Deep moats built in the Edo period still line the Imperial Palace in Japan more for the scenery today than the protection of yesterday. On the Emperor's Birthday on Dec. 23 -- a Japanese national holiday -- the emperor and his family appear and greet visitors and accept good wishes at 10:20, 11 & 11:40 a.m. at the Imperial Palace and visitors enter from Nijubashi Bridge on this day and register near Sakashitamon Gate. This year Emperor Akihito will turn 80 years old.
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Events are as accurate as possible at press time. Since times or event schedules can change, please verify events before attending.
SAITAMA STADIUM BIG FLEA MARKET (Saitama prefecture): Through Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; more than 450 amateur and licensed antique dealers; 15-minute walk from Urawa-misono Station on Saitama Kosoku Tetsudo; free; 0180-99-3355.
CHRISTMAS ART FESTA 2013 (Tokyo): Dec. 13-21; enjoy art at 25 galleries in Ginza and Kyobashi, Tokyo’s most sophisticated shopping districts.
47 RONIN (Tokyo): Dec. 14; Sengakuji Temple, celebrates the 47 Ronin who avenged their master; five-minute walk from Sengakuji Station on Toei Asakusa-Line.
FARMERS’ MARKET (Saitama prefecture): Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; vegetables, fruits and flowers direct from the farm; Saitama Super Arena, Saitama Shin Toshin Station on JR Keihin Tohoku, Utsunomiya and Takasaki Lines; free admission; 048-601-1122.
NISSAN STADIUM FLEA MARKET (Kanagawa prefecture): Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; more than 400 dealers; at Yokohama Stadium, five-minute walk from JR Kozukue Station on Yokohama-Line or a 15-minute walk from JR Shin Yokohama Station; 03-3226-6800.
HEIWAJIMA ANTIQUES FAIR (Tokyo): Dec. 13-15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; pottery, furniture, textiles, glass, lacquer, prints, dolls, armor, jewelry and more on sale; Heiwajima Ryutsu Center, take Tokyo Monorail from JR Yamanote Line Hamamatsucho Station to Ryutsu Center, one minute walk; free; 03-3767-2141.
FCI TOKYO INTERNATIONAL DOG SHOW 2013 (Tokyo): Dec. 15, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Japan’s biggest dog event with 1,000 dogs, fashion show and more; Tokyo Big Sight East 5 & 6, three-minute walk from Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon, Station Yurikagome Line; 1,300 yen; 090-5549-4111.
16TH SUZUKA CITY MARATHON (Mie prefecture): Dec. 15, 9 a.m.; running races at F1 circuit; from Tokyo take the Tomei Expressway and leave at the Suzuka Interchange, the nearest station to the Suzuka Circuit is Shiroko, 20-minute walk or 15-minute bus ride from the track or an express train from Nagoya to Shiroko takes about 40 minutes; 059-382-9029.
67TH HACHIOJI CITY FENCING MEETING (Tokyo): Dec. 15, 10 a.m.; at Hachioji Shimin Taukukan, 2-3-7, Daimachi, 15-minute walk from Yamada Station on Keio Line; 042-625-2305.
68TH MAINICHI KOSHIEN BOWL ALL COLLEGE AMERICAN FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT (Hyogo prefecture): Dec. 15; kick off at 1:05 p.m.; at Koshien Stadium, four-minute walk from Koshien Station on Hanshin-Line; 078-802-5790.
YATSUGADAKE SHIN-SOBA FESTIVAL 2013 (Yamanashi prefecture): Through Dec. 15; enjoy tasting soba (buckwheat noodles) at 35 restaurants near Mount Yatsugatake area; Nagasaka and Kobuchizawa I.C. on Chuo Express; 0551-48-3457.
SETAGAYA BORO ICHI (“Rag Fair”) (Tokyo): Dec. 15 & 16 and Jan. 15 & 16, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; see merchandise including vintage clocks and mallets for pounding New Year’s mochi; take Tokyu Den-en Toshi Line from Shibuya to Sangenjaya Station and change to Tokyu Setagaya Line to Kamimachi Station or Setagaya Station: no parking; 03-5432-1111.
HAGOITA ICHI (Tokyo): Dec. 17-19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Battledore Fair at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa features paddles for hanetsuki — Japan’s badminton-like game traditionally enjoyed by Japanese girls as a New Year’s pastime — and these days the paddle is valued as an ornament believed to bring good luck; Ginza Line to Asakusa Station; 03-3842-0181.
TURNER FROM THE TATE: THE MAKING OF A MASTER (Tokyo): Through Dec. 18, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., until 8 p.m. on Fri., closed Mon.; featuring 110 romantic landscape artworks of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) from the Tate Britain at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, seven-minute walk from JR Ueno Station; 1,600 yen adults, 1,300 yen college students, 800 yen senior high school students, 1,000 yen ages 65+; 03-3823-6921.
TORINO ICHI AT HASE TEMPLE (Kanagawa prefecture): Dec. 18, 5-9 p.m.; some Shinto shrines hold a festival of the rooster, which lasts through the night, and Hase Temple is a popular site for the event; five-minute walk from Hase Station on Enoden; 300 yen adults, 100 yen children; 0467-22-6300.
FLEA MARKET (Saitama prefecture): Dec. 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; about 300 booths at Keyaki Square of Saitama Super Arena, one-minute walk from Saitama Shin Toshin Station on JR Keihin Tohoku Line; free; 03-3226-6800.
AJINOMOTO STADIUM BIG FLEA MARKET (Tokyo): Dec. 21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; the biggest regular flea market in Japan with about 800 booths; five-minute walk from Tobitakyu Station, Keio Line; 300 yen; 03-3226-6800.
EMPEROR’S TROPHY ALL JAPAN WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS (Tokyo): Dec. 21-23, 9:30 a.m.; National Yoyogi Stadium No. 2, five-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station and Meiji Jingu-Mae Station on Metro Chiyoda Line; free admission; 03-3481-2354.
JAPAN FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013 (Saitama prefecture): Dec. 21, 3:15-8:45 p.m., Dec. 22, 2:20-11 p.m. & Dec. 23, 2:30-10 p.m.; Saitama Super Arena, Saitama Shin Toshin Station on JR Keihin Tohoku, Utsunomiya and Takasaki Lines; 2,000-5,000-7,000-9,000-12,000-15,000 yen; Kyodo Tokyo 0570-550-799.
2013 DOLLS PARTY 30 (Tokyo): Dec. 22, noon-6 p.m.; world’s biggest doll party; Tokyo Big Sight East No. 4-6, three-minute walk from Kokusai-Tenjijo-Seimon Station, Yurikagome Line; free; 075-325-1171.
EMPEROR’S BIRTHDAY: Dec. 23; Japanese national holiday and this year, Emperor Akihito will turn 80 years old. The emperor and his family appear and greet visitors and accept good wishes at 10:20, 11 & 11:40 a.m. at the Imperial Palace and visitors enter from Nijubashi Bridge on this day and register near Sakashitamon Gate; 03-3213-1111.
CHRISTMAS CONCERTS (Saitama prefecture): Dec. 23-25, 2-8:30 p.m.; gospel, a cappella, concerto, pops and more at Keyaki Hiroba of Saitama Super Area, Saitama Shin Toshin Station on JR Keihin Tohoku, Utsunomiya and Takasaki Lines; free; 048-601-1122.
MEDALISTS ON ICE (Saitama prefecture): Dec. 24, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; medalists of Japan Figure Skating Championships at Saitama Super Arena; 5,000-7,000-9,000-12,000 yen; Kyodo Tokyo 0570-550-799.
KARUIZAWA WINTER FESTIVAL (Nagano prefecture): Through Dec. 25; featuring ice skating, ice hockey, curling, live concerts, food booths, along with illuminations and more at Yanozaki Koen, five-minute walk from JR Karuizawa Station or 20-minute ride from Usui Karuiizawa I.C. on Jyoshinetsu Express; 0267-45-8579.
ROPPONGI HILLS CHRISTMAS MARKET (Tokyo): Through Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; featuring German-style Christmas market with ornaments, trees, snowdome and more at O-yane Plaza of Roppongi Hills; Hibiya Station on Hibiya Line or four-minute walk from Oedo Line; 03-6406-6000.
YOKOHAMA REDBRICK WAREHOUSE CHRISTMAS MARKET (Kanagawa prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., until 11 p.m. Dec. 21-24; featuring German-style Christmas market with ornaments, trees, snowdome and more at Yokohama Redbrick Warehouse; 15-minute walk from JR Sakuragicho and Kan-nai Stations; 045-227-2002.
CHRISTMAS FANTASY AT TOKYO DISNEYLAND: Through Dec. 25; a Christmas fairy tale with Christmas trees and sparkling illuminations, Tokyo Disneyland Station, two-minute monorail ride from Resort Gateway Station/Maihama Station, JR Keiyo Line; 6,200 yen adults, 5,300 yen ages 12-17, 4,100 yen ages 4-11, 5,500 yen for seniors, discount pass after 3 p.m. is 4,900 yen adults, 4,300 yen youths, 3,400 yen kids; 0570-00-8632.
CHRISTMAS WISHES AT TOKYO DISNEYSEA: Through Dec. 25; colorful Christmas decorations, a show starring Disney characters and an illuminated giant Christmas tree on Mediterranean Harbor; Tokyo DisneySea Station, nine-minute monorail ride from Resort Gateway Station/Maihama Station, JR Keiyo Line; 6,200 yen adults, 5,300 yen ages 12-17, 4,100 yen ages 4-11, 5,500 yen for seniors, discount pass after 3 p.m.; 4,900 yen adults, 4,300 yen youths, 3,400 yen kids; 0570-00-8632.
CHRISTMAS MARKETS AT SAITAMA SUPER ARENA (Saitama prefecture): Through Dec. 25, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5-9 p.m. weekends and holidays; Christmas goods including ornaments, dolls, and more at Keyaki Hiroba of Saitama Super Arena; Saitama Shin Toshin Station on JR Keihin Tohoku, Utsunomiya and Takasaki Lines; 048-600-3001.
PHOTO EXHIBITION OF TWO JOURNEYS OF IHEI KIMURA – RYUKYU ISLANDS AND AKITA REGION (Tokyo): Through Dec. 27, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 20 works by Kimura, one of Japan’s most celebrated photographers; Fujifilm Square of Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi Station on Hibiya Line or Nogizaka Station on Chiyoda Line; free; 03-6271-3350; http://fujifilmsquare.jp/en.
EVER AND NEVER: THE ART OF “PEANUTS” (Tokyo): Through Jan. 5, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., until 5 p.m. Tue.; featuring more than 100 original “Peanuts” drawings created by Charles M. Schultz at Mori Arts Center Gallery, 52nd floor of Roppongi Hills Bldg., Roppongi Station on Hibiya Line; 2,000 yen adults, 1,500 yen junior and senior high school students, 800 yen children; 03-5777-8600.
MORI TRUST GARDEN TORA4 (Tokyo): Through Jan. 2014, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; outdoor garden in the center of Tokyo featuring a cafe, beer garden, movie theater, futsal stadium, rental vegetable garden and more; two-minute walk from Jimbo-cho Station on Hibiya Line; 03-6684-8485.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL OVA (Tokyo): Feb. 12-May 11; new version of Cirque de Soleil, an immersion into the world of insects at Odaiba Big Top, five-minute walk from Daiba Station on Yurikamome (monorail) or seven-minute walk from Tokyo Teleport on Rinkai Line; 6,500-10,000-12,500 yen adults, 4,500-6,500-8,500 yen kids weekdays, 7,500-11,000-13,500 yen adults, 5,500-7,500-9,500 yen kids weekends & holidays; 0570-020-520.
THE DINOSAURS EXPO AT NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE: Through Feb. 23, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Nov. 5, 11, 18 & 25 and Mondays; commemorating 20th anniversary of joint research by Japan and Mongolia, with an exhibition of a full-scale Tarbosaurus and other fossilized dinosaurs excavated in the Gobi Desert; five-minute walk from JR Ueno Station; 1,500 yen adults, 600 yen kids; 03-5777-8600.
YOKOHAMA REDBRICK WAREHOUSE ART & ICE SKATING: Through Feb. 23, 1-10 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends; art with lights designed by Maki Kijima; 15-minute walk from JR Kan-nai Station; 500 yen adults, 400 yen kids and 500 yen for shoe rental; 045-211-1515.
30TH ANNIVERSARY “THE HAPPY YEAR” TOKYO DISNEYLAND (Chiba prefecture): Through March 20; commemorating the 30th anniversary of the opening of Tokyo Disneyland on April 15, 1983, in Chiba, featuring events including daytime parade “Happiness Is Here” as well as “Star Tours: The Adventures Continue” at Disneyland and DisneySea; Disney characters will tour 30 cities around Japan; two-minute ride from Resort Gate Station/Maihama Station, JR Keiyo Line, DisneySea: three-minute ride from Resort Gate Station/Maihama Station, JR Keiyo Line; Tokyo Disney Resort Information 0570-00-8632.
SAYAMA SKI & SNOWBOARD (Saitama prefecture): Through April 6; indoor ski and snowboarding slope; 2167 Kami-yamaguchi, Tokorozawa city, Seibu Kyujo-mae Station, Seibu Line; one-day pass 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 3,600 yen for adults, 3,000 yen junior and senior high school students, elementary school students free, one-day pass 10 a.m.-9 p.m., 4,000 yen adults, 3,200 yen junior and senior high school students and elementary school students, free; four-hour ticket: 3,000 yen adults, 2,500 yen junior and senior high school students; all-night tickets, 4,000 yen adults, junior and senior high school students; 04-2922-1384.
J-WORLD TOKYO: open-ended run; newly opened park features seven-minute ride with wide-angle multi-screen created by Namco; Sunshine City World Import Mart Bldg. 3F, three-minute walk from Higashi Ikebukuro Station on Yurakucho Line or eight-minute walk from JR Ikebukura Station; 700 yen; 03-5950-2181.
WHALE SHARK VIEWING: open-ended run; see 4.9- and 5.4-meter whale sharks at feedings and performances; Hakkeijima Sea Paradise; Seaside Line, Hakkeijima Station; 4,200 yen adults, 3,000 yen kids; 045-788-8888; .
FANTASMIC (Chiba prefecture): open-ended run; nighttime show featuring 27 animated characters such as Mickey Mouse and Cinderella, includes special effects using water and fire on Mediterranean Harbor; Tokyo DisneySea, three-minute ride from Resort Gate Station/Maihama Station, JR Keiyo Line; one-day passport 6,200 yen adults, discount passport after 3 p.m. 4,900 yen adults; 0570-00-8632; www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp.
MEIJI JINGU ICE SKATING (Tokyo): year-round, noon-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends; adults 1,300 yen/day, kids 900 yen/day and after 3 p.m., adults 1,000 yen and children 700 yen and 500 yen for shoe rental; Kasumigaoka, Shinjuku-ku, one-minute walk from Kokuritsu Kyogijyo on subway Oedo Line or five-minute walk from JR Shinanomachi Station on Sobu Line; 03-3403-3458, www.meijijingugaien.jp/english/ice-skating.html.
YOMITAN POTTERY FESTIVAL: Dec. 14-16, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Yomitan pottery — produced by 20 local workshops — on sale at discount prices, plus charity auction; 60-minute ride from Naha or 20- minute walk from Yomitan Ufudo bus stop after taking a route 28 bus at Naha; 098-958-3940.
ONNA VILLAGE INDUSTRIAL FESTIVAL: Dec. 21 & 22; local farm and marine products along with vegetables and fruits on sale at Onna Village Community Square, a 60-minute drive from Naha Airport or a five-minute drive from Onna Village Office; 098-065-5634.
2ND HIBISCUS TROPHY ELEMENTARY AND JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL GOLF TOURNAMENT: Dec. 22, 8 a.m.; 150 elementary and junior high school students from Okinawa and Hokkaido compete at Iejima Country Club, 10-minute ride after taking a 30-minute ferry ride from Motobu Port of Okinawa to Ie Port; 0980-49-2929.
MUSICAL “UNFINISHED SONG” (Seoul): Dec. 16-Jan. 5; Grand Theater, Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, 50,000-60,000-80,000-120,000-140,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
UNIVERSAL BALLET “NUTCRACKER” (Seoul): Dec. 20-31; Universal Arts Center; 10,000-30,000-60,000-80,000-100,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “GHOST” (Seoul): Through Dec. 22; D Cube Art Center; 60,000-90,000-110,000-130,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
“JACK THE RIPPER,” THE MUSICAL (Busan): Dec. 24-28; Busan Citizen Hall; 60,000-80,000-100,000-120,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “ALONE IN LOVE” (Seoul): Through Dec. 29; PMC Daehangno Jayu Theater; 20,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “HAMLET” (Seoul): Through Dec. 29; Myeongdong Theater; 20,000-35,000-50,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “FUERZA BRUTA ORIGINAL TEAM” (Seoul): Through Dec. 31; Big Top Theater, Jamsil Sports Complex; 90,000-121,000-220,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
FREE SEOUL TO JEONJU SHUTTLE BUS: Through Dec. 31; free bus with round-trip service Fri., Sat. & Sun. for foreign passport holders; http://jeonju.chesstours.co.kr.
MUSICAL “GUYS AND DOLLS” (Seoul): Through Jan. 5; BBC Theater; 50,000-80,000-110,000-130,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “WERTHER” (Seoul): Through Jan. 12; Seoul Arts Center, Towol Theater, 60,000-90,000-110,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “A DWARF WHO LOVED SNOW WHITE” (Seoul): Through Jan. 19; Samsung Hall, Ehwa Women’s University; 30,000-50,000 won, 21,000-30,000 won advance ticket; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “LE PASSE-MURAILLE” (Seoul): Through Jan. 26; Hongik Daehangno Art Center; 55,000-77,000-99,000-110,000 won; http://ticket.interpark.com/global.
MUSICAL “MURDER BALLAD” (Seoul): Through Jan. 26; Lotte Card Art Center; 24,000-48,000-36,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “CARMEN” (Seoul): Through Feb. 23; LG Arts Center, 60,000-80,000-110,000-130,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
PLAY “OUR BAD MAGNET” (Seoul): Through March 2; Daehakro Art One Theater 1; 35,000-50,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “MAMMA MIA!” (Seoul): Through March 23; Blue Square Musical Hall; 50,000-70,000-90,000-120,000-150,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
MUSICAL “GREASE” (Seoul): Through April 20; Uniplex; 44,000-66,000 won; open-ended run, 8 p.m., Mon., Wed.-Fri., 3 & 7 p.m., Sat., 2 & 6 p.m., Sun. & holidays, Dongsoong Art Center; 40,000-60,000 won; http://tinyurl.com/3e6rwhe.
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