Tuesday 26 May 2015

A festival less normal - Nikufes (meat festival)

A warning, this post is not recommended for vegetarians or vegans.

Japan is well known for it's love of festivals.  You have everything from festivals where sumo wrestlers make babies cry to log riding festivals where people sometimes get killed (that one only happens ever 7 years so you might have to wait for a post on that one) to festivals where a naked man runs the gauntlet of a throng of people who believe it gives them good luck for the rest of the year if they touch him to penis festivals in Kawasaki (that one was a couple of months ago so you might have to wait until next year for a post on that).  If you can think it, Japan has a festival for it!  Last year I went to a couple of the more traditional festivals, the Kawagoe festival and the Oeshiki festival.  I decided to go this year to a festival for the taste buds.  Nikufes (Meat festival).

Each year in Tokyo at the beginning of May they have Nikufes (http://nikufes.jp/ website is in Japanese only, but then language doesn't matter when the website has so many delicious pictures!), a festival of meat in a few different locations.  I went along to the one held in Komazawa park with a couple of friends.  It was my first visit to Komazawa park which is a huge park near Komazawa Daigaku station on the Denentoshi line, not far from Shibuya.  Komazawa park is home to some of the facilities that were built for the 1964 Olympic games (and are still being used to this day).  Festivals like this are always popular, and more crowded than a Tokyo train at peak hour.  We therefore decided to go along at a later time and we arrived at 5pm, a little dismayed to find so many people still there!

Oh, well, meat awaited so we pushed our way in and started searching for our first target.  We were a group of three so we got a collection of dishes and shared so that we could spread the love and try as many dishes as possible.

As one of us lined up to go for the Brazilian...........barbecue (on the left)

I lined up next to that to try the fried chicken.

The fried chicken (from Oita) was nice, but a little dry (I guess it is difficult to make it perfect every time when you are catering for hundreds of thousands of people).

The Churrasco was great, the bacon nice and smokey and juicy!

We sat around for a few minutes deciding our next plan of attack and my friends went for a beautifully juicy and tender hamburg (meat pattie).

I went for an aged beef skewer dish as my next selection.

This was a beautiful dish, the aged steak had a firm yet tender texture and had that amazing flavour that Japanese marble beef has.

The crowds had started to dissipate slightly (although it is difficult to tell from this picture.....)

as had our hunger pangs so we decided to go for something a little more refreshing,

a selection of craft beers and sake from Osaka.  Perfect!

Next up was another juicy hamburg and a couple of wonderfully smokey Frankfurters

while my friends went for some melt in your mouth Australian beef with garlic butter

and some deliciously marinated yakiniku (barbecued) wagyu beef buns.

We were all now relishing our meat high and sat down for another round of craft beer and sake to finish off the meal.

If you are ever in Tokyo at the beginning of May, I thoroughly recommend braving the crowds and heading to Nikufes.  The dishes are a little expensive, but in my opinion, definitely worth it!

Thanks for reading this little mini post.  Leave a comment below if you like, and let me know if there is anything you would like me to write about or show.

See you next time.


  1. Hi Jason,interesting article....as far as I recall, good cuts of meat are expensive in Nihon, except for fish and perhaps chicken.As an Aussie,I guess you have the odd hamburger or two!Although, I don't eat all that much meat these days,I still enjoy a rib-eye or Tbone steak from time to time.Nice to see the Bombers have a good win at last...now need to do it again against Richmond this Sat.If they win,that will give them a slight edge on the ladder.Their draw is pretty good,but as we have seen,it is a topsy turvy year to date.Mata ne,Noel.

    1. Hi Noel,
      you are right, good cuts of meat (beef especially) can be pretty expensive. You can buy Australian beef much cheaper than Japanese beef here which I am pretty happy about. I can enjoy a good healthy steak from time to time!
      Fingers crossed for the Richmond game. Hopefully the boys do it for Fletcher's 400th game!
      Take care Noel.

  2. Dewa Jason,it looks like the dons have blown their finals chances.As we supporters all know,there is nothing going for them up forward.I think it is now time to gamble a bit up forward..leave the defence almost as it is and toss out a couple of slower players and introduce some real speed.Yoi ichinichi wo..Noel.

    1. HI Noel,
      I also saw tonight's score against the Cats. Now 4-6 right?
      They need to do something!

  3. Jason-san,

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I would like to eat the fried chicken (from Oita). the fried chicken is my special favorite food!!

    Jason-san, if you have any hot springs in the suburbs of Tokyo to recommend, please let me know.

    I am going to take my mother and my grand mother to a hot spring by a car in the summer vacation.


    1. Hi Mariko,

      thanks for your message. Sorry it has taken a little while to respond.

      I personally haven't been to a lot of onsens around Tokyo but people I know have said that the following 2 onsens are good.



      I hope that they help. Let me know if you go there and if they are good! It sounds like a nice summer vacation plan. My summer vacation plan is that I will go to Nagano. I hope to write about that trip here!