Taking to the Streets in Tokyo

Tokyo is always best explored from street level, especially when there’s entertainment to be had in its many performance groups.

The Japanese capital is a vibrant city and the streets come alive with entertainment sometimes completely unexpectedly.  You can be treated to festival performances, magic, comedy, live music, song and dance, from centuries-old tradition to new emerging culture. The Garbage-Collecting Samurai is an example of a unique troupe doing a service to the community whilst putting smiles on the faces of passersby with their unexpected performance. We introduce them and some other unexpected acts to look out for.

Garbage-Collecting Samurai Cleaning up Tokyo

Gomihiroi Samurai is a performance troupe, based in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward, specialising in picking up rubbish in a unique theatrical manner. Dressed in samurai attire with sword moves and chants, all practised to perfection, they have turned the act of collecting rubbish into educational entertainment. Their name already tells you what you are getting with “Gomi” meaning rubbish and “Hiroi” meaning someone who picks up things. The garbage on the street becomes the ultimate enemy to be slain.  Whilst the streets of Tokyo are less littered than other major cities the troupe helps to highlight that littering is wrong full stop and must be taken seriously. The Garbage-Collecting Samurai Circle has members throughout Japan and even in Los Angeles. The founders’ goal is to have the practice become an ongoing culture that lasts for centuries, keeping the city clean and making people smile.

Tokyo is always best explored from street level, especially when there's entertainment to be had in its many performance groups.

Rockabilly Dancers at Yoyogi Park  

You will think you have arrived on the set of Grease when you come across the diehard rockabillies dancing near Yoyogi Park on a Sunday afternoon. The dancers are members of a number of rockabilly groups (including the Harajuku City Gang, the Strangers, the Lebels, and the Rollers just to name a few). Many of these groups have been around for decades, dancing in the same spot every weekend. The dancers range in age from late teens to their sixties. Dressed the part, they make their moves, always looking cool and are a great source of free outdoor entertainment. And they don’t mind having their picture taken whilst dancing.

Tokyo is always best explored from street level, especially when there's entertainment to be had in its many performance groups.

Traditional Performers in the streets of Kagurazaka (Late May)

O-edo Tour turns the streets of Kagurazaka into a showcase for various traditional Japanese performing arts. The event features leading artists, both new and seasoned, representing diverse genres that flourished in the neighbourhood. Some of the highlights include live shamisen and koto performances, traditional Japanese narrative singing and storytelling, geisha banquet games and a stamp rally. Experience the stylish, vibrant facets of Japanese culture along with the ambience of the premodern Edo period in Kagurazaka, where the new meets the traditional.

For more unique Experiences click here.

About Author

Nick Walton

Nick Walton is a leading travel and lifestyle journalist, magazine editor, publisher, photographer, travel commentator, and media trainer, based in Hong Kong. He is also managing editor of Artemis Communications, the titles of which include Ultimate Encounters, Alpha Men Asia, and The Art of Business Travel.

ID); if ($categories) { $category_ids = array(); foreach($categories as $individual_category) $category_ids[] = $individual_category->term_id; $args=array( 'category__in' => $category_ids, 'post__not_in' => array($post->ID), 'posts_per_page'=> 8, 'caller_get_posts'=>1 ); $my_query = new wp_query( $args ); if( $my_query->have_posts() ) { echo '