So you’re in Tokyo in March and you’re looking for food events? Here are a few we recommend!
Japan Local Food Festival, NHK Broadcasting Center Yoyogi Park
March 10th and 11th 2019 — 10:00-16:00
In Japanese, this festival is called the “Furusato” Festival, meaning “hometown” festival. Rural areas of Japan are being neglected, with over 90% of Japan’s population residing in urban areas such as Tokyo. The idea of a “hometown” can be very nostalgic for many, especially if it proves difficult to visit home often. Therefore celebrating one’s hometown culture is important in order to continue one’s local identity.
Vendors gather in Yoyogi Park to sell delicious food from their hometowns. From Hokkaido, the rugged north, to Kyushu, the subtropical south, take your tastebuds on a roadtrip of this geographically diverse nation. If you’re in Tokyo but don’t have the time to travel the whole country of Japan, you can still sample all the regional culinary delights here!
Discover the speciality dishes from the various regions of Japan, including soup curry from Sapporo, pork bone broth ramen from Fukuoka, Kobe beef from, ahem, Kobe and pigs ears from Okinawa.
Strawberry Cats Collection Dessert Fair, Hilton Tokyo
Until May 1st 2019
The name of the event in Japanese is “Ichigo dezato x Nyanko”, which means “Strawberry desserts collaborates with kitty cats” (but in literal terms “nyanko” is onomatopoeia for a mew from a kitten). Cute cats and magnificently decorated cakes: it doesn’t get any more Japanese pop culture than this. If you have the slightest inkling about Japanese pop culture, you’ll know that cute reigns. But did you know that more traditionally, seasonality is integral to Japanese culture? Whenever a certain fruit is in season, you’ll see it in everything! From January – May, strawberries are in season. You can even go on a strawberry picking tour. The most famous sweet to feature strawberries is ichigo daifuku: strawberries wrapped in sweet red bean paste and soft rice cake.
The Hilton Tokyo is holding a strawberry dessert fair entitled “Strawberry Cats Collection” – and the theme is Parisienne cats! Whether you love desserts, strawberries, or enjoy lavish displays of food, this fair is without a doubt a must see. Especially among the curious of Japan’s love for desserts!
Adults, weekdays: ¥3,900, weekends & holidays: ¥4,050
Children (4-12), weekdays: ¥2,500, weekends & holidays: ¥2,600
The fair is open from 14.30-17.30 and runs until May 1st. The entrance fee entitles you to a 2.5 hour slot, either from 14.30-17:00 or 15:00-17:00.
Cherry Blossom Viewing, various parts of Tokyo
Mid March – Mid April
In Japan, cherry blossoms, or sakura, are taken very seriously. No wonder, it really is one of the most visually enchanting experiences! In March you will notice cherry blossom decor everywhere, including Starbucks, convenience stores and restaurants. Be sure to pick up some sakura themed souvenirs while in Tokyo, but the main event is Hanami – a cherry blossom viewing picnic. Crowds of locals and tourists alike flock to the many parks of Tokyo to picnic under the cherry blossoms. What does a typical Hanami picnic include? Hanami Dango and Sakura Mochi – both varieties of sweet rice cakes that resemble cherry blossoms. People also bring special bento boxes (lunchboxes) filled with sushi rolls, tofu pouches, and fish cakes. You can pick these up from any food department store in Tokyo. Be sure to remember to quench your thirst, popular refreshments being Asahi Super Dry Beer, Umeshu (plum liqueur) and Sake (rice wine).
Cherry Blossom viewing can be enjoyed at several areas throughout Tokyo, but one of the most popular areas is the Nakameguro river. Here, the canal is shrouded in illuminated blossoms, all different shades of pink. It’s truly a sight to behold. Sakura season only last around one month, giving more significance to the fleeting beauty of the falling petals. It’s always extremely busy so it’s recommended that you get there very early. Even better, if you want to secure a spot for a picnic, you can book a Hanami tour with Arigato Japan!
Join our limited “Evening Cherry Blossom food tour” in Nakameguro and experience the true Hanami!