woman Kokoro. With this premise launches a fresh, non-verbal but musical (hence, appealing to foreigners), sword-fighting packed, live-entertainment spectacle at the new Alternative Theatre in Yurakucho.

When & Where
July 20~
Various
Alternative Theatre, Tokyo - Map
¥8,000

Friday: Celebratory breakbeats

Hospital Night

Stalwart Daikanyama venue Unit celebrates 13 years of nightlife by hosting one of its longtime resident parties. Drum ’n’ Bass Sessions started at the old Liquidroom in Shinjuku and is one of Tokyo’s most durable and dependable events. This time the star is London’s Hospital Records, started by Tony Colman 21 years ago. The label’s jazzy take on breakbeats has a local exponent in the form of DJ Makoto, who will be on hand to present his new album along with special guest, the fast-emerging producer Danny Wheeler.

When & Where
July 21
11:30 p.m.~
Unit, Tokyo - Map
¥3,000

Saturday: Pyramids of light

Tobata Gion Oyamagasa

Ten-meter tall “pyramids of light” are paraded past thronging crowds in Kitakyushu city as the landmark summer Tobata Gion Oyamagasa festival reaches its climax. The event launched over 200 years ago to give thanks to the Gods for saving local people from the ravages of a plague.

When & Where
July 22
6:30-9pm
Tobata Ward Office, Kitakyushu - Map
Free

Sunday: Rock out to the chiller side of J-Pop

Peanuts Camp

One of Japan’s quirkiest small music tests comes to a park in suburban Chiba Prefecture. Curated by indie-pop star Hideki Kaji, the Peanuts Camp Festival invites people to camp out and enjoy a range of the chiller side of J-pop, including artists like singer Kotringo and veteran producer Yasuharu Konishi. The grounds feature a flea market, campfire and pony rides. Elementary school age kids and under enter for free.

When & Where
July 23
10 a.m.~
Ichiban Hoshi Village, Chiba - Map
¥4,500
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