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Starving, but only have 500 Yen (5 USD) left in your wallet? Or are you just looking for a restaurant that serves delicious food at a cheap price? Let me show you the ten best cheap restaurants in Tokyo.

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants : Sukiya (すき家)

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Sukiya is a restaurant that serves gyudon (beef bowl). Gyudon is a bowl of rice with onions and slices of beef with sauce on top. Sukiya is a popular fast food chain in Tokyo, with more than 270 locations in the capital. You only need 350 yen to order a regular size of gyudon. You can also order curry and rice or pork and rice without spending more than 500 yen.

Japanese people eating at Sukiya often put a raw egg on the top of the beef bowl. Don’t worry–it’s perfectly fine, and tasty too! When mingling the slices of beef with a raw egg, the rice entirely absorbs the essence of egg and beef sauce. You will find out that you are entirely addicted to this bowl.

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Sukiya Information

You can visit Sukiya’s website here Website (English). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Instagram.

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open 24 Hours.

 

Yoshinoya吉野家

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

If you like gyudon, you will also like Yoshinoya. Yoshinoya is found in 1899. In other words, it is one of the oldest fast food chains in Japan. It also mainly serves gyudon. Comparing to Sukiya, Yoshinoya’s beef is fatter, and the sauce is sweeter. In addition, it will also be a good idea to add some red ginger on the top of the beef in order to kill bacteria in your mouth. But it really depends on your preferences. One thing I really like about Yoshinoya is that the food comes fast because the food will be delivered to you within 5 minutes after you ordered your food.

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Besides gyudon, Yoshinoya serves diverse dishes and also offer seasonal dishes to customers. One weird phenomenon though, ladies usually do not visit Yoshinoya. Thus, when you enter the store, you will see that 95% of the customers are male. Hence, if you feel awkward, grab someone to come with you.

Yoshinoya Information

You can visit Yoshinoya’s website here. Website (English). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Instagram.

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open 24 Hours

CoCo Ichibanya CoCo壱番屋

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

If you don’t like gyudon, CoCo Ichibanya seems like to be another good choice for you. It exclusively serves curry and rice to their guests. But Japanese curry is unique. When people think about curry, they will instantly think about spicy and hot. This is not the case in Japan, particularly in CoCo Ichibanya. You can select spicy and sweet curry. You can also choose the spicy or sweet level of your own dishes. If you want, you are able to add money to increase the size of your rice and choose other side dishes too. Anyway, it only costs you 484 yen to order pork curry and rice.

CoCo Ichibanya Information

You can visit CoCo’s website here. Website (English). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese) and Instagram.

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open 24 Hours

Fuji Soba名代富士そば

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Who don’t want to eat healthy? Fuji Soba is a good place to provide nutritious noodles with economical price because the soba are made of buckwheat, which consist elements that can reduce cholesterol and maintain bone health. It is also beneficial to your digestive system. These are only few from the list; buckwheat can have much more benefits to human bodies.

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Most of the options from the menu are lower than 500 yen. As a result, eating cheap and healthy will not be an issue to you anymore.

Fuji Soba Information

You can visit Fujisoba’s wbesite here. Website (Japanese). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese)Twitter, and Instagram.

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open 24 Hours

Hanamaruはなまる

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Individuals always look for a restaurant that can be sensitive to the needs of guests. Hanamaru is one of them. Guests can always choose either eating a light or heavy udon meal in this fast food restaurant. Hanamaru has listed out the calories that each of their udon set consists.

Hanamaru is a half self-serve restaurant. When you go in, please tell the stuff that which udon set you want. You also need to tell them whether hot or cold udon you want to choose. After they give you the bowl, you can choose your own side dishes, such as tempura and hot spring egg by tongs. If you are thirsty, you can help yourselves to fill up water or tea into your cup. Afterward, you pay and find your own seat.

Hanamaru Information

You can visit Hanamaru’s website here. Website (English). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese)Twitter, and Instagram (Japanese).

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open Everyday from 5 a.m. – 1 a.m.

Chikara Meshi 東京チカラめし

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Our next stop is Chikara Meshi. You might start to wonder what in the world am I doing to introduce beef again. Well, have you tried a grill beef bowl on an iron board? I am not kidding. Yes, the stuff of Chikara Meshi will put the beef on an iron board in order to maintain the heat of the meat and cook the vegetables for you. You can consider eating at Chikara Meshi as having an individual teppanyaki meal. The only difference is that ordering a grill beef set with vegetable and miso soup costs you 500 yen.  Oppositely, teppanyaki restaurants cannot provide you the meal with the exact same price. If you don’t want to try to iron board meal, you can still try other grill bowls.

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Chikara Meshi Information

You can visit Chikara Meshi’s website here. Website (Japanese). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese)Twitter, and Instagram.

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open Everyday from 5 a.m. – 3 a.m.

Matsuya 松屋

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Since 2005, Matsuya starts to expand their business network to the United States. Individuals might have already heard about this restaurant. Although Matsuya sells similar meals as Yoshinoya and Chikara Meshi, Matsuya still has its selling point. They provide vegetable salad with three to four different dressings. They also offer miso soup with unlimited refill. Thus, if you don’t like eating too much meat, Matsuya’s food can be a blessing for your digestive system. Besides beef or pork bowl, Matsuya also serves customers with diverse curry sets and other seasonal set meals. Guests can always find surprise while eating in Matsuya. When you pass by one of them, make sure to try it out.

Matsuya Information

You can visit Matsuya’s website here. Website (English). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese), Twitter, and Instagram (Japanese).

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open 24 Hours

MOS Burger モスバーガー

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Restaurants endeavor to localize foreign food in order to satisfy local people’s flavors. For example, eating American food in Japanese style. MOS Burger is one of them. Have you heard about rice burgers? Pardon? Yea, you can find burgers made of rice in this fast food chain. The stuff from this restaurant also adds teriyaki sauce or other Japanese meat sauces and vegetables into the hamburgers. A simple burger can produce complicated flavors due to various dimensions of ingredients.

If you don’t want to drink soda, MOS Burger can offer you a cup of corn soup. Don’t forget the French fries as well because you can also find one of the thickest fries in here. Disregarding the set meal itself, you can exclusively buy a Japanese burger within 5 USD,

MOS Burger Information

You can visit MOS Burger’s website here. Website (English). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese)Twitter, and Instagram (Japanese).

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open Everyday from 5 a.m. – 3 a.m.

Saizeriya サイゼリヤ

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Living in Japan sometimes causes you to be homesick because you occasionally miss the food back home. You want to have pasta, pizza, steak, and cheesecake. Well, Saizeriya can satisfy all of your appetite because it is an Italian fast food chain. Customers only need to spend 500 yen ordering a set lunch, which include one main course, unlimited cups of soup, and one dish of vegetable salad. All other pasta and pizza only cost you 500 yen.

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Have you heard about Doria? Doria is similar to gratin, but people put rice instead. People add sauce, cheese, vegetables, and meat on the top, and then put in the oven and bake it. My dear friends, Doria is prominent in the Japanese world. I highly recommend you to try it. Besides the food you have ordered, you just need to add 190 yen to have unlimited, self-service drinks.

Saiziriya Information

You can visit Saiziriya’s website here. Website (Japanese). Follow them on social media at Facebook (Japanese)Twitter, and Instagram (Japanese).

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open Everyday from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Tenya天丼てんや

Cheap Tokyo Restaurants

Tendon is one of the luxury cuisines in Japan due to its ingredients. One bowl of tendon consists one to two pieces of shrimp, some seafood, and vegetables. If you go to a high-class restaurant, one set mean can cost you few thousand yen to 20,000 yen. However, you can make a deal with Tenya in 500 yen. With the unique tempura sauce on the top of the rice, you will recognize that tendon is a miracle!

Tenya Information

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

For your convenience, here is the List of Locations.

Hours of Operation: Open Everyday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Eating in low-priced restaurants with delightful food will definitely uplift the quality of your trip. Therefore, if you haven’t been one of those restaurants, you probably miss out a chance to experience of Japanese fast food culture. Furthermore, when you go to one of those restaurants, please remember to say “hi” to me!

March 6, 2017 0 comment
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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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Tell Lifeline

Immediate Help and Resources for English-Speakers in Japan

 

 

TELL Lifeline: 03-5774-0992. Free, anonymous telephone counseling all across Japan, 9:00 am – 11:00 pm daily

Police: 03-3501-0110. Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 5:15 pm. After hours, dial 110 and stay on the line. They will find someone who can help you.

Fire & Ambulance: Dial 119 and stay on the line. They will find someone who can help you.

Poison Control: US Air Force Hospital Yokota, 0425-52-2511, ext. 57740. 24 hours.

Other Emergency Resources

About TELL Lifeline

TELL Lifeline

Tokyo can be a rough city. Crowded trains, language barriers, and difficulty adjusting to a new land and a new way of life can chip away at the confidence and soul of even the most stalwart expat. Family issues, money problems, addictions, and the other ailments facing the modern city dweller may cause some to simply give in to despair.

If you are living in Tokyo, you may feel isolated from others and that your problems are overwhelming. But help is available in the form of the TELL Lifeline. Founded in 1972, TELL has helped hundreds of thousands of people throughout Japan.

 

How the TELL Lifeline Can Help You

The original TELL Lifeline service is the free, anonymous counseling number: 03-5774-0992.

TELL Japan website | Facebook | Twitter

But you do not have to be in dire need to call or visit their website for help. TELL offers numerous services to the community, from counseling services to outreach programs to a wiki for handling everyday annoyances.

Counseling: Sometimes life can be overwhelming, and more in-depth assistance may be needed. It doesn’t matter whether you live in the middle of Tokyo or in a small town in Kyushu – you can call TELL and get help (phone number for counseling services is 03-4550-1146 in English and 03-4550-1147 in Japanese). TELL offers services to adults, youths, children, and even has resources for issues in the workplace.

TELL can set up face-to-face counseling or provide it over the Internet, so distance is not a reason to avoid calling. Japanese National Health Insurance does not cover counseling, but TELL offers a sliding-scale fee system to make care affordable to those who need it.

Outreach Programs: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. TELL offers a number of outreach programs, covering topics ranging from Child Protection and Anti-Bullying to Exceptional Parenting and Suicide Awareness and Prevention, and a whole lot more. Visit the website or call 03-4550-1911 to learn about their programs to help you and your family live a happier, safer life.

Online Directory: TELL’s online directory can help you with a multitude of not-emergency-but-still-important issues. the wiki covers topics ranging from legal and health issues all the way down to finding a bookstore or library so you can read a bedtime story that night. Best of all, you can contribute to this wiki, allowing English speakers living in Japan to pool their knowledge and help each other.

How You Can Help the TELL Lifeline

TELL offers a wide range of services to the community, but they need help too! TELL receives no government funds and relies on the community to help them continue their good work.

Donations: You can donate directly to TELL via Paypal, Bank Transfer, or Postal Transfer, either as a one-time donation or by offering monthly support. Donations are tax-deductible.

You can also donate goods and services, such as bottled water and energy drinks, serviceable IT gear and office supplies, etc. as detailed in the link.

Volunteer: TELL needs you! TELL is always looking for counselors for the TELL Lifeline. Although difficult, there are many rewards for becoming a a Lifeline Phone Counselor beyond just helping those in need. If you want to become a Lifeline Phone Counselor, follow this link for more information.

Not all volunteer opportunities require a large commitment. TELL always needs volunteers for events and to help with office work at busy times of the year. Follow the link to learn more about volunteering.

Sponsorship: Corporate sponsorship plays a very important part in supporting TELL services. If your company is interested in supporting TELL, follow this link to find out more.

Upcoming Events

TELL is constantly raising awareness for suicide prevention and other issues. They hold a regular Pub Quiz at the Hobgoblin in Shibuya, an annual Runathon, and many other events. Keep up with the latest TELL events on their website by following this link.

Life can get you down sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you have to face everything alone. Take care out there, Japan. TELL is here if you need them.

For more information on living in Tokyo, please click on one of the links below–

September 22, 2016 0 comment
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Japan Travel Apps

Japan Travel Apps

 Japan Travel Apps

Preparing to come to Japan is difficult, especially when it comes to technology, but Enablejapan.com has you covered!

Sure, it’s easy to look at our wonderful website and imagine yourself coming to Japan and seeing all of the great things that Tokyo has to offer. But once you get here, you may find that navigating the city streets in person is a little tougher. And who are you going to ask for help?

If you haven’t already, have a look at our Guide to Getting Wifi and Phone Services in Tokyo. Got it? Good! Now that you have a phone and wifi, finding your way around Japan will be that much easier!

Here is our list of the top apps you should download on your smartphone before visiting Japan. These apps will help you deal with transportation, communication, and other traveling conundrums. Once you get here, we promise you won’t regret it!

Top Japan Travel Apps: Japan Travel

Japan Travel App Tokyo
 Japan Travel is one of the top Japan travel apps for English-speaking travelers in Japan. They have articles to help you through different traveling obstacles, like getting to and from airports and how to rent cars in Japan. They also have a route section of the app to help you navigate trains, buses, and streets. Japan Travel also has a section to help you find free Wi-Fi, currency exchanges, ATMs, train stations, and other tourist information nearby. Even longtime residents use this app to help them find their way around on the trains when they are going someplace new.

 Price: Free

Make an account?: No

Can download from: The App Store and Google Play

 

Google Maps

Beyond the fact that all of our articles use it to get you where you want to go, I can tell you from first-hand experience that Google Maps is a lifesaver while traveling in Japan. While many other map applications won’t recognize Japanese addresses, Google Maps will sort it out and get you exactly where you need to go. They will give you directions by car, train, bus, walking, or Uber, and give the exact amount of time it takes to get there. They will also give the amount of money each route will cost, train schedules, and delays if there are any.

Price: Free

Make an Account?: No

Can download from: The App Store and Google Play

 

Taxi!

English Taxi Travel

When you don’t speak Japanese, it can be hard to call a cab.And even if you get one, how do you explain where you are going and what you are doing? The drivers know major hotels and restaurants, but you’re going to have a problem if you want to do anything else.

Lucky for you, we have an article specifically about getting taxis (and Uber) in Tokyo and beyond. Download them and you will never have to worry about partying past train operating hours again!

 

Google Translate [offline]

Travel Apps Tokyo Japan

If you don’t know Japanese, having a translation app is extremely helpful. Although traditional Google Translate requires cellular data or Wi-Fi, it can be used offline if you download the Japanese translation files. This way  you can communicate with people around you even if you don’t have cellular data or Wi-Fi. To download the offline component of the app, first download Google Translate. Then go to Settings –> Offline Translation, and click “Upgrade” next to Japanese.

If you are using data or Wi-Fi, you can take pictures (signs, menus, or other Japanese text), speak into the microphone, write on the screen, etc. and the app will translate it all for you. Do note that due to the differences between Japanese and English in regards to grammar, idioms, etc. you aren’t going to sound smooth (the translation in the picture is not great). But you will be understandable.

Price: Free

Make an Account?: No

Can download from: The App Store and Google Play

 Japan Connected – Free Wi-Fi

Japan is really good about having free Wi-Fi in restaurants and train stations, and this app is here to make it easier for you to get connected! It is especially helpful in case you are here short-term or are on a budget and don’t want to purchase a prepaid cell phone or international data. The app (which has over 146,000 spots in its memory banks) will search for free Wi-Fi in the area and notify you.

Price: Free

Make an Account?: Account required

Can download from: The App Store and Google Play

 

So there you have it! There are plenty of Japan travel apps that will make your Tokyo experience easy and convenient! Good luck, and happy traveling!

For more help with your Tokyo traveling experience, click on the links below–

July 20, 2016 0 comment
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Ebisu Garden Place Observation Deck, Tokyo, Japan

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

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

Day 1 – Embrace the Touristy Side of Tokyo

9:00 a.m. Shibuya

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

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

10:00 a.m. Harajuku/Meijinjingunmae

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

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

12:00pm Bask in the touristy glow of Shinjuku

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

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

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

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

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

Akihabara Stores, Akihabara, Tokyo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ebisu

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

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

Day 2—The Triangle Experience

8:00 a.m. Breakfast in Shibuya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ebisu Garden Place Tower, Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan

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

June 13, 2016 0 comment
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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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English Taxi Travel

English is not widely spoken in Japan, so it can be difficult to navigate the streets and get to your desired location. Despite the fact that Tokyo has four times as many taxis (50,000) as New York City, there are two main problems for visitors. First, it can be difficult to give the correct directions if you cannot speak Japanese. Second, long lines and lengthy waits are common in popular areas such as Ginza or Shinjuku. Although Tokyo has an excellent public transportation infrastructure, taxis become a necessary mode of transportation after midnight once the trains stop running.

But never fear! We here at EnableJapan have done the research so that you don’t have to worry about getting stranded in an unfamiliar town. Below is a list of the most convenient companies for English taxi travel in Japan.

JapanTaxi App (Android)


The most convenient and efficient way to reserve a taxi for English-speakers in Japan is the JapanTaxi app, which was launched in 2014. JapanTaxi agglomerates Japanese taxi operators across the country, and has coverage over all of Japan’s 47 prefectures with 29,625 cars available from 163 taxi companies. Simply download and open the app, and tap “Call taxi here” to hail a cab from the various companies available.


Main page
Companies on offerThis is especially useful when facing a long taxi queue, or at night when taxis are sparse. There is no registration required, but keep in mind that unlike Uber, you have to pay in cash directly to the driver. The app essentially connects you to a driver from a registered cab company, and you can set your destination within the app.

Nihon Kotsu

Nihon Kotsu is a well-established taxi company in Tokyo with over 3,200 taxis. Nihon Kotsu operates a 24/7 English line where reservations can be taken for English speakers. The taxi bookings are taken efficiently, and cash and card are accepted in all Nihon Kotsu cabs. A typical taxi ride starts at ¥730 for the first two kilometers, plus ¥90 per 280m thereafter. There is also a late-night surcharge of 20% between 10:00PM-5:00AM.
English phone line (24/7): 03-5755-2336

MK Taxi

MK Taxi is an upscale service, offering premium cars with chauffeur service. All of the high-end automobiles are fitted with free Wi-Fi and offer a 24/7 telephone interpreter service, ensuring that you can communicate accurately with the driver. Fares start from ¥640 for the first 1.72 kilometers, plus ¥90 per 280m after. There is a late-night surcharge of 10% between 11:00PM-5:00AM, and if you request for a luxury vehicle, a flat fee of ¥1,000 is added.

Make sure you check out their special promotions, where you can book taxis to Haneda or Narita at a significantly reduced fare. MK Taxi is great for airport transfers as they also offer a 10% discount for charges over ¥9,000.

Uber

Although Uber is popular in other major cities like London and New York, the company has a comparatively small presence in Japan.  Tokyo is the only Japanese city where the service operates, and there is a lack of operators in the city. Wait times are significantly longer than for its competitors, not to mention more expensive. UberBLACK fares start at ¥103, and is ¥67 per minute plus ¥309 per kilometer. This means that the fare quickly adds up, and you’ll generally pay more than Uber’s competitors. The only advantages of Uber in Tokyo are that there are no late-night surcharges and the cashless fare system.

Special mention:

Line Taxi is a relatively new service integrated with the popular LINE app and could very well become the “Uber of Japan”. It’s a good service, but not geared towards foreign customers. Line Taxi utilizes Line Pay for payment, which requires the user to have a Japanese driver’s license or insurance card, as well as a Japanese credit card.

June 7, 2016 0 comment
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Kiertsin Tokyo Hair Salons

When you are staying in Tokyo, finding the perfect hair salon for you might pose a challenge. A Western friend of mine lived in Tokyo for years, and she said that finding hair dressers was especially difficult, since they were all used to working with thicker Japanese hair. Average Japanese salons would fry her hair. So not only will you need an English-speaking hairdresser, you also may need a hairdresser that can cater to thinner Western manes. Here is a list of our top ten salons for foreigners.

 

Tokyo Hair Salons : Assort International Hair Salon

According to Assort’s website, they are, “recognized as Tokyo’s #1 English-friendly hair salon with great services with international experience.” They are located in Minato. A standard cut is ¥6,000, and they also do eyebrows, styling, treatments, color, perms, and make up. First time clients can receive a free treatment and a ¥1,000 discount. Reservations can be made on their website.


Nearest Subway stop: 5 minute walk from Gaien-Mae Station, on the Ginza Line
Telephone: 03-5772-6461
Website
Hours of Operation
Tuesday-Friday: 11:00am-9:00pm (21:00)
Saturday: 10:00am- 8:00pm (20:00)
Sundays & Holidays: 10:00am-7:00pm (19:00)
Closed on Mondays

 

Dude

Dude is another salon that caters to foreigners as they speak English fluently and import hair colors specifically for Western hair. The salon is located in Shimokitazawa, and is known for its laid-back atmosphere. Standard cut prices are ¥6,600 for men and ¥6,900 for women. Dude also does color & cut, highlights & cut, and super blonde highlights & cut. Furthermore, Dude offers free consultations and free color sample tests.


Nearest Subway stop: 3 minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station, on the Keio-Inokashira and Odakyu Lines
Telephone: 03-3468-9116
Website
Hours of Operation
Wednesday-Friday: 10:00am-7:30pm (19:30)
Thursday: 10:00am- 8:30pm (20:30)
Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays: 10:00am- 7:00pm (19:00)
Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays

 

Gold Salon Tokyo

Gold Salon Tokyo staffs only foreign hair professionals, all fluent in English. A standard cut is ¥8,500 yen, and a cut without shampoo is ¥5,000 yen. Gold Salon also helps with coloring, straightening, hair extensions, and hair treatments, including keratin and conditioning treatments. They have been featured in Metropolis magazine, and appointments can be made on their website.


Nearest Subway stop: 4 minute walk from Azabu-Juban Station, on the Namboku and Oedo Lines
Telephone: 03-6436-0228
Website
Hours of Operation
Monday, Wednesday-Saturday: 10:00am-8:00pm (20:00)
Closed Tuesdays and Sundays

 

Hayato Salon

Hayato Salon has branches in the USA and the UK, so they have a lot of experience working with thinner hair. Most of the staff is bilingual and have worked in either London or New York. They offer a relaxing environment. Cut prices range from ¥5,000- ¥15,000, depending on the stylist. They also offer straight, wavy, and curly perms, coloring, styling, conditioning treatments, and hair extensions. If you share your new hairstyle to social media, they will even give you a ¥500 discount.


Nearest Subway stop: 6 minute walk from Roppongi Station, on the Hibiya and Oedo Lines
Telephone: 03-5574-8844 or book your Hayato appointment through Voyagin!
Website
Hours of Operation
Weekdays & Holidays: 10:00am- 9:00pm (21:00)
Sundays: 10:00am- 7:00pm (19:00)
Closed Tuesdays

 

QB House

QB House Tokyo Hair Salons

Editor’s note: Ok, I have to step in here. This has been bothering me ever since I published this article, and I can remain silent no longer.

Hi, guys! Yes, I’m speaking specifically to guys. Because men are the only people I have ever seen inside the QB House. This is not a place my wife would be caught dead in.

Have you seen the prices at some of the other places in this article? It’s going to cost you at least 5000 yen to get your hair cut at one of those salons. This is fine if you’re one of those guys with gorgeous locks who is still grinding it out on the dating treadmill. Me? I’m not that guy. I have a sports cut, which requires no maintenance and makes a neat scratching noise when I move my head back and forth on my pillow at night.

That’s why I prefer the QB House. 1080 yen gets you a serviceable cut in 10 minutes or less. Obviously, this is not the place to get fancy–they got a barber chair and a barber and that’s it, friendo. If you’re looking for a shampoo or highlights or whatever, go somewhere else. But if all you want is to keep from having to comb your hair in the morning, this is your spot. Some rudimentary Japanese will be required (“suportsu-cutto”) but you should be able to handle it. And if you can’t? Well, it’ll grow back. Until the day it doesn’t.

QB House barber shops are small businesses, but they’re all over the place. I prefer the one on the Keikyu train platform at Shinagawa Station, but you can find your own here (or have someone find it for you, because the QB House’s only English websites are for Singapore and Hong Kong).

And the “How-to” is even printed on the outside, for your convenience.

QB House Hair 2

And now, back to the fancy places.

 

Shinka

Shinka is an originally Australian hair salon with a branch in Roppongi. It serves customers from all around the world, and features happy customer reviews on their website. A regular cut is about ¥6,250 for women and ¥5,750 for men. Shinka also does coloring, perms, airwaves, straightening, hair treatments, highlights, hair styling, eyebrows, and head spas. They will also cut children’s hair for less.


Nearest Subway stop: 8 minute walk from Azabu-Juban Station, on the Namboku and Oedo Lines
Telephone: 03-5575-6768
Website
Hours of Operation
Monday- Friday: 11:00am- 8:30pm (20:30)
Saturdays & Public Holidays: 10:30am- 6:30pm (18:30)
Closed Sundays & the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month

 

Sin Den

Sin Den is a salon that specializes in foreign hair, so no matter what hair you have on your head, Sin Den will accommodate to your needs. Many of their hairdressers are foreign themselves. Located in Shibuya, basic haircut prices range from ¥6,500 to ¥9,500. Discounts are given for children, and special styling is an extra cost. Sin Den also can help you with make-up, bridal packages, hair treatments, hair coloring, and nails.


Nearest Subway stop: 8 minute walk from Gaien-Mae Station, on the Ginza Line, and a 10 minute walk from Omote-sando Station on the Chiyoda, Ginza, and Hanzomon Lines
Telephone: 03-3405-4409
Website
Hours of Operation: Wednesday – Monday 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.

 

VIP Creative Hair International

Vip Creative Hair International is a foreigner favorite salon, and their website features many positive testimonies from English speaking clients. A haircut for women costs ¥7,000 whilst a men’s haircut is ¥6,000. They will also do styling, color, perms, hair treatments, facial waxing, make up, and eyebrows. Specific directions to the salon can be found on their website.


Nearest Subway stop: 9 minute walk from Hiro-O Station, on the Hibiya Line
Telephone: 03-6408-6132
Website
Hours of Operation
Tuesday- Saturday: 10:00am-8:00pm (20:00)
Sundays & Holidays: 10:00am-7:00pm (19:00)
Closed Mondays

 

Watanabe Hair

Although the website’s English may not be perfect, Watanabe Hair is regarded as one of the top hair salons in all of Tokyo. Women’s and men’s standard cuts are both ¥5,500. Prices may vary based on the stylist, and children’s cuts are discounted. Watanabe also can color and perm your hair.
Address: 3-25-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001


Nearest Subway stop: 9 minute walk from Harajuku Station, on the JR Yamanote Line
Telephone: 03-3405-1188
Website
Hours of Operation
Tuesday- Friday: 11:00am- 9:00pm (21:00)
Saturdays: 10:00am- 9:00pm (21:00)
Sundays & Public Holidays: 10:00am- 8:00pm (20:00)
Closed Tuesdays and the 3rd Monday of the month

 

WEC Hair

Tokyo Hair Salons WEC Hair is a salon located in Ebisu. The owner has worked in London, New York, and on Hollywood movie sets as a stylist. He also speaks English fluently. A regular cut is ¥5940, with discounts for kids. They also do color, perms, straight perms, hair treatments, hair sets and blows, and head spas. Appointments can be made on the website or by calling the salon number.

 


Nearest Subway stop: 5 minute walk from Ebisu Station, on the Hibiya, Saikyo, Tokaido, Shonan-Shinjuku, and Yamanote Lines
Telephone: 03-6277-4344
Website
Hours of Operation
Weekdays: 11:00am- 10:00pm (22:00)
Saturday: 10:00am-7:00pm (19:00)
Sunday: 10:00am- 6:30pm (18:30)

Did we miss anybody? Do you want your salon featured in this space? If so, send us an email and let us know!

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May 31, 2016 0 comment
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