Adventures in East Asia

Design Festa at Tokyo Big Sight - Personal Creativity at its Finest!

One of my highlights during our two week stay in Tokyo was spending a day at the bi-annual Design Festa International Art Event, held at the fabulously named Tokyo Big Sight.



Design Festa only happens twice a year, the second time in November and so I was particularly happy that we were in Tokyo for the May event, which is actually the 29th such event to be held.

Design Festa

It's a two-day art and design fair that brings in six thousand exhibitors, both professional and amateur, and over fifty thousand visitors, which makes it the biggest art event in Asia. There is also however, a permanent sight for a Design Festa gallery in Harujuku, described in a later post.


Anyone can apparently apply to exhibit at Design Festa, as long as they have made their own stuff. This makes the event truly unique each time as there's no telling who and what kind of work will be on show. With so many potential exhibitors, there's bound to be something for every visitor to like.

What can be seen at Design Festa

The fact that the event attracts the individual creators are what drew me to Design Festa. Based in Japan, the potential for quirky and highly creative work was high! Fantastically interesting for me, since I was looking forward to taking in any and every visual culture aspect of Japan.

The location at Tokyo Big Sight utilised several halls over two floors, and upon entering, the sheer scale of ground to cover was staggering.


Particularly when our experience at the first few stalls in the huge entrance hall easily held our attention for more than a few minutes. See the entrance hall in this short video below:

The Exhibitors

The exhibitors ranged from illustrators, to sculptors, special effects people to fashion designers, photographers to conceptual artists, and simply all kinds of crafts people that defy categorisation. Most had something to sell, from genuine artwork to reprints, postcards and toys, badges and clothes etc. I cover highlights of these creators in a separate post later.

Exhibitor work is only half the story at Design Festa. Energy and excitement comes in the form of stage and fashion shows and rock bands and pop groups.


Throughout the space, a mix of audio artists, live artists, costumed musicians and cosplayers strut their stuff.


During our day at Design Festa, any direction we looked had something interesting to see.



By closing time, stocked with a few souvenirs and purchases, business cards and a headache, we left satisfied we'd "covered ground" that day in Tokyo.


More Design Festa posts about the creators and performers coming next. But next, Linh's big hair...

More general photos of Design Festa 2009 on Flickr

Visit the Design Festa website

This entry posted in : Art. Culture. Entertainment. Events. Japan.

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05/08/09  at  03:55 PM
I really Enjoyed Design Festa this year.
i went on sunday as well. ;-D it was FANOTASTIC!!

i had a chat to the guys with squids hats and the groovy instruments and Moog ds game. ;-D really cool!

thnx for sharing your photos.
i have a few on my blog.

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