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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
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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
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What does music mean to you? It is said that music is a universal language that is able to break through language and culture barriers.  It is even said that music is a medicine that can heal people’s hearts.  Listening to music may be like traveling through a time tunnel, re-triggering our past memories.  When a song is heard a personal experience of the past might be relived.  Music may allow you to sympathize with others.  No matter what music means to you, it always has the miraculous power to bind people together. If you are a music lover, you should go to Ochanomizu and find a store and come play a song or two, or you even buy a new guitar in Japan.  In this article, I want to take you to Tokyo music instrument stores at Ochanomizu and introduce five instrument stores to you.

By the way, Ochanomizu is the most popular music street in Tokyo. You can find diverse music instruments on this street.

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores: Guitar Planet

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores: Guitar Planet

As you can see the name of the store, all of its products are guitars. There are three stores lining up together in Ochanomizu. One of the stores exclusively sells electric guitars and bass guitars. In the store, you might notice a word, 中古, which means, “second hand.” If you are looking for a cheap guitar, Guitar Planet offers guitars for as low as 10,000 yen (100 USD).

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores: Guitar Planet 2

There is a different store that only sells acoustic guitars.  The selling point of this store is the unique Japanese brands such as Headway and Takamine. If you want a guitar that is made in Japan, come to this store. In addition, most of the staff there speak English.  If you have any questions regarding the guitars you can ask.

Finally, Guitar Planet (Ukulele Planet) branch also provides ukulele services. If playing the guitar is too difficult for you we can play the ukulele together.  With only 4 strings and less chords to memorize, its makes playing easier than the guitar.

Guitar Planet Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (Japanese). Follow Guitar Planet on social media at Facebook (English) and Twitter (Japanese).

Hours of Operation: 11:00~20:00

Big Boss

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores: Big Boss

There are four stores at Ochanomizu. I want to introduce to you the sound liner store, a specialty store for electronic guitar musicians. If you are an electric guitar musician, you will want to come here.  Big Boss provides guitar amplifiers, guitar effect pedals, pedal tuners, mic preamps, etc., to customers.   This is equipment necessary for live performances.  Besides fingerpicking and memorizing chords, personal solo and special effects are indispensable skills possessed by professional guitar players. In addition, if you accidentally break your guitar, Big Boss offers repair services. As the Chinese people say, “If a workman wishes to do a good job, he must first sharpen his tools.” Coming to the store is your initial step to be a successful guitar musician.

Big Boss Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (English). Follow Guitar Planet on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Twitter (Japanese).

Hours of Operation:

Weekday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Weekend and Holidays: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

 

Ishibashi Music Drum Store

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores: Drum Store

The percussionists are the soul of a band. They are the signal-senders who initiate a song, provide transitional signals, and conclude a song by hitting the crash cymbal.  Ishibashi is a store that is specifically for drummers and percussionists. This store also provides a private drum kit studio for individual practices.   You can play in the room without any interruptions.   You can select a snare drum and ask a staff member to assist in setting up in the studio.  You don’t feel embarrassed if you are not an expert of drums; no one will laugh at you.  

Ishibashi Music Drum Store Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (English). Follow Ishibashi Music Drum Store on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Twitter (Japanese).

Hours of Operation:

Monday to Saturday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday and Holiday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

 

Shimokura-Gakki – Violin and Wind instrument Specialty Stores

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores: 下倉

Are you a jazz lover? Do you love listening to blues or gospel? Maybe you are a jazz musician.  Upright bass, saxophone, and trumpet are the essential elements of Jazz. I believe that playing music is similar to cooking. You might have the same meat as others have, but you decide the way you would like to cook; the seasoning you add on the ingredient and the sauces you put on the dish.  Likewise, playing the same songs can have different interpretations. Although Shimokura-Gakki also sells guitars, violin and wind instruments are one of their selling points. If you don’t like jazz music this store has  some violins as well. Shimokura-Gakki doesn’t disappoint.

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores:下倉Violin

Shimokura-Gakki – Violin and Wind instrument Specialty Stores Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (Engish) (Violin) (Wind instrument). Follow Shimokura-Gakki on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Twitter (Japanese).

Hours of Operation:

Monday to Saturday: 10:40 a.m. – 7:25 p.m.

Sunday and Holidays: 10:10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

For your convenience, here are the list of locations.

 

Disk Union

Tokyo Music Instrument Stores: Disk Union

Our last station is Disk Union. No doubt that we all are reminiscent in some points. There are some preeminent songs that can penetrate humans’ hearts disregarding the time until it slips by. You might not be a musician, but you can be a music lover. In this store, you are not required to have any particular skill, but have ears to listen songs. There are many CDs that cannot be found in any other place in Japan, but you can find them here.  You can even find gramophone records and record players. 

Disk Union Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (Engish). Follow Shimokura-Gakki on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Twitter (Japanese).

Hours of Operation:

Monday to Saturday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Sunday and Holidays: 11:00 a.m. – 8 p.m.

 

If there is no music, there is no meaning of life. Please come and visit these Tokyo music instrument stores.

March 27, 2017 0 comment
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Parasitological Museum

You know that you’ll find weird and interesting things once you come to Tokyo. Check out our article on Bizarre Museums in Tokyo you might want to visit while you’re here!

 

Bizarre Museums in Tokyo: Meguro Parasitological Museum

Parasitological Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

 

If you like weird stuff, this is the right place for you. This place is known as the number one most bizarre museum in Tokyo. Meguro Parasitological Museum is a private research facility focusing on parasites. A must-see at this museum is definitely the world’s longest tapeworm that is 8.8 meters long. Don’t forget to visit their museum shop where you can buy parasite-related merchandise!

 

Parasitological Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

Hours: 10:00-17:00
Holidays: Monday and Tuesday (when a national holiday falls on Monday or Tuesday, the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays
Admission fee: Free (donations are welcome)
Access: 15 min walk from JR Meguro station

Bank of Japan Currency Museum

This museum was opened in 1985 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Bank of Japan. Here you can find exhibitions of money from ancient Japan up to the present day as well as money from all over the world.

Hours: 9:30-16:30 (No entry after 16:00)
Holidays: Monday (opened when Monday is a holiday) and New Year holidays (Dec 29 – 4 Jan).
Admission: Free
Access:

1 min walk from Subway Mitsukoshimae Station (Hanzomon line Exit B1)
2 min walk from Subway Mitsukoshimae Station (Ginza line Exit B5)
6 min walk from Subway Nihonbashi Station (Tozai line Exit A1)
8 min walk from JR Tokyo station’s Nihonbashi Exit

 

Tokyo Trick Art Museum

Tokyo Trick Art Museum comprises of 3D artworks and optical illusions that will blow up your mind. There are different areas for you to explore, including the “Edo Area,” “Japanese monsters” and the “Trick Art Gallery.”

WARNING: MUST BRING CAMERA!

Hours: 11:00-21:00 (No entry after 20:30)
Holidays: Closing days are not fixed
Admission: Adult (ages 15&over): 900 yen, Child (ages 4-14) 600 yen, free admission for children ages 3 and under.
Access:

2 min walk from Odaiba Kaihinkouen station (Yurikamome line)
5 min walk from Tokyo Teleport station (Rinkai line)

 

Tokyo Kite Museum

Kites are known to have a long history in Japan. At every corner of the museum, you will find a collection of over 250 kites on display from all over Japan and other Asian countries.

 Hours: 11:00-17:00
Holidays: Sunday, National Holidays
Admission: Adult: 200 yen, Child: 100 yen
Access:

10 min walk from JR Tokyo station (Yaesu exit)
1 min walk from subway Nihonbashi station (Exit C5)

 

Showa Retro Packaging Museum

This museum gathers product packages such as tobacco, medicine packages, snacks and confectionery from the Showa period (1929-1989). The building is a refurbishment a former furniture shop, which gives you a nostalgic feel once you step inside.

Hours: 10:00-17:00
Holidays: Monday (closes the following day if Monday is a national holiday) and New Year Holidays
Admission fee: Adult 350 yen, Child 200 yen
Access: 4 min walk from JR Ome station.

 

Postal Museum Japan

Located on the 9th floor of Tokyo Skytree Town, the Postal Museum Japan exhibits collections that are related to postal service and communications.
Hours: 10:00-17:30 (Last entry 17:00)
Admission fee: Adult 300 yen, Child 100 yen
Access: a short walk from Tobu Skytree line (Tobu Skytree station).

 

Philatelic (Stamp) Museum

 

Stamp Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

 

With a collection of 300,000 stamps from Japan and other countries, over 850 stamps are being displayed at special exhibits at the Philatelic Museum. The theme changes every three months. There are also workshops where you can participate and even make your own stamp!

 

Stamp Museum Bizarre Museums in Tokyo

Hours: 10:00-17:00
Holidays: Monday and Tuesday (when a national holiday falls on Monday or Tuesday, the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays
Admission fee: Adult 200 yen, Child 100 yen
Access: 3 min walk from JR Mejiro station

 

Tokyo Museum of Sewage

You can spend a whole day learning about Tokyo’s sewage system. If that’s not enough, here you can even get a chance to go inside the main sewer pipe!

Hours: 10:00-16:00

Holidays: Monday (when a national holiday falls on Monday the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays (Dec 27- Jan 5)
Admission fee: Free
Access: 7 min walk from Takanodai Station (Seibu Kokubunji Line)

 

Tobacco and Salt Museum

 Here you can get to know more about the history and culture surrounding tobacco and salt in Japan. The museum has a collection or resources and researches about tobacco and salt, and besides the normal exhibition, sometimes there are special exhibitions held for a limited time

Hours: 10:00-18:30 (Last entry 17:30)
Holidays: Monday (when a national holiday falls on Monday the museum is opened and closed on the following day), New Year Holidays (Dec 29- Jan 3)
Admission fee: Adult 100 yen, Senior 50 yen, Child 50 yen. (There is an extra charge for special exhibitions).
Access:
12 min walk from Subway Oshiage station (Exit B2)
8 min walk from Subway Tobu Skytree Line Tokyo Skytree Station (Exit 1)
10 mins walk from Honjo Azumabashi Station

 

Tokyo Toy Museum (Toy Communication Museum)         

The building of this museum was once an old elementary school and the goal of this museum is to promote friendship among different generations in the family. Feel free to play with the toys and join the toy workshops they offer!

Hours: 10:00-16:00 (Last entry 15:30)
Holidays: Thursday, New Year Holidays and special holidays in February and September
Admission fee: Adult 800 yen, Child 500 yen, Child and Adult pair ticket 1200 yen
Access:
7 min walk from Yotsuya- sanchome station
8 min walk from Akebonobashi station.

 

March 20, 2017 0 comment
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You must be kidding. Can people eat a sushi meal within 1000-yen budget (10 USD)? The answer is Yes! However, if you want to find exceptional sushi restaurants, I want to introduce standing sushi bars to you. There are a lot of high quality standing sushi bars in Tokyo. Before elaborating more on this topic, I would first like to explain the sushi dilemma to you.

Opening a sushi restaurant in Japan is similar to playing the game of “dead or alive.” Competition between sushi restaurants becomes more intensive in Japan year by year. One of the reasons is the declination of ingredients. Overfishing is the primary reason behind this phenomenon. Because fishers cast their nets to the ocean and catch fish disregarding their sizes, sushi chefs have to find substitution of their ingredients. Another reason is about season. Seafood will be fatty in certain season. Overfishing eliminates the quality of sushi due to the neglect of fishing season. Furthermore, the quality of sushi chefs is also a crucial element for the success of business. They need to monitor and maintain balance between the temperature of fish and rice, so customers can enjoy sushi in the best timing.

What should the creative Japanese people do? They think about opening a standing sushi bar. Yes, instead of sit on a chair and eat sushi, customers can eat sushi while standing. If you are a sushi-lover and an adventurer, you must try these standing sushi bars. There are four reasons to try these standing sushi bars: lower-price, high quality, speedy, and convenient. I have done my research, and I have found the meritorious five-sushi bars in Tokyo for you. All you need is bringing 1000 yen to those restaurants, and then you can relish decent and fresh sushi.

Standing Sushi Bars: Okame Sushi おかめ

High Quality Standing Sushi Bars in Tokyo

Most of you know that Tsukiji is one of the best fish markets in the world. Thousands of fish and other seafood have been delivered in that area. Okame Sushi locates at the Tsukiji area, so their ingredients are 100% fresh and seasonal. Maguro (tuna) or salmon only cost you 100-yen (1 USD). One of the special deals in this restaurant is the tuna sushi meal. You can enjoy tuna, medium fatty tuna, fatty tuna, partially grilled tuna, and tuna warship-roll in 1000-yen (10 USD).

High Quality Standing Sushi Bars in Tokyo

I know that some of you don’t like tuna. But you need to know that most of the tuna you eat back home is yellow-fin tuna, which consists sour flavor. Yellow-fin tuna is also the lower level type in the tuna world. You don’t need to worry about these issues in this store because they select good Bluefin tuna for customers. When you first try it, you will gradually like it.

Although the operation hour of this store is longer than others, I would recommend you to come here before 12 noon in order to visit the markets. Most of the stores will close at 1 or 2 p.m. in Tsukiji. Besides sushi restaurants, you can also purchase various souvenirs at Tsukiji.

Okame Sushi Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (English). Follow Okame Sushi on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Instagram (Japanese).

Nearest Station: 3-minutes walk from Tsukiji Station (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).

Hours of Operation: Opens on Monday to Saturday from10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Opens on Sunday and Holidays from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Nemurohanamaru 根室花まる

High Quality Standing Sushi Bars in Tokyo

It only takes fifteen minutes walk from Tsukiji to Ginza. We will go to the second standing sushi bar, Nemurohanamaru. It’s located at B2 floor in a new mall, Tokyu Plaza. If you are a sushi lover, you must want to try authentic seafood from their original places in Japan. This is what this tiny sushi bar can help you with. For example, you can order Sailfin poacher in Nemurohanamaru, which is a local specialty from Otaru, Hokkaido. They will import different ingredients according to the seasons and water areas. You can find hundreds of sushi restaurants that provide same types of sushi. However, if you want to have new sushi experience without traveling to other areas in Japan, Nemurohanamaru is your first choice.

Nemurohanamaru Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (English). Follow Nemurohanamaru on social media at Facebook (Japanese) , Twitter, and Instagram (Japanese).

Nearest Station: 4 minutes walk from Ginza station (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).

Hours of Operation: 11:00~23:00(L.O.22:00)

Uogashi Nihon-Ichi 魚がし日本一

High Quality Standing Sushi Bars in Tokyo

Besides searching variety of sushi, a sushi lover also loves to go to the original restaurants. Uogashi Nihon-Ichi is the ancestor of standing sushi bar. Its headquarter is located at the Tsukiji Market. They order bids and monitor the quality of ingredients in the market. Since the manager of Uogashi Nihon-Ichi has the business network with fishers and providers in Tsukiji, he always gets good quality seafood from the market. “Freshest” is the fascia of their restaurants.

High Quality Standing Sushi Bars in Tokyo

In addition, you can have a dinner set from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m within 680 yen, which contains 5 pieces of nigiri sushi (hand-form sushi) with a cup of beer. Furthermore, the sushi staffs from this restaurant are friendly and approachable. If you want to chat with them and inquire sushi information from them, you should come and visit this store.

Uogashi Nihon-Ichi Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (English). Follow Uogashi Nihon-Ichi on social media at Facebook (English), Twitter, and Instagram.

Nearest Station: 3 minutes walk from Ikebukuro Station (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).

For your convenience, here is list of locations

Hours of Operation: 11:00~23:20(L.O)

Tachiguimidori 美登利 エチカ池袋店

High Quality Standing Sushi Bars in Tokyo

Midori is one of the premium sushi brands in Japan. Individuals line up at the Midori branches every day. In order to satisfy the demands of diverse customers, Midori also opens a standing sushi bar for those busy businessmen, and those who like to eat cheap and delicious sushi in Ikebukuro station. It’s not a huge bar, so you probably need to line up and wait for a while. But you will be rewarded. First of all, diversity is one of the selling points of Midori. There are thirty-six choices of sushi in the menu.

Second, Midori’s sushi is economical. I don’t think you can find any 50-yen tuna (0.4 cents) or 70-yen horse mackerel (0.6 cents) in other sushi restaurants. The medium fatty tuna only costs customers 100 yen (1 USD). If you want to have a piece of fatty tuna, you only need to pay 300 yen (3 USD). Tachiguimidori also have set lunch offer. You can have eight pieces of sushi within 500-yen (5 USD).

Finally, It’s located at the underground shopping center. If you just want to eat fast and rejuvenate your strength in order to go shopping again. Here is your first choice. Hence, Midori can be considered one of the best sushi chains in Japan.

Tachiguimidori Information

You can visit the official website here. Website (English). Follow Tachiguimidori on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Instagram.

Nearest Station: 6-minutes walk from Ikebukuro Station, exit west (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).

Hours of Operation: 11:00~23:00(L.O 22:30)

Sakura Sushi さくら寿司

High Quality Standing Sushi Bars in Tokyo

If you love to eat pagrus major (マダイ), splendid alfonsino (キンメダイ), or milt (白子), Sakura Sushi is definitely one of your favorite restaurants. Comparing to tuna and salmon, pagrus major and splendid alfonsino are the milder fish. When you put the sushi into your mouth, let the fatty part of the fish to fill your taste bud. When you are chewing the sushi, the sweetness of the fish will gradually come out. Since these two types of fish are milder, please remember to eat them first before partaking other sushi. If you mix up your eating sequence, the flavors of the stronger ingredient will affect your palate. As a result, you can’t enjoy the fullness of sushi.

Milt is the semen of a fish or a water creature. A lot of people consider this as a good culture experience. However, if you don’t like the smell or taste of milt sushi, you can still have around 50 choices in this restaurant.

Sakura Sushi Information

You can visit the Tabelog website here. Website (English). Follow Sakura Sushi on social media at Facebook (Japanese), Twitter, and Instagram.

Nearest Station: 4-minutes walk from Ikebukuro Station, Exit West (click on the Google Map below for walking directions).

Hours of Operation: 10:00~22:00

What do the standing sushi bars can help you? Eat cheap, eat fast, and eat fresh!

March 17, 2017 0 comment
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Hi! I’m Tracy, and I love anime and manga!

Do you know “Dragon Ball,” “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” and “Gundam”? I bet you have heard at least one of them before! Anime as an art form aesthetic that has reached out from Japan to influence animation and live-action films worldwide. That’s why you were attracted by the title and are reading this article right now!

When someone mentions “anime spots,” most people would think of Akihabara. But there are also some incredible anime spots near where I live in Ikebukuro, and I’m going to tell you all about them!

 

Tokyo Anime and Manga: ANi★CUTE

ANi CUTE3 Tokyo anime and manga spots

ANi★CUTE is an official shop of NIPPON ANIMATION. At ANi★CUTE, you can buy cute goods based on “Chibi Maruko-chan” and “Rascal the Raccoon.” Kids in Japan love these popular anime shows!

You can visit the ANi★CUTE’s Website (via Google translate) for more information. If you want to visit them in person, they are an 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), on the 2nd floor of Sunshine City ALPA. Click on the map below for walking directions!

Sunshine City Tokyo anime and manga spots

TORA NO ANA

TORA NO ANA is one of the top 3 anime stores in Japan. They focus on selling dōjinshi, which are self-published works fan fiction.

There are actually two TORA NO ANA stores in Ikebukuro. Store A is male-oriented and and store B is female-oriented. Be careful! You may become embarrassed if you go into the wrong store.  TORA NO ANA sells adult dōjinshi, and there is no special section where they are by themselves.

TORA NO ANA A2 Tokyo anime and manga spots

Tora no ana Tokyo anime and manga spots

TORA NO ANA (male oriented)

tora no ana Tokyo anime and manga spots tora no ana Tokyo anime and manga spots

TORA NO ANA (female oriented)

You can visit the TORA NO ANA’s website (via Google Translate) or follow the male oriented store on Twitter (via Google Translate). If you want to see the female side, you can visit their Twitter (via Google Translate), too! Both are close to Ikebukuro JR Station, and you can find them by clicking on the map above.

 

NAMJATOWN

namjatown Tokyo anime and manga spotsNAMJATOWN is Namco’s theme park for gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and ice cream. Don’t ask why, it’s Japanese! You can have a nice afternoon eating and enjoying the different cartoon attractions! Throughout the year there are special events held in collaboration with popular anime like “Yuri on Ice” or “Osomatsu-kun.” It’s fun!

You can visit the NAMJATOWN’s Website for more information. A little tip to save your money is that buying “Namja After3 Passport”(Unlimited Attractions Pass after 3:00pm) for ¥2,300 helps you save ¥300!  The NAMJATOWN is an 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), 2F of Sunshine City World Import Mart Building, click on the map below for walking directions!

LASHINBANG (らしんばん)

Locating on the Otome Road – a street in Ikebukuro where shops are female oriented(Otome-Kei 乙女系), LASHINBANG is the largest store that specializes in second-hand anime goods. From tiny goods like badges to figures and cushions, you can find anime goods which are not popular anymore. Or sometimes you can find rare goods selling at a lower price here! They have 5 branches  in Ikebukuro, and the following are three stores on the Otome Road.

lashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spotsThe 2-floor LASHINBANG Main Store sells both male and female oriented goods – that means all kinds of anime! You can visit the Main Store Website (via Google Translate) or follow them on Twitter (via Google translate).

lashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spots

The LASHINBANG 2nd Store focuses on female oriented goods and anime CDs. You can visit the their Website (via Google Translate) or follow them on Twitter (via Google translate) .

lashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spotslashinbang Tokyo anime and manga spotsThe LASHINBANG Cosplay Store is on 4F of Animate Sunshine and is full of cosplay costumes and accessories. You can visit their Website (via Google Translate) or follow them on Twitter (via Google translate) .

All of these 3 stores are a 7-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit). Click on the map above for walking directions!

 

ACOS

You can buy everything you need for cosplay in one shop – costumes, wigs, color contact lenses, and even cosmetics are all here! No matter if you are a beginner or are experienced in cosplaying, just come here and you’ll truly enjoy the cosplayers paradise! You can visit the ACOS Website (via Google translate) for more information. If you want to come and buy cosplay stuff, the store is a 7-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), on the 2nd ~ 3rd floor of animate Sunshine. Click on the map below for walking directions!

 

P’PARCO

Not just for stores of famous teenager Japanese fashion brands, P’PARCO is also a shopping mall. Inside is the headquarters of the big video sharing website “NicoNico” and anime goods stores.

EVANGELION STORE

evangelion store Tokyo anime and manga spots

The official store for Evangelion and fans will be crazy for the limited items here!
Rejet shoprejet shop Tokyo anime and manga spots
The Rejet shop is the filled with goods of Otome-Kei anime produced by the Rejet.co, which mainly focusing on games and drama CDs.

THE CHARA SHOP (THEキャラSHOP)the chara shop Tokyo anime and manga spots
The Chara is an online shop for wide variety anime goods. Events collaborating with different anime are held in this physical store and you can buy limited goods here!

Dash Store (ダッシュストア)dash store Tokyo anime and manga spots

Anime collaborated events are held in a short period (that’s why it’s called “Dash Store”), have a grasp of time to get the limited items of your favorite anime here!
Limited Baselimited base Tokyo anime and manga spots
A store that full of “limited” collaborated items which you can only find here!

p'parco Tokyo anime and manga spots

You can visit the P’PARCO’s Website (via Google translate) for more information. The shopping mall is right next to Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), click on the map below for walking directions!

 

K-BOOKS

K-BOOKS is a store chain selling anime goods from old things to newest popular things. There are 13 stores in Ikebukuro, and all of them have different in themes, such as games, otome-kei, idols, etc! Here are two of them located on the Otome Road. Believe me, you won’t want to leave the store once you entered it (like me)!

k-books anime & live Tokyo anime and manga spots
The K-BOOKS Anime & Live Store are in the same building where you can find goods of all types of anime on 1F and idol anime on 2F. You can visit the Anime Store Website (via Google translate) or the Live Store Website(via Google translate) to have more information.

k-books otome Tokyo anime and manga spots

The Otome Store is only a few steps away from the Anime & Live Store that hundreds of otome-kei games and anime can be found here. You can visit the Otome Store Website (via Google translate) to have more information. Both of the stores are a 7-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit) and opposite to the Sunshine City, that means you can go there for shopping after buying anime goods!

 

POKEMON CENTER MEGA TOKYO

pokemon center Tokyo anime and manga spotsIt’s the largest Pokémon Center in Japan! A huge range of goods can be found here. Are you dreaming of becoming a Pokémon master?

Besides Pikachu, you can meet other Pokémon here and “catch” them all to take home! Check the Pokémon Center’s Website and take a 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), 2F of Sunshine City Alpa to see how amazing here is! Click on the map below for walking directions!

 

J-WORLD TOKYOj-world Tokyo anime and manga spots

J-WORLD is a theme park for Shonen Jump, which is the most popular manga magazine in the world. At J-WORLD, you can take photos with the famous manga characters in Shonen Jump such as Son Goku from “Dragon Ball,” Luffy from “One Piece,” Naruto from“Naruto,” and much more!

A warning for you: make sure to come with your stomach empty, because you are going to try the original menu with designs from your favorite manga here!

Another tip to help you travel cheaper is that you can buy tickets online in advance with a ¥100 discount or buy a Night Passport (Unlimited Attractions Pass after 5:00pm) for¥1,800 (you save ¥800)!

Check J-WORLD’s Website or Twitter (via Google translate) or Facebook (via Google translate) for more information! The characters are waiting you at the 3F of the Sunshine City World Import Mart Building, which is an 8-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit). Click on the map below for walking directions!

ANIMATE IKEBUKURO

animate ikebukuro Tokyo anime and manga spotsThe animate Ikebukuro is a 9-floor store with anime goods and an anime-collaborated cafe. It is the largest anime goods store in the world. It is famous not only because of the large stock of anime-related items, but also for the events held here such as anime exhibitions, autograph sessions of illustrators, and talk shows with voice actors.

When you step into animate, it’s just like you have entered into an  anime world where anime-related things are everywhere! You can definitely spend half a day exploring it! Visit animate Ikebukuro’s Website or Twitter (via Google translate) to find out what’s new! It is a 5-minute walk from Ikebukuro JR Station (East exit), and you can easily find it by its recognizable logo on a tall building. Click on the map below for walking directions!

 

So you can see that there are many must-go places for anime fans in Ikebukuro. All of them are full of “treasures”! Make sure to visit!

February 17, 2017 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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Tokyo is a crowded metropolitan city. People are busy with sightseeing, business trips, or educational exchanges. Sometimes, those activities can stress you out. Are you looking for a place that can provide internal peace into your heart? While visiting Tokyo, you may have a hard time finding a place to worship and practice your religion. To help, we have compiled a listing of Tokyo religious services. If you would like your congregation included, please email us at info@enablejapan.com and we will add you to our listing.

Tokyo Religious Services Listings

Christianity

Catholicism

To Catholic, mass and confession are a part of their discipleship lives. Mass is a similitude of the sacrifice of Christ. Through this ceremony, they express their gratitude to the Lord. Confession is a way for Catholics to repent and reconcile with their God. You might not be able to attend Church at a certain day, but the church here in Tokyo provides daily mass. When I visited the hall, I felt calm because I could cast my temporal cares aside. My dear Catholic friends, if you are looking for peace (even you are not a Catholics or believers) in a metropolitan city, go to one of the Churches. I want to give you four churches with their worship schedule in here.

Roppongi Franciscan Chapel

Roppongi Franciscan Chapel

Address: 4-2-37 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0032 Japan

English Mass:

Weekdays: 8am; Wednesdays has additional service at 6:30 pm

First Fridays 6:30 pm

Saturdays: 8am, 6pm

Sundays: 8 am, 10:15 am, 12 pm, 6 pm

Confessions: Saturdays  4:30 to 5:30 pm. Also by appointment. Available in English and Japanese.Tokyo Religious Services Franciscan 2

St. Ignatius Church

St. Ignatius Church

Address: Koujimachi, Chiyoda-ku 6-5-1, Tokyo 102-0083 Japan

Sunday Mass:

English: 12pm, Main Chapel

Spanish: 1:30 pm, Main Chapel

Indonesian: 4pm, St.Francis Xavier’s Chapel

Portuguese: 12:30 pm, St. Mary’s Chapel (Only 1st. Sundays)

Vietnamese: 3pm, Main Chapel (Only 1st. Sundays)

Polish: 4pm, St.Mary’s Chapel (Only 1st. Sundays)

Tokyo Union Church

Tokyo Union Church

Address: 5-7-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001

Sunday Services: 8:30 am and 11 am

Meguro Catholic Church

Meguro Catholic Church

Address: 4-6-22 Kamiosaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0021

Mass Schedule:

Weekday Mass: 7:30 am

Sunday Mass: 12 nn

Protestant

Tokyo Baptist Church (Shibuya Branch)

Tokyo Baptist Church

Protestant is another popular religion in the world. They partake in sacrament to remember Jesus and his infinite sacrifice for all mankind. Protestants enjoy the association or fellowship with others. They call each other brothers and sisters because they believe that all people are God’s children. Individuals worship and sing hymns together. They unite with others through services and meals. When you visit Tokyo and don’t want to miss a Church service, here are the addresses.

Address: Hachiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku 9-2 Tokyo 150-0035 Japan

Services: Saturdays: 7pm, Sundays: 9am, 11am, 1:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Wesleyan Holiness Yodobashi (site is Google-translated)

Wesleyan Holiness Yodobashi

Address: Shinjuku-ku, Hyakunincho 1-17-8, Tokyo 169-0073 Japan

Services:

English worship (English Service): Sunday 1:30 pm

Korean worship: Sunday 1:30 pm

Chinese worship: Sunday 3:30 pm

LDS Church (Mormon)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS Church (Mormon is the nickname given by others), is a burgeoning Christian group throughout the world. They believe that God has restored His Church through His prophet, Joseph Smith, in the 19th century. Joseph recorded that he saw God the Father and Son, and they spoke to him. Currently, there are 100,000 LDS members in Japan and three chapels in Tokyo. Normally, they only have church services on Sunday. However, they sometimes have some special events on Saturday, such as general conference broadcast twice a year. They believe that the prophet and apostles of God will receive revelations from God and speak to them during general conference.

Tokyo 1st Ward

LDS Church (Mormon) LDS Church (Mormon) 2

Address: 5-8-8 Minami-Azabu MINATO, Japan

Sunday Service: 10 am (Sacrament First)

Tokyo 2nd Ward

LDS Church (Mormon) 3

Address: 2-25-11 Minami-senzoku, Ota-ku 145-0063 Japan

Sunday Service: 9 am (Sacrament First)

You might see some young men wearing a suit or tie with a name-tag. They are full-time volunteers for two years who sometimes approach you and teach you about Jesus. When you see them on the street, you can ask them any questions. But you might ask, “What makes this Church so special?” They believe that there are living prophets and apostles today, and people can still receive revelations from God today. I am sure that they are more than happy to answer all of your questions. Want to learn Japanese or English for free? They can help you as well.

LDS Church (Mormon) 4

Judaism

Jewish Community of Japan

Jewish Community of Japan

Members of the Jewish faith has their worship services on Friday evening and Saturday morning (they call it Shabbat services). They welcome all people, male and female, to join their worship. After the services, they provide a kosher meal. In order to take the meal and socialize, you must make a reservation on Thursday. However, you don’t have to join the meal. You can simply participate the worship with them.

If you want to visit the synagogue in Tokyo during weekdays, you must make a reservation a week prior to your visit by sending them an email.

Address: Shibuya-ku, Hiroo 8-8-3 Tokyo

Friday Evening Services: Egalitarian Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv service at 18:30.

Saturday Services: Egalitarian Shachrit service at 9:30.

Islam

Islam is one of the major religion groups in the world. There are at least seven mosques in Tokyo. Muslims need to offer prayer five times a day. When they pray, they put their work aside and go to mosques for their worship. They wash their revealed limbs for purification. If you are looking for a mosque to offer your devotion, I can provide two locations for you.

Japan Islamic Trust

Japan Islamic Trust

Address: Minami Otsuka, Toshima-ku 3-42-7, Tokyo 170-0005 Japan

Open: 5am – 10pm (prayer schedule on the website)

As-Salaam Foundation

As-Salaam Foundation

Address: Taito, Taito-ku 4-6-7 Tokyo 110-0016 Japan

Prayer Schedule can be found on the website

If you are not a believer of Islam, that’s fine. There are a lot of noble and kind Muslims who are more than happy to provide a tour for you. They want to share their culture and hospitality with you. When I visited Japan Islamic Trust, I was able to have some snacks with my new Muslim friend and have a glance of Islam world.

Japan Islamic Trust 2

Thus, when you are looking for a different experience in Tokyo, you should come and visit one of the mosques.

I know what is you concern. You worry about language barriers. All of the religious groups from above offer English services to the visitors. Hence, you can add a trip to the religious service of your choice while you are in Tokyo. Come to worship and meet new friends!

October 27, 2016 0 comment
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Karaoke in Tokyo FI

Hi, I’m Tracy! I love karaoke!

It’s Friday night, you’re out with friends, and one of them brings up a crazy idea: “Hey! Let’s go to KARAOKE!!” We all love Karaoke, but can we tell the difference between the different types of karaoke shops? Which one offers more English songs? Which one offers a student discount? Which one doesn’t smell of “teen spirit”?

For those of you who love Karaoke and can actually tell the difference between the establishments, go forth and sing your heart out. But for those of you can’t, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in our comprehensive guide to the most popular karaoke spots in Tokyo.

 

Utahiroba (歌広場)

UtaHiroba watermark tokyo karaoke shopsOne of the most popular karaoke chains in Tokyo, Utahiroba can be easily identified by its logo—a big smiling pink face, usually wearing yellow gloves.

Utahiroba is regarded as one of the cheapest, major chain karaokes in Tokyo and many of their stores stay open 24hrs depending on location. Their food menu is quite extensive as well and you can expect the usual fried snacks and dishes that you can easily get at any low-end izakaya.

Utahiroba Information

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

Store locator (via Google Translate)

Average price:

  • ¥140 – ¥500 every 30 minutes, with all-you-can-drink (non-alcoholic) (depending on time of day and day of the week)
  • ¥1,000 – ¥1,980 for free-time (Open – 8:00pm / 11:00pm – 5:00am), with all-you-can-drink (non-alcoholic) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Time slots may be different depending on branches

Tips to save your money:

  • Making a reservation in advance can get you a discount of 10% off the room charge
  • Lunch Pack: ¥580 with a meal, all-you-can-drink (non-alcoholic) and 2-hour karaoke (Prices are different depending on branches) *Only for entering rooms before 2:00pm

 

Karaoke-kan (カラオケ館)

KaraokeKan_watermark tokyo karaoke shopsKaraoke-kan is another popular karaoke chain, with branches across Japan. Famous for its appearance in Lost in Translation with Bill Murray (the Shibuya branch, 6th floor), Karaoke-kan is one of the most recognizable karaokes in Japan due to their big blue neon signs with its name in red.

Karaoke-kan offers a variety of rooms, from VIP to party rooms, as well as an extensive variety of food and snacks including everything from “Italian” pizzas to Japanese snacks and desserts. A few of their locations even have a darts bar separate from the karaoke rooms if you want a break from hitting the high notes.

Karaoke-kan Information

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

Store locator (via Google Translate)

Average price:

  • ¥100 – ¥800 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1 drink is required
  • ¥1,200 – ¥1,800 for free-time (11:00pm – 5:00am) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1 drink is required *Time slots may be different depending on branches

 

BIG ECHO

BigEcho_Watermark tokyo karaoke shopsBIG ECHO is yet another popular sight on the streets of Tokyo. BIG ECHO offers a variety of services that a lot of chains seldom do. For example costumes for cosplay, free Wi-Fi, and popular anime songs for the anime lovers out there.

They also offer a large selection of rooms and often do “Colabo Rooms” (コラボルーム)where the entire room is themed in styles of popular anime, J-Pop or K-Pop groups, and even baseball teams.

BIG ECHO Information

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

Store locator(via Google Translate)

Average price:

  • ¥100 – ¥800 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1 drink is required
  • ¥1,200 – ¥3,500 for free-time (Open – 7:00pm / 11:00pm – Close) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1 drink is required *Time slots may be different depending on branches

Tips to save your money:

  • Showing a coupon with your smartphone can get you discounts (10% off room charge for 1-drink course, 5% off total bill for all-you-can-drink course)
  • Party Course: From ¥2,000 with a food course and 3-hour karaoke (Prices may be different depending on branches) *Order of minimum 1 drink or all-you-can-drink is required *Reserve in advance can get an extra 5%off discount

SHIDAX

Shidax watermark tokyo karaoke shops

SHIDAX is known to be a bit more upscale compared to the former three, and rightly so as SHIDAX specializes in more than just karaoke.

SHIDAX is a bit pricier, but you pay for what you get, as the food and drinks are of a higher quality. Rooms are also nicer, with less tobacco burn stains on the tables and comfier couches. That being said, SHIDAX caters more to a Japanese audience, therefore you might not be able to find your favorite underground title from your home country here.

Shidax Information

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

Store locator (via Google Translate)

Average price:

  • ¥200 – ¥500 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required
  • ¥1,200 – ¥2,500 for free-time (Open – 7:00pm) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required *Time slots may be different depending on branches

 

COTE D’ AZUR

Cote D'Azur watermark tokyo karaoke shops

This is another somewhat expensive, fashionable karaoke, with well-furnished modern rooms. The food menu here is restaurant quality.

From ‘Ladies Rooms’ to ‘VIP party rooms’ and even children play rooms with karaoke machines inside, Cote D’Azur can cater to a girls’ night out or husband and wife with children in tow. And when you want a break from singing you can always go throw some darts and even play billiards.

As with Shidax, Cote D’Azur caters to a more Japanese audience, so English song selections are rather limited.

Cote D’ Azur Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Store locator (Japanese)

Average price:

  • ¥70 – ¥500 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required
  • ¥1,000 – ¥2,300 for free-time (6:00pm – 5:00am / 11:00pm –5:00am) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required *Time slots may be different depending on branches

Tips to save your money:

  • Early bird discounts with a reservation in advance
  • Show a coupon with your smartphone and get discounts (20% off room charge for 1-drink course, 5% off total bill for all-you-can-drink plan or free-time course)
  • Party Course: From ¥2,500 with a food course and 3-hour karaoke (Prices maybe different depending on branches) *Reserving one week prior can get a ¥500 discount

 

FIORIA

Having 3 branches in the upscale districts in Tokyo – Roppongi, Ginza and Shinjuku, FIORIA is a restaurant provides luxury private rooms and high-quality food that fit your wants. Rooms are all furnished with different themes such as Botanical Saloon, Star Dust Saloon and Grotto Saloon.

My most recommended room is the SPA Saloon in Roppongi branch, where you can sing your favorite songs while enjoying a warm footbath. FIORIA is the most costly one in these 10 karaoke shops, but the food and environment worth the price with no doubt.

FIORIA Information

Website (Languages can be changed at the top right corner)

Store locator (Japanese; use the “English” button on top to switch languages)

Average price: From ¥3,500 for 2hours (depending on courses)

 

PASELA RESORTS (カラオケ パセラ)Pasela Resorts akihabara showa-dori tokyo karaoke shops

PASELA RESORTS has been rated highest in customer satisfaction among all Japan karaoke shops for 2 years. As what its name stated, PASELA RESORTS are furnished like tropical resorts and amenities are well prepared—just like what hotels do.

Akihabara Showa-Dori branch is definitely the most special one that rooms are designed in an early Showa style, where you can enjoy karaoke in retro Japan rooms like Sento (Japanese communal bath house) and old-style train.

Besides making you feel like being in a resort, “Colabo Rooms” of popular anime are also one of the most attractive points here. Listen, all fans of “Monster Hunters”, “Evangelion”, “Sengoku Basara”, “FF Series” and “Hakuoki”, coming here to take lots of photos and “Check in” on Facebook is a must-do in Japan!

PASELA RESORTS Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Store locator (via Google Translate)

Average price:

  • ¥200 – ¥600 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required
  • ¥1,500 – ¥2,800 for free-time (11:00pm – 7:00am / 10:00pm –5:00am) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required *Time slots may be different depending on branches

 

MANEKINEKO (まねきねこ)

Manekineko tokyo karaoke shops

Another popular karaoke chain in Japan! MANEKINEKO is the cheapest karaoke chain in the morning time. Guess how much is it? It’s only 10yen (≈$0.09USD) every 30minutes! If you are going to burn off your calories or blow off your steam in the morning, come to MANEKINEKO!

MANEKINEKO Information

Website (via Google Translate)

Store locator (Languages can be changed at the top right corner)

Average price:

  • ¥10 – ¥500 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required
  • ¥500 – ¥2,500 for free-time (8:00am – 8:00pm / 4:00pm – 12:00am / 10:00pm – 5:00am) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required *Only for ten first-come groups in each time slot *Time slots may be different depending on branches

 

ROUND1

round1 tokyo karaoke shopsRound1 is the amusement shop chain of the highest sales in Japan. Being a multi-purpose entertainment center, Round1 offers sport games like bowling, billiard, as well as karaoke. Round1 caters to families that you may bring your kids here to karaoke and game center after doing some exercises.

Round1 Information

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

Store locator (Japanese)

Average price:

  • ¥200 – ¥600 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink is required
  • ¥1000 – ¥2,200 for free-time (Entering between 6:00am – 1:00pm / 1:00pm – 6:00pm / 6:00pm – 1:00am / 1:00am – 6:00am) (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Until 6:00am of the next day *Order of minimum 1drink is required *Time slots may be different depending on branches

Tips to save your money:

  • Morning free-time discount: Weekdays ¥580 (Entering between Open – 11:00am), Sat-Sun-Holidays ¥880 (Entering between 5:00am – 9:00am) *Until 6:00am of the next day *With all-you-can-drink *Order of minimum 1drink is required
  • Weekdays free-time campaign: ¥780 (Entering between 11:00am – 1:00pm) *Until 6:00am of the next day *Order of minimum 1drink is required

 

Karaoke Adores (カラオケアドアーズ)

adores akihabara tokyo karaoke shops

Adores is one of the largest game center chains in Japan. The 2 karaoke shops under the company is similar to the Round1, where you can play arcade games, UFO catchers and sing karaoke in one-building.

The Akihabara branch is a little different from the other game centers in Akihabara that it is the only game center equipped with karaoke rooms. 6 concept rooms including “Princess Rooms”, “Gothic Rooms” and “Live Stage Rooms” are offered, catering to not only karaoke singers, but also the cosplayers who want to take beautiful photos in the rooms.You can also borrow free cosplay costumes of idols, maids or popular anime here!

Karaoke Adores Information

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

Monzennaka-cho branch (via Google Translate)

Akihabara branch (via Google Translate)

Average price:

  • ¥90 – ¥800 every 30 minutes (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink may be required
  • ¥1,400 – ¥3,500 for free-time (depending on time of day and day of the week) *Order of minimum 1drink may be required

Tips to save your money:

 

The times you’ve wandered into a strange karaoke building only to find out they don’t have or offer certain services are over. Go forth, and “rock the mic” at which Karaoke fits you best.
Happy Karaoke-ing!

June 12, 2016 0 comment
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Shrine Entrance FI, Tokyo, Japan

I was nervous the first time I visited a Shinto shrine in Japan. I mean, I have a passing familiarity with Western religion, so I generally know what is and isn’t acceptable in a church or synagogue. But a shrine? I didn’t know what to do, what to say, and I had Ricky Bobby-esque anxieties about what to do with my hands. I certainly didn’t want to make anyone angry by bowing or clapping at the wrong time, or by accidentally treading on sacred ground. Heck, I didn’t even know what the sacred ground looked like, much less how to avoid trampling it.

If you’re reading this, you are probably in a similar situation. You’d like to visit one of those magnificent Shinto shrines that you have heard about, but you want to be careful to do it the right way and not give offense. And not only are we here to help, we got some expert help ourselves! For this article, we visited the Shinagawa Jinja in Shinagawa and were expertly assisted by Negi-Sama Suzuki, a Shinto priest.

Photography

Can you take pictures at a Shinto shrine? Many shrines have beautiful architecture and artwork, and it would be a shame not to snap a memento, right? In general, it is acceptable to take photos on the temple grounds using small cameras or smartphones. There are some areas where photos are not permitted (such as the inside of the shrine itself), and those areas are labelled with the international “no photos” sign.

Also, shrines would prefer if you didn’t show up with professional equipment (TV cameras, tripods, etc.). Such things tend to get in the way of other visitors and detract from the shrine’s peaceful atmosphere.

 

Arriving at the Shrine

Shinagawa Shinto Shrine Entrance Tokyo Japan

So you’ve entered the shrine and the first thing you see is a long, flagstone path with torii gates at regular intervals. And now you have to make your approach to the shrine proper.

The first thing you need to know (and Mr. Suzuki was especially quick to point it out, so it must be a pet peeve of his) is that you are not supposed to walk in the center of the path. The center of the path is reserved for the kami (gods and spirits) only, like a spiritual fast lane. I saw no gods coming and going during my visit, but I doubt that I would want to be in their way if they decided to return (or depart) while I was there.

The next thing you need to know is to bow at each torii gate. If you spend any time at all in Japan, you will be doing quite a bit of bowing when talking to other people. However, the shrine bow is a little different; every time you bow, you want to bend your body all the way to 90 degrees (see the video if you are unsure how to do this). Please note that this isn’t a Bruce Lee movie or a martial arts competition; there is no opponent to keep your eye on.

 

The Purification Fountain

Purification Fountain Shinagawa Shinto Shrine Tokyo Japan

At Shinto shrines, you will usually see a purification fountain somewhere in the vicinity of the shrine itself. Many people skip these, but it might be good to have a surprise up your sleeve if people think you’re just another out-of-town visitor.

First, you’ll pick up the ladle with your right hand and fill the cup in the fountain. Now back up! You don’t want to commit a faux pas like I did in the video and allow water to drain back into the fountain. So with the water in the ladle, first wash your left hand (allowing water to spill into the drain below), then your right hand. You will then put water in your left hand and use that to wash out your mouth (spitting into the drain next to the fountain). After that, you will wash your left hand again. If there is any water left after all of this, tilt the ladle upwards to drain, then replace it where you found it for the next person.

 

The Main Shrine

The main shrine will be the largest building on the grounds. Depending on your timing, there may or may not be a line leading up to the shrine area.

When you get to the front, the first thing to do is bow (remember, 90 degrees). You then put your monetary offering in the box (10 yen is okay, but you can do more if you like) and ring the bell one time. Now you bow twice, clap twice, and pray (the folded hands being similar to the Christian tradition). Once you are finished, you bow once more and then back away. Be careful not to turn completely around; apparently the gods find the view of your posterior offensive, and may be inclined to give it a good kick if no one is looking.

Another thing you will see at a Shinto shrine is an Omikuji fortune box. For 100 yen, you can select one fortune. At larger shrines (such as Senso-ji Shrine in Asakusa) you would be able to get one in English, but in smaller places you will only get one in Japanese (this is where having a Japanese friend comes in handy). If your fortune is good, keep it! If it is bad, you can tie it to the nearby tree or other designated place and leave your bad luck behind.

 

Smaller Shrines

Shinto shrines usually house more than just the one main shrine. There are many smaller shrines on the grounds of the Shinagawa Jinja, each dedicated to a kami or some other aspect of human concerns (such as the fox shrine for business). These smaller shrines have coin boxes for offerings, so be sure to have yen ready when you stop (10 yen is an appropriate amount to offer).

Offering Box Shinagawa Shinto Shrine Tokyo Japan

Most shrines are simply of the bow-and-pray-and-donate variety, though there are some that require a little more from the visitor (such as the coin washing shrine in the video).

 

Omamori

Omamori Shinagawa Shinto Shrine Tokyo Japan

At the end of your visit to the shrine, you can buy an omamori at the administrative building. Omamori are small charms devoted to one aspect of human concern or another, offering protection for the holder. Some are for protection from illness, protect travelers, and success in business, while others have more practical goals (such as the round “bumper sticker” that protects your car from accidents). Omamori are not particularly expensive (500 yen and up) and are wonderful souvenirs of your visit.

 

And Other Things You Might See

Beyond the shrines, there is another feature you might notice about the Shinagawa Jinja and similar shrines. These shrines have large mounds, studded with small shrines, leading to a larger shrine on top. These are fujizuka, and are stand-ins for Mount Fuji. In the past, climbing Mount Fuji was a religious devotional rite, but some worshipers grew old or infirm and were unable to complete the journey. Fujizuka were established at many shrines to enable worshipers to complete the rites that they would otherwise be unable to perform.

If you visit a shrine around the New Year, you will find it to be very crowded. You have encountered everyone at hatsumōde, their first trip to the Shinto shrine in the New Year. It’s a great time to go to the shrine, so don’t let the long lines put you off of your visit! The Shinagawa Jinja conducts blessings, mochi poundings, and sells many omamori and omikuji.

Shinto shrines are also the focal points for matsuri festivals. If you’re in town at the right time, you can join in the festivities and help carry a mikoshi shrine! See our Matsuri How-To article for details.

One thing I found surprising about shrines were the large number of food and game booths on the temple grounds during festivals. I had visions of Jesus making a whip of cords and laying a beatdown on money-changers and dove-sellers, but this is normal for shrines during festivals. Feel free to enjoy yourself without fears of spiritual wrath!

I hope that we have made you a little more comfortable with the idea of visiting a Shinto Shrine in Japan. I’d like to close by thanking Negi-sama Suzuki and the Shinagawa Jinja for helping us out. So get your camera and coins ready and be sure to visit a shrine during your trip to Japan!

 

Shinagawa Jinja Shinto Shrine Information

Shinagawa Tourism Association website

Nearest Station: Shimbamba Station on the Keikyu line

 

Estimated Price: Donations (10 yen per shine is appropriate); Omamori can be purchased for 500 yen and up

“Why Go?”: See a beautiful and accessible example of a Shinto shrine; climb a fujizuka if you don’t have time to go all the way out to Mount Fuji. Get an omamori and omikuji as a memento of your trip!

March 11, 2016 0 comment
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