Posts Tagged With: Yamanote Line

Things to do this weekend in Tokyo October 18- October 20

Innovative Sweden

innovative designs
This touring show of innovative designs has arrived in Tokyo, having already visited a number of countries, including the US, China and Brazil. Expect innovative design and technology from 20 up-and-coming Swedish companies in the fields of ICT, cleantech, gaming and life sciences, with the likes of eye-controlled computers and green mobile phone chargers on the bill.


Open Oct 2-18

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Adults ¥600, 18 or under ¥200

Venue National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation

Address 2-3-6 Aomi (Odaiba), Koto, Tokyo

Transport Funeno-Kagakukan station or Telecom Center station (Yurikamome line).


The Trojans

Fri Oct 18, 2013 Shibuya Club Quattro
The trojans
Celebrating the first new Trojans album in 14 years, frontman Gaz Mayall brings his ska rockers back to Japan and to Shibuya’s Club Quattro. Members and times have changed, but the Trojan sound remains something truly special, combining ska and reggae with Celtic tunes and more. The band will be joined by guest vocalist Hollie Cook and trumpeter Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton.


Open Fri Oct 18

Time 7.30pm (doors open 6.30pm)

Admission Adv ¥6,000

Venue Shibuya Club Quattro

Address 5F, 32-13-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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


Tokyo Vegefood Festa 2013

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Yoyogi Park (Keyaki Namiki Road)
Tokyo vegafood festa 2013
Throughout the year, Yoyogi Park serves as a gathering point for Tokyo’s various ethnic minorities and special interest groups. This weekend, one of the more long-suffering communities gets its moment in the sun: the vegans. Tokyo Vegefood Festa boasts roughly 100 stalls, ranging from macrobiotic cafes to vegetable vendors to fair trade goods. Though the event hopes to convert a few carnivores to the cause, it’s probably the people who’ve already sworn off meat, fish and dairy that’ll enjoy it the most.


Open Oct 19-20

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Free

Venue Yoyogi Park (Keyaki Namiki Road)

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

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


Tokyo Meat Market Festival

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Tokyo Central Meat Wholesale Market
Tokyo meat market festival










Once every year, and perhaps as a rebellious answer to Yoyogi’s Vegefood Festa, this unique wholesale market opens its doors for one meaty festival. This is your chance to try free samples, buy special wares at reduced prices, and marvel at the various animal flesh-related exhibits. The focus is squarely on the good stuff: shabu-shabu, tonkatsu cutlets, yakiniku, and so on.


Open Oct 19-20

Time Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 10am-3pm

Admission Free

Address 2-7-19 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shinagawa Station (JR lines)


Japan Hoop Dance Championship

Japan hoop dance championship
The time has come to give credit to the most talented hoop dancers in the land. Although relatively popular in the West, hooping has failed to break out on a large scale in Japan so far. However, the community keeps growing and this event brings together the best dancers from all over the country. Marvel at the finalists’ performances at the main gala show and get acquainted with this energetic form of expression.


Open Sat Oct 19

Time 1pm-3:30pm

Admission General admission ¥1,500, children ¥500 (first-come, first-serve)

Venue Ushigome Tansu Citizens’ Hall

Address 15 Tansumachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ushigome-kagurazaka Station (Oedo line), exit A1


Sancha de Daidogei

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Setagaya Public Theatre , around Carrot Tower
Sancha de Daidogei
Though Sangenjaya is always nice for a wander, there’s no better time to visit than during this two-day street performance festival, in which acrobats, clowns, musicians, dancers and assorted costumed freaks ply their trade to a gawping public. Keep an eye out for the international visitors including France’s aerial hoop artist Julot and the stilt-sporting Nani-Sole (who, at about 10 feet tall with enormous wings, is pretty hard to miss).


Open Oct 19-20

Time 6pm-8pm

Venue Setagaya Public Theatre , around Carrot Tower

Address 4-1-1 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Sangenjaya station (Tokyu Denentoshi line) Sancha Patio exit.


Nezu-Sendagi Shitamachi Matsuri 2013

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Nezu Shrine
Nezu Sendagi Shitamachi Matsuri
Nezu flaunts its shitamachi (downtown) roots at this autumn festival, a relatively recent invention that marks its 15th edition this year. The action centres around Nezu Shrine, which will be hosting concerts and performances throughout the weekend, accompanied by a flea market and stalls selling traditional goods. The rest of the neighbourhood follows suit, with attractions including a Sunday afternoon parade, and performances of traditional Japanese music and various dances at the Fureai-kan on Shinobazu-dori.


Open Oct 19-20

Time 6pm-8pm

Venue Nezu Shrine

Address 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Transport Nezu Station or Sendagi Station (Chiyoda line), Todaimae Station (Namboku line)


Kagurazaka Bakeneko Parade

Sun Oct 20, 2013 Kagurazaka Nursing Home, around Kagurazaka O-dori
Kagurazaka Bakeneko parade
Kagurazaka will again play host to the Bakeneko Parade, one of the more curious Halloween-related events in the city. Everyone is welcome, all you have to do is dress up as a cat and bring a feline attitude. You can get a cat makeup done for ¥100 before the parade, and there are also costume-related goods available for purchase in case you feel the need to complement your outfit. The parade route reaches along Kagurazaka O-dori toward Iidabashi Station and back again.


Open Sun Oct 20

Time 2pm-3.30pm
participant registration 10am-1pm at Kagurazaka Nursing Home

Admission Free

Venue Kagurazaka Nursing Home, around Kagurazaka O-dori


Shimokitazawa Curry Festival

Until Sun Oct 20, 2013 Shimokitazawa area
Shimokitazawa curry festival
‘Making Shimokitazawa the holy ground of curry’ is the motto of this spicy ten-day festival, in which participating restaurants (over 70 in total) tout their specialty curries in all corners of the trendy neighborhood. Meet the ‘Curryman’ mascot, see who gets crowned ‘Miss Curry’, and use the curry map (available for free around town) to discover the tastiest curry joints.


Open Oct 11-20

Time Varies by event

Twitter CurryShimokita

Venue Shimokitazawa area


Rhizomatiks Inspired by Perfume

Until Sun Oct 20, 2013 NTT InterCommunication Center
Rhizomatiks inspired by perfume
Creative group Rhizomatiks – best know for their work on the stage productions of J-poppers Perfume – will be displaying their work in an exhibition. This group of creators and engineers have garnered attention around the world for their original production methods and use of cutting-edge technology – including 3D scanning and data visualisation. This exhibition will introduce visitors to their production techniques, and showcase costumes and equipment from Perfume’s music videos and stage performances, as well as 3D models of Perfume group members.


Open Sep 21-Oct 20 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a holiday)

Time 11am-6pm

Admission ¥500

Telephone 0120 144199

Venue NTT InterCommunication Center

Address 4F Tokyo Opera City Tower, 3-20-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Transport Hatsudai Station (Keio line)


Mitsuaki Iwago: Cats & Lions

Mitsuaki Iwago
Popular wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago just can’t seem to get enough of milking the internet’s favourite meme. Following his Go With Cats show at Mitsukoshi Nihombashi, the avid snapper heads to the more highbrow Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography for another exhibition devoted to all things feline. This time around, Iwago will be juxtaposing photos of domestic cats with similar images taken of lions in the wild. ‘Cats are just small lions,’ he observes. ‘Lions are just big cats.’ Deep.


Open August 10-October 20 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a holiday)

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

Admission Adults ¥800, students ¥700, over 65s, high school & junior high school students ¥600

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.



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Things to do this week in Tokyo September 16th – September 21st

Deborah J Carter

Mon Sep 16, 2013 B Flat

 American jazz singer Deborah J Carter will be stopping in Tokyo for one night only as part of her September Japan tour. Having started her career in Okinawa (where her Japan tour will culminate later this month), she’s now based in Europe, and her music draws inspiration form a range of cultures. She will be accompanied by the Amsterdam Trio – consisting of Joost Swart on piano, Mark Zandveld on bass, and Seb Kaptein on drums – when she plays B Flat tonight.


Open Sep 16

Time Doors 6.30pm

Admission Free

Venue B Flat

Address Akasaka Sakae Bldg B1F, 6-6-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Akasaka station (Chiyoda line), exit 5A.


Yebisu Beer Festival 2013

Wed Sep 11 – Mon Sep 16, 2013 Yebisu Garden Place
 After the summer onslaught of Oktoberfests, here’s an outdoor beer-a-thon that doesn’t feature oompah music, sauerkraut or ludicrously overpriced drinks. It’s held at the sight of a former brewery, and, unsurprisingly, it’ll be strictly Yebisu on tap – if you’re looking for interesting brews, you’d probably be better off heading to the Great Japan Beer Festival 2013 in Yokohama instead. That said, if you get bored of the beer there will be also be a variety of cocktails, iced coffees and snacks to sample in the square.


Open Sep 11-16

Time Sep 11-12 5-9pm, Sep 13-16 11.30am-9pm (last order 8.30pm)

Venue Yebisu Garden Place

Address 4-20 Ebisu, Shibuya, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu station (JR Yamanote Line), East Exit or (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line), exit 1


Hibiya Oktoberfest 2013

Fri Sep 6 – Mon Sep 16, 2013 Hibiya Park

 Tokyo has gone into Oktoberfest overdrive this year, with no less than ten Bavarian bacchanales taking place over the summer months – only one of which actually coincides with the original festival in Munich. Hibiya Park’s second session of the year promises to lure back the same throngs of office workers, fräuleins and men with impressive beards with the promise of sausages, oom-pah music and quality German beer served from hefty glass tankards (note that you’ll have to pay a refundable ¥1,000 deposit each time you order one). There’s always a strong showing by German breweries, plus local heavyweights like Sankt Gallen and Fujizakura Heights, with a few beers that aren’t available anywhere else… well, except in Munich.


Open September 6-16

Time TBA

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)

Belgian Beer Weekend (2013)

Fri Sep 6 – Mon Sep 16, 2013 Roppongi Hills Arena

 Just when Tokyo’s Oktoberfest onslaught was beginning to get too much, along comes an alternative. Compared to its Munich forebear, the Belgian Beer Weekend is a recent invention: the first edition was held in 1999, at the Grand Place in Brussels. Tokyo became home to the Weekend’s first international offshoot in 2010, and it’s been getting bigger and better ever since. Expect a vast selection of beers, including fruit beers (Boon Kriek, Redbocq), white beers (Hoegaarden, Pater Lievin Wit) and golden ales (Duval), among others. The Tokyo line-up is yet to be announced, but if last year’s is anything to go by you can expect some big-name Belgian acts.


Open September 6-16

Time TBC

Admission TBC

Twitter BBWJapan

Venue Roppongi Hills Arena

Address 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi Station (Hiroo, Oedo lines)

French Paintings from the State Pushkin Museum

Sat Jul 6 – Mon Sep 16, 2013 Yokohama Museum of Art

ピエール=オーギュスト・ルノワール 『ジャンヌ・サマリーの肖像』1877年 油彩、カンヴァス 56×47cm ©The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

The State Pushkin Museum is Moscow’s largest repository of European art, and you can see some of its finest treasures – including key works by Poussin, Degas and Cézanne – in this blockbuster show. Masterpieces of French Paintings from the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (to give it its full title) was originally due to arrive in Japan in April 2011, but had its trip postponed following the March 11 disaster. Highlights include Renoir’s 1877 ‘Portrait of Jeanne Samary’ (pictured) and Ingres’ ‘Virgin with Chalice’ (1841).








Open July 6-September 16 Closed Thu (except Aug 1, 15)

Time Fri-Wed 10am-6pm

Admission Adults ¥1,500, students ¥1,200, junior high school students ¥600

Venue Yokohama Museum of Art

Address 3-4-1 Minato Mirai, Nishi-ku, Kanagawa

Transport Minato Mirai station (Minato Mirai line), exit 5.

Andreas Gursky

Wed Jul 3 – Mon Sep 16, 2013 The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT)


Proud creator of the most expensive photograph ever sold, Germany’s Andreas Gursky helped put the colossal-scale ‘is it photography or is it painting?’ approach on the map. His first solo exhibition in Japan takes a career-spanning approach, with around 65 images running from the 1980s to the present day, and documenting subjects ranging from supermarkets (99 Cent, pictured) to North Korea’s Mass Games. And yes, they include that aforementioned record-breaker: Rhein II (1999), a print of which sold for US$4.3 million in 2011.


Open July 3-September 16 Closed Tue

Time Wed-Mon 10am-6pm (Fri until 8pm)

Admission Adults ¥1,500, students ¥1,200, high school students ¥800

Venue The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT)

Address 7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Transport Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda line), Roppongi Station (Oedo, Hibiya lines)


Liquidroom 9th Anniversary: Under the Influence

火 9月 17, 2013 Liquidroom

Fans of Tuesday-night partying should check out Under the Influence at Liquidroom tonight. Continuing its series of 9th anniversary celebration parties, tonight’s event will feature hip hop beats from rapper Dengaryu and J-rock from four-piece Flower Companyz.


Open Sep 17

Time Doors 6.30pm

Admission ¥3,000 adv

Telephone 03 5464 0800

Venue Liquidroom

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

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


Hiroshi Nagai Exhibition: Summer Madness

Until Wed Sep 18, 2013 Kata

 An exhibition of works by illustrator Hiroshi Nagai, who’s perhaps best known for the album jacket artwork on Eiichi Otaki’s A Long Vacation. Other pieces on display include adverts, posters and records, all with his signature tropical designs.


Open Sep 13-18

Time noon-9pm

Venue Kata

Address 2F Liquidroom, 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Hibiya lines)


Moon-viewing Live

Thu Sep 19, 2013 Tokyo Tower Tokyo Tower special observatory











Open Sep 21-22

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)



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Where to eat: Food worth the wait, restaurants and shops that keep Tokyo lining up for more




Once a year, around the time that Michelin publishes its Tokyo guide, headlines roar about this city being the dining capital of the world. And it is. But it’s not just the arm-and-a-leg, mortgage-your-kids dining scene that makes Tokyo great. The fanaticism for detail and dedication to fresh, seasonal ingredients trickles all the way down to the places we actually eat at: the ramen shops, the gyoza dumpling joints, the udon noodle restaurants and the confectionary stores. And these everyday eateries have their own version of the fine dining restaurant’s waiting lists: lines. If a meal is good enough, Tokyoites will stand in sun or rain to get to it. Here are some of the current favourites.

Wating in line in front of Ramen Jiro

Wating in line in front of Ramen Jiro

Ramen, Ramen Jiro Mita Main Branch

It’s a ten-minute walk from one of the Yamanote Line’s dreariest stations. The façade isn’t pretty and the grease-stained interior is grim. Yet people line up around the block every day in every kind of weather for lunch here, because Jiro may well be the city’s best-loved ramen store. It serves a heavy, fatty soy-sauce soup loaded with thick noodles, cabbage and slices of pork. Since it opened in 1968, the shop has spawned thirty sister branches, run by former apprentices of the Mita branch, but each has its own recipe and none come close to the original for the hearts and stomachs of ramen lovers.

Wait: 30 mins for lunch, but can be up to 1 hr
Address: 2-16-4 Mita, Minato, Tokyo
Open: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm

Sushi no Midori

Sushi, Sushi no Midori Ginza store

There are six main branches of Midori sushi, and they all come with queues. The original branch opened in Umegaoka in 1963, but these days the Ginza branch usually has the longest lines. Courses start from as little as ¥840 for the ten-piece umenigiri plate, which is about as cheap as it gets for sushi in Ginza, but the biggest draws are the anago ipponzuke, a ball of rice with a whole eel draped over it (¥630), and the daimyo midorimaki, an oversized maki roll stuffed with cucumber, egg, and mashed, seasoned whitefish (¥1,890). In the winter months, the store hands out hot pads to customers in the queue.

Wait: up to 1 hr
Address: Corridor Dori 1F, 7-108 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)5568 1212
Open: Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, 4:30pm-10pm (LO 9:30pm)
Sat 11am-10pm (LO 9:30pm) Sun 11am-9pm (LO 8:30pm)

Setagaya main store (Full details & map)

Niku no Sato

Beef cutlets, Meat Shop Sato

It’s a ball of beef, onions and lard, and it creates lines of up to 200 people in the middle of Kichijoji. To be fair, it’s juicy Matsuzaka beef and it’s cooked so perfectly that you need to wait a few minutes after purchasing the cutlet to let the heat reach the middle. So popular are Sato’s cutlets that customers are limited to 20 pieces each on a weekday, and 10 each on a weekend or holiday. They often sell out by mid-afternoon.

Wait: around 30 mins
Address: 1-1-8 Kichijoji-honcho, Musashino, Tokyo
Telephone: (042)222 3130
Open: Mon-Sun 9am-8pm


Youkan, Ozasa

They call it maboroshi youkan, which roughly translates as “bloody-hard-to-get-hold-of bean paste jelly”. Ozasa makes just 150 blocks per day, and if you’d like to try one, you’re advised to start queuing from around 5am on a clement day, or around 7am if it’s pouring with rain. At 8:30am, staff distribute tickets for the ¥580-a-piece jellies, up to five per person, and ask you to return between 10am and 6pm to pick up your purchase. Is it worth the effort? We’ve never been tempted to devote half a day to buying jelly, but we hear that they taste much like any other youkan.

Wait: 3-4 hours
Address: 1-1-8 Kichijoji-honcho, Musashino, Tokyo
Telephone: (042)222 7230
Open: Mon, Wed-Sun 10am-7:30, closed Tue


Soba, Minatoya

In a piece of angular, modern minimalist architecture, with Chopin playing in the background and an interior that wouldn’t look out of place in a bar, customers stand to slurp soba. The setting is unique, as is the soba. The hot chicken bowl is the biggest draw, with lines around the block at lunchtime. Luckily it’s a fast moving place where customer slurp and leave, but if you really don’t want to wait, come for dinner, when it’s much easier to get in. Be warned though: the shop closes whenever they run out of noodles. (Full details & map)

Wait: around 30 mins


Taiyaki, Yanagiya

Back in 1916, Yanagiya began making taiyaki (fish-shaped griddle baked pastries with fillings), and with over 90 years of practice, they’ve gotten pretty good at it. The batter is made fresh daily and is used sparingly, which gives the snack an unusually thin and crispy shell (so eat them fast, before they go soft). Inside, there’s koshian (skinless azuki bean paste): sweet but not cloying. Yanagiya is one of the Big Three taiyaki outlets in Tokyo (along with Wakaba in Yotsuya and Naniwaya Souhonten in Azabu Juban) and uses moulds that pre-date WWII.

Wait: about 45 mins
Address: 2-11-3 Nihonbashi Ningyocho, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3666 9901
Open: Mon-Sat 12:30pm-6pm, closed Sun


Oyakodon, Tamahide

This is the birthplace of oyakodon, the chicken-and-egg rice bowl. It was founded in 1760 as a chicken hotpot specialist, but the wife of the fifth generation chef created a dish that became a Japanese classic and came to define the restaurant. If you’re seated for dinner at Tamahide, you’ll need to wait until the end of the meal for the famous dish, when it stands in for the traditional miso and pickles as a finale. At lunch, though, you can dive straight into the oyakodon as long as you don’t mind the wait. If you don’t start queuing by noon, you won’t be getting in.

Wait: up to an hour
Address: 1-17-10 Nihonbashi Ningyocho, Chuo, Tokyo
Telephone: (03)3668 7651
Open: Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30am-2pm (LO 1pm)
Dinner Mon-Fri 5pm-10pm (LO 9pm), Sat 4pm-9pm (LO 8pm)


Cakes, Ginza Department Stores


Each of the three big department stores on Ginza’s Chuo Dori has a confectionary stand that draws big queues. Matsuzakaya has Nenrinya baum cake, which debuted in September 2008 and still draws lines of up to an hour. Last New Year the line stretched up to the fourth floor of the department store.




Mitsukoshi has Mon Chou Chou, which serves a variety of cakes, but it’s the Dojima roll, an ultra-soft fresh-cream-filled Arctic roll, that the ladies line up for. It debuted in August 2007 and there has been a line during opening hours ever since. On peak days, they sell out within two hours of opening.



Gouter de roi


At Matsuya, the big draw is the Gouter de Roi, a sugared rusk from Gateau Festa Harada. For a while, the popular biscuits were also offered online, but sales were suspended when they became overwhelmed with orders.


Categories: Japanese customs, Must see, Things to do, What to eat, Where to eat, Where to shop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things to do this week in Tokyo July 29th-August 4th 2013

Oi Oktoberfest 2013 (TCK 1)

Mon Jul 29 – Fri Aug 2, 2013 Tokyo City Keiba
How many Oktoberfests is too many Oktoberfests? Tokyo is pushing things to the limit this summer, with a total of ten editions of the Munich beer festival (plus Asahi’s pseudo-Oktoberfest in late August). Tokyo City Keiba is one of the newest converts to the cause, and will be hosting a pair of mini-festivals during the summer. Expect the usual mix of suds, sausages and sauerkraut, with beers from German and Japanese breweries, all served up in proper glasses. The first runs from July 29 to August 2, with the second going from August 12 to 16.


Open August 12-16

Time 2.20pm-9pm

Admission Free

Venue Tokyo City Keiba

Address 2-1-2 Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo


Mon Jul 29, 2013 Sound Museum Vision


Proving that you don’t have to wait until the weekend to have a good party, this regular bash organised by the Asobisystem agency turns Monday into the most bangin’ night of the week. Producer Yasutaka Nakata and his barnstorming electro-house duo Capsule top the bill, joined by event regulars including Ram Rider, Verbal and Yun*chi.


Open July 29

Time Doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,500 on the door; ¥3,000 with flyer, ¥2,500 adv

Venue Sound Museum Vision

Address 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

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


Mon Jul 29, 2013 Astro Hall


UK hype bands don’t always translate, but this all-female post-punk quartet has been leaving nothing but corpses in its wake during 2013. Savages recall a lot of music you might already know – PiL, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Dead Kennedys, even PJ Harvey – but the high points of debut album Silence Yourself are far too thrilling to dismiss as mere pastiche. Fresh from making their Japan debut at Fuji Rock, the group heads to Tokyo for a headlining show at Astro Hall. Tickets go on sale on July 13.


Open July 29

Time Doors 6pm. Gig 7pm

Admission ¥4,500 adv

Venue Astro Hall

Address New Wave Harajuku Bldg B1F, 4-32-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku station (Yamanote line), Takeshita exit or Meiji-Jingumae station (Chiyoda line), exit 5.

Mumford & Sons

Tue Jul 30, 2013 Studio Coast


Strap on your waistcoats and pull on your boots: having stormed to worldwide success with a hugely popular combination of banjos, braces and big, big choruses, Marcus Mumford’s travelling band are finally making their Japan debut this summer. With an appearance at Fuji Rock Festivalalready confirmed, the group have announced an additional Tokyo date.


Open July 30

Time Doors 6pm. Gig 7pm

Admission ¥6,000 adv

Venue Studio Coast

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

Transport Shin-Kiba Station (Rinkai, Yurakucho lines)

66th Tsukiji Honganji Bon Dance Festival

Wed Jul 31 – Sat Aug 3, 2013 Tsukiji Honganji

Around Town

Mid-summer is synonymous with obon, the traditional Japanese festival of the dead – and where there’s obon, there’s usually dancing. Get in on the action at one of Tokyo’s more established obon festivals, held across four evenings at Tsukiji Honganji temple. There’ll be taiko drumming and group dancing every night, while August 2 – for reasons that we can’t quite determine – has been designated ‘fancy dress day’.


Open July 31-August 3

Time July 31-Aug 2, 7pm-9pm; Aug 3, 6pm-8.30pm

Venue Tsukiji Honganji

Address 3-15-1 Tsukiji, Chuou-ku, Tokyo

Transport A 1-minute walk from Tsukiji Station (Hibiya Line : exit1) / A 5-minutes walk from Shintomichyo Station (Yuurakuchou Line)・Higashiginnza Station (Asakusa Line)・Tsukijishijyou Station (Toei Ooedo Line)


Wed Jul 31 – Sun Aug 25, 2013 Tokyu Theatre Orb

Performing Arts

Bust out the sequins: Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen’s Supremes-inspired musical is returning to the Tokyo stage in a touring Broadway production, to mark the first anniversary of Theatre Orb.


Open July 31-August 25 No performances Mon, Tue

Time Performance times vary

Admission S ¥12,500, A ¥9,500, B ¥7,500

Venue Tokyu Theatre Orb

Address 11F Shibuya Hikarie, 2-21 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin lines, etc.)

Shuji Terayama: Knock

Until Sun Oct 27, 2013 Watari-Um Museum of Contemporary Art


In 1975, unruly dramatist Shuji Terayama conducted a 30-hour performance in Asagaya, where his accomplices roamed the neighbourhood randomly knocking on doors (prompting some befuddled residents to call the police). The inspired anarchy of Knock is documented in this exhibition at the Watari-Um, which includes films and a variety of previously unseen ephemera.


Open Until October 27 Closed Mon (except Sept 16 & 23, Oct 14)

Time Tue-Sun 11am-7pm (Wed until 9pm)

Admission Adults ¥1,000, students ¥800; pair ticket ¥1,600 (students ¥1,200)

Venue Watari-Um Museum of Contemporary Art

Address 3-7-6 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Gaienmae station (Ginza line), exit 3.

Quincy Jones

Wed Jul 31 – Thu Aug 1, 2013 Tokyo International Forum


The stars are out in force for this 80th anniversary tribute to producer, composer and 24-time Grammy winner Quincy Jones. Singers Patti Austin, James Ingram and Siedah Garrett will be paying tribute to their hit-making collaborator, alongside a host of youthful musicians who’ve recently received the Quincy stamp of approval. But it’s not all about the overseas guests: homegrown musicians ranging from jazz pianist Makoto Ozone to M-Flo frontman Verbal and guitar god Miyavi are on board for an all-Japanese tribute session, led by producer Seiji Kameda.


Open July 31-August 1

Time Doors 6pm. Gig 7pm

Admission SS ¥12,000, S ¥9,500, A ¥8,000


Venue Tokyo International Forum

Address 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Transport Yurakucho station (Yamanote, Yurakucho lines), Tokyo International Forum exit.

Kanagawa Shimbun Fireworks Festival (2013)

Thu Aug 1, 2013 Rinko Park
The Minato Mirai waterfront lends a picturesque location to this bombastic summer fireworks display. There’ll be around 15,000 fireworks deployed in the course of the event, the largest of which measures 480m in diameter, with musical accompaniment to heighten the sense of spectacle. If you want to secure a good spot, there are ‘Fireworks Appreciation Tickets’ sold at Lawson convenience stores (L-code 31110); note that the display will be postponed until Friday if the weather is poor.


Open August 1

Time 7pm-8.30pm

Admission Adults ¥2,500, junior high & elementary school students ¥500

Venue Rinko Park

Address 1-1 Minato Mirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama

Transport Minatomirai Station (Minatomirai line)

Walking with Dinosaurs

Thu Aug 1 – Wed Aug 7, 2013 Saitama Super Arena

Museums & AttractionsAround Town

Kids and big kids alike are catered to with this live stage show, an offshoot of the TV show of the same name. If you’ve always fancied a trip to Jurassic Park without the risk of being eaten by a pack of raptors, then this is about as close as you’re going to get. The show starts at the cretaceous period, before moving to the jurassic period and finally the triassic period using a mixture of video footage and enormous puppets that roam the stage fighting, feeding and doing your usual dinosaur activities. Expect to see triceratops, stegosaurus and, of course, the always crowd-pleasing T-rex.


Open August 1-7 August 5

Time 11am, 3pm & 7pm

Admission Adults ¥4,200-¥10,500; children ¥3,150-¥9,450


Venue Saitama Super Arena

Address 8 Shintoshin, Chuo-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama

Transport Saitama Shintoshin station (Keihin-Tohoku, Utsunomiya/Takasaki lines)

Steve Vai

Thu Aug 1, 2013 Akasaka Blitz


No disrespect to guitar god Steve Vai, but we’re pretty much over the technically proficient, yet emotionally empty, razzle-dazzle that’s on display tonight. Gotta hand it to the dude, though – he hasn’t let up on his fret-shredding ways since his days studying with Joe Satriani, counting among his many achievements stints with both Zappa and David Lee Roth, a still-thriving solo career and a new album, last year’s The Story of Light.


Open August 1

Time Doors 6pm. Gig 7pm

Admission ¥7,000 adv

Venue Akasaka Blitz

Address Akasaka Sacas, Akasaka 5-3-2, Minato, Tokyo

Transport Akasaka Station (Chiyoda line), Akasaka-Mitsuke Station (Ginza, Marunouchi lines)

Movie Day
The first day of the month is Movie Day, meaning you can get discounted ¥1,000 tickets at cinemas throughout Tokyo – an ideal opportunity to catch recent openings includingHope Springs and Emperor.

Monsters University

Antique Jamboree (2013)

Fri Aug 2 – Sun Aug 4, 2013 Tokyo Big Sight

ShopsAround Town

Knicknack lovers rejoice as the nation’s largest antiques market returns to Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba, bringing with it 500 dealers specialising in artefacts and heirlooms from Japan, Europe and the US. This being the land of the otaku, special attention is reserved for collectors of aged toys and playthings, but there’s usually enough going on at these events to interest even the most passive browser. Hardened scavengers pay extra to get in on Early Buyer Day on Friday, but regardless of when you go, it’s worth hitting the jamboree’s website beforehand for their printable couponsthat knock a few hundred yen off the ticket price.


Open August 2-4

Time 10am-5pm

Admission August 2 (early buyer day) ¥3,000, August 3, 4 ¥1,000

Twitter Tech2R

Venue Tokyo Big Sight

Address 3-11-1 Ariake, Koto, Tokyo

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

Hachioji Matsuri (2013)

Fri Aug 2 – Sun Aug 4, 2013 Koshu Highway, Hachioji

Around Town

Floats and portable shrines are carried down Hachioji’s central Koshu Highway in this summer festival, held in the first weekend of August each year. When rival dashi floats pass, their bands attempt to throw each other off their groove in a musical face-off known as buttsuke – a distinctive Hachioji tradition. Also look out for taiko drummers, ice sculptures, dragon dancers and more in the course of the three-day fest.


Open August 2-4

Time Noon-9pm

 Venue Koshu Highway, Hachioji

Club Chic Summer 2013

Fri Aug 2, 2013 Grand Hyatt Tokyo Grand Ballroom


The Grand Hyatt dusts off the mirrorball for the classiest disco party of the summer on August 2. Put on your dancing shoes and sashay into the Roppongi hotel’s main ballroom for an evening of ’70s grooves and free-flowing booze, with DJs Ai Emori and K-Co, plus live vocals from Bro. Kone and Tsunoda Hiro. If you’re feeling extra plush, spring for one of the VIP tickets, which includes top-notch tipples such as Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2005 and Henri Giraud Fût de Chêne NV. Revellers can also stay overnight for a reduced price of ¥25,000; call 03 4333 8838 for details.


Open August 2

Time 8pm-midnight

Admission ¥15,000 (VIP ticket ¥30,000)

Venue Grand Hyatt Tokyo Grand Ballroom

Address 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi station (Hibiya line), exit 1C; (Oedo line), exit 3.

Lone Ranger

This Hi-ho Hollywood reboot can’t ride off into the sunset soon enough

Lone Ranger

Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Arnie Hammer, Ruth Wilson

Since his first appearance in 1933, he’s galloped his way between radio, movies, books and television. His popularity led to a spin-off series starring a little character known as the Green Hornet, while his catchphrase (‘Hi-ho Silver, away!’) and theme music (the William Tell overture) have become permanent fixtures of the popular culture lexicon.

Given that pedigree, a Hollywood reboot of the adventures of the masked lawman known as the Lone Ranger was inevitable. Of course that purveyor of blockbluster bloat, Jerry Bruckheimer, saw it as a chance to launch a new Pirates of the Caribbean–like franchise. And of course his house star of the moment, Johnny Depp, signed on to bring his increasingly diluted quirkiness to the role of Tonto, Native American companion to our white-hat vigilante hero John Reid (Arnie Hammer, nondescriptly noble).

Credit where it’s due, though: both Depp (only sort of cashing a paycheck) and his not-untalented Pirates 1–3 director Gore Verbinski have a lot of fun with the story’s setup. The promising opening scene, set in 1930s San Francisco, cleverly introduces Tonto as an aged attraction at a Wild West carnival exhibition (Depp rather movingly performs the role under what looks like a ton of Dustin Hoffman–in–Little Big Man prosthetics). He relates his and the Ranger’s often-convoluted adventures to a wide-eyed young audience of one, which establishes a nice air of innocence – it’s telling that Verbinski explicitly references Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon (1956) in an early composition. But the childlike sense of wonder is almost immediately eliminated once the movie flashes back to the late-1800s Wild West.

Though his adeptness with throwaway gags suggests he could have been a superb Warner Bros animator (there’s a particularly humorous one here involving vampire rabbits), summer tentpole morass tends to squash Verbinski’s gifts. As in nearly all of his films, an overstuffed plot gets the better of him: there’s a mutilated and malevolent gunslinger (William Fichtner, expectedly bringing the crazy) prowling the land. The transcontinental railroad is winding its way through the Monument Valley desert, a project overseen by a big-city businessman (Tom Wilkinson) with clearly suspicious motivations. There’s cold-blooded murder and declarations of vengeance, run-ins between the local Indians and the cavalry, a whorehouse madam with a wooden gun leg (Helena Bonham Carter, apparently on loan from an aborted Tim Burton project), a romantic interest and plenty of low comedy courtesy of Tonto’s smirky training of his new partner. Reference is even made to Depp’s ‘stupid fucking’ role in Jim Jarmusch’s 1995 acid Western Dead Man – minus the f-word, lest one offend the sensitive ears of the PG-13 multiplex demographic.

It’s all too much and not enough – a succession of disparate, can-you-top-this episodes inelegantly piling up like skidding cars on a freeway. And that’s not even taking into account the action scenes. Lord, those action scenes: monotonous, loud and relentless, they’re a punishing example of the self-satisfied, digitally augmented ephemera that typifies modern Hollywood moviemaking, and House Bruckheimer in particular.

When Tonto moves between two speeding locomotives with chamois-like agility or the Ranger leaps across the roofs of buildings and moving vehicles on his faithful steed, we never have any true sense of danger or exhilaration because everything is too uncannily seamless. Even if only at a subconscious level, we’re all too aware we’re watching ones and zeroes slathered around performers making ‘oh shit!’ faces at objects to be fully rendered later. This machine-tooled pomposity is all the more irritating for the few times Verbinski brings a genuine sense of invention to the proceedings (he shoots some of the Monument Valley locations with a comically askew eye that’s equal parts Ford and Leone). Or for those rare moments when Depp and Hammer – tossing off a quip or flashing an ingratiating grin – show a flicker of the gleam-in-the-eye ranger spirit. Otherwise, ‘Kemosabe’ and his faithful sidekick can’t ride off into the sunset soon enough.

Lone Ranger opens nationwide on August 2

Rock in Japan Festival 2013

Fri Aug 2 – Sun Aug 4, 2013 Hitaichi Seaside Park, Ibaraki


Few music magazines have a better grasp of what the public wants thanRockin’ On, the influential periodical behind the annual summer Rock In Japan festival and its winter counterpart, Countdown Japan. The former, held at an attractive seaside park on the Ibaraki coast, consistently sells out in advance each year – despite (or maybe because of) the fact that the lineup has more repeat performers than any other summer music fest. Here’s the lineup so far…

August 2
The Back Horn, Back Number, Bigmama, [Champagne], Coldrain (NEW),Dr DownerThe FlickersFlower Flower, Fujifabric, FukurouzuGood Morning AmericaMotohiro Hata, Hey-Smith, Husking Bee, Inoran,Shishido Kavka, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Last Alliance, Maximum The Hormone, Merengue, MowMow Lulu Gyaban, Mongol800, Yuji Nakada, Negoto, Shiori Niyama, Noise and Milk, Okamoto’s, One OK Rock, Puffy, Rip SlymeRottengraffty, Sakanaction, Straightener, Shugo Tokumaru, Soil & “Pimp” SessionsTancobuchin, Totalfat, Unison Square Garden, Wasureranneyo, Zazen Boys…

August 3
Akai Ko-en, Androp, Applicat Spectra, Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Back Drop Bomb, Base Ball Bear, Bump of ChickenBuzz The Bears, Capsule, The Chef Cooks MeCinema Staff, Creephyp, A Flood of CircleGood4NothingHello SleepwalkersHilcrhymeKen Hirai, Leo Ieiri, J, Miliyah KatoKinniku Shojo Tai, Lecca, Low IQ 101 & The Rhythm Makers, Magokoro Brothers, Nico Touches the Walls, 9mm Parabellum Bullet, Nothing’s Carved in Stone, The Novembers, Overground Acoustic Underground “5”, PassepiedPesPolysicsSamezame, Sayonara, mata kondo ne, Shinku-Horou, Special OthersYu Takahashi, Mao Uchu, White Ash, Masayoshi Yamazaki…

August 4
Yuko Ando, Anzen Chitai, Avengers in Sci-fi, The Band Apart, The Birthday, CNBLUE, Does, Dragon Ash, The DresscodesFlower CompanyzGroup Tamashii, The Hiatus, Kana-BoonKinoco Hotel, Taro Kobayashi, Kreva, Luki, Tortoise Matsumoto, The Mirraz, Miwa,Miyavi, My First Story, Nubo, Ohashi Trio, Tamio Okuda, Orange Range,Perfume, Plenty, PredawnQuruliRihwa, Maaya Sakamoto, Sakanamon, ScandalScott & Rivers, The Starbems, 10-Feet, TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, Tokyo Karankoron, Tricot


Open August 2-4

Time Doors 8am. Gig 10am-8.30pm

Admission 1 day ¥11,500 (including parking ¥13,000), two days ¥22,000 (inc. parking ¥25,000), three days ¥30,000 (inc. parking ¥34,500)


Venue Hitaichi Seaside Park, Ibaraki

Bondaid feat Co La

Fri Aug 2, 2013 Seco


Baltimore producer Co La – whose dreamworld beatscapes sit comfortably alongside the likes of Clams Casino and the Tri-Angle label – is the guest of honour at this liminal all-nighter. Hypnotic Tokyo-based guitarist Dustin Wong joins him for what’s billed as an ‘ecstatic sunshine session’, with further support from hazy house producer Sapphire Slows and DJs including Cold Name (from Jesse Ruins) and Mayu.


Open August 2

Time Doors 9pm

Admission ¥3,000 on the door; ¥2,500 with flyer


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

Prom Nite feat. Kelela & Total Freedom

Fri Aug 2, 2013 Unit


‘I would like to do Brandy but weirder,’ was how hotly tipped R&B singer Kelela described her approach in an interview with Fact earlier this year. She’s been keeping good company so far, guesting on tracks by Kingdom and Teengirl Fantasy and hooking up with LA’s Fade to Mind posse, whose Total Freedom is accompanying her for this date at Unit. DJs including Toby Feltwell and 1-Drink lend eclectic support.


Open August 2

Time Doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,000 on the door

Venue Unit

Address Za House Bldg, 1-34-17 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

Funktaxi feat Marc Schneider

Fri Aug 2, 2013 Air


Though he’s the main buyer for German distributor Word and Sound, Marc Schneider was a late bloomer when it came to producing his own music. Already a fixture on the club circuit by the mid-’90s, he didn’t start releasing tunes himself until a decade later; fortunately, his rough, Fuckpony-esque house cuts were worth the wait. He returns to Tokyo’s Funktaxi party almost exactly a year on from the last time he played there, with support from event regulars Den, Da and Pi-Ge.


Open August 2

Time Doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,000 on the door; ¥2,500 with flyer

Venue Air

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

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

Itabashi Fireworks (2013)

Taking advantage of a serendipitous schedule clash, Itabashi’s annual fireworks display takes place at the same time as the one in Toda City, just across the waters of the Arakawa River. You can expect a combined 11,000 fireworks to go up in the course of the evening, including an enormous ‘star mine’ and the spectacular ‘Niagara Falls’, a 600-metre chain of explosions that always draws the biggest cheers of the night. If you want to guarantee yourself a good vantage point, reservations for reserved seating areas are being taken from June 29 (details, in Japanese only, available here).


Open August 3

Time 7pm-8.45pm

Venue Banks of Arakawa River, Itabashi


Transport Takashimadaira Station (Mita line), Nishidai Station (Mita line), Hasune Station (Mita line)

Ocean Peoples (2013)

Sat Aug 3 – Sun Aug 4, 2013 Yoyogi Park

Around Town FREE

Yoyogi Park doesn’t seem like the most obvious location for a festival celebrating the sea (surely the beach would be a better option?), but don’t let that mar your enjoyment of this weekend’s Ocean Peoples fest. Organised by the crew behind the annual Greenroom Festival in Yokohama, this freebie two-day event boasts live music from the likes of Sandii (of ‘Goodbye Morning’ fame) and energetic dance shows, plus a dedicated beer garden and food offerings including burgers, shaved ice, kebabs and ice cream. Keep an eye on the timetable on the official website for announcements on who’ll be playing when.


Open August 3-4

Time 11am-8pm

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)

Asagaya Bali Dance Festival (2013)

Sat Aug 3 – Sun Aug 4, 2013 Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine

Around Town

The Balinese counterpart to the Asagaya Tanabata Matsuri reaches its 12th edition this year, supplying two evenings of free gamelan and traditional Indonesian dance. Bonus marks to anyone who can explain exactly why there’s a Balinese festival held in Asagaya every year, but it sounds like a pretty tempting proposition either way. Note that the event will be called off if there’s heavy rain on the night – an all-too-regular occurrence at this time of year.


Open August 3-4

Time Doors 4.30pm. Show 5pm

Admission Free

Venue Asagaya Shinmeigu Shrine

Address 1-25-5 Asagaya-Kita, Suginami-ku, Tokyo

Transport Asagaya Station (Chuo line)

Tatemono-en Shita-machi Yu-suzumi

Sat Aug 3 – Sun Aug 4, 2013 Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum

Around Town

The Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum will be extending its opening hours for this two-day event, which invites visitors to enjoy a balmy summer evening (known as yusuzumi in Japanese) like they used to in the Showa era. With bon-odori dancing, food stalls and paper lanterns lighting the streets, it promises to be atmospheric – though the taiko drumming and cries of a veteran street hawker should stop things getting too tranquil.


Open August 3-4

Time 2pm-8.30pm

Admission Adults ¥400, university students ¥320, high school age and under ¥200

Venue Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum

Address 3-7-1 Sakuracho, Koganei Ishi, Tokyo

Transport Musashi Koganei station (Chuo line), north exit then any bus from bus stops 2 or 3 to Koganei Koen Nishi-Guchi.

One Summer Night with DVS1 & DJ Nobu

Sat Aug 3, 2013 Unit


If the recent closure of Nishi-Azabu’s Eleven left a bitter taste in the mouth, that’s partly because the über-underground nightspot was subsequently transformed into a commercial EDM club. In a brilliantly malicious bit of timing, the old Eleven crew have chosen the opening weekend of Double Tokyo to host their own get-together at Unit, starring a host of DJs who’ll be familiar to club regulars. Minneapolis techno warrior DVS1 shares the podium with local hero DJ Nobu in the main room, while Kez YM, Kikiorix and co. take charge of the downstairs Saloon. Double who…?


Open August 3

Time Doors 11pm

Admission ¥3,500 on the door; ¥2,500 adv

Venue Unit

Address Za House Bldg, 1-34-17 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

Juno Reactor Final Frontier Tour

Sat Aug 3, 2013 AgeHa


Ben Watkins has been trawling the globe with his ever-morphing electro-trance collective for over twenty years, but if you still haven’t decided where you stand on them, here’s a simple litmus test: do you have happy memories of The Matrix Reloaded? Juno Reactor certainly won’t be sparing any excess during this mammoth twelve-hour party at Ageha, which boasts additional live sets by collaborators including Miyavi, Sugizo and Jayant ‘Jitter’ Luthra, plus DJ turns by the likes of Mike Maguire, Ree.K and Numanoid aka DJ Tsuyoshi.


Open August 3

Time Doors 6pm (all night)

Admission ¥4,500 adv

Venue AgeHa

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

Transport Shinkiba station (Rinkai, Yurakucho lines).

Takkyu Ishino @ Otodama Sea Studio

Sat Aug 3, 2013 Otodama Sea Studio


Techno heavyweights Takkyu Ishino and Ken Ishii descend on Zushi’s Otodama Sea Studio for a sweaty daytime dance party – though we’re not sure how literally to take the event’s Japanese title, which translates literally as, ‘It’s hot, so take all your clothes off!’ Champion turntablist DJ Kentaro and beatboxer Afra support.


Open August 3

Time Doors noon

Admission ¥4,000 on the door; ¥3,500 adv

Venue Otodama Sea Studio

Address 2-3 Shinjuku, Zushi, Kanagawa

Transport Shin-Zushi Station (Keikyu line) or Zushi Station (Yokosuka/Shonan-Shinjuku line)

Magic Mike

At last: Channing Tatum gives the ladies what they want

Magic Mike

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody McMains

First (because we know it’s on your mind): the Channing Tatum male-stripper movie is filled with male stripping. Tons of it. With the exception of one backstage shocker of a close-up, you don’t get the full monty – but maybe something even better. These choreographed dance numbers, set to pumping remixes of ‘Like a Virgin’ and, unavoidably, ‘It’s Raining Men,’ are hilariously unsubtle. Never is an opportunity lost for an assless-chapped cowboy or a trench-crawling soldier to perform a crotch thrust; pants are removed with a magician’s bold flourish. For these sequences alone, Magic Mike connects on a screamingly funny level, and not just for wayward bachelorettes.

This being a Steven Soderbergh movie – he of the overstated ‘retirement’ and reinvigorated craft (ContagionHaywire) – it’s also a beautiful piece of straightforward storytelling, burnished with golden-hued cinematography and snappy cutting. Our hero, Mike (Tatum, who spawned the script from his own experiences), is the aging, unsatisfied star of a nightly revue; lanky Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a jobless drifter, is drafted into the squad, thrilling to the female adoration and druggy edges of the scene. There’s an unusually fine sense of money anxiety, from Mike’s seedy ’70s-style beach house in Tampa and construction day work to the routine of counting all those single-dollar bills and plunging them into ‘equity’ – a relocation to Miami is the dream.

You know where this is all going. If Magic Mike doesn’t quite attain the hedonistic stature of twin cautionary tales Boogie Nights and the campyShowgirls, it can’t be faulted for wanting to satisfy on a deeper level. Meanwhile, didn’t Soderbergh notice there was pathos enough in Matthew McConaughey’s beefcake proprietor, an ab-slapping, spandexed Peter Pan? Between this role and his owlish DA in the subversively sly Bernie, the actor has finally found a way to subvert his six-pack. He’s the magic here.

Magic Mike opens at select Tokyo area cinemas on August 3

Meteo Night 2013

Sun Aug 4, 2013 Shibuya O-West Shibuya O-Nest, 7th Floor


Call it the anti Rock in Japan. Meteo Night takes place on the same day as the ultra-commercial J-rock fest up in Ibaraki, but that’s where the similarities end. Organised by indie label Less Than TV, this one-day gig sprawls across four floors of the Shibuya O complex, and peddles a diet of scrappy, occasionally brutal music that’s unlikely ever to get within spitting distance of the pop charts. This year’s Meteo Night takes a slightly different format from previous editions, devoting the larger O-West to a face-off between acts from 11 different indie labels, including noise-Vocaloid combo Hatsune Kaidan (representing Alchemy Records), beatmakers The Lefty (Black Smoker Records) and the faintly Steely Dan-esque Cero (Kakubarhythm). Upstairs, you can expect plenty of the usual suspects, ranging from veteran hip hopper ECD + Illicit Tsuboi to pulverising post-hardcore act Tiala and hard-riffing mentalists Limited Express (has gone?) – and keep an eye out for Safari, featuring a certainTadanobu Asano on vocals.


Open August 4

Time Doors 12pm. Gig 1pm

Admission ¥4,000 on the door; ¥3,500 adv

Venue Shibuya O-West Shibuya O-Nest, 7th Floor

Address 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), Hachiko exit.

The Von Trapps

Sun Aug 4, 2013 Shibuya Kokaido


The real-life great grandchildren of Captain and Maria von Trapp belt out ‘Edelweiss’, ‘Maria’ and other tunes from The Sound of Music, in the final date of their first-ever tour of Japan.


Open August 4

Time 2pm

Admission ¥6,500

Venue Shibuya Kokaido

Address 1-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), Hachiko exit.

Champagne Garden at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Until Sat Aug 31, 2013 Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo


Trust the Hotel Chinzano to supply a classier alternative to Tokyo’s beer garden booze-ups. The elegant Mejiro hideaway is putting its new rooftop Serenity Garden to good use for this summer-only promotion, where ¥5,000 gets you two hours of free-flowing Laurent-Perrier champagne – the same tipple served at Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding in 2011. The price also includes wine, beer and a selection of nibbles, though note that you’ll need to reserve by 6pm the day before in order to take advantage of the offer.


Open July 22-August 31

Time 1st session 3pm-5pm, 2nd session 5pm-7pm

Admission ¥5,000 per person

Telephone 03 3943 1111

Venue Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo

Address 2-10-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Transport Mejiro Station (Yamanote line), then 61 bus or Edogawabashi Station (Yurakucho line), exit 1A

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Don’t sweat it: 5 cool oases for the Tokyo summer

Wave pools, haunted hospitals and even an ice-cream city are on the chill-out menu for 2013.

Hot, humid and downright uncomfortable — that pretty much sums up summer in Tokyo.

With 13 million people packed into the metro area and temperatures over 35 C for weeks on end, it’s the one time of year when it’s not such a great place to live.

While we can’t do much about the crowds or the relentless heat, we can at least share a few tips on chilling out in your downtime.

Here are five favorite spots for a cool day out in and around the capital.

1. Haunted Hospital, Fuji-Q Highland

Haunted houses, or obakeyashiki, have long been a popular destination during the Japanese summer, especially during the Obon holiday season in August.

The idea is that these places will dispense chills sufficient to maybe even cool you down a degree or two.

The multi-story Saikyo Senritsu Meikyu, said to be the largest haunted hospital in the world, was recreated to reflect an actual former hospital and is genuinely nerve-jangling for even the most experienced haunted-house aficionado.

Upon entry you’re given a puny flashlight to navigate the premises, which also form a maze. A maze filled with ghosts and zombies.

Blood-splattered walls, antique medical equipment resembling torture devices and costumed actors dedicated to their jobs chase you down the abandoned hallways.

Don’t even try to snap a photo though, or you’ll be promptly escorted out the door. The undead don’t appreciate cameras.

As for cost, you’re looking at ¥500 (US$6.35) in addition to the park’s entrance fee of ¥1,300.

Bonus: Check out Fuji-Q’s Takabisha roller coaster, which opened last year. It holds the world record for the steepest descent — a lunch-losing 121 degrees.

Getting there5-6-1 Shin-Nishihara. Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, +81 (0) 555 23 2111; open July 20-September 20, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; otherwise, weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., weekends 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Take the Chuo Express Fujigoko line bus from the West exit of Shinjuku Station. Reservations: +81 (0) 555 72 5111.

2. Nostalgic Town, Odaiba

This little gem inside the Odaiba Decks complex is old-school and fabulous. If you’ve ever yearned for the days of the original Super Mario, you might never leave.

The fourth floor houses a colorful gaming area filled with retro arcade machines from decades past.

The walls are covered in memory-sparking posters, with wonderfully cheesy Japanese and international pop bands as the stars, alongside advertising icons from the past.

Even 1980s U.S. beer dog Spuds MacKenzie has a prominent corner spot. Drinks on you if you can remember the particular liquor he hawked on TV back then.

Most games cost ¥100, which is about the best deal you’ll get in Tokyo in one of the destination-type centers.

We just hope you remember how to waggle a joystick like it’s 1983 all over again.

Bonus: Should you tire of old-fashioned games, Sega Joypolis is just across the walkway for a more 2012 pixel hit.

Getting there1-6-1, Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo, +81 (0) 3 3599 3765; open 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Board the Yurikamome line from Shinbashi to Odaiba-kaihinkoen Station.

3. Summerland Water Park

Not all cool spots, obviously, are indoors, so if it’s a water park you seek, Summerland, in spite of its steep ¥3,500 day-long entrance fee, is the best choice by far.

The park’s 300-meter lazy river is the centerpiece, but there are also some exciting water slides and vertical freefalls where you can race your partner down on a float or inner tube.

Adventure Lagoon is the outdoor water park area, but there’s also a well-frequented indoor wave pool that’s open year-round and which can become incredibly crowded in a “Yamanote line Friday night commute” sort of way.

Bonus: Keep in mind that, like most public recreation facilities in Tokyo, anyone with tattoos will not be admitted. As you can’t check them in at the door, get a rash guard or waterproof bandages to slide on by.

Getting there: 600 Kamiyochugi, Akiruno City, Tokyo, +81 (0) 425 586511; open July to September, hours vary by month.

Take the Chuo line from Shinjuku Station and get off at Haijima (about 50 minutes). Change lines to Akigawa Station, then take a short bus ride bound for Summerland. Or, for a slightly-less-crowded trip, go to Hachioji Station from Shinjuku and look for the Summerland buses.

4. Namja Town, Sunshine City

Videogame company Namco, of Pac-Man fame, is behind the odd little chill-out spot that is Namja Town.

Among the game-centric attractions that vibrate, drop and explode when you attempt to interact with them, the toilets are particularly amusing.

Seriously — go see for yourself; we’ll leave it with you. Just don’t loiter.

The real standouts, however, are the Gyoza Stadium and Ice-Cream City.

You can try nearly a dozen different styles of Gyoza, from pot-boiled to fried with cheese, all of which are best accompanied by a cold Kirin beer in a frosted mug.

And if you’ve always wanted to sample some horsemeat ice cream (who hasn’t?), this is the spot to come — it’s on sale alongside more than 100 different frozen treats.

It costs ¥300 to enter Namja Town, but for our money it’s best to skip the pricey ¥3,900 passport option and pay as you go.

Bonus: Once you stuff yourself with Gyoza, head over to Sunshine City’s Toyota showroom for free race car games featuring the latest sports models.

Getting thereSunshinecity World Importmart Building, 3-1 Higashi-ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo, +81 (0) 3 5950 0765; open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Take the Yamanote line to Ikebukuro Station.

5. Tokyo Dome City

Feel like playing baseball but don’t fancy suiting up in those 40 degrees (count ‘em) outside? Then make your way to Tokyo Dome City, where you don’t even need a partner to play the sport of your choice.

Inside you’ll find 11 types of virtual action, including soccer, tennis, golf and even ping-pong.

There are also some shooting, driving and other more “real” amusements next to a pretty decent bowling alley. Prices start at ¥450 per game.

The baseball is the real highlight, though, and what the masses come for. Inside the batting cages there are screens with real Yomiuri Giants players as your virtual pitchers.

Choose your favorite to square off against and swing until your shoulder pops (if you’re the competitive sort).

Bonus: If you’ve worked up a sweat after a batting session, go to the LaQua complex next door for the WonderDrop, a short, but refreshing, water ride.

Getting there1-3-61 Kouraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; +81 (0) 3 5800 9999; open weekdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; weekends 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Take the Tokyo Metro to Kasuga or Korakuen stations and follow the signs to Tokyo Dome City.

Categories: Daytrips, Must see, Things to do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where to eat: Asian fusion dining at Hibiki

Hibiki restaurant at Marunouchi

Hibiki restaurant at Marunouchi


A sample of some dishes at Hibiki

A sample of some dishes at Hibiki



Long gone are the days, it seems, when the taste of Japan was confined to tiny eateries crammed underneath railway lines. True, these outlets are still thriving among the salary-man community, as Yurakucho will testify, but heavy competition is arriving from grander restaurants in the vast modern station and shopping complexes springing up throughout Japan. Hibiki, located in the glitzy Yurakucho Itocia tower, is one such locale.

Long-established Ginza has forever carried more bling than its Yurakucho neighbor. Now, in the shape of restaurants like Hibiki, Yurakucho is itself becoming more Ginza-like, transferring the dishes of cheap izakaya to large, highly plush interiors with expensive furniture, dim romantic lighting and earnest service staff.

Hibiki Yurakucho is the classic fusion of Western-style service and Japanese food, the background music straight out of a top-floor London restaurant. Tables are well spread-out, providing extra privacy when talking, while the counter seats are comprised not of bar stools, but of shiny, lacquered high-back chairs.

Rarely for Japan, Hibiki has borrowed the entre-plat principle of expensive European restaurants, offering customers surprise items between the earlier plates. Special entre-plats are also offered exclusively to counter-seat customers, including refreshing tofu and vegetable nimono. This food is prepared by a highly-dedicated team of white-coverall chefs, stationed in full view of the customers behind the giant counter, working with state of the art equipment.

An attractive raw fish dish comes in the shape of Nihon sashimi (¥1,300), juicy in the extreme, the rich taste more than a match for most izakaya.

For mains, the Yamagata gyu-niku nabe (¥1,700) is perfectly-placed to warm up – and fill – a stomach in winter, full of tough meat but far from tiring for the teeth. Another appetizing meat dish is the gyu-suji-tamanegi, with added freshness coming courtesy of the seasonal vegetables (¥1,100), light, crispy and healthy. Interestingly, the restaurant encourages diners to ‘start white and end white,’ perhaps beginning with Kawashima Tofu and finishing with Niigata Koshi Hikari rice added to the nabe pot.

Reasons to Visit

1. True Japanese food experience

2. Fresh ingredients from across Japan

3. Perfect for groups and parties


Private Room Available All You Can Drink


JR Tokyo Station – 3min walk
JR Chuo Line, JR Keihin-Tohoku Line, JR Sobu Line, JR Tokaido Line, JR Yamanote Line, JR Yokosuka Line

Metro Tokyo Station – 3min walk
Metro Marunouchi Line

Metro Otemachi Station – 5min walk
Metro Chiyoda Line, Metro Marunouchi Line, Metro Tozai Line, Metro Hanzomon Line

Toei Otemachi Station
Toei Mita Line

Hibiki Marunouchi Information


1F Tokyo Kaijo Nishido Bldg Shinkan, 1-2-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo




11am – 2:30pm (L.O. 2pm) & 5pm – 11pm (L.O. 10pm) (Mon – Fri), 4pm – 10pm (L.O. 9pm) (Sat)



Credit Cards

All major cards accepted

The Hibiki concept is taking little time to win over fans, so reservations are highly recommended.

Here are some other locations of this wonderful restaurant. The one in Odaiba I can also really recommend for its dazzeling view of Tokyo bay.


Categories: Must see, Things to do, Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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