There are many festivals all over Japan that are widely advertised and known to many people. These festivals are prepared weeks or even months in advance, talked and written about online and in newspapers, and are well known nationwide. Examples of famous festivals include the Gion Festival (祇園祭) in Kyoto, the Snow Festival (雪祭り) in Sapporo (札幌), and the many cherry blossom and shrine-carrying festivals all over the country. These are Japanese traditions maintained for decades by generations of people to celebrate seasons, food, and culture.
As well as these huge celebrations, many smaller local festivals that aren’t as well advertised are held. They’re less crowded, often cheaper, and you could even come across unique experiences that aren’t as publicized in tour guides.
So, as well as joining a legendary festival this sakura (cherry blossom) season, why not check out the Himonya Park Sakura Festival (碑文谷公園桜フェスティバル) on Sunday, April 2, 2017? If you’d like to spend time in a less crowded area, check out local traditions, and enjoy a drink and walk with friends, this spring event is definitely for you!
The Himonya Park Sakura Festival will take place at Himonya Park in Gakugei-daigaku (学芸大学), a district in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward (目黒区). The park is just a five-minute walk from Gakugei-daigaku Station, a few stops away from Shibuya (渋谷) on the Tokyu Toyoko Line (東急東横線).
The park itself is beautiful any time of year. It has a torii gate, a lake where you can ride boats, a small and free petting zoo with a dog, guinea pigs and tame rabbits, ponies for children to ride, and plenty of room to relax and see the cherry blossoms.
The Himonya Park Sakura Festival will include, of course, eating, drinking, and spending time with loved ones under the cherry blossom trees. The event will also host sports and exercise events that you can join in at your leisure.
The festival will start at 11:00 AM and finish at 3:00 PM; however, guests are welcome to join the “rajio taisou (ラジオ体操)” from 10:40 AM to 11:00 AM. The “rajio taisou” is a dance to music many Japanese people do before doing tough exercise or working.
This event will host many activities, so although the festival is only four hours long, it’s bound to be entertaining.
According to the schedule, there will be sports events that you are free to join as and when you wish. These include:
- Nordic walking (until 1:00 PM)
There will also be non-sport activities, including:
- Taiko drumming (11:00 AM to 12:00 PM)
- Koto and shamisen performances (from 2:00 PM)
- Safety awareness events
Although the festival is mostly aimed at children, it’s definitely worth taking a look for the musical performances alone. The best thing about this local event is that it’s completely free (although usual fees for boat riding and pony riding for kids still apply). There is a convenience store on the way for you to grab drinks and snacks, though there will likely be street food and stalls to buy bottled drinks in the park.
So if this event interests you, why not make a picnic, grab some drinks and your camera, and make your way to Himonya Park in Gakugei-daigaku this April 2, 2017 for a less crowded cherry blossom experience? You can discover the highly underrated Gakugei-daigaku district of Meguro Ward, see some local musical performances, and pet some cute animals while celebrating the coming of spring the Japanese way!
Himonya Park Sakura Festival Website *Automatic translation available
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