Tokyo Journals

Tokyo in the winter

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An October 2002 trip to Tokyo by Juulia

Quote: A brief account of life and culture in Japan, including places to visit, shopping, bars, etc.

Tokyo in the winter

Overview

Quote:
Things I would recommend within Tokyo itself are going shopping in Harajuku, visiting typical Izakayas, bathing in sento (the public baths), and viewing the many temples and shrines that are scattered around the city. There are also plenty of trips to take out of the city, a few of which I will also recommend.Quick Tips: It is certainly useful to learn a few phrases such as "Where is the station?" etc, as the majority do not speak English well, though they can often read and write it. Don''t be surprised if people are shy when you try to speak to them. The most important thing otherwise is to go with an open mind. Also, be careful if you are a vegetarian; fish is in almost everything, and tel...Read More

Buddha Bar

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Restaurant | "The Buddha Bar"

Quote:
If you are up for an interesting experience, the Buddha Bar captures something of all Asian cultures while keeping the Tokyo feel. The first bonus is the huge buddha sitting inside the large space of the restaurant. The ambience is not lost on the size of the place though, in fact it needs the room for the desired effect. Waiters are dressed in slightly Indian-influenced clothes and the lights are dim to enhance the mood, making it suitable just for an evening out but also a more romantic dinner. Service can be a little bit slow, but you will not be forgotten. They also do nice cocktails, though you should ask for recommendations, and ask what exactly some of them contain before making a bad cho...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 3, 2003

Buddha Bar
Shibuya
Tokyo, Japan

Sherpa

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Restaurant

Quote:
I wasn't really sure whether to put this in the nightlife or dining category because, as with many places in Tokyo, the idea is to indulge in both food and drink at the same time, and you keep eating all night long. Just to let you know, if you want to find it, its on the third floor in one of the buildings with lots of Izakayas (Japanese bars), like Tori-den, etc., on a big main street if you walk straight out of the East JR exit, along the shopping street and onto the next big road. There's lots of other similar places to choose from there too. I would, however, recommend this one, because it's cheaper, the service is friendly, and there's a great variety in the food. I recommend getting th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 3, 2003

Sherpa

Tokyo, Japan

Karaoke culture

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Story/Tip

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If visiting Tokyo, you have no excuse not to try the original karaoke at least once during your stay. The ideal way to go about doing this is finding a group of locals who will recommend a place to go and probably take you there, offering to pay for everything including all the food and drinks that you can consume.There are two types of places where you can induldge in the delights of public humiliation; either a karaoke box, or a snack bar. Snack bars are usually relatively expensive, but you get to watch and listen to people outside of your own group performing, whatever this may mean, and "free" snacks, which means they don't take money for the actual food but there is a tabl...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 4, 2003

Shibuya Hermitage

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Attraction | "Shibuya, Harajuku & Aoyama"

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Shibuya is a trendy shopping area suitable for young people. It''s expensive like everywhere in Japan but you are more likely to find affordable things than you would in Shinjuku or particularly Ginza, which has all the best jewelers, designer shops, etc. I would recommend Harajuku for shopping on Sundays during the summer. There is a great variety of shops, including accessories, all kinds of alternative styles, and an abundance of cafes and small restaurants. If you want to experience the eccentricities of Japanese youth culture, it is the place to be. The reason I mention Sundays is that next to Meiji-Jingumae Subway station, at the entrance to the park, you will find hoardes of young peopl...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 2, 2003

Shibuya Hermitage
1-14-12 Shibuya
Tokyo, Japan 150-0002
+81(0)3 5467 5774

Tokyo Bay Harbor Cruise

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Attraction | "The Slimy Bake Cruise"

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It''s incredible. I mean incredibly weird. You go on a boat, a very small one, and sit as you do in Japan, on a cushion on the floor. The tables are tiny and in the middle, taking up most of the space is a hotplate that you use to cook the mystifying, wonderous stuff some like to call monja-yaki. If you have ever eaten okonomiyaki, it''s similar, but an infintely slimier version. Both are essentially made of egg and flour, with bit of vegetable, meat, fish, whatever, added in for flavour. Some come with fish eggs (which I loathe) and others with noodles and pork mixed in. It is truly a unique experience, and to crown it all you finish by frying a sweet, yes SWEET, monja-yaki, with strawberries a...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 3, 2003

Tokyo Bay Harbor Cruise
Hinode Pier, 2-7 Kaigan
Tokyo, Japan 105-0022
+81 (0)3 3457 7830

Tsukiji Fish Market

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Attraction

Quote:
The best time to go to Tsukiji is in the early hours of the morning, around 6am or even earlier, since this is when the activity starts and all the fresh fish comes in. There are lots of stout little fishmongers smiling at you, chopping up and carrying around huge chunks of fresh tuna and shouting "Irashai irashai!" (from irashaimase meaning "welcome"). I loved wandering around, witnessing all the gruesome-looking octopus tentacles and bags of uni (sea urchin). It's fascinating watching the breakdown of a gigantic whole tuna into small portions to be sold to eager fish-loving locals, ready to roll it into sushi or dip it in shoyu and wasabi. After all that, find your way to one of the...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 3, 2003

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

Tamiyama Dobutsu Koen

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Attraction

Quote:
When I went was actually probably not the best time to go, because it was early March and so, though it wasn't cold, all the animals weren't out yet. They did, however, have a baby elephant, snow-leopards, a really big, hollowed-out tree, orangutans, racoons and possums, koalas zebras and giraffes. There's also lots of bird enclosures, but you couldn't see all of the birds, and none of the antelopes or anything were out. That probably depends on the time of year too though. The park is really quite big, and you'll get a good map or where all the animals are situated, so you can take a long walk around, and cut short through the middle if you don't want to do it all at once. There is at least one...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 3, 2003

Tamiyama Dobutsu Koen
Tamiyama
Tokyo, Japan

Asakusa Temple

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Attraction

Quote:
The actual temple in Asakusa, in my opinion, is a little more famous than it deserves, since it is not that much more spectacular than many of the other numerous temples around and outside Tokyo, though it's definitely worth a look. What you'll probably enjoy more is the surrounding market and street vendors selling you all kinds of local snacks, from baked nori-wrapped mochi (rice-cakes in dried seaweed) to chocolate-covered bananas, all worth a taste. The market leading up to the temple when you walk from the station sells mostly edible things, a specialty being senbe -- rice crackers that you can get here sweet, savoury, covered in sesame seeds, hot or cold. Just like in big supermarkets in J...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 3, 2003

Asakusa Temple
Asakusa
Tokyo, Japan