Catch the last autumn session of this fascinating outdoor art event before it closes for another three years. Setouchi Triennale’s contemporary artwork is spread out among 12 islands in the Seto Inland Sea between Kagawa and Okayama prefectures. Themed “restoration of the sea,” the event aims to revitalize the local environment and community after severe depopulation. The autumn session features permanent, site-specific installations and single-season exhibitions. The event is also a unique opportunity to experience Japan’s traditional island culture.
- When: Sept. 29 – Nov. 6
- Where: Seto Inland Sea Islands
- Web: setouchi-artfest.jp
Nicknamed the “real Fuji Rock” for its idyllic location at the foot of Mt Fuji, this music festival is a laid-back two days of camping, rock, Indie and dance music by international and local artists. Workshops, morning yoga and activities for children are held around the two main stages.
- When: Oct. 8-9
- Where: Asagiri Arena, Shizuoka
- Web: asagirijam.jp
Live music and organic brands come together for this music festival and eco-friendly market held in the middle of the city.
- When: Oct. 22-23
- Where: Yoyogi Park, Tokyo
- Web: earth-garden.jp
Brightness Music & Art Festival
Enjoy dance music at this seaside park not far from Tokyo. This festival is popular for its all-night music performances and lights.
- When: Oct. 22-23
- Where: Chidori Park, Kanagawa
- Web: brightness-music.com
Yokonori Nippon Film Festival
Japan’s surf, skate and snow scene is celebrated at this weekend film festival dedicated to yokonori, literally translated as “riding sideways.” Showings are held in the Shonan surf town of Chigasaki. Purchase tickets online.
- When: Nov. 4-6
- Where: Aeon Cinema Chigasaki, Kanagawa
- Web: yoko-nori.net
Echigo Tsumari Art Festival
Head to Niigata’s mountains before the snow to enjoy the last of the green season. This art festival is an immersive way to travel across six areas in Echigo, the former name for Niigata Prefecture. View contemporary art exhibitions, try local cuisine and visit popular permanent exhibitions like the Tunnel of Light and the House of Light by James Turrellare. This year the festival also welcomes 114 new artworks. There are guided day-trip bus tours to and from Echigo-Yuzawa Station, which include lunch.
- When: Until Nov. 13
- Where: Echigo Tsumari, Niigata
- Web: www.echigo-tsumari.jp
Club Med Kiroro
Japan’s third Club Med resort is set to open this winter in snowy Kiroro, Hokkaido, This all-inclusive winter resort will open part of its resort in December: the Kiroro Peak with all-inclusive packages including a gourmet buffet-style dining, hot spring access and ski passes. Packages start at ¥38,000 per person, per night and are for people 12 and up. Kiroro Grand opening next year will target families with young children.
- Web: clubmed.co.jp
Step back in time as people parade in traditional Japanese garments through Kyoto, reflecting the region’s 1,200-year history. The procession starts from Kyoto Imperial Palace, traveling along Oike-dori to Heian Jingu Shrine.
- When: Oct. 22
- Where: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto
Arashiyama Momiji Festival
Celebrate the changing autumn leaves at this annual festival in iconic Kyoto. Boats will parade on the river around Togetsu Bridge, with elaborately dressed characters on board reflecting the Heian Period nobles.
- When: Nov. 13
- Where: Arashiyama, Kyoto
- Web: arashiyamahoshokai.com
Rikugien Gardens Autumn Illumination
View kouyou under the night sky at Rikugien Gardens. Built during the Edo Period, this daimyo teien belonged to a feudal lord and remains a popular destination to view the autumnal foliage.
- When: End of Nov. – Beg. of Dec.
- Where: Rikugien Gardens, Tokyo