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Design Festa vol. 48 - the biggest art show in Asia

This Sunday I went to Tokyo Big Sight for Design Festa vol. 48, which is said to be the biggest art show in Asia.  I hadn’t been since 2016 and on my return it was clear the show hadn’t lost a beat. Yes, a change or two, but I really enjoyed it. It is still one of the best shows in Tokyo.  Just a word of warning - some might find one image at the bottom of this article visually disturbing.

One of the pieces of work on display at Design Festa vol. 48 by John Hathway

Design Festa had something for everyone with with artists (many with live murals), cosplay, creators, designers, food and lots of live music.  With so much new material created for the event like paintings, sculpture, fashion, art, postcards, accessories, shirts, songs and even some quirky stuff ... it was very cool.  And, as it was open to everyone, we got to see all levels of ability, from the casual hobbyists through to the professionals!

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Everything that was on display/sale there, was of high quality.  You could pick up some cute iPhone speakers, insect art, clothes, jewelry, accessories and the list goes on and on.  My favourite were some wooden guns that looked quite real and shot rubber bands.

One of the mural being painted during the event - this one was my favourite

And as it is an art show, Design Festa had a main stage which held fashion shows, dancing, music and displays with a definite martial arts themes.  That was great fun and definitely the centerpiece of the event.

A wooden gun that shoots rubber bands. You can see these on the Kyoei website (Japanese language only sorry)

The only thing I thought was missing this year, was the live music stage.  In previous years, in an open area behind the exhibit areas bands played and food trucks kept the crowds fed. Apparently, due to the Olympics that area has been earmarked for some construction and is no longer available for events.  I thought that that part of Design Festa was enormously popular so I was very sorry to see it go.

Some bedside lights

Do you need a bow tie?


Tickets to the events cost only 1000 yen, which is a pretty good price since that gets you entry for the whole day.  So, if you are looking for something to do this time next year, keep that in mind as Design Festa is great value.

Konjiki performing on the main stage

I haven't heard the official attendance figures yet, but I thought it was very well attended due to Tokyo Big Sight being so crowded!  Design Festa and its sister event Design Festa Summer (which is held in summer obviously) are run by Design Festa Gallery which is located in Tokyo's Harajuku. You can see its website here and the Design Festa vol. 48 website here.  

And some alternative works too!