Hey! Get off base and check out these events!
Editor's note: There's a lot of stuff happening off base, so read below and then head off for some fun! (This was updated June 24)
LUPINUS FESTIVAL IN TOWADA (Aomori prefecture): Through June 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; pink, violet, red, orange, yellow and other colorful 10,000 lupinus in one-acre garden at Risokyo, 15-minute ride from JR Towadashi Station; 550 yen adults, 200 yen kids; 0176-27-2516; www.risoukyo.com/event/index.html.
TOKYO BAY CRUISE: June 30-Oct. 9, 7:15-9 p.m.; departing Takehashi Pier Terminal, cruise indludes all-you-can drink; seven-minute walk from JR Hamamatsucho Station (north exit); 2,600 yen adults, 1,050 yen senior and junior high school students, 550 yen elementary school students, 1,000 yen discount weekdays when you wear yukata costume, 500 yen discount for making a reservation at www.nouryousen.jp/payment.html on June 30, July 3-14; 03-3437-6119.
IRIS FESTIVAL RUINS OF TAGA CASTLE PARK (Miyagi prefecture): Through July 1, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; 3,000,000 irises, plus live performances, open-air tea services and more on weekends; five-minute walk from ride from Kokufu Tagajyo Station on JR Tohoku Line; free; 022-211-2822; www.miyagi-kankou.or.jp/tourist_infomation/en.
NAGASAKI HUIS TEN BOSCH LILY FESTIVAL (Nagasaki prefecture): July 1-17; 300 varieties of lilies bloom at the Lily Garden of Huis Ten Bosch Castle at Nagasaki Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-style theme park; huistenbosch.co.jp/event/lily.
TOKYO CAMPING CAR SHOW 2017: July 1, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. & July 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; booths from more than 43 companies with camping cars, outdoor equipment, campsite and tourism information at Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition East Hall 7; 1,000 yen adults, 800 yen in advance, 600 yen ages 15 & younger, 500 yen in advance; 03-3405-1815.
EARTH GARDEN “SUMMER” FESTIVAL (Tokyo): July 1, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. & July 2, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; organic products, workshops and goods on sale, along with live concerts at Yoyogi Park Event Square and Keyaki Namiki Street, three-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station; free.
CRUISING AROUND EDO (Tokyo): July 1-23, closed Mon.; featuring ukiyo-e printings showing scenery and people’s lifestyles in Tokyo’s waterfront areas at Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial Museum of Art, five-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station; 700 yen adults, 500 yen senior high school and college students, kids free; 03-3403-0880; www.ukiyoe-ota-muse.jp/eng.
MITO HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL (Ibaraki prefecture): Through July 2; 5,000 hydrangea trees in many varieties at Mito Howa Garden; along with live performance and open-air tea services and more on weekends; take a bus from JR Mito Station North Exit on Jyoban Line, get off at Suehiro San-chome bus stop; free; 029-232-9189.
YOMIURILAND LIGHTNING BUG VIEWING (Tokyo): Fri., Sat. & Sun. Through July 2, 7:30-9 p.m.; lightning bugs at Yomiuriland Amusement Park raised by the Park’s gardeners, and Aomori Nebuta (illuminated papier mache); 4015-1, Yanokuchi, Inagi City; 300 yen adults, free ages 15 & younger; www.yomiuriland.com/english.
FUCHU KYODO-NO MORI MUSEUM HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL (Tokyo): Through July 2, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mon.; 10,000 hydrangea in 30 varieties at 1Fuchu Kyodo-no Mori Museum, 0-minute ride from Kunitachi Fuchu I.C. on Chuo-Express or 20-minute walk from Fuchu Honmachi Station on Musashino/Nambu-Lines; 200 yen adults, 100 yen kids; 042-368-7921.
KAKEGAWA KAMO IRIS GARDEN (Shizuoka prefecture): Until July 2, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; one million irises at Kamo Iris Garden, Kakegawa city, five-minute ride from Mori Kakegawa I.C. on Shin Tomei Express; 1,500 yen adults, 1,200 yen ages 65 and older, kids free; 0537-26-1211; http://kamoltd.co.jp/kamosou_en.
COLLECTION OF MUSEUM BOIJMANS VAN BEUNINGEN BRUGEL’S “THE TOWER OF BABEL” AND GREAT 16TH CENTURY MASTERS (Tokyo): Through July 2, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., until 8 p.m. Fri., closed Mon.; featuring “The Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel, his forerunner and artistic model, Hieronymus Bosch, along with numerous paintings, prints, and sculptures of the 16th-century Netherlands at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; 1,600 yen adults, 1,300 college students, 800 yen senior high school students; JR Ueno Station; 03-5777-8600; www.tobikan.jp/en/exhibition/2017_babel.html.
THE ART OF ERIC CARLE EXHIBITION (Tokyo): Through July 2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Mon.; works by Eric Carle, a picture book writer famous for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar, including original drawings and more; Setagaya Art Museum, 1,200 yen adults, 800 yen college and senior high school student, 500 yen children; www.setagayaartmuseum.or.jp/index_e.html.
THE SOPHISTICATED WOMEN AND MEN OF EDO AS SEEN IN THEIR KIMONOS AND ACCESSORIES (Tokyo): Until July 2, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Mon.; featuring about 200 items, including men’s and women’s kimonos, tobacco pouches and accessories of Edo Period (1603-1868) at Tobacco & Salt Museum, 12-minute walk from Oshiage Station SkyTree-mae; 100 yen adults, 50 yen children; www.jti.co.jp/Culture/museum_e/index.html.
NAGASAKI HUIS TEN BOSCH HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL (Nagasaki prefecture): Through July 3; 1,100 varieties of hydrangeaes, also illuminated after sunset; 0956-58-0080; http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp/events/?mode=event&Type=1&eventName=161221_hydrangea&eventTitle=Hydrangea Festival.
WIND-BELL FESTIVAL AT NISHI-ARAI DAISHI (Tokyo): July 3-30, 10 a.m. -4 p.m., until 5 p.m. weekends; more than 500 varieties of wind-bells are on display and on sale; Nishi-Arai Daishi is closely associated with Kobo Daishi (774-835) founder of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism; Daishi-mae on the Tobu Daishi Line branching off at Nishiarai Station on the Tobu Isezaki Line; 03-3890-2345.
KODO – TRADITIONAL JAPANESE DRUM BEAT (Tokyo): July 6-7, 2 p.m. and July 8, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., July 9, 2 p.m.; at Asakusa Kokaido; 7,000 yen; Ticket Space 03-3234-9999 or www.kodo.or.jp/en.
IRIYA ASAGAO-ICHI (Tokyo): July 6-8, 5 a.m.; Iriya Asagao-ichi — morning glory fair — features more than 120 morning glory open-air stores lined up near Kishimojin (Shingenji Temple) in Iriya, five-minute walk from Uguisudani Station on JR Yamanote Line and Iriya Station on Metro Hibiya Line; 03-3841-1800.
TOKYO DISNEYLAND/DISNEYSEA TANABATA STAR FESTIVAL 2017 (Chiba prefecture): Through July 7, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; The Tanabata Festival originated from a Chinese legend that told of two stars, Vega and Altair – lovers who were separated and allowed to meet only once a year on July 7; Disney’s annual Tanabata Star Festival, featuring Wishing Place at the World Bazaar (Disneyland) and Hudson River Docks in the New York Area (DisneySea) where visitors can make a wish, along with a Star Festival Greeting parade, schedules at www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/calendar/june_e.html and more; Maihama Station, JR Keiyo Line; 0570-00-8632; www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp.
TAKAHATA FUDOSON HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL (Tokyo): Through July 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; known as Asia’s most beautiful spot to view the garden’s 7,500 hydrangeas in 250 varieties; five-minute walk from Takahata Fudoson Station on Keio-Line, 30-minute ride from Shinjuku Station; free; 042-591-0032.
TOKYO SUMMERLAND HYDRANGEA GARDEN: Through July 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends, daily; 60 varieties of hydrangea, 15,000 trees in the Hydrangea Garden, Family Park area, 600 Kamiyotsugi, Akiruno City; 600 yen adults, 300 yen kids; 042-558-6511; www.summerland.co.jp/english/index.html.
LAKE KAWAGUCHI HERB FESTIVAL: Through July 9, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; more than 100,000 lavender plants; events include gardening contest, concerts and more at Yagizaki Park, 75-minute drive from Shinjuku on Chuo Express; Kawaguchiko Town Sight-seeing Bureau; 0555-72-3168; www.fujisan.ne.jp.e.aca.hp.transer.com/event/info.php?no=672.
IONOIKE HYDRANGEA GARDEN (Gunma prefecture): Through July 9; 20 varieties of hydrangea, illuminated 7-9 p.m.; 10-minute ride from JR Shibukawa Station on Jyoetsu Line or Shibukawa Ikaho I.C. on Kanetsu Express; free; 0279-22-21111; http://www.city.shibukawa.lg.jp/kankou/outdoor/park/p000245.html?SLANG=ja&TLANG=en&XMODE=0&XCHARSET=utf-8&XJSID=0.
HANANOBE-NO SATO HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL (Chiba prefecture): Through mid-July, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; 60,000 hydrangeas at the biggest hydrangea garden in Japan; 15-minute ride from Katsura Station on JR Sotobo-Line; 650 yen adults, 450 yen kids; 0470-70-1127.
IRIS FESTIVAL IN TOWADA (Aomori prefecture): Through July 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; 20,000 irises at Iris Garden of Risoukyo, 15-minute ride from JR Towadashi Station; 550 yen adults, 200 yen children; 0176-27-2516; www.risoukyo.com.
TOKYO TOWER ILLUMINATION: Through Sept. 3, 5-11 p.m.; 492-feet-high main observatory, open 9 a.m.-10 p.m., , is decorated with 197,000 blue and white LEDs and ornaments in the design “The Milky Way”; five-minute walk from Akabanebashi Station on Oedo Line; 900 yen adults, 500 yen junior and senior high school students; 03-3433-5111; www.tokyotower.co.jp.
ALBERTO GIACOMETTI COLLECTION FONDATION MARQUERITE ET AIME MAEGHT (Tokyo): Through Sept. 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., until 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., closed Tue.; Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) was one of the 20th century’s most important European sculptors. Initially, the artist admired African and Oceanic sculpture and Cubism. Exhibition features 132 artworks at the National Art Center, Nogizaka Station on Chiyoda Line, or five-minute walk from Roppongi Station on Hibiya Station; 1,600 yen adults, 1,200 yen college students, 800 yen high school students; www.tbs.co.jp/giacometti2017.
ARCIMBOLDO: NATURE INTO ART (Tokyo): Through Sept. 24, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., until 8 p.m. Fridays, closed Mondays; featuring 100 works of Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526-1593), including 10 oil paintings lent by major museums at The National Museum of Western Art, one-minute walk from JR Ueno Station; ; 1,600 yen adults, 1,200 yen college students, 800 yen senior high school students; www.nmwa.go.jp/en/exhibitions/2017arcimboldo.html.
FUN WITH COLLECTION 2017: LE CORBUSIER’S ARTISTIC SPACE – HIS THOUGHT PROCESSES AS SEEN IN THE NMWA PLANS (Tokyo): Through Sept. 24, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., until 8 p.m. Fridays, closed Mondays; commemorating the Museum’s main building being designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016 with an exhibition with 302 extant items related to the planning of the Main Building and more at The National Museum of Western Art; 500 yen adults, 250 yen college students, free ages 18 and younger; www.nmwa.go.jp/en/exhibitions/2017funwithcollection.html.
THE ART OF DISNEY – THE MAGIC OF ANIMATION (Tokyo): Through Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; featuring 450 artworks including from “Steamboat Willie,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Frozen” and “Moana” at Miraikan; 1,800 yen adults, 1,200 yen ages 7-18, 600 yen ages 3-6; http://da2017.jp/english.html.
CORMORANT FISHING (UKAI) (Gifu prefecture): Through Oct. 15; cormorant fishing on Nagara River is a type of traditional fishing in Japan. More than 40 sightseeing ships are set on the river at 6:15, 6:45 p.m. & 7:15 p.m. to observe cormorant fishermen — usho — catch sweetfish using trained cormorants. Boat fare is 3,100-3,400 yen/person, 1,700 yen/child; Nagara River Cormorant Fishing Boat Reservations 058-262-0104; www.gifucvb.or.jp/en/01_sightseeing/01_01.html. Other places to observe cormorant fishing are Uji River in Kyoto 0774-23-3334; Katsura River in Kyoto 075-861-0302: Kiso River in Inuyama city, Aichi prefecture, 0568-61-0057; Hiji River in Oozu, Ehime prefecture, 0893-24-2664; and Nishiki River in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi prefecture, 0827-41-0470.