Musashi-Kosugi Food Festival (November 2019)

There are many famous festivals all over Japan: the Gion Festival in Kyoto, the Sapporo Snow Festival in Hokkaido, and Omizutori in Nara are just a few examples. But there are also many events held for and by locals, sampling local delicacies and featuring shows by children from nearby schools.

The food festival here in Musashi-Kosugi had food from local restaurants and some dancing by kids. Thankfully it didn’t rain today (yesterday was freezing and sleety, so many people were worried it would have to be cancelled.)

The guys working at the stalls were super energetic; they were constantly yelling “WELCOME, WELCOME! COME HAVE SOME SPICY GYOZA, IT’S THE BEST!” So I got some spicy gyoza. Ken bought some pork, and it was so succulent and perfectly cooked!

There was a lot more available too, like sausages, Indian curry,  meat and tofu, and fried rice. Beer was sold, too, of course. The festival was small but had a happy, enthusiastic atmosphere.

Sometimes the little festivals are just as fun as the super hyped famous ones. Try a local festival sometime next time you hit a local area – you might be pleasantly surprised!

Taiwan Festival in Ueno Park

It’s rainy season at the moment so the weather consists of thick clouds and the odd shower. I didn’t want to sit in the house all day though so we went to Ueno Park, about half an hour away from our house by subway, to the Taiwan Festival.

It was actually surprisingly busy, but most places in Tokyo are at the weekend. There was merry music and an exotic, sweet smell of Chinese cooking in the couple of rows of stalls.

We started with a drink. Ken got some Taiwanese beer and I bought some mango juice. 500 yen felt like a bit of a stretch but it was thick, not too sweet, and very refreshing.

Ken got all excited so we went to get some food as well. Due to the sweet sauces they use, although it was a chicken and rice dish, it tasted very different to Japanese food. We sat on the damp steps of the park and people-watched while we ate. It wasn’t the most glamorous day out but I was full of happiness because I was with my favourite person.

We went to get some dumplings too but upon getting to the front of the line we saw the guy emptying a bag of frozen ones onto the grill! They weren’t fresh, so Ken got some noodles instead and slurped them while I drank a matcha tapioca milk drink. We listened to some taiko drumming, lined up to throw away our trash (which would probably never happen in other countries) and wandered back.

There are a lot of cool little shrines and things in Ueno Park, and we found ourselves at Hanazono Inari Shrine. It’s a cute row of torii gates and apparently a place to visit to strengthen your relationship, whether its friendship, family, or romantic.

We walked down hand in hand down this path and rang the bell to make a wish. Then, overcome by lethargy from food and the drizzling weather, took the long train home.

Little adventures like these are everywhere in Tokyo if you know where to find them by doing some research first. I happened to find the Taiwan Festival on Tokyo Cheapo, one of my favourite sites for finding events in this great city.

Though it was a little far, it was a nice date. Festivals are always done well in Japan so be sure to check one out when you visit… so long as you don’t mind the crowds.