While Thai restaurants can be found all across Tokyo, one of the downsides to them is that they often have reduced, watered-down menus. The same, familiar 5 or 6 dishes seem to pop up everywhere, with their spiciness diluted for Japanese tastes. For those looking for something more authentic, this festival is the place to be. Dishes of all kinds are available, from soups to vegetables to meat to desserts, things I saw in Thailand, and things I've never even heard of. It would be impossible to name them all here - just go and enjoy.
There is a full lineup of entertainers on the schedule. In my time at the festival, there were dazzling performances by soulful singers, wild violinists, and musicians of every sort. It appears they pulled out all the stops to put on a good show. In various display tents around the festival area, visitors could receive blessings from Thai Buddhist monks, pose for a photo with Miss Thailand, check out an authentic tuk-tuk, make crafts with kids, and pay homage to a devotion of the beloved King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej. While some festivals roll into Yoyogi Park with little more than some foreign cuisine, you could spend the whole day at the Thai Festival for all it has to offer.
Thailand is known as the "Land of Smiles," and while that title is somewhat debatable, what isn't debatable is the fact that the people participating in this festival showed a lot of pride in their country, culture, and heritage. Thai flags are flying everywhere, the staff works tirelessly to put on a memorable show, and there is an undeniable vibe of excitement and enthusiasm. It all adds up to the Thai Festival being a can't miss event on the Tokyo calendar.