Things to see or do in Tokyo

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The Best Yokocho in Tokyo!

Hidden among Tokyo high-rises and neon lights, you can find yourself back in the 70s of Japan, in the so called Yokocho alleys, which are welcoming corners for anyone looking for a bite and experience the deeper understanding of the localness of Tokyo, with yakitori shops, izakaya and small bars.
What defines those alleys is the size of the bars and eateries with only enough room inside for 4 or 5 barstools.
Entering those miniature hole along the alley for the first time can be disconcerting, especially if you don’t speak Japanese. Fortunately, some places in the bigger ones have English and Chinese menus.

Here is short list of some of the best Yokocho in Tokyo:

Omoide (memory lane), also called Gokiburi Yokocho (cockroach alley) or Shomben Yokocho (piss alley) with a selection of Japanese cuisine available at the 60 restaurants within the 4 lanes located on the western side of Shinjuku Station. map

Nonbei (drunkard alley), 2 small hidden lanes not far from Shibuya Station, with food like oden or snack food that goes easily with the drink, very similar to the old yatai style. map

Ebisu opened in 1998 in a decaying 1970s apartment block in Ebisu, is now a lively izakaya arcade, with plenty to offer, like western-style wine bars, sushi shops, oden or grills. map

You can also join us with our Gourmet and Tastes of Japan for other rare hidden Yokocho.

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Fireflies Festival in Tokyo

From the end of May and throughout June is the firefly season in Japan. Watching the fireflies or genji-botaru (ゲ ン ジ ボ タ ル, laciola) is a Japanese tradition you probably do not know, but it is one of the characteristics of Japanese summers. It can be a little difficult to see wild fireflies in central Tokyo, but many places with lush vegetation creates a perfect environment for the reproduction of its delicate insects and allow you to enjoy the beautiful sights of these scintillating points at night.
Note that it is extremely important to be calm when approaching the fireflies, and do not use flash during photo shoots.
Here is a list of our recommendations, where you can enjoy the fireflies in Tokyo, as in “Grave of the Fireflies” (火垂るの墓, Hotaru no haka?) Japanese animated film from Isao Takahata of Ghibli. Most of the websites are in Japanese, please contact us to book.

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Shinjuku Station World’s Biggest Chalkboard Art

To celebrate the release of the new Dragon Quest Heroes II, Square Enix has asked RenaRena to reproduce a chalk mural on a giant 14 meters long blackboard in Shinjuku station. Already known for her previous chalkboard work around the game Dark Souls, it took RenaRena a month to complete the mural and the final result is just stunning.

On display from May 23rd to May 29th, the installation uses the power of social media, once tweets containing the hashtag #DQH2 exceed 5,000 by the end of May 24th, the blackboard will be wiped clean of monsters from the following day.

Images Eiga.com

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G-cans The Underground Temple

You have already visited every Tokyo temples? So why not go to an “underground” temple.
G-can The Underground TempleBuilt between 1992 and 2006 and located on the outskirts of Tokyo, the “Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel”, more commonly known as the G-Cans is an underground storm drain system that consists of five containment concrete silos 65m high and a diameter of 32m, connected by 6.4 km tunnels, all 50 m beneath the surface
But mainly a huge reservoir 177m long, 78m wide and 25.4m high, nicknamed “The Temple” and which with its pillars looks like a majestic and mystical temple.
The G-Can is a fascinating tourist destination and when not flooded, tours are conducted twice daily, Tuesday to Friday, but only in Japanese. Contact us for a guide.
More information.
Or simply watch this video.

Fish & Soul, the death of Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market

The famous Tsukiji market in Tokyo (築地市場), the biggest fish market in the world, is about to move.
Because of its aging infrastructure, equipped with an outdated refrigeration system, Tsukiji has to move a few kilometers from its current location to Toyosu in Tokyo Bay. A planned trip for years and which, after much discussion and reports, will be realized in the month of November, although some opponents still struggle, because of the cost of the move and traces of pollution on the waterfront site due to the activity of a gas complex there.
Tsukiji Market, which opened in 1935 is a huge chaotic hall, surrounded by an “organized” mess, small fish shops, restaurants, hawkers, fishponds, where thousands of people work. It’s sad that Tsukiji moves say many Japanese working there, people liked to meet at Tsukiji, the new market will not have the same charm or soul.

The new market or Tsukiji Uogashi will open almost seamlessly few days after the old location closing in November but how Tsukiji’s old charm will be kept in this shiny new facility which looks more like a Mall is another story.

Fish & Soul, the death of Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market

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Shopping in Tokyo

Tokyo is an absolutely fun place to shop and every shopping aficionados know Tokyo’s reputation about it. It is an ideal destination for savvy shoppers as for electronics enthusiasts, video games, manga, traditional items or fashion buyers.
It is especially interesting that the Japanese government introduced the ability for foreigners to buy duty free items (computer and electronic equipment, handbag, clothes). And since October 2014, the system was extended to many other products, such as cosmetics, medicines and even food and drink.
This map is packed with useful information on products and stores recommended when coming from abroad.

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Tokyo streets Real-life Mario Kart drive

This service, proposed by “Maricar”, allow you to rent karts and race through the streets of Tokyo. Every kart is equipped with mirrors, a bumper and a small flag so you do not get rolled over by the first truck. You are allowed to ride on the road and anyone having a Japanese or international driver’s license can drive these karts. Wearing a helmet is not required, you can choose a costume, rent a Go-pro to record your trip and it is a very nice way to explore Tokyo. Karts are available for rent at a price of ¥2.700 per hour or ¥10.800 for the whole day.

More info: http://maricar.jp/

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Tokyo from above

Tokyo is just huge, an endless city, amazing both on the ground or at the 50th floor of a hotel or an office. If you are not high-sick and want to realize how huge is the metropolis, the only solution is to climb to the top of those buildings, often equipped with indoor and outdoor observatories. Towers like Skytree and Tokyo Tower are obviously among the most popular tourist attractions, but here is exhaustive list of places to see Tokyo from above.

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Tokyo “petto kaffe” or animal cafes

Cat cafes in Tokyo are well known, but few people know that the Japanese capital also houses a veritable menagerie of animals inspired restaurants, with rabbits and owls, even penguins. In Japan many landlords prohibit owning pets, it is now also well known, the positive effect of the presence of pets to fight the stress of city dwellers and another reason may be a bit risky, the lack of affection Japanese could be a significant factor for the boom of those pets cafe. If some are excellent, others have not a soul out there. To avoid searching, we traveled all Tokyo to find the best “petto kaffe”.

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Tokyo Hanami 2016

Cherry blossoms put Tokyo into a good mood.
Tokyo Hanami season in Tokyo starts in late March, probably 23 this year and lasts about a week. The following are among Tokyo’s most popular Hanami spots.