Tokyo Design Week 2013: Events Preview

Autumn is artistic! October is one of the busiest in Tokyo’s art and design events calendar. The city may at times just seem like a monotonous gray concrete jungle but every year in the fall, art and design arrive to brighten things up. No doubt many readers want to get a grip on all the manifold events taking place in Tokyo over the coming weeks. Many of them offer chances to get an insider’s glimpse into the latest developments in the industry.

Here’s PingMag’s round-up of the main events taking place in and around Tokyo’s “design week”.


tokyo-design-week-201301 Chiyoda Arts Festival 

If you apply, you can exhibit. This is the spirit of the Chiyoda Arts Festival, and as such there are over 200 items in the main venue. While touring the renovated former junior high school, be sure also to check out the rooftop market on October 12th and 13th.

September 29th to October 20th @3331 Arts Chiyoda

tokyo-design-week-201302 Design Touch

This event sets out to be a chance to “enjoy design with all five senses”. Occupying the whole of Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi, it is packed with events and things where you can touch with design. There are also workshops at weekends where you can make kokedama (green moss bonsai) and Japanese bookbinding.

October 18th to November 4th @Tokyo Midtown

tokyo-design-week-201303 Shibukaru Matsuri

For girls, by girls. This event sees all manner of female designers getting together to show off their wares. Not only in the main venue at the Parco Museum, you will also be able to find exhibits inside the department store’s corridors and even on the outside walls.

October 18th to October 28th @Shibuya Parco, others

tokyo-design-week-201304 Aosando Art Fair

The place to buy the work of young contemporary artists. If you start saving now you will have enough for at least something during the week.

October 23rd to October 27th @Aoyama, Omotesando

tokyo-design-week-201305 Tokyo Designers Week

This year’s is the twenty-eighth! Ten dense days of exhibits and competitions, featuring contributions from corporations, brands, schools, embassies, designers, artists, museums and more!

October 26th to November 4th @Meiji Jingu Gaien, others


tokyo-design-week-201306 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo

This is the centerpiece of Tokyo Fashion Week! Be warned, though — you’ll need an invite if you want to see the brand catwalk shows.

October 14th to October 19th @Shibuya Hikarie, Mercedes-Benz Connection, others

tokyo-design-week-201307 Tweed Run Tokyo

This chic event features folk in tweed cycling around town on their beloved bikes.

October 14th, 09:00-14:00
Start: Shared Terrace Gaien Icho Namiki
Goal: Ginza Mitsukoshi

tokyo-design-week-201308 Shibuya Fashion Festival

The fashion event will take over Shibuya and Harajuku for one day only. Over 300 shops will take part and a catwalk will also be landing in Miyashita Park.

October 19th @Shibuya, Harajuku


tokyo-design-week-201309 Tokyo Shokunin Exhibition: Young Masters, Enjoying the Four Seasons in Traditional Crafts

Of course, it’s no good if you just spend your time only checking at contemporary fashions. Take a look at the work of young artisans and craft designers here, with new events every day.

October 11th to October 16th @Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square

tokyo-design-week-201310 Tokyo Meibutsu/Kanda Used Books Festival

To think of Kanda or Jimbocho is to think of second-hand books. The area has 176 used book shops, making it perhaps the biggest of its kind in the world. There are over 1 million books on sale at this event! The place to pick up your autumnal reading.

October 26th to November 4th @Jimbocho Sanseido Bookstore, others

School Festivals

Autumn also means school festivals! And these present opportunities to witness the Next Big Things before they get famous. Plus the student atmosphere and cheap eats are also fun. Here are some of the events at major art colleges around Tokyo.

tokyo-design-week-201311 Tokyo Zokei University

October 18th to October 20th @Tokyo Zokei University campus

tokyo-design-week-201312 Joshibi University of Art and Design

October 26th to October 27th @Joshibi University of Art and Design Suginami/Sagamihara campus

tokyo-design-week-201313 Musashino Art University

October 26th to October 28th @Musashino Art University Mitakadai campus

tokyo-design-week-201314 Tama Art University

November 2nd to November 4th @Tama Art University Hachioji campus

tokyo-design-week-201315 Nihon University College of Art

November 2nd to November 4th @Nihon University College of Art Ekoda campus

Also check out our earlier summer round-up of arts and music festivals in Japan, which included events that will be happening later this year or are still going on now. The PingMag team will also be taking in Tokyo Designers Week and the other satellite events in the city so look out for our reports coming soon!