This was a three-day weekend that just ended. Monday (November 3) was 文化の日 (Culture Day).
There were are always a number of festivals on Culture Day weekend.
On Sunday, we went to 原宿 (Harajuku) because my kids like to go shopping there (just like all teenagers in Tokyo do!) and from there we went to the 渋谷フェスタ (Shibuya Festival).
Harajuku is very crowded…especially 竹下通り (Takeshita Street):
Outside the World-famous Laforet store, I noticed that they already have their X-mas tree up!
We stopped by 明治神宮 (Meiji Grand Shrine). They were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the shrine’s being restored after the damage from WW2.
They were having a festival in the evening…but we didn’t stay for it.
At the shrine, we saw little girls aged 3 and 7 and little boys aged 5 who were there dressed up in 着物 (kimono) for their 七五三 (7-5-3 Festival). (You can read my short FAQ about that holiday by clicking here )
From there, we walked to 代々木公園 (Yoyogi Park). Every Sunday, many people gather in groups in or near the park and some groups are dressed as Cosplay and some are rock bands practicing and others are dancing groups, etc.
These are their hobbies and they like to meet at Yoyogi Park on Sundays and relax. But visitors to Tokyo might be surprised by some of them. (Until about ten years ago, there used to be alot more groups there on Sundays. The street outside the park would be closed to traffic on Sundays to accommodate them all!)
One of the most famous groups (beside the Cosplay) are the Rockabillies. “Rockabilly” is an early style of rock ‘n roll from the 1950′s that is basically a combination of rock and country (which was sometimes called “hillbilly music” back then).
The Stray Cats are probably the most famous rockabilly band…and they still have many fans in Japan.
Rockabilly style is leather, ’50s style tattoos, greased hair and hot rod cars…and ’50s rock music.
The Rockabilly groups in Yoyogi Park gather on Sundays and listen to their old rock music and dance. Many foreigners mistake them for Elvis impersonators. They listen to Elvis style music…but they’re not impersonating him.
Here’s a couple of videos of them:
Elvis is in 原宿 (Harajuku), though:
This statue of Elvis Presley is outside the Rock N Roll Museum store. They have sections devoted to Elvis, The Stray Cats, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, KISS, etc.
From there, we walked to the 渋谷フェスタ (Shibuya Festival).
There were lots of booths where you could buy food and beer, or crafts and goods, or play a game, etc. It was similar to 区民祭り (Residents Festivals).
At one booth they were making mochi, which is pulverized rice. And they gave it away until they ran out. We were able to get some each. It was quite good.
Here’s a video of them making the mochi. It’s called 「もちつき」 (“Mochi-tsuki”):
It was a fun day.
Here are some other pictures I took:
Here’s the CC Lemon Hall. (I hate that name. It used to be called 渋谷公会堂 (Shibuya Koukaidou) since it was built in 1964 for the ’64 Tokyo Olympics…until they sold the naming rights to a beverage company).
I saw my first concert in Japan here (Death Angel in 1991):
And we were surprised by the size of these cabbages:
And finally, we went home from 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station). The intersection in front of this station is said to be the busiest intersection in the world.
Here are a couple videos of it that I took: