Top Choice Spectator Sport in Asakusa & Sumida River

Ryōgoku Kokugikan

If you’re in town when a tournament is on – for 15 days each January, May and September – catch the big boys in action at Japan’s largest sumo stadium. Doors open at 8am, but the action doesn’t heat up until the sen…
Top Choice Theatre in Ginza & Tsukiji


The flamboyant facade of this venerable theatre, which was completely reconstructed in 2013 to incorporate a tower block, makes a strong impression. It is a good indication of the extravagant dramatic flourishes tha…
Top Choice Theatre in Southern Higashiyama


The oldest kabuki theatre in Japan is the Minami-za in Gion. The major event of the year is the Kaomise festival (30 November to 25 December), which features Japan’s finest kabuki actors. Other performances take pla…
Top Choice Dance in Southern Higashiyama

Miyako Odori

This 45-minute dance is a wonderful geisha performance. It’s a real stunner and the colourful images are mesmerising. It’s held throughout April usually at the Gion Kōbu Kaburen-jō Theatre, on Hanami-kōji, just sout…
Top Choice Dance in Southern Higashiyama

Kyō Odori

Put on by the Miyagawa-chō geisha district, this wonderful geisha dance is among the most picturesque performances of the Kyoto year. It’s held from the first to the third Sunday in April at the Miyagawa-chō Kaburen…
Top Choice Live Music in Yokohama


The best place for serious live music, with a line-up that includes veteran and up-and-coming talents playing jazz, funk, fusion and bossa nova. The interior is stark and sophisticated, the crowd stylish and multige…
Top Choice Dance in Southern Higashiyama

Gion Odori

This is a quaint and charming geisha dance put on by the geisha of the Gion Higashi geisha district. It’s held from 1 to 10 November at the Gion Kaikan Theatre (祇園会館), near Yasaka-jinja.
Top Choice Baseball in Akihabara, Kagurazaka & Kōrakuen

Tokyo Dome

Tokyo Dome (aka ‘Big Egg’) is home to the Yomiuri Giants. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're the most consistently successful team in Japanese baseball. If you’re looking to see the Giants in action, the baseball season …
Top Choice Theatre in Osaka

National Bunraku Theatre

The classical performing art most associated with Osaka is bunraku, which makes dramatic use of highly sophisticated puppets. A visit to the theatre is a half-day event: shows, which include scenes from different pl…
Top Choice Live Music in Ebisu, Meguro & Around


On weekends, this subterranean club has two shows: live music in the evening and a DJ-hosted event that gets started around midnight. The solid line-up includes Japanese indie bands, veterans playing to a smaller cr…