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Azabu-Juban summer festival: too popular to miss

There is only one event at the end of summer which will make people give up their favorite weekend pastimes, put on yukata (summer kimono) and geta (traditional sandals), and come rushing to Minato Ward. It is Azabu-Juban Noryo festival, which will celebrate 50 years next year. In 2015 it was held on August, 22-23.

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Noryo in Japanese means «enjoying the evening coolness». As the calendar shows that the hot summer is finally coming to an end, we are supposed to feel the cool breeze; at least psychologically. Japanese are particularly good at this. They even «feel» the breeze outside when a small wind chime called furin is ringing, so trying to feel cool with many ice mojitos and kakigori (and, occasionally, mojito kakigori) is a no-brainer!

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During last-minute preparations and at the beginning of the festival it is still possible to wander about. I did today. Remember though that on Sunday it is a miracle if you are able to actually move into that crowd! It seems like all Azabu-Juban has turned into a one big eternal queue. You stand there and remember all the words your parents told you not to use when you were a kid.

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The festival provides a huge variety of Japanese food (including local specialties from different regions), international food, soft drinks and alcohol. Even the clothing shops start selling alcoholic drinks and snacks!

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You can also enjoy music performed by various bands at the 10-Bang stage.

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Information

Azabu-Juban summer festival

Address: Tokyo, Minato, Azabu-Juban

Access: a short walk from Azabu-Juban station.

Open: 3 pm – 9 pm (August, 22-23)

Distance from airport: About 18 km from Haneda Airport, 72 km from Narita Airport.

Article by Olga Kaneda

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