Posts Tagged With: Chiyoda Tokyo

Where to shop (and drink): Maison Kitsuné and Café Kitsuné



Cafe Kitsune

Café Kitsuné

The Kitsuné brand has fingers in several pies – fashion, music and, it seems, coffee. Grab a well-brewed cup in the Japanese-style café next to the Maison Kitsuné shop in Omotesando, and browse records and selections from the Parisien and Kitsuné Tee lines. The décor incorporates Japanese touches like custom-made tatami and fusuma sliding doors, while the in-house barristas have been trained by Omotesando Koffee‘s Eiichi Kunitomo.



3-17-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Omotesando Station (Chiyoda, Hanzomon, Ginza lines), exit A4

Telephone 03 5786 4842

Open Daily 11am-8pm (shop), 9am-5pm (café) / Irregular holidays

Maison Kitsuné

They’d been talking about it for years, but on Valentine’s Day 2013, Maison Kitsuné finally opened their own Tokyo shop. Make that two shops, actually: as with their Paris boutique, the action is split between a store showcasing the latest Maison Kitsuné collections and a café that also sells Kitsuné records and selections from the Parisien and Kitsuné Tee lines.



3-15-13 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Omotesando Station (Chiyoda, Hanzomon, Ginza lines), exit A4

Telephone 03 5786 4841

Open Daily 11am-8pm (shop)


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Where to eat: Mi Choripan for delicious choripán




Mi Choripan

Anyone who’s visited Argentina should be familiar with choripán, those gut-busting sandwiches of chorizo sausage topped with chimchurri sauce, vegetables and other condiments. This South American street food staple makes its Tokyo debut at Mi Choripan, a garish decorated new eatery that aims to bring the spirit of Buenos Aires to Yoyogi-Uehara. The shop’s Japanese owner learned the art of sausage-making in Argentina, so expect authentic flavours and hearty portions – just the way it should be. For when you feel like eating something other than Japanese for a change.



2-4-8 Uehara, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Yoyogi-Uehara Station (Chiyoda, Odakyu lines)

Telephone 03 5790 9300

Open Daily 11am-6pm / Closed Tue, 2nd & 3rd Mon (except holidays)

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Things to do this week in Tokyo August 29th-September 1st

Angel Project: Hatsune Appearance

Until Thu Aug 29, 2013 Belle Salle Akihabara
Everyone’s favourite humanoid musician, Hatsune Miku, will be showing her cartoon face at this dedicated summer festival, held one year on from her Hakkeijima concert. Head to Akihabara to hear her synthesized warblings, as the lady herself (or at least her hologram projection) performs live.


Open Aug 21-29

Time Mon-Fri noon, 2.30pm, 5pm, 7.30pm; Sat-Sun 10.30am, 1pm, 3.30pm, 6pm, 8.30pm

Casts ¥4,410

Venue Belle Salle Akihabara

Address B1F-2F Sumitomo Fudosan Akihabara Bldg, 3-12-8 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Transport Akihabara Station (Keihin-Tohoku, Yamanote, Chuo-Sobu, Hibiya lines)


Asahi Beer Oktoberfest in Hibiya 2013

Thu Aug 29 – Sun Sep 1, 2013 Hibiya Park
Sure, we’ve managed to extract some mild amusement from the spate of Oktoberfests that have cropped up around Tokyo over the summer – but if they showed scant regard for seasonality, at least they had the decency to serve the right beer. With the real Oktoberfest starting in Munich in a few weeks’ time, Tokyoites can mark the occasion with foaming pints of that most prized Teutonic tipple, Asahi Super Dry. Er… what? In a grudging concession to authenticity, Löwenbräu – which Asahi produces under license in Japan – will also be sold, and there’ll be the requisite yodeling and oompah music. But really: who, other than the thousands of sloshed office workers who’ll doubtless head to the event, are they trying to kid?


Open August 29-September 1

Time 11.30am-10pm

Admission Free

Venue Hibiya Park

Address 1-6 Hibiya Koen, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Transport Hibiya Station (Tokyo Metro Marunouchi/Chiyoda Lines, Kasumigaseki Station; Toei Subway Hibiya Line)


Marcel Fengler: Fokus Release Party

Fri Aug 30, 2013 Air
Marcel Fengler, resident DJ at Berlin’s famed club Berghain, will be making his Air debut tonight to mark the release of his first album, Fokus. Expect perfectly blended techno beats, with support from DJs Gonno and So.


Open Aug 30

Time Doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,000

Telephone 03 5784 3386

Venue Air

Address Hikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).



Fri Aug 30, 2013 Liquidroom
Akiko Yano has continued to bring Yanokami’s synthesized tunes to loyal fans in memory of bandmate Rei Harakami, who passed away in 2011. This indoor festival will feature live music from Yanokami, plus special guests U-zhaan, Yoshinori Sunahara, Illreme, and Maki Morishita.


Open Aug 30

Time Doors 6pm

Admission ¥4,000

Venue Liquidroom

Address 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu station (Yamanote, Hibiya lines), west exit.


Asakusa Samba Carnival 2013

Sat Aug 31, 2013 Central Asakusa
Teams of elaborately attired dancers flood the streets of Asakusa for Japan’s largest samba carnival, shaking their tail feathers to the Brazilian beat as they work their way from Sensoji Temple to Tawaramachi Station. First held in 1981 in an attempt to revitalise the neighbourhood, the carnival is now one of Tokyo’s more popular summer events, drawing half a million spectators. Seeing that this is the first time in a while that it hasn’t clashed with rival dance festivals like the Koenji Awaodori and Super Yosakoi, you can expect an even fuller turnout than usual in 2013.


Open August 31

Time 1.30pm-6pm

Venue Central Asakusa


Kitsuné Club Night

Sat Aug 31, 2013 AgeHa
Electro, house and indie rock combine when this touring club night makes its Tokyo stop at Ageha. The globetrotting lineup will feature Kitsuné founder Gildas, French decksmith DJ Falcon, Brit trio Is Tropical and New York band HeartsRevolution, so one of them’s bound to get you dancing.


Open Aug 31

Time Doors 11pm

Admission ¥3,500 adv, ¥3,500 on the door

Telephone 03 5534 2525

Venue AgeHa

Address 2-2-10 Shinkiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shinkiba station (Rinkai, Yurakucho lines).


Fujiko F Fujio Anniversary Exhibition

Until Sun Sep 1, 2013 Kitte
An exhibition to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the birth of celebrated manga artist Fujiko F Fujio (the pseudonym of Hiroshi Fujimoto, one half of the duo Fujiko Fujio). His works include the likes of ‘Doraemon’ – Japan’s favourite earless feline – and ‘Perman’, among others. Characters, quotes and drawings will be on display for fans to enjoy.


Open Aug 12-Sep 1

Time 6pm-8pm

Venue Kitte

Address 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Transport Tokyo Station (Yamanote, Chuo, Marunouchi, Sobu lines), Nijubashi Station (Chiyoda line)


Bacardi Midpark Cafe (2013)

Until Sun Sep 1, 2013 Tokyo Midtown
If beer gardens aren’t your thing, head to the lawns outside Tokyo Midtown to sip mojitos instead, at this summer-only outdoor cafe sponsored by Bacardi. There’s seating for 150 people, and a menu of drinks including frozen mojitos and Japan originals that change every week – plus a selection of food to soak up all that alcohol.


Open July 19-September 1

Time Mon-Fri 5pm-10pm (Aug 12-16 from 3pm), Sat, Sun & hols 3pm-10pm

Venue Tokyo Midtown

Address 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi Station (Oedo line), exit 8/(Hibiya Line), exit 8 via underground passageway near exit 4a; Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda line), exit 3



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Things to do: Go to Akihabara and enjoy some maid cafe madness. Here is my top 5

Maid cafés may seem like a fad from 2006 but they’re here to stay. We present you with a guide to the maid experience.

Maid cafés have become so embedded in Japanese media and fetish culture that it is hard to imagine a Tokyo without them. There are now about 217 maid cafes in Japan, but the good news is that increased competition is making them much, much crazier. (For those needing background, there’s more on the history of maid cafes here)

Here is a guide to the best maid cafes in Akihabara — to help you pick just the right place for your maid-ly needs.

Cure Maid Café: First maid café ever

Service offerings: The keyword here is “iyashi” — or “to be soothed.” Cure Maid offers the quintessential Victorian maid fantasy, though not in the sexualized sense of the anime and games featuring these characters. There is abundant greenery, classical music and respectfully distant maid service. The food is decent, and less conventional services may be offered during the café’s regular anime promotions.

Downside: Because maids do not break decorum and engage their masters in conversation, casual visitors might be a little bored.

Cure Maid Café: Gee Store 6F, Soto-Kanda 3-15-5, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 3258 3161,

Schatz Kiste: ‘Akihabara Culture Café’

Service offerings: A place to relax, sharpen hobby skills and meet people with similar tastes. Otaku pay for time slots to build models, draw manga and generally geek out. Even the maids are in on it, and their homemade crafts decorate the bookshelves. Try some of the girls’ culinary creations, too.

Downside: With only 30 seats and dedicated regulars, it is not uncommon to be turned away.

Akihabara Culture Café Schatz Kiste: Hasegawa Building 1F, Soto-Kanda 6-5-11, Chiyoda-ku, tel. unlisted,

@home café: Moe maid heaven

Service offerings: The insanely friendly and cute maids are masters in conversation. They also chant “moe moe kyun” over your drinks to make them taste better. Certain foods, most famously the omelet rice, include the maid writing on your food with ketchup, as cute little addition.

Pictures and games are on the entertainment menu for just ¥500 a pop. The maids sing and dance too, and CDs and merchandise are available.

Downside: The line can be two hours or more on evenings and weekends. Inside, time is limited to an hour and the seating charge starts at ¥500. Being as saccharine sweet and kinetic as it is, some customers might leave with a headache.

@home café: Mitsuwa Building 4F-7F, Soto-Kanda 1-11-4, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 5846 1616,

Cos-cha: Back to school

Service offerings: Cos-cha is famous for its costumes, including variants such as “school swimsuit” day. Spoon-feeding service starting at ¥500, and for ¥2,500, customers can play a game where they have to drink a vile concoction the maid mixes. Those who fail at this task get a slap in the face in front of the room.

Downside: There is a table charge for everyone if anyone at a table orders alcohol. The menu is a bit pricey, and the crowd can get a little rambunctious at night.

Café & Kitchen Cos-cha: Soto-Kanda 3-7-12-2F, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 3253 4560,

Nagomi: The ‘little sister’ café

Service offerings: The girls dress in frilly outfits and call you “big brother.” Depending on their mood, they can be kind and sweet or rude and bossy, or both — an icy-hot routine called “tsundere.” Sometimes they bully you for an hour and then cry when you leave. Score some conversation time with tabletop games for ¥500.

Downside: The old location has limited seating and smells sort of stale and smoky, but the new location on Chuo Dori is touristy.

Pash Café Nagomi: Zenitani 2F, Soto-Kanda 1-8-4, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 5256 8001,

Additional spots

Most foreign friendly: Popopure, which has several non-Japanese, English-speaking maids on site. Dub your own souvenir anime DVD with a maid for ¥1,500. (2F, Soto-Kanda 1-8-10, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 3252 8599,

Weirdest service: Royal Milk offers “Soul Care” — 90 minutes of one-on-one talk with a maid for ¥9,000. This is more expensive than a private English lesson. (Nikka Sekiyuu Building, Soto-Kanda 3-10-12, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 3253 7858,

Strangest concept: St. Grace’s Court is a nun café where the staff offer miniature food for men dining with dolls and pray for the souls of all their guests. (Chiyoda K1 Building 1F-B1F, Kanda Sudacho 2-19-33, Chiyoda-ku, 03 5298 5947,

For the ladies: Queen Dolce, a “danso” café where girls dress up like beautiful boys and strut their stuff. They are better men than any man ever could be. (Akibako Tower 3F, Soto-Kanda 3-15-6, Chiyoda-ku. tel. 03 3252 2031,

Most overrated: Pinafore, which appeared in the Fuji TV primetime drama “Densha Otoko” in 2005 and put Akihabara maid cafés on the popular radar. They don’t actually offer the services seen on TV, and the place smells like cat urine. (Yamanaka Building 1F, Kanda Sakumacho 1-19, Chiyoda-ku, tel. 03 5295 0123,

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5 Tokyo bars for train nerds (yes, they exist)


You thought your grandfather was a train buff?

Sorry to break the news to you, but ol’ gramps would have been a mere caboose in the train of railway geeks in Japan, where hard-core train aficionados are referred to by the somewhat affectionate term “densha otaku,” or train nerds.

They’re famous for feats like memorizing phonebook-size timetables and visiting every single one of the country’s almost 10,000 stations.

When they aren’t trying to increase their encyclopedic knowledge of all things rail, they’re out looking for like-minded people to impress with it.

As it turns out, Tokyo offers the densha otaku a wide selection of railway-appropriate watering holes — or perhaps we should call them bar cars?


1. Ginza Panorama

Ginza Panorama is the model train lover’s dream bar.

Not only does the counter have four separate built-in electric tracks, allowing patrons to watch trains zipping by while sipping their cocktails, but a large glass case directly opposite displays about 700 model train carriages for sale.

The drink menu has the standard beer, wine and liquor options, but visitors will likely be tempted to splurge on a train-themed cocktail, like the Romance Car, named after the Hakone-bound express, or Doctor Yellow, the nickname for the diagnostic high-speed test trains used on shinkansen routes.

There’s also a full food menu.

With its mellow ambiance, mature crowd and the gentle clacking of trains as they whirl around the bar, Ginza Panorama is a relaxed place for a drink — even if you don’t get giddy debating the relative merits of the Tokaido and Tohoku Lines.

Ginza Hachikan Building 8/F, 8-4-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku; +81 (0)3 3289 8700; Monday-Friday, 6 p.m.-3 a.m., Saturday, 6-11 p.m., closed Sunday; 420 yen seating charge;

2. Kiha

All aboard for canned food and sake in a jar!

All aboard for canned food and sake in a jar.There are two things all visitors need to know about Kiha.

One, the second floor has been lovingly kitted out to look exactly like the inside of a Tokyo subway car, complete with advertisements, hand straps, emergency call buttons and luggage racks.

Two, the only thing on the menu is canned food and one-cup sake.

From salted pork to seafood to curry, Kiha stocks an impressive selection of things to eat right out of the can. This is meant to recreate the nostalgic experience of a long train journey in the days before meal services were offered.

Most of the customers are dyed-in-the-wool otaku, as evidenced by the closet full of timetables and the rare ticket stubs adorning the tables. Like all train obsessives, of course, they’re more than happy to chat with newcomers. You’ve been warned.

1-6-11 Horidomecho, Chuo-ku; nearest station: Ningyocho; +81 (0)3 5651 5088; Monday-Saturday, 6-11:30 p.m., closed Sunday;

3. LittleTGV

Service of a maid cafe, ambiance of a train.The world is already familiar with Japan’s maid cafes and those are certainly popular with otaku of every stripe.

Real rail buffs have their own version at LittleTGV near the geek paradise of Akihabara.

The restaurant bills itself as the world’s first rail-themed, moe-style pub. Instead of a pretty girl in a maid costume calling you “Master,” you’ll get a pretty girl in a conductor’s uniform telling you to board her train. No joke. And no jokes (please).

The walls are covered with train photos and memorabilia, so even if you don’t know your SLs from your JRs, the girls will be happy to chat with you and teach you a bit about their world.

LittleTGV offers a full food and drink menu with foreigner-friendly pictures, including several different courses that include all-you-can-drink options.

Isamiyadai 3 Building 4/F, Sotokanda 3-10-5, Chiyoda-ku; nearest stations: Suehirocho, Akihabara; +80 (0)3 3255 5223; Monday-Friday, 2-11 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, noon-11 p.m.;

4. Mistral Bleu (Train Bar)

Soundtrack? Ozzy Osbourne’sCrazy Train,” naturally.Often referred to simply as “Train Bar,” Mistral Bleu isn’t just a hang-out for train nerds, but it is a bar made out of a train.

Somehow a train carriage was crammed into the first floor of the ROI Building close to Roppongi Crossing and transformed into a hole in the wall bar for classic rock fans.

As the Aerosmith blasting out the front door might attest, the bar is a nostalgic pleasure for drinkers of a certain age.

In addition to the novelty of boozing in a converted train car, you can keep yourself entertained by checking out the international currencies plastered all over the walls and ceilings.

It’s the kind of place where it’s easy to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you — a rarity in Japan.

ROI Building 1/F , 5-5-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Roppongi station; +80 (0)3 3423 0082Monday-Saturday, 6 p.m.-5 a.m., closed Sundays;

5. Cafe & Bar Steam Locomotive

Even--or maybe especially--buttoned-up salarymen can't resist the appeal of choo-choo trains.

Even buttoned-up salarymen can’t resist the appeal of choo choo trains.Not every train nerd likes to booze it up. Indeed, some of them aren’t even old enough to do so.

Luckily, there’s a family friendly option called Cafe & Bar Steam Locomotive, which is appropriate for train lovers of all ages.

Located on the ground floor of a Yurakucho office building, this venue is more suited to a coffee over a lunch break than an after-work bender, though the place does serve alcohol.

The center of the cafe is dominated by a massive model train display that includes several tracks and recreations of famous sites like Tokyo Tower.

The endless details — tiny pedestrians crossing the street, a little grove of cherry trees in bloom — will keep the youngsters entertained while the grownups enjoy a latte or glass of sake.

Shinyurakucho Bldg 1/F, Yurakucho 1-12-1, Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho station; +81 (0)3 3211 0610; Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.;


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Where to stay: 10 of the best budget hotels in Tokyo

10 of the best budget hotels in Tokyo

Tokyo has a good spread of hotels at great-value rates, from traditional ryokans to cheap and cheerful business hotels in the heart of Shinjuku.

Khaosan Tokyo Guest House Ninja

Khaosan Tokyo Guest House Ninja

One of the cheapest places to stay in the city, the Khaosan Tokyo Guest House Ninja is a popular spot for backpackers. The communal space in the hotel features free Wi-Fi and a large TV with cable, and the dormitory-style rooms (no doubles – not ideal for couples) accommodate both short- and long-term guests. The hotel encourages a community spirit among guests, which is rare for Tokyo, and often holds parties for residents.
• 2-5-1 Nihombashi Bakurocho, Chuo-ku, +81 3 6905 9205,, twin rooms from £40, dormitory cabin beds from £21

YMCA Asia Youth Center

YMCA Asia Youth Center

This YMCA is not as cheap as many of its counterparts in other cities, but that’s because there is little difference between this hostel and a hotel. Rooms are a little small, but most feature an en suite bathroom and wireless internet. The hostel is run by the Japan branch of the South Korean YMCA, and as such attracts a lot of tourists from that part of the world. The hostel also has numerous large rooms for functions and conferences, and so can often be quite busy during the day.
• 2-5-5 Sarugakucho, Chiyoda-ku, +81 3 3233 0611,, doubles from £96

Ryokan Sansuiso

Ryokan Sansuiso - Shibuya
 Shibuya junction. Photograph: Patrick Batchelder/Alamy

Offering very simple rooms for very low prices this hotel is located in the somewhat unfashionable Gotanda district, but its major appeal is its close proximity to many other places, such as Shibuya, Ebisu and Roppongi. It’s quiet, the rooms all have futon beds, and there is a shared bath. The ryokan closes its doors at midnight, however, so may not be the best option for party animals. Rooms are available for up to three people, and come with TV, wireless internet and aircon.
• 2-9-5 Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Gotanda, +81 3 3441 7475,, doubles from ¥8,600 (£71)

Sunroute Plaza

Sunroute Plaza

This is one of Tokyo’s most popular hotels for tourists on package holidays. It’s essentially a cheap and cheerful business hotel – the furnishing is basic, but its location and prices take some beating. It’s in the heart of Shinjuku, the perfect place for travellers looking to experience city life. As may be expected, food in the hotel’s restaurants is worth skipping in favour of heading out into the streets and experiencing the local izakayas. All rooms have internet access, and Wi-Fi is available in the lobby.
• 2-3-1 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Shinjuku, +81 3 3375 3211,, doubles from £110

Kimi Ryokan

Kimi Ryokan

Unusually for Tokyo, this smart-looking ryokan caters almost exclusively for foreigners, and so the staff are well-informed on what the city has to offer and are often willing to help organise tours or cultural events. The communal living room is often lively, and in summer there is also a rooftop balcony. Kimi Ryokan has seen many long-term residents of Japan pass through its doors as they start on their way to making a life in the country, and the advice the staff give newcomers can be invaluable. Bathrooms in the ryokan are all shared, but are very clean. The smallest room sleeps four, the largest eight, and rates drop according to how many people are sharing the room.
• 36-8-2 Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, +81 3 3971 3766,, beds from £24

Tokyu Stay Shibuya

Tokyu Stay Shibuya

Located in a quiet corner of the bustling city, and offering guests simple amenities, the Tokyu Stay Shibuya is more of a business hotel than a place for tourists, but rates are reasonable and as well as having internet access, rooms also come with kitchenettes including sink, fridge and microwave, and washer/dryers. For visitors staying at the hotel for more than six days, rooms are cleaned once a week. Often this Shibuya branch of the chain will be fully booked, but Tokyu has hotels at many other locations across the city, almost always close to railway stations.
• 8-14 Shinsencho, Shibuya-ku, +81 3 3477 1091,, doubles from £141

Hotel Hoteiya

Hotel Hoteiya, Shitamachi district
 Shitamachi district, Tokyo. Photograph: Judy Bellah / Alamy

This is one of the cheapest places in town (you could stay here for a week for less than a night at a mid-range hotel) and the decor inside the rooms admittedly minimal. But it has satellite TV and Wi-Fi on all floors, and there’s a kitchen and coin laundry between 7am and 10pm. Bathrooms are shared. Located in Taito ward, Hoteiya is a good place to stay for visitors wanting to see Tokyo’s Shitamachi (downtown) areas. The hotel expects visitors to bring their own towels and toothbrushes, and while there is not a curfew, guests partying until late into the night will be frowned upon. While the surroundings are not luxurious, this is a popular hotel for people travelling on a shoestring.
• 1-23-9 Nihonzutsumi, Taito-ku, +81 3 3875 5912,, doubles from £31

Ryokan Katsutaro

Ryokan Katsutaro

Located in the Yanaka area of north-east Tokyo, close to the Ginza shopping street and in the centre of one of Tokyo’s friendliest neighbourhoods, Ryokan Katsutaro has simple rooms that can sleep up to four, and Wi-Fi is available throughout. It also has bicycles available for rent for visitors wishing to explore the surrounding area (£1.70 a day). This area of Tokyo has in recent years seen the opening of several galleries and museums, and is perfect for tourists looking to explore the city’s art scene.
• 4-16-8 Ikenohata, Taito-ku, +81 3 3828 2500,, doubles from £70

Shinjuku Washington Hotel

Shinjuku Washington Hotel
 Shinjuku skyscraper district. Photograph: Alamy

Here you can find reasonable rates right in the centre of the Shinjuku skyscraper district. Room facilities include high-speed internet, air-conditioning and fridges. The hotel’s restaurants and bars are perhaps better avoided: steep prices make eating out nearby much better value. Rooms are simply decorated, and large enough to be comfortable, and there are decent views from the upper floors. Be sure to visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government offices across the road, where it is free to get to the top of the skyscrapers and see spectacular views of the city.
• 3-2-9 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, +81 3 3343 3111,, doubles from £124

Sakura Hotel Jimbocho

The Sakura Hotel<br />
 The Imperial Palace gardens. Photograph: Stuart Freedman/In Pictures/Corbis

This place is close to the centre of the city in the Jimbocho district, with the Imperial Palace a short walk away. The rooms are a little on the small side, but the hotel is clean, convenient and comfortable. A 24-hour cafe in the lobby serves as a communal space for those looking to socialise while in the city, and there are dormitory beds for backpackers and group rooms at reasonable rates. In busy periods, the hotel gets full very quickly, so be sure to book well in advance.
• 2-21-4 Kanda-Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, +81 3 3261 3939,, doubles from £68

For more information go to the Japan National Tourism Organisation’s website:

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Things to do this week in Tokyo July 16th-July 21st


Mitama Matsuri (2013)

Sat Jul 13 – Tue Jul 16, 2013 Yasukuni Shrine
Around 300,000 people flock to Yasukuni Shrine during its annual Mitama Matsuri, one of Tokyo‘s biggest Obon festivals. First held in 1947, the festival is best known for the 30,000 lanterns that light the way to the shrine each evening – so don’t forget your camera. Given that the event is intended to honour the dead, some visitors might be surprised to discover that the attractions include a popular obake yashiki haunted house; there are also mikoshi parades, concerts and traditional dance performances held over the four days.


Open July 13-16

Time 9am-8pm

Venue Yasukuni Shrine

Address 3-1-1 Kudankita, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Transport Kudanshita Station (Hanzomon, Shinjuku, Tozai lines), exits 1, 3 or Ichigaya Station (Chuo, Nanboku, Shinjuku, Sobu, Yurakucho lines), exits A3, A4

Tokyo Bay Noryosen 2013

Until Mon Sep 23, 2013 Takeshiba Ferry Terminal
The capital’s very own booze cruise departs from Takeshiba Terminal at 7.15pm every night throughout the summer (weather permitting), and does a lap of the bay while serving up all-you-can-drink beer, wine and cocktails. The tackiness of the setting is compounded by touches like the yukata (light kimono) dance performance, and you can get ¥1,000 off the price from Monday to Thursday if you go in a yukata yourself.


Open July 1-September 23

Time Departs 7.15pm, returns 9pm

Admission ¥2,500 (¥1,000 yukata discount Mon-Thu)

Twitter nouryousen

Venue Takeshiba Ferry Terminal

Address 1-16-3 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome Line), Hamamatsucho Station (Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku lines)

World Press Photo 2013

A panel of judges sifted through submissions from 5,666 photojournalists in 124 different countries to select the winners of this year’s World Press Photo Contest, whose work goes on display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography over the summer. Not surprisingly, many of the biggest news stories of 2012 feature in the selection: Sweden’s Paul Hansen scooped the top prize for his striking (if controversial) shot of a funeral procession in Gaza, while other photos depict the Syrian uprising, border wars in Sudan and gang warfare in Central America. But it isn’t allharrowing – the competition also showcases images from the fields of sport (including the London Olympics), nature, arts and entertainment and daily life.


Open June 8-August 4 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a national holiday)

Time Tue-Sun 10-6pm (Thu, Fri until 8pm)

Admission Adults ¥700, university students ¥600, high school/junior high students and over 65s ¥400

Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Address Ebisu Garden Place, 1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu station (Yamanote line), east exit; (Hibiya line), exit 1.

Jazz Art Sengawa 2013

Fri Jul 19 – Sun Jul 21, 2013 Sengawa Theater
The alternative to Tokyo Jazz Festival is both far less commercially minded and rather more predictable in its booking choices. The same musicians tend to pop up at every installment of Jazz Art Sengawa, most of them plucked from the orbits of the event’s three main organisers: Hikashu leader Koichi Makigami, cellist Hiromichi Sakamoto and bassist Kiyoshi Fujiwara. Highlights this year include outlandish free-jazz-vaudeville outfit Hihokan, a duo between bassist Kiyoto Fujiwara and volatile psych musician Keiji Haino, and – of course – the climactic performance of John Zorn’s ‘Cobra’, conducted by Makigami himself. The main concerts are supplemented by gigs at the nearby Jenny’s Kitchen and Kick Back Cafe, though note that these must be paid for separately.


Open July 19-21

Time Performance times vary

Admission One day ¥3,000 adv (July 19)/¥5,000 adv (July 20, 21); single concert tickets ¥2,500 on the door

Telephone 03 3300 0611

Venue Sengawa Theater

Address 1-21-5 Sengawacho, Chofu, Tokyo

Transport Sengawa Station (Keio line)

Picasso: Love and Art in Prints

Fri Jul 19 – Mon Aug 19, 2013 Parco Museum
Never mind that he was among the most influential artists of the 20th century: Parco Museum seems far more interested in the romantic exploits of Pablo Picasso in this summer show. As the title suggests, this trawl through Picasso’s woodblock prints (which number roughly 2,000 in total) picks out works that focus on male-female relations, including the notorious womaniser’s many portraits of the fairer sex.


Open July 19-August 19

Time Daily 10am-9pm (Aug 19 until 6pm)

Admission Adults ¥500, students ¥400, elementary and under free

Venue Parco Museum

Address Parco Part 1 3F, 15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

Bacardi Midpark Cafe (2013)

Fri Jul 19 – Sun Sep 1, 2013 Tokyo Midtown
If beer gardens aren’t your thing, head to the lawns outside Tokyo Midtown to sip mojitos instead, at this summer-only outdoor cafe sponsored by Bacardi. There’s seating for 150 people, and a menu of drinks including frozen mojitos and Japan originals that change every week – plus a selection of food to soak up all that alcohol.


Open July 19-September 1

Time Mon-Fri 5pm-10pm (Aug 12-16 from 3pm), Sat, Sun & hols 3pm-10pm

Venue Tokyo Midtown

Address 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi Station (Oedo line), exit 8/(Hibiya Line), exit 8 via underground passageway near exit 4a; Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda line), exit 3

Creative Departures feat Tokimonsta

Fri Jul 19, 2013 Air
Though she was always one of the more pop-savvy acts on the roster of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, it still came as a surprise when Jennifer ‘Tokimonsta’ Lee revealed that she’d signed to Ultra Music, home to the likes of Steve Aoki and Calvin Harris. While new album Half Shadowsretains some of the dreamy ambience of her earlier work, there’s a sharper focus this time, with harder, crunk-influenced beats and guests including cult rapper Kool Keith. Having shared a tour bus with Skrillex and Diplo, Lee should be on confident form when she plays at Air, with live painting from fellow LA resident George Thompson.


Open July 19

Time Doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,500 on the door; ¥3,000 with flyer

Venue Air

Address Hikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

MOOV 16th Anniversary feat Tom Middleton

Fri Jul 19, 2013 0 Zero
Aoyama’s recently opened 0 Zero seems to be staking its spot as the go-to destination for clubbers with extremely long memories. UK scene stalwart Tom Middleton hasn’t quite got the pedigree of previous visitors such as John Morales, but he has an impressive resumé all the same – Global Communication and Jedi Knights, to name but two – and the kind of ravenously eclectic taste that’s likely to appeal most to seasoned dancefloor warriors. Expect to hear a wide range of house, techno and chill-out in the course of his DJ set, which he’ll be supplementing with a live performance with local flutist Eliko Flight.


Open July 19

Time Doors 10pm

Admission ¥2,500 on the door; ¥2,000 with flyer

Venue 0 Zero

Address B1F, 2-9-13 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

Brazilian Day Japan (2013)

Sat Jul 20 – Sun Jul 21, 2013 Yoyogi Park
Formerly held at the beginning of September, Yoyogi Park’s annual Brazilian festival now takes place at the height of the summer – just to ensure maximum sweatiness, we presume. Expect big crowds, exposed midriffs and plenty of hip-shaking, all fuelled by generous quantities of churrasco barbecue and caipirinha. The stage performances include capoeira, drumming and appearances by the likes of Anotonio Inoki and Ruy Ramos, culminating in a Sunday headlining set by 22-year-oldsertanejo universitário singer Luan Santana, a legitimately huge star in his native country.


Open July 20-21

Time 10am-7pm

Admission Free

Venue Yoyogi Park

Address 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizounocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda line), Yoyogi-Hachiman station (Odakyu line)

HandMade In Japan Fes’ 2013

Sat Jul 20 – Sun Jul 21, 2013 Tokyo Big Sight
Over 2,000 creative types from around the country will be converging on Tokyo Big Sight for this two-day festival of handicrafts. Most of the action is focused on market stalls (645 at the last count), though there’ll also be workshops, live painting and music from a few well-known acts including reggae-tinged pop trio Bonobos and electronica doyen De De Mouse.


Open July 20-21

Time 11am-7pm

Admission 1 day: ¥1,000 on the door, ¥800 adv; 2 days: ¥1,800 on the door, ¥1,500 adv

Venue Tokyo Big Sight

Address 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto, Tokyo

Transport Kokusaitenjijo Station (JR Rinkai Line) or Kokusai-tenjijo-seimon station (Yurikamome Line)

Disney on Ice (2013)

Sat Jul 20 – Wed Jul 24, 2013 Yoyogi National Gymnasium
Featuring all your favourite Disney characters hurtling around on ice skates to the sound of your favourite Disney show tunes, this annual spectacular is a regular fixture on the summer holiday calendar in Tokyo. Naturally, Disney on Ice is mostly for the fans, though there’s enough of a circus aspect to the event to mean that casual bystanders probably won’t get bored.


Open July 20-24

Time July 20, 21: performances at 10.30am, 2pm, 5.30pm; July 22: performances at 1pm, 4.30pm; July 24: performances at 11am, 2.30pm, 6pm

Admission Adults: S ¥5,800, A ¥3,900; children: S ¥4,800, A ¥2,900

Venue Yoyogi National Gymnasium

Address 2-1-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines)

Bolshoi Circus in Tokyo (2013)

Sat Jul 20 – Sun Jul 28, 2013 Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium
Some 8,000 people and over 3,000 animals contribute to the spectacle that’s known as the Bolshoi Circus. The greatest show in the world – well, one of them, at least – has been coming to Japan since 1958, and while it’s lost some ground to the slick antics of the Cirque du Soleil, it still retains a certain old-school charm. After all, it’s not like the Cirque has bears, is it?


Open July 20-28

Time Performances from 10:30am, 2pm & 5pm (except July 24, 28)

Admission Arena seat ¥6,000, S ¥5,500, A ¥4,500, unreserved ¥3,500

Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium

Address 1-17-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Kokuritsu-Kyogijo Station (Oedo line), exit A4 or Sendagaya Station (Chuo line)

Daido Moriyama 1965~

Until Sat Jul 20, 2013 Gallery 916
That great documenter of Japan’s post-war urban wildlife, photographer Daido Moriyama was recently the subject of a major show at London’s Tate Modern that paired him with American cohort William Klein. Neophytes and dedicated fans are both likely to appreciate this exhibition at the bayside Gallery 916, in which museum co-curator Yoshihiko Ueda (a highly regarded photographer himself) selects 70 key images from Moriyama’s vast catalogue, ranging from 1965 to the present.


Open June 1-July 20 Closed Sun, Mon

Time Tue-Sat 11am-8pm (Sat & hols until 6.30pm)

Admission Adults ¥800

Venue Gallery 916

Address 6F No. 3 Suzue Bldg, 1-14-24 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Takeshiba Station (Yurikamome line), Daimon Station (Oedo line)

La Méditerranée dans les Collections du Louvre

Sat Jul 20 – Mon Sep 23, 2013 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is borrowing over 200 works from the collection of the Louvre for its summer show, an exhibition covering four millennia of Mediterranean history. The pieces on display include the 1st century AD Roman statue ‘Diana of Gabies’, which is being shown in Japan for the first time.


Open July 20-September 23 Closed Mon (except Sep 16, 23), Sep 17

Time Tue-Sun 9.30am-5.30pm (Fri until 8pm)

Admission Adults ¥1,500, students ¥1,300, over 65s ¥1,000, high school students ¥800

Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Address 8-36 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ueno Station (Yamanote line), park exit; (Ginza, Hibiya lines), Shinobazu exit

Rural 2013 After Party

Sat Jul 20, 2013 Seco
The official after party for last weekend’s Rural 2013 techno fest in Yamanashi Prefecture features some of the acts who played at the event, including resident DJ Atsushi Maeda, Sardinia-born producer and electroacoustic experimenter Claudio PRC, and an as-yet-unannounced special guest. There’s a ¥1,000 discount on the door for people still wearing their Rural wristbands – and we’re sure there’ll be a few of those.


Open July 20

Time Doors 11pm

Admission ¥2,500 on the door; ¥1,500 with Rural wristband

Venue Seco

Address B1F, 1-11-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), east exit

Electro Carnaval

Sat Jul 20, 2013 Grande Shibuya

There’s no need to stop partying when the Brazilian Day fest in Yoyogi Park wraps up on Saturday evening. If you haven’t overindulged on caipirinhas, head to Shibuya’s Grande for a Mardis Gras-style all-nighter, complete with samba dancers, drag queens and DJs spinning carnaval-spliced electro. There’s limited space, so book online to avoid disappointment.


Open July 20

Time Doors 11pm

Admission ¥3,500 on the door (subject to availability); ¥2,500 adv, ¥1,500 early bird

Venue Grande Shibuya

Address B1/B2F Humax Pavilion Shibuya Koendori Bldg, 20-15 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), Hachiko exit

Art Aquarium 2013

Until Mon Sep 23, 2013 Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall

Self-proclaimed ‘art aquarium producer’ Hidetomo Kimura deploys a range of lighting tricks and traditional Japanese motifs – not to mention thousands of live kingyo goldfish – in this annual summer exhibition in Nihombashi. During the daytime, visitors can contemplate high-concept displays like the ‘Kaleidorium’, which uses kaleidoscope-esque visuals, and the 8m-long ‘Four Seasons Aquarium’, where projection mapping recreates a traditional Japanese garden vista. Come evening, it switches into ‘Night Aquarium’ mode, complete with a menu of cocktails and DJs and live music on Saturdays.


Open July 12-September 23

Time Art Aquarium 11am-7pm, Night Aquarium 7pm-11.30pm

Admission Adults ¥1,000, elementary school and under ¥600

Twitter artaquarium

Venue Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall

Address 5F Coredo Muromachi, 2-2-1 Nihombashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Transport Mitsukoshimae Station (Ginza, Hanzomon line)

Categories: Daytrips, Things to do, Where to drink | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to eat: Breeze of Tokyo for a stunning view of Tokyo’s skyline @ Marunouchi

Breeze of Tokyo

Take your dining experiences in Tokyo to the next level by enjoying an exquisite meal at Breeze of Tokyo, which can be found on the 36th floor of the centrally-located Marunouchi Building. Boasting one of the best night views of Tokyo imaginable, this modern space is sure to impress even the most cynical gastronome. Decorated in dark undertones to highlight the night views outside, the interior consists of a bar and dining area that can be utilized for a variety of situations. A team of Japanese chefs who have studied French cooking techniques works tirelessly in the kitchen, utilizing seasonal Japanese vegetables in ways that deliberately depart from pre-conceived notions of French cuisine. The chefs do not cook to standard concepts of nationality or genre, but rather base their creations on unencumbered ideas. Highlights include the Lunch Course Menu (¥2,600, ¥3,800, ¥5,000) or Dinner Course Menu (¥6,800, ¥9,800, ¥12,000), as well as a la carte options that include Scampi & Zuwai Crab Ravioli served with Tomato Couli & Lobster Cream Sauce (¥2,100), Gratin of Dom Perignon Steamed Wild Flounder (¥3,780) and Roasted Lamb Rack & Shoulder Loin served with a Currant-pineapple Sauce (¥4,440). The menu changes according to the season.



Tokyo / Marunouchi / Ohtemachi
¥3,000 – ¥5,000

Address: Marunouchi Bldg., 36F, 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Access: 2 minute walk from Tokyo station
Telephone: 03-5220-5551
Hours: Lunch: 11am-3pm (LO 2:30pm), Cafe: 3pm-5pm (LO 4:30pm), Dinner: 6pm – 12am (LO 10pm)(Mon-Sat); 6pm – 11pm (LO 9pm)(Sun)
Seating: 80

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