In 2013, Japan has a host of great events and festivals that await the cultured traveler. A new airport is opening in Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture composed of hundreds of Ryuku islands. Ishigaki Island, the second-largest island in the Yaeyama group, is getting Shin-Ishigaki Airport as a new gateway on March 7, 2013. Ishigaki is famous for showcasing some of the world’s best scuba diving spots, unique island culture and lifestyle and beautiful nature spots, as well as Important Cultural Property-listed Miyaradunchi.
Japan, famous for its unique train culture, will be offering something new to visitors next year. Starting in October 2013, the Bullet Train system – also known as Shinkansen – in the southwestern island of Kyushu will add first-class train cars. The car is designed with retrospective style and will showcase regional craftworks and traditional designs. Called the Seven Stars Cruise Train that serves in seven prefectures of Kyushu, the train takes passengers through Kyushu’s rich offerings such as hot springs, natural beauty, culinary culture and local hospitality.
Aichi Triennale 2013 Art Festival
From August 10 to October 27, 2013, the Aichi Triennale 2013 Art Festival will take place in several sites around the Aichi Prefecture. Thirty international artists will display their artwork on roadsides to reflect the local manufacturing history and urban vibration. To get there, you can take the bullet train 1.5 hours from Tokyo or 1 hour from Osaka via Nagoya.
Setouchi Triennale 2013
The Setouchi inland sea area is one of Japan’s top art sites in the country, and even in the world. Raising the bar in the new year, the Setouchi Triennale 2013 will connect artworks to the local cultural and history in three sessions: March 20 through April 21, July 20 through September 1 and October 5 through November 4. These sessions will be synchronized with Setouchi’s changing seasons – with each session articulating seasonal beauty – through permanent collections and changing displays. The event will take place at 14 different locations on the small islands and surrounding port cities.
After a major reconstruction, Ginza’s iconic Kabukiza Theatre will reopen in April 2, 2013. The Kabukiza Theatre is the main theater of Japan’s traditional Kabuki performance in Tokyo. Designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the new facility will represent Japan’s contemporary creativity and traditional culture. A set performance schedule will be posted closer to the reopening.
Image via ZoofyTheJi
Tokyo International Anime Fair
In 2013, the Tokyo International Anime Fair will take place from March 21 to 24, with the first two days focusing on businesses and the last two days being open to the public. While those working in the industry can enjoy networking and doing business with other companies, those coming to simply enjoy the event can take in live talk shows featuring anime voice actors and artists, an “Anime Bazaar” selling animation and character goods and a “Japan Manga and Animation Museum Expo” showcasing 50 anime and manga-focused museums.
The Antique Jamboree in Tokyo will take place from January 8 to 10, 2013. It is one of the largest antique fairs in Japan, showcasing Japanese and western toys, collectibles and antiques. Taking place at the Tokyo Big Site International Exhibition Center, over 500 dealers will be in attendance.
Sapporo Snow Festival
The Sapporo Snow Festival began in 1950 as a small event featuring a few sculptures by high school students; however, after the city hosted the 1972 Olympics the festival received international attention. Fast forward two years, and the International Snow Sculpture Contest was born, welcoming participants and visitors from all over the globe. In 2013, the 64th annual Sapporo Snow Festival will take place from February 5 to 11, showcasing ice sculptures, snow slides, mazes and the crowning of a snow queen.
top photo: Artist Adel Abdessemed via Grant Delin