The Japan Times City Guide features write ups of what’s on in Tokyo and wider Japan. You can read my contributions here.

Days Japan Photo Exhibition

First published with The Japan Times –

Photographs that can make an emotional impact on are currently on display at the Kyoto Museum for World Peace.

In the “Days Japan Photojournalism” exhibition, each photograph tells a story. The pictures are both heartwarming and heartbreaking, capturing the issues facing the world.

Visitors are exposed to award-winning emotional shots of war, poverty and environmental concerns. Organizers say the exhibition aims to create awareness of problems facing the world and the lives of its people, and to prompt thoughts and action towards peace.

Days Japan International Photojournalism Competition is the first photojournalism award in Japan. The exhibition at the Kyoto Museum for World peace displays the award-winning photographs as a part of “Kyotographie,” the Kyoto International Photography Exhibition which exhibits work fitting the 2017 theme of “peace” at 16 sites in Kyoto. (Rochelle Kirkham)

The “Days Japan Photojournalism” exhibition at the Kyoto Museum for World Peace runs from April 15 to July 9. Open 9.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m (until 7 p.m on Fridays). Admission: adults ¥400; high school students ¥300; elementary-school student ¥200. For more information, visit the website

Nijigen No Mori opening

First published with The Japan Times –

Anime fans can experience the world of their favourite characters at Hyogo’s new Nijigen No Mori park opening in July on Awaji Island.

The anime park’s website promises to deliver a “completely new experience” as visitors can immerse themselves in the world of Japanese cartoons through the “latest technology.” The park will have “glamping” and zip lines to satisfy both active types and people looking to relax.

The “Phoenix” experience, based on Osamu Tezuka’s manga, will see visitors walk through a kilometre section of the park while watching a special projection show by the Naked Inc. creative team. The “Crayon Shin-chan Adventure Park,” based on popular animation “Crayon Shin-chan,” will feature water rides and themed courses. (Rochelle Kirkham)

The anime park Nijigen No Mori located on Awaji Island, Hyogo will open in mid-July 2017. For more information, visit the website .

Reborn-Art Festival

First published with The Japan Times –

Festival goers can enjoy art, music and food at the Reborn-Art Festival. The event was dubbed “reborn” to point to the redevelopment of Tohoku after being struck by earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Attendees can can meet people with values ​​that you will not encounter elsewhere, according to the festival website. “I can meet even a version of myself that I have never met before,” one organizer said. “What we need most now is that the ‘art of living’ revives and regains… It can be re-discovered in art, music and design.”

The festival hopes to draw locals, artists and visitors together to create an energy to move the area scarred by natural disaster forward.

Musicians on the lineup include Acidman, Ginkgo Boyz, and Nokko, alongside artists Bruce Nauman and Sawa Watari — just a few names of a whole cast of featured talent. Yukihiko Kusuda is one of many chefs cooking up a feast for visitors to the festival. (Rochelle Kirkham)

The Reborn-Art Festival 2017 runs from July 22 to Sept. 10 in Ishinomaki city. Tickets for various events are available online. To buy tickets and for more information, visit the website

Mitsuhiko Imamori Exhibition

First published with The Japan Times –

Visitors are offered the chance to connect with nature at the Kobe Fashion Museum’s summer exhibition. The special exhibition features the work of acclaimed Japanese nature photographer Mitsuhiko Imamori.

Imamori’s latest work focuses on photographs of carefully constructed paper cuttings depicting life among nature. Self-taught photographer Imamori says he has been a nature enthusiast since a child. He continues his passion capturing insects and other life forms with his lens both close to his home around the satoyama district of Shiga Prefecture near Lake Biwa and across the world from Africa to Australia. The relationship between people and nature is a common theme of his work.

Mitsuhiko Imamori’s exhibition at the Kobe Fashion Museum runs July 13-Oct. 9. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Mondays. Admission ¥500. For more information, visit the website.

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia

First published with The Japan Times –

Viewers can be swept up into a variety of worlds during the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia, showing 250 films at six venues in Tokyo and Yokohoma throughout June.

Born from a passion project of actor Tetsuya Bessho in 1999, Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia has grown to a big event on the regional film calendar. Short films at the festival range from one to 25 minutes, and the 250 to be shown over the 25 days of the festival vary in genre from drama and animation to documentary.

The winner of three different competition sections — International, Asia International and Japan — will be eligible for an Academy Award nomination, making the festival an opportunity to witness the work of potential award-winning filmmakers.

Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia takes place at five venues in Tokyo (Hikarie, Space O, Andaz, Laforet and Itscom) and one in Yokohoma from June 1-25. Attendees can book tickets and see the film schedule online.

World Press Photo 17

First published with The Japan Times –

News and culture fans alike can enjoy some of the world’s best photojournalism at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum’s latest exhibition.

Winning images from the 60th World Press Photo Contest are on display in a showcase of visual storytelling from across the world, from Spain to Iraq.

The winners of the 2017 contest were selected from over 80,000 images made by more than 5,000 photographers from 126 different countries. The categories include contemporary issues, daily life, general news, nature, people and sport. The exhibition’s top piece, World Press Photo of the Year, captures the moment Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş shouts after shooting Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov dead at an art gallery in Ankara.

World Press Photo organizers say they work to develop and promote quality visual journalism because people deserve to see their world and express themselves freely.

“Freedom of information, freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech are more important than ever, and quality visual journalism is essential for the accurate and independent reporting that makes these freedoms possible,” the World Press Photo website states.

The World Press Photo 17 at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum runs from June 10 to Aug. 6. Admission: Adults ¥800; college Students ¥600; high School and junior High School Students, and those over 65 ¥400. Closed Mondays. For more information, visit the website.

Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra with Kazumasa Watanabe

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Tokyo-born conductor and child prodigy Kazumasa Watanabe will lead the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra this June. Renowned conductor Watanabe first performed with the orchestra at just 8 years old.

The concert features pianist Tomoki Sakata, winner of the 2016 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition. Sakata has been described as “one of the best of the finest young pianists, capable of becoming one of the truly great pianists” by Austrian pianist Paul Badura-Skoda.

The program of Liszt’s Symphonic Poem “Les preludes,” his “Piano Concerto No. 1” and Brahms’ “Symphony No. 4” will kick off at 7 p.m.

The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra play at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall on June 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets range from¥5,500-15,000. For more information, other concert dates and to buy tickets, visit the website.

77th Great East Japan Earthquake Charity Run

First published with The Japan Times –

Runners can enjoy a view of the Imperial Palace while raising funds for the Great East Earthquake Japan recovery efforts this July.

Runners can choose from a 5 km, 10 km, or 15 km individual, in addition to a 20 km team relay race. Part of the participation fee is donated to the Fukushima Prefecture Disaster Response headquarters and will be used in their recovery efforts. Race first to third place winners will win specialty goods from Miyagi Prefecture.

The Imperial Palace loop is one of Tokyo’s most popular running and walking routes, where one can take in the sights of government offices, art museums, European architecture, and the Imperial Palace and gardens.

Be sure to register early as entry will be cut off once capacity is reached. (Rochelle Kirkham)

77th Great East Japan Earthquake Charity Run on Saturday, July 8, begins at the Imperial Palace. Runners can choose from 5 km, 10 km, 15 km and a 20 km team relay event. Online registration closes on June 25. Race entry may close early if capacity is reached. Entry fees range from ¥2,700 to ¥10,800 for teams. For event details and registration visit the website.

You can read more about what’s on in Japan on The Japan Times City Guide: