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Things To Do In Tokyo In September - Exhibitions, Festivals, Events

Things To Do In Tokyo In September - Exhibitions, Festivals, Events

Things To Do In Tokyo In September - Exhibitions, Festivals, Events

Written by MATCHA

Tokyo 2016.08.22 Bookmark

We introduce five cultural events that are held each year in September in Tokyo. From traditional arts such as ikebana and tea ceremony to fashion events an fairs, we highly recommend these events to anyone who wishes to experience the "now" of Japanese c

Written by MATCHA

September is one of the most pleasant months to be in Japan, as the heat of the summer starts fading away and nature welcomes the first signs of fall - chrysanthemums blooming and momiji leaves turning red. It is a great time for outdoor events, and there are in fact many large festivals and exhibitions that inspire everyone to go out, meet and share once in a lifetime moments.

We have selected five cultural events held in the Tokyo area in September which for the locals are great occasions to get inspired and interact, giving international visitors the opportunity to feel the pulse of this city and to get to know authentic Japanese culture.

The most important criteria of our selection were that these events should be representative of contemporary Japan and that they are held every year. In case you miss them this year, you can look forward to their next editions. With this said, let's see what's on in Tokyo in September.

Autumn Ikebana - The Ikenobo Exhibition in Tokyo

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Ikebana arrangement by Ikenobo Headmaster-Designate Yuki Ikenobo. Displayed at the 2015 edition of the Autumn Ikenobo Exhibition in Tokyo.

One of the traditional arts that most accurately reflect the sense of seasons is ikebana - the art of flower arrangement. Originating in the flower offerings at temples, ikebana has been practiced for hundreds of years as a dialogue between humans and nature. It is an endeavor of the human spirit to bring out the most beautiful side of the flowers, to make them "immortal" for the short time before they wither and die. This is the original meaning behind "ikeru" ("to bring life to").

There are several schools and teachings in the world of ikebana, each representing a different approach to the relation between nature and humans. Among them, the Ikenobo school has the longest tradition, going more than 550 years back in history, when its ancestor established the first set of precepts for ikebana.

Major Ikenobo exhibitions are held twice a year in Tokyo, in spring and autumn. The exhibition in September will show flower arrangements specific to the season of the fall, contrasting delicate flowers to the roughness of wood and the intensity of red autumn leaves.

The highlights of the exhibition include large scale ikebana arrangements created by the headmasters of the Ikenobo school, works that show the peaks of the art of flowers.

Ikenobo Exhibition in Tokyo

Location: Nihombashi Mitsukoshi Departmen Store (Main Store, 7F Gallery)
Schedule: September 7th - 12th, 2016
Website: Ikenobo Event Schedule

Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony

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Image from: Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony Party 2014 in Hama-rikyu Gardens

Tea ceremony is usually performed in the intimacy of Japanese traditional rooms, with a limited number of guests. However several times a year tea masters perform their art in public spaces, serving carefully prepared tea to the guests. Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony is the largest public tea ceremony in Japan, being held twice a year in September and October, in two locations - the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum and the Hama-rikyu Gardens.

Along with the best quality tea, guests can enjoy sweets made especially for this occasion. In addition, they can watch how a tea ceremony is performed and admire the precious utensils used by tea masters. Each tea bowl, each tea container and all the other objects used in tea ceremony have a story, which the tea masters will be happy to share with their guests. This act of appreciation of the carefully selected objects is also part of the enjoyment for which tea ceremony is famous.

Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony

Location: Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
Schedule: September 24th - 25th, 2016
Website: Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony

Read also: Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony Party 2014 in Hama-rikyu Gardens


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Photo: Gottingham

THE TOKYO ART BOOK FAIR is the largest annual book fair in Tokyo specialized in art publications. Visitors can see and purchase the latest releases of over 300 art publishers, galleries, bookstores and artists from Japan and abroad. Talk events and book signings are also organized during the four days of the fair, making the TOKYO ART BOOK FAIR a platform for international dialogue on art and exchange of ideas.

This year's edition of the art book fair will have a special feature on Brazil, with participants and invited speakers who are representative of Brazil's publishing culture. The "Steidl Book Award Japan", supported by the Germany based international art publisher Steidl, is also an exciting new addition to the program.

For art and book lovers it is a great opportunity to get in touch with the latest and best quality information on Japanese contemporary art publication.

Location: Kyoto University Art & Design, Tohoku Art Engineering University, Gaien Campus, Tokyo Minato ward, Kita-Aoyama 1-7-15
Schedule: September 16th - 19th, 2016


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Fashion enthusiasts should not miss out one of the most awaited events of the year - Tokyo Vogue Fashion's Night Out, held on September 10th in the Omotesando area. Hundreds of brands gather in Omotesando Hills, the largest shopping facility in the area, and organize glamorous special events that cater to the needs of local and international fashion lovers.

If you would like to know the latest trends on Tokyo's fashion scene, Vogue Fashion's Night Out is an event you should definitely check out. Not only is it a great shopping opportunity, but it will give you inspiring insights into contemporary Japanese fashion.


Location: Omotesando - Aoyama - Harajuku
Schedule: September 10th, 2016.
Program: 16:00 Opening Ceremony (Omotesando Hills main store B3F Space O), 17:00 - 22:00 shopping time, 21:00 Closing Ceremony (Omotesando Hills main store B3F Space O)

Read also: Trend-setters Unite! The Complete Guide To Harajuku And Omotesandō

Down Town Taito International Comedy Film Festival

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© The 9th Down Town Taito International Comedy Film Festival

If you happen to be in the Ueno - Asakusa area in September, you will surely notice the large gathering of people lining at the venues of the Down Town Taito International Comedy Film Festival. Initiated in 2008, the festival has developed into one of the most important annual cinema events in Tokyo.

In addition to screenings of Japanese and international comedy films, audiences can enjoy live comedy shows by local artists, all in the charming surroundings of the "shitamachi" - the downtown area of Ueno and Asakusa, a place with traditional buildings and shops.

For international visitors it is a great opportunity to know better Japan's "owarai bunka", the local comedy culture that gave birth to popular and unique performing art forms, as well as watch some of the best comedy films released in Japan and abroad. Expect to spend a time full of laughter at the only festival of its kind in Tokyo!

Down Town Taito International Comedy Film Festival - SHITA COME

Location: several venues in Ueno and Asakusa, Taito ward
Schedule: September 16th - 19th
Website: Down Town Taito International Comedy Film Festival 2016

Read also: Rakugo – Japanese Storytelling and Where to Find It in Tokyo

This is our selection of events in Tokyo going on in September. We hope you enjoy them and have a great time experiencing Japanese culture in-depth through them.

Recommended articles

Travel Tips For Tokyo – A Complete Guide

Japanese Encyclopedia: Momijigari (“Admiring Autumn Leaves”)

Autumn Festivals in Japan

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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