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
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Tokyo Car Rental 4

Tokyo Car Rental 1

There are many methods of getting around in Tokyo. The city has some of the most convenient public transportation around, with a regular schedule of buses and trains that will get you anywhere you want to go.

Most people forget about their Tokyo car rental options. I mean, who wouldn’t? You don’t have a Japanese driver’s license. One wrong move, and you’re going to have a highway police encounter with a very serious patrolman who is going to cite you for…well, who knows? And if you make a wrong turn, how are you supposed to find your way back? If you don’t speak Japanese, good luck

(Editor’s Note: And if you’re an American, the steering wheel is on the other side of the car! Also, there is no such thing as a “left turn on red” here. And although I tell my relatives the contrary, you cannot fire blue shells out of the hood at the guy on his Sunday Drive in the middle of the week.)

Yes, most people will tell you that using a car within Tokyo is a bad idea. However, it can be a speedy and economical alternative to public transportation if you have to get to several places quickly.  Rental cars are handy especially when you want to travel around the rural areas of Japan, where public transportation may be underdeveloped or inefficient. Using rental cars allows people to access areas that public transport can’t get to.

Actually owning a car in Tokyo is a burden. But when headed out on a road trip beyond the city, a Tokyo car rental is a good option, especially if you’re a large group and have a lot of baggage. Also, driving is Japan is enjoyable–the roads are in good repair, and there are special yellow trucks with lights that keep the highways and byways of Japan clear of debris. Service areas appear every 50 km or so, and they have food courts, restaurants, coffee shops, bathrooms and even souvenir stores. A Tokyo rental car allows you to control your experience and allows you to see the sights and enjoy the beauty that is Japan.

 

Rules of the Road

If you intend to a Tokyo car rental service, you are going to need to know the rules of the road. The Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF) has translated the Japanese Rules of the Road into several languages, both in print and digital formats. You can find them at this link.

 

A Couple of Warnings

Tokyo Car Rental 3

WARNING #1: In mountainous areas (such as around Mount Fuji), you’re going to have a problem if you miss something or have to turn back. Service areas in these parts only let you return to the highway going in the same direction–you cannot use them to turn around and go the other way. You may have to drive an hour or so before you can turn around. If your car rental agency offers a navigator in English, get it!

WARNING #2: DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT, GET “GAS” FROM A GREEN PUMP! In Japan there is no central heating in most homes, and kerosene room heaters are common. At service stations, kerosene pumps are green and might be on the same pump “island” as automotive gas, and often has the exact same kind of pump handle. Worse, kerosene is cheaper than automotive gas. I’ve had to rescue people several times after they pulled up to the pump, made an economic decision based on gas station signs they couldn’t read, and filled their car’s gas tank with kerosene. If you do this, your car will not go very far afterwards and you will liable for a very large repair bill with the Tokyo car rental company.

Tokyo Car Rental 4

WARNING #3 (Especially for Americans): The police in Japan sometimes use lights and sirens to pull people over. Other times, they just use lights. Either way, pull off to the side of the road. If they follow behind you, come to a stop.

Also, if you are pulled over for a traffic violation, the police will take you from their car and put you in the back of theirs. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO JAIL (that is what this means in America). This is for the safety of both the officer and the person who has been pulled over. If you were Japanese, they would make you write your own ticket. You know, just like when you were in school and had to write apology notes! But here, they’ll write it for you. If you get a ticket, be sure to take it to a post office to pay the fine before you leave. I hear some nasty extra charges could be incurred if you think you’ll just leave the country and not come back. Remember, the Tokyo car rental place has your information and your credit card.

WARNING #4: If you get into an accident or have trouble with your vehicle, light flares and place warning triangles 100 meters and 50 meters behind your car. This helps other motorists see and avoid you. Do your part to prevent further accidents!

 

Tokyo Car Rental Basics

Tokyo Car Rental 2

In order to rent a car, you would need a valid international driver’s permit (IDP). You can obtain one in your home country (in the US, you can get one through AAA) or at any one of Tokyo’s many Drivers’ License Centers. In order to obtain an IDP you must be at least 18 years old and have an existing license from your home country. The permit is only valid for one year.

Here’s an approximate range of rental fees for certain cars:

  • Sub – Compact Cars = 5,000
  • Compact = 7,000
  • Medium Size = 12,500
  • Regular Size = 15,000
  • Vans = 20,000

Here’s a list of reliable Rental Car Agencies you can access in Tokyo…

Toyota Rent-a-Car ||| Nippon Rent-a-Car ||| ORIX Rental Car ||| Time’s Car Rental ||| Nissan Rent-a-Car

…and you can possibly snag cheaper deals through intermediaries…

Japan Experience ||| TooCoo

Have fun and drive safely!

Check out the links below for other options on getting around in Tokyo–

January 12, 2017 0 comment
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National Azabu 2 Tokyo International Markets

You know that moving to Japan is going to be a huge transition, but there might be one thing that you haven’t considered. Your entire diet is going to change! Instead of cereal, you’re having rice and eggs for breakfast. Instead of taco night, you have curry night. On your birthday, you’ll be eating strawberry shortcake instead of chocolate cake. You love Japan, but sometimes you miss the food where you came from. We understand. So here are our picks for the top Tokyo international markets, which you can visit if you’re missing the food from your overseas home.

Top Tokyo International Markets : Costco

If you’re willing to travel to Chiba, Costco can become your favorite stock-up store. It is the favorite Tokyo international market store for residents from overseas, as one trip and one full vehicle can last you a month or so. And Costco is so big you can find almost anything there, from TVs to tools to groceries. Obviously, Costco is recommended for permanent residents with access to a vehicle of some sort rather than travelers. There are several locations near Tokyo and throughout Japan.

 

Dean & Deluca

Dean and Deluca 3 Tokyo International Markets

Dean & Deluca is a popular chain of Tokyo international markets in Japan, and quite often you can see people with tote bags bearing the brand name. Some of their larger stores sell western groceries, like deli meats, fish, cheese, coffee, and wine.  And if you have the time, they also have a seating area where you can stop for a bite. There are several easy-to-reach locations in the Tokyo area.

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

 

Kinokuniya

Although Kinokuniya is famous for its bookstores (our editor famously got lost in a Kinokuniya market while looking for the Kinokuniya bookstore in Shinjuku), it also has its own chain of Tokyo international markets. Their website advertises corned beef, cherries, and other foods generally not found in Japan. There are many Kinokuniya stores throughout Tokyo, and you can find the one closest to you on their list of store locations.

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

 

National Azabu

National Azabu 2 Tokyo International Markets

No matter what kind of foreign food you are craving, chances are National Azabu has it stocked. National Azabu prides itself on being the best international market in Tokyo, and serves many English-speaking families in the area. They have an entire rack full of Mexican and Spanish foods, fine wines from Italy, and classic American snacks. Upstairs, they have a wide variety of English greeting cards. They also sell typical western toys, kitchen utensils, and books and magazines. National Azabu will make you feel like you’re back home. There are three locations in the Tokyo area, and you can look here to find the one closest to you.

Website (English) ||| Facebook (English) ||| Twitter (Japanese) ||| Online Shop and Delivery Service

 

Nissin World Delicatessen

Nissin world Tokyo International Markets

Just south of Roppongi is the Nissin World Delicatessen, a three-story international foods store. Nissin is one of the most popular Tokyo international markets–they carry a wide variety of products, and attract more than just English-speakers. Nissin is especially famous for their variety of meat products.

Website (Japanese and English) ||| Online Store (via Google Translate)

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

Hours of Operation: Open daily 8:30 am to 9pm

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

January 10, 2017 0 comment
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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
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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
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Earth Music & Ecology

Earth Music & Ecology

 

Earth Music & Ecology is a women’s brand that focuses on naturally-styled clothing. As suggested in their brand name, their clothing portrays an emulsion of earthy styles with a hint of music and ecology. Formed in 1999, Earth、Music & Ecology is a well-established brand whose clothes are simply beautiful. With shops based in Harajuku, Ikebukuro, and Shinjuku, Earth, Music & Ecology is a brand worth checking out wherever you are!

Encompassing the brand name, their style is casual yet chic. Earth Music & Ecology focuses on the feminine aesthetic verging on an almost Boho Chic style, with a few wool and lace garments. From baggy shirts, tops, pleated skirts to wide legged pants in a wide variety of neutral colors, embellishments and styles, their clothes are appropriate for either the office or an outing. The qualities of their fabrics are of commercial standard and utilize a wide variety from soft jerseys for their t-shirts, plaid and plain natural cottons for their shirts and blouses, and lightweight wools for their cardigans. Their clothes cater individuals from their teenage years to late 40s. Their styles are great for any occasion from casual to evening outing wear. Earth Music & Ecology clothes are great for filling out the wardrobe of the woman on the move! Beyond the brand, the shop also has a whole range of great accessories such as boating hats, bracelets, necklaces, bags and comfy shoes.

The fit is Japanese-style for most of the clothing. Whether the piece is baggy, fitted, or long and flowing so it is advised to try them on before purchasing! (Use our handy guide on to buy clothes in Japan here, complete with handy size conversion charts!)

Earth Music & Ecology is an affordable brand that is relaxed, cool, and casual, and looks great no matter where you’re going today!

 

Earth Music & Ecology Location Information

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

Nearest Station: Many locations throughout Tokyo. Our favorite was a Ikebukuro Sunshine City, an 8-minute walk from Higashi-Ikebukuro Station (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line) or a 12-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station (many lines stop here) (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open daily 10am – 8pm

“Why Go?”: Earthy, simply beautiful clothes that are easy to wear and style.

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

December 28, 2016 0 comment
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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
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Angelic Pretty Lolita Fashion

If you’re into Japanese Lolita fashion brands, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “lolita” is not the Nabokov novel, but rather frilly dresses with bows and curls.

If you’ve always wanted to try Japanese Lolita fashion brands, but you’re scared of being branded an “ita,” fear not! What you need to do is go for trusted Lolita brands. So if you want to check out the stores in person, shop online, or rummage through second-hand markets, here are a few brands to look out for.

 

Japanese Lolita Fashion Brands : Angelic Pretty

Angelic Pretty Japanese Lolita Fashion brandsCreated in 1979 and initially called simply “Pretty”, the brand became Angelic Pretty in 2001. They specialize in Sweet Tokyo Lolita fashion brands, with a focus on every girl’s secret wish of becoming a princess. Colorful and whimsical, Angelic Pretty’s designs are perfect for dreamers who want to venture into their own urban fairy-tale. Also worthy of a special mention are the brand’s socks, which feature loads of lace and one-of-a-kind prints, making them a must-have for any fan of unique accessories.

Website (English) ||| Facebook (English) ||| Twitter (Japanese only) ||| Instagram ||| Online Store

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station (Yamanote Line) (click on the Google Map for directions)

Hours of Operation: 11:00 – 21:00

 

Atelier Pierrot

atelier_pierrot Japanese Lolita Fashion brandsLeather and lace and perfect for your masquerade. Atelier Pierrot’s store in Harajuku has not only their own Japanese Lolita fashion brands, but many others from this article. It’s a must-stop for Lolita brands or any of the Punk brands from my previous article.

Website ||| Facebook (English) ||| Online Store (for Overseas)

Nearest Station: 2-minute walk from Meijijingu-mae Station, 5-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station  (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 11am – 9pm

Baby, The Stars Shine Bright

alice_pirates Lolita fashion brandsThis brand is named after Everything But The Girl’s 1986 album. created in 1988, it is one of the Japanese Lolita fashion brands with connections to the visual kei scene. In fact, one of the models in their September 2008 runway show was Hizaki, guitarist for bands such as Versailles and Jupiter, and wearer of elaborate gowns. Alice and the Pirates, a sub-brand of Baby, The Stars Shine Bright sells gorgeous Sweet Lolita dresses inspired by 18th century European fashion. The brand is also the favorite of one of the main characters of the manga, book and movie of Shimotsuma Monogatari (aka Kamikaze Girls).

Website (Japanese and English) ||| Facebook (Japanese) ||| Twitter (English) ||| Instagram ||| Online Store (English)

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station , inside the PARCO building (click on the Google Map for walking directions)

Hours of Operation: Open Daily 10am – 9pm

 

Milk

Milk japanese lolita fashion brandsWhether you’re a dedicated Lolita or just someone who’s reluctant to go for a full-blown ribbons & laces look, Milk is the place for you. The brand, founded in 1970, even has its own mythology. According to them, as God was about to drink a glass of milk, he accidentally spilled some of it over Harajuku. In order to make up for this little whoopsie, He decided to change the spilled milk into the wonderful shop of the same name. Milk plays a strong Lolita game by offering pieces that embody an ideal balance between sweet, the frilly, and the practical. Milk has exactly the amount of sugar, dreams, and spice to make your day just a little bit more surreal. Check out our article on Milk here!

 

Moi-même-moiti

Moi-même-moiti is the brand you need to go for if you’re interested in Gothic Lolita. The brand was created by the cross-dressing visual kei musician Mana (of Malice Mizer and Moi dix Mois). Moi-même-moiti’s black dresses, skirts, lacy hair accessories, and jewelry are adorned with delicate crosses. Pieces from the brand’s 2007 cathedral print collection are still highly sought after on second-hand Lolita markets and would make a wonderful acquisition for any fan of the style.

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

 

Pure One

Although Lolita style is about being demure, Pure One is a good brand for those who wish to experiment with the look. The brand specializes in corsets, and every piece is versatile enough to go with a variety of different outfits and styles. Pure One has created stage wear for several Japanese musicians, including the gender-bending Kaya. The brand offers plenty of choices, so whether you’re on the lookout for a Gothic corset or a brightly-colored one, risky cut-outs or a demure Victorian style, you will certainly find something to your liking. All you need to do is dare.

Online Store (via Google Translate)

Did we miss your favorite store? Send us an email and tell us about it!

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

December 12, 2016 0 comment
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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
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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
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