The “Tokyo Tapioca Land” Pop-Up Brings Your Love Of Bubble Tea To Life
If you hold a deep and abiding love for bubble tea, you might want to start planning a trip to Japan soon: Tokyo Tapioca Land, a pop-up experience themed after all things boba, will be opening up in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood in just a few short weeks. According to Japanese news site Sora News 24, the colorful exhibit will fling open its doors in a brand-new shopping area called “jing” on Aug. 13; between then and Sept. 16, it will allow visitors to jump inside a dream world full of tapioca-themed goodies — with, of course, something of a focus on bubble tea. (Despite the rise of other drinkable treats like cheese tea, the classic, boba-filled beverage still reigns supreme.) Many are even describing Tokyo Tapioca Land as a “bubble tea theme park,” which should give you an idea of what to expect from the place.
“Theme park” is sort of a loose term, though; what we’re really looking at is the sort of interactive art installation that’s become all the rage in the Instagram age. Think the Museum of Ice Cream, the Rosé Mansion, the Color Factory, and so on and so forth. The company behind Tokyo Tapioca Land — Tokyo Photogenic Team — is no stranger to creating these kinds of events; they're also responsible for Tokyo Ice Cream Land, which ran for three days in the Harajuku-adjacent neighborhood of Omotesando in 2018 before touring Japan more widely, and Rainbow Sweets Land, which ran at the Tokyo Solamachi shopping mall near the Tokyo Skytree for a week this past May. Both of these previous events featured bright and whimsical sets and environments perfect for letting your inner child loose and recapturing your sense of wonder — and, of course, taking a few photos. Pics, as they say, or it didn’t happen.
It’s not yet known exactly what Tokyo Tapioca Land will look like when it finally opens, but per the concept currently available to view on the pop-up’s website, attractions might include places to sit and relax, giant, pop-art style bubble tea sculptures, and even a “boba”-filled ball pit. The press release also notes that there will be “more than 10 photo booths” installed for all your Instagramming needs — and, of course, there will lots of bubble tea available for purchase: According to the press release, “many famous tapioca stores [will be] open,” allowing you to “enjoy various tapioca drinks and food.” (All of this is very roughly translated by Google Translate, by the way, as all of the channels providing official information are naturally in Japanese. The attractions are also all subject to change, so adjust your expectations accordingly.)
Given the colorful, over-the-top aesthetic that reigns at Tokyo Photogenic Team’s events, it makes perfect sense that they’d choose to mount one in Harajuku. Known for its place in Japanese youth culture, the Tokyo neighborhood is the home of all things kawaii and sweet — from fashion to food. (Ask me about the ridiculous strawberry crepe I ate there in May that had a full piece of cake stuck into the top of it. It was absurd, and I have absolutely no regrets about it.) Although the concept art for Tokyo Tapioca Land looks slightly more sophisticated than the photos of Tokyo Ice Cream Land or Rainbow Sweet Land, no doubt it will still have the same playful quality Tokyo Photogenic Team’s other events have exemplified — and if there’s anywhere that kind of environment would feel at home, it’s in Harajuku.
According to Eater, pre-sale tickets — which, at 1,000 yen (around $9.25) per ticket, yielded a slight discount — have unfortunately already sold out; however, day-of tickets will be available at the door for 1,200 yen a pop (about $11 USD). You’ll probably still want to line up early if you’re planning on going, though — odds are the crowds will be massive.
Tokyo Tapioca Land will be open from Aug. 14 through Sept. 16, 2019; in August, hours will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, while in September, it will be open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Find out more at the Tokyo Tapioca Land website.