Just a short jaunt from Tokyo, despite being the second biggest city in the country and only 20 minutes from the craziness of the capital, Yokohama manages to retain a sense of peace, neighborhood atmosphere and charm that makes it an excellent destination for a day trip to escape the hustle and bustle.
As well as having the breezy port area that rose to prominence following the end of Japan’s relative isolation in the mid-19th century Yokohama has a creative arts scene, microbreweries, jazz clubs and great international dining. Whether it is in the delightful gardens, its plentiful museums or Asia’s largest Chinatown, there is always something going on in the city.
Below are a handful of events going on in Yokohama this October (2017).
Yokohama Triennale, 2017
As the name perhaps suggests, Yokohama Triennale is an international art exhibition that takes place in Yokohama once every three years. With a primary focus on contemporary art, the exhibition sees international artists side by side with up-and-coming local talent, all of whom are on the cutting edge of modern trends. According to exhibition co-director Eriko Osaka, this year’s theme, ‘Islands, Constellations and Galapagos’ is intended to represent the “opening up of new Possibilities: connecting those who are separated and isolated, through dialogue, thought and imagination.”
Highlights include a large scale instalation by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, the video project ‘Taklamakan’ by Japan debutants Zhao Zhao and Ian Cheng, and Ozawa Tsuyoshi’s new work from his “The Return of …” series, focusing on Yokohama’s history.
- Where:Yokohama Museum of Art, 3 Chome-4-1 Minatomirai, Nishi Ward, Yokohama (map);
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No.1, Yokohama, Naka Ward, Shinko, 1 Chome, 1 (map);
Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall,1-6 Honcho, Naka Ward, Yokohama (map)
- When: August 4 – November 5, 2017; 10:00 – 18:00. Open until 20:30 on October 27, 28, 29 and November 2, 3, 4; Closed September 14, 28 and October 12, 26; *Admission until 30 minutes before closing time
- Website: yokohamatriennale.jp
Devised by the Koganecho Area Management Center (KAMC), a non-profit organization that uses art to revitalize the Koganecho Urban Area at Yokohama City Naka Ward, Koganecho Bazaar is an arts festival with a difference. Marking its 10th edition, this year’s Koganecho Bazaar exhibits artworks under the theme of “Double Façade: Multiple Ways to Encounter the Other” during this, the second half of its three-month run. Fitting for the city that was the gateway for the opening of Japan’s borders to the world, the theme for this year’s festival is of multicultural environment in Asia and relationship with local community.
With the city’s everyday spaces as a stage, organizers have invited around 90 groups of artists, curators, and architects from Japan and abroad to use contemporary art and presentation in various ways to challenge and provoke the way we think about the concept of ‘others’ within our midst.
- Where: Various locations around Koganecho, especially the studios under the railway arches of the Keikyu Main Line between Hinode Station and Koganecho Station, shops, outdoors and others.
- When: September 15 to November 5, 2017
- Website: koganecho.net
Yokohama Jazz Promenade
Back in 1993, the inaugural Yokohama Jazz Promenade was held in the city with its stated aim to “turn the entire city of Yokohama into a music stage.” With some 120,000 jazz fans attending in recent years, it could be said that they have been more than successful in reaching that objective. In doing so, the festival has grown in size along with the number of jazz events and clubs, to such an extent that to call Yokohama the country’s centre for jazz may not be too wide of the mark (though Tokyo may have something to say about that).
Promising to deliver “the hottest, grooviest jazz music throughout Japan and the world” this year’s festival takes place in venues around the city, with both local and international musicians performing across the broad jazz spectrum. Check out the schedule here, for who is performing when and where.
- Where: Various venues throughout the city. See website for details.
- When: October 7 and 8, 2017
- Website: jazzpro.jp
Yokohama is considered to be the birthplace of Japanese beer, which makes it the ideal spot at which to hold a festival celebrating some of best beer in the world. The ‘Big Six Munich Breweries,’ authorized to produce beer for the original German Oktoberfest, are all represented, and there are over 140 varieties of beer on offer, making this year’s line-up the largest ever. Check out the limited-edition Oktoberfest beers on sale in Japan for the first time, while you munch on traditional German food and get your ‘oompah!’ on with live performances by German bands.
- Where: Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Event Space, Yokohama, Naka Ward, Shinko, 1 Chome, 1 (map)
- When: September 29 to October 15, 2017. Weekdays: 12:00 to 21:30; Weekends and public holidays: 11:00 to 21:30
- Website: yokohama-akarenga.jp/oktoberfest2017/
By Mark Guthrie