Golden Week

Golden Week

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Golden Week has traditionally been the most popular time in Japan to travel domestically ( and internationally of late).

For those of you that have taken the plunge and done a little bit of travelling within Japan over this period, it will come as no surprise to you that patience should be your No.1 travel companion. Endless ques, traffic jams, over crowded trains, booked out hotels coupled in many cases with temporary price increases make this “golden” time not so golden after all.

Why not save yourself the inevitable high blood pressure and feelings of frustration by doing the opposite of almost everyone else? Stay in Tokyo this Golden Week and stay sane.

Ok, that’s great but what is there to do? Fair question. Here are just a few ideas that may interest you this Golden Week.

Ice-Cream Expo

More than 100 kinds of ice cream can be sampled at this certifiably cool fest, taking place at Harajuku teen heaven Laforet. In addition to edible varieties from all over Japan, the display selection includes vintage wrappings not seen on store shelves in over 30 years.

Open May 2-6
Time 11am-8pm (May 2 from 1pm, May 6 until 6pm)
Admission ¥800
Telephone 03 6804 3977
Venue Laforet Museum Harajuku
Address 6F Laforet Harajuku, 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Transport Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines), Harajuku Station (Yamanote line)

Doki Doki Flea Market
Flea Market

There are flea markets, and then there’s the eye-popping spectacle that unfolds at Makuhari Messe every Golden Week. The Doki Doki Flea Market is Japan’s largest bric-a-brac fair, drawing around 1,500 vendors each day. That’s not all, though: the attractions also include a handicraft market, a sizable food hall and a range of live music organised by local radio station BayFM

Open May 3-5
Time 10am-5pm
Admission ¥600
Venue Makuhari Messe (Halls 1-8)
Address 2-1 Nakase, Mihama-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba
Transport Kaihin Makuhari station (Keiyo line), south exit.

Yokohama Fruhlingsfest 2015
German Festival
Held all across Germany to celebrate the coming of spring, Frühlingsfest is also a familiar feature on Yokohama’s Golden Week calendar. There’s always plenty of fun stuff to look forward to for kids, with this year’s edition featuring a miniature train puffing about around the area, a huge trampoline and a ‘bubble ball’ in which to put the young ‘uns. Adults, meanwhile, can look forward to oom-pah music, fine Teutonic brews and more than 90 kinds of grub, including Hamburg-style fischbrötchen (fish sandwiches). Note that most of the children’s activities are open only between 11am and 6pm.

Open Apr 24-May 6
Time 11am-9.30pm (some parts 11am-6pm) / Apr 24 3pm-9.30pm only
Admission Free
Venue Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
Address 1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Transport Bashamichi Station (Minatomirai line), Nihon-Odori Station (Minatomirai line)

Great Fake Exposition

Imitation, plagiarism, copying and non-attribution have become major political and social issues of our time, but it’s often forgotten that fakes and what we now call pirated copies go way back – in fact, all the way to prehistory. This fascinating exhibition explores the complex relationship between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ through historical examples, focusing on the historical and social context in which fakes appear and are separated from the ‘genuine’, and displays imitations and forgeries ranging from fake Vietnamese pottery and wrongly attributed letters to imitation sake and ‘mermaid mummies’. Authentic items are also displayed next to the fakes – can you spot the difference?

Open Mar 10-May 6 / closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a holiday)
Time 9.30am-5pm
Admission ¥830, university and high school students ¥450, children free (high school students also enter for free on Saturdays)
Venue National Museum of Japanese History
Address 117 Jonai-cho, Sakura-shi, Chiba
Transport Keisei-Sakura Station (Keisei line); Sakura Station (Sobu line)

Tokyo SkyTree

This is the tallest building in Japan; it rises 634 meters from the ground and functions as a television broadcasting tower and observation point. It is the tallest tower in the world and the 2nd tallest structure after Burj Khalifa. The tower is located in Tokyo SkyTree Town in Sumida City Ward. There are two observation levels on the tower. The first observation deck, Tembo Deck, is at 350 meters where you can get a 360° view of the city from three different levels. From the lowest of the three levels you can stand on a floor of glass panels and look directly down to the ground. On the Tembo Deck you can enjoy the SkyTree store, SkyTree Café and the Musashi Sky Restaurant which serves Japanese-French fusion cuisine.
The highest observatory in Tokyo is the Tembo Gallery at 450 meters. There is a sloping spiral tube which curls around the tower and is enclosed by glass and steel so that visitors can look down as they climb. Once you reach the top of the spiraling tube there is an observation area with large windows. This is the highest point of the observatory at 451.2 meters high.
Tickets to the first observatory deck are sold on the 4th floor and once you are there you can purchase tickets for the upper deck. At the base of the tower is an entertainment and recreation center with an aquarium, planetarium, restaurants, stores and office space.

Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan
Phone Number: +81 3-5302-3470
Admission: 2000 yen (first observatory), 3000 yen (first and second observatories)
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm
Transport * From Asakusa Station, 1 station, a 2 minute-ride on the TOBU SKYTREE Line, or a 15-minute walk
* From Ueno Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line), transfer to the TOBU SKYTREE Line at Asakusa Station, 14 minutes.
* from Tokyo Station, take the JR Sobu Rapid Line and transfer at Kinshicho for the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line, 16 minutes.
* From Shinagawa Station, take the Keikyu Line or Toei Asakusa Line, a 25-minute through service

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