Summer might be coming to an end but Japan’s many art festivals are just kicking into high-gear. There’s a lot of them, we know, so we’re here to share some of the highlights, and help you decide which are worth your time.
And if you’re looking to do some domestic traveling around Japan but not sure where to go, planning your trip around one of these isn’t a bad idea. We’ve got you covered from the North, all the way to the South.
The inaugural Reborn Art Festival, is a celebration of art, music and food and is being held in Ishinomaki, one of Miyagi prefecture’s hardest hit regions during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Musical acts are performing daily for the 51-day festival and a roster of international and Japanese artists have installed artwork throughout Ishinomaki City and Oshika Peninsula. Artists include Yayoi Kusama, Kohei Nawa, Chim Pom, Bruce Nauman and JR’s Inside Out project.
Artwork is a little spread out but organizers have free shuttle buses that take you around to different locations. The festival is coming to an end soon but it’s up through September 10th, 2017. General admission passports are 3,000 yen.
Occuring every 3 years, as the name indicates, the Yokohama Triennial is back for a 6th season. Based on the theme “Islands, Constellations & Galapagos,” the triennial will examine “Connectivity” and “Isolation” in in our current world, promising to be a timely event as our digitally-connected world faces protectionism and xenophobia. Key highlights include a large-scale installation by Ai Wei Wei and work by other internationally renowned artists like Jenny Holzer, Olafur Eliasson, Yoi Kawakubo and Sam Durant.
Venues are all close together and include Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No.1 and Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall and the Triennial is currently on view through November 5, 2017. General admission is 1,500 yen
Inaugurated in 2014, the Sapporo International Art Festival is back for its 2nd edition in one of our very favorite regions of Japan. Over 100 artists have descended upon Sapporo and installed artworks of all genres in Noguchi Isamu’s Moerenuma Park, Sapporo Art Park and other locations throughout the city. Highlights include an multi-sensory sound and music installation at Sapporo Art Park, the participatory “O-Furoshiki Project” and an installation of more than 100 secondhand record players at Moerenuma Park.
The festival is on now through October 1, 2017. Admission varies depending on the venue.
This one is less of an art festival and more of an large-scale solo exhibition of immersive works by TeamLab, who have transformed the 172-year old Mifuneyama Rakuen Park in Saga Prefecture into a sprawling show of digital art merged with nature. But due to the nature of the work (outdoor digital installations and projections) it’s only on view in the evening but check out the website for exact hours.
The show is up now through October 9, 2017. General admission is 1600 yen
Dubbed as the art festival nearest to the future, occurring on the island nearest to space, this inaugural festival is taking place on Tanegashima, an island off of Kyushu that is home to the Tangegashima Space Center, Japan’s largest space development center. Although notably smaller in scale than some of the other festivals, a talented group of Japanese artists will have space and rocket-themed installations like a sculpture made from a piece of a rocket that fell from the sky and a large-scale replica of a rocket ship made from recycled plastic bottles.
Although the festival is up now through November 5, 2017, one of our highlights – a planetarium installed within a cave – will only be on view from November 2-5 at nighttime. Admission varies depending on the venue.