Japanese Events in May 2024

by Best-Japanese Team
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Japanese Events in May

May is set to be an exciting month for Japanese enthusiasts in the UK, as there will be events focusing on Japanese food, drinks, art, and culture taking place in London and across the country. A couple of the highlights in May you don’t want to miss are ‘London Craft Week’ which showcases outstanding craftsmanship from around the world, ‘Japan FEST’ in Cromford Mills to introduce Japanese culture with lively performances, fun activities and fantastic stalls, and a rare opportunity to see a replica of the scroll image of Kannon Bosatsu at the ‘Exhibition: Bring Nara to Norwich’. You can find further details on each from our Japanese Events in May calendar below.

Apart from the above, if you’re a fan of Manga comics and Ghibli movies, there’s the Myths to Manga Exhibition at Young V&A where you can learn more on the heart of Japanese culture, or you might like to immerse yourself in the world of Hayao Miyazaki for magical music from Studio Ghibli movies in Brighton, Edinburgh and London. For another unique comic related experience, check out the MCM Comic Con London. This is the UK’s biggest pop culture event, and it offers a fantastic opportunity to meet some of your favourite Anime, TV and Film stars.

We’re sure that our calendar of Japanese Events in May will have something captivating for you, whether it’s a Sake tasting or a Sushi making session, or even an exhibition on Japanese Art and Culture including Ikebana flower arrangement display. In addition, you can try your hand at Japanese calligraphy, card making, origami folding paper, and suminagashi paper marbling, etc. There will also be the opportunity to participate in a Nodate tea ceremony or a Kimekomi art doll making workshop and attend a meditation session followed by a calming tea ceremony.


May 1st: Sake Tasting Event – Sake Collective x Sakura Town

Credit: Sake Collective – ‘Sake Tasting Event’
  • Date: Wednesday, May 1st 2024
  • Time: 19:30 – 21:00
  • Fee: £27.80 ( Valid ID is required )
  • Location: Sake Collective, 144 Commercial Street, London E1 6NU

Latest collaboration with Sakura Town and their exclusive breweries! A journey of flavor with Sakura Town’s finest sake, crafted by century-old breweries exclusively for them. Let’s enjoy their unique sake and don’t miss out on this extraordinary tasting experience! You’ll have 6 glasses of sake and nibbles!

For booking and more info, please check out the Sake Tasting Event page.


May 4th: Serpent & Sake II

Credit: ANIMA – ‘Serpent & Sake II’
  • Date: Saturday, May 4th 2024
  • Time: 16:00 – 18:00
  • Admission: £26.25
  • Location: ANIMA, 2s Ferry Lane, Brentford TW8 0AT

Immersive Sake and Cocktail experience at ANIMA in collaboration with Gyoza San. A perfect blend of tradition with innovation, offering a delightful twist on classic concoctions. Whether you’re a sake enthusiast, a mixology fiend or simply curious about the fascinating tales behind this iconic Japanese beverage, this event promises to be an unforgettable evening of discovery and enjoyment.

For more info and booking, please check the Serpent & Sake II page.


May 4th, 18th & 19th: Sushi Making Class

Credit: ATSUKO’S KITCHEN – ‘Sushi Making Class’
  • Date & Time: Saturday, 4th 15:30 – 18:30 | Saturday, May 18th 15:30 – 18:30
  • For Vegan Sushi Making Class: Sunday, May 19th 11:00 – 14:00
  • Cost: £99
  • Location: Atsuko’s Kitchen, 57 Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG

Join the most popular hands-on practical sushi making class with Sushi Made Simple cookbook author, Atsuko! She will guide you through the art of the sushi making process, step-by-step, combining traditional techniques and new approaches. First, you will learn how to cook classic premium white sushi rice, then make a variety of sushi including maki (hosomaki, California roll and temaki hand roll), and some kinds of nigiri.

For booking and more info, please check out the Sushi Making Classes page.


May 7th: Japanese Conversation Group

Credit: The Japan Society – ‘Japanese Conversation Group’
  • Date: Tuesday, May 7th 2024
  • Time: 19:00 – 23:00
  • Admission: £3 without buffet, £5 – £6 with buffet. Discounts available for students and Japan Society members. Advance registration is not required.
  • Location: Shakespeare’s Head, 29 Great Marlborough Street, Soho, London W1F 7HZ

The Japanese Conversation Group provides a friendly and informal atmosphere for Japanese speakers of all nationalities to come together and speak Japanese – intermediate level recommended. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month. They begin at 7.00pm and finish around 11.00pm.

For more information, please visit the Japanese Conversation Group page.


May 11th and May 23rd: Happy Origami Workshop

Credit: Origami Happy Wonderland – ‘Happy Origami Workshop’
  • Date & Time: Saturday, May 11th 14:00 – 15:30 | Thursday, May 23rd 19:00 – 20:30
  • Fee: £15
  • Location: THE SNOOTY FOX (Opposite Canonbury Overground Station), 75 Grosvenor Avenue, London, N5 2NN

This is a wonderful Origami experience where you will learn about Japanese traditions. Just by folding paper, you will be happy and calm and before long it will bring a smile to your face. Japanese Origami artist Toshiko, a member of British Origami Society, will be teaching you how to fold beautiful flowers like tulips and lilies, kimono book marks, lovely gift & jewellery boxes and kawaii dress bunting.

For more information and booking, please check out the Happy Origami Workshop page.


May 13th – 19th: London Craft Week

Credit: London Craft Week Ltd.

London Craft Week celebrates ten years of showcasing outstanding craftsmanship from around the world. Spanning craft, art, design, luxury, fashion and accessories, through a programme of immersive experiences, original exhibitions, masterclasses, workshops and demonstrations, there is no shortage to see and do during London Craft Week.

Here are some of the events focused on Japan we’ve selected!

May 13th – May 15th: Kimekomi Art and Meditation Workshops

Source: London Craft Week Ltd. – ‘Kimekomi Art and Meditation Workshops’ by Crafting Japan
  • Date & Time for Workshop: Monday, May 13th to Wednesday, May 15th 10:00 – 11:00
  • Cost: £20
  • Location: Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, 22 Portman Square, London W1H 7BG
Credit: Crafting Japan – ‘Kimekomi Art and Meditation Workshops’
  • Date & Time for Performance: Monday, May 13th to Wednesday, May 15th 13:00 – 13:30
  • Cost: Free
  • Location: Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, 22 Portman Square, London W1H 7BG

Crafting Japan presents workshops in Kimekomi art and meditation at Nobu Hotel London in Portman Square. Kimekomi art is a modern take on the intricate craft of traditional Japanese doll-making. Under the guidance of leading artist Asako Iwamizu, create your own sustainable work of art using discarded cloth and other materials. Alternatively, refresh your mind and body with a meditation session, followed by a calming traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

For more information and booking, please check the Kimekomi Art and Meditation Workshops page.


May 13th – 18th: Sabi-washi – An Interaction Between Washi And Metal

Source: London Craft Week Ltd. (c) Photograph by Ruth Ward – ‘Sabi-washi – An Interaction Between Washi And Metal’
  • Date & Time: Monday, May 13th – Friday, May 17th 10:00 – 18:00 | Saturday, May 18th 10:00 – 17:00
  • Admission: Free, Booking not necessary
  • Location: Tom Faulkner Showroom, 28 Pimlico Rd, London SW1W 8LJ

Yuzemi invites you to explore the versatility of Washi (Japanese paper) and how it is being reinvented by Sakuho Ito, a talented young artist from Shimane Prefecture, Japan, on display at Tom Faulkner’s showroom during London Crafts Week. In Ito’s words, ‘Sabi-washi displays the undeniable passage of time, highlighting the beauty of ageing and rusting. The rusting process creates colour and texture like human ageing leaves traces of time on the skin. There is a heavy, serene feeling that rusting objects produce”.

For more information, please check out the Sabi-washi – An Interaction Between Washi And Metal page.


May 13th – May 18th: Ceramics, Textiles, Japanese Calligraphy and Japanese Card Making Workshops

Credit: Morley College London – ‘London Craft Week 2024: Waterloo Centre’
  • Decorating China: Monday, May 13th 10:00 – 13:00 or 14.00 – 17:00 | £20 + £2.38 fee | Morley College London Waterloo Centre, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT | An opportunity to create your own unique, hand-decorated piece of China using ceramic transfers. You will explore design ideas with exciting visual resources provided by your tutor.
  • Start Stitching: Tuesday, May 14th 10:00 – 11:00 | £20 + £2.38 fee | Morley College London Waterloo Centre, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT | Learn all the foundation embroidery stitches and take away an attractive and unique “trapunto” stuffed sampler to continue at home. These techniques can be used to embellish and refashion clothing or as unusual mending methods.
  • Off Loom Weaving: Tuesday, May 14th 14:00 – 17:00 | £20 + £2.38 fee | Morley College London Waterloo Centre, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT | Textile weaving meets sculpture. Create forms with a mixture of off loom techniques, using raffia, wire and materials of your choice to weave, wrap and twist any variety of 3D shapes in a free and imaginative way.
  • Japanese Calligraphy: Friday, May 17th 11:00 – 13:00 or Saturday, May 18th 11:00 – 13:00 | £20 + £2.38 fee | Morley College London Waterloo Centre, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT | Learn the use of calligraphy tools and techniques in letter design through the centuries. The workshop aims at illuminating the principles behind various historical letter forms and gives you an opportunity to try out calligraphy
  • Japanese Card Making: Friday, May 17th 13:30 – 15:00 | £20 + £2.38 fee | Morley College London Waterloo Centre, 61 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7HT | If you are interested in Japanese and would like to make your own cards for or for any festive occasion, join this Japanese card-making workshop. You will have the opportunity to learn a few words in Japanese and to unleash your creative juices.

For more information and booking, please visit the London Craft Week 2024: Waterloo Centre page.


May 13th – 19th: JTCF24 at Deptford Market Yard

Source: London Craft Week – ‘JTCF 24 by Freeweaver Studio’
  • Date: Monday, May 13th to Sunday, May 19th 2024
  • Time: 12:00 – 18:00
  • Location: Freeweaver Studio, 7 Carriage Way, Deptford Market Yard, SE8 4BZ

Visit the ninth edition of the Japanese Textile and Craft Festival at Deptford Market Yard, organised by Freeweaver Studio. Explore an exhibition, demonstrations, workshops and mini market all focused on the ‘approach to process’ in traditional and contemporary Japanese crafts including dorozome, arashi shibori, sakiori weaving and ceramics.

For more information, please check out the JTCF 24 at Deptford Market Yard page.


May 14th: Crafting Japan Reception Party

Source: London Craft Week Ltd. – ‘Crafting Japan Reception Party’
  • Date: Tuesday, May 14th 2024
  • Time: 18:00 – 20:00
  • Location: Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, 22 Portman Square, London W1H 7BG

Crafting Japan works to promote and preserve traditional Japanese craftsmanship for future generations. Join a reception party for their exhibition, ‘A Journey into the Background of Handicrafts’, which explores the history of Japanese crafts and their regional origins, and chat with a range of different craftspeople while sipping Japanese beverages.

For more information, please visit the Crafting Japan Reception Party page.


May 14th – May 17th: Baskets from Japan selected by Makiko McDonald

Source: London Craft Week – ‘Baskets from Japan selected by Makiko McDonald’
  • Date & Time for Exhibition: Tuesday, May 14th to Friday, May 17th 10:00 – 18:00
  • Date & Time for Private View: Wednesday, May 15th 18:00 – 21:00
  • Location: egg, 36 Kinnerton Street, London SW1X 8ES

Explore a collection of handwoven baskets at egg. Selected by Makiko McDonald, the baskets are crafted by Japanese artisans using techniques passed down through generations. The making process begins with gathering plants, branches and bark from nearby mountains and forests. Beautiful and functional, they embody a vital relationship with the land.

For more information, please check the Baskets from Japan selected by Makiko McDonald page.


May 24th – 26th: MCM Comic Con London

Credit: MCM Comic Con – ‘MCM Comic Con London 2024’
Date, Time, Ticket & Location:
  • Friday, May 24th 2024: 10:00 – 18:00 (£30) or 12:00 – 18:00 (£21) | ExCeL
  • Saturday, May 25th 2024: 9:00 – 19:00 (£36) or 11:00 – 19:00 (£28) | ExCeL
  • Sunday, May 26th 2024: 10:00 – 17:00 (£33) or 12:00 – 17:00 (£22) | ExCeL
  • Weekend Package for £95 (10 – 18 on Fri, 9 – 19 on Sat and 10 – 17 on Sun)
  • Location: ExCeL London 1 Western Gateway, Royal Docks London E16 1XL

The UK’s biggest pop culture event, MCM Comic Con London returns in May for another 3-day celebration of all things pop culture! You’ll get a chance to meet your favourite anime, TV and film stars as well.

For more info and booking, please check out the MCM Comic Con London 2024 page.


Ongoing Japanese Events in May: Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo with Luca Cupani at Leicester Square Theatre | Japan: Myths to Manga at Young V & A | Ikebana Month by Month at Japan House London | Afternoon Tea at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square

1) Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo with Special Guest Luca Cupani

Credit: Leicester Square Theatre – ‘Katsura Sunshine’s Rakugo with Special Guest Luca Cupani’
  • Date: From Saturday May 11th to Thursday November 12th, 2024
  • Time: 15:30 on May 11, July 13, Aug 10, Sept 14,, Oct 12 | 19:00 on June 6, Nov 12
  • Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins including interval
  • Ticket Price: from £13.80
  • Location: Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester place, London, WC2H 7BX

Sunshine’s back for his third year in West End and enjoying his fifth year on Broadway. He is joined by hilarious comedian Luca Cupani for an hour of the 400-year Japanese tradition of Rakugo comic storytelling! Come for an afternoon of laughter and leave with a piece of Japan in your heart. Take a look at the YouTube video here for Katsura in action and what to expect.

For more info and booking tickets, please check out the Leicester Square Theater page.


2) Japan: Myths to Manga (Exhibition)

Source: Young V&A ‘Japan: Myths to Manga’| Image: My Neighbour Totoro © 1988 Studio Ghibli
  • Date: Saturday October 14th 2023 to Sunday September 8th 2024
  • Time: 10:00 – 17:45 (Last Entry 16:15)
  • Admission: £10
  • Location: Young V&A Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9PA

Take an exciting and atmospheric trip through Japanese history – and explore how landscape and folklore have influenced Japan’s culture, technology and design.

For more information and booking, please check the Young V&A Japan: Myths to Manga page.


3) Ikebana Month by Month (Display)

Credit: Japan House London ‘Ikebaba Month by Month’
  • Date: Monthly from July 2023 to June 30th 2024 *Next Display Friday, May 10th – Monday, May 13th 2024
  • Time: Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 20:00 | Sundays and Bank Holidays 12:00 – 18:00
  • Admission: Free | Drop-in
  • Location: The Stand, Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA

Each display takes inspiration from wafu getsumei, the evocative names for each month in the old Japanese lunar calendar. Each display is made by a member of Ikebana International from a variety of ikebana schools including Ikenobō, Nippon Kadō Koryū, Ohara School of Ikebana, Ryūsei-ha and Sōgetsu School. The next arrangement is on display from Friday May 10th until Monday May 13th and takes inspiration from satsuki, the Japanese name for the fifth month of the lunar calendar.

For more information, please visit the Ikebana Month by Month page.


4) Afternoon Tea at Nobu Hotel Portman Square

Credit: Nobu Hotel London ‘Afternoon Tea in London’
  • Date: Monday to Sunday
  • Time: 13:00 – 13:30 | 15:15 – 15:45
  • Price: £68
  • Location: The Lounge, Nobu Hotel, 22 Portman Square, London EC2Y 8DS

What better way to enjoy Afternoon Tea than in the heart of Central London at Nobu Lounge at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. Michael Paul, the Executive Chef of the hotel, has put a Japanese twist on the classic Afternoon tea, in true Nobu style, incorporating a fusion of flavours, crafted to tantalise your tastebuds. Twists on the signatures found in Nobu Portman Square include a selection of cup sushi to start, Crispy Chicken Kara-age to follow and a Toki whisky, prune vanilla macaroon & Kalamansi Matcha cake – to name but a few.

For more information and booking, please check the Afternoon Tea page.


Outside of London Japanese Events: Japan Fest – Welcome’s Asia Aim (Cromford) | Sake and Cheese Tasting (Oxford) | Learn Suminagashi (Hay on Wye) | Women in Sake Tasting Event (Sheffield) | Sushi Making Workshop (High Wycombe) | Exhibition: Bringing Nara to Norwich (Norwick) | Nodate Spring Tea Ceremony (Brighton) | Hayao Miyazaki’s Dreams by Mystery Ensemble (Brighton, Edinburgh, including London)

1) Japan Fest – Welcome’s Asia Aim

Credit: Otaku World LTD. – ‘Japan Fest – Welcome’s Asia Aim’
  • Date: Saturday, May 4th 2024
  • Time: 10:00 – 17:00
  • Admission: Free
  • Location: Cromford Mills, Derbyshire DE4 3RQ

Enter Japan Fest Welcomes Asia, an extension within the Japan Fest brand. It goes beyond Japan, seamlessly integrating Japanese stalls and cuisine with the diverse offerings from other Asian countries. Fear not however! Japan Fest, in its original form, remains, and Welcomes Asia serves as an exciting expansion of our commitment to cultural exploration.

For more information, please check out the Japan Fest – Welcome’s Asia Aim page.


2) Sake and Cheese Tasting

Credit: West London Wine School – ‘Sake and Cheese Tasting’
  • Date: Wednesday, May 8th 2024
  • Time: 19:00 – 20:30
  • Cost: £45
  • Location: Popina by Lynrace, 67 Walton Street, Oxford QX2 6AG

Sake and cheese pairing is rapidly gaining popularity in Japan and abroad. Sake and cheese tutor Sarah Stewart will cover the basics of sake and cheese production along with general sake pairing principles. You will pick up lots of useful information to help you choose your perfect sake and cheese match and find out which sake styles you like most. On the evening, you will taste six premium sake across a range of styles, accompanied by six artisanal Italian cheeses and charcuterie.

For more information and booking, please check the Sake and Cheese Tasting page.


3) Learn Suminagashi (Japanese paper marbling)

Credit: Sarah Matt – ‘Learn Suminagashi’
  • Date: Sunday, May 12th 2024
  • Time: 10:00 – 15:00
  • Fee: £95
  • Location: The Globe at Hay, Newport Street, Hay on Wye, Hereford HR3 5BG

The art of suminagashi (floating ink), the Japanese form of paper marbling, is both compelling and intriguing. The workshop starts at 10 a.m. with coffee and a look at the history of suminagashi and what you need to get started. There will be demonstrations and plenty of opportunities to unleash your creativity and to ask questions! No previous art training is needed. The cost is £95 to include all materials and tuition plus refreshments.

For more information and booking, please visit the Learn Suminagashi page.


4) Women in Sake Tasting Event

  • Date: Wednesday, May 15th 2024
  • Time: 18:00 – 19:30 or 20:00 – 21:30
  • Cost: £30
  • Location: SHÖP by Restaurant JÖRO, Unit 1.3, Krynkl 294, Shalesmoor, Sheffield S3 8US

Join this fantastic sake event for a celebration of women in sake. Sarah Stewart (@sakestudies), sake tutor and IWC sake judge, will guide guests through a diverse range of specially selected premium sake from some of Japan’s top female-led breweries and share the fascinating story of the woman behind each bottle. Ticket price also gives you access to 20% discount on all sake purchased in JÖRO SHOP. Nibbles will be provided to accompany the sakes.

For more information and booking, please check out the Women in Sake Tasting Event page.


5) Sushi Making Workshop

Credit: Tomono Sushi Party – ‘Sushi Making Workshop’
  • Date: Saturday, May 18th 2024
  • Time: 13:00 – 14:30
  • Price: £40 (includes all ingredients, a drink + 17 pieces of sushi for you to takeaway and enjoy).
  • Location: The Front Room, High Wycombe, 9 Castle St, High Wycombe HP13 6RZ

This 90-minute hands-on Sushi Making Class will teach you how to make 4 different kinds of authentic sushi (Smoked Salmon Temarizushi, Sweetcorn Gunkanzushi, Cucumber and Yukari Hosomaki, Tuna Surirachamayo Futomaki) in a relaxed and fun environment.

For more information and booking, please check the Sushi Making Workshop in High Wycombe page.


6) Exhibition: Bringing Nara to Norwich

Credit: Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures – ‘Exhibition: Bringing Nara to Norwich’
  • Date: Monday May 20th – Saturday,May 25th, 2024
  • Opening Times for Library: 10:00 – 19:00 (Mon – Fri) | 9:00 – 17:00 (Sat) | 10:30 – 16:30 (Sun) More info: here
  • Admission: Free, No Registration Required
  • Location: Sainsbury Institute, The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich NR2 1TF

Nara to Norwich: Arts and Beliefs at the Ends of the Silk Roads, 500-1000 explores the Silk Roads beyond their current limits of the Chinese and post-Roman worlds. Also, a replica of their 16m scroll image of Kannon Bosatsu, the bodhisattva of compassion and mercy, to display in full.

For more information, please visit the Exhibition: Bringing Nara to Norwich page.


7) Nodate Spring Tea Ceremony

Source: Eventbritte – ‘Nodate Spring Tea Ceremony’
  • Date: Thursday, May 23rd 2024
  • Time: 14:00 – 15:00
  • Cost: £35
  • Location: TOAST Brighton, 17-18 Dukes Lane, Brighton BN1 1BG

Join Hiroko Aono-Billson to welcome spring with a Japanese tea ceremony. She will take you through the traditional outdoor ceremony known as Nodate, using her handmade ceramics. At the end of the event, take home a bamboo whisk, a container of Matcha tea powder and Japanese sweets.

For more information and booking, please check out the Nodate Spring Tea Ceremony page.


8) Hayao Miyazaki’s Dreams by Mystery Ensemble

Source: Eventbrite ‘Hayao Miyazaki’s Dreams by Mystery Ensemble’
  • Saturday May 4th 19:30 – 20:30 | From £20.21 | Kensington United Reformed Church, Allen Street, London W8 6BL
  • Saturday May 11th 18:00 – 19:00 or 20:00 – 21:00 | From £22.38 | Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, Edinburgh EH8 9AL
  • Saturday May 25th 19:00 – 20:00 or 21:00 – 22:00 | From £29.96 | Royal Pavilion, Brighton and Hove, BN1 1EE

The Miyazaki Dreams concert is an immersion in the fabulous atmosphere of the films of the world-famous Japanese director and Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki. Mystery Ensemble has collected magical music from his cartoons and compositions inspired by his creations. Musical themes will take viewers into famous anime stories’ atmosphere and introduce brave heroines, magical creatures and characters inspired by Japanese folklore. (*Doors will open 30 mins prior to the scheduled start time.)

For more information and booking tickets, please check the Hayao Miyazaki’s Dreams by Mystery Ensemble page.


We hope you found our Japanese Events in May 2024 round up helpful, and you’re able to check out some of these fantastic events!

We’ll be updating this event page as we get more info, so be sure to come back and check the latest events listed.

Also, please feel free to comment below on your experience if you were able to attend! This will give our readers a better idea of what to expect and may encourage them to join future events by the same organizers.

If you’d like to submit information for your Japanese event coming up in May or June, please get in touch with us through our contact form.

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