Once again, Tokyo welcomes the design world with open arms into its streets, shops, cafes and galleries -- all under the umbrella of Tokyo Design Week, which encompasses four different yet complementary events: Tokyo Designer's Week, 100% Design Tokyo, Design Tide and Swedish Style.

Things kicked off Wednesday, in a five-day carnival crammed with enough design-related happenings to make even the most avid of aficionados weak at the knees (Swedish Style actually runs an extra 10 days). It is, therefore, no surprise to find people intimidated by the choice of so many exhibitions and installations. With this in mind, here's a guide to those events that are not to be missed.

The expo that started it all, Tokyo Designer's Week, is now in its 21st year, and remains an essential component of the week's festivities. Like last year, it's being held at the Jingu-Gaien grounds in Aoyama, and is sure to attract a lot of attention with its regular series of showcases: "Shop Exhibition," with various shops, galleries, and cafes coming together in one spot to sell their wares; "Pro Exhibition," featuring prototype designs by leading creators; "Student Exhibition," that tends to delight with its innovative and bright new takes on design problems; and of course, the always popular "Container Ground." The theme-parkesque atmosphere of the containers usually draws the biggest crowds, all lining up to enter the 3x6x12-meter spaces that have been decked out by manufacturers, media companies and designers alike. It's an exercise in branding -- and some say it strays too far into the commercial/advertising side of things -- but it is often also highly entertaining, with a light/sound/visual extravaganza that, at its best, can leave the impression that you are experiencing a slice of the future.