Nakagin Capsule Tower

The Nakagin Capsule Tower is probably what many people envision when they think of modern Tokyo: a sort of space-age but utilitarian building stacked high into the sky. In truth, this building is the one and only of its kind in Tokyo or anywhere else, and unless you consider 1972 the peak of modern Japan,…

Ginza Itoya

How does a stationery store stay in business for over 100 years even 25 years after email nearly killed the handwritten letter? Ask the folks in charge of Itoya, the venerable stationery shop that recently opened a new flagship store in Ginza called G. Itoya. Innovation is the key, and the eight floors of G….

Yanaka

Yanaka is a quiet neighborhood in the northeast corner of urban Tokyo, partly because it is the last of the truly shitamachi neighborhoods of old Tokyo and partly because several thousands of its inhabitants are no longer part of the living. Yanaka Cemetery takes a large part of the neighborhood and is the permanent “home”…

Waterfall Climbing in Hanno

For an off-the-beaten-path summer activity, head out to Saitama to the foothills above the bedroom community of Hanno and discover not only beautiful waterfalls, but waterfalls you can climb. Well, perhaps with some experience or an experienced guide who can anchor a rope for you while you scale waterfalls between 3 and 15 meters high….

Ebisu Bon Odori

As July comes to a close, the bon odori season is just starting in Japan. Bon odori are festivals where entire communities come together to socialize and dance in honor of the dead. In Tokyo, the neighborhood of Ebisu seems to have made the perfect transition of bon odori from the rural village to the…

Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

The value of land in Tokyo has created some difficult decisions when it comes to preserving historic buildings. One way Tokyo has dealt with this issue is the construction of the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum in Koganei Park. Historic buildings on valuable plots of land were relocated and rebuilt in this museum, which contains…

Ghibli at Tokyo City View

Here’s a deal that’s hard to pass up: buy admission to the 52nd floor viewing platform of Roppongi Hills known as Tokyo City View and get admission to a huge exclusive Studio Ghibli exhibition for free! Thousands of Ghibli artifacts are on display from original posters and advertising to storyboards to 3D models suspended from…

Torigoe Matsuri

Torigoe Shrine would probably be just another obscure little shrine in Tokyo’s shitamachi (“low town” loosely interpreted as the working-class district) if not for one feature: its huge four ton mikoshi (portable shrine). Once a year, the people living around the shrine literally fight for the right to carry the shrine in a procession on…

Keio Rail-Land

Keio is not the most well-known of the Tokyo train lines, but those who live in the outskirts of Western Tokyo are thankful for the Keio line providing service into the busy Shinjuku hub. 45 minutes outside of Shinjuku, however, you can find the Keio Rail-Land, a small but impressive museum of the Keio rail…

Tama Zoo

If you like zoos (and not everyone does), it might be worth the ride out to western Tokyo to enjoy the Tama Zoo. Though the Ueno Zoo is much more famous for its central location and panda exhibit, the Tama Zoo is more spacious and feels much less urban. Tama Zoo is opened on Mondays…