Aoyama Festival

International friendships with bikes and fried food

By Jemma King    - 3 min read

The Aoyama Festival takes place annually on the last weekend of October with the inclusive theme ‘International Friendship’. This festival doesn't seem to be aimed at tourists which is fantastic as the prices are low and you can effortlessly slip into the festival culture without being noticed as a foreigner.

It takes place in Aoyama Street and Ginkgo Avenue between the junior and senior High Schools.

Local market stalls line the tree covered footpaths that lead to the ‘Ride Aoyama' circuit where you can try out the newest bikes with the locals. Other activities include wood carvings and jewellery design for a special souvenir that you can take home with you. The festival generally has a Halloween parade as well so check the website for the dates closer to the time of the event.

A festival is not complete without food and there are many options at the Aoyama Festival. Vegetarian options from tempura to tofu, lots of meat on skewers and fresh oysters were on sale for no more than ¥180 - 400. I recommend choosing a few small dishes and siting at the share tables lined up in between the trees.

Another attraction that brought me to this market was the X-Change clothes swap that is located at the end of the market stalls. It is like the best bits of a garage sale. Items were cheap and there were even some things in my western size.

If you walk down the middle of the street towards the entrance, you will also come across some of the most exquisite pumpkin and fruit carvings imaginable. These were placed neatly on tables and people were eating around them. I would be too worried to spill on them but the locals didn't seem too stressed about it.

Once you have had enough of the festivities take a sharp right at the main road and you will come across a charity sale organised by the Tokyo Red Cross. Once again if you are prepared to dig a little, there are bargains to be found. The women that were running it were very friendly and let me practice some basic Japanese phrases with them.

Lastly, a stage is tucked away behind the secondhand stall where you can see performances from many local acts. Some are better than others but all of them are very entertaining and worth watching.

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Jemma King

Jemma King @jemma.king

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