Foodies, rejoice! Every September, famished crowds flock to the annual Meguro Sun Festival (aka Meguro Kumin Matsuri) to sample succulent Pacific saury in Tokyo’s Meguro nabe. This enormous cultural and culinary spectacle marks the beginning of autumn. Here’s what to do before, during and after...
Start your morning on the right foot (quite literally) with a soothing reflexology treatment at The Peninsula Spa. Weary post-fest trotters will be no match for these heavenly pummels, but they also offer a full menu of invigorating East-West massages to have you feeling tiptop for the day ahead.
You’ll want to be in among the action by 11am to have a chance of scoring one of the 7,000 charcoal-grilled fish (served with a side of Tokushima-made citrus sudachi and grated radish from Tochigi) that are handed out to visitors, free of charge. Yes, you’ll have to queue and yes, it’ll be a long one, but the flip-fresh seasonal speciality, sourced from the tsunami-hit port of Miyako in Iwate Prefecture, is well worth the wait.
Aside from the foodie fiesta, there’s a host of other fab festivities. Regional delicacies exhibit Furusato Bussannten dishes up other scrummy treats from across the country, from Aomori to Kagoshima; while the festival plaza Omatsuri Hiroba is abuzz with lively entertainment including traditional taiko drumming and rakugo performances, a form of theatrical Japanese storytelling; and children’s plaza Kodomo Hiroba offers a range of fun-filled activities for the sprogs.
The fest wraps up around 3pm, so the late afternoon is yours for the taking, and luckily, this charming hood is easily explored on foot. Culture vultures will wish to check out nearby Tokyo Photographic Art Museum with its regular big-name exhibs, as well as the Japanese Folk Crafts Museum with its enviable stash of porcelain, woodworks and more. Or, simply take a stroll along the picturesque Meguro Canal, where cherry blossoms abound in sakura season.
By now, your appetite must be back in full force, so zip to your pre-booked table at Craftale for an early dinner. This surprising French sleekster, helmed by Robuchon-trained innovator Shinya Otsuchihashi, offers marvellous wine-paired courses, artfully plated to reflect true Nippon precision. Nearby quirksome Pavilion bar is perfectly posi’d for a palate-cleansing postprandial.
The Peninsula Spa / 6/F / The Peninsula / 1-8-1 Yurakucho / Chiyoda-ku / +81 3 6270 2299 / 10am-10pm daily / peninsula.com
Meguro Sun Festival / 17 Sep, 2017 / Dendo Hiroba Park / 1-25-8 Meguro / Meguro-ku / +81 3 5722 9278 / 10am-3.30pm / meguro.tokyo.jp
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum / Yebisu Garden Pl / 1-13-3 Mita / Meguro-ku / +81 3 3280 0099 / 10am-6pm Tue-Sun / topmuseum.jp
Japanese Folk Crafts Museum / 4-3-33 Komaba / Meguro-ku / +81 3 3467 4537 / 10am-5pm Tue-Sun / mingeikan.or.jp
Craftale / 2/F / 1-16-11 Aobadai / Meguro-ku / +81 3 6277 5813 / lunch & dinner Thu-Tue / tables.jp.net
Pavilion / Nakameguro Koukashita / 1-6-10 Kamimeguro / Meguro-ku / +81 3 6426 5868 / 5pm-2am Mon-Sat, 5-9pm Sun / pavilion-tokyo.com