Situated south of Shinjuku, north of Shibuya and just west of Harajuku, the expanse of lush greenery, rolling hills and clear ponds, Yoyogi Park serves as an oasis of refreshing nature in the concrete jungle known as Shibuya Ward. It’s also the home of Meiji Jingu, the shrine dedicated to the Meiji Period Emperor and a national landmark. But did you know that during the warmer months, Yoyogi also becomes a place where you can visit the world just by taking a stroll in the park?
Countries from Thailand to Brazil hold bazaars and festivals in Yoyogi Park almost every weekend at this time, usually sponsored by their embassies, tourism boards and corporations both domestic and abroad. It is a great chance to learn about other places, listen to some good music and of course, eat lots of different food! Here’s a short list of what’s on deck at Yoyogi Park in the next few months:
3rd, 4th: Cambodia Festival 2018
Cambodians from around the community always gather at this event. Expect lots of stands selling tasty Cambodian food along with stage shows.
5th, 6th: Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2018
This annual tradition starts with a parade down The Omotesando from Aoyama, through the Omotesando and Harajuku districts and into the park. Participants from all over the world have been coming to make this a very large event, and the general public is invited to join in.
12th,13th: Thai Festival 2018
Oh boy, sooooo many food stands selling yummy curry and Thai coffee! And the performances are not to be missed!
19th, 20th: Vietnamese Festival 2018
Any excuse to try all the different kinds of Pho and Vietnamese deli sandwiches are not needed now, just come to Yoyogi on these days!
26th, 27th Laotian Festival
Rounding out :the month will be a chance to learn about Laos and its culture.
2nd, 3rd: Eco Life Fair
Those with an interest in “going green” are invited to see the latest trends in ecologically sound living and sustainability here in Tokyo.
9th, 10th: Okinawa Festival 2018
Okinawa actually used to be a different country and its native people share a different history; this is part of the allure of Okinawa that Japanese still have to this day. Here’s a chance to check it all out without needing to go to Haneda Airport!
10th: 2018 Oedo Antique Festival
One of the biggest antique markets in Japan takes place outdoors in the park. You can expect to find almost anything and everything old and possibly collectible here.
16th, 17th: World Gourmet & Music Fest in Yoyogi Park 2018
This festival, organized by music label BMI, may be a little thinly named, but it’s still a great atmosphere to eat some non-Japanese food and listen to music from other lands.
23rd, 24th: Caribbean and Latin America Festival 2018
This one is always popular for its celebration of the music and food of Latin America. Expect the energy of Salsa and Rhumba dancing and music along with lots and lots of Latin food!
7th, 8th: Ocean People’s ‘18
Do you like the beach life, with its azure waves, silky sands and the summertime sun perched in the sky? Of course we could just go to Enoshima or Kyujukyurihama but let’s hang out in Yoyogi and bring the beach to the city!
28th,29th: Taiwanese Festival 2018
Speaking as someone who lived in Taiwan for a minute, you must come to Yoyogi this weekend if you can’t make it to Formosa in person. There’s more to our sister country to the south than danbing and soy milk breakfasts or dim-sum dinners… There’s also beef noodles! Seriously, come check it out.
4th, 5th: Sri Lanka Festival
Sri Lanka themed event with lots of curry and a dance show
11th, 12th: Thai Food Festival 2018
I know you’re thinking “Didn’t the Thais already have a festival back in May?” Yeah they did, but this one is just for food and I have zero complaints about that.
25–26th: Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi Festival
Kochi, located on the island of Shikoku is famous for its Yosakoi Festival, becoming one of the 10 largest summer festivals in Japan. Not to be outdone, our little Yosakoi festival takes place in five different spots around the Harajuku and Omotesando districts including Yoyogi park. Grab your naruko and prepare to cheer the dancers on!
Yoyogi Park (代々木公園)
Access: 3 mins walk from Harajuku, Yoyogi Koen, or Meijijingu Stations. (JY, C, F lines)
– By Jason L. Gatewood
Images: Scenes from Spring 2018 Tokyo Coffee Festival; Jason L Gatewood