This Week in Tokyo – 17 July 2018
The latest edition of This Week in Tokyo – a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in and beyond the city. Check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis. This week’s edition is hosted by Mac, Founder and Lead Guide of Maction Planet.
Featured image: Yasukuni Shrine held its annual Mitama Matsuri from 13-16 July. “Mitama” means “soul of the dead” and the festival, which has been held every year since 1947, honours the souls of those who gave their lives to defend Japan. It began in 1947 and remains one of Tokyo’s biggest Obon celebrations. Lots of events take place around the festival – a bon odori, mikoshi carrying and enka performances. However, the event really comes alive at night when over 30,000 lanterns set up around the shrine are lit up. I took two groups of guests to enjoy the festival and we had incredible access, including being right next to the main shrine building when the mikoshi came ‘home’.
Photobombed by Kikuchi-kun: There I was, taking a photo with my friend Inashiki Inanosuke of Inashiki, Ibaraki Prefecture at Nassyi Matsuri when I get photobombed by that renegade Kikuchi-kun, the unofficial mascot of Kikuchi City in Kumamoto prefecture. With his melon for a head, onsen (hot springs) for eyebrows, cow’s legs for… err… legs and irreverent comments Kikuchi-kun is quite the handful. We had a great chat afterwards but the incident has made us arch-nemeses for life!
All hail Tsubakuro: All guests on our Tokyo Baseball Tours love Tsubakuro, lead mascot of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. To honour the great bird, 12 July was Tsubakuro Day. I think this picture says all that needs to be said about what went on that evening!
Yu Ka Ta: Summer is in full swing in Tokyo and more people, visitors and locals, are sporting Yukata. The Odakyu Department store in Shinjuku has some great displays, including this one showcasing some stylish prints and uchiwa-e, bamboo-framed hand fans with ukiyo-e prints pasted on.
And finally… This week’s public service announcement comes from Pipo-kun. The mascot of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Pipo-kun’s name derives from PEople and POlice. His antenna, large ears and big eyes are all part of his arsenal to help protect us. Normally seen grinning and chirpy, in this poster he is not happy at all, clearly disappointed with people using their smartphones while walking around, on their bikes or driving their cars. Please desist from this behaviour so we can bring the smile back to Pipo-kun’s adorabable face.