Culture

This Week in Japan, May 15-21

Every Monday we pick the top events happening this week across Japan. To list your event, contact the editor of GaijinPot.

By 5 min read

Suffering from a little “Gogatsu-byo?” From Pompei to Okinawa, ramen to champuru, there’s something for everyone this week in Japan to get you exited! If you’re doing something cool, leave us a comment or send us an email to have your event listed.

Monday: Relive Roman times

Pompeii Exhibit

The art of Pompei is the subject of a major exhibition at the Fukuoka City Museum. Over 80 pieces, many in “Pompei red,” tell the stories of the residents of the doomed Roman city. The remains of Pompei were uncovered in the 18th century; these days over two million people visit each year. The show comes to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy.

When & Where
May 15-June 18
9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Fukuoka City Museum - Map
¥1,500

Tuesday: Slurp that trendy noodle

Sapporo Ramen Show 2017

The Nippon Ramen Association wants folks in the north to slurp a bowl of the famous noodles (as if you needed encouragement). To the glorious end of “promoting ramen culture,” it’s hosting the Sapporo Ramen Show 2017. Ramen slingers from around the nation will be pitting their noodles against each other, and locals will have to decide if their native corn and miso recipe is the tastiest. The first show in 2015 attracted 85,000 and last year’s around 130,000 people.

When & Where
May 16-28
10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Sapporo Odori Park - Map
¥800/bowl

Wednesday: Jazz, Israeli style

Oz Noy

“It’s jazz. It just doesn’t sound like it.” That’s how virtuoso guitarist Oz Noy describes his intoxicating blend of jazz, funk, rock, blues and R&B. Born in Israel, Oz started his professional career at 13 playing jazz, blues, pop and rock music. By 16, he was playing with top Israeli musicians and artists. Since his 1996 arrival in New York, Oz has made a huge impact on the local and international music scene and returns this time with his Boogaloo Band featuring renowned drummer Bernard Purdie.

When & Where
May 17-20
6:30 & 9 p.m.
Cotton Club, Tokyo - Map
¥8,500-¥10,500

Thursday: Danish indie electro

Liima

Members of acclaimed Danish electro indie-rock outfit Efterklang formed the band Liima with drummer Tatu Rönkkö in 2016, garnering praise for their debut album, "ii," on 4AD. They arrive in Japan for a ten-day extravaganza of Danish music at Tokyo’s SuperDeluxe and will also undertake a mini tour that touches down in Osaka and Kyoto.

When & Where
May 18
6:30 p.m.
Kyoto Metro - Map
¥4,000

Friday: Get your matsuri on

Sanja Matsuri

Nearly 2 million people will visit Asakusa for one of Kanto’s biggest traditional festivals. The Sanja Matsuri brings three days of processions and revelry to Sensoji, the Asakusa shrine and its surroundings. Friday kicks off with the Daigyoretsu Parade, a mass movement of priests, officials, geisha, musicians and dancers in Edo period costumes. Saturday sees a procession of about one hundred “mikoshi” (portable neighborhood shrines) carrying Shinto deities. The three large mikoshi belonging to Asakusa shrine are the focus as the festival climaxes on Sunday.

When & Where
May 19-21
Various
Asakusa Shrine and surroundings, Tokyo - Map
Free

Saturday: Beats under the sky

The Star Festival

It’s impressive that 25 years since the outdoor electronic music festival scene got going in Japan, it’s still bumpin’ along. The Star Festival is Kansai’s premier beat-fest and wears its cred proudly, with veteran downtempo producer and master sample weaver DJ Shadow topping a bill that also includes Brazilian drum and bass titan DJ Marky and domestic luminaries like Fumiya Tanaka.

When & Where
May 20-21
10 a.m. to late
Stihl no Mori, Kyoto - Map
¥9,000

Sunday: Southern flavors

Okinawa Festival

The second day of this year’s Okinawa Festival brings the food, culture, piquant music, lively folk dance and crafts of Japan’s southernmost prefecture to the Yoyogi amphitheater. Topping the bill is Sakishima Meeting, a super-duo of Okinawa musicians formed by Osamu Shimoji (vocals, guitar, sanshin) and Yukito Ara (vocals, sanshin) who served as music director for the Canadian-Japanese film “Kara Kara” (“The Empty Sake Pot”), which won two awards at the 2012 Montreal International Film Festival.

When & Where
May 21
11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Yoyogi Park, Tokyo - Map
Free
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