Takashi Murakami Exhibition Takashi Murakami Exhibition Photo: Takayama Kozo, Artwork: © 2012 Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

What's on in Tokyo this February/March

Winter is still upon us, but that's no reason to stay huddled under the kotatsu. Brave the bitter temps to enjoy some of these Tokyo attractions.

As it falls between the cultural festivities of new year and the raucous spring cherry blossom bacchanal, you might think that February and March aren't a great time to visit Tokyo. But that's not the case! Tokyoites don't let the cold temps or sometimes snowy weather slow them down one bit. Instead, the new year throws them into a flurry of socialising and activity. Visitors reap the benefits of this resolute energy too, in the form of a broad buffet of festivals and events, so grab you coat and let's go!

Witness the return of Murakami

The last time otaku superhero and controversial superflat theorist Takashi Murakami held a major exhibition in his home country was nearly 15 years ago, but he's brought his wacky blend of high and low art back in a big way at this Mori Art Museum exhibition. The centerpiece is his 100m long, 3m high painting 'The 500 Arhats', which depicts 500 saints from Buddhism in his trademark melted lines and bright colors. Love him or hate him, this is the must-see exhibit in Tokyo this spring. Until 3 March, 10:00-22:00. Mori Art Museum, Mori Tower 53F, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. www.mori.art.museum

Get fashion forward

fashion-week© Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo (https://twitter.com/MBFWT_official)

Tokyo has a reputation for cutting-edge fashion, so taking in a few shows at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tokyo will make sure you are up on the cutting-est cutting edge for Autumn and Winter 2016. Check out local talent like Hidenori Kumakiri's beautiful people for cultured casual clothes, Keisuke Imazaki's Plastictokyo for gritty street wear, and Yuma Koshino for women's wear in lux, femme fabrics. In addition to the runway shows, you can also enjoy related art exhibitions, parties, and of course, a lot of retail therapy. 14-19 March. Various venues. www.tokyo-mbfashionweek.com

Related: Tokyo's best spas

Walk on fire

fire-walking© Courtesy Yakuo-in Temple

Walking on hot coals will warm those cold feet right up! During the Hiwatari-sai at Takaosan Yakuo-in Temple, ascetic monks walk across a bed of burning coals while praying for purification. It's a sight to behold, and if you are feeling brave, you can take a turn yourself after things have cooled down a bit. Just be sure to bring a cloth to clean the ash off your feet. 13 March, 1:00 pm. 2177 Takaomachi, Hachioji-shi. www.takaosan.or.jp

Take in the plum blossoms

plum-2© Jessica Kozuka

Everybody talks about cherry blossom season in Japan, but did you know the Japanese are just as fond of the sweet-smelling plum blossom called ume? The trees bloom in mid- to late-February, making them a welcome harbinger of warmer weather. They also come in a much wider variety of colors than their more famous cousin, from almost translucent white to deep, rich purple. Try Yushima Tenjin Shrine or Koishikawa Koen for nice viewing spots in town or head out to Odawara for their annual month-long Plum Festival, with events held on weekends and holidays, including a Japanese horseback archery demonstration on the 11th. Odawara Plum Festival, 6 Feb 6 Mar. Various locations. www.odawara-kankou.com

Related: How to: eat like a local in Tokyo

See the Northern Lights

bergman© Courtesy Tokyo Northern Lights Festival

OK, not THOSE northern lights, but some pretty flickering images just the same. This is the Tokyo Northern Lights Festival, a week-long celebration of Scandinavian film both past and present. Of course, Ingmar Bergman is represented, both in his erotic classic Summer with Monika and in the charming documentary Trespassing Bergman, which has a group of all-star filmmakers examining Bergman's legacy while visiting his home on a remote island in Sweden. Other standouts include Anders Thomas Jensen's 2015 comedy Men & Chicken and a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent film Once Upon a Time accompanied by live music. Careful, not all screenings have English subtitles. 6-12 Feb. Eurospace, 1-5 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku. www.tnlf.jp

Related: How to keep fit in Tokyo

Get animated


© AnimeJapan

AnimeJapan is one of the world's largest anime events, attracting fans and industry insiders from across the globe. In the main area, attendees can visit exhibition booths for sneak peeks at upcoming animes, shop for memorabilia, see a variety of performances on several stages, sample themed food offerings, try their luck at a gachapon vending machine, and ogle the über-fans in the cosplayer's section. Even if you aren't a fan of Japanese animation, it's quite an enjoyable circus. 25-27 March, 10am-5pm. Tokyo Big Sight, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto-ku. www.anime-japan.jp

1 Walk on Fire
2 Northern Lights
3 Takashi Murakami Exhibition
4 AnimeJapan