Culture

This Week in Japan Sep. 25-Oct. 1, 2017

Every week we post our top picks for upcoming events across Japan.

By 4 min read

From a musical trolley to Japanese craftsmanship to experimental dance, there’s something for everyone across the archipelago. If you’re doing something cool, leave us a comment or send us an email to have your event listed here.

Monday: Shopping frenzy

Tenjin-san Market

Dedicated to 9th century poet and patron saint of academic pursuits Sugawara no Michizane, the serene Kitano Tenmangu shrine’s Tenjin-san Market is one of Kyoto’s best. All manner of antiques, pottery, textiles and Japanese crafts in general are on sale, while the mixed crowd of savvy locals and curious tourists keeps things lively.

When & Where
Sep 25
6 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto - Map
Free

Tuesday: Headbanger haven

Battle Beast

Silence was uncharacteristically reigning in the camp of Finnish heavy metallers Battle Beast, but the group are now back with their brand-new, fourth studio album. Fronted by powerwoman Noora Louhimo, the guitar slingers will present the record Bringer Of Pain in an Asia tour that includes two days each in Japan and China.

When & Where
Sep 26
7 p.m.
Club Quattro, Osaka - Map
¥7,000

Wednesday: Grab some omiyage

Photo:

Japanese Craftsmanship

Fifty talented shokunin craftsmen gather from around Japan to show off their work and demonstrate their skills. Among the artists to appear is Shunji Kurimori, a creator of the bent cedar wood food vessels called mage-wappa. With 46 years of experience, he is an 18-time winner of the Good Design Award, and an officially recognized Contemporary Master Craftsman. The event will also feature performances by maiko (apprentice geisha) from Kyoto on Sep. 30 and Oct. 1.

When & Where
Sep 27
10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Hankyu, Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture - Map
Free

Thursday: Beg for forgiveness

Wonderland of Buddhist Hell Scenes

How do Japanese view the afterlife, and in particular, hell itself? This exhibition uses Buddhist depictions of punishments in paintings from ancient times as a lens for considering Japanese understanding of life and death. A comprehensive Buddhist museum, the Ryukoku Museum aims to introduce Buddhism with a wide perspective from its roots in India, to its development in Japan.

When & Where
Sep 28-Nov 11
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Ryukoku Museum, Kyoto - Map
¥1,200

Friday: Magic bus

Noise Tram

As part of the Sapporo International Art Festival, the Noise Tram, which started from “Festival Fukushima!”, will take place using streetcars as venues. Several musicians will board streetcars and perform noise music, on this night including famed avant-garde guitarist and festival curator Yoshihide Otomo. The audience will be caught in a whirlpool of sound while circuiting Sapporo in a streetcar transformed into a live performance space.

When & Where
Sep 29
7 p.m.
Susukino Station, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture - Map
¥2,000

Saturday: Theater festival

Toky Toki Saru

The opening production of Festival/Tokyo 2017 is from Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun, who fuses traditional mask performance with contemporary dance. Klunchun’s outdoor performance is inspired by modern-day Tokyo. He stayed in the capital for several weeks while exploring the concepts of body and mind. The cast of 40 includes professional dancers from Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan as well as 20 people recruited from the general public. Together they conjure up a vibrant spectacle of colorful costumes sourced from such districts in Tokyo as Ueno and Akihabara. Interweaving elements of hip-hop and street dance, the performance will transform the park venue into a vast space of imagination and feeling.

When & Where
Sept 3-Oct 1
5-7 p.m. (Oct 1, 1-3 p.m.)
Minami Ikebukuro Park, Tokyo - Map
Free

Sunday:  Clang of creativity

Iron Island Fest

Launched on a former ‘iron industry island’ in Tokyo Bay, the latest entrant to Japan’s festival scene looks to provoke a ‘chemical reaction between creators’ along the lines of SXSW. The two-day event will yoke together music performances, contemporary artworks, performing arts and films. Among the musicians to appear is noted DJ/producer Takkyu Ishino, while art will include a tea party installation by tea master Shuhally.

When & Where
Oct 1
11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Buckle Kobo, Tokyo - Map
¥4,000
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