Home Places To Go
Category

Places To Go

I love to explore various dimensions of Japan. Today, I want to bring you to one of the best locations for vacation in Shizuoka prefecture, Izu Peninsula. If you love natural scenery, fresh seafood, and onsen (hot spring), you will love the trip to Izu Peninsula!

Izu Peninsula: How to get to Izu?

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can take the Tokyo East Line from Shinjuku, Shinagawa, or Ueno to Izu. However, you need to spend at least 4000 yen (40 USD) for the round trip from Tokyo to one of the Izu stations. This is uneconomical and inefficient. Go to one of the JR ticket offices in Tokyo and buy a JR Wild Pass (10000 yen, or 100 USD). Using this Pass, you can travel without restrictions throughout Izu for three days.

What can You Do at Izu Peninsula? Three Recommended Stations!

Izukyū Shimoda Station

(伊豆急下田)

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Since Shimoda located in the southernmost part of Izu Peninsula, we have to take the train from Shinjuku to Shimoda station for three hours. Shimoda is the cradle of Japan’s modern history. During the Edo period, Tokugawa Shogunate remained self-isolation. In order to break the barrier and develop business partnership with Japan, Western countries decided to take action. Accompanied by black battleships (Black Ships), Matthew Perry, a commodore of US Navy, arrived Shimoda and intimidated the Japanese Government to open their ports for business by signing up the Japan–US Treaty of Peace and Amity, or the convention of Kanagawa in 1854.

Mount Nesugata

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You should take the ropeway to Mt. Nesugata. From the top of the mountain, you can take an aerial view to the Shimoda Bay and the Pacific Ocean. There is a map on the top of the mountain. When you look at it, you can see exactly where the Black Ships were located. On the other side, you can overlook the Shimoda city. This mount is also a national park. The local government spends money to plant seasonal flowers and different vegetation in this park. With the sunshine, you will discover that you have integrated yourselves with the natural beauty.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can visit the official website here for the detail. Website (English)

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Izu Cruise

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Ancient Chinese wisdom speaks, “It is better to travel far than to read voluminously.” Instead of reading history, we can relive the history by taking the black ship together. The tour guides will show you the different islands of Izu and tell you the history of the islands. Furthermore, by spending few hundred yen, you can get some chips and feed the seabirds during the cruise.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can visit the official website here for the detail. Website (Japanese only)

Hours of Operation: 9:10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (Last Departure)

Red Snapper and Other Seafood

It is one of the most luxurious meals in Japan. The Japanese people love to use red snapper to make sushi, sashimi, shabu shabu, and dried fish. Although tourists usually prefer to eat tuna or salmon, you should try this white fish. When you chew it carefully, the sweetness and freshness of the fish will gradually flood into your taste buds. You will also fall in love with the aroma of red snapper.

Furthermore, spiny lobster and abalone are the other famous seafood from this area. Because they are expensive, I can only afford the abalone.

Izu Peninsula: Jogasaki-Kaigan

(城ヶ崎海岸)

Kadowaki Suspension Bridge and Lighthouse

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Kaigan means coast in Japanese. Because of the lava of Amagi Volcano, Jogasaki is a national park and beautiful coast. Two of the tourist sites do not require any entry fee. First, climb up to the lighthouse. You will see seven islands of Izu: Oshima (伊豆大島), Toshima (利島村), Niijima (新島), Kozushima (神津島), Miyake-jima (三宅島), Mikurajima (御蔵島), and Hachijojima (八丈島). Like the islands of Hawaii, there are certain numbers of residents living in those islands of Izu. Although you are not able to travel to all of the islands, at least you know a little more about the geography of Japan.

After you climb down, you will cross the Kadowaki Suspension Bridge. Want to feel like Indiana Jones? When you step on the bridge, you can feel it shake. You can only continue your adventure by crossing the bridge, and then you can walk the natural trail.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

I think that you need to know something first. After you get off the train, you are required to walk 1.3 km before getting to the coast. However, you will pass by a cherry blossom tunnel. You can appreciate sukura each spring, and maple trees each autumn.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

You can visit the website here for the detail. Website (English)

Hours of Operation:

Suspension Bridge: 24 hours

Lighthouse: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Izu Peninsula: Atami City

(熱海市)

Atami literally means, “hot ocean,” which refers to the famous onsen in this area. According to the historical record, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, always came to Atami for hot spring. He thought that Atami is one of the best onsen in Japan because this place contains pure and high quality spring water.

Besides onsen, visitors will also take pictures of Kanichi Omiya no zo. This statue portrays the romantic tragedy from a novel, The Golden Demon.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

Higashikaigancho

Trip to Izu Peninsula

If you like ocean activities, such as canoeing or swimming, you should come here. During weekends, some adolescents will play volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee at the beach. You might be able to meet some new friends here. Along the shore, you can also find some restaurants to fill your belly. If you just want to have a walk, Higashikaigancho is also a good spot for you.

Atami Castle and Trick Art Museum

Trip to Izu Peninsula

This castle was built as a tourist attraction in 1959. You can dress up in costumes and become samurai. You can go to the top of the castle to overlook Atami city. If you want to know more about the history of Edo Period, you can come here. I also recommend that you to go to the Trick Art Museum, which locate next to the castle.

Trip to Izu Peninsula

In the museum, you will enter to an illusory world. Artists utilize certain angles to portray a painting and lead the audience to believe that they are watching a 3D painting. If the staff know that you are a foreign tourist, they will offer you a free-tour and help you take all of the photos. After you go in, you will discover that you have a lot of interaction with animals. Some of them will play with you. Some of them will try to hunt you down. It’s worth the 900 yen entry fee!

Caution: When you go to Atami castle or the Trick Art Museum, you will need to take the ropeway. When you get off of the ropeway, you will pass by the Hihokan – Adult Museum. It is restricted to adults age 18 and over. If you feel uncomfortable about what you see, please don’t go in and run out the entrance as quick as you can. When you go out the entrance and turn right, you will see the castle.

You can visit the official websites here for details. Website for Castle (English) and Website for Museum (English)

Hours of Operation for Both: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Nakamise Shopping Street and Heiwadori Shopping Street

You can go to these two streets as your last stop before going back to Tokyo. There are some famous souvenirs and specialty that you can buy here. For example, you can purchase lobster ramen, onsen streamed bun, and miso soup powder. If you are renting an apartment in Japan while traveling, you can buy dried red snapper or frozen red snapper belly. Thus, you can bring a “taste memory” back to your apartment.

Japan is waiting for you to discover her variety. Take a trip to the Izu Peninsula for a weekend getaway and appreciate the natural scenery, delicious cuisine, and miraculous power of onsen!

April 26, 2017 0 comment
1 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

Japanese manga and anime are definitely awesome! Because it is the Big City, many scenes in popular anime are set in Tokyo. Of course, for all anime fans would like to go to places where they can buy figures or key chains in Akihabara and Ikebukuro, or maybe spend an afternoon singing their favorite anime songs. But there are more places for you to go in Tokyo – real places that appeared in anime! And guess what? We can tell you where they are!

 

Real Anime Places in Tokyo: The Cat Returns (猫の恩返し)

The Cat Returns is an animated film of Studio Ghibli, which is a story about a girl named Haru who saved the Prince of the Cat Kingdom Lune from being hit by a car on a road. After that, she was invited to the kingdom, and the King wanted her to marry the Prince. But Haru rejected the offer, and the Baron has to help her escape from the soldiers.

Real Anime Places 1

 

The sweets shop MYNT in Shin-Koenji Station is where Lune bought a gift (fish cookies for his lover) before he was saved by Haru. And the shop really sells fish cookies!

 

Real Anime Places Fish Cookie

MYNT information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Shin-Kōenji Station (Exit 1)

Hours of Operation: Mon, Wed – Sun 10:00 a.m. – 07:00 p.m.

 

Your Lie in April (四月は君の嘘) : Nerima Ward

The second part of our real anime places tour takes us to Nerima Ward. Your Lie in April is a very popular and touching anime in Japan, and has also been produced into a live-action film! The main character Kousei Arima was a child piano prodigy, and his mother was very strict to him because she wants him to become a famous pianist. But after his mother died in an accident, Kousei cannot hear the sound of his own performance, so he stops playing piano. One day, he meets Kaori Miyazono, a girl freely plays violin, who gradually changes his mind. The Nerima Culture Center appeared in the anime several times, where piano contests are held. Kousei often comes here.

Real Anime Places Narima Culture Center

Nerima Culture Center  (練馬文化センター) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 1-minute walk from Nerima Station (Central North Exit)

Hours of Operation: Everyday 09:00 am – 10:00 pm

 

Real Anime Places Park

Outside the Nerima Culture Center is Heisei Tsutsuji Park, where Kousei and Kaori met for the first time. Kaori was playing melodica on the top of a play structure (which does not exist in reality) for a group of children, and Kousei was touched with her performance.

Heisei Tsutsuji Park (平成つつじ公園) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 1-minute walk from Nerima Station (Central North Exit)

Hours of Operation: Everyday 09:00 am – 10:00 pm

 

THE iDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS : Sangen-Jaya Cho

My favorite anime! The story mainly focuses on the growth and changes of the idol project “Cinderella Project” in 346Production, and how they overcame their difficulties on the way to stardom.

Real Anime Places Flower Shop

This flower shop is another one of the real anime places you can visit. It was owned by Rin Shibuya, one of the main characters. In episode 1, another main character, Uzuki Shimamura came here and bought a bouquet for herself to celebrate her debut. It was also the place where Rin and Uzuki met for the first time.

Yayoi Gardening (やよい園芸)  information

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from Sangen-Jaya Station (North Exit)

Hours of Operation: Everyday 10:00 am – 08:00 pm

Holiday: Wednesday (Irregular), 3 days in the beginning of the year

 

Real Anime Places Park 2

Setagaya Maruyama Park appeared in the anime twice. In episode 1, Rin was attracted by Uzuki’ s smiling face under the cherry blossoms here and decided to join the project.

The second time was in episode 23. Rin and Mio took Uzuki, who had lost confidence in being an idol, here and poured their hearts out, “You said here, right? ‘Being an idol is my dream.’” This is definitely the most touching scene among all the episodes!

The picture of the bench has become the cover of their CD “Story,” too! One of he many real anime places you can go to strike a pose! Great for your Facebook page!

 

Setagaya Maruyama Park  (世田谷丸山公園) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Sangen-Jaya Station (North Exit)

 

Love Live! (ラブライブ!) : Akihabara

Love Live! is a super popular anime in Japan, which is abouta  high-school girl named Honoka Kosaka forming a nine-person idol group “μ’s” in order to save their school from being closed down. After they succeeded, the group set the goal of getting the championship in the “Love Live,” a school idol competition for the best groups in Japan.

 

Real Anime Places Kanda Shrine

Kanda Shrine is the place where a member Nozomi Tojo works as a miko (“Shrine maiden”). The main characters often come here.

 

Real Anime Places Otoko

Don’t forget the staircase on the right hand side – Kanda Shrine Otoko Zaka (神田明神男坂)! In the anime, when the members have to do some training, Nico Yazawa suggested that they climb this staircase.

Kanda Shrine (神田明神) information

Website

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Ochanomizu Station (Exit 3) or 7-minute walk from Akihabara Station

 Real Anime Places Wagashi

And don’t forget Takemura! This old wagashi shop (a place that serves traditional Japanese confections with tea) appears as Honoka’s home in the anime.

Takemura (竹むら) information

Nearest Station: 3-minute walk from Awajichō Station (Exit 3) or 7-minute walk from Akihabara Station

Your Name. (君の名は。) : Suga Shrine

It’s the most famous anime in 2016! Your Name took Japan by storm–you can hear its theme song Zenzenzense (“Previous Previous Previous Life”) everywhere. The story is about Taki Tachibana and Mitsuha Miyamizu, two high-school students who switch their bodies intermittently. Their memories fade after each swap, and they cannot even remember each other’s names. One day, Taki realized Mitsuha actually died three years prior and he tried to save her.

 

Real anime places your name

Although the real anime places from Your Name are mostly located in Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, there are some spots in Tokyo! The scene in Suga Shrine is the most recognizable one, because it’s on Your Name’s poster! It is the last scene of the film, where Mitsuha and Taki met on this staircase and asked each other, “I think we have met before. What’s your name?”

Suga Shrine (須賀神社) information

Website (via Google translate)

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Yotsuya-sanchōme Station (Exit 3) or 12-minute walk from Yotsuya Station

Have fun in taking photos in the real anime places in Tokyo!

April 7, 2017 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Floresta Tokyo Donut Shops

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Tokyo, but there are a surprising amount of excellent donuts shops throughout Tokyo. Below is a list of some of the best Tokyo donut shops that are worth checking out!

Tokyo Donut Shops: Camden’s Blue Star Donuts

Camden's Tokyo Donut Shops

This Tokyo donut shop is my personal favorite on the list! Camden’s Blue Star Donuts started in Portland, USA and then expanded to Tokyo and other parts of Japan. These brioche-style donuts are baked from scratch, in-house, to ensure freshness and quality of each treat.

The Daikanyama shop is located in The Mart at Fred Segal, which is surrounded by other cool shops and cafes that are definitely worth checking out.

Flavors include: Blueberry Bourbon Basil, Cointreau Crème Brulee, Matcha Latte (exclusive to Japan locations), Raspberry Pistachio, and Plain Glaze.

Average Price: Although a little pricey, around 500 yen, these donuts are definitely worth it.

Website ||| Facebook ||| Twitter ||| Instagram |||

ADDRESS: Link to Locations

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant Tokyo Donut Shops

Like many other places on this list, Doughnut Plant originated in New York City and expanded to Tokyo. These donuts are not only beautiful and delicious, but are also all natural, seasonal and made with fresh high quality ingredients. There are also no eggs, preservatives, or artificial flavorings or colors. Doughnut Plant even has some vegan options, which are just as delicious as the rest!

Flavors include: Cake Donuts – Vanilla Bean, Soymilk Triple Berry, Blueberry Cream Cheese & Jam

Bakery Donuts – Vanola Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Soymilk Triple Berry & Jam

Average Price: These donuts range from 200-400 yen, depending on flavor and size

Website (Google Translate) ||| Facebook ||| Twitter (NYC) ||| Instagram |||

ADDRESS: Link to Locations (Google Translate)

Dumbo Doughnuts and Coffee

Dumbo Tokyo Donut Shops

You know you’re at Dumbo Doughnuts and Coffee when you see the pink signs and the line out the door. Tucked in a back street of Azabujuban, this coffee and donut shop is extremely popular for its oversized donuts and beautiful lattes.

In my opinion, they are not the best donuts on this list in terms of taste (a little greasy for my liking), but they sure do make for great pictures! And the coffee is excellent.

Flavors include: Lemon Poppy Seed, Raspberry, Matcha Cream Cheese, and Plain Glaze

Average Price: Most donuts are between 300-400 yen.

Website ||| Instagram |||

Nearest Station: 1-minute walk from Azabu Juban Station (exit 1) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

ADDRESS: 1F, 2-17-6, Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0045

Hours of Operation: 9:00 – 7:00PM

Floresta Nature Doughnuts

Floresta Tokyo Donut Shops

I first stumbled upon Floresta Nature Doughnuts in Kamakura and was immediately drawn to how cute the treats were. Luckily for me (and you!), there are a few closer Floresta locations throughout Tokyo. Each Floresta donut is organic, baked daily, and hand-decorated to look like different animals. Not all designs and flavors are available at all times or at every location, so it’s best to go earlier in the day before they sell out.

Flavors include: Strawberry (pig) and Chocolate (cat)

Average Price: These donuts are around 200 yen, but vary depending on flavor and animal.

Website (Google Translate)  ||| Facebook (Google Translate)  |||

ADDRESS: Link to Locations (Google Translate)

Good Town Doughnuts

Good Town Tokyo Donut Shops

Good Town Doughnuts and Coffee was my first Tokyo donut shop experience and it did not disappoint. Freshly made every day, these donuts are chewy, soft and very filling!

The shop’s aesthetic screams hyper-Americana, making it the perfect backdrop to take pictures of your sweets. Although known for their donuts, Good Town also sells specialty coffee, ice cream, cookies, and a variety of lunch and breakfast dishes!

Even if it may not be their prettiest donut, I highly recommend the Nutella donut, and ask for it warmed up. The gooey Nutella filling running down your hand makes it more fun and delicious!

Flavors Include: Kyoto Uji Matcha, Maple Bacon, Hibiscus, and Smile Mango

Average Price: These donuts are on the pricier side, at about 400-500 yen (but totally worth it)

Website ||| Facebook ||| Instagram |||

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Meijijingu-Mae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

ADDRESS: 6-12-6 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo J-cube B 1F

Hours of Operation: 10:00 – 8:00PM

Macanon

Macanon Tokyo Donut Shops

If you are gluten-free, this is the Tokyo donut shop for you! Macanon donuts are made with rice flour from Kumamoto, making the texture very soft and rich. Unlike traditional fried and sugary donuts, these are baked and are not glazed. If you’re lucky, you can get a piping hot donut right out of the oven!

Flavors Include: Plain, Orange, Rum Raisin, and Brandy

Average Price: A plain donut is 180 yen and other prices vary depending on flavor

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

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Meijijingu-Mae Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

ADDRESS: 4 Chome-24-5 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001

Hours of Operation: 11:00 – 7:00PM

nico donuts

Nico Tokyo Donut Shops

This tiny Tokyo donut shop is located in the heart of Azabujuban. These donuts are unique because they are made with soybean paste, which absorbs less oil, so they are slightly healthier than the average donut (but just as delicious). They are a little small, so I recommend getting more than one.

Flavors Include: Vanilla Bean Sugar, Triple Berry, Matcha, and Sesame Seed

Average Price: These donuts start at 170 yen

Website (Google Translate) ||| Twitter (Google Translate) |||

Nearest Station: 4-minute walk from Azabujuban Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

ADDRESS: 1-7-9 Azabu Juban Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0045

Hours of Operation: 10:00 – 8:00PM (or until sold out)

SOAKS (OK Doughnuts)

SOAKS Tokyo Donut Shops

OK Doughnuts are definitely more than just OK. These may be the most unique and interesting donuts on the list. All of the donuts in this café are organic and are made from 100% vegetable powder, which is packed with tons of vitamins and minerals. SOAKS also swaps out white flour and refined sugar for whole-wheat flour and beet sugar. These donuts are not only delicious, but they are guilt-free too!

Flavors Include: Ginger, Tomato, and Original (lotus root)

Average Price: Between 150-200 yen – surprisingly inexpensive for the quality!

Website ||| Facebook (Google Translate) ||| Twitter ||| Facebook ||| Online Store 

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from Naka-Meguro Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

ADDRESS: 1-5-10 Kamimeguro Meguro-Ku Tokyo

Hours of Operation: 10:30 – 11:00PM

Streamer Coffee Company

Streamer Tokyo Donut Shops

Streamer Coffee Company is famous around Tokyo and on Instagram for its Military donut, excellent coffee, and beautiful latte art.

Flavors Include: Blueberry Glaze, Military (coffee, matcha and chocolate), and Vanilla Bean

Average Price: Around 400-500 yen.

Website ||| Facebook ||| Instagram |||

ADDRESS: Link to Locations

March 24, 2017 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest

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
AKIBA CULTURES THEATER Japanese Idols

Hi! I’m Tracy, and I love Japanese idols!

In Japan, irrespective of age or sex, people love Japanese idols who “give dream and hope to fans.” So if you have a chance to come to Japan, remember to spend some time and get to know more about the “idol culture” here!

 

Top Japanese Idols at the AKB48 Theater

AKB48 theater(in) Japanese Idols

AKB48 is the most famous group of Japanese idols and is one of the highest-earning musical performing groups in Japan. The group is formed with its own theater and a concept of “idols you can meet”, so fans can always see them live in their own theater and at “handshake events.” If you want to watch high-quality performance, you should definitely pay a visit to the AKB48 Theater!

At the AKB48 Theater, you can see cute and sweet girls singing and dancing in a small area. Imagine—the “National Idol” is performing in front of you only a short distance away! And you don’t have to worry if you cannot get the show ticket, because the live show will be broadcast on the screens outside the theater. Do not forget to check the live schedule before you go!

AKB48 theater(out) Japanese Idol

AKB48 Theater Information

Website (English) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Instagram ||| Youtube

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit), 8F of Don Quijote Akihabara (click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Weekdays 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥3,100(male), ¥2,100(female) *by random lottery, pre-registration is necessary

 

AKB48 CAFE & SHOP

Before going to join the Japanese idols at AKB48 live, you can come here to enjoy a meal in an “AKB48 world.” The original menu here is based on the favorite foods of top AKB48 members with toppings of characters designed by themselves.

AKB48 cafe-food Japanese idols

There are monitors in the cafe which are always playing music videos of AKB48, so you can enjoy your meal while listening to their songs! The decorations here are also full of AKB48 style and signatures of members are everywhere in the cafe.

AKB48 cafe japanese idols

If you became a fan of AKB48 after that, you can just go to the official shop near the cafe to buy souvenirs. Stationery, T-shirts, key chains—there are all kinds of items here which you may want! Photos or names of members are printed on the goods, so you have a chance to bring a souvenir from your favorite Japanese idols home!

AKB48 CAFE&SHOP Information

Website (English) ||| Twitter (via Google Translate) ||| Online shop (English)

Nearest Station: Right next to the Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit) (click on the Google Map below for walking directions)

Hours of Operation (Cafe): Monday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Friday & days before holidays 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 am – 11:00 pm, Sun-Holidays 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

Hours of Operation (Shop): Weekdays & days before public holidays 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

 

Meet Underground Japanese Idols

After the boom of “AKB48,” Japanese girls started joining different groups to give performances at the Japanese Idol headquarters of the world, Akihabara! Since most of them have yet to make a debut with a group, they can only give performances in underground venues, so they are called “Underground Idols.” As of this writing there are thousands of underground idols giving performances in different live houses of Akihabara. Here are the five best Underground Japanese Idol Live Houses!

 

AKIBA CULTURES THEATER

AKIBA CULTURES THEATER Japanese Idols

Being the biggest permanent theater in Akihabara, there are performances given by different Japanese idols everyday. Unlike the original type of theater, audience in AKIBA CULTURES THEATER keep sitting while watching the live. Come here to experience a new type of live performance!

AKIBA CULTURES THEATER Information

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Twitter Performance Information (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 4-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit); B1F of AKIBA CULTURES ZONE (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Weekdays 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥2,000 – ¥4,500 *One ¥500 drink will also be charged

 

Dear Stage

There are 3 floors for the Dear Stage. You can watch performances on the 1st floor, relax in the maid cafe on 2nd floor, and enjoy an alcoholic drink or two in the bar on the 3rd floor. Dear Stage is also the headquarters for the popular idol group Dempagumi.inc (でんぱ組.inc).

Dear Stage Japanese Idols

Dear Stage Information

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

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 6:00 p.m. – 10:50 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 5:00 p.m. – 10:50 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥1,000 – *Only drink fee is charged, and “MyDearStage” membership registration (free) is required to enter the 2F and 3F.

 

P.A.R.M.S

P.A.R.M.S Japanese Idols

As the permanent theater of the production company “Alice Project,” you can meet the upcoming idol group “Kamenjoshi (Girls with masks)” here. Curious about their faces? Come here to join the 3:00 p.m. free live shows on Saturday, Sunday and holidays!

P.A.R.M.S Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 3-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit),; 7F of PASELA RESORTS (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 5:30 p.m. – 19:05 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. – 9:35 p.m., Sat-Sun-Holidays 10:30 p.m.  – 13:40 p.m. & 14:45 p.m. – 16:10 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. – 8:50 p.m.

Estimated Price for Show: ¥2,500 (pre-registered),¥3,000 (walk-up) *¥1,500 “Food & Drink Ticket” is included, plus one ¥500 drink will be charged

 

TwinBox AKIHABARA

TwinBox AKIHABARA Japanese Idols

Being a live house locating in the Akihabara Electric Town, TwinBox is equipped with high-quality monitors and audio equipment. They also occasionally have 500 yen live shows!

TwinBox AKIHABARA Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 6-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit); B1F of Box’R AKIBA Building (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Depending on the performance time

Estimated Price for Show: ¥1,500 – ¥3,000 *One drink will be charged

 

KamiTower

KamiTower Japanese Idols

The KamiTower is full of amusement. From “Kami Space” on the 3rd floor with near-daily performances to the maid cafe to the game center, you could probably spend a whole day in the KamiTower!

KamiTower Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from Akihabara JR Station (Electric Town exit); 3F of KamiTower (The entrance is in the right hand side of the game center) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Depending on the performance time

Estimated Price for Show: ¥1,000 – *One drink may be charged

So you can see that there are many places where you can go to see Japanese idols, and it’s not hard to do! You should go and see, it’s lot’s of fun!

February 1, 2017 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Keshiki Classic 3

Keshiki Classic 3

Based in Harajuku, KESHIKI Classic is a men’s boutique that stocks both new and used clothes. It’s a 2nd floor store that covers a good range of garments from polo shirts, casual blazers, jackets, long sleeve tops, and hoodies. KESHIKI Classic covers all of your basic wardrobe needs and also features a good range of accessories.

KESHIKI Classic’s style is what you would describe as your ‘hipster’ type clothes in the West, as they focus on fitted shirts, a range of colored blazers, polo shirts, and lowered waist casual fit rolled hem pants. All of their clothes (as befits their locality) have a Japanese twist–the fit is somewhat baggy and not very form fitting, as preferred in Japanese styles. The shaping of most the garments are very straight due to the fabric used having very little shaping attributes. The clothes are both easy to wear and stylish and will go with your current wardrobe as well as anything else in their shop.

Now, the quality of each piece ranges from average to high-end as they use a variety of denims, silks, t-shirt jersey, thick cottons, and linens. KESHIKI Classic also covers a range of accessories from belts, cuffed bracelets, shoes and necklaces that will easily complete any outfit. In regards to pricing, KESHIKI Classic caters toward the mid- to high-end pocketbooks, which means that you could spend quite a bit in this shop. Still, if you like their comfortable range of clothing as well as an occasional surprise from the used section, KESHIKI Classic should be on your fashion treasure-hunting list!

Keshiki Classic 1

Keshiki CLASSIC Location Information

Website (Japanese only) ||| Twitter (Japanese) ||| Instagram ||| Tumblr ||| Online Store (Japanese and English)

Nearest Station: 9-minute walk from Harajuku Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open daily 11am – 8pm

Why Go?: For modern, stylish and easy wearing men’s wear!

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

January 5, 2017 0 comment
1 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Harajuku Cassidy

Cassidy Home Grown

Cassidy Home Grown is a modern boutique that caters towards a modern Japanese style of clothing. With a range of gingham, striped, printing shirts, jackets and cargo pants in a range of different styles and colors, it’s fits perfectly into a wardrobe that has a need for some Japanese aesthetics!

Cassidy Home Grown ‘s clothing style is simple, casual and cool yet somewhat sophisticated. The clothing that they carry seem to be for more mature individuals in their mid 20s who are starting careers, as it leans more towards smart-casual than youth culture. It’s not like the average Street style you see around Harajuku. But in my opinion it’s a great a style that for dates – so fellas, if you want to impress a girl, think about wearing Cassidy Home Grown!

Cassidy Home Grown ‘s fabrics range from linen and jersey fabric for t-shirts to a whole range of thin to heavy cottons and brushed cottons and denims. These are great qualities which make their lines great for everyday wear. The boutique also has a great range of accessories such as shoes, socks, hats belts and handkerchiefs.

In regards to your wallet, most of the clothing is affordable to mid-range, and they have a great selection to mix and match from. It’s the perfect place to check out if you’re in need of a quick fashion fix for a day out!

 

Cassidy Home Grown Shibuya Location Information

Website (Japanese-English mix) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Instagram ||| Tumblr (Japanese) ||| Online Store (via Google Translate)

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

Hours of Operation: Open daily 12am – 8pm

Why Go? Sophisticated, affordable and easy men’s fashion that will get you ready for any outing!

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

January 3, 2017 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
samurai museum

samurai museumThe cultural hub in Shinjuku called “Kabukicho” is home to the many different stores and buildings that embody a section of Japanese culture. Among the shops and attractions is one that stands out to tourists and those interested in the warrior culture of medieval Japan. The Samurai Museum is dedicated to these brave warriors, and inside are fantastic displays of their armor and weapons. Each artifact has a history behind it.

samurai museum shinjuku 3The Samurai Museum offers tours in both Japanese and English. They delve deeply into the samurai culture, and visitors can learn a great deal about their lives and how they fought.  Though the museum may seem small, it contains five different exhibits which displays the different parts of the lives of samurai.

samurai museum 9The Samurai Museum also offers “Tate and Iai,” a showy instruction that demonstrates the Japanese “Way of the Sword.” It is very engaging and, because of the small area of the room, and you are very close to the demonstration–so close that the blade may sometimes be only inches from your face! The Samurai Museum instructors offer bolder visitors a chance to try the “Tate and Iai” along with the instructor and experience a small Japanese battle scene! But you shouldn’t go into battle unprotected, which is why you should don the o-yoroi samurai armor before engaging the enemy. Also, make sure you get your picture taken! The demonstration occurs four times a day, at 13:00, 15:00, 17:00 and 19:00.

samurai museum 4

samurai museum 7Even if you end up in a rush and can’t take the time to explore the museum, stop by the gift shop when you pass by! They offer items such as replica swords, armor, shirts, mugs and other items as souvenirs or gifts.

And since you’ll want to upload your photos right away, they have free wi-fi!

samurai museum shinjuku 8

Samurai Museum Shinjuku Location Information

Website (English) ||| Facebook (English) ||| Twitter (English) ||| Instagram

Nearest Station: 10-minute walk from Shinjuku Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 10:30 am – 9pm (last entry 8:30 pm)

Entrance Fee: 1800 yen for adults, 800 yen for children under 12, children 3 and under free. Plus souvenirs!

“Why Go?”: What? I can’t believe anyone would have to explain this to you! Weren’t you ever a kid?

Click on one of the links below to explore more of Tokyo–

December 14, 2016 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
tokyo photography top museum

If you are a lover of photography, Japan is full of great places to indulge in the art.  Whether you are an artist hoping to make your way in Tokyo or you just enjoy taking snap shots, here is a quick list of top Tokyo photography museums.

 

Top Tokyo Photography Museums: Axis Building

tokyo photography AxisThe five-story Axis Building has a number of showrooms that frequently feature photography.  The two main showrooms are The IMA Concept Store and the Taka Ishii Gallery.  IMA is a Tokyo photography book store dedicated to showing off the photographer’s work. The Taka Ishii Gallery is a traditional gallery, but it’s strictly for the work of Japanese photographers. They change displays every three to four weeks, which gives you plenty of reasons to keep coming back.  All galleries is that they are all free to the public.

IMA Website (English) |||  Facebook (Japanese)||| Twitter (Japanese) ||| Youtube ||| Online Store (English)

Taka Ishii Gallery Website (English) ||| Twitter (Japanese)

Nearest Station: 8-minute walk from Roppongi Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Admission: Free

Hours of Operation: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 7pm, closed Sundays and Mondays.

 

Fuji Film Square

Tokyo Photography fujifilmWhen people think of Roppongi, they usually think about clubbing and the nightlife.  But what you might not know is that Roppongi is hosts many of the top Tokyo photography galleries, and one of the best in the area is on the ground floor of the Fuji Film building.  This gallery has displays of every Fuji Film camera all the way back to the founding of the company.

One of the really great things about the Fuji Film Gallery that anyone can have their photos shown here. All you have to do is fill out a small application and send it in with your pictures.  Your photos will be reviewed, and if they like them they will go up in the gallery.  the snag is that it costs 2,000 yen per picture to have them reviewed, and if you want your pictures returned it will cost you another 2,000 yen.  But if you’re confident in your work, give it a shot!

Website (English)

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

Admission: Free

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 10am – 7pm, last admission ten minutes before closing.

 

Top Museum

tokyo photography top museumTop Museum is an awe-inspiring Tokyo photography gallery, with three floors dedicated to some of the greatest photographers of all time.  The basement floor houses the works of lesser-known artists who do not lack for skill or expressive subjects. Critics say that the work in the basement is hit-or-miss in terms of quality, so I suggest you keep an open mind when you visit.

Website (English) ||| Twitter (Japanese)

Nearest Station: 9-minute walk from Ebisu Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Admission: Varies for different exhibits.

Hours of Operation: Open daily 10am – 8pm; last entry 30 minutes prior to closing

 

Zen Foto Gallery

Tokyo Photography Zen FotoAnother spot for Tokyo photography in Roppongi is the Zen Foto Gallery.  Zen Foto Gallery is rather small, but makes up for it with their remarkable displays from both Japanese and international photographers.  They change their content about once a month, so making a return visit can be well worth your while.

Website (Japanese and English)

Nearest Station: 3-minute walk from Roppongi Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open 12am – 7pm Tuesday through Saturday.  Closed on Sunday, Monday and National Holidays.

December 8, 2016 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Tokyo Knife Stores Sugimoto

If there’s one thing Japan is known for, it’s the quality of their blades. Tokyo knife stores stock cooking knives, high-end barbering scissors, clippers, and much more. So if you work with a blade, you will want to consider visiting one of the places on our list of Top Tokyo Knife Stores.

Or maybe you’d like to create your own blade? Voyagin can get you in with a genuine Japanese swordsmith so you can forge your own authentic samurai knife.

Tokyo Knife Stores: Aritsugu

aritsugu Tokyo Knife Stores

Aritsugu is one of the smaller stores located in Tsukiji, with a good selection of sashimi knives and kitchen knives.  It is located in the outskirts of the Tsukiji Fish Market, near all the food stands. Maybe you could grab a bite to eat while knife-shopping!

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

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Tsukijishijou Station (Toei-Oedo Line) (Click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 6am – 3pm

 

Kama-Asa

Tokyo Knife Stores Kama-AsaKama-Asa, located on Kappabashi Street, is the largest knife store on this list. Though their knife collection is what makes them special, they also hold a wide variety of household goods such as plates, chopsticks, strainers, and many other Japanese cooking tools.  Kama-Asa can also make customized knives for individuals who have certain specifications or just want a unique knife. And on the second floor is a museum which shows the store’s history!

Website (via Google Translate) ||| Facebook (English and French) ||| Instagram

Nearest Station: 10-minute walk from Asakusa Station (click on the Google Map for directions)

Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat (9:30am-5:30pm) Sun or Holiday (10am – 5:30pm)

 

Kamata

Tokyo Knife Stores KamataYou can’t miss Kamata–along with the huge knife sign, they have two small Kappa statues in front of the store. Though their small is smaller than most, they have one corner facing the streets dedicated to showing passersby the process of making a knife. You watch as their blacksmiths create and sharpen knives right in front of you. Many are designed with waves, flowers and other iconic Japanese symbols. The owners of the store are very friendly, English-speaking, and assist their customers in getting their knives home via the mail or through airport security by way of a Letter of Consideration.

Website (English) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Online Store (English)

Nearest Station: 12-minute walk from Asakusa Station (click on the Google Map for directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 10am – 6pm. Occasionally intermittent closings; check website for details

 

Kanesoh

kanesoh Tokyo Knife Stores

Kanesoh is located in the heart of Asakusa, on the outskirts of Senso-ji temple. This Tokyo knife store attracts many customers, mostly globetrotting chefs and knife enthusiasts. Although famous for their knife collection, they also make other items with stainless steel such as scissors, carving tools, chopsticks and even tweezers!

Website (Japanese only) ||| Online Store (Japanese only)

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Asakusa Station (click on the Google Map for directions)

Hours of Operation: Open daily 11am-7pm

 

Kappa-Bashi

The designs of the knives at Kappa-Bashi have an antiquated feel. The handles are made of wood and there are no designs on the blade. Their knives range from small to katana size. When I entered, the store was packed with people asking about how they make the knives and asking to see them. The owner of the stores knows a little English, which will help with your purchase.

Website (via Google Translate)

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

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 9am – 5:30pm

 

Koshi no Ittou

Tokyo Knife Stores Koshi no IttouOne of the smaller Tokyo knife stores in Kappabashi Street in Asakusa, Koshi no Ittou is a simple store that offers a variety of goods made of stainless steel – nail cutters, tweezers, carving tools, knives and even gardening tools!  Interestingly, though most of the knives on display are theirs, a couple selections of knives are from other knives stores around Japan, put on display. The prices are lower, but the quality is on par with the other Tokyo knife shops along Kappabashi Street.

Website and Online Store (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 10-minute walk from Asakusa Station (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 10am – 5pm

 

Masamoto-Sohhonten

Tokyo Knife Shops Masamoto SohUnlike most Tokyo knife stores, which are located in Asakusa or Tsukiji, Masamoto-Sohhonten is located in Honjo-Azumabashi (one stop from Asakusa).  The store eschews the old-fashioned look for a more modern aesthetic, and is located on the first floor of an office building. Their knives are simply forged, with unique wavy designs on the upper end of the blade. These knives are high-quality issue, and the owner is both quite knowledgeable about knives and an excellent English speaker.

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Honjo-Azumabashi Station (Toei-Asakusa Line)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 9am – 5pm

 

Sugimoto

Tokyo Knife Stores SugimotoSugimoto is the biggest out of all the Tokyo knife stores found in Tsukiji. They have the largest variety of knives in the area, ranging from simple kitchen knives to the professional-grade knives and on to the artistic pieces. This store is actually located inside the Tsukiji Fish Market. You can’t miss it due to its size and the very welcoming owners.

Website (English) ||| Online Store (English)

Nearest Station: 7-minute walk from Tsukijishijou Station (Toei-Oedo Line) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 7am – 4pm

 

Tougen–Masahisa

Tokyo Knife Shops Tougen-MasahisaTougen-Masahisa is a small custom Tokyo knife store where the knives are made on-site. The store has shelf after shelf of simple but effective blades.

Website (English) ||| Online Store (English)

Nearest Station: 8-minute walk from Tsukijishijou Station (Toei-Oedo Line) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 5am – 3:30pm

 

Tsubaya

Tsubaya is one of the oldest Tokyo knife stores on Kappabashi – a very small place with a whole lot of history. Their knives are works of art, with unique designs and name customizations. They’re so old-fashioned that they don’t even have a website–but they have a great reputation nonetheless, as this review will tell you.

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

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 9am – 5:45pm

 

Tsukiji-Masamoto

Tsukiji-Masamoto is a knife store located in the outskirts of the Tsukiji Fish Market – as you exit the station and approach the market, it is probably the first store you will see. The workers inside are making the knives right in the middle of the store. As you enter, you notice many pictures of famous chefs with the Tsukiji-Masamoto knives in their hands. Their knives are primarily for slicing fish, but they also carry a selection chef’s knives. One of the stranger things about Tsukiji-Masamoto is that they accept US dollars and Euros as well as Yen. But with knives like this, we can see why you would be in a rush to get from the airport.

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

Nearest Station: 3-minute walk from Tsukijishijou Station (via the Toei Oedo Line) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 6am – 3pm

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

December 2, 2016 0 comment
0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest
Newer Posts