Tokyo Journals

Bill in Japan - modern TOKYO

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A May 1995 trip to Tokyo by billmoy

Tokyo International Forum Photo, Tokyo, Japan More Photos
Quote: Tokyo has been the capital of Japan since 1868. Its name means "eastern capital" and reflects a shift in power from Kyoto to the former Edo fishing village area.

Bill in Japan - modern TOKYO

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Overview

Shibuya Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Tokyo is the capital of Japan, and you will definitely notice it. There are so many areas where the energy level in the city is just amazing, with so many cars, pedestrians, buildings. There are certainly old-fashioned homes and temples and parks, but Tokyo also features many cutting-edge contemporary architecture projects. Some areas have so much neon at night (like Shinjuku) that there is a noticeable "buzz" about it when you wander about at night. Tokyo has so many interesting neighborhoods to visit. Besides Ginza and Shinjuku, you may visit Shibuya (trendy "Shibuya Girls" wear wild Elton John boots and trend-setting fashions while congregating at the Hachiko the Dog statue), Harajuku (rebell...Read More

Asia Center of Japan

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Hotel

Quote:
This budget-style inn, set in a rather tranquil neighborhood, is a busy place that is popular with Japanese and foreign guests. The front lobby staff is helpful enough but a bit frazzled from the waves of guests. There are 164 rooms with western-style beds (no futons), 24 of them with shared bath "down the hall". The basic rooms have air conditioning and heat, with rates based on size of room and number of beds. The typical room has two Western-style twin beds barely inches apart, along with a closet, small table with glasses and hot water dispenser for making tea or soup. My friend and I jokingly nicknamed our accommodations as "the barracks" for its spartan and claustrophobic qualities. The be...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 20, 2002

Asia Center of Japan
10-32 Akasaka, 8-chome
Tokyo, Japan
(81) 3 3402-6111

Shakey's Pizza

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Restaurant

Quote:
The prices in Tokyo can be very expensive, and that applies to food too. Yes Shakey's Pizza is a standard place to get American-style food, but the appealing thing about eating here is that they have an all-you-can-eat buffet at lunchtime for a very reasonable price. You can order a la carte off the easy-to-read menu of course, but why would you if the buffet is available? They usually have a few varieties of pizza set up, along with a few other menu selections like salad, spaghetti, chicken wings, potato skins, and french fries. Diners quickly grab the pizza slices up, so the pizza rarely has a chance to get cold. There are usually varieties like sausage, ham, cheese, pineapple and seaweed (ye...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 23, 2002

Shakey's Pizza
E. Shinjuku on Shinjuku Dori
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Mos Burger

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Restaurant

Quote:
I am not necessarily pro-fast food when I am traveling in a foreign land, but sometimes I have a hankering for something familiar, yet still different. So when I want a burger or a sandwich, I look for place that may be a chain, but not one commonly found in my neck of the woods. Mos Burger, with its distinctive rounded "M" logo, is such a place for me in Japan. The menu at Mos Burger has a fairly pedestrian selection of western fast food items. Hamburgers with various toppings, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, salads, soups, fries, onion rings, chicken nuggets, soft drinks and pies can all be found at the Mos. The fast-food prices are fairly typical, so you will not spend a fortune ordering food h...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 27, 2002

Mos Burger

Tokyo, Japan

Kinokuniya Shinjuku Main Store

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Attraction | "Shinjuku"

Kinokuniya Shinjuku Main Store Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
This wild, throbbing neighborhood is one of the new centers of modern Tokyo and is well-worth a look for the casual tourist. The best way and the most frantic way to arrive into this area is through the Shinjuku Station, which is so large that it has 60 separate exits, each one with a distinct number. About two million commuters and tourists file through this station on a daily basis, and you really need to "go with the flow" while walking through here or else you may never escape! Shinjuku Station basically separates the area into two regions with various characteristics. The western end is like La Defense in Paris, with legions of gray skyscrapers and sterile urban plazas. The buildings have ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 23, 2002

Kinokuniya Shinjuku Main Store
3-17-7 Shinjuku
Tokyo, Japan 160-0022
+81 (0)3 3354 0131

Tsukiji Fish Market

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Attraction

Quote:
If you can drag yourself out of bed early enough, venture out to the Tsukiji Central Wholesale Fish Market for a unique local experience in the middle of Tokyo. The fish auction starts at 5AM for seafood wholesalers, and restaurant owners get in on the action of the auction at 7AM. There are about 1200 wholesaler shops, along with some sushi bars and food stalls. It is fascinating to walk about and see all the variety of the "catches of the day". Take a casual stroll around the many stalls, with all sorts of tuna, squid, crab, shrimp, and other you-name-it-we-got-it sea creatures. Some are still kept alive in fish tanks or big styrofoam buckets, and the locals take great pride in handling the fr...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 23, 2002

Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Station Stop (subway)
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Dome

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Attraction

Quote:
This indoor domed stadium (opened 1988) with the air-supported roof is the home field for the Yomiuri Giants and Nippon Ham Fighters baseball teams. Other events are held here, including American football exhibitions, conventions and other special events. The Tokyo Dome is the home to Japan's own Baseball Hall of Fame Museum, along with colorful souvenir shops and restaurants. The stadium (appropriately nicknamed the Big Egg) is now the centerpiece of the "Tokyo Dome City", including a high-rise hotel and an amusement park. I actually watched a game here in May 1995 between the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Nippon Ham Fighters (yes these are actual names of baseball clubs). It was interesting to ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 23, 2002

Tokyo Dome
1-3 Koraku
Tokyo, Japan 112-0004
+81 (0)3 5800 9999

Tokyo Tocho (City Hall) Gift Shop

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Attraction | "Tokyo City Hall"

Tokyo Tocho (City Hall) Gift Shop Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
This behemoth of a building complex is set in the western part of Shinjuku, an immense area of high-rise construction that may be comparable to La Defense in Paris. The main tower, with two twin prongs at the top, was designed by famed Japanese architect Kenzo Tange and opened in 1991. The main tower is called Tokyo Metropolitan Government 1 (TMG 1 for short, but with the tall height of 243 meters), but just south is the slightly shorter TMG 2 (163 feet high). The exterior of brown and white granite panels (which somehow create a grayish look to the facade, or is this a result of the gray skies?) and the use of smaller windows attempt to break down the large scale of the tower a bit. Each of the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 20, 2002

Tokyo Tocho (City Hall) Gift Shop
Tokyo Tocho (North), Observation Floor 45F
Tokyo, Japan
+81 (0)3 5320 7890

Tokyo International Forum

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Attraction

Tokyo International Forum Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
This stunning new convention center in the virtual center of Tokyo was designed by Rafael Vinoly, whose design was the winner of an international design competition. Opening in 1996, the Forum has 11 floors above ground and three basement levels. International conferences are conducted here, along with art exhibits, cinema, dance, and music and theater performances. The building is connected to a multitude of subway stations for your convenience. The complex houses many exhibition halls, restaurants and cafes, shops, travel agency, post office, and a pretty good Tourist Information Center. You can find a good selection of maps and brochures, including a handy listing of contemporary buildings i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 20, 2002

Tokyo International Forum
5-1-3 Marunouchi
Tokyo, Japan 100-0005
+81(0)3 5211 9000

Ginza Shopping District

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Attraction | "Ginza"

Ginza Shopping District Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
This neighborhood has had a reputation as a Tokyo trendsetter over the years. It incorporates a westernized grid of streets and city blocks, and has seen Japan's first sidewalks, gas lines, and telephone poles. On a more pertinent note, Ginza is a shopping mecca of large Japanese department stores and company showcases (like Sony and Toshiba) displaying their selection of merchandise and yuppie toys. These buildings are balanced with lots of sophisticated boutique shops, small art and photography galleries, and a bewildering array of colorful neon and backlit signs. It is a wonder how anyone can find the location of an obscure store if they have never been there. It is amusing to wander through...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 28, 2002

Ginza Shopping District
Ginza-4-chome Chuo-ku
Tokyo, Japan 104-0061
+82 (0)3 3201 3331

Contemporary Japanese Architecture

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Attraction | "Contemporary Japanese architecture in Tokyo"

Contemporary Japanese Architecture Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Japanese architects, perhaps spurred on by a need to fill in various spots in the landscape after World War II, created quite a few buildings that are well-known to locals and to the worldly architectural aficionado. Here are a few prominent examples below: San-ai Dream Center (1963) This colorful cylinder by Nikken Sekkei anchors a prominent intersection in Ginza. The building is almost like a giant billboard, with glass windows, neon, and signage. National Yoyogi Sports Center/2-1-1 Jinnan/Shibuya-ku (1964) The great Japanese architect Kenzo Tange designed these famous sports complexes for the 1964 Summer Olympics. They are considered to be sports "temples", as the ferro-concrete ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 28, 2002

Contemporary Japanese Architecture
Throughout Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan

Contemporary Japanese Architecture

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Attraction | "Very Contemporary Japanese architecture in Tokyo"

Contemporary Japanese Architecture Photo, Tokyo, Japan
Quote:
Another wave of dynamic, interesting, bizarre architecture made its mark upon Tokyo starting in the 1980's. Here is just a sampling of projects that I visited during my days and nights in Tokyo. Asahi Super Dry Hall (Phillippe Starck, 1989) This slick project by Starck is topped by a bizarre element balanced on its roof. What is it? Is it a carrot? Sperm? Turd? Whatever it is, the wavy horizontal blotch is made even more obvious (ominous?) by celebratory lighting at nighttime along the Sumida River. Once you draw closer to this beer hall (if you dare), the entrance has the appearance of a nightclub or disco, with dark glass, opaque stairs, and more celebratory lighting. This building is sure t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 28, 2002

Contemporary Japanese Architecture
Throughout Tokyo
Tokyo, Japan