Feb 9, 2018

How to find out about events in your community in Japan

How to find out about events in your community in Japan photo

If you live in Tokyo, chances are you know well where to get information about events. Moreover, you probably have access to English and other foreign language event guides. However, for those of us outside Tokyo, even in the Greater Tokyo area, it is not that easy. Fear not, there are some straight forward ways you can find out about what is going on your community.

★Prefecture / Town / City website

Each prefecture has a website. They all follow the same pattern: pref.{prefecture name}.lg.jp . For example, for Hokkaido it is www.pref.hokkaido.lg.jp . Some prefectures provide more information than others, but at the very least they will have a summary of the larger seasonal events in the prefecture. You can usually navigate to that section quite easily from the main page, even with minimum Japanese language skills. Plus, most of them have an English portal site or a translate option. Furthermore, the vast majority of them also link to the English pages of the tourist board for that prefecture. For example, in Tochigi the prefecture's English language information link redirects to the "Visit Tochigi" site, where you will find information on seasonal events. 

Within each prefecture 

Within a prefecture a lot of the towns and cities have comprehensive websites of their own. It is on these webpages that you can usually find an e-copy of the public relations magazines for a city or town. 

★Public Relations Magazines (広報)

If you are part of the neighbourhood or community association, most likely you get delivered a public relations magazine monthly. And when your turn comes to be in charge of the neighbourhood association you will also be the one distributing the public relations magazine monthly. Personally, I have found the public relations magazine the best source of information for events in my local neighbourhood. It lists not only the big annual events, but also smaller and niche events. However, unless you live in an area with a high concentration of foreigners, the information is probably only in Japanese. 

If you are not receiving the town or city's public relations magazine directly to your home, you should be able to pick up a copy at your local library, community centre or town / city hall.

Example of the events calendar for Mito City, December 2017 :

How to find out about events in your community in Japan photo

★Other local magazines and leaflets

How to find out about events in your community in Japan photo

You can find free magazines for groups of towns or cities in many locations around town. As I wrote about previously, in my area I can pick up free magazines in my local Tsutaya and Welcia. These free magazines usually have a page of events for a specific month listed.

Other magazines I have found to be useful are the ones that get sent home with kindergarten students. You pay a flat fee a year to receive a monthly magazine for the area around where you live. It is very reasonable and the magazines tend to have information relevant to children. The kindergarten and indeed school sometimes also send home free magazines with event information in them.

They also send home leaflets for the larger parks and attractions in the area with their seasonal event information listed. You will find leaflets for specific amusement parks and attractions in a lot of drug stores too, with seasonal information provided. 

★Town or City Hall
How to find out about events in your community in Japan photo

Another way to find out about what is going on in your neighbourhood is to follow your Town or City Hall's social media sites online or even better still go pay them a visit. You will find that they have lots of information leaflets, occasionally also in foreign languages, available and will also be able to guide you on what the best system is for live updates in your area.

★Community Centres and Libraries

I have found a lot of community centres, particularly children's community centres (児童館)have bulletin boards which display upcoming events. They often also have leaflets, brochures and magazines with information pertaining to the relevant area. Libraries in Japan are the same in my experience too.

The best thing about local community centres and libraries is that you can easily ask the staff and, in my experience, they will be all too willing to either direct you to sources of information OR tell you about the events they know about.

These are some of the ways and places I have found information about events in my local neighbourhood. Do you of any other useful ways to hear about events in your community? Please do share in the comments.



Level 8 LocalGuide with Google. Blogging about life in Japan as an Irish WAHM to 4 kids on insaitama.com.