There is no shortage of events in Tokyo. In fact, there are so many that it is difficult to recommend a specific time period when tourists should visit Tokyo, when they can get the most out of Japan. Sure, July-August, December, and early April are the three most popular seasons. Without a doubt, Omatsuri
, Christmas, new years, and finally hanami
have the ability to provide the most unique features of Japan. Yet, they are not all Tokyo has to provide. One of the many popular events right after hanami
is the Oktoberfest.
Its logo is so distinctive that everyone in Tokyo are familiar with it. They may have never gone to any of the Oktoberfest held in and around Tokyo. Yet, they know that once they start stumble upon this logo, summer is officially right around the corner. So what is this Oktoberfest?
It is a very important annual festival to the Bavarian culture, often called Wiesen
by the locals. It is an abbreviation of Theresienwiese
- the place Oktoberfest originated in. Started as a celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I and Queen Therese of Bavaria; it soon became an annual event. The event has seen many changes since the beginning. For example, horse race was one of the most popular event of this festival. So was agriculture show. Only the latter survived, held once every three years. Today, Oktober festival is the largest event in Germany and the largest volksfest
in the world. So, what is it like in Tokyo?
Well, of course it brings every bit of German to Tokyo as you can possibly think of – the outfit, brass bands, Bavarian food, singing, dancing, and of course beer. Various German food and desserts are served at this festival. Some of the popular options include sausage, sauerkraut
, and baumkuchen
However, the event does come at a price. You have to pay a refundable 1,000 yen for a beer glass. Then, you have to pay for each type of beer you drink and any food if you like. As a result, don’t be surprised if you are paying 3,000 or more for the first glass, food, and dessert. Yet, every year since it was first held in Yokohama, all the Oktoberfest venues get extremely crowded.
The name Oktoberfest might make you think that the festival is held only in October. The festival in Munich always starts around mid September and ends early October. Hence, to a large extent, it makes sense that it is called Oktoberfest. However, in Japan, it is a bit different. First of all, Oktoberfest is just one of the seven different beer festivals held in Japan. There are other beer festivals such as Belgian Beer Weekend, Oedo Beer Festival, and BeerFes. The earliest of such event starts in May, and the last one ends in October. According to the official website, there will be six different Oktoberfest events in and around Tokyo in 2016. One at Odaiba, Ikebukuro, Komazawa, and Toyosu and two at Hibiya. I took the liberty to compile the dates and locations into a list and it looks like, it will be a six month Oktoberfest this year.
by Khalid Saifullah