TOKYO

Illuminations

illuminations7

After the Halloween parties and celebrations are over, Tokyo and its surroundings start to brighten up for upcoming holiday season: Christmas and New Year. In the recent years, illuminations gained popularity and many people look forward to this time of year as they enjoy the holiday atmosphere created by the illuminations. Below, are some of the best illuminations in Tokyo that we think are definitely worth a visit:

 

Seibuen-yuenchi illuminations

 

Seibuen-yuenchi is an amusement park located in Saitama, accessed by Seibu-Yuenchi station or Yuenchi-nishi stations of Seibu line. It has varying attractions depending on the season; for instance, in the winter it changes into a winter wonderland.

 

We would recommend visiting this illumination to those who enjoy large-scale illuminations alongside music and other attractions. It is lots of fun to visit

Continue to read

Tokyo Game Show

tokyo game show 3

Nowadays, there are few people who have never played videogames before. We all know the famous and iconic characters such as Mario, Sonic, Megaman, Lara Croft, Master Chief and so on. Videogames became an important part of modern pop culture, to the extent that they have inspired new music genres, such as chiptune, or blockbuster movies, such as Tron. Japan has played a central role in developing the industry, as the country has many of the biggest and most significant gaming companies; an audience eager to consume them; and, in general, a society that has completely incorporated them into their daily life. In Japan game stations (arcades) are still very popular and attract people of all ages, with products for a range of audiences, from “hardcore gamers” to occasional ones, all come to hang out and have a good time.

 

That is why it’s no surprise that one of biggest video game events takes place in Japan, on the outskirts of Tokyo. The Tokyo Game Show, also known as TGS, is

Continue to read

Shibuya Crossing

shibuya 3

Exiting the JR Shibuya station you will find the Tokyo that you’ve always imagined.  Exiting through the “Hachiko Exit,”  the Shibuya crossing has become one of the most famous landmarks of Tokyo. This spot has become very famous worldwide even, as it portrays the bustling and vibrant life of the city.

Indeed, this is one of the spots that you must see when visiting the capital of Japan.  Everyday hundreds, if not thousands of people gather around the street signs just to wait for the green light and cross the street from every direction. Indeed, just observing how quickly the streets fill with people, it will give you an idea of the vast size of the population in Tokyo and of the fast paced lifestyle that many people here lead. From salary men, to highschool students, from musicians and fashion girls, to people just looking for a fun night in the city, the Shibuya crossing has been the landmark that represents Tokyo all around the world. It is so famous that even movies such as “Lo

Continue to read

Roppongi

DSC04051

Roppongi, a district in central Tokyo, is famous for its resident’s luxurious life style and its nightlife. In the Tokugawa era, Roppongi was inhabited by many Samurai.  It became home of the governor in Ookubo family, who had built many temples and Shinto shrines in the Meiji era. The population of Roppongi was scarce, and as a result, during the Japanese wartime; Roppongi was appointed to be a military base and the main head quarter of three infantry divisions, hence, the area was recognized as the military area. After the Second World War, the scenery in Roppongi was totally transformed by the presence of the American army, resulting in the set up of new businesses to facilitate and entertain the new occupants. Since then, Roppongi has become an area where many foreign expatriates settle down in Tokyo. Nowadays, Roppongi represents many aspects of leisure and modernity. The modern, sleek buildings around Akasaka station and Roppongi Hills are a hub of trendy offices, businesses, art

Continue to read

Asakusa

pagoda and passageway from sensoji to asakusa jinja

If you are exploring the traditional downtown area of Tokyo, Asakusa is a place not to be missed. Not only because it has Senso-ji Temple and Asakusa Shrine – one of the most visited religious symbols of Tokyo, but also because of many other attractions it has to offer. Here is the route, recommended for those who want to get the most from Asakusa area if time is limited:

To get to Asakusa, exit 1 of Asakusa station of Ginza line is the most convenient (you can also take Tobu Skytree line, Asakusa line or Tsukuba Express to get there). You will come out of the station just near Kaminarimon gate of Senso-ji shrine. Literally “kaminarimon” means “thunder gate” and you will see a lantern with two statues on the both sides. The statues represent the guardian gods of thunder (Raijin, west side) and of wind (Fujin, east side). These gates were first built in 941 and moved to their current location in 1635. They were burnt several times before final reconstruction of their present structur

Continue to read

Harajuku

原宿(2)

Harajuku (原宿)  is an area between Shinjuku and Shibuya on the Yamanote Line. The area has two main shopping streets Takeshita-dori and Omotesando. The landmarks include: Yoyogi Park, Meiji Shrine and NHK headquarters. Even though Harajuku is remarkable as a shopping paradise for the most extreme and rebellious teenage culture , it also offers decent shopping for adults and presents great historic sights.

Access: The JR Yamanote Line stops at Harajuku station.

 

1. Takeshita Dori

Once you exit the station the colorful teen culture hits you. Takeshita street is the center of the vivid teenage culture and famous for its gathering of flamboyant,  trendy and rebellious youth. This is the place where you can find stores selling Gothic Lolita, Hip-Hop, Visual Kei and Punk outfits. If you would like to see fashionable and trend-conscious teens at their most extreme you need to visit Takeshita-dori on Sundays when this extremely crowded street will present a pe

Continue to read

Tsukiji Fish Market

DSCN2334

It is well known around the world that one of the main components of the traditional Japanese diet is fish; therefore it is no surprise that the biggest Fish Market in the world is located in Tokyo. The Tsukiji Fish Market originated during Edo period of Japan. Around the 16th Century, the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, invited fishermen from Tsukuda, Osaka to provide fish for the castle. The fishermen were given permission by the authorities to sell any unsold fish in one of the first wholesale markets of Japan, known as “uogashi”, located around the Nihonbashi bridge area. Later on around the year 1657, the Great Fire of Meireki forced the shogunate to fill the coastal area of Edo (old name of Tokyo), calling the reclaimed land as Tsuki-ji (築地). However, it wasn’t until 1923, after the Great Kanto Earthquake destroyed the old market, that it was relocated to Tsukiji. Since then, the Fish Market has been considered one of the most valued spots in the city, as it is one of the main pro

Continue to read

Akihabara

DSCN0740

This area of Tokyo was originally known as being home to the Chinka-sha Shinto shrine in the late XIX century, that’s the reason why many of the residents also called it Akiba, as people at that time believed that the fire-controlling deity of the same name was enshrined there. However, it wasn’t until the 1950’s when Akihabara begun to be known as the “Electric Town,” due to the appearance of many shops that sold different electrical items to the students of the school that would later become the Tokyo Denki University. After this, with the boom of videogames and other technology, an abundance of electrical shops started to appear in Akihabara, and more recently, anime and manga shops have begun to fill the streets of the district.

As the number of anime fans, cosplay, manga, videogames, idols and other Japanese popular culture products increases in every corner of the globe, Akihabara has achieved worldwide fame for being known as the dream land for all the “Japan Fans.” If you ca

Continue to read

Ueno

Fountain in front of Tokyo Nat Museum

For those, who wish to explore old downtown Tokyo, Ueno is the right place to start. Historically located in Shitamachi (downtown) Taito district. Ueno is easy to access and has a lot to offer a traveler interested in a traditional everyday Japanese life. If you travel by train, JR lines (Yamanote, Joban, Keihin-Tohoku, Takasaki, Tohoku/Utsunomiya lines) will take you to JR Ueno Station. Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) also stops at Ueno station. Keisei Ueno station might be more convenient, if you come directly from Narita airport. If you prefer the metro, you need to get off at Ueno station using the Ginza or Hibiya lines.

Recommended sightseeing places

Almost all sightseeing spots in Ueno are located in or around Ueno park (Ueno Koen, Koen exit of JR Ueno station). Due to its beautiful nature and sheer size, this park is a place of gathering for Japanese of all ages throughout the seasons. Viewing sakura blossoms (hanami) is especially popular in early sp

Continue to read

Ghibli Museum

ジブリ2

As the animation and art museum of Miyazaki Hayao’s Studio Ghibli, the Ghibli Museum is one of Japan’s most famous animation studios. World famous feature length films have been produced by the studio, such as, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Monomoke, Spirited Away and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. If you visit the Museum, you will have the chance to watch one of the unreleased short movies produced by this studio, which is a very worthwhile experience.

Website: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/

Reservation required and you can get the ticket outside of Japan in advance of your visit: http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/en/ticket-information/

 

Price:

Over Age 19 ¥1,000

Age 13-18 ¥700

Age 7-12 ¥400

Age 4-6 ¥100

Opening hours: 10:00-18:00, closed every Tuesday besides July 23, Aug 13, Dec 24, 2013; Feb 11, 2014; also closed during Nov 5-15, Dec 27-Jan 2, 20

Continue to read