Great Escapes: Events (Aug 1 to Sep. 31, 2022)
This summer, experience all the cultural, gourmet, and seasonal festivities Japan has to offer.
Cool Noodles at the New Otani
Reimen is the catch-all term for chilled noodles in Japan, and is a new dish available at the New Otani, famed for its incredible service and delectable fine dining. Their selection of four luxurious chilled noodle dishes at their Taikan En restaurant are only available at their Tokyo branch. The only problem is deciding which one to try.
Date: June 1-Aug. 31
Cost: From ¥4,200
Location: Hotel New Otani Tokyo The Main, Kioicho 4-1, Chiyoda City, Tokyo, 102-8578
Honey and Lemon Sweets in Tokyo
As summer comes around, refreshing citrus flavors are more welcome than ever in the midday sun. Ishiya, famed for their northern treats, are brightening up their menu with lemon-yellow hues in their honey lemon cream soda, parfaits, and other refreshing desserts to cool you off in the concrete jungle of Tokyo.
Date: From June 1
Cost: From ¥600
Mount Takao Beer Mount
Held at an observation facility with an altitude of 488 meters, atop one of Japan’s most popular hiking mountains, will be the Mount Takao Beer Mount—Tokyo’s highest beer garden. Although the beer mount is a great opportunity for hikers to treat themselves on their journey, the facility can also easily be accessed without having to climb the mountain by foot. The facility is located just a short walk away from the end of the Mount Takao cable car station which is just a six minute cable car ride away from Kiyotaki station. The beer mount set will include all-you-can-drink beer, wine and cocktails for up to 120 minutes alongside an all-you-can-eat buffet with a selection of over 30 dishes. Reservations in advance are recommended.
When: Jun. 15-Oct. 15
Where: Beer Mount, 2205 Takaomachi, Hachioji, Tokyo 198-0844
Cost: ¥4,200 (Adults) ¥3,900 (Ages 65+) ¥500-¥2,700 (5-15)
One of Japan's most loved festivals, the Tenjin Matsuri, runs through late July each year in Osaka. The festival is a dedication to Sugawara Michizane, the deity of scholarship. It takes place at Tenmangu Shrine, a lively neighborhood with vibrant nightlife culture — so you know you're in for a real treat.
Date: July 24 & 25 Cost: Free Location: Tenmangu Shrine, 2-1-8 Tenjinbashi, Kita-ku, Osaka
Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival
One of Osaka’s biggest firework festivals, the Naniwa Yodogawa Fireworks Festival, annually excites large crowds who come from all over Japan to watch the artistic sky display. Starting in 1989, this event celebrates their 34th anniversary this year. For a guaranteed spectacular view, reserved seats can be purchased online.
When: Aug. 27
Where: Yodogawa River, Osaka
Cost: Free (Pre-booked seating ¥4,500-¥22,000 per person)
Summer Sonic, Osaka
A staple on every Japanese music fan's calendar, Summer Sonic is one of the nation's biggest, most diverse music festivals, hosting the biggest names in everything from pop to hardcore. This year features the likes of The 1975, Liam Gallagher, Wu-Tang Clan, Post Malone, Fatboy Slim and Skrillex as starters.
Date: Aug. 20 & 21 Cost: TBC Location: Maishima Sonic Park, 2-2-15 Hokkoryokuchi, Osaka
TeamLab Botanical Garden Osaka
Art collective teamLab brings together art, nature and technology in Osaka’s newly reopened Nagai Botanical Garden. The Digitized Nature project explores how technology can turn nature into art without harming it, in a series of immersive artworks and exhibitions that come to life at night. Interact with the artwork and explore the various exhibits that react to the world around them, come rain or shine.
Date: July 29
Cost: Adults ¥1,600
Nagai Botanical Garden
1-23 Nagaikoen, Higashisumiyoshi-ku, Osaka
In a collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Yusuke Takada, restaurant Oh La La brings together Japan’s love of the seasons with France’s fine dining. Now in their second year of this brasserie concept, the delectable dishes are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the W Osaka hotel.
Cost: Dinner course from ¥13,000
Location: W Osaka, Chuo-Ku 4-1-3 Minami Semba, Osaka 542-0081
Daimonji festival 16 August
Daimonji, also known as Gozan Okuribi, is a festival in which five giant bonfires are lit around the mountains of Kyoto in the shape of different characters and symbols. The bonfires are a part of the much wider obon celebrations in Kyoto, which is an annual Buddhist event to commemorate ancestors. Each of the bonfires are lit in succession from 8pm, and can be seen from various spots around Kyoto.
Date: August 16
Viewing spots: Kamogawa, Kitayama Dori, Matsuo Bridge
On the first Sunday of every month, Kobe Harborland hosts Harbor Market, featuring a staggering array of handmade items and local treats. Take yourself for a relaxing walk along the water’s edge and browse through the lovingly crafted items, taste some local cakes or sweets and maybe even catch the live band.
Date: July 3, Aug. 7 & Sep. 4
Cost: Free to enter
Location: Kobe Harborland, 1 Chome Higashikawasakicho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0044
World Cosplay Summit
Nagoya will host the world's largest cosplay festival, World Cosplay Summit 2022, on the weekend of Aug. 5, Aug. 6 and Aug. 7. The event, being held for the 22nd time, will feature live performances at Oasis 21, Rayard Hisaya-odori Park, Flarie, Osu shopping district and other venues throughout Nagoya. One of the highlights will be a contest to select the world's No. 1 cosplayers. Many of the events will be live-streamed.
Date: Aug. 5-7
The new 8th Sea Oyster Bar in Nagoya offers an array of creative dishes. The oyster cocktail dishes will take you on a flavor journey, from their cream cheese and salmon roe oyster cocktail right through to their beef and wasabi concoction. You might walk in as an oyster skeptic, but you’ll walk out an oyster fanatic.
Cost: Oyster Cocktail Set from ¥3,058
Location: 13F Gate Tower Plaza 1-1-3 Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi
Cycle on Water at Lake Biwa
Cycle on Japan’s largest freshwater lake without even getting wet, watch fish swim by without worrying about jellyfish stings, or feel futuristic by flying a hoverboard. Looks like Lake Biwa is the new beach holiday you didn’t know you needed.
Date: From June 1
Cost: From 4,500 for adults
Location: Shirahige beach, Takashima, Shiga
Taga Taisha Lantern Festival
The mando-sai is a Buddhist lantern festival held every year at Taga Taisha shrine, and is a celebration of thanks to the deity who protects ancestors’ spirits. Mando literally means “ten thousand lanterns”, which is just what you’ll find at this impressive event. Let the lanterns illuminate your night and take in the mystical atmosphere.
Date: August 3-5, from 7pm every night
Location: Taga Taisha Grand Shrine, 604 Taga, Inukami District, Shiga 522-0341
Omi Jingu Shrine Kensho-sai (calligraphy festival)
Omi is the ancient name for what we now call Shiga prefecture, and it is known for producing some of the most recognised Japanese calligraphy masters, such as Saicho and Ono no Takamura. So it is fitting that there should be a calligraphy event held here once a year. Now in its 53rd iteration, at the event you can watch as modern-day esteemed calligraphers create their pieces in real time.
Date: August 28, 1pm - 2:30pm (Exhibition from August 18-31)
Location: Omi Jingu Shrine, 1-1 Jingucho, Otsu, Shiga 520-0015
Chocolate Jungle Summer Dessert Buffet
Chocolate Jungle. It almost needs no further introduction, but let us tempt you just a bit more… Chocolate shortcake, chocolate terrine and chocolate passion fruit are just a few of the 40-strong selection of chocolate desserts. Bring your dessert stomach, because this chocolate indulgence is not for the faint-hearted.
Date: June 5-Aug. 28
Cost: ¥4,500 for adults
Location: 1F ANA Crowne Plaza Fukuoka
Yokai Lantern Display and Overnight Stay
In Japan, summer is the time of obon (festival of the dead) and the spooky stories told send chills down your spine, giving you a brief relief from the summer heat. Taking inspiration from painted scrolls passed down through the Tachibana family, yokai (ghost) lanterns will adorn the Tachibana residence for a limited time. Walk through the residence by day, or sleep there by night—if you dare!
Date: July 30-Aug. 14
Exhibition cost: ¥1,500 for adults
Accommodation cost: From ¥52,140
Location: 1 Shinhokamachi, Yanagawa, Fukuoka
Jozankei Nature Luminarie
Find yourself in a riverside dreamland as you walk through a Water Light Valley, following the footsteps of the mythical kappa, an elusive reptilian river child. Experience Hokkaido’s luscious natural scenery in a magical setting you won’t soon forget.
Date: June 1–Oct. 23
Cost: *Free for guests at Jozankei Onsen
Location: Jozankei Park Futami Suspension Bridge.
Jozankei Onsen, Minami-ku, Sapporo
Royce’ Rose Garden
With over 500 types of rose adorning the gardens, Royce’ is bringing you more than melty, chocolatey goodness this summer. The gardens will be transformed to the pinks and purples, whites and reds of their delicate roses. And the best part? At the end of the rose-laiden garden is their chocolate shop, ready to greet you with their rose-shaped treats.
Date: From June until early September
Location: Royce’ Kami-Ebetsu store, 437ｰ15 Kamiebetsu, Ebetsu, Hokkaido 067-0064
Sapporo Summer Festival
The Sapporo Summer Festival is a huge summer event encompassing many smaller celebrations throughout its month-long span. The center of attention is the beer garden with 13,000 seats, making it the biggest in Japan. There you’ll find plenty of beer, pizza and pretzels, as well as Hokkaido specialties like jingisukan (grilled mutton). But don’t forget to stop by the lively festivals and events like bon odori (lantern festival dance) and the Susukino matsuri.
Date: July 22 - Aug. 17
Location: Sapporo Odori Park, 7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042
Known as Japan’s only summer marathon, competing in the Hokkaido Marathon is a challenging yet rewarding experience. The course is 42.2km in distance and takes place all the way through downtown Sapporo. Unfortunately entry for competing this year has closed, however, watching as a spectator is said to be a very heartwarming experience.
When: Aug. 28
Where: Sapporo City