There are plenty of Japan-related events on in the UK to tide you over the festive season until spring, with something to suit fans of all aspects of Japanese culture. For foodies there are secret supper clubs and Christmas champagne and Japanese food tasting at newly-opened Japanese restaurant Kiri. For art lovers there are exhibitions and talks on artistic giants Katsushika Hokusai and Hiroshige Utagawa. For pop culture fans there are anime screenings and multi-day festivals in London and Lincoln. And for melomaniacs there is everything from enka folk music and the NHK orchestra at one end of the spectrum to world-renowned Japanese heavy metal band X Japan at the other!
Experience a quintessential British tradition as never before with this afternoon tea with a twist at the Rosewood Hotel London. The Art Afternoon Tea includes a mouth-watering selection of art-inspired pastries designed by the hotel's executive pastry chef that are reminiscent of works by 5 iconic modern artists including visionary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Featuring her trademark yellow and black polka dots, you probably won't have much trouble telling which cake is inspired by her work! You can make a reservation for the afternoon tea, which costs £50, in the hotel's elegant Mirror Room with its jewelbox design here. If you want to extend the experience, then there is also an Afternoon Tea and Stay package which combines feasting on these creative culinary masterpieces with a stay in one of their luxurious rooms or suites - make a reservation here.
When? The art tea is served 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Sunday
Where? 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
A new ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) exhibition from one of the best known of all Japanese artists, Hiroshige Utagawa (1797-1858), who is considered one of the last great masters of the genre and whose work had a direct influence on many western artists such as van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne and Whistler.
The exhibition features 21 prints from the series first presented around 1833 that made him famous, depicting views along Japan’s ancient major highway the Tokaido, and is full of fascinating insights into the journey between the Kyoto and Edo (now Tokyo). Tickets cost £4 and can be purchased online or at reception. Concessions cost just £2 and under-19s go in for free!
When? 10:00-17:00 Closed on Mondays
Where? Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Queen Street, Exeter EX4 3RX
Aaaand the perfect post-Christmas treat! Monograph strives to host Japanese dining events that are always different in format and space but which share the same aim of creating exciting and inspiring dining experiences. This multi-course Japanese dinner at a secret London location will give you the feeling of a trip to Tokyo without actually going, and blur the line between fantasy and reality. Dine with strangers in a informal and relaxed setting and experience new flavours, emotions and conversations. Menu: Watercress salad with sesame dressing; Sanuki udon noodles with Scottish smoked mackerel and mixed seaweed; 24H marinated saikyo-miso salmon and Japanese short-grain rice; Matcha dorayaki (green tea pancake), chocolate mochi, aka daifuku (azuki bean-filled ricecake).
Tickets cost a very reasonable £29.90 for a 4-course meal. BYO alcohol or if you’re feeling adventurous add an optional sake experience with tastings of 3 different types of sake and one umeshu (plum wine) for an extra £19. When?
Doors open at 19:00, dinner starts at 19:30
Where? Art gallery 2 min walk from Angel station - exact address will be provided after booking
Warm yourself up and get rid of those January blues with a hot cup of tea at this event for tea drinkers of all stripes at the Bloomsbury Gallery. Discover tea traditions from around the globe, including England, India, China - and of course, Japan! There will be tea-making demonstrations and sampling of varieties of tea as well as snacks and sweets from China and Japan.
The Matcha Workshop will include a small presentation of the history of Matcha in Japan, making and tasting of Matcha, and a Q&A section. Learn the difference between Gyokuro, which is from the same tea farm as Matcha, and how the Matcha tea leaf is shaded for 30 days to give it its unique taste with a perfect balance of bitterness and umami.
Get an exciting goody bag including Sen-cha, Genmai-cha, Houji-cha, Japanese Koucha, and EasyBrew Green tea bags with brewing instructions.
When? 14:30 - 16:00
Where? Bloomsbury Gallery, 34 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QJ
Japan Foundation's two-month film season starts in London on 3 February, before touring to 14 further cities around the UK. Presenting films through the prism of “desires, hopes and impulses”, this year's programme promises to not only entertain but also provide a vivid insight into what drives human action. The programme showcases a variety of different locations around Japan, and the films ‘Lady Maiko’ (set in Kyoto and about an aspiring maiko or apprentice geisha) and ‘Tsukiji Wonderland’ (about the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo) will be of particular interest to anyone thinking of visiting Japan! If you want to find out more about the lineup the details are all online here.
When? 3 February to 29 March 2017
Where? 15 cities around the UK including London, Manchester, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast and Birmingham
Organised by Animeleague, one of the largest anime communities in the world, LAGC will be back early next year for 3 full days in February. Anime voice actors and screenings, manga workshops and artists’ alley, gaming across 5 themed zones, cosplay, music and partying as well as special events such as live anime dubbing and a Harajuku fashion show!
3-day tickets including entrance to the parties are just £29. Alternatively, day tickets are £9-14 in advance or £10-15 on the door. Advance tickets include guaranteed entry, early entry and freebies! When?
10:30 (prepaid) or 11:00 (on the door) til late (Friday entry midday)
The Rocket Complex, London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Rd, London N7 8DB
Taiko Meantime Winter Workshops - 5 Feb & 19 Feb 2017
Taiko Meantime's winter workshops return with a Beginners Workshop on February 5 and a winter workshop special with Eiichi Saito from world-famous taiko drumming group KODO on February 19, 2017. See the Taiko Meantime website for more details and how to book.
The beginners' workshop features an introduction to the essential elements of taiko drumming: rhythem, movement, teamwork, performance and fun, and is a great way to kick-start your taiko-playing journey or the perfect springboard from which to develop your playing further. The workshop costs £70.
This winter special workshop is suitable for those with good experience of taiko, intermediate players and professionals. It will be taught by legendary KODO player Eiichi Saito and Eri Uchida, another fantastic player from the group who appeared in their ground-breaking production 'Mystery' last year. This fascinating and in-depth workshop will cover cross-cutting, core taiko skills, movements of the body and many of the essential techniques involved in hitting the taiko. The masterclass costs £80. When?
Beginnners' workshop: 10:30 to 17:00; Masterclass: 11:00 to 17:00 Where?
1) Potters Gate Primary School, Potters Gate, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7BB 2) Woburn Village Hall, Crawley Rd, Woburn, Milton Keynes MK17 9QD
A series of linked events held over a week showcasing Japanese film, music, art, food and much more. There’s sure to be something for everyone with events including horror and anime film screenings, free events such as a kimono pop-up, paid workshops such as kids’ character riceball-making workshop, exhibitions of art and design by UK-based Japanese artists, and a Nintendo gaming event. There is too much variety to summarize in one paragraph so don’t take our word for it - head over to their website and check it out for yourself! When?
Every day between 11 and 18 February Where?
The Ritz Cinema, The Collection, and various other locations in Lincoln
Japan’s most iconic rock band will hold #XDAY, a special album release concert at London’s Wembley arena, to celebrate the late 2016 release of their highly-anticipated new album - their first new studio album in 20 years. The concert was rescheduled from March 12, 2016 due to guitarist PATA’s sudden illness. For fans of X Japan who already have their tickets the wait must seem unbearable but they are surely looking forward to seeing a fully recovered PATA and the other members back on stage sooner than ever!
Meanwhile, those who have yet to book tickets should get a move on, as they are selling fast! Tickets cost £34.50-57.50 and can be booked online via The SSE Arena Wembley’s website. When?
Doors open 17:00, start at 18:00 Where?
SSE Arena Wembley, London
NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo will perform Toru Takemitsu’s haunting Requiem for Strings (1957) and Gustav Mahler’s passionately melancholic Symphony No.6, conducted by Paarvo Jarvi, who is leading a European tour for the first time since becoming Chief Conductor of the orchestra. The slow, yearning melodies of Takemitsu’s opus will segue into Mahler’s traditional “Tragic” symphony, which draws listeners in with its bleak yet irresistible momentum.
Standard tickets cost £10-£50 or £65 for Premium tickets. When?
19.30-21:15 (no interval)
Where? Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
exhibition that shines light on the importance and influence that
railway companies have played in the development of the country, with a
special focus on Osaka and its surrounding Kansai region. Since the
first steam locomotives were imported from the UK to Japan in the late
19th century, railway companies have played a key role in the shaping of
Japan's regions, and the exhibition looks at the involvement of railway
companies in the history and development of Osaka and Kansai, which was
especially remarkable from the onset and continues to help define the
lifestyles of its residents even today. The museum is free to enter, and
makes the perfect day out for families with kids!
When? Museum opening hours 10:00-17:00
Where? Locomotion, the National Railway Museum at Shildon, Industrial Estate, Dale Rd, Shildon DL4 2RE
The first major UK exhibition to focus on Japanese domestic architecture from the end of WWII to now, it presents some of the most exciting architectural projects of the last 70 years, many of which have never before been exhibited in the UK. The “single family house” rose to prominence in the context of an urgent need for new housing in the wake of the devastation of WWII. The exhibition considers developments since in residential architecture in the light of important shifts in Japan’s economy, urban landscape, and family structure.
Tickets can be reserved online via the Barbican’s website and are priced at Standard: £14.50, Concessions: £12.00, Students: 14-17: £10.00. When?
Sat–Wed: 10:00–18:00, Thu–Fri: 10:00–21:00
Where? Art Gallery, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS
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Sou Fujimoto Architects, House NA, Tokyo, Japan, 2011. Photo Iwan Baan