Exploring Japan Our Slice of Tokyo

Festivals and Music Weekend

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.

 

Festivals in Japan
Saturday Stroll at Motomachi, Yokohama

 

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.

 

Lucky Dragon to Welcome the Chinese New Year

 

Chinese New Year at Yokohama Chinatown

 

Crossing the Sacred Tunnel at Ma Zhu Miao

 

The Gods of 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.

 

Strawberry Festival at Aka Renga, Yokohama

 

All-Time Favorite Strawberry Short Cake

 

Precious Strawberries in Boxes. The Shop Sells the Famous JPY3,000 (USD30)-A-Piece Strawberries.

 

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!

 

Sushi Shaun the Sheep

 

Hello Kitty Shaun

 

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.

 

First to Visit the Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall

 

The Remains of the Old Kawasaki Station Destroyed During the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923

 

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.

The Classic Organ Grinder Man at Kawasaki Symphony Hall

 

Inside the Main Hall of Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall

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