Festivals are must-do or at least to watch out for when in Japan. Almost every month, there is a festival to celebrate for. And for those who are into classical music and performances, Japan is also the country to go to. Japanese people love classical music. Almost every city has its own music hall for people to enjoy concerts and performances at very reasonable prices. Last weekend, I was able to enjoy both.
Festivals of Dragons, Strawberries, and Sheep in Yokohama
Last weekend, I met with my friends in Yokohama to check out some potential galleries for our next exhibition. As we try to check or cross-out items on our list, we also enjoyed a couple of festivals. I like walking around Yokohama especially in Minato Mirai and Bashamichi. On weekdays, the area is full of people rushing to and from their offices. On weekends, it is filled with the laughters and giggles of children and families. From time to time there are several events held in different areas for people to enjoy.
We first made a quick tour around Ishikawacho and Motomachi. It was a bit nostalgic for me since it has been a while since I was there. The shopping street has a merry scene with people from all walks of life. There were also a number of people enjoying a good Saturday walk with their dogs.
Chinese New Year in Chinatown
Then we headed to Yokohama Chinatown for the Chinese New Year Festival. It was very festive – beautiful lanterns, different food displays, and souvenirs here and there. Although we did not explore the area very much because of the crowd, we were able to visit the temple Ma Zhu Miao.
Strawberry Festival at Aka Renga
From Chinatown, we walked a little further going to Bashamichi to check the remaining items on our list of galleries to visit. For our final stop, we headed to Aka Renga for the Strawberry Festival. Inside a big tent were stores selling different kinds of desserts made of strawberries and novelty items with strawberry designs. There were also entertainment for the kids like the big strawberry bouncy house, trampoline, and archery.
Shaun in Japan Exhibit
As we walked towards the station, we saw kids and adults crowding the center alley of Queen”s Square. 30 Shaun the Sheep were standing there dressed as famous characters!
Classical Music in Kawasaki
The next day, my husband and I went to Kawasaki to watch one of our friends perform at Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall. The hall is just beside Kawasaki Station. I used to go there for shopping before since it is only a stop away from Tsurumi where I lived before. But like my husband, it was my first time to go inside the symphony hall. While we were waiting for the doors to open, we made a quick tour around the area. There were some shops and restaurants aside from the music hall. Outside, there is a part of the old station’s facade that survived the Great Kanto Earthquake.
As we queue to enter the main hall, a music similar to those in old circus events welcomed the guests. The inside structure has an amazing style. The seats were arranged in a spiral form, known, as the vineyard arrangement. This allows the audience to have a good view of the stage which is placed in the middle. The symphony hall is a project of Kawasaki City Government together with their sister city, Salzburg. Hence, most of the performances there are masterpieces of Austrian classical geniuses. For that day, we enjoyed listening to Brahm’s variation on Haydin’s Op. 56 and Anton Bruckner performed by the Ricoh Philharmonic Orchestra.