Home AuthorsAll posts by Carol Ann Asselin
Author

Carol Ann Asselin

Roppongi Hills Observatory Tokyo Tower

After a long day traversing through the city of Tokyo, there’s no better way to wrap up a day of sightseeing then to go to an observatory and overlook the streets you walked and the buildings you passed. At Roppongi Hill’s, Mori Tower, the only rooftop sky deck in Tokyo lies waiting for you to see the beauty within this city from a bird’s-eye view!

Roppongi Hills is located in the Minato district of Tokyo. There are shops and restaurants, a movie theatre, the Mori Art Museum, and of course, the Tokyo City View Sky Deck! With the inside observatory on the 52 floor, and the outside sky deck on the rooftop, you can see the entire city from both indoors and out!

Despite it’s name, there is no hike required when venturing to Roppongi Hills. This, however, is just the name that one of the largest property developments in Tokyo was given.

Roppongi Hills Observatory upwards

Depending on where you may come from, the idea of an open-air observatory may seem a little new to you. While some countries have more than others, Japan’s list of these rooftop observatories is limited. Making the trip over to Roppongi Hills is definitely recommended during your stay in Japan!

Unlike many cities, Tokyo is not a city with skyscrapers on every block. Fortunately, this makes the views from observatories in Tokyo even more breathtaking!

Also, within the area, there is much to do! With hundreds of restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars, the Roppongi area will keep you entertained, whether its 3pm or 3am!

 

Get Involved at the Roppongi Hills Observatory

If you’re a long-time visitor of Tokyo, you may be interested in attending one of the seminars and workshops Roppongi Hills has to offer. Every fourth Friday of the month, there are events open for the public focusing on astronomy. These events do not require any special membership, so everyone is welcome to participate!

If you’re not interested in astronomy, or even if you’re not in Tokyo for very long, Roppongi Hills Observatory is also hosting a photo contest that only requires one visit to Roppongi Hills and one outstanding picture that will stand apart from the rest.

With multiple periods to enter, there are also multiple winners! You can find details about the contest here! Photos taken at the observatory as well as photos of Tokyo’s landscape including Roppongi Hills, will be accepted!

Roppongi Hills Observatory tulips

Website

Nearest Station: Roppongi Station

Hours of Operation: 10am- 11pm

Price: General admission is 1,800 yen. Discount rates for children, students, and seniors are also available: Seniors 1,500, Students 1,200, and children 600 yen.

March 22, 2017 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Robot Restaurant Shinjuku

Part of the thrill of visiting Tokyo is experiencing all of the delightfully strange things that make the city unique. And the biggest thrill is to check out some of the awesome theme restaurants in Tokyo. Here are the top picks from Enablejapan.com for theme restaurants and cafes in Tokyo.

Tokyo Theme Restaurants : Cat Cafes

Although not strictly in the “theme restaurants” genre, cat-lovers from around the world always ask us about cat cafes. There are several cat cafes in Tokyo where you pay to enjoy the company of cats. Most have an entrance fee or require you to buy food and drinks, but this doesn’t bother you, right? After all, you’re there to meet the kitties! There are lots of cats around who want to play or be stroked. For more information, visit our top 15 recommendations for Tokyo cat cafes or watch Part II of our Tokyo Animal Cafe video series featuring Cafe Neko JaLaLa.

Cure Maid Café

Cure Maid Cafe Theme Restaurants

Maid cafes are a uniquely-Japanese thing, and can be off-putting for visitors with conventional tastes. Given their propensity for the cutsey-poo dress-up and antics (particularly in Akihabara), you might walk away feeling kind of like you have just accidentally committed some sort of perverted act. However, Cure Maid Cafe is more Victorian and less cutesy, allowing you to enjoy the experience without having a crisis of conscience. Check out our review of the Cure Maid Cafe in Akihabara here!

Fukuro no Mise Tsukishima

Fukuro no Mise Theme Restaurants

Owls! Really, owl cafes are like cat cafes in that both animals seem to regard humans with thinly-disguised contempt. But you can visit this Tsukishima cafe and meet big owls, small owls, and many owls in between! Check out our review of Fukuro no Mise here!

If Fukuro no Mise is too far out of your away, you could always go to the Lovely Owl Cafe in Harajuku. Even better, you can make a reservation through Voyagin!

Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku

Kawaii Monster Cafe Harajuku Tokyo Japan

You don’t know Tokyo Weird until you know the Kawaii Monster Cafe. From the Monster Girl floor shows to the bizarre decor, it’s every stereotype of Japan kawaii culture all in one location. Go there, and have your camera ready for your future Facebook shots! Check out our review of the Kawaii Monster Cafe here!

You absolutely MUST go to the Kawaii Monster Cafe during your trip to Tokyo. Let Voyagin help you with your reservation!

The Lock-Up Shibuya

The_Lock_Up_Shibuya_Tokyo Theme Restaurants

This chain of izakaya horror-prison theme restaurants that has a presence in most of Tokyo’s busy areas. The Lock-Up experience starts immediately when one of the waitresses handcuffs you and leads you to your table. Once seated, you can choose from their menu of unusual food and unorthodox drinks. A cocktail served in a smoking science beaker, anyone? Sporadically throughout the evening, alarms will sound and the lighting will go dark as escaped criminals come to scare you at your table. Check out our review of the Lock-Up here!

Ninja Akasaka Restaurant

Ninja_Asakusa_Tokyo_07 Theme Restaurants

A little more expensive than the café options, but this theme restaurant is all about ninjas! At Ninja Restaurant, you can watch as they’ll break out into tricks and performances suddenly throughout your meal, set within an atmospherically designed dining room. The menu varies from Japanese to European, and the quality of the food is generally excellent. Check out our review of Ninja Akasaka Restaurant here!

Q-pot CAFE.

Q-Pot Cafe Harajuku Tokyo Japan

Life is sweet at the Q-pot CAFE. in Harajuku! Come by for the cakes and tarts, and then visit their store across the street for fashion accessories based on the sweets you just had! See our review of the Q-pot CAFE. here!

Robot Restaurant Shinjuku

Robot Restaurant Shinjuku Theme Restaurants

The Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku is a fairly recent addition to Tokyo’s lineup of theme restaurants. Here, you can enjoy a dinner show where the main feature is giant robots being controlled by pretty girls.  It’s an extremely flashy show, with lots of lights, noise and excitement that’s a fun one-off experience. See our review of the Robot Restaurant here!

If you plan on adding the Robot Restaurant to your “must-do” list, you can get a discount on Instant E-Tickets from Voyagin!

Tori no Iru Asakusa

Making New Friends at Tori no Iru Bird Cafe Asakusa Tokyo Japan

Once you’re done at the Sensoji Shrine, this little cafe is a must-see. They have several owls and a walk-in bird room where you can interact with dozens of parakeets and other birds. Re-enact Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” by buying a small box of birdseed! See our review of Tori no Iru Asakusa here!

For more dining and entertainment options in Tokyo, check out the links below–

June 2, 2016 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Kinji Harajuku Tokyo Japan

Second-hand fashion shops, known in Japan as “recycle shops,” are a popular way to acquire name brands at discount prices. These shops are popular even in Harajuku, the center of Tokyo’s street fashion world.

The best thing about second-hand fashion shops (as far as the fashionable-yet-broke set are concerned) is that they will often buy your used street brands or high-fashion labels, either for cash or in exchange for store credit with which one can further indulge their clothing habit. Each second-hand fashion shop has their own guidelines for what they will and won’t accept, so be sure to read the guidelines in each selection. Also, every second-hand fashion shop requires that you provide identification of some sort in order to sell clothes, so be sure to bring your ID along.

So without further ado–

Second-Hand Fashion : Fool’s Judge

Fools Judge Harajuku Tokyo Japan Second-Hand FashionWhat Are They Selling? Second-hand Japanese street brands for men. The store is actually split into two shops on the same street–one for the Supreme label, the other for a variety of other name brands.

What Are They Buying? Fool’s Judge occasionally buys name brand clothing, used or new. Although they have to see the clothing in order to make a decision, it’s a good idea to call them first (03-3796-6664) to see if they are currently buying. Don’t worry–they have several English speakers on staff.

Website (via Google Translate) | Facebook (Japanese only)

Hours of Operation: open daily 12:00 am – 8:00 pm

Ragtag

Ragtag Harajuku Tokyo Japan Second-Hand FashionWhat Are They Selling? One of the biggest recycle shops in Harajuku. Features men’s and women’s clothing, Japanese street brands, high fashion, and even some less-expensive clothing lines.

What Are They Buying? Check out Ragtag’s extensive online buy and sell list.

Website  | Online Store (primarily Japanese)

Hours of Operation: open daily 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Jumble Store Harajuku

Jumble Store Harajuku Tokyo Japan Second-Hand FashionWhat Are They Selling? Designer brand and Japanese brand clothes/ bags/ accessories for men, women, and children.

What Are They Buying? As above. Make sure to bring some form of ID.

Website (via Google Translate) | Online Store (primarily Japanese)

Hours of Operation: open daily 11:00 am – 9:00 pm

 

Kinji

Kinji Harajuku Tokyo Japan Second-Hand FashionWhat Are They Selling? Harajuku-style Japanese brands for men and women. Kinji has a wide selection of clothes, shoes, and accessories, and even sports clothing such as cycling gear.

What Are They Buying? They have a number of brands listed on their “Sell Me” page. You can sell your clothes for cash or credits (points) and then use that credit to buy other clothes at Kinji.

Website (via Google Translate) | Twitter (Japanese)

Hours of Operation: open daily 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Laboratory/Berberjin R

Berberjin Harajuku Tokyo Japan Second-Hand FashionWhat Are They Selling? Second-hand and “new vintage” (60s to 90s) clothing from Japan and the US. Featured brands include Labrat, Blackmeans, and FUUDOBRAIN.

What Are They Buying? Any of the above categories.

Website (via Google Translate) | Facebook (Japanese only) | Online Store

Hours of Operation: open daily 11:00 am – 8:00 pm

Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

April 21, 2016 0 comment
1 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
http://dev.enablejapan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Tokyu-Hands-Shibuya.jpg

http://dev.enablejapan.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Tokyu-Hands-Shibuya.jpg

Hello, Tokyo travelers and fellow enthusiasts! Do you need to pick up or replace one of those little travel necessities, like a bag or a raincoat? Are you looking for some uniquely Japanese gifts and souvenirs, but don’t know where to go? Or do you just need a place to rest and re-caffeinate while you check your email? You don’t just need a hand, you need a Tokyu Hands Shibuya!

The Tokyu Hands Shibuya is a conveniently-located clearinghouse of all of your travel, souvenir, and gift-giving needs. It is one-stop shopping for your needs as well as for those odd little Japanese items that your family sees on TV and the Internet. Here you can pick up the sort of gifts that will thrill your friends without busting your budget.

And for your convenience, Tokyu Hands Shibuya offers free wifi and a place to rest with their Hands Café. Take a rest and plan the next part of your trip while updating your Facebook photos!

EASY SHOPPING

Are you nervous about communications barriers? Don’t be! Tokyu Hands Shibuya has English speakers on staff, so if you get in a bind there’s always someone to help with selections, price lookups, and helping you with your purchases.

And as a tourist, it gets even better—you get a 5% discount on selected items by showing your passport at the Information Counter on Floor B2C. There, you will receive a 5% discount ticket to redeem at the time of purchase, so be sure to visit before you are ready to check out! Tokyu Hands Shibuya is also a Tax-Free Shop, so after you make your purchase you can take your receipt back to the same Information Desk on Floor B2C and have the sales tax refunded! If you’re thinking of buying an expensive souvenir of your trip, Tokyu Hands Shibuya is the place to look!

What if everybody meets you at the airport when you return home? Tokyu Hands Shibuya offers free gift-wrapping, so you can start handing out the souvenirs right away!

“All that sounds great,” you think, “But do I really want to carry all of this stuff around until I get back to my hotel?” Tokyu Hands thought of that, too! For a 450 yen fee, the store offers shipping to your Tokyo-area hotel.

TOKYU HANDS SHIBUYA TOP TEN SOUVENIRS AND GIFT ITEMS

Tokyu Hands Shibuya was kind enough to give us a list of the top selling items purchased by tourists during their trip to the store. If you don’t see anything that catches your eye here, don’t worry! The Tokyu Hands Shibuya is a gigantic store full of items with that certain Japanese style. Come take a look!

Tokyu Hands Tokyo Japan Cards

10. Kyukyodo Hagaki Postcards: These elegant postcards feature Japanese scenery and are the perfect way to keep in touch with the people back home. 86 yen per card.

9. MT Colored Masking Tape: This multicolored and multi-patterned brand of masking tape is perfect for use in a wide variety of art and decorating projects. Starts at 108 yen per roll.

8. Suntory Whisky 17 Year Miniature Bottles: You may think “Scotland” when you think whisky, but Suntory in Japan is consistently winning awards for both their single malt and grain offerings. You can sample a mini-sized bottle of this fine spirit at 907 yen for a 50ml bottle.

7. Mindwave Stick Markers: Sticker markers with a whimsical Japanese theme for that super-organized person in your life. 378 yen per pack

6. PureSmile Face Masks: Made in Korea and highly regarded by Asian women, these face masks are popular for their skin-brightening and moisturizing abilities. Bloggers such as Louise Hung at xojane have even tried them out, so pop on over and see what they have to say! 108 yen per pack.

5. LuLuLun Facemasks: An elegant facemask from a Japanese cosmetics maker, designed for daily use. Other cosmetics from this brand are also available. Starting from 324 yen per pack.

4. Ukiyo-e Series Utamaro Line Collagen Facemasks: A facemask for lovers of both beauty and the art of the “floating world.” You can keep them to display the art or until you use them, but either way they are a bargain at 129 yen per pack.

3. Iwako Erasers: I know you’ve seen these—tiny eraser packs in the shapes of sushi, bento boxes, animals, and others. You can buy a small pack of three assorted eraser shapes for 50 yen per pack, perfect for kids and kids-at-heart.

Tokyu Hands Shibuya Tokyo Japan Skin Care Masks

2. Isshin-Do Honpo Design Facepacks: Moisturizing and beauty doesn’t have to be all serious, all of the time. Isshin-Do Honpo facepacks come in a variety of styles, from Kabuki to animals to Marvel characters and even KISS designs. Starting at 430 yen per mask, they are great gifts for the beauty-conscious who still like to have a little fun.

Tokyu Hands Shibuya Tokyo Japan Pens1. Frixion Ball Pilot Pens: As a writer myself, I love the feel of a good pen. Frixion Ball pens are multicolored and erasable, allowing you to switch colors or eliminate errors as desired. Pens start at 194 yen for a single color. Make sure to pick up a few refills (sold next to the pens) to make your gift last longer!

TOKYU HANDS SHIBUYA LOCATION INFORMATION

Website | Online Store (Tokyu Hands official)

Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Shibuya Station (Hachiko exit)

 

Hours of Operation: 10:00 am – 8:30 pm daily

“Why Go?”: Pick up uniquely Japanese souvenirs and gifts before your return home!

Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

April 11, 2016 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

(photos and video by Yingqian Zhao and Andrij Dynko)

You forgot again, didn’t you? Didn’t we warn you about this last time? You were having so much fun on your Tokyo adventure that you didn’t remember to buy gifts for the people back home until it was almost too late. Now you only have a few hours and you need to get some nice souvenirs, and fast!

No problem! If you can find the busiest intersection in the world at Shibuya Crossing, you are mere steps away from the solution to your omiyage dilemma. All you have to do is walk a six minutes from the Hachiko exit of the Shibuya JR. All of your souvenir and gift-shopping can be done in one trip to the fabulous Shibuya LOFT!

Shibuya LOFT’s Top Ten Souvenirs and Gift Items

So what treasures does Shibuya LOFT have to offer the discerning traveler? With the vast array of offerings, it was difficult to pick only ten things to recommend. Even if you don’t see anything here that strikes your fancy, make the trip anyway! It’s easy to get to, there are many discounts for tourists, and you’re certain to find a delightful surprise.

10. Character Items. In the souvenir shop on the 6th floor, you can get the Japanese interpretation on characters both foreign and domestic. The usual suspects of the Japanese animated world are there (Doreamon, Dragonball, etc) as well as the Japanese take on foreign characters.

Huchiko Shibuya Loft Tokyo Japan

Do you know who this is? This is Koppu no Fuchico, a cute little office lady that hangs from your coffee mug or tea cup (if you are unfamiliar with Koppu no Fuchico, you can see an explanation here). She and other cup hangers-on are popular with tourists, and they won’t bust your budget at 500-800 yen per figure.

Teapot Shibuya Loft Tokyo Japan

9. Teapots. A simple gift from a country that knows their tea. Options range from the durable simplicity of the iron teapot to beautifully-decorated traditional models.

8. Chair Socks. You know how some people put tennis balls on the four legs of chairs to avoid scratching up the floor? Well, Japan came up with a more elegant solution that won’t send your dog into a frenzy. Chair socks protect your hardwood or tile flooring and gives your friends and neighbors something to shake their heads at. What will those crazy Japanese folks think up next?

7. 3-D Puzzles. 3-D puzzles of iconic Japanese subjects (sword stands, castles, and temples) are popular with tourists. They are packaged flat, making them easy to fit in your suitcase for the trip home.

Knife Shibuya Loft Tokyo Japan

6. Knives. Japan is renowned worldwide for the quality of their cutting instruments. Shibuya LOFT stocks a number of high-quality cutting implements (both steel and ceramic) suitable for home or professional use. Obviously, you may need to ship these home instead of fitting it into your suitcase, so please make arrangements for shipping before purchasing.

5. Postcards. The inexpensive way to brag about your trip! The first floor has a wide array of Japan-specific postcards to choose from. Send a shot of the Skytree, or a sumo tournament, or maybe one of a cat hanging out at a torii gate! Your hotel concierge will be able to assist you in sending a postcards through the post.

Bento Shibuya Loft Tokyo Japan

4. Bento Boxes. You’ve seen them on TV, anime, and even in person—and now you can have one of your very own! Styles range from the cute character boxes for children up to the understated elegance of boxes made for adults.

Sumo Notebook Shibuya Loft Tokyo Japan

3. Stationery and Pens. It’s been stated before that Japan knows how to make beautiful stationery and writing utensils, and the basement of Shibuya LOFT is full of them. Sure, they have the Moleskines and fountain pens, but you can get that at home—this is where you choose from the vast array of notebooks and pens that have that certain Japanese something. Or maybe it just has a sumo wrestler on the cover. Hey, you know your friends and family better than I do.

sake Shibuya Loft Tokyo Japan

2. Souvenir Sake Barrels. Sake barrels can be a work of art all by themselves. These tiny barrels actually have some liquor in them, so be careful about what you declare for customs! These will look great on a shelf and will make a great conversational piece.

3D Statues Shibuya Loft Tokyo Japan

1. 3-D Printed Statues – Of You! Shibuya LOFT has a 3D printing studio on the 6th floor. Here, you can strike a pose in front of 102 mounted cameras and have a photo-realistic statue made of yourself. It can be expensive, but on the other hand, they have a dressing room—and no one is going to stop you from making a 3-D statue of yourself in your ninja suit! Unlike other products at Shibuya LOFT, these statues can be shipped overseas and require approximately three weeks for delivery. Check out our separate article on the statues here!

Problem-Free Shopping

Are you nervous about being a stranger in a strange land? Don’t be! Shibuya LOFT is six floors and a basement full of Japanese souvenir goodness, and their staff is ready and able to assist busy tourists.

First, you get a discount of 5% off your purchases (over 1080 yen) just for shopping there! Just show your passport at the counter to claim your discount. Also, Shibuya LOFT is a registered Japan Tax-Free Shop. After checking out, take your purchases, receipts, and passport to the Tax Refund Counter on the 6th floor to have the tax portion of your purchase refunded. No waiting in line at the airport! Both of these discounts combined will save you a bundle on your trip.

“That’s all well and good,” you might think. “But how am I actually going to get these discounts? I don’t speak Japanese!” Shibuya LOFT has already thought of that, and each floor has at least one English-speaking staff member to assist you with any questions you have and help you with your purchases. Problem solved!

And your bags? If you aren’t pressed for time and you don’t want to carry a bunch of bags through the streets of Tokyo, Shibuya LOFT can help with that, too! With a purchase of 450 yen or more, the store can ship your purchases to your local hotel (postal fees apply). Shipping in the city is fast, taking only a day to get your packages from the store to your hotel. How fast it gets into your suitcase for the flight home is entirely up to you. Unfortunately, Shibuya LOFT currently cannot ship overseas (with the exception of the 3-D statues).

Shibuya Loft Store Information

Website (via Google Translate) | Facebook (Japanese only) | Online Store (Japanese only; only ships domestically)

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Shibuya JR station (Hachiko exit). (Click on the map for walking directions via Google Maps)

 

Hours of Operation: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm daily.

“Why Go?”: For your last-minute souvenir-shopping and gift-giving needs!

Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

March 18, 2016 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Beauty and Youth Featured Image, Cat Street Tokyo

 

A shopping experience confined within the streets of Harajuku may remind a visitor of their first adventure in using the Tokyo train system. With sidewalks filled by eager shoppers, store doors occasionally swinging open and closed, and dozens of people gathered close together to traverse through the jungle of high-end shops and small boutiques, a shopper can certainly feel crowded on the busy streets of Tokyo’s fashion capital.

However, if you happen to see a trendy local breaking free of the crowd and heading for a much quieter path, follow them! Harajuku’s Cat Street runs parallel to Meiji Street, but offers a much more relaxed shopping experience by giving individuals a chance to take it all in at their own pace.

There are dozens of small shops that visitors can wander by, and there is definitely something for everyone. With upscale stores as well as small boutiques, each store shows personality within. We here at EnableJapan.com love Cat Street, and there are many good reasons why you should too!

 

American Apparel

Cat Street has an American Apparel for both men and women, directly across from one another on a small side street. The stores carry the full line of American Apparel items here, including the basic sweatshirts, bodysuits, t-shirts, and accessories you need to properly fill out a wardrobe.

Website and Online Store ||| Facebook ||| Twitter ||| Instagram ||| Tumblr ||| Pinterest ||| YouTube

Hours of Operation: 12:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

5-minute walk from Shibuya Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Beauty and Youth United Arrows

Beauty & Youth United Arrows  is one of my favorites. Since I’ve discovered this quaint store, I’ve made it a point to visit each time I’m shopping in Harajuku. This brand can be found throughout Tokyo, and sells other brands such as Acne Studios and Lee. Beauty & Youth United Arrows is sophisticated with its array of sleek, slimming trousers and feminine loafers, while also having a youthful flair with leather motorcycle jackets and skinny jeans. In addition to selling clothes and shoes, various homemaking goods are sold, including silverware and home décor.

Website ||| Facebook ||| Twitter

Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

6-minute walk from Shibuya Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Candy Show Time

Candy Show Time Cat Street

Snap, crackle, and POP, is exactly what you’ll be thinking shortly after entering Candy Show Time, one of the first shops you’ll see after strolling down Cat Street. From head to toe there are tiny, round candies all prepackaged with designs ranging from the face of Hello Kitty to Pokémon figures, but the best part is that these candies actually pop in your mouth! Free samples make the decision of choosing just one candy easier, and the thin glass that divides employees hard at work, making the candy, from hungry customers, is a good distraction for your friends to wait for you until you decide!

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate) ||| Instagram ||| Online Shop (via Google Translate)

Hours of Operation: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

4-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Journal Standard

Journal Standard sits near the Omotesando Avenue entrance to Cat Street. Its entrance is wooden, in tune with the brand’s down to earth vibe. The ground floor is men’s clothing, shoes and accessories, while the second floor is women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories. Journal Standard carries its own brand name items, and also sells other brands’ pieces in its collection, including Adidas and Levi’s denim. Journal Standard caters to the tomboy trend, with straight fitting button downs and boyfriend fit jeans. However, the store also sells feminine dresses and skirts, as well as charming loafers and handbags.

Website ||| Facebook (Japanese)||| Twitter (Baycrews parent company, via Google Translate) ||| Instagram ||| Online Store (via Google Translate)

Hours of Operation: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

4-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Lelulaatikko

Lelulaatikko Cat Street

Looking to accessorize your stay in Tokyo? Lelulaatikko is the perfect place to start, as there is affordable jewelry, quirky items to spice up your home, socks, pillows, bins and more!

Website (uraSHIBUYA, via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (uraSHIBUYA, Japanese) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate)

Hours of Operation: Open Weekdays 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Weekends: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

8-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

The Little Shop of Flowers

Little Shop of Flowers Cat Street

Located under District United Arrows, there is a shop no bigger than a small bedroom, which has merchandise you may not expect to find after a day spent surrounded by worldwide name brands. The Little Shop of Flowers has, well, dozens of flowers for you to purchase! As the name of the shop is written in lights, it is easy for shoppers to notice as they walk by, especially as the sun starts to go down. The second the door is pulled open; it’s like entering a mini indoor garden.

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate) ||| Instagram ||| Online Shop (via Google Translate)

Hours of Operation: Open daily 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

2-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Opening Ceremony


Close to Journal Standard is Harajuku’s Opening Ceremony, a store found in other cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Opening Ceremony is high end and quirky, with bold pieces for a unique individual style. It boasts unconventionality, while remaining cool and chic. The multiple floors sell pieces from chunky, strappy sandals and cropped button downs to long flowing skirts and dresses with asymmetrical designs. The store sells both Opening Ceremony originals as well as other designers such as Band of Outsiders and Kenzo. It is definitely on the pricier side, but well worth checking out even for just style inspiration.

Website ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate)

Hours of Operation: Open daily 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

4-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Paris Miki

Paris Miki Cat Street

Upon entering Paris Miki, you may be confused whether you just entered a 50s diner, as the black and white tiled floors, juke-box, and instruments such as electric guitars and drums might throw you off. However, don’t be alarmed, this is the store where you can cure your squinty eyes with name brand glasses like Ray Bans, ADSR, Oliver Peoples, and Moscot!

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate) ||| Instagram

Hours of Operation: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

4-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Pigsty

Pigsty Cat Street

First step… find the Pigsty pig! Next, walk down the steps into this pre-owned clothing store, and try to find a sweater your dad probably wore in high school. In this shop, there’s something to get everyone talking about. Personally, I found the section filled with American college sweatshirts to be most entertaining, as my college pride came out as I hunted through to find my own institution!

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (Japanese)

Hours of Operation: Open daily 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

3-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Rainbow Spectrum

Rainbow Spectrum Cat Street

Many areas of Tokyo represent bright, colorful lights, and a funky style. Rainbow Spectrum definitely lives up to those expectations, as this unique twist of a convenience store offers items like purses, blankets, travel necessities, cooking materials, and many accessories.

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Instagram ||| Online Store (via Google Translate)

Hours of Operation: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

3-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

Too Cool for School


Right next to W Closet is a small Korean cosmetics store called “too cool for school.” There is also another too cool for school store along Meiji Street. The brand sells all the cosmetic essentials, in colors ranging from more natural and subdued to bold and funky. Lip tints, lip gloss, eye shadow, and blush can all be sampled within the store, allowing you to get a look at the cosmetics you’re buying before you buy them. The store also sells gel facial masks, facial scrubs, and even body cleansers. When I visited the store, the sales girl graciously described all the facial masks and cosmetics I was interested in, and even allowed me to sample a facial scrub on my hands.

Website (LABOO gw Corp site, via Google Translate) ||| Twitter (LABOO Corp, via Google Translate) ||| Instagram

Hours of Operation: Open daily 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

2-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

 

W Closet


W Closet is another of my favorites on Cat Street. It’s one of the must-visit small stores along Cat Street, and has a comfortable atmosphere and very friendly sales help. Both great basic and unique pieces can be found at this store, including lace up loafers and oxfords, printed and collared sweaters, and long coats. This cute, laid back style is easy to wear, comfortable, and reasonably priced.

Website and Online Shop (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate) ||| Instagram

Hours of Operation: Open daily 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

7-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

————————

Zoe Mackey is a native New Yorker and college student currently studying in Tokyo. Her greatest inspirations are street fashion, lazy Sundays, and science fiction. You’ll more than likely find her taking amateur photos and looking for the best food in Tokyo. You can email her at z.isamac@gmail.com.

February 27, 2015 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

Tokyo cat cafes are the perfect place to go when you’re in need of some feline comfort to complement your caffeine fix. With dozens of locations throughout the city, there’s sure to be one nearby. Here are EnAble Japan’s top recommendations.

(Be sure to check out our Tokyo Animal Cafe video series which features Neko JaLaLa, Nekobukuro and Neko no Iru Kyuukeijo 299 cat cafes!)

Cats not your thing? Maybe you’d like to visit the owls at Lovely Owl Cafe in Harajuku instead! Our friends and Voyagin can help you with a reservation!

Tokyo Cat Cafes: Nekorobi

Nekorobi is a comfortable and home-like cat café in Ikebukuro. English instructions upon entering make the visit nice and simple from the start. At most Tokyo cat cafes, you pay for what you consume; here you only pay for the time spent there – all drinks are included. They have two vending machines offering hot and cold drinks; a very good deal! There is a TV and game console for those visitors who want to chill-out and play games. With lots of cat toys available for you and the cats to play with, you and your new furry friends will be very entertained. Be sure to check them out at their Website and  Twitter!

Nearest Station: Ikebukuro Station

Address: 3F Tact T.O Building Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toyoshima-ku, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 11am – 10pm

Price:

Weekdays – 1000 yen for the first hour, 250 yen for every 15 minutes extra.

Weekends and hols – 1200 yen for the first hour, 300 yen for every 15 minutes extra.

 

Hapineko

Hapineko Tokyo Cat Cafes

Hapineko is one of Tokyo’s cat cafés located in Dogenzaka in Shibuya. The entrance fee includes one drink and a small cake. Extra drinks and cat toys can be bought for an extra fee. Find out more at their Website!

Nearest Station: Shibuya Station

Address: ‪2-28-3 Dogenzaka | Dogenzaka Kratos Bldg.3F, Shibuya 150-0043

Hours of Operation: 11am – 9pm

Price: 30min – 1,050yen, 1 hour – 1,575yen, 1.5 hours – 2,100yen, 2 hours – 2,100yen (weekday), 2 hours – 2,525yen (weekends and hols)

 

Calico

Calico is one of the larger and more popular Tokyo cat cafes, located in Shinjuku. Upon entering the building you will be asked to put your belongings in a free locker. After, you’ll be free to wander around the two floors they have to offer. On the 6th floor you’ll find a video game area; the 5th floor is where the cafe is located. Both floors are covered with cats! Here you can enjoy food and drinks, and even buy a little cat food to attract cats. Remember to visit their Website!

Nearest Station: Shibuya Station

Address: ‪2-28-3 Dogenzaka | Dogenzaka Kratos Bldg.3F, Shibuya 150-0043

Hours of Operation: 11am – 9pm

Price:

Weekdays- 1000 yen per 1 hour

Weekends and holidays – 1200 yen per 1 hour

Each additional 10 minutes is 150 yen

 

Nekobukuro

Nekobukuro is located on the 8th floor of Tokyu Hands in Ikebukuro. Tokyo cat cafes, hence cafes, are usually about the sweets, caffeine, & cats. Here it is less like a café and more like a cat play center! Here you won’t find drinks and comfortable chairs to play video games. At Nekobukuro, it’s just cats and setups that make you feel like you’re visiting a city of cats! Find out more by visiting their Website.

Nearest Station: Shinjuku Station

Address: ‪ 1-16-2 Kabukicho Shinjuku Ward, Fuji Building 5 / 6F (6F entrance)

Hours of Operation: 10am – 10pm

Price: 600 yen for adults, 400 yen for children, 1000 yen for couples.

 

Nyafe Melange

Nyafe Melange is one of Tokyo’s cat cafes located near Ebisu station in central Tokyo. Drinks are offered and there are lockers to store your belongings. See for yourself at their Website and Instagram pages. 

Nearest Station: Ebisu Station

Address: ‪ 〒150-0013 Tokyo, 渋谷区Ebisu, 1−7−13 麻仁ビル恵比寿

Hours of Operation: 12pm – 8pm

Price: 1,000 yen per hour (includes one drink on weekdays), 1,500 yen per 1.5 hours (includes one drink on weekdays), 500 yen per 30 minutes on weekdays (12:00-14:00)

 

Nekomaru Cafe

Nekomaru Tokyo Cat Cafes

Nekomaru, one of the best Tokyo cat cafes, has two branches in Tokyo. One is in Ueno and the other is in Kinshi, east Tokyo. Their cafes offer comfortable seating and have a variety of cat toys to entice the cats with. Nekomaru uniquely offers pet-sitting services through their cat cafes. If you’re going on vacation, you can leave your cat in their care for a fee of 3,675 yen per night for a single room. Learn more on their Website!

Nearest Station: Ueno Station

Address: Ueno: 7-2-2 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo

or

Kinshi: 2-5-11 Kinshi, Sumida, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 12pm – 8pm

Price: They have a wide variety of plans available, starting at just 315 yen for 15 minutes on a weekday, going up to 3,308 yen for 2 hours at the weekend including food and a drink.

 

Machineko

Machine Tokyo Cat Cafes

Machineko is a Tokyo cat cafe and event space located in Motoasakusa. It is a convenient place to stop by after a day of sightseeing. The café has wi-fi, a vending machine, cat toys and iPads, along with many cats! More information available on their WebsiteBlog, and Twitter.

Nearest Station: Ueno Station

Address: Ueno: 7-2-2 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 12pm – 8pm

Price: 800 yen per hour, 100 yen for every extra 10 minutes

 

Calaugh Café

Calaugh Café Tokyo Cat Cafe

Calaugh Café is located close to Asakusa; it’s the perfect place to stop for a rest after visiting Sensoji and Tokyo Skytree.  They provide information in English and the café itself is extremely comfortable and homey. Their pricing system differs from other Tokyo cat cafes (see below). Want to know more? Visit their WebsiteFacebookTwitter, or Instagram pages! 

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station

Address: Asakusaekimae Bld.2F, 2-19-13, Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 11am – 10pm

Price:

Tea Time (11am-6pm) – No cover charge for the first hour; highly recommended to buy one item of food or drink (starts from 600 yen). After the first hour, each additional 15 minutes will be 200 yen.

Bar Time (6pm-10pm) –There is a 500 yen cover charge per person; highly recommended to one or more items from the food or drink menus.

 

Asakusa Nekoen

Asakusa Nekoen provides space for cat lovers to socialize with lots of cute felines. All of Akakusa Nekoen’s cats are rescue cats that have been re-homed at the café. They are always happy to see and play with you! See for yourself by visiting their WebsiteBlogFacebook, and Instagram!

Nearest Station: Asakusa Station

Address: 6th Floor Umamichi Myoukenya Building, 3-1-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 11am – 9pm

Price: 800 yen for 1 hour for adults, 700 yen for one hour for children. Each additional 30 minutes is 200 yen. There is a special 4.5 hour rate on weekdays of 1,500 yen.

Want to know more about these fun and unique cafes? Watch our new Tokyo Animal Cafe series featuring the best of cat, bird and rabbit cafes!

Cats & Dogs Café:

Cats and Dog Tokyo Cat Cafes

Nearest Station: Tobu Isesaki line Tugboat Station

Address:  5-41-1 Mukojima, Sumida, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 12pm- 9pm

Check out their Website and Facebook

 

Neko JaLaLa:

Nearest Station:

Address:  3-5-5 Sotokanda, Chiyoda, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 11am- 8pm

Visit their Website and check out our full review & video of Neko JaLala!

 

Curl Up Café:

Nearest Station: Tokyu Meguro Line “Nishi-yama” station

Address: 1-7-4 Haramachi, Meguro, Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 12pm- 8pm

Take a look at their Website

May 23, 2014 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

There’s a lot of weird and wonderful gifts to buy in Tokyo. Here is a list of the top 10 souvenirs you should get for someone (or yourself!) when you are traveling in Japan. 

1. Plastic food replicas are used all over the world to show incoming customers what a restaurant’s food will look like when served. Though found in restaurants across the world,  these food replicas are so popular in Japan that there are stores dedicated to selling them to anyone and everyone. You might be thinking, “Why would I buy this?” Well, why not! For any food you can think of, there is sure to be a plastic food replica of it. No trip to Japan is complete without buying at least one of these. They’re a great (and weird) addition to someone’s house!

2.If there was a list of the three things that Japan was most famous for, the list would be: samurai, sushi, and KitKats. In the West, there is really only one flavor commonly sold – chocolate. Japan, however, sells a wide variety of innovative flavors such as jasmine, matcha, and wasabi, to name just a few. There is now even a KitKat boutique in Seibu department store in Ikebukuro and at the Daimaru by Tokyo Station, so head there to stock up on limited edition flavors.

 

Japanese Kit Kats

 

 

 

3. Japanese knives are different from Western knives in the way they are forged, tempered, and shaped. While Western knives generally have double-sided edges, Japanese knives have single-sided edges. The Japanese believe that a single-edged blade is not only sharper, but can add more power to cuts and slices. 

kitchen knives

Photo source: japan-knives by sahua d

4. Japanese nail clippers are a much different item than their Western counterparts. What remains the same is the tool’s function. Japanese or Western, both cut toe/finger nails. What makes Japanese clippers different (and arguably more superior) is their quality, and cutting precision. For a higher price, you get a long-lasting clipper that will cleanly cut your nails. Great quality nail clippers are available at stores such as Loft and Tokyu Hands. 

5. Many people who are interested in Japan have at least a passing level of interest in Japanese anime or manga. Gifts for your otaku friends can include products such as posters, CDs, DVDs, and figurines from their favorite shows. Anime lover or not, it is highly recommended you check these out – they’re quite intricate! The perfect place to shop for these is Akihabara, where you will find dozens of stores that sell anime and gaming goods. 

anime figures

Photo source: Akira by Peter Baker

Note: If you’d like some help on knowing where to start in Akihabara, visit our article Akihabara 101: Sorting Through the Madness.

6. “Sa-shi-su-se-so” is the phrase the Japanese use when describing the basis of their cooking. Translating into English, it is “sugar-salt-soy vinegar-soy sauce-miso paste.” Japanese cuisine is intricate, delicious, and comes in many forms. However, what forever seems to stand is the importance of these five condiments.

Acquiring these materials outside of Japan is not difficult, but what you purchase outside of Japan and what you purchase in Japan can be easily differentiated by the quality and taste. Cheap knock-offs are everywhere, but only in Japan can you obtain this harmonious group of condiments at the best quality, for a reasonable price. If you or your loved ones enjoy cooking Japanese food, then “sa-shi-su-se-so” is a must.

condiments

Photo source: Japanese condiments by David Woo

7. The popular maneki neko is heavily integrated in Chinese and Japanese cultures, and has found his way into many other countries around the world. He is actually a talisman that is said to bring good fortune, prosperity, and customers (if placed in a restaurant). Outside of Japan and China, it is difficult to purchase these cats for yourself unless live near a Chinatown. In Japan, however, there are stores everywhere that carry them. When you visit, pick up a few of these and share the prosperity they bring!

Maneki Neko

Photo source: Maneki neko shop by Luis villa del Campo 

8. In Japanese culture, it’s the norm to have little, dangly charms on one’s phone. Whether it’s attached for personal expression, sentimental reasons, or just for fun, you’ll see many people in Japan (kids and adults alike) with charms attached to their phones. Phone charms come in millions (not an exaggeration) of shapes, sizes, and colors. There are even plush toys attached to some charms! When visiting Japan, it is imperative that you pick some of these lightweight souvenirs up. With them, you’ll not only fit in, but you’ll find yourself wanting more and more – they’re inherently addicting to buy!

phone charms

Photo source: charm yourself by chelsea marie hicks

9.In the West, painting one’s nails entails a simple change in color, and possibly some glittery-substance to add a little flair. When buying nail polish in Japan, you will find that it comes in sets, with multiple bottles of polish, glitter, and other items to help you create unique nails. Japanese nail art is quite simply a spectacle. You can join in on the self-expression, too!

Visit any store that has makeup and get your creativity on! Loft and Tokyo Hands both have a good selection of nail art that you can do yourself. If you’d like a professional to work their magic though, head to Nail Salon Pinky or Ken’s Nails.

nail art

Photo source: smiley infestation by antjeverena

10. Wind chimes (fuurin) are extremely popular in Japan and are said to have made their first appearance in the Edo period (17th century). Moreover, Japanese-style wind chimes are light, small, and  create beautiful sounds. There are two major types of wind chimes – “Edo fuurin” (glass), and “Nanbutetsu fuurin” (iron cast/bronze). These two have distinct sounds and it is highly recommended to pick up one of each to experience the refreshing sounds that both have to offer. In addition, Japanese wind chimes differ from their Western counterparts by virtue of the small pieces of paper attached to them. These pieces of paper generally have little images on them with Japanese sayings, but sometimes they are blank, giving you the opportunity to write something of your own on them!  You should be able to find Japanese wind chimes in Asakusa, which is full of many tourist and souvenir shops.

wind chimes

Photo source: Fuurin by Joi Ito

For more ideas on fun souvenirs to buy in Tokyo,  check out our article The Last-Minute Japanese Gift Giving Guide. If you love buying quirky gifts, we recommend visiting The World Connection in Harajuku, a fun little variety store on Takeshita-street. 

 

April 18, 2014 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest