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Skytree

A quintessential Tokyo experience has to be viewing the Tokyo skyline from one of the many observation decks. The two most popular observation points are Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree, both of which give an amazing panoramic view of Tokyo’s urban sprawl. The Eiffel tower-inspired Tokyo Tower is a classic of the city’s skyline, with views of Mt. Fuji on a clear day (900 for main observatory, 1600 for both observatories). The Tokyo Skytree, opened in 2012, is two times taller than the Tokyo Tower and is the second tallest structure in the world, giving a bird’s eye view of the city (2060 for first observatory, 3090 for both observatories).

Mori Tower in Roppongi Hills also has an open-air observation deck for those that are brave (2300 for the Sky Deck). And you can get a discount on tickets to that observation deck through Voyagin!

If you’re on a budget, there are a few free decks you can check out. First, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in Shinjuku has both a northern and southern observation deck, offering views of Shinjuku’s stark skyline and beyond. The Bunkyo Civic Center is another option. Though it’s a good bit shorter than other decks as it is only on the 25th floor, you can still enjoy a view of Mt. Fuji on a clear day. Finally, there is the Ebisu Garden Place Tower, which has a free observation deck on both the 38th and 39th floors.

If you’re in the mood to splurge, the New York Bar in the Park Hyatt (the setting for the well-known 2003 film Lost in Translation) is a great place to enjoy great food and drinks as you admire the view. The view at night as you sip a cocktail is terrific, with Tokyo sprawling in every direction and the beaming red aircraft warning lights on each building lighting rhythmically. For something a little less touristy, we’d recommend Caretta in Shiodome.

Or maybe you want an even more complete view? You can reserve a helicopter tour of Tokyo through this link from Voyagin!

June 15, 2016 0 comment
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This club is technically located in the outskirts of Tokyo BUT I would have to say this club is unofficially in Shibuya because when you ask for directions, people send you to the shuttle bus that takes you to ageHa from Shibuya! Now, you may at first think that this is a hassle but you will see that it is well worth it because ageHa is one of the top clubs in Japan as well as the largest.
Ageha_front
AgeHa’s admission is usually event-based and fairly pricey, ranging from 2,500-4,000 yen (depending on gender) and may or may not include drink tickets (once again, event-based). When you get off the bus you may think to yourself, “This just looks like a warehouse.” But after you walk in, pay your admission fee and lift the curtain to the actual club,  you realize how awesome this place actually is!

This club is split into four major areas as well as a dining area and an extra tent that has a DJ. The first room you enter is the main bar and it is so big and so packed! The bar area alone is bigger than some clubs you come across in Roppongi and Shibuya. Next is the main event room, which is as big as a full-sized basketball gym, and there are even balcony levels to watch the DJ play from above!

After you work your way through the swarm of people, there is another door seemingly going outside but it actually leads you to an outdoor area with its own pool. So it gives off a poolside party feel which makes everyone feel awesome. But sadly, no getting-in the pool is allowed (and if you try, you will most likely get thrown out). As you head back inside  there is another small room where some of the lesser-known DJs play. This is also a good spot to take a break if you want and enjoy a nice chat with people.

The club closes around 5 AM (when the first train starts) and this is one of the drawbacks of the club – that it is so far from everything! It is in an area called Shinkiba, which is right next to Tokyo Disneyland. This is on the outskirts of Tokyo and bordering Chiba, so if you get lost you should ask a local for directions or follow the mass of people walking toward the train station. Overall, this is a highly recommended club, that is much larger than others in Tokyo. The location might be far off, but it is definitely worth the trek.
Ageha Water front

ageHa Location Information

Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram
Style: Smart casual
Happy Hour: No
Music Genre: Techno, House, Trance, other electronic
Suitable for singles, partying, couples, live music.
Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Shin-Kiba Station (Yurakucho, Keiyo, Rinkai lines)


Hours of Operation: 11:00PM-5:00AM Friday and Saturday
Estimated Price:Cover Charge varies from ¥2,500-¥4,000
“Why Go?”:  If you want to party in a mega-club that attracts renowned DJs and is one of the best in the city.
Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

June 14, 2016 0 comment
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Ebisu Garden Place Observation Deck, Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is worth way more than 36 hours of your time. Tokyo is such a massive sprawling beast of a metropolis that you could never see the many facets of the city in such a short time. That said, 36 hours of Tokyo is better than no hours of Tokyo, and if you only have a bit of time to spare, we’ll do our best to show you Tokyo at its best.

For lodging, I suggest AirBnB as a way to rent a space because it is less hotel and more apartment. Another idea is the capsule hotel, which is not for the claustrophobic. Yet another adventurous idea is getting an overnight comic book or Internet café room. All of these have options in the Shibuya area, so I suggest starting there. Bring your energy because you’ll need it to run all over Tokyo.

Day 1 – Embrace the Touristy Side of Tokyo

9:00 a.m. Shibuya

For many of the AirBnB visitors, staying near Shibuya area means you will need to ride into Shibuya from nearby stations like Sangenjaya Station, Shimokitazawa Station, or Ebisu Station. Trains are known for being absolutely insane during morning and evening rush hour when workers are heading in and out of work.  Find a safe corner to watch the insanity unfold with a coffee and a bagel.

While in Shibuya it is practically a requirement to check out the famous scramble crosswalk and Hachiko Square. Tokyu plaza is right next to it with some cute shops to wander as well. Once you have had your fill and the station begins to be less of a madhouse, head into the station proper. It is totally worth the trouble to pay the 500 yen for a PASMO or Suica train card because you can repeatedly charge it and skip the trouble of micromanaging your fare. With your IC card pass, take the JR Yamanote line (look for green JR signs) and head to Harajuku, one stop away.

10:00 a.m. Harajuku/Meijinjingunmae

Harajuku is well known for Takeshita Street, the hub connecting Harajuku Station to the Omotesando area. Takeshita Street is full of youthful energy and shops with goods ranging from crazy costumes to female fashion styles like girlish skirts and blouses all the way to goth and punk attire.

As you leave Harajuku and enter Omotesando, the area gets more sophisticated glam. Omotesando has one of my favorite souvenir shops in all of Tokyo called Oriental Bazaar which is well worth a look for gifts. You can either backtrack to Harajuku to ride two stops on the Yamanote line to Shinjuku Station, or you can head into Meiji-jingumae Station to ride the Fukutoshin line up to Shinjuku-sanchome Station. By then, you probably will be getting hungry and can grab lunch.

12:00pm Bask in the touristy glow of Shinjuku

Shinjuku station is the busiest station in the world so can be quite difficult to navigate, but is a great place to people-watch as you try and find your way around to the correct exit. Shinjuku’s East End is my preferred neighborhood in Shinjuku because unlike West Shinjuku, where the government buildings are, East Shinjuku is more a retail area where you can hang out. Catch lunch in one of the many department stores or street level shops. As a personal suggestion, Korean food in Lumine EST is pretty tasty and easy to access on the upper floors of the department store.  Save room though because I definitely have a suggestion for dessert. One of the latest Tokyo crazes for sweets is located right at Shinjuku East End. It is the Croissant Taiyaki. Cronuts (croissant donuts) have nothing on this, I promise you. If you don’t like traditional red bean paste filling, try the custard or a seasonal flavor. If you like sweets, your stomach will thank me.

But what you’ll really thank us for is directing you to the Robot Restaurant, which is one of the craziest dinner shows you will ever experience. Even better, our good friends at Voyagin can get you a discount on your reservation!

After getting your Taiyaki, say goodbye to Shinjuku. From here I would suggest taking the Sobu line to Akihabara Station. This train line cuts across the Yamanote loop. 

2:30 p.m. Nerd out like a boss in Akihabara

Akihabara is called Electric Town, and rightfully so since it is a playground for tech-minded people. It is also a highly unique area of Tokyo that has a different feel from other parts of the city. Arcades line the main streets and girls dressed in frilly uniforms call out to passersby to visit their maid cafes. Play a few arcade games, grab some new headphones, or discover what maid/butler cafes are all about.

Akihabara Stores, Akihabara, Tokyo

Optional: If you take one look at Akihabara area and pale at the idea of spending time here, take the Shinjuku line to nearby Jimbocho Station. A book lover’s paradise, the area contains unique bookshops that will delight a different sort of traveler from Akihabara’s tech and anime fans.

An even better option is putting on a costume, renting a Go Kart, and riding around Akihabara to live out your favorite video game fantasy! C’mon, you know you want to. Let our friends at Voyagin help you book your rental!

Spend a bit of time taking in the sights and emptying your wallet before hopping back onto the Yamanote line again to Tokyo Station.

5:00 p.m. Tokyo and Meguro Station combo

Tokyo Station is a thing to behold. It is a massive complex of train lines all meeting near the city centre, where you can go to any other part of Japan via the Shinkansen bullet-trains. Even if you do not step outside of the station, it will truly amaze you to see all the stores and eateries in the sprawling underground hub. If you do decide to head out of the station, make sure to take a look at the newly renovated Tokyo Station—what’s old is new again because the station is modeled to look as it did a hundred years ago.

If you have had your fill of Tokyo Station and have time to spare, go back on the Yamanote line to head to the next destination, Meguro Station. The inside of Meguro Station is connected to shopping centers Arte1 and Arte2. Arte2 has a fun and well-known conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Eating raw fish and rice is an adventure for the new inductee if there ever was one. If raw fish isn’t your thing, Arte 2 also has a fusion restaurant called Yuuan that has heated food.

After your belly is full of raw fish or cooked eats, get back on Yamanote to go one train stop to Ebisu Station.

8:00 p.m. Get your drink on in Ebisu

Yebisu Garden Place Tower can be ridden to the upper floors to sneak a peek of the city skyline without the long lines or payment like Skytree and Tokyo Tower.

Ebisu

There are also restaurants upstairs if you decided to skip Meguro Station. The Ebisu area has plenty of bars for an after-dinner drink, and I heartily suggest Bar Martha, Red Dragon, or Buri. Bar Martha is one part jazz bar, one part Japanese whisky fan, and one part mixology. The dim, relaxing atmosphere will be a nice place to kick back after running all over the city, and the tasty snack jars will keep you from needing a midnight snack. Red Dragon is a Japanese take on a pub, with plenty of beer types to keep you going if you prefer a more excitable location. If you are looking for something a little more club and a little less straight up bar, check out Buri. It has a full bar, but it is well known for its semi-frozen one-cup sake. It is also a place where a lot of hookups happen, if that is your sort of thing.

Once you are done with your evening bar hop, call it a night and head back to your accommodations. Be warned, Tokyo does not have all night trains and buses so depending on time you might have to get a cab.

Day 2—The Triangle Experience

8:00 a.m. Breakfast in Shibuya

A bright and early morning awaits your fast-paced tour of Tokyo, especially if you’re jet lagged. Fight fire with fire by heading to your nearest Matsuya for breakfast. They have breakfast plates, but I would suggest the beef bowl with egg on top. It comes with miso soup and will help nurse any lingering hangovers you might be struggling with. Double dare you to try it with a side of natto!

9:00 a.m. Corner 1: Hipster delights in Nakameguro

Today is a bit slower pace. Take the Tokyu Toyoko line to Nakameguro Station and head out of the city center into a slightly more mellow area using what trains call the triangle ticket. Nakameguro Station’s surrounding area was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown as a hipster neighborhood. The Meguro River cuts across the station, making it an ideal place for cute cafés and small shops to line the tiny street and there are plenty of places to snack, buy gifts, and take photos.

10:30 a.m. European influence in corner 2: Jiyugaoka

Once you have had your fill of Nakameguro’s charm, take the Toyoko line further out of the city center by four stops to Jiyugaoka Station where you can mill about a very particularly styled shopping area and eat lunch. This area is known for being inspired by French culture and has plenty of places to try. I would suggest the taco rice for lunch at the Okinawan eatery Taiyou Shokudou. After you have wandered around to your satisfaction, get on the Tokyo Oimachi line over to Todoroki Station.

1:00 p.m. Escape the city without stepping out of Tokyo at Todoroki Valley

Todoroki Station is a way to escape the city without ever leaving it. Truly the definition of suburb, this adorable neighborhood is not a shopping hub like previous locations. Instead, head into Todoroki Valley to experience another, greener side of Japan. Todoroki Valley is amazing. Others have gone so far as to call it a godsend. After all the experience of the city, the trees and quiet sounds of water flowing downstream is a relief. Walking along the river from the station leads to a set of stairs that go up to the temple Fudoson where you can pay your respects, enjoy the view of the waterfall, or relax at the seated cliffside view. Backtrack to the station and re-board the Omiya line for Futakotamagawa Station.

3:00 p.m. Futakotamagawa: Last corner of the triangle

Futakotamagawa Station is based along the Tamagawa River. The side you are on is the Tokyo Metropolitan area and the other side is Kanagawa prefecture. It is worthwhile to walk a bit out of the area first (approximately 20 minutes) or to cab it to the Okamoto Park Old Farmhouse Garden. The park contains an old thatch roof farmhouse where you can see Japanese architecture and culture from the late Edo period (1860s), and it feels like you are stepping out of time. It is open until 4:30 p.m. and closed on Mondays, so mind your timing to ensure you get to see the house and surrounding area. One of the impressive parts of the area is how seamlessly it blends old and new Tokyo together as new shopping malls exist alongside older establishments. Any last minute shopping you need done can be taken care of at the mall surrounding the station or once you get to your airport. 

Ebisu Garden Place Tower, Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan

For more ideas on how to spend a short stay in Tokyo, visit 36 Hours in Tokyo: Kids in Tow.

June 13, 2016 0 comment
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by Zoe Mackey

It’s raining in Harajuku. The train doors open with the usual Yamanote line melody, and couples, groups of friends, and the stray businessman stir past one another in a kind of neat chaos towards the Harajuku Station entrance. Harajuku does not stop for the rain.

Along the sloped streets, I try as politely as I can to avoid hitting other pedestrians with my umbrella, but this is near impossible. I turn right onto Meiji Street, a lengthy strip of Japan-exclusive stores alongside Western brands, continuing past the family-style restaurant chain Jonathan’s at the corner of the crosswalk.

Storefront watermark

Just across the street from the Under Armour store, I find “niko and…”, a clothing and goods store with a very down to earth spirit. Walking through the open entrance, I am greeted with the familiar irrashaimase. Peculiar covers of well-known American songs play from the store’s speakers. A sign reading “New Arrivals” in English hangs over a large rustic table, and I am immediately eager to see what kind of statement “niko and…” will be making for the spring/summer.

The store is full of curiosities. From exfoliating hand soap to kitchen essentials, coffee makers to Bombay sweet and sour soup, “niko and…” is perfect for those who want to start a new hobby or find stylish oddities for their collection. A records section sells a multitude of genres, from jazz fusion to electro dance, as well as record players and headphones. Knickknacks, pottery, and silverware line the walls. I was particularly interested in the Einstein money bank for all my loose yen.

The women’s clothing section boasts the casual, comfortable, yet stylish menswear look of loose trousers, flat sneakers, and oversized sweaters. This trend is greatly inspired by simple sensibility and a slimming tomboy flair. It is calm, cool, and collected, yet bold with long coats and a monochromatic color scheme. Anyone hesitant about trying the tomboy look can also find more feminine pieces, such as pleated skirts and collared blouses. No doubt the clothes are on the pricier side, but many of the store’s pieces are neutral colored with subtle silhouettes, and can be worn with a great variety of other styles and brands.

Men’s clothing and accessories are just up the stairs, and are similarly comfortable, cool, and charming. Also on the second floor is a café for those who skipped lunch to shop, while downstairs is a coffee shop.

Window watermark

Leaving through the same open door entrance, the rain outside seems to have let up, now a slow mist. I’m glowing over the garment dyed button down I bought. I meander through a few other stores on my way back to the station where the train home was, to no surprise, awfully crowded. But it’s just a fact of my life in Tokyo I will have to get used to, along with frequent shopping trips to Harajuku.

For more shopping ideas in Harajuku, visit our article Harajuku Street Fashion: Takeshita-dori’s Top 5 Clothing Stores.

Street-View watermark

“niko and…” Store Information

Website (includes online store) | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line)


Hours of Operation: Everyday 11:00AM-10:00PM
“Why Go?”: If you want to shop in a unique, varied store that is packed with curiosities.

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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.

June 13, 2016 0 comment
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ACDC Rag's cheap and trendy clothing, Takeshita-dori, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan

Few stores last longer than the current trend on Harajuku’s ever-evolving Takeshita-dori. So when a store like ACDC Rag has two locations, one of which is a multilevel store, you know you’re going to get something special.
ACDC-Dolls watermark

ACDC Rag’s enduring popularity could have something to do with its celebrity endorsements from famous idol groups like AKB48. Or it could just be that it’s a reliable place to get good fashion bargains. Unlike many of the stores lining Takeshita-dori, ACDC Rag is almost fashion neutral. Regardless of what style you identify with, you’re sure to find something you can make your own. For example, if you love the punk sensibility, then ACDC Rag has plenty of neon petticoats, knockoff Doc Martin boots, and safety pin decorated jackets to fill your wardrobe. Those who favor the gothic lolita style can find items such as lacy thigh high stockings and corset dresses for reasonable prices. If your’e all about being kawaii, be sure to peruse their selection of flowery, pastel options.

ACDC-Interior watermark

ACDC Rag also has plenty of items available that are a part of its own label or are in collaboration with another famous brand or musical artist. The latest collaboration to come to ACDC Rag is with the uber popular Japanese girl idol group, AKB48. In ACDC Rag stores, you can buy the clothing and accessories that the girls of AKB48 wore in some of their concerts or in some of their photo shoots. Alternatively, ACDC Rag has hooked up with the brand Segakawaii and have since come out with a line of clothing that is video game inspired. They have also partnered more recently with the character line Coji-Coji. This line features Coji-Coji’s two super adorable mascots splattered all over lolita style dresses, accessories, and a variety of other products.

All in all, if you want to experience another piece of the Harajuku fashion lifestyle then you need to head to ACDC Rag. At ACDC Rag you can find anything you need to make yourself over in true Harajuku style without spending a lot of money!

ACDC watermark
Can’t get enough of Harajuku’s trendy clothing? Embrace your wild side at 6%Dokidoki. Looking for some accessories? Paris Kid’s and AVANTGARDE have you covered.

ACDC Rag Harajuku Store Information

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Online Store
Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line)


Hours of Operation: Everyday 10:00AM-8:00PM
“Why Go?”: If you want to find a wide range of unique clothing options in the Harajuku shopping district.
Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

June 12, 2016 0 comment
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ABC MART
ABC Mart is a shoe store chain that is all over Tokyo that sells trendy men’s and women’s shoes at a decent price. ABC Mart specializes in shoes, but also sells small quantities of other apparel such as shirts and socks. With popular Japanese brands (Yohji Yamamoto, mastermind Japan, NUOVO,  etc.) and Western brands (Vans, Reebok, Nike, Converse, Adidas, etc.), the shop brings in customers of many ethnicities and appeals to both genders. We specifically recommend the store in Shibuya, which is huge and packed to the brim with merchandise. From simple sandals to unique, intricate boots, ABC Mart brings a whole new meaning to “shoe shopping”. Within the sea of items, some certainly are treasure, and it is quite fun to try and find that rare deal that’s a steal. If you could use new shoes, or if you’re a “shoe-shopper”, then be sure to check this place out! You can’t get some of these shoes anywhere else (at least, not without paying a fortune)!
*It should also be noted that this shop is located in Center Gai, which is one of the busiest places in Shibuya as it is packed with lively restaurants and shops. If you ever visit, make sure you also explore the surrounding area!

ABC Mart Shibuya Information

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Twitter (Japanese) ||| Instagram ||| Youtube |||  Online Store (via Google Translate)
Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Shibuya Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)


Hours of Operation: Open Daily 10am – 9pm
“Why Go?”: If you want to expand your shoes collection with great deals
Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

June 8, 2016 0 comment
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If you’ve been looking for a pair of sneakers while in the Tokyo area, there really is only one brand that you should be going for. Started in 1949, Onitsuka Tiger is one of the oldest sneaker brands in Japan. Since they began making sneakers, Onitsuka Tiger has grown to become a reliable and fashionable brand, with 80% of its customers being foreigners. If you happen to be shopping in the Harajuku area of Tokyo, head over to the Omotesando branch of Onitsuka Tiger and see what you can find!
Of course if you can find the style of sneakers that Onitsuka Tiger has come to be known for in styles designed for both men and women. Even though you can find Onitsuka Tiger’s classic low top style sneakers at the Omotesando location, what is really neat to look for their collaboration sneakers. Onitsuka Tiger has recently teamed up with street-fashion icons, Publish Brand, for a new shoe. The shoe is an update to the Colorado Eighty-Five MT Samsara model. The shoe comes in two sleek colorways, an olive, earth-green, as well as a darker, more mysterious navy. Onitsuka and Publish Brand are marketing the shoe towards “creative nomads” and it definitely succeeds with its clean, lines and minimalist aesthetic that fit great with current street styles.
Onitsuka Tiger does not just offer you classic and high quality sneakers, but you can also pick up a variety of clothing and accessories. Like their sneakers, their clothing is available for both men and women. Whether you are looking for a new pair of jeans or something little fancier, Onitsuka Tiger can help you out. You can pick yourself up a great new party dress, skirt, or bomber jacket. Because the Onitsuka Tiger brand is known for their athletic sneakers, you can get yourself a whole new outfit to go with your new sneakers.
If you are looking to pick up an item from a 100% Japanese made label, then head over to Omotesando and give Onitsuka Tiger a visit!
Tip: Make sure to bring your foreign passport to deduct the 8% consumption tax (equivalent to VAT in Europe) off your purchase!

Onitsuka Tiger Omotesando Information

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Online Store
Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae/Harajuku Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin and Yamanote Lines) and 7-minute walk from Omotesando Station (Ginza, Hanzomon Lines


Hours of Operation: 11:00AM-8:00PM Everyday
“Why Go?”: If you want premium Japanese-made shoes to hit the streets in
Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–
June 8, 2016 0 comment
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lazy hazy planet

Just outside the Meiji-jingumae Station on the outskirts of Harajuku’s Takeshita-dori and at the end of Omotesando’s main shopping street lies the hipster paradise of Lazy Hazy Planet (or L.H.P. as it’s known by most experienced Harajuku shoppers). In this 1-story shop resting in the shadows of the neighboring skyscrapers of H&M and Forever 21, you’ll be able to find items you never expected to find outside the most savvy fashion blogs and websites. If you need something uber fresh and in the now to add to your wardrobe, then Lazy Hazy Planet should absolutely be your first stop.
LHP-Logo Watermark
Lazy Hazy Planet has several stores around the Tokyo area (with Omotesando being the flagship location). It is a store ahead of its time and has its thumb on the pulse of the latest Japanese men’s and women’s street and Internet fashion trends. The philosophy of the store is to “support all the designers” so as not to close any channels or cross out any possibility of being able to adapt to current trends. The amount of brands that they regularly host is astounding and makes for an eye popping and pleasing array of choices as well as a easy sense of fluidity.
It seems that these days fashion outlets and brands have conditioned us to dress all in their label, without any room for experimentation. But not at Lazy Hazy Planet. If you want to be a glittery pop star with leather accents from a French designer label? Go for it. Do you want to be a punk prince with a bandana around your neck and an athletic jersey thrown in? Done. Lazy Hazy Planet encourages you to explore all the labels, choices, and combinations that are out there on the market. The list of designers favored by Lazy Hazy Planet is extensive, with names including Levi’s, Marc Jacobs, Lux, Diamond Dogs, and many many more.
lazy hazy planet storefront To be one of the hipsters and fashion icons, start by indulging yourself in some of the top Japanese clothing brands at Lazy Hazy Planet in Omotesando.
For more popular Japanese clothing stores, you might like our articles Top 10 Japanese Clothing Stores, Top 5 Men’s Clothing Brands in Omotesando and Harajuku, and Shibuya 109: Guide to the Top 5 Clothing Stores.  

Lazy Hazy Planet Information

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Online Store
Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Lines) and 6-minute walk from Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line)


Hours of Operation:11:30AM-8:30PM Everyday
“Why Go?”: If you want to see a fresh selection of hipster clothes from varied designers
Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

June 8, 2016 0 comment
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Akihabara, or Akiba for short, is arguably one of the hottest places to visit during your stay in Tokyo.  Known for its appeal to the otaku of Japan, Akiba is lined with shops filled to the brim with electronics, PC parts, video games, manga, and let us not forget, anime, and the sound of good old-fashioned fun floods the entrances of the many arcades scattered throughout the district.

However, as exciting as the area can be, it can also be just as overwhelming. For the first time visitor, this means that many of Akiba’s greatest gems may be overlooked.  That’s why we’ve compiled a rough list of shops to help you make the most out of your first trip to Akiba.  Though not large, you will want to free up at least an entire day to explore the area.

Maid Cafes

Photo credit: Maid @ Akiba by Miki Yoshihito

First thing is first, one of the essential must-have experiences while in Japan is the infamous maid cafe.  Generally speaking, most maid cafes offer pretty much the same services. Waitresses dress up in frilly maid costumes and serve tea to customers while speaking in their cutesy maid cafe lingo.  Customers can also pay to play games or have more personal conversation with the maids. Traditional maid cafe foods such as the ever popular omelette rice are available to snack on.  Here are a few which are sure to satisfy the moe in all of you.

Cure Maid Cafe – While certainly not as niche as many of the maid cafes lining the streets of Akihabara, Cure definitely sticks to tradition.  One of the first maid cafes in Akiba, Cure is definitely worth checking out, if only to say you’ve been.

Maidreamin Cafe Franchise – In contrast to Cure’s hidden presence, Maidreamin does everything in its power to make customers browsing the streets of Akiba aware of its many locations scattered throughout the electronic district.  When you imagine “maid cafe”, you are probably picturing a place exactly like Maidreamin.  Definitely a must-have experience while in the wonderful city of Tokyo.

 Electronics Stores/All purpose

Photo credit: Akihabara by Danny Choo

Part of the allure of Akihabara is the incredible selection of electronics.  In fact, the district is commonly referred to as Electric Town.  Shoppers from all over the world come here to find unique computer parts, household appliances, as well as specialty parts.  While there are seemingly infinite small shops scattered throughout Akiba, here are some of the most noteworthy (which all happen to be duty free).

Sofmap – Offering over 6 floors worth of all things electronic/otaku, Sofmap is very hard to miss.  Everything from computer parts, to cell phone cases, to secondhand games/figurines, and to an entire floor dedicated almost entirely to headphones/earbuds can be found in this retail giant.  Definitely worth checking out for anyone wanting to see all of the new nifty electronics coming out of Tokyo.

Laox – While Laox has an excellent selection of electronic goods, it also sells a wide variety of other merchandise.  Housewares, hobby goods, and clothing to name a few.  Laox separates itself from the rest of the competition with its incredible prices and wide selection of goods.

Akky 1/2/International – Very much like Laox in regards to merchandise, although this retail chain is a bit more foreigner friendly.  It also boasts a fairly respectable souvenir section.  There are a total of three Akky’s in Akihabara.  Akky 1, Akky 2 and Akky International.

Robot Shops (VStone/Kondo/Tsukumo Robot Kingdom) – That’s right, shops dedicated entirely to robots.  Robot parts, robot casings, robot paint, etc.  You may not be an expert in robotics, but this is definitely a very essential experience during your stay in Japan.  Some even host robot competitions.  There are several robot shops throughout Akiba, and quite honestly they are pretty well hidden.  However, it is definitely worth the search.

Anime & Manga

Photo credit: Mandarake Complex by Street Viewer

It’s virtually impossible to make your way through Akihabara without running into at least one anime shop.  While they all are fairly interesting in their own ways, there are a few gems which bring the best of all anime shops under one roof.

Mandarake – Perhaps one of the more popular anime shops in Akiba, Mandarake is 8 floors of Otaku heaven.  With each floor focusing on a different aspect of the anime genre, it is almost impossible not to find something interesting.  They even have two floors dedicated entirely to hentai/yaoi.

Animate – Animate is a well known company specializing in selling all things anime. Very similar to it’s flagship Ikebukuro store, the Akihabara store is no less impressive.  Plan to spend a few hours sorting through the impressive collection of anime goods.

K-Books – One of the largest collections of Manga under one roof, K-Books offers an incredible selection at very hard to argue with prices.  Be warned, however, that a majority of the manga here is in Japanese.

Arcades

Photo credit: Taito Station Akiba by Jaakko Hakulinen

Shopping and eating seem to be reoccurring themes in Tokyo.  That’s why the handful of arcades in each part of the city can be an incredibly refreshing break from Tokyo’s intense shopping culture.  Akihabara is no exception, and with tons of arcades lining its sidewalks one can spend hours playing all of the latest and best arcade games in Japan.

Taito Hey! – Taito is the largest chain of arcades in Japan.  It’s almost impossible not to find one in every busy prefecture.  Akihabara hosts the largest of these incredibly fun-filled gaming factories.  All of the most obscure games one can imagine, along with the most popular ones, can be found in this multi-floor arcade.

Sega – Club Sega is very much like Taito.  The main difference is Club Sega’s focus on claw games.  Many Akiba-ites can be found here trying their hand at winning rare prizes.  Tired of gaming?  Take a step up to one of the upper floors for some super fun Purikura.

Super Potato – One of the longest standing game stores in Akihabara, Super Potato hosts perhaps the most impressive collection of retro games.  Hidden on the top floor is a retro arcade which many Akiba-ites come to in order to relieve some stress and to have a good time.

While each of these shops are fun and unique in their own way, they are certainly not all that Akihabara has to offer.  We definitely recommend taking the time to thoroughly walk the streets to find some of the countless gems hidden away within this electric paradise.  Akiba is and will continue to be intimidating to newcomers.  However once you’re able to sort through the madness, it quickly becomes one of the most pleasant places in Tokyo.

 

June 8, 2016 0 comment
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Womb nightclub sign, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Womb is a legendary Shibuya nightclub that frequently makes the Top 100 Clubs in the World list compiled by DJMag. With its nondescript entrance hidden down the small back-streets of Tokyo’s love hotel district (Dogenzaka), you might be wondering why.
Womb nightclub sign, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
The cover charge varies depending on each event, usually ranging from ¥1500-¥4000. If you have a flier (normally found on their website) or a Womb membership there is a small discount, usually ¥500. Once inside, there are a few different floors playing different music. There is a bar in each room serving the usual stuff, with prices around ¥700 per drink. The drinks aren’t particularly strong or special, so if you’re on a budget it’s probably best to just stick to beer.

Arguably, the best thing about Womb is the fact that its reputation attracts some of the world’s best DJs from all genres of electronic music. Each night of the week  has a different style of music and a few nights every month are dedicated to certain styles. A personal favorite of mine is the drum and bass night, 06S, which frequently brings top drum and bass DJs from around the world to headline. In a city where techno seems to dominate the club scene, this is a breath of fresh air and gives me a chance to see some of the names I could experience if I was back in England. To know what type of music would be playing on certain days, make sure to monitor their social media (laid out at the end of the article)

The lighting and sound is some of the best in the city. They have a state-of-the-art sound system and lasers that ensure a multi-sensory musical experience. They also have Japan’s largest disco ball which can be pretty awe-inspiring to see, especially if you’re not entirely sober.

Overall, if you love dance music, awesome sound and lighting and a friendly crowd, Womb is one of the best places in the world. Although it is surprisingly small compared to some other internationally renowned clubs, it can certainly hold its own when it comes to providing top quality music and an amazing atmosphere.
Womb nightclub, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Womb also holds annual events outside of the club that are on a much bigger scale and attract thousands of clubbers. Every December, Womb Adventure is held in a huge warehouse space in Chiba and combines top class DJs, with phenomenal lighting and a great crowd. Make sure to check it out!

Womb Information

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LINE
International Ratio: More international
Male / Female Ratio: About equal
Style: Smart Casual
Music Genre: Techno/house, other electronic,
Suitable For singles, couples, partying,
Nearest Station: 10-minute walk from Shibuya Station or 4-minute walk from Shinsen Station (Keio Inokashira Line)


Hours of Operation:Thursday-Saturday 10:00PM-5:00AM 
Estimated Price:¥700-¥1200 (excluding ¥2000 -¥4000 cover charge)
“Why Go?”:To check out one of the must-see clubs in Tokyo, with awesome lights and sounds.
Click on one of the tags below to explore other shopping options in Tokyo–

June 6, 2016 0 comment
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