Tokyo Subway Map (FLASH Format)
There are two companies that run the Tokyo subway lines, Teito & Toei.  Transfers between the two companies' lines must be acquired at the time that we receive our tickets.


Tokyo Metro All-Line Pass
The bearer of the pass has unlimited access to ride all Tokyo Metro lines within the period of validity.
One month: ¥16,820
Tokyo Metro All-Line Passes are sold at Pass Offices throughout Tokyo Metro's lines
We were unable to find out if the tickets are good for 30 days from date of purchase, or if they are only good during the calendar month when they are purchased.

One-Day Open Ticket
This ticket is good for unlimited use for one day, on Eidan (TRTA) lines only. It can be purchased on the day of use or in advance.  Tickets purchased in advance look nicer.
One Day: ¥710

Tokyo Station Guide
(The TRTA Pass Office in Tokyo Station is located at the RED Dot)

Standard ticket prices:

Toei Transportation

The T-card is a common fare card that can be used not only on Toei and Eidan subway lines, but also on any private railway line that is associated with the Passnet system.  There are three types of T-cards(Pass net) : ¥1,000, ¥3,000 and ¥5,000 cards
If you board a train with your T-card(Pass net),you must put the same card into the automatic ticket gate at your final destination.If the station where you last got off is not recorded, you cannot use the card for the next ride. If there is not enough money left in your T-card(Pass net) for one ride, you can buy a ticket putting the card into the vending ticket machine and then paying the shortage.
Lines operated by TRTA (Teito):
Chiyoda [Ayase~Yoyogi-uehara] [Ayase~Kita-ayase]
Ginza [Asakusa~Shibuya]
Hanzomon [Shibuya~Suitengumae]
Hibiya [Kita-senju~Nakameguro]
Marunouchi [Ikebukuro~Ogikubo] [Nakano-sakaue~Honancho]
Namboku [Akabane-iwabuchi~Meguro]
Tozai [Nakano~Nishi-funabashi]
Yurakucho [Wakoshi~Shin-kiba]
Lines operated by Toei:
Asakusa line
Mita line
Shinjuku line
Oedo line

Quick List:
Directions listed in black are Teito subway lines/walking directions
Directions listed in royal blue are Japan Rail lines
Directions listed in purple are privately run lines
Directions listed in green are Toei subway lines
Prices listed are one-way, per person.

Tokyo Subway Alternate map
Quick list:

Tokyo Subway map
Alternate map
Tokyo Subway Map (FLASH Format)
Tokyo Metro English page

Japan Rail

Japan Train & Subway Route Planner/Fare Calculator

Trains routes that we will be using:
JR Narita Express a.k.a. N'EX (Goes from Narita airport to Tokyo Station)
JR Keiyo line (Goes from Tokyo Station to Kisarazu Station)
JR Keiyo line (Goes from Tokyo Station to Maihama Station)
JR Chuo line (Goes from Shinjuku Station to Mitaka Station)
JR Keihin-Tohoku line (Goes from Tokyo Station to Kawasaki Station)

Narita Express (called "N'EX") provides rapid, frequent, and comfortable service to passengers traveling between Narita International Airport and Tokyo Metropolitan areas
N'EX takes just 53 minutes to cover the distance between Tokyo Station and Narita Airport
The N'EX line runs once every hour, and every 30 minutes at peak hours.
Tickets for the Narita Express are available from ticket machines at Floor B1, at both Narita station and Airport Terminal 2.

N.B.: Bold faced N'EX trains will separate at Tokyo Station. The first cars will go to Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and/or Omiya, and the last cars will go to Yokohama and/or Ofuna
SUICA - Super Urban Intelligent Card
It's small, it's green, it's the same size and dimension as your credit card and once you buy it you'll never need to take it out of your wallet or train pass holder again. With the release of JR's (Japan Railway) Suica smart card earlier this year traveling on the train and entering and exiting train stations in Japan just became even easier. Commuters now need only scan the card along the top of a special card reader that is located on the top of the ticket gate or turnstile.  Suica requires a ¥500 deposit.
Suica is not accepted for Shinkansen travel.
Additional information

Japan Rail Pass
Requirement to use Japan Rail Pass: A foreign tourist visiting Japan from abroad, under the entry status of "temporary visitor ()".
"Temporary visitor" entry status, according to Japanese Immigration Law, allows a stay in Japan of 15 days or 90 days for "sight-seeing, etc.".  If you apply for a "stay for sight-seeing" when you enter Japan, entry personnel will stamp your passport as "temporary visitor." Only persons who have a passport bearing this stamp can use a JR EAST PASS.

Note: Indicated office hours are for weekdays.  Hours vary among offices on weekends and holidays.  Some Travel Service Centers are closed during the New Year holiday period.  Offices and office hours are subject to change or discontinuation without notice.
Stations with JAPAN RAIL PASS exchange offices
Station Office  Office Hours  Days Closed 
Narita Airport
Terminal 1
Travel Service Center
Ticket Office 
6:30-11:30, 19:00-21:45 
Narita Airport
Terminal 2 
Travel Service Center
Ticket Office 
6:30-11:30, 19:00-21:50
Travel Service Center
Ticket Office
We should attempt to reserve seats when purchasing tickets.

Japan Rail & Eidan Subway Train names in Japanese & their sounds, too:

JR East English homepage, Rail Pass Homepage
(English Homepage only lists fares for Shinkansen trains going out of Tokyo Station, not local trains)

American dealer that vends Rail Passes: JTB USA
Japan Rail Pass Adult coach fares
National 7 days ¥28,300 14 days ¥45,100 21 days ¥57,700
JR-East 4 days flexible ¥20,000 5 days ¥20,000 10 days ¥32,000
JR-West Kansai Area 1 day ¥2,000 4 days ¥6,000
JR-West Sanyo Area 4 days ¥20,000 8 days ¥30,000
Kyushu 5 days ¥15,000 7 days ¥20,000
Useful words in Japanese
Travel Service Center
Ryoko Center
Reservation office
Rapid train
Local train
Ordinary Car
Green car
(superior accommodations)
Dining car
Reserved seat
Non-reserved seat

Narita Tokyo Airport
Do not take a taxi from Narita, under any circumstances, since it will cost us more than ¥20,000.


Tokyo is in the Kanto prefecture
Needs: We want a hotel that is either inside the Asakusa circle, or part of the Asakusa circle, and is a very short walking distance to the subway.
We will be bringing a queen sized, inflatable mattress with us to sleep on at night.

Reserved: Sawanoya Ryokan (Ueno)
Address: 2-3-11, Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0001
Telephone: (03) 3822-2251
Cost: ¥11,200 double occupancy w/o bath
Check In: 3:00PM
Check Out: 10:00AM
7 min. walk from No. 1 exit of Nezu Sta. on the subway chiyoda Line(inside circle) or 10 min. by taxi from JR and Keisei Ueno Sta.

Notes Address
Nearness to subway station(s)
Cost/day for double occupancy VISA
Bed Bath

Sawanoya Ryokan (Ueno)
Medium distance from nearest subway station
Map is on website
Coin operated laundry
Free Internet access in hotel lobby
Has a shared communal refrigerator
2-3-11, Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0001

7 min. walk from No. 1 exit of Nezu Sta. on the subway chiyoda Line(inside circle) or 10 min. by taxi from JR and Keisei Ueno Sta.
and 30 min. by walk from JR or Keisei Ueno Sta.

¥11,200 Y N N
(private bath is not available)

Food & Restaurants

Tabehodai Sushi Restaurants (Tokyo)

Tabehodai Hinazushi (Ginza*) (Roppongi) (Shibuya) (Daiba*)

Mon-Fri: 11:30am-2:30pm & 5pm-11pm  Sat: 12pm-10:30pm  Sun: 12pm-10pm
Echigaya Building 2F 2-6-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku 3562 0351

Roppongi: 6-1-20 B1, 3403-9112

Shibuya: 81-3 3462-1003

Daiba: Open 11:30am-2:00pm, 5:00pm-10:30pm Closed Mondays
1-3-5 Sunset Beach Restaurant Row 5531-0017

tabehodai: Japanese for "All you can eat" Hinazushi
Okay! So now you're in Japan and you're ready to chow down on huge amounts of sushi. Unfortunately you can't seem to do that without paying through the gills, and the only alternatives are the not so appetizing roll around sushi bars. Help is on the way, with this tabehodai (all you can eat) sushi restaurant located in the heart of Ginza. For ¥4,300 you can knock back all of the toro, maguro, and uni you want. This place does it for quality and variety. You could do much much worse in L.A.
Average cost is $55.00. Nearby Trains: Ginza Station. Making reservations is adviseable.
Tsukiji Tamazushi (Tsukiji*)

Chuo-ku Tsukiji 1-9-4
Near the central fish market, Tsukiji Tamazushi restaurant offers all-you-can-eat sushi for $26 for men, $24.50 for women.
Tel: 3541-1917
Tsukaiji Honten (Shibuya)
essentially AYCE Sushi Lunch
24-8 Udagawa-cho
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi.  ¥100 for a plate of two pieces of sushi
A sign in English explains the conditions for entry:
1) Eat at least 5 dishes
2) Eat fast if many people are waiting
3) Finish 5 - 6 plates in max. 10 minutes, 10-12 plates in max. 20 minutes.
The sign says eat quickly so that other customers can eat; higher turnover = lower price for customer.

Tabehodai Restaurants (Tokyo)

Mo Mo Paradise (Shibuya)(Ikebukuro*) (Jiyugaoka)
How's this for nirvana: For ¥1,000 (during lunchtime -- PG) have all the sukiyaki or shabu shabu you can eat. Stuff yourself with meat, veggies, tofu and rice and they'll keep it coming until you give up (provided it's within 90 minutes, that is). Though not by a long shot the best representation of Japan's haute cuisine, the quality is more than adequate for the price. Moo moo.

Shibuya: Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri.
31-2 Shibuya Beam 6F, Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku (03-3461-2941)

Alternate Review: This is a very good shabu shabu and suki yaki restaurant. It is tabehodai for ¥1,500 (for dinner -- PG) +tx in 90 minutes and nomihodai on beer and fruit drinks (with sake?) for an additional ¥980. It's open every day until 23h00.  There usually is an advertisement for the restaurant on ground level.

: Lunch 11:30am-2pm Mon-Fri.
1-21-2 Minami Ikebukuro, Humax Pavilion 8F, Toshima-ku (03-5950-4129)

: Lunch 11:30am-2pm daily.
Jiyugaoka 1-13-11, Humax Pavilion Jiyugaoka 2F, Meguro-ku (03-5701-4129)

Alternate Review: At Mo Mo Paradise, guests are treated to choice cuts of Black Angus beef imported from the United States in an upscale atmosphere that features stylized paintings of bulls. Before eating shabu shabu, turn on the hot plate in the center of the table and boil the water in a steel bowl. Using your chopsticks, quickly swish the meat in the water (some folks believe that it tastes better if you sing 'shabu shabu' as you do this) until it's cooked. Then dip the meat in a choice of two sauces, either gomadare, a slightly sweet sesame sauce, or ponzu, a soy and vinegar combination. Only after eating the meat should you then cook your tofu, carrot, hakusai cabbage, maitake mushrooms, and negi green onions. Sukiyaki, the slightly tougher and sweeter meat dish eaten with raw egg, is also a house specialty.
Hiroba - Crayon House (Shibuya*)
3-8-15 Kita-Aoyama, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 3406-6409
Lunch ¥1,200. This organic restaurant in the basement of Keiko Ochiai's bookshop (behind the Hanae Mori building) offers an excellent lunch buffet. Help yourself to unlimited plates of a choice of salads, and main dishes usually centered around fish, pumpkin, and tofu. Fill up on genmai or white rice and miso soup.

Alternate Review:
Opening hours: 11:00-21:00
Consists of two separate restaurants, Hiroba which serves Japanese food and Home which serves French food. A buffet lunch for ¥1,200 is available at the former. Organic food is used and an organic vegetable shop can also be found there.  Both the bookshop and the restaurant are run by a well known Japanese Feminist  --  PG
From Subway Omotesando Junction Exit B1, head north (toward Harajuku and Meiji Jingu), turn left at corner of Mori-Hanae Bldg.  About 3 minutes from station.
Large Map (in Japanese)
Sea Carnival (Shibuya)
AYCE Dinner
May have gone out of business..
13-16 Kokusai Bldg 4F Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 3770-7385
Available 5:30PM until 11:00PM everyday.
Seafood shabu-shabu dinner course for ¥2,350 (90-minute limit). Buffet-style restaurant offers all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu menu with shrimp, hairy crab, scallops, beef, tofu, noodles, eggs, rice and vegetables. Dessert includes cake and ice cream.

Sea Carnival is inside of building A on the map to the right.
Sasaki (Nihonbashi)
4-2-3 Nihonbashi, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 3241-5296
Available weekdays from 4:00PM until 10:00PM
Shabu shabu dinner course ¥2,800 (2-hour time limit). Course includes unlimited shabu shabu and sukiyaki meat, vegetables and sauces. All you can drink course (excludes wine and sake) for extra ¥1,500.
Pink Cow (Shibuya*)
Shibuya-ku 1-3-18 Villa Moderuna B1
Tel: 3406-5597
Friday and Saturday night buffet party 7:00PM - 10:00PM
Nice wines, "fresh herb cuisine", and fresh art in a very relaxed and homey setting. Wander around and explore the many rooms. There's a ¥2,500 buffet dinner party Friday and Saturday nights (7-10pm).
Call ahead for reservations
Nearest Station: 5 min. from Omotesando sta. exit B2.
Hong Kong Shokudo (Shibuya*)
1-4-4 Ebisu S2 Bldg 2F Nishi-Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 5489-3638
Lunch ¥850. A funky little Hong Kong canteen with a Canton pop sensibility to make Wong Kar-wai happy. Lunch time specials from ¥850 to ¥1,000 include a choice of several delicious main courses (including chicken rice, fried noodles, shrimp chahan, dim sum) and all the rice, gruel, dessert you can eat.
Dinner ¥2,500 (90-minute limit). The dinner menu at this funky HK canteen includes shrimp gyoza, Hong Kong style shumai, deep-fried daikon, spring rolls, noodles and five other dim sum varieties. The nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink) course is an extra ¥1,500 and includes nonstop beer, five types of Chinese sake or oolong tea. Leslie Cheung provides the BGM.
Nearest station: Ebisu

Hong Kong Shokudo is represented by letter "K" on the map to the right.
Suiryu (Shibuya*)
AYCE Dinner
13-6 Chitose Kaikan 2F Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 3461-2555
Chinese dinner course for ¥1,980 (minimum 2 people, 2-hour limit). Choose from over 100 dishes including staples such as prawns in chili sauce, cucumber and chicken salad, fried rice, gomoku soba, spring rolls, beef and tofu stirfry, etc. Available everyday. Also does lunch for ¥1,000. Branch in Yokohama too.
Kinka Hanten (Gaienmae)
3-1-30 Sumitomo Seimei Bldg. B1F, Minami-Aoyama
Tel: 3479-4967
Open 11am-10pm daily.
A wide selection of freshly made dim sum is available all day long; there's also a big a la carte menu plus assorted dinners and all-you-can-eat specials. The room won't win any interior decorating awards, but the cooking is solid, the service pleasant and professional.
Carne Station (Ginza*)
Ginza Nine Building #3 8-5 Ginza, Chiyoda-ku (Shimbashi subway exit #1)
Tel: 5568-6167
Lunch buffet 11am-4pm; Dinner buffet 4pm-11:30pm
Yakiniku (Korean barbecue) Buffet for both lunch & dinner
Lunch ¥970, Dinner w/ crab & superior quality beef ¥4,900.
Reservations are a good idea.
One hour time limit.
Call ahead to find out the time limit on tabehoudai during dinnertime.

Review in English

Alternate Review: If Yakiniku (Korean-style barbecue) suits your taste buds, keep walking down those same stairs to the basement of the Farm Grill building and you will find one of the few all-you-can-eat yakiniku buffets in all of Tokyo, Karune Station (03-5568-6167). You can make repeated trips to several vegetable trays and more than ten different trays of meats, each a different type of pork, beef or chicken sauteed in a variety of mouthwatering flavors and spices. Then taking your bounty back to your table, which has a grill in the center, you cook your own food and eat it right from the grill after dipping it in one of several sauces. There are also drinks, soups, fruits, rice and desserts. At ¥970, unbelievable! This lunch menu is from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the dinner menu begins. This is still an all-you-can-eat buffet, but at a more rational price of ¥2,900.
Dezaru (Shinjuku)
AYCE Dinner
May have gone out of business..
Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 6-8-4
Tel: 3340-5882
Available weekdays from 5 until 10pm.
Yakiniku dinner course for ¥3,000 (90-minute time limit). Buffet-style yakiniku restaurant offers unlimited Korean barbecue meats (kalbi, hormon, harami, etc.) as well as vegetables, seafood, kimchee, and rice. Also includes a full salad bar.
Siam (Ginza*, 2 locations?) (Shibuya)
5-8-17 World Town Building 8F Ginza, Chuo-ku
Tel: 03-3572-4101
Hours: 11:00AM - 3:00PM (Last Order 2:00 PM) and
5:30PM - 10:30PM (Last Order 9:30 PM)
The restaurant is open every day except late December and early January.  Thai cuisine  --  PG

The Siam (May be a different restaurant..  --  PG)
Ginza Inz 1-2F
3-1 Ginza-Nishi Chuo-ku Tokyo 104
Tel: 03-3563-3106
Weekday Daytime  11:30-15:00(order stop 14:00)
Weekday Night time17:00-22:30(Order stop 21:30)
Weekends and the national holidays Lunch time11:30-15:00 (last order 14:00)
Weekends and the national holidays Night time17:00-22:30 (last order 21:30)

Shibuya-ku, Jinnan 1-15-8 B1, 3770-0550
Lunch ¥1,000. This chain of Thai restaurants (branches in Shibuya, Ginza) offers a wide variety of authentic Thai food. Fourteen different dishes, mild and spicy, including green curry, tom yam, and other specialties. (Menu changes monthly.)
Erawan (Shinjuku) (Harumi)
Humax Pavilion 2F (Back of Shinjuku Mitsukoshi)
3-28-10 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022
Tel: 3341-5127
Open 11:30am-3, 5-10:15pm (LO; -5am Fri/Sat) daily.
Inexpensive Thai curry buffet lunch.
Someone complained about the quality of the lunch buffet --  PG

May have gone out of business in January of 2003
1-8-16 Harumi, Triton Square 3F
Tel: 5144-8251
Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily
Nearest station: Chuo-ku (4 min walk from Kachidoki Stn. -Oedo line)
Buffet lunch is ¥1,000 per person.
Fan (Shibuya) (Shinjuku)
Kokusai Bldg. A 2F, Udagawacho 13-16, just down the hill from Parco.
Tel: 3770-9520
Open 11:30-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
The mixed-curry buffet lunch is ¥950; filling dinners start at ¥2,300, with a la carte items from ¥400.
Southeast Asian styled cuisine  --  PG

Shinjuku 3-34-1
Tel: 3341-6820
Open 11:30-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
Inexpensive and spicy Asian-styled dishes in a lively, student-dominated atmosphere.
The Asian buffet lunch is ¥950; filling dinners start at ¥2,300, with a la carte items from ¥400.
Kumbira (Ebisu)
1-9-14 Ebisu-Minami
Tel: 3719-6115
Open 11:30AM-2:00PM, 5:00PM-10:30PM (LO) daily
Nepalese and Tibetan curries, noodles and Tandoori-style dishes. The restaurant is tucked into a back alley a few blocks from Ebisu station, and is divided into several small, cozy rooms spread out over several levels. At lunchtime there's an all-you-can eat buffet for ¥1,200.
Phothai Down Under (Roppongi*)
5-18-21 Five Plaza Bldg. 2F, Roppongi
Tel: 3505-1504
Open 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5-10pm (LO; 11pm Fri/Sat) daily
"Australian-style" Thai barbecue and standard Thai curries. There's a ¥900 all-you-can-eat buffet at lunchtime

Kumkum Maharaja (Ikebukuro*) (Shinjuku, 4 locations)
Ikebukuro: Kum Kum Maharaja
1-22-2 FLC Bldg. 8F Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
Tel: 5992-7421
Lunch buffet ¥950.  All you can eat at this established Indian restaurant chain.
Weekdays: 11:00AM - 3:00PM  Weekends & Holidays: 11:00AM - 4:00PM
Indian dinner course for ¥5,000. Course includes fish, chicken, and vegetable curry, pakora, kebab, 8 types of naan bread, saffron rice. Drink menu includes lassi and 15 others. Available everyday from 3:00PM until 11:00PM.
Ikebukuro location is in the FLC Bldg. opposite SEIBU
Many locations around Tokyo (link)

Shinjuku: 03-5325-6797 Spice Heaven Shinjuku
3-7-1 Shinjuku Park Tower B1F, Nishi-Shinjuku
Tel: 03-5325-6797
Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
There's an Indian curry buffet at lunchtime.

Shinjuku: 3352-9455 Shinjuku Kazana
3-30-11 Shinjuku B1 (Across from Isetan, on Shinjuku-dori near shakey's & Mitsukoshi department store)
Tel: 3352-9455
Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Indian lunch buffet for ¥980.
Great curries but best is their saffron rice.

Shinjuku (map): Shinjuku Maharaja
Tel: 5352-7858/9

Nishi Shinjuku: Kum Kum Maharaja
Tel: 5323-4215
Stockholm (Akasaka*)
2-14-3 Tokyu Plaza 1F Akasaka, Nagatacho
Open daily from 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:00PM-11:00PM (Last Order 9:30-10)
Tel: 3509-1677
Pickled herring and much more - their awe-inspiring smorgasbord is a real adventure in dining, so come with a hearty appetite. They also have an impressive selection of eight distinctive aquavits. Lunch ¥3,000, dinner ¥6,500; there's also an a la carte menu.
They are right outside Akasaka subway station.  --  PG

Marble Lounge (Shinjuku*)
6-6-2, Hilton Hotel Nishi-Shinjuku
Tel: 3344-5111
Open Sunday 11am-2pm
The sumptuous Sunday brunch buffet in the Hilton Hotel lobby includes plenty of breakfast dishes, Japanese breakfast items, a special children's menu and roving clowns. ¥3,500 for adults, ¥1,750 for children.

10-minute walk from Shinjuku Station. The complimentary shuttle bus leaves for the hotel regularly between 08:00 to 21:30 from Shinjuku Station (West Exit), Bus Stop #21 in front of Keio Department Store.
Oslo (Shibuya)
Toho Seimei Bldg 31F 2-15-1 Shibuya
Tel: 3406-6360
Lunch ¥1,250. One of Shibuya's best kept secrets, this restaurant buffet features 10 cold salads and a variety of starters, main dishes, and desserts. The food is classic Western food for the Japanese palate, but it's wholesome filling stuff.
Nearest Station: Shibuya
Barbacoa Grill (Shibuya*)
Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-3-24 B1F
Tel: 3796-0571
Lunch ¥1,200. This Brazilian barbecue joint has a raw meaty smell but an excellent salad buffet, choice of bottomless soft drinks, and a good choice of desserts. Main courses are limited to deep fried seafood and chicken, but meat eaters will love the rare beef roast.
Off Omotesando dori.

Alternate Review:
For steak hungers, there is a Brazilian restaurant that offers a niku tabehodai, no time limit. It includes a very descent salad bar (about 20 varieties), chicken, sausage, and of course, beef, steak, sparerib, etc. The quality is very high, not mentioning the quantity. And leave some stomach for the fruits and dessert as well, just when I thought I couldn't stuff anymore, I ended up taking three plates of them.
The price is around ¥3,200. The restaurant is called Barbacoa Grill. It's about 5 min walk from Omotesando station (hanzomon/ginza subway line). Take exit A2, walk towards Harajuku direction (If you see a police box on your left after 1min, then you are heading the wrong direction, turn back), turn right at the first street, walk straight and the restaurant is on your left.
Shamaim (Sakaecho*)
4-11 Art Bldg 2F, Sakaecho Nerima-ku
Tel: 3948-5333
Open 5-11pm (LO). Closed Mondays. Open noon-midnight Saturdays and Sundays.
An Israeli restaurant and pub, one minute from Ekoda south exit. They serve falafel, humus, salads, stuffed pastries and soups, plus shish kebab and one or two other meat dishes. 50 seats; reservations recommended.
The all-you-can-eat special is ¥2,000.
Call ahead to see what times the all you can eat special is available.

Zapata (Harajuku*)
6-18-10 Ebina Bldg. B1F, Jingumae
Open 6-11pm (LO) daily.
Tel: 3499-5888
Beautiful decor and excellent service. Most of the food is tasty enough, although not extremely authentic.
(It's Tex-Mex with a Japanese twist)

They offer a ¥2,500 all-you-can-eat buffet at dinnertime.
Directions: Get out of Harajuku station, go towards Omotesando, turn right on Meiji Dori and walk on the left side of the street towards Shibuya. Walk a good 700 m and you will find Zapata next to the Crocodile

Alternate review:
We went back at dinner another day to try the highly-touted all-you-can-eat Tacos Bar (¥2,500). The "tacos bar" part is a bit of a misnomer, though it certainly doesn't skimp on volume. Rather than a bar (belly up and eat yourself silly), the approach leans toward kaiseki: small courses follow one after the other. First comes a large serving of creamy, garlicky guacamole with home-made tortilla chips, two kinds of salsa and finger bowls to wash away the oil. This was quickly followed by two plates (each!) of mixed appetizers, such as marinated squid, Mexican salad, grilled shrimp and escabeche, then chicken and cheese quesadillas. What followed next was the most interesting: four different tortillas (spinach, herb, paprika and regular) with shredded chicken, chili con carne, sour cream, cheese and more guacamole. While we were divvying these up, chicken enchiladas arrived, the first truly fiery event of the evening (ask for extra jalapeños or salsa if you like heat). At this point I assumed we were done; we'd certainly had enough to eat. But an ominously large trolley was wheeled to our table, laden with fresh seafood (swordfish, shrimp, scallops), cuts of beef and chicken. If we'd been able to eat any more, we could have had some of everything, in a choice of sauces. I opted for scallops seasoned with a bold garlic butter sauce with fresh herbs and vegetables. In truth, it was all a bit too much at this point. All-you-can't-eat is a better tag for this place.
Schinken Haus (Hiroo)
AYCE Dinner
5-22-1 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 3444-4623
German dinner course for ¥2,600. Choose from an unlimited supply of various types of ham, herb sausages, and cheese. Also includes salad, sauerkraut, German potato, dark bread and soup. Available Monday to Saturday from 5 until 11 pm, Sundays and holidays from 5 until 9pm.
Polynesian Terrace Restaurant (Disneyland*)
AYCE Disney Lunch
Tokyo Disney: Adventureland, Disneyland
"A South Sea island-inspired buffet, which includes desserts" only for lunch
Sailing Day Buffet (Disney Sea*)
AYCE Disney Dinner
Tokyo Disney: American Waterfront, Disney Sea
Buffet-style restaurant, cuisine unknown
Marble Lounge - Shinjuku Hilton Hotel (Shinjuku)
AYCE Afternoon Tea & Cake
6-6-2 Hilton Hotel Nishi-Shinjuku
Cake buffet, 2:30 until 7pm, ¥1,700. A full spread of delicious cakes and fruit, with a smattering of sandwiches. Tea and coffee refills. Skip lunch and pig out.
Sienna (Ginza)
AYCE Afternoon Tea & Cake
5-7-2 Sanai Dream Center Bldg 8/9F Ginza Chuo-ku
Tel: 3289-2313
Open everyday from 3 until 5:30pm.
Italian dessert course for ¥1,800. Simply order from a menu of 17 items--this is an all-you-can-eat deal with waiter service. All your favorite Italian cakes and puddings, including chestnut charlotte, shortcake, cheese souffle, hazelnut chocolate cake, tiramisu, apple tart. Drinks include coffee, tea, guava and blood orange juice.
Yurakucho Lipton Corner (Yurakucho)
AYCE Afternoon Tea & Cake
1-10-1 Yurakucho Bldg. 1F Yurakucho, Chuo-ku
Tel: 3213-8484
Open from 5 until 9:30pm weekdays, and from 11:30am until 7pm Saturdays.
Afternoon tea set for ¥1,360 (60-minute limit). Eight kinds of cake (caramel custard, bread pudding, chocolate mousse, Royal Milk Tea jelly, etc.), roast beef and club-house sandwiches, and 3 kinds of spaghetti.

Ciel Blue (Tea Lounge & Pub) (Aoyama)
AYCE Afternoon Tea & Cake
CI Plaza 2F Kita-Aoyama 2-3-1, Minato-ku
Tel: 3470-5673
Open everyday from 2 until 4pm.
Afternoon tea course for ¥1,200. Buffet-style service of between 20 to 25 cakes (including chocolate crepe, rare cheese cake, chestnut torte, cheese souffle, several kinds of mousse, rumbaba). Unlimited tea and coffee.
Yumekaido (Shinjuku*)
Kaiten Sushi (Sushi go round)

Exit B7/8 Metro Promenade Shinjuku Station
These places are great if you aren't sure you like sushi, or what sushi you do like. Simply choose a plate as they move by on the conveyor belt. At the end you are charged per plate.
Tokyo Food Page lunch and dinner buffets Listings updated monthly
Tokyo Food Page Weekend Brunch listings ( Not necessarily Tabehoudai ) Listings updated monthly

Traditional Restaurants (Tokyo)

Ginza Rangetsu (Ginza*)
B1F, 3-5-8 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel: 3567-1021
Mon-Sa. 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sun and holidays 11:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Another good Japanese outlet is Rangetsu, on Chuo-dori of Ginza. It has a variety of Japanese menus, including sukiyaki, shabu-shabu and kaiseki dishes. Compartmentalized rooms are available for no additional cost;
Nearest station: Ginza, various subway lines.
Menu in English

Restaurant Hokusai*
Tokyo Disney: World Bazaar, Disneyland
Traditional Japanese cuisine
From what I've read, it offers a very conservative menu; bento box, tempura, etc.
Also, please note, that cute Japanese girls are not part of the meal  --  PG
Restaurant Sakura*
Tokyo Disney: American Waterfront, Disney Sea
Japanese Fusion Cuisine? (Menu in English)

Doremi of Tokyo (Ginza*)
Okonomiyaki restaurant
Location: 7-5-4 B1 Ginza, Chuo-Ku
Tel: 03-3573-6554
Ginza Again (Ginza*)
Pressed grilled sandwiches
5-2-1 Ginza Palmy Bldg. B1 Ginza Chuo-Ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3572-5096
It may be in the Toshiba Ginza-Palmy Building?  --  PG
Lunchtime set, which includes sandwich, salad, drink, & a gratin, ¥980
As for enjoyment of the press sand " of the アゲイン ", there is an abundance of the variation of generally known tool and seasoning of the surface of the pan which are put in. Every one one time the just sandwich which such as kim chee would like to try tasting and horseradish and miso taste the original and the Japanese style, in addition to Italian
「アゲイン」のプレスサンドの楽しさは、中に挟むいわゆる具とパンの表面の味付けとのバリ エーションの豊富さにある。オリジナルや和風、イタリアンに加えキムチやわさび、味噌味など、どれも一度は味わってみたいサンドイッチばかりだ。
Shisen Hanten (Hirawacho*)
Iron Chef Chen Kenichi's restaurants
Primary Location: Zenkoku Ryokan Kaiken F5-6, 2-5-5 Hiragacho, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-3263-9371
   3rd party review:
   Review w/ map (Babelfish translation)
   Shisen Hanten: Akasaka
   Spicy Szechuan-style cuisine.
   Shisen Hanten costs ¥6,800/person, not including drinks.
   The a la carte menu is in English, and the waiters may speak English.
   Nearest subway station: Nagatacho

The restaurant is in Hirakawa 2-chome down the street from the Akasaka Prince Hotel. If you take station exit four from the Nagatacho station, then turn left, make the first right, then the first left, the restaurant will be in front of you on the right side of the street.  There is no JR (Japan Rail) access, however the purple line, the Nagatacho Eki which serves the Yurakucho-sen and the Hanzomon-sen, will take you about five minutes away (walking) from the restaurant.

Second Location:
Tobu Ikebukuro F14, 1-1-25 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tel 03-3981-2350
Third Location: Uni Roppongi Bldg. F4, 7-15-17 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tel 03-3402-3465
Rokusan-tei (Ginza)
Daisan Sowaredo Ginza Bldg. 8th and 9th floors 8-8-7 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours: 17:00-20:30
Tel: 03 3571-1763
You can dine on Michiba's food at Rokusan-tei in Ginza and Brasserie Rokusaburo. He also has a restaurant in Akasaka named Poisson Roksuboro. The Ginza restaurant is Michiba's main restaurant.
Homepage (Babelfish Translation)
Prices: Rokusan course ¥12,000, Special course (only during globefish season) ¥15,000
Hyotan (Asakusa*)
Monjya-yaki Restaurant
1-37-4 Asakusa, Taito-ku
Tel: 3845-5010
Try various monjya-yaki at Hyotan
Monjya-yaki: It's similar to okonomiyaki (Japanese-style pancake), but monjya-yaki is softer than okonomiyaki. People directly eat monjya-yaki from a teppan (iron table).
Hours: 11:00 - 22:30 every day

Hyotan is on the western edge of the map to the right, it's the red balloon with a white square inside it.
Daikoku-ya (Asakusa*)
Tempura Shrimp
1-38-10 Asakusa, Taito-ku
Tel: 3844-1111
In this long-established restaurant, a bowl of rice topped with deep-fried fish is served. There is always a long line of customers waiting in front of the restaurant, brought by the good smell of sesame oil. The popular Prawn tendon (1,800 yen) contains four prawns, bigger than the bowl.

Open everyday 11:30AM - 8:30PM
- 9:00PM on Saturdays and Sundays

Daikoku-ya is represented by #17 on the map to the right  --  PG
Tokyo Daihanten (Shinjuku)
Weekend? Dim Sum
5-17-13 Shinjuku
Open 11:30am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Tel: 3202-0121
Real Hong Kong-style dim sum, with steaming trolleys rolling through the aisles and lots of Chinese-speaking patrons.
Xenlon (Shinjuku*)
Prixe Fixe Dim Sum Lunch
Hotel Century Southern Tower 19F 2-2-1 Yoyogi, Nishi-Shinjuku
Open 11:30am-10pm (LO) daily.
Tel: 3374-2080
Worth knowing about for their large ¥2,500 dim sum lunch, served till 4pm.
It is a three-minute walk from Shinjuku station south exit
Lunch Menu in English
The Dim Sum lunch is available everyday  --  PG
Hong Kong Garden (Shinjuku)
Weekend Dim Sum
Nishi-Azabu 4-5-2
Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-9:30pm daily.
Tel: 3486-3711
The weekend dim sum brunch is ¥3,000, and is served from 11:30am to 3pm (restaurant open until 4:30).
Daisaku (Ginza)
Traditional Kanto-style Eel Restaurant #1
2-11-2 Ginza
Tel: 3541-4668
Opened in 1894. Old and friendly place for eating eels. Very good.  Unagi-nakaire-don is a double sized una-don with kimo-sui, pickles and fruits are: ¥3,500. Simple una-jus are ¥1,600, ¥2,000, ¥2,500. Lunch and dinner.
Hirai (Ginza*)
Traditional Kanto-style Eel Restaurant #2
3-4-18 Ginza
Tel: 3567-7001
Small and familiar place for frequenters. An una-ju ¥1,400 is good, but try to have UNA-TORO-DON ¥1,300. Roasted eel in grated yam with wasabi-spice on rice. Extraordinarily tasty, but if you have an allergy to grated yam,avoid it.
Open 11:30am-1:45pm and 5:30pm-8:45pm Mon-Fri, 11:30am-7pm Sat, closed Sun and holidays.
Review in Japanese
Kandagawa (Ginza*)
Traditional Kanto-style Eel Restaurant #3
8-14-5 Ginza B1F
Tel: 3541-5401
Lunch time una-ju is ¥1,600. A large bowl una-don is ¥2,600. An eel-cook does his job at each time after orders come in. So take time.
Lunch 11:00 - 14:00
Dinner 17:00 - 21:30
Nabeya Izuei (Aoyama*)
Traditional Kanto-style Eel Restaurant #4
No.2 Miyachu Bldg. B1, 3-8-37 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku
Tel: 3408-2889
Review in English

Weekdays: 11:30 - 22:00
  Closed between lunch & dinner from 14:30 - 17:00 on weekdays
Closed Saturday
Sundays & National Holidays: 11:30 - 21:00
Lunch is served between 11:30 - 14:30
Nearest subway station: Gaienmae Station (Ginza line) 5 min. walk
Chanko Kita-no-Fuji (Nakano*)
Chanko Nabe Restaurant
Nisshin Bldg B1, 1-50-4 Higashi Nakano, Nakano-ku
Tel: 3362-1261

Named after the great yokozuna Kita-no-Fuji, this restaurant boasts seven different types of chanko. Kujui chanko is a must-try: 19 different ingredients such as salmon, oysters, chicken, crab, meatballs, Chinese cabbage, carrots and radish in one huge pot. The stock is made fresh every day by simmering suppon (snapping turtle or soft-shelled turtle) for more than five hours and adding nine different spices for just the right taste.
Open 5-11pm daily.
Chanko Tomoji (Ryogoku*)
Chanko Nabe Restaurant
3-24-4 Ryogoku, Sumida-ku
Tel: 3631-4889

The soup made from miso and sesame oil makes this chanko really special. Some regular customers finish off the whole pot of soup before they finish eating the food!
Open 5-10pm Mon-Sat, closed Sun and national holidays.
ちゃんこ 友路
Nearest stn: JR Ryogoku, east exit.
Traditional Kanto-style Eel Restaurant
1-5-13 Ginza
Tel: 03-3561-5615
The authentic eel restaurant of old time. Small and familiar place. Lunch time una-ju is ¥1,200 and ¥1,500 by size of eel.
Traditional Kanto-style Eel Restaurant
3-6-1 Ginza, on 7th FL of Matsuya Department store in Ginza.
Easy to eat solo.
Shinjuku UN
Japanese/Korean/French fusion food
Recommended by Choeki
Misuzu Bldg 1F, 7-8-3 Nishi-Shinjuku
Nearest stn: Shinjuku
Open: 11:30am-2pm (last orders 1:30pm) Mon-Fri, 5-11pm (last orders 10pm) Mon-Wed, 5pm-12am (last orders 11pm) Thur-Sat, closed Sun
Menu: Japanese
Tel: 03-5338-2922

Formal Review

Choeki's Review:
Ah, I have a restuarant you may want to go to when you're around Shinjuku
It's Japanese/Korean/French fusion food.  Portions are a little small though.  Not a formal place, but you should probably dress nice
Price ranges from ¥900 to ¥2,500 per dish, ¥600 to ¥900 yen for hors de ouvres, & ¥500 yen cocktails
Pretty reasonable for a "fancy" restuarant in Tokyo.  You should make reservations for a table
Zagat Website (includes Tokyo listings)
Snacks @ Tokyo Disney Resort - see Disney Resort listing in the Attractions section

Markets, Supermarkets, Breweries, Food Museums, etc. (Tokyo)

Tsukiji Fish Market*
Tsukiji market may close at around 11:00AM
We should try to arrive there at around 8:00AM  --  PG
Sawanoi Brewery*
Location 2-770 Sawai, Ome city, Tokyo, Japan
(Japanese only)
Phone/Fax Phone: 0428-78-8215 
Fax: 0428-78-8195
Access JR Ome Line (bound for Okutama) to 
Sawai Station, 5 minute walk from station.
* Tachikawa Station, Ome Line (bound for Okutama, runs about every 30 minutes)
Example: JR line = Tokyo Station---Chuo line---Tachikawa Station---Ome line (for Okutama)---Sawai Station
Car = Chuo Expressway Hachioji Interchange, Route 411 Ome kaido
Hours 10:00 5:00 p.m.
Days closed Closed every Monday (closed Tuesday when Monday is a holiday)
Reservation Required, if you wish to inspect Saka-gura. 
Contact with following information.
1. Name 
2. Contact info 
3. Number of guests (maximum 30 persons)
4. Means of transportation
5. Desired viewing time (11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.),
Good News The "Saka-gura" inspection is free of charge, and there is a place where "brewing water" can be drunk freely. Customers eating at "Mamagotoya" (reservations required) will receive a discount ticket (¥800 discounted to ¥600) to the "Sawanoi Museum of Combs and Ornamental Hairpins."
English communication ranking* *** (You will need someone whom speaks Japanese to communicate with them)
Year 2002 marks 300 years in the sake brewing business for Sawanoi since its establishment in 1702. The building itself has certain historical characteristics with a thatched roofing and plastered walls. There is an abundance of nature to enjoy during any season around Sawanoi: cherry blossoms in spring, therapeutic walks through the woods, barbecues with the family or canoeing on the Tamagawa river during summer, autumn tints in the fall, and the scenic snow in the winter. It is about a 2-hour train ride from the center of Tokyo, close enough for an enjoyable daytrip. Visitors can reserve spaces to take a tour of the sake warehouse and take part in sake tasting. However, summer is the off-season for sake brewing, so a visit during late fall (end of September) is highly recommended for those who are interested. You can also take a ride on the ropeway from Mitake station and hike in the Mitake Mountains. 
There are four Sawanoi-related restaurants close by for dining. 
Closed on Mondays.
"Mamagotoya" Owned by Sawanoi, specializes in Tofu and Yuba cuisine. Reservations required. Tel: 0428-78-9523. Fixed menus only, prices from ¥3800 (excl. tax). 
"Wappaya KURATEI" Wappa rice dishes and cafe) Reservations not required. Prices from ¥1400 (excl. tax).
"Sawanoi-en" Stand-up eating. Reservations not required.
Across the Tamagawa bridge on the opposite bank (approximately 20 minutes walk):
"Imotoya" Rice bowl dishes, set meals and cafe. Reservations not required. Seats 70. Prices from ¥850 (excl. tax)

There are four Sawanoi-affiliated restaurants close by for dining (closed on Mondays): 

  • "Mamagotoya": specializes in tofu and Yuba cuisine. Reservations required. Tel: 0428-78-9523. Fixed menus only, prices from ¥3800~.
  • "Wappaya Kuratei": Wappa rice dishes and coffee. Reservations not required. Prices from ¥1400~. 
  • "Sawanoi-en": Stand-up dining. Reservations not required. Across the Tamagawa bridge on the opposite bank (approximately 20 minute walk)
  • "Imotoya": rice bowl dishes, set meals, and coffee. Reservations not required. Seats 70. Prices from ¥850~. 
Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium*
Namco Namja Town, 2F, World Import Mart 1F- 3F
Sunshine City, 3 Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

Hours: 10:00am - 10:00pm
Admission to Namja Town:
Adults ¥300

Menu (Babelfish translation)

Alternate write up

Yokohama Curry Museum*
Come here for an education in all aspects of curry, both Japanese and international.
Key areas of knowledge include history, culture, and spices.
Open: 11:00 - 21:30
Close: Open year-round

Contact: 045-250-0833 (Japanese)

Address: 1-2-3 Isezaki-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken
Access: About 2 min. walk from JR Kannai Sta.
Approximately 50 minutes by JR Keihin-Tohoku Line from Tokyo Station to Kan'nai Station

Possible travel route:
1) Nezu station --> Nishi-nippori station via Chiyoda line
2) Nishi-nippori Station --> Kannai Station via JR KeihinTohokuNegi line ¥620
Suzuhiro Kamaboko (Fishcake) Museum*
Address: 245 Kazamatsuri, Odawara-shi, Kanagawa-ken
Contact: 0465-24-6262 (Japanese/English)
Open: 10:00 - 17:00
Close: Late Dec. - early Jan.
Description: Find out more about various types of fishcake and fishpaste through exhibits and panel displays. Watch the masters make kamaboko using a traditional method.

Access: Approximately 40 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station
About 7 min. by Hakone Tozan Tetsudo from Odawara Sta. to Kazamatsuri Sta. then about 1 min. walk

We can make our own fishcake if we pay for classroom instruction!
Classes aren't run on Wednesdays.  I think that the earlier we arrive there, the better chance we'll have of getting into one of the classes  --  PG

Possible travel routes:
Travel time approx. 2 hours 40 minutes
1) Nezu station --> Yoyogiuehara station via Chiyoda line
2) Yoyogiuehara --> Odawara via Odakyu Odawara Line Express ¥800
3) Odawara Station --> Kazamatsuri Station via Hakone Tozan Railway ¥180
Travel time approx 1 hour 45 minutes
1) Nezu station --> Otemachi station via Chiyoda line
2) Otemachi station --> Tokyo Station via Maronouchi line
3) Tokyo Station --> Odawara via JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line ¥3,640
4) Odawara Station --> Kazamatsuri Station via Hakone Tozan Railway ¥180
Village of boiled fish paste (Babelfish Translation)
Boiled fish paste museum (Babelfish Translation)
Fishcake museum map & directions (Babelfish Translation)
Kirin Yokohama Beer Village
Kirin Beer Yokohama Factory, 1-17-1, Namamugi, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa-ken
Learn more about the history and production of beer in a relaxed atmosphere.
Open: 10:00 - 17:00
Close: Every Monday (Oct.-May.), Late Dec.- early Jan.
Tel: 045-503-8250 (Japanese/English)

Access: About 8 min. walk from Namamugi Sta. on Keikyu Line
Map in Japanese

Shinyokohama Ramen Museum*
Located in Shin-Yokohama
Open: 11:00a.m.~11:00p.m.(Mon~Sat)
Open: 10:30a.m.~11:00p.m.(Sun and Public holiday)
Last admission 10:00pm.
Closed: No holiday

Adults (13-year-olds and up): ¥300

Travel time approx 45 minutes
1) Nezu station --> Otemachi station via Chiyoda line
2) Otemachi station --> Tokyo station via Marunouchi line
3) Tokyo Station --> Shin-Yokohama Station via JR Hikari Line ¥2,190
Rice Gallery Ginza*
Address: 1 & 2F, Ginza Gas Hall Bldg., 7-9-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Open: 11:00-19:00
Close: Every Monday
Contact: 03-3289-7300 (Japanese)
Come here to get a clear idea of the rice-production process. Feel free to take home and try out the rice recipes provided. Possible purchases include cosmetics, ice cream and tableware--all made using rice.
Access: About 3 min. walk from Subway Ginza Sta.

Suzuki Mikawaya liquor store*
Address: 2-18-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan   107-0052
Open Hours: Weekdays:10am-7pm Saturday:1pm-4pm
We are Japanese rice wine sake specialty shop. We have been looking for nice sake.
We have many kinds of sake, and good taste sake. We searched small sake breweries. We would like you to enjoy the sake world!!

Brands of Sake:
Maruyama Brewery
Secchuubai is recognized as “amakuchi”, sweet type.

Sweet sake:

Sweet sake, taste of  fruit:
Tokyo Convenience stores

Stores in Tokyo (Translation via Babelfish)

¥100 onigiri specials (Translation via Babelfish)
Three F Co.

Circle K

Gotanda Convenience store
Near the entrance of the Toko hotel in Gotanda is a large 24 hour convenience store.  The hotel is right outside the Train & subway station
(As of 4/4/2003) I couldn't identify any exciting restaurants in Gotanda, so let's consider eating out of a convenience store for lunch, or going somplace else for food?  --  PG

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Otemachi station
3) At Otemachi station, pick up the Toei Mita line (heading towards Hibiya) and go to Mita station
4) At Mita station, transfer to the Toei Asakusa Line (heading towards Sengakuji) to Sengakuji station
5) At Sengakuji station, continue (towards Takanawadai station, NOT Shinigawa station) to Gotanda station
Tokyo Supermarket Chains

Tabehoudai Restaurants (Outside of Tokyo)

Nankoku hotel
Chiba prefecture Awa Gun Shirahama Cho Shirahama 2544
Tel: 0470-38-3721 (reservation direct communication)
Homepage (Babelfish Translation)
Cottage of the Tochigi prefecture
Nasu plateau
Logo of girl playing flute
Location: Far outside Tokyo
Tel 0287-78-3266
Yama Gun Kita Shiobara village Goshiki swamp hot spring
Fukushima prefecture
Beef shabu-shabu and some other stuff
Tel 0241-32-3166
Kotobuki Chiba prefecture Awa Gun Chikura Cho Tairadate
Menu (translated)
AYCE sushi for ¥11,980 for two people 90 minute time limit
Tabehodai sushi:
Tel 0470-44-2527


Ghibli Museum*
Tickets must be purchased in advance and tend to be sold out a month or so in advance. This is especially true if you want to visit on a weekend.

The only way (currently) to get tickets is to buy them in person at a Lawson store, using the Loppi ticket purchasing terminal. Lawson convenience stores are located throughout Japan, which isn't very helpful unless you also happen to be currently located in Japan. As of this writing (December 2001), there is no mechanism set up for buying tickets outside of Japan (although they claim to be working on such a system). Your best bet is to find someone in Japan who will buy the tickets for you and mail them to you (this is what I had to do).

To determine which dates still have tickets available, you can visit the Ghibli Museum Ticket Calendar on the Lawson website. The museum is closed every Tuesday (火 曜 日), and the yellow circles on the calendar mean that the day is already sold out. Note that the calendar starts each week with Monday (月 曜 日).

Note that the tickets that you get are all timed, which means that you need to arrive at the museum at the time indicated on your ticket. Tickets are sold for 10:00, 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00. Once you get in the museum you don't have to leave until it closes (at 6:00), which means that the earlier tickets are much better than the later tickets since you have more time to browse through the museum. However, you must arrive within 1/2 hour of time indicated on the ticket, so for a 10:00 ticket you must arrive between 10:00 and 10:30.

Tickets are ¥1000 for adults, ¥700 for high school and middle school students, ¥400 for elementary school students, and Ñ100 for children over 4 (but not yet in school). Children under 4 are free.

You can get up-to-date ticket info from the ticket page on the Ghibli Museum website.

So, what can you do if you don't have tickets? Not much. The entire place is fenced off and the cafe and gift shop are not accessible unless you have tickets for the museum.

How to get to the Ghibli Museum

Take the JR to Mitaka...

From Mitaka Station

When you exit Mitaka station to the south, you will find yourself on an expansive walkway one story above street-level. Immediately below you is a bus terminal and a little bit off to your left (on the ground floor) is where the Mitaka City Bus stop is located. If you go over to this bus stop, you should see little signs for the bus to the Ghibli Museum. Tickets are ¥300 (round-trip)/¥200(one-way) for adults, and ¥150/¥100 for children.

Another way to get there from Mitaka station is to walk the 1.1km to the museum. When you leave the train station, go down to the ground floor and head over to your left. You'll need to find a narrow road that squeezes between the train tracks (on your left) and the buildings (on your right). If you're not sure, just watch the City Busses and see which way they go. After the road squeezes through the opening, it splits into two separate roads (one for each direction) with a small wooded stream in the middle. If you stick on the right side, there will be a brick path that runs alongside the road. Follow this until the road ends, cross the street ahead of you and continue down the road to your right (there will be a sign to point you the correct direction). The museum will be on your left.
The advantage of walking is that you get to see the special Ghibli Museum bus stop and direction signs along the way. There aren't that many of them (I believe that I counted 3), but they're kinda cute. The funny thing about the Totoro decorated bus stop sign (shown on the left) is that if you got on the bus at that point, the bus would be taking you away from the museum.

This bus information is given in the How To Go page on the Ghibli Museum website. On this webpage, you can see one of the Mitaka City Busses painted with special designs for the Ghibli Museum. There is, indeed, a bus that is painted like that, but the majority of the busses are rather drab looking.

Aquariums & Zoos

Shinagawa Aquarium
10:00-17:00, closed Tuesdays
¥1100 for adults
Address: Shinagawa Kumin Park, 3-2-1 Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku
Telephone 03-3762-3431
5 min. from Omori Kaigan Stn. on the Keihin Kyuko Line. About 15 min. from Omori Stn. of the JR Keihin Tohoku Line.

Sunshine City Aquarium
World Import Mart Building 10F in Sunshine City
(Namja Town & Gyoza Stadium are also in this building)
Telephone: 03-3989-3466
Hours: 10:00 - 18:00
Sundays and Holidays: 10:00 - 18:30
July 20 - August 31: 10:00 - 20:30
Tickets are sold until 30 minutes before closing.

Entrance fees:
(Adults ages 16 and up, Children ages 4-15, children under 4 are free)

Adults Children
Aquarium only: ¥1,600 ¥800
Planetarium only: ¥800 ¥500
Observatory only: ¥620 ¥310
Aquarium and Planetarium: ¥2,100 ¥1,100
Aquarium and Observatory: ¥1,900 ¥1,000
Aquarium, Planetarium and Observatory: ¥2,400 ¥1,200
Planetarium and Observatory: ¥1,200 ¥700
Located in the Sunshine City complex in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on the 10th floor of the "World Import Mart" (color coded pink on the maps that you can find inside the building), this aquarium is a little different from the other two Tokyo aquariums located in Odaiba and in Shinagawa. It has the easiest train access and the choice of visiting a planetarium. The observatory is a look-out like Tokyo Tower, 240 meters tall but you stand at 227 meters.

Tokyo Sea Life Park Aquarium*
If they look tasty, you've been in Japan too long
Open: 9:30-16:00 (doors close at 17:00)
Closed: Monday
Admission: ¥700 (adult), ¥250 (middle school), free (senior & child)
Access: 5 min on foot from Kasai Rinkai Koen Station (JR Keiyo Line); also accessible by water bus from Hinode near Hamamatsucho Station (JR Yamanote Line)
Typical Tokyoite visitors: School groups, families
Best time: A clear day, for views over the Bay
What to bring: Binoculars

Itabashi Ward Children's Zoo/Children's Zoo & River-water Aquarium*
(within Higashi-Itabashi Park)
3-50-1 Itabashi, Itabashi-ku
Tel: 3763-8003
The park which we like near to our home is the Higashi-Itabashi Park consists of Children's Zoo & River-water Aquarium which is open free to the public. We have been there almost every week. Emiri likes animals very much. The nearest train is from Itabashi-kukyakushomae which on Toei Mita Line. About 10 minutes walking distance from the station.
Children's Zoo(within Higashi-Itabashi)
Open: March to November: 10:00A.M. to 4:00P.M., December to February: 10:00A.M. to 4:00P.M.
Closed from December 28 to January 4.
This zoo has animals like ponies, goats, sheep, etc. which children are allowed to touch them, but not to feed them.
There is a small pond where fishes like carps, turtles and ducks. Next to this pond there is a hamster's corner. Children are allowed to carry, stroke & play with them.
They are open during these hours 10:45 to 11:15, 1:30 to 2:00 P.M. and 2:30 to 3:00 P.M.
Higashi-Itabashi Park:
Itabashi-ku, Tokyo Toei Mita subway line, Itabashikuyakushomae station. (10 min. walk) / 7 minute walk from Itabashi Kuyakushomae Station on the TOEI Mita line (crosses the JR Yamanote line at Sugamo station.)
Higashi-Itabashi Park - Three outdoor pools for children of varying ages an sizes open from about July 21 to about
August 28. CLOSED FOR ALL OR PART OF OBAN HOLIDAYS so call and check! 10:00 - 16:00. Entrance is FREE.
3-50-1 Itabashi, Itabashi-ku
Tel: 03-3962-8419 (Japanese only)


Japanese Sword Museum
9:00-16:00, closed Mondays
Admission: ¥525
Telephone 03-3379-1386
Address  4-25-10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Pamphlets are available: "Manual of how to handle and take care of swords" and "Manual for appreciating the Japanese sword"
10 min. from Sangubashi Stn. on the Odakyu Line. 10 min. from Hatsu-dai Stn. on the Keio New Line.
Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) Nezu to Otemachi via Chiyoda line
3) Otemachi to Aoyama-itchome via Hanzomon line
4) Aoyama-itchome to Yoyogi via Toei Oedo line

Sumo Museum
Sumo Hakubutsukan
1-3-28 Yokoami, Sumida-Ku Tokyo
Phone: (81) 3622 0366
10:00AM - 4:30PM Monday through Friday
RYOGOKU sta.: JR 1-min. walk

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Otemachi station
3) At Otemachi station, pick up the Tozai line (heading towards Nihombashi) to Monzen-nakacho station
4) At Monzen-nakachoe station, transfer to the Toei Oedo Line (heading towards Kiyosumi-shirakawa) to Ryogoku station ¥170

Drum Museum Taikokan*
2-1-1 Nishi Asakusa, Taito-ku
Admission: ¥300 adults.
Tel: 3842-5622
Drum Museum Taikokan presents a hands-on exhibit of drums from around the world. Very small but interesting personal collection, housed upstairs in a traditional festival costume-and-instrument store in an old district of Asakusa.  It is on the fourth floor.
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10 am-5 pm
Nearest Subway station: Tawaramachi station (shown at map on right), Ginza subway line
You can see not only drums from Japan, including a really big taiko drum but drums from all over the world. And best, of all, kids can try them out.
It's on the fourth floor of the store -- CG
It's looks like it's opposite the ROX department store in Asakusa  --  PG

Eisei Bunko Foundation
Address: 1-1-1 Mejirodai Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 112-0015
Tel: +81 (0)3 3491 0850
The Hosokawa family collection is excellent. It features all the major Japanese arts including family armor, tea-ceremony paraphernalia, screens attributed to Sesshu, tsuba (sword guards), and sculpture. One renowned piece is an early bronze Chinese mirror inlaid with silver and gold.
Hours: 10:00am-4:30pm Mon-Fri
Mejirodai Map (Japanese)

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Kasumigaseki
3) At Kasumigaseki station, pick up the Marumouchi line (heading towards Kokkai-gijidomae) and go to Shinjuku station
4) At Shinjuku Station, transfer to the privately run Keio Line Semi Special Exp to Mejirodai ¥350

Aoi Art
Sword and armor store in Tokyo
It might be located next to a sword ("ken") museum  --  PG
4-22-11 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053
TEL 011-81-3-3375-5553
FAX 011-81-3-3375-5459
-- Kazushige Tsuruta

6-5-1, Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku Tokyo 107-0062, JAPAN
TEL: 81-3-3400-2536
FAX: 81-3-3400-2436

General Information
Temporary exhibitions are held in the Heisei Gallery.
For some of these a special admission charge is made.
Permanent collections are exhibited in the Showa Gallery and are changed on a regular basis.

Opening hours
Tuesday to Sunday : 9:30-16:30.
Closed on Mondays(except National Holidays),days following National Holidays, and during the Year-end and New Year's period.

Nearest Subway station: Omotesando station (Chiyoda line)
The Cafe Gazebo offers a variety of drinks in comfortable and relaxed surroundings.
Free but limited to museum visitors.
Museum Shop
Books, postcards, posters, replicas of objects and other items are available at the shop in the Main Hall.
Photography is not permitted in the Museum
Talks about the exhibition.
For details regarding talks about the exhibition and other special events,please ask at the desk in the Main Hall.
How to get to the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts
The Museum is located south of route 246.
Public transit routes include the nearby Omotesando underground station and Minami-Aoyama 6-Chome bus stop.
Admission fees
General admission
Adults: ¥1,000
Students: ¥700
Reduced fees are available for groups of over twenty people.

Amusement Parks

Asakusa Hanayashiki*
2-28-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

This is one of the oldest amusement parks in Tokyo, but is still popular and fun. It's not so large and is less expensive compared to other amusement parks. Although the attractions are relatively compact, the atmosphere is cheerful and fun. Stop by if you are visiting the nearby Asakusa Senso-Ji temple with your kids.
Access Less than 10 min. walk from Asakusa station 
(Tokyo Subway Toei Asakusa line or Ginza line)
Hours 10:00-18:00(17:00 in winter) Closed on Tuesdays.
Tickets Admission only: Adult ¥900/ Child (5~12) and Adult (65~) ¥400
Free ride pass: (Weekdays) Adult ¥1600/ Child ¥1400
(Sundays and Holidays) Adult ¥2200/ Child ¥1900 

1-3-61 Korakuen, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8575 
03-3817-6098 03-3817-6185(fax)

Korakuen is located in the center of Tokyo and is easy to access. It's part of Tokyo Dome City, where professional baseball games and many other exhibitions/shows are held. There are many thrilling attractions.
Access 1 min. walk from any of the followings: JR Chuo line
Suidobashi station/Tokyo Subway/Marunouchi line or Nanboku line Korakuen Station/Tokyo Subway Mita line Suidobashi station
Hours 10:00(9:30)-18:00(19:00) changes daily
Tickets Admission and all rides: Adult ¥4100/Child (over 3) ¥3200 

Sanrio Puroland
Tama-city, Tokyo 

This is an all-indoor theme park by Sanrio. Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty take you to the dream world! Little children should enjoy this amusement park.
Access Keio Train or Odakyu Train Tama Center Station
Map is here
Hours Weekdays 10:00-17:00/Holidays 10:00-20:00
Calendar is here

Tickets Passport (advanced): Adult (18 years & up) ¥4,000/Youth (12-17 years) ¥3,700/Junior (11 years and under) ¥3,000
Passport (purchased in the same day): Adult ¥4,400/Youth ¥4,000/Junior ¥3300

Sega Joy Polis
Takashimaya Times Square 10F-11F
Sendagaya, 5-24-2, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 
03-5361-3040/ 03-5361-3044(fax)

This amusement park is suitable for older children, especially for teenagers who love video games. There are many virtual reality attractions such as Sega Rally (auto race), Aqua Nova (3D motion ride), and Virtualon Special (robot shooting game). Stop by after shopping or dinner at Shinjuku.
Access JR Shinjuku station/ Tokyo Subway Shinjuku 3 chome
Hours 10:00~24:00
Tickets Admission only: Adult(15~) ¥300/Child(7~14) ¥100
Passport: (~17:45) Adult ¥2,900 /Child ¥2,800 (18:00~) Adult ¥2,500/ Child ¥2,400

Tokyo Yomiuri Land
Yanoguchi 3294 Inagi-shi, Tokyo (044-966-1111 )

This is located the suburban area in Tokyo, so it takes about one hour from the center of Tokyo. Along with many exciting attractions, it is known for the giant gondola-like ferris wheel ride. If the weather is good, you can see Mt. Fuji!. During the summer, the Yomiuri land opens their Water Amusement Island with 6 swimming pools. It's a fun place to visit during summer, although it's very crowded.
Access The Keio Train to Keio Yomiuriland station/ The Odakyu Train to Yomiuriland-mae station.
Hours 10:00-17:00 (16:30 in winter)/ Holidays 9:00-17:00/Closed on Tuesdays
Tickets Admission only: Adult ¥1600/Child ¥800
One day pass: Adult ¥4800/Child ¥4000. Parking ¥1000 per day.

Amusement Parks (outside of Tokyo)

Wild Blue Indoor Water Park, Yokohama*
Tsurumi-Ku, Heian-Cho 2-28-2
Open: 10:00AM - 9:00PM
Closed: Fridays
Alternate Review
Take the JR Keihin-Tohoku line to Kawasaki station. Go to the east exit. There you will find bus stop #2 on platform #14. Wait for the Wild Blue Yokohama Express bus, or if your Japanese language skills are up to snuff, and you don't feel like waiting for the express, you could also take any one of the other buses that come to bus stop #2 and listen carefully for the instructions on where to transfer.
Tel (English?): 045-511-2323
Tel: (Defunct phone number?): 045-506-5527
¥6,000 - ¥10,000 / person, depending on what equipment we rent
Seagaia Ocean Dome
Miyazaki Prefecture Ocean Dome - Review
Miyazaki Prefecture Ocean Dome - Review

Pachinko in Shinjuku*

Shinjuku is doubtless the world headquarters for pachinko.  There are pachinko parlors, it seems, on every corner!  Harajuku has zero, but Shinjuku and Shibuya are awash in them.  Ten minutes after the workday is finished, these parlors are overflowing.

Tsukiji Fish Market - see Food


Pokèmon Center*
Weekends at the business district of Nihonbashi in Tokyo tend to be quiet, except for one store specializing in Pokemon goods that has been pulling in huge crowds. Its proprietor correctly gauged that by locating in a convenient spot near Tokyo station, a huge junction of both local and long-distance train and bus lines, the store--Pokemon Center Tokyo--would draw visitors from throughout the country. The shop, which opened for business in April 1998, attracts around 1,500 visitors daily during the weekdays and anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 on the weekends. It is so popular that it sometimes has to limit the number of people entering the store at one time. Over summer vacation customers waited for up to two hours for a chance to shop, and during the Christmas season in 1999 as well, the wait was about an hour. The store sells some 1,500 products that include game cards, stationery, and even confectioneries. Some of its most popular items are original goods, unavailable elsewhere, designed with images of Pokemon characters Pikachu, Charmander, and Poliwhirl--the store's mascots.
Map location
Photograph of storefront

Comic Toranoana*
Comic Toranoana (Tiger's Den) has four different stores in Akihabara and one in Ikebukuro ( all parts of Tokyo). They sell manga, doujinshi, telephone cards, garage kits and models, hobby supplies, doujin-soft and other related merchandise. They have new and used products.
Japanese site:
Toronoana Logo
Store #1
101-0021 Tokyo-to
Chiyoda-ku, Soto-Kanda 1-8-7
Kamibayashi Building 3F
                      North ==>                             
   ++  |       |       |    |  |     |            |        
   ++  |    2  |      1|   A|  |     |            |        
   ++  |-------+-------+----+--+-----+------------+-----   
   ++  |       |            |  |     |            |
   ++  |       |            |  |  4  |            |        
   ++  |       |            |  +-----+------------+-----
   ++  |       |            |  |     |            |Ryoubi
   ++  |Sega   |            |  |B    |SofMap      |
  -++--+-------+------------+--+-----+--+---------+-+--- Chuo-douri
   ++  |                    |C        D |     3    E|
   ++  |                    |           |           |
   ++  \                    |           |           |
   ++  |\                   |           |           |
   ++  | \                  |           |           |
   --                       |
--|  |---                   |   Keihin-Touhoku Line
--|  |---                   |
  |  |Akihabara             |
  |__| Station              |
A = Laox
   ++ B = Yamagiwa
   ++ C = Yamagiwa Hon-ya
 Soubu D = T-Zone Minami
  Line   E = Liberty
Store #2
101-0021 Tokyo-to
Chiyoda-ku, Soto-Kanda 1-9-8
Kimura Building 2F, 3F, 4F
Store #3
101-0021 Tokyo-to
Chiyoda-ku, Soto-Kanda 4-4-2
[JIS(3626)(3157)] Soto-Kanda Building 7F
Store #4
(Used Manga)
101-0021 Tokyo-to
Chiyoda-ku, Soto-Kanda 3-11-2
Rokku 2 7F

Tokyo Dome City*
1-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8562

Tokyo Dome City shelters more than 10 restaurants and souvenir shops inside and outside of the main building.
1 min. walk from any of the following: JR Chuo line
Suidobashi station/Tokyo Subway/Marunouchi line or Nanboku line Korakuen Station/Tokyo Subway Mita line Suidobashi station

Korakuen Amusement Park

La Qua Amusement Park w/ Shops

Shops & Restaurants in English

Daiso 100 Yen Plaza*
Udagawacho 27-4, Shibuya-ku 03-5459-3601
Open daily 11am-11pm.
Walk up Dogenzaka from Shibuya station, turn right at 109 and walk toward Tokyu Honten. 100 Yen Plaza is on your right.
Shibuya Savvy tourists and long-time residents are heading to 100 Yen Plaza in Shibuya for all their souvenirs. On the 3rd floor of this ultra-cheap department store you can find wabi-sabi ceramics, ramen bowls, lacquerware miso-soup bowls, fancy chopsticks, traditional toys, good-luck cat figures, paper lanterns, even fake cherry blossoms. All the exotic things you need to buy for those obscure relatives or unexpected friends you run into on a trip home. Any day of the week, the store is full of Russian and Taiwanese tourists stocking up on the good stuff because it's so cheap. The 100 Yen Plaza is a bargain department store. There are five floors of goods, arranged like a classy Ginza department store: plastics on the 4th floor, gardening goods (flowerpots, lattice frames, even bags of soil!) on the 3rd, kitchenware on the 2nd, etc. And just like Isetan, the food floor is in the basement. The "plastic" floor has stationery and kitchenware in a rainbow of pastel shades and clear plastic. The huge stationery section has ring binders, folders, and multi-sleeve photo holders in all sizes from postcard to A4 - stuff that retails for 5 times the price in regular stores. They also have plastic kitchen containers and bento boxes in a range of acid colors. Other floors are similarly well stocked. The first floor carries party goods and games, accessories and cosmetics. Here's your chance to pick up party masks of disgraced presidents and horror film characters. Local teenage girls load up their shopping baskets with essential makeup products like fake tear drops, tattoo transfers and stick-on eyelashes in Yves Klein blue. Why pay many times the price for the same stuff in trendy stores - when you can find the real generic no-brand version at 100 Yen Plaza? 

3-2-1 Ikebukuro, Toshima-Ku
Animate is located in Ikebukuro near the Sunshine 60 building

Anime events @ Animate
(Babelfish translation)
Web Store:

Tokyo Oroshuri Center*
Located in Gotanda
Tel: 03-3494-2200
8 MIN walk from Gotanda (JR Yamanote Line OR Subway Asakusa Line)
6 MIN walk from Fudo-Mae (Tokyu Meguro Line)
5 MIN walk from Osaki-Hirokouji (Tokyu Ikegami Line)
Listing of Shops (translation)
They both retail and wholesale
TOC may have a market or a depaato on weekends, selling retail space to individual retailers: "it's well known and 120,000 people visit it every four days."
Event schedule: translation
A season is not asked but large-scale selling meetings including a department store are mainly held at the weekend.
There is 120,000 or more people's ... actual result in four days, and it has become a general consumer with the hall
where the degree of cognition is very high. You can use various selling meetings for uses various a maximum of 2,000 tsubos from a minimum of 40 tsubos by demand of a visitor.


Their main store appears to be in Nakano

Nakano Store
5-52-15 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3228-0007

Akihabara Store
Rock2 Bldg 5F, 3-11-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Shibuya Store*
Shibuya Beam B2, 31-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

LAOX Hobby in Akihabara
Store #22 on the linked map above

Hakuhinkan Toy Park*
8-8-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku.
Tel: 03-3571-8008.
Nearest station: Shimbashi (TRTA Ginza line), across from Ginza 9.
Open 11am-8pm daily.
A nine-floor tower of toys in the heart of the city, Hakuhinkan Toy Park is a black hole that sucks up pocket money and generous grown-ups' hard-earned yen. The fun starts in the basement with the Club 67 boutique, where Licca-chan and Jenny doll enthusiasts can pick up the trendy Pregnant Licca-chan, which includes a card you send to the manufacturer in return for a baby and a key to deflate the doll's stomach. Also on the underground level are a Ticket Pia and Ticket Park, selling seats for the Japanese shows performed at the in-store theater on the top floor. Four other capacious floors are stacked high with toys, with the store's selection of video games and jigsaw puzzles on the third floor and Japanese dolls and teddy bears on the second floor being among the best in the capital. Before taking home your bundles of joy, refuel at the fifth- and sixth-floor tempura, Italian, sumiyaki, sushi or steak restaurants.
Map (in Japanese)

Kiddy Land*
6-1-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku.
Tel: 03-3409-3431.
Nearest station: Meijijingumae (TRTA Chiyoda line), exit 4.

Open 10am-6pm daily.
With the highest profile of any toy store in the city, Kiddy Land is a Tokyo institution. Everything from Hello Kitty stamps and stationery in the basement to air guns and radio-controlled car on the fifth floor are sure to keep kids of all ages drooling with delight. On weekends, a crowd of strollers converges at the street-level stand dedicated to the hot character of the moment and devours promotional giveaways being doled out by cute girls in cute uniforms. Inside, toy lovers and tourists fill the six floors-claustrophobic customers should beware of the scrums at the Barbie Boutique and American Hero sections on the third floor during peak kiddie-shopping hours (after school and on weekends). But brave souls should find some comfort in the fact that Kiddy Land is also an authorized moneychanger and offers domestic and overseas shipping services.


8-23-5 Nishi-Kamata, Ota-ku.
Tel: 3738-4141 or 3734-0010.
Nearest station: Kamata, south exit. JR Keihin Tohoku, Tokyu Meguro or Ikegami lines.
Open 10am-7pm daily.
If you're a progressive parent, and like to give your kids something constructive to do, making the trip to Kamata is a must. Yuzawaya doesn't fit into the standard category of a toy store; it's more a craft-supply complex with more than ten multistory outlets selling art, needlework, hobby supplies, stationery and knickknacks. Myriad displays of everything from paper, brushes, beads and fabric to noren panels and silk flowers-the list is never-ending-are sure to get your offspring's gray matter churning with activity. Adults are also sure to be spellbound and might even be inspired to take up collage, batik or watercolor-be warned! For ¥500, you can get a Yuzawaya members' card entitling you to discounts at any store in the complex. But be sure to bring cash, as credit cards are not accepted, and remember to pay for items on the floor on which they are displayed.
Sounds like Pearl Paint & Supply in Woodbridge  --  PG

Possible travel route:
1) Walk to Nezu station
2) Nezu station --> Nishi-nippori station via Chiyoda line
3) Nishi-Nippori Station --> Kamata station via JR Keihin Tohoku-Negishi Line ¥380
4) Yuzawaya is within walking distance of JR Kamata Station


Near the Ueno JR Station
Tel: 3831-2320
Address ends with 6-14-6
Nearest station: Ueno (TRTA Hibiya line)
If you don’t want your significant other watching what you buy at Yamashiroya, let them wander around the Ameya Yokocho shopping district. Ameya Yokocho has everything from dried fish to expensive wallets.

Toys "R" Us
Shop listings (in English)
There are few foreign residents of Tokyo unfamiliar with the format of the world's most famous toy store chain. Its irresistible formula of all imaginable playthings under one roof at hard-to-beat prices has established Toys "R" Us as a firm favorite of Joe Public on this side of the Pacific, too. Recently the chain has been making a big push into the collectors' market, but it took striking exclusive deals with domestic toy manufacturers and importers and collaborating on special models to finally make the grade with toy nerds in Japan. With 42 stores in the Kanto region there's sure to be one these massive warehouses within easy access. The Isogo and Minato Mirai branches also contain Studio Alice photo studios where you can get all that sweetness and light dolled up (traditional Japanese costumes are available) and captured on celluloid.

Toys "R" Us, Sunshine City Ikebukuro*
3-1, Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 170-0013
Tel: 03-3983-5400

Toys "R" Us, Odaiba*
1-7-1, Daiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 135-8707
Tel: 03-5564-5011

CuSO4's Tokyo Anime/Manga Shopping Guide
Shops by location Map Open Hours / Rest Days Journal
Akihabara(ab) Akihabara 11-19 11:00-19:00 Sa Saturday ab
Anime Books fg
Ikebukuro(ib) Ikebukuro 103-203 10:30-20:30 Su Sunday ac
Anime Cels gk
Garage Kit
Nakano (nn) Nakano M
Th, F, and Sa as
Anime Soft
Internet Cafe
Shinjuku(sj) Shinjuku
F and Sa cc
Cosplay Cafe ko
  Shinjuku (West) W
Su and Holiday cg
Character Goods mg
Shibuya(sy) Shibuya Th
Sa, Su and Holiday cp

3rd W
Third W of the month ds

Cutlery stores
Research: Knife stores
Shuko Cutlery
3-4-2, Nishi-Kasai, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo, 134-0088 Tel: 03-3869-4687
Business hours     9:30AM - 5:30PM
Closed on Tuesday and a public holidays translation

T[s]ukiji Masamoto
4-9-9, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0045 market bridge case
Tel: (03) 3541-6880 (03) 3541-8000
Central market yard store Tel: (03) 3541-7155
Closed:     Sunday, celebration national holiday
Business hours 6:00AM - 3:00PM

Knife style synopsis translation


Antique Markets held in Tokyo
Aoyama Oval Plaza*
Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Omotesando station
3) Aoyama Oval Plaza is within walking distance of Omotesando station
Where Aoyama Oval Plaza 
5-52-2 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo
When 6:00-sunset
Held the 3rd Sat. of every month 
Information It will be held even if it rains.
Getting There 5 minutes walk from Omotesando station (Hanzomon, Ginza, 
Chiyoda lines), Next to Kodomono-Shiro (National Children's Castle), 
across from Aoyama Gakuin University.
Arai Yakushi-ji Antique Market*
Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Otemachi station
3) At Otemachi station, pick up the Tozai line (heading towards ?) and go to Takadanobaba station
4) At Takadanobaba Station, transfer to the privately run Seibu Shinjuku Line (heading towards ?) and go to Araiyakushimae Station ¥140
5) Arai Yakushi Temple is within walking distance of Arai-Yakushi-Mae Station

Where Arai Yakushi Temple
5-3-5 Arai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3386-1355
When 8th 18th and 28th of every month.
Dawn to dusk.
Information N/A
Getting There 5 minutes from Arai-yakushi-mae station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.
Iidabashi Ramura*
Where Iidabashi Ramura 
1-1 Kawagishi Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 
When 6:00-sunset
Held the 1st Sat. of every month 
Information (It's held even if it's raining) 
Getting There Right near Iidabashi station(JR, Tozai, Nanboku, Yu-rakucho lines),  It is in the shopping center Iidabashi Ramura Central Plaza.
Ueno Park
Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Sendagi) and go to Kita-senju station
3) At Kita-senju station, pick up the Hibiya line (heading towards Minami-senju) and go to Ueno station
4) Ueno Park is within walking distance of Ueno station
Where Ueno park 
2 Ueno Kouen Taito-ku Tokyo
Antique Market
Autumn antique market --Aki Matsuri (Autumn festival) 
October 1 - October 31
9:00 - sunset  It's held even if it rains.
Aozora Kottoichi, Open air antique fair takes place around Shinobazu pond in Ueno Park from 9 a.m. to sunset.
About 50 stalls are set up around the pond.
Getting There Near Ueno station (JR, Ginza lines), Keisei Ueno station  (Keisei Hon line). It is held near Shinobazu Pond.

Roppongi Antique Fair*
Travel route from Arai Yakushimai Station:
1) Walk to Arai-Yakushi-Mae Station
2) At Arai-Yakushi-Mae station, pick up the privately run Seibu Shinjuku Line (heading towards ? ) and go to Nakai Station
3) At Nakai station, transfer to the Toei Oedo line (heading towards Higashi-nakano) and go to Roppongi station ¥260
4) Roi Roppongi Building is within walking distance of Roppongi station
Where Roppongi Antique Fair in Roi Roppongi Bildg. 
Roi Roppongi Bldg. Entrance 5-5-1 Roppongi Minato-ku Tokyo 
When Held the 4th Thursday and Friday of every month
Information For more info contact 03-3583-2081 (Daishin-shokai) 
Getting There 5-6 minutes walk from Roppongi station (Hibiya line). 
Go down along Gaien Higashi Dori (Street).

Department Stores
Kyoko strongly recommends that we check out their food courts.   =)
Located adjacent to Tokyo Station
To Get Consumption Tax Exemption

On the day of your purchase, please take the receipt for the goods purchased at Daimaru Tokyo store on the same day and your passport to the Tax Exemption Counter on the 7th floor. Please note that consumption tax cannot be refunded on consumable goods such as foods, cigarettes, cosmetics, films, dry batteries and medicines and goods totaling 10,000 yen or less, tax excluded. For diplomats, a Tax Free Card is required.

Locations in Ginza near Kabuki-ZA, Ikebukuro, Nihombashi/Kyobashi (adjacent to Mitsukoshimae subway station)

Visit the food department in the basement of Japanese department store, Kyobashi Mitsukoshi. The whole floor showcases cooking ingredients, prepared foods, baked goods and sweets to beverages, all of which are popular daily items in Japan. Among these food items, you will find Chinese, Italian, French, Indian, and Southeast Asian, as well as a huge variety of Japanese dishes.
Located in Asakusa
Open from 10:30AM - 9:00PM everyday


Located in Ginza, near Yurakucho station (see mini-map)

Locations in Ikebukuro (see map)

Located in Nihombashi (see subway book)

Locationed in Ginza near Yurakucho station (see mini-map)

Locations in Ikebukuro, Shibuya (see maps),
& Ginza near Yurakucho station (see mini-map)

Located in Shibuya

Located in Shinjuku (see Map)
Keio Department Store
Locations unknown

Located in Ginza near Kabuki-ZA

Located in Shinjuku (see Map)

Located in Ginza near Kabuki-ZA

Located in Ginza near Kabuki-ZA

Open Air Markets
Between the famous red lantern at Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) and the main hall of Senso-Ji Temple is a path lined with colorful shops selling souvenirs that include such specialty treats and sweets as Kaminari-okoshi and Ningyo-yaki.
Ningyo-yaki are small Japanese cakes with sweet beans filling. Try a fresh made ningyo-yaki at Nakamise street.

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Sendagi) and go to Kita-senju station
3) At Kita-senju station, pick up the Hibiya line (heading towards Minami-senju) and go to Ueno station
4) At Ueno station, pick up the Ginza line (heading towards Inaricho) and go to Asakusa station
5) Senso-Ji temple is within walking distance of Asakusa station
Ueno Ameya Yokocho*
This is a shopping street that runs from Ueno's Chuo-dori down to Okachimachi by the side of the railway line. The dense array of shops along the street is truly amazing: they sell everything from fresh food produce to famous designer brand products at bargain prices. This lively street constantly echoes with the lively calls of the shopkeepers, doing their utmost to attract customers with low prices and offers of further mark-downs.

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Sendagi) and go to Kita-senju station
3) At Kita-senju station, pick up the Hibiya line (heading towards Minami-senju) and go to Ueno station
4) Ueno Ameya Yokocho is right outside Ueno station
International Arcade*
If you are looking for one-stop shopping for happi coats, kimonos, imitation swords, pearls and other items, visit the many shops at the International Arcade. Most are open by 11 am, and some stay open as late as 9 pm. The arcade is located underneath the JR train tracks, right next to the Imperial Hotel in Yurakucho. Prices are reasonable, and most major credit cards are accepted. Many of the merchants speak some English.

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Hibiya station
3) Hibiya station is within walking distance of the International Arcade
Kappabashi* (Kitchen Town)
When you go into a Japanese restaurant, the menu is displayed as plastic food in the window. Go to Kappabashi street in Asakusa where you can see store after store with displays of fake food (and buy some to take home as a souvenir). Kappabashi (or Kitchen Town as some people call it) is a place in Tokyo near Asakusa that is about 8 city blocks of nothing but restaurant supply stores. Basically if you are running a restaurant then you can find everything you need in Kappabashi.

Events occuring during the current month

Tokyo Journal - Events in Tokyo (during the current month)

Tokyo Qool
(Attractions and stuff., Site requires registration)
UserID: (my Hebrew name, transliterated, in lowercase)  Password: (the type of animal that we like to own us =^.~=)

Japan Times listing of festivals in Tokyo (based on the current date)

City of Minato: Autumn Festivals List in English

City of Minato: festivals around the year in English


Hatobus Tokyo Bay Lunch cruise*
Cost: ¥8,000/person
Tour departs from Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal at 11:20a.m, arrives back at 5:20p.m.
Board the "Symphony", the modern and luxurious ship, for a buffet lunch and a two-hour cruise passing by Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba fortifications, Fuji TV station, Maritime Museum, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Haneda Airport, wharves, piers, etc.
Daimon Subway station is on the Toei Asakusa line
Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Otemachi station
3) At Otemachi station, transfer to the Toei Mita line (heading towards Hibiya) and go to Mita station
4) At Mita station, transfer to the Toei Asakusa Line (heading towards Daimon) to Daimon station
5) Walk from Daimon station to Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal

Sumo Wrestling

Ryogoku 3-15-4, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130-0026
Tel: 03-5600-2561
Have someone who speaks Japanese call them before we go, to check if they will accept visitors.

About 5 mins on foot from Ryogoku Station on the JR Sobu line.

Admission is free.
ONLY time of day: 7:00 to 10:00. Sumo-beya are off-limits at other times.
Worst time of year:They're out of Tokyo in March, July, and November.
What to wear: comfortable clothes for sitting decently on the floor.
Who to go with: Someone who knows the ropes.
Center of gravity: The dohyo (training ring) itself; all eyes and thoughts are concentrated on it, for this is the foundation of sumo.
Etiquette: Just sit and watch. A 300-lb. coach may ask you to leave if you do anything to disturb the concentration of the wrestlers.

Within a 10-minute walk

Any number of restaurants serving chanko-nabe, the same stew that the sumo people eat; also good sushi places.

Sumo Stables (Sumo beya)
Where the big men live and train.
The sumo-beya, or just 'heya,' is the basic unit of the world of sumo. It's like a boarding school but without vacations. It is home, family and training-place to anything from two to forty-plus young men. There are now 54 of them, all in or near Tokyo.
At dawn almost every morning of the year the training ring is swept and the beginners train for an hour under the watchful gaze of their elders (and maybe a rain of blows and kicks for the lazy). The ring is swept again and a slightly older group starts training. Around 8:00 the senior men arrive -- they wear white cotton belts -- and start warming up. They will train from 9:00 to around 10:30, and that is what most people want to see.
In moshiai-geiko training, they all stand around the ring watching a bout. The winner chooses his next opponent. When the crowd surges forward calling "Watashi! watashi! (me! me!)" people unfamiliar with the ways of
sumo wonder if a riot is breaking out. Sometimes two well-matched men will have a series of bouts together, each honing his skills on the other. A visiting star will take on a whole line of men in succession. Around 10:30 they go off to take a hot bath, have their oiled hair dressed, and eat their first meal of the day (in descending order of rank).

NOTE: Watching training. Some sumo-beya do not accept visitors; some are nervous of visitors who do not understand Japanese and want you to have a knowledgeable escort. We will suggest just one heya, which is visitor-friendly. It even has a notice on the wall in English telling first-timers how to behave. But ask at your hotel, or ask a friend in Tokyo for advice. In any case, always have someone ring in advance.
Sumo training

Since January 1985 this imposing green-roofed building has staged professional sumo tournaments (hon-basho) in January, May and September, for 15 days, from the second to the fourth Sundays.

The action starts around 8:30 a.m. with the beginners, and ends at 6:00 p.m. with the highlight bout of the day. Don't miss the colorful ring-entering ceremonies, at about 2:50 for the Juryo (second division) and around 4:00 for Makuuchi, the top division, and the solo rituals performed by the Yokozuna (Grand Champions).

Some people watch all day; get there by 2:30 if you want to see the full range, from low-rankers in canvas belts and barefoot referees in cotton outfits, right up to the Grand Champions in bright silk and referees in costly brocade.

At the gate, ask for the free English-language explanatory booklet, and the blue sheet giving the day's bouts in Roman letters.

Get advance tickets from Japanese ticket and travel agencies, Lawson convenience stores (you'll need help working the online computer) or from the gatehouse at the Kokugikan itself (tel 3622-1100, open 10:00-16:00, English speakers available).

Most weekdays you can go along on the day and buy a 2,100 yen tojitsu-ken (same-day ticket), for the unreserved seats in the uppermost row. They start selling at 8:00.

Take in with you everything you'll need - you can't slip out for a burger.
Access: Two minutes on foot from Ryogoku station on the JR Sobu Line and subway Oedo Line. Look for the green roof.
What to buy: The calligraphed banzuke ranking list, a bargain at 50 yen, and various other sumo souvenirs. Also buy drinks, boxed meals and snacks (try the Kokugikan special: yakitori - succulent chicken chunks grilled on wooden skewers)
What to tell the taxi driver: Ryogoku Kokugikan
Who to go with: Go on your own, or with a gang of friends, or with someone knowledgeable.

Within a 10-min walk
Sumo stables : Or sumo-beya. - the places where the wrestlers live and train. Many of them are very near the Kokugikan.
Edo-Tokyo Museum : Immediately behind the Kokugikan. Well worth a visit, but don't try to combine it with sumo as there is just too much to do.

Kabuki Theatre

Kabuki-ZA Theatre*
Reservations : 81-3-5565-6000

Admission: ¥16,800(1st floor box seat)
¥ 14,700. ¥10,500. ¥4,200. ¥2,520
Tickets can be ordered by telephone or at the theater box office. (Box office is open 10:00a.m.-6:00p.m. everyday) The credit card is available at the Box Office Window.

Matinees 11:00AM - 3:45PM
Evening shows 4:30PM - 9:00PM

Notice:The times are subject to change month by month according to the length of the performances.Please see our Monthly Info.

Notice: The special new year performance and summer performance are subject to change in admission prices.

"English Earphone Guide" provides comment and explanations relating to the plot, music, actors, properties and other features of Kabuki which are available for a small rental fee.

Language is no problem at Kabukiza.
To help non-Japanese speaking audience appreciate the plays, the theater provides an excellent Kabuki guide, who through earphones, explains in English the threads of the dramas and conventions unique to Kabuki. The earphone rent is ¥650, plus ¥1,000 security deposit. Discount coupons (two) are available for ¥1,100. The security deposit is refunded when the earphone kit is returned. English-language program costs ¥1,000.

The Kabuki-Za theater is very close to the Higashi Ginza Station on the TRTA Hibiya and Toei Asakusa subway lines.
Tokyo stn. 
10 minutes/Taxi
15 minutes/Subway

Ginza main
= 5 minutes/Walk

Shinjuku stn. = 30 minutes/Subway


Imperial Palace, Shrines, Tourist attractions

Imperial Palace* in Chiyoda-ku
The Imperial Palace itself is closed all but two days of the year. The garden and grounds are open to the public year-round.
The palace is within walking distance of Tokyo Station (accessible by both Subway and Japan Rail trains).
Senso-Ji Temple* in Asakusa
2-3-1 Asakusa Taito-ku Tokyo
Phone: 3842-0181
Admission: Free
Open: Always open

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Sendagi) and go to Kita-senju station
3) At Kita-senju station, pick up the Hibiya line (heading towards Minami-senju) and go to Ueno station
4) At Ueno station, pick up the Ginza line (heading towards Inaricho) and go to Asakusa station
5) Senso-Ji temple is within walking distance of Asakusa station
Meiji Shrine* in Shibuya
1-1 Kamizono-cho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Shrine Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk
Jingu Naien Garden: Daily, 09:00-16:30

One of Japan's finest examples of Shinto architecture, the atmospheric Meiji Shrine is tucked away in the centre of a dark, cool forest, an unexpected oasis in the centre of the city. Passing through a vast wooden torii gate, the visitor follows the wide gravel path through the forest and into the shrine precincts. Completed in 1920, the shrine honours the memory of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken, under whose reign Japan rapidly modernised and reopened to the outside world. On weekends, it is often possible to see a traditional wedding procession and the precincts are one of the best places to witness the finery and festivities of New Year, Coming of Age Day (January 15) and the children's festival Shichi-Go-San (weekends around November 15). The Jingu Naien Garden in the shrine grounds is well worth visiting in June for the spectacular displays of irises.

Meiji-jingu shrine is within walking distance of Gaiemmae station (TRTA Ginza line).
The National Noh theatre may also be near the shrine.  --  PG
Gokokuji Temple
Buddhist Temple in Tokyo

Possible travel route:
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Otemachi station
3) At Otemachi station, pick up the Tozai line (heading towards Takebashi) to Iidabashi station
4) At Iidabashi station, pick up the Yurakucho line (heading towards Edogawabashi) to Gokokuji station
5) Gokokuji Temple is within walking distance of Gokokuji station

Tokyo Tower*

Tokyo tower has two observation galleries - a "main" one at 150 meters and a "special" one at 250 meters. As attractions go, it's not the world's best value. However, as one of Japan's most famous, and also one of the tackiest, it's undoubtedly worth a look.
Adults: "main" gallery ¥820, "special" gallery ¥600.

Buying your tickets can be confusing - tickets for the "main" gallery are bought from the ticket booths on the first floor. Tickets for the "special" gallery are bought from the booths located in the "main" gallery. In other words you have to buy a "main" gallery ticket in order to go up to the "special" gallery.

Tokyo TowerHaving negotiated your ticket, you'll find the stiff, smartly dressed lift operators make the lift ride up to the "main" gallery all the more entertaining. Once out, a loud musical accompaniment will get you in the mood, or even a mood - it's quite likely to be the Carpenters. However the view is spectacular - Mount Fuji, Ginza, Tokyo Bay and Yokohama.

Inside the tower, there are also a number of amusements and attractions. On the first floor there's an aquariumcontaining 50,000 fish! However, before entering assess value for money. The fish are very small, and the ticket price not so - adults ¥800!

The Mysterious Walking Zone of Hologram Technology and the Wax Works Museum are perhaps better value. These are on the third floor. The museum costs ¥870 for adults and ¥460 for children. The Mysterious Walking Zone is ¥410 for adults and ¥300 for children. Finally, on the fourth floor there's the Trick Art Gallery full of strange, funny and curious 3D images. This is ¥400 for adults and ¥300 for children.

A shopping arcade and restaurants are on the first and second floors

Observation galleries: 9:00 am to 8:00pm from March 16th to July 30th
9:00 am to 9:00pm from August 1st to August 31st
9:00 am to 8:00pm from September 1st to November 15th
9:00 am to 7:00pm from November 16th to March 15th

The attractions open one hour later at 10:00.

Address: 4-2 Shiba Koen, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03 3433-5111
How to get to Tokyo Tower
By train: (there are 4 alternative ways) 1. Take the Hibiya Subway Line to Kamiyacho Station and then follow the signs - about a 7 minute walk.
2. Take the JR Yamanote Line or the JR Keihin Tohoku Line to JR Hamamatsucho Station. From here, it's a 900m walk.
3. Take the Asakusa Subway Line to Daimon Station. From here, an 800 m walk.
4. Take the TOEI Mita Subway Line to Onarimon Station. From here, a 490 m walk
 By bus:
Number 88 from Shibuya Station.


Odaiba was a vacant stretch of reclaimed land until just a few years ago, but now an amazing selection of entertainment and exhibition facilities have made Odaiba the most popular leisure destination in Tokyo. Serving Odaiba is the Yurikamome Line, a fully computerized unmanned train service taking in Rainbow Bridge, which offers superb views of waterfront Tokyo and its ultramodern architecture

On the Yurikamome monorail from Shimbashi, try beating the old trainspotters to a seat at the front or the very back for a prime vantage point

We should plan on going to Odaiba for at least two days

Train route from Nezu station to Odaiba station
1) Walk from hotel to Nezu station
2) At Nezu station, pick up the Chiyoda line (heading towards Yushima) and go to Hibiya station
3) At Hibiya station, pick up the Hibiya line (heading towards Ginza) and go to Ginza station
4) At Ginza station, pick up the Ginza line (heading towards Shimbashi) to Shimbashi station
5) At Shimbashi Station, transfer to the privately run Yurikamome monorail (heading towards Shibaura Futo) to Odaiba Station ¥900 (for a 1 day pass)

Decks Tokyo Beach

A shopping and entertainment complex in Odaiba. The whole area offers a pleasant seaside environment with great views of waterfront Tokyo, while creating a convincing illusion of being miles from big city streets and stress. In Decks Tokyo Beach you can simulate skydiving, enjoy the thrills of a haunted house, and sample many other entertaining experiences.
A famous large game center called JOYPOLIS is located on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors. Opening hours: 10:00am-11:00pm.  Entrance Fee to JOYPOLIS: ¥500

Tokyo Restaurant Guide: Restaurants in Odaiba
Hinazushi (Daiba)
Hina Restaurant in Daiba has an all you can eat sushi deal for ¥4,300.  They're in Sunset Beach Restaurant Row.

Tenten Tsunetsune Kaitenbou (Daiba)
Tenten Tsunetsune Kaitenbou in the Tokyo Beach "Daiba Little Hong Kong" amusement area, this one stands out for the novelty value of their conveyer-belt dim sum service.
Daiba 1-3-5, Decks Tokyo Beach 7F. Open 11am-10pm daily

Hanashibe (Daiba)
Locally brewed sake (very sweet) and simple Japanese dishes like udon.
Daiba 1-7-1, Mediage 3F (Aquacity Odaiba). Open 11am-11pm daily

Palette Town
Perhaps the most striking of all the landmarks in this area of Tokyo is Palette Town's massive Perris wheel, which at 115m is one of the largest in the world. At night the wheel is brilliantly illuminated with a stunning variety of lighting patterns. A ride takes about 16 min. Fee : ¥900 (adult). Hours: 10:00-22:00 (but this may vary depending on various factors including the weather).
West Mall (inside Palette Town)
The first floor is devoted to Sun Walk, featuring numerous stores for furniture, sporting goods, children's goods and much more, including the biggest bed shop in Tokyo. Among the more experimental ideas here is a bookstore where you are invited to play. There are plenty of shops with a unique merchandise line-up, and look out for a very specious powder room for women.
On the second and third floors of West Mall is the extraordinary Venus Fort, which simulates the experience of walking around an 18th century town in southern Europe. Level 2 is the Floor of the Sky. Level 3 is the Floor of Alleys. Your stroll on Level 2 will take you past a large fountain and on to a plaza in front of a large church. Watch as the sky is transformed by the "setting sun" from blue to pink, before ultimately being replaced by a starlit firmament. Then stroll back through streets lined with shops designed to appeal to the woman, including fashion emporia, cosmetics specialists, and numerous accessory stores.

An entertainment and shopping paradise with a major mall, movie theaters, games, diverse services, and unbeatable views of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Harbor. With its seventy or so restaurants, this single location offers one of Japan's most comprehensive selections for the gourmet.

Created by the Sony Group, Mediage is a sophisticated entertainment complex adjoining Aqua City Odaiba. A multiplex cinema complex features thirteen screens. Elsewhere in Mediage you can enjoy a range of highly original attractions. Fun for all the family.

By monorail: from Shimbashi catch the Yurikamome monorail. Best value is the day pass for ¥800, but ¥900 buys you unlimited monorail and ferry rides too. You can catch the ferry part of the way and then finish on the monorail. One way to Odaiba is ¥370.
By ferry from Asakusa: 55 min, ¥1600.
By ferry from Hinode: 20 min, ¥400 or included in the ¥900 monorail day pass.
Getting around Odaiba:
The Free Bay Shuttle Bus stops at all the big attractions on the island and the round trip takes 37min. Or just use your day pass to get on and off the monorail.

Suijo Water Bus lines (goes between Kasai Sea Life aquarium & Palette town)
¥560/person from Kasai Sealife Park to Palette Town by waterbus

Jewish stuff in Tokyo

Tokyo Synagogue*
The Jewish Community of Japan in Tokyo was established forty five years ago primarily by refugees from Russia and Europe, most of whom had been in Shanghai during the last years of World War II. Nearly all of the founding members have either moved elsewhere or died. A majority of the members today are from the United States with a large group from Israel. A full synagogue program is offered with social and cultural activities, adult education and a religious school with forty flve students. An Israel Culture Center, sponsored by the Israel Embassy, is housed at the Jewish Community Center.
Beth David Synagogue/Jewish Community Center Is located at 3-8-8 Hiroo, Shibuya ku, Tokyo. The phone is 81 3-3400 2559; Fax is 81 3 3400 1827. Rabbi James Lebeau has been Rabbi since June 1993. A mikveh is located within the JCC. Shabbat services are at 6:30 p.m. on Friday (7:00 pm. during the sumrner) with Shabbat dinner served for those with advance reservations. There is no daylight savings time in Japan so candle lighting is earlier than most other locations. Shabbat morning services are at 9:30 a.m. with a kiddush lunch served. Shabbat Minchah follows Kiddush. The synagogue uses the Orthodox Birnbaum Siddur and the services are strictly traditional. Because this is the only synagogue in Tokyo there is a mechitza section for men, a mechitza section for women with another section of the synagogue for mixed seating.
The kitchen is a strictly Kosher fleishig kitchen with Glatt Kosher meat imported from the United States. Empire Chickens are used. The kitchen is under the supervision of Rabbi Lebeau who is a graduate of The Jewish Theological Seminary of America (conservatlve). Take out meals can be ordered in advance. Details are available through the JCC office. The Board or the JCC is eager to welcome guests. Visitors should contact the JCC office to learn of hotels within walking distance and to receive a map to the JCC. list of Kosher fish is also available in Japanese and English.
A Sephardie Orthodox synagogue is located in Kobe, Japan and offers Shabbat morning services. For more information, contact the President Simon Elmaleh at phone 078 593 9391 and Fax 078 261 9464.

Kosher eating
There are a few supermarkets in Tokyo where they stock US foods with hechsher (cereal, pasta, canned sardines, condiments, 750ml bottle of Gamla white/red, etc). One is National Azabu and the other Meidi-ya, both  located in Hiroo area near JCC. JCC also carries frozen kosher meat (Mt. Sinai) and poultry (Empire Chicken). Local milk sometimes can be fortified/adulterated with Vitamin-D, which may be derived from whale or other non-kosher marine products in Japan. Whole milk is OK, but the difference is hard to tell unless you can read labels. (If the box on the side of a carton has an alphabet D, skip it!)
Yogurts in small cups very often contains gelatine (though unsweetened ones in large tubs seem ok, of course not cholov yisroel).
Phillies cream cheese come in two versions: US with O-K, and Australian one without hechsher. Ditto for Haagen-Datz ice cream: a pint-size and individual bars made/packaged in US with O-U, individual cups packed locally without hechsher. Some packaged tofu may use styrene-based stabilizer, while one sold at health stores mostly seem OK. Many US brand products are licensed to Japanese manufacturers.
Westin Tokyo is the closest hotel to JCC (luxury, about 15 min. walk) from JCC

Jews of Japan

Tokyo Festivals & Cultural Attractions

Nerima Matsuri in Tokyo*
Sunday October 17th, 2004  (date confirmed on 7/30/2004)
2003 Festival link
Parade, interactive events, and lots of vendors
Nerima Festival URLs:
Babelfish translation
Warning: Horrible Western-style drawing of vegetable-people awaits. (shudder)
Map of Nerima & surrounding locales (Warning, lots of images -- PG):
Minato Citizen's Festival*

Oct. 9 & 10 2004 (Sat. & Sun)
(dates confirmed 10/4/2004)
Sunday 10/10/2004 hours: 10 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Autumn Hitotsugi Fair
The fair does not appear to be going on in 2004

Akasaka Hitotsugi-dori Avenue Shopping District Promotion Association
This fair is also known as the "Autumn Harvest Festival." There will be "trolley sales" and sales of fresh vegetables from farms in Akasaka-cho in Okayama Prefecture.
Oct. 27?, 28? & 29? 2004 (Wed., Thur. & Fri.), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
All around Akasaka Hitotsugi Street (short walk from Akasakamitsuke Station or Akasaka Station)
Check date listings on this website before going
Culture Day*
November 3
During the Meiji Era, people celebrated the November 3 birthday of Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) by designating it as the nation's Culture Day. This tradition continues to live in modern Japan, with the grand annual celebration centering on Meiji Jingu, the shrine dedicated to him. Of everybody's interest would be the demonstration of traditional Japanese archery near the shrine's Treasure Museum and the Yabusame archery on horseback Show in the vicinity of the Shibaike along the shrine's western approach.
Admission: Free
Address      Meiji Jingu Shrine  1-1 Kaminozonocho, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
Tokyo Phone +81 (0)3 3379 5511
Hours November 3, 5:40AM - 5:20PM
People Watching in Harajuku*
Cosplayers hang out around the Harajuku train station on Sundays --  PG
Choeki: Hm, you guys set some time aside to gawk at the loli-goths on sunday in Hara-juku, right?

Festivals around Tokyo, listed based on the current date in English

Japanese Fall Festival Calendar in English
Japan is in the most beautiful season, autumn, which is the time for the regional autumn festivals (matsuri). Most of the autumn festivals in Japan are related to the harvest, but there are many different types of festivals held throughout the country. The following are festivals held in October and November. I hope you can visit some of them while you are in Japan.

Minato-ku Autumn Festivals List in English

Minato-ku festivals around the year in English

Tokyo Disney ResortTokyo Disney Resort*

Tokyo Disney Resort (English)
Open every day 10:00AM - 6:00PM September - March
May be closed Tuesdays during September through November
Legend: Food  Attraction  Shopping  Live Entertainment
  Tokyo Disneyland (3rd party review)
    World Bazaar (3rd party reviews: Area Attractions Food Shopping)
      Restaurant Hokusai (traditional Japanese meals)

     Confectionary (sells chocolates, nuts, & candies)
      Candy Wagon (sells candy and other sweets)
      Grand Emporium (sells gifts, keepsakes, & plush)
      The Toy Kingdom (sells BDSM equipment, all the princesses shop there) just kidding!
      Mickey's Moderne Memories (sells collectibles "from around the world")
      Magic Shop (sells magic tricks, puzzles, games, & props)
      Victoria's Jewelry Box (sells jewelry)
      The Disney Gallery (sells "a special collection of merchandise)
      Disney & Co. (sells gifts)
    Tomorrowland (3rd party reviews: Area Attractions Food Shopping)
     Space Mountain [FastPass] (rollercoaster)
[FastPass] (3D show)
(video game arcade)
(flying ride)
      Grand Circuit Raceway
(Slot cars)
      Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters
(Just opened April 2004 - shoot lasers at the Bad Guys!)
      Soft Landing (has Earl Grey [!] soft serve ice cream)
Stellar Sweets (sells candy and other sweets)
      Solar Ray's Light Supplies (sells event related good & other stuff)

    Toontown (3rd party reviews: Area Attractions Food Shopping)
Gadget's Go Coaster (shortest ride in all Disney!)
      Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
      Chip 'n Dale's Treehouse
      Goofy's Bounce House
(Assuming we're not too big to go in)
      Mickey's Trailer (has spring rolls)
      Toontown Delivery Company (sells Toontown gift items & novelties)
      Gag Factory/Toontown Five & Dime ("Hilarious gifts and Disney merchandise)
    Fantasyland (3rd party reviews: Area Attractions Food Shopping)
      Peter Pan's Flight
      Dumbo The Flying Elephant
(flying ride)
      Haunted Mansion
      Alice's Tea Party
      Pooh's Hunny Hunt
Village Pastry (has Tipo Torta, sauce-filled stick pastry. Sauce fillings change seasonally)
      Fantasy Gifts (sells Disney character toys, books, & gifts)
      The AristoCats (
sells Disney character toys, books, & gifts)
      The Glass Slipper (sells blown glass)
      The Mad Hatter (sells hats)
      Pleasure Island Candies (
sells chocolates, nuts, & candies)
      Stromboli's Wagon (sells Disney character gifts & novelties)
      Pooh Corner (sells Winnie the Pooh merchandise)
    Critter Country (3rd party reviews: AreaAttractions Food Shopping)
      Splash Mountain [FastPass]
      Beaver Brothers Explorer Canoes (closes at Dusk)
      Hoot & Holler Hideout (sells woodcrafts & apparel)
    Westernland (3rd party reviews: AreaAttractions Food Shoppin)
Westernland Shootin' Gallery
      Big Thunder Mountain (rollercoaster)
Plaza Pavillion Restaurant (Buffeteria w/ pork, chicken, & seafood entrees)
      The Canteen (has milkshakes)
General Store (sells candy, coffee, snacks, & imported sweets)
      Country Bear Bandwagon (sells gifts, plush, & novelties)
   Adventureland (3rd party reviews: Area Attractions Food Shopping)
      Jungle Cruise
      Swiss Family Treehouse
      The Enchanted Tiki Room
      Crystal Palace Restaurant (Buffeteria with "a selection of entrees, side dishes and desserts")
      Polynesian Terrace Restaurant ("A South Sea island-inspired buffet, which includes desserts")    
      The Golden Galleon (sells novelties)
      Cristal Arts (sells glasswork)
      La Petite Parfumerie (sells perfumes & soaps)
      Le Gourmet (sells teas)
      Chiba Traders (sells crafts from Chiba prefecture and the rest of Japan)
      Tiki Tropic Shop (sells Polynesian-style clothing, folkcrafts, & gifts)
      Safari Trading Company (sells African crafts)
      Candy Wagon (sells candy, chocolates, & cookies)
  Tokyo Disney Sea
    Mediterranean Harbor
      Fortress Explorations (interactive play area)
      Cafe Portofino (Italian Buffeteria)
      Valentina's Sweets (sells candies, chocolates, & sweets)
      Emporio(sells toys & household goods)
      Galleria Disney (sells character merchandise & toys)
      Il Postino Stationery (gifts)
      Nicolo's Workshop (sells glassworks)
      Merchant of Venice Confections (sells cookies, chocolate, gifts, & souvenirs)
      Venetian Carnival Market (drygoods, Italian specialty items)
      Juliet's Collections & Treasures (jewelry)
      Miramare (sells character merchandise)
      Piccolo Mercato (sells entertainment show merchandise, toys, & gifts)
      Splendido (sells hats)
      Regalini (sells candies, cookies, & chocolates)
    Mysterious Island
      Journey to the Center of the Earth [FastPass]
      20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [FastPass]
      Vulcania Restaurant (Chinese buffeteria)
      Refreshment Station (has gyoza sausage buns)
      Nautilus Gifts (sells Mysterious Island themed & general character merchandise)
    Mermaid Lagoon
      Flounders Flying Fish Coaster
      Scuttle's Scooters
      Mermaid Lagoon Theatre [FastPass]
      Blowfist Balloon Race
      The Whirlpool
      The Sleepy Whale Shop (sells character merchandise)
      Mermaid Treasures (sells Jewelry)
    Arabian Coast
      Sinbad's Seven Voyages
      The Magic Lamp Theater [FastPass]
      Open Sesame (has Kheema curry bread)
      Agrabah Marketplace (sells character merchandise)
      Abu's Sweets's (sells "just desserts" & "heavenly rewards")
    Lost River Delta
      Mystic Rhythms
      Indiana Jones Adventure [FastPass]
      Expedition Eats (has Yucatan sausage rolls)
      Tropic Al's (has banana calzones)
      Lost River Outfitters (sells character merchandise & apparel)
    Port Discovery
      StormRider [FastPass]
      Horizon Bay Restaurant (Buffeteria w/ open grill, seafood, soup, salads, & desserts)
      Seaside Snacks (has gyoza sausage buns)
      Discovery Gifts (sells gifts & character merchandise)
    American Waterfront
      Restaurant Sakura (Japanese fusion cuisine)
      Sailing Day Buffet (buffet-style restaurant, cuisine not detailed)
      McDuck's Department Store (sells character goods, confections, apparel, souvenirs, & stuffed toys)
      Steamboat Mickey's (sells souvenirs & gifts)
      Aunt Peg's Village Store (sells sweets & sundries)    
  Ikspiari (Mall inside of Tokyo Disneyland, accessible via the Disney Resort Monorail)
  Bon Voyage (Store w/ Disney merchandise right by Maihama station)
  Take Out Food Wagons (In both Disney Resort & Disney Sea)
  Disney Resort Line Monorail (English)
One-Day Pass ¥500
Two-Day Pass ¥600
Three-Day Pass ¥800
Four-Day Pass ¥1,000

How to get there from the greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area
Routes via train: Rail Line Map

Tokyo Station JR Keiyo Line or JR Musashino Line (about 15 minutes)
get off at JR Maihama Station (South Exit) ¥210
Shinjuku Station (New South Exit) direct bus (about 60 min.) Map & Schedule
Yokohama Station (East Exit) direct bus (about 60 min.) Map & Schedule
Urayasu Station (Tozai Line) direct bus(about 18 minutes) Map & Schedule
Urayasu Station (Tozai Line) city bus (about 25 minutes)

Fastpass information

Tickets for Tokyo Disneyland can be purchased at Disney Stores as well as at JR Station Traveling desks

Pricing - Consecutive days - One day / evening
1-Day Passport - Disneyland or DisneySea ¥5,500
Starlight Passport - Disneyland after 3 PM weekdays ¥4,500
After 6 Passport - Disneyland after 6 PM weeknights ¥2,500
2-Day Passport - Disneyland or DisneySea ¥9,800
3-Day Passport - Disneyland and DisneySea ¥13,700
4-Day Passport - Disneyland and DisneySea
Enjoy one Park each on Day 1 and Day 2
Then enjoy either or both Parks on Day 3 and Day 4

Tour Guides

Hiring a Geisha (Very, very expensive)

Fishing in Japan

Sport Fishing in Niigata City and Japan
A sportsfisher's webpage
A second sportsfisher's webpage
A third sportsfisher's webpage
Supplies for sport fishing [sic] 


English mini-maps of a few towns in Tokyo
(Asakusa map, Ginza map, Tokyo/Imperial Palace map, & West Shinjuku map)
Asakusa map

Ginza map

Tokyo & Imperial Palace map
Shinjuku map

English Map of Tokyo Proper
(including Tokyo Station, Yurakucho station, Hanzomon station, Otemachi station, Toranomon station & others)

Pictures of Japanese currency
Note that you can not use 1 or 5 yen coins in vending machines and phones.
Yen Coinage
Yen Coinage IIY500 Coin

DHL (in Tokyo)
Shinigawa 品川
1-37-8, Higashi Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

7 minutes walk from North Exit of Shinbanba Station on the Keihin Kyuko Line. 5 minutes by Toei Bus from Konan-guchi Exit of JR Shinagawa Station bound for Oimachi Station. 7 minutes by Toei Bus from Takanawa-guchi Exit of JR Shinagawa Station bound for Ooi Keibajo. Right in front of Showabashi bus stop
Mon - Thu / 9:00 - 18:00
Fri & Day before Holiday / 9:00 - 19:00
Sat / 9:00-12:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Printemps Ginza プランタン銀座
Maison-kan, B2F, Printemps Ginza, 3-2-1,Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

2 minutes walk from JR Yurakucho Station. 1 minute walk from Ginza or Ginza 1-chome Station on the Ginza Subway line.

Mon - Sat / 10:00 - 20:00
Sun / 10:00 - 19:00
Closed on Wednesdays (unpredictable)

Setagaya 世田谷
8-26-22, Todoroki, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Take a Tokyu Bus from Todoroki Station on the Tokyu Oimachi Line bound for one of Shibuya Station, Soshigaya-Orikaeshijo, or Seijo-gakuen-Mae Station on the Tokyu Bus Line. 2 minutes walk from Engeikoko-Mae or Fukazawa-Sakaue bus stop.

Mon - Thu / 9:00 - 18:00
Fri & Day before Holiday / 9:00 - 20:00
Sat / 9:00 - 12:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Sumida 墨田
4-23-12, Taihei, Sumida-ku, Tokyo

12 minutes walk from Kinshi-cho Station on the JR Sobu Line.

Mon - Thu / 9:00 - 17:45
Fri & Day before Holiday / 9:00 - 20:00
Sat / 9:00 - 12:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Takaragumi Katsushima Storage E-1F, 1-2-1, Katsushima, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo

3 minutes walk from Katsushima 1-chome bus stop on Toei Bus Line. 10 minutes walk from Ooi Keibajo-Mae Station on Tokyo Monorail Line or from Tachiaikawa Station on Keihin Kyuko Line.

Mon - Thu / 9:00 - 17:30
Fri & Day before Holiday / 9:00 - 19:30
Sat / 9:00 - 12:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Tokyo Distribution Centre 東京ディストリビューションセンター
1-10-9, Shinkiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo

10 minutes walk from Shinkiba Station on JR Keiyo Line, Musashino Line, Yurakucho Subway Line or Rinkai Line. 5 minutes by Toei Bus from Shinkiba Station bound for Toyocho Station or Wakasu Camp site, and 1 minute walk from Shinkiba-Higashi bus stop.

Mon - Fri / 9:00 - 18:00
Fri & Day before Holiday /9:00 - 19:00
Sat / 9:00 - 16:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Chiyoda 千代田
2-11-2, Hirano, Koto-ku, Tokyo

7 minutes drive from the East No.1 Exit of Monzennaka-cho Station on the Tozai Subway Line. 10 minutes walk from Kiyozumi-shirakawa Station on the Oedo Subway Line.

Mon - Thu / 8:30 - 19:00
Fri & Day before Holiday / 8:30 - 20:00
Sat / 8:30 - 12:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Jinbocho 神保町
YusenkohkuService(CO.,Ltd), Chiyodayushutu Branch Counter Hatano Bldg.5F, 2-2, Kandajinbocho, Chiyodaku, Tokyo

0 minute walk from the A3 or A4 Exit of Jinbocho Station on the Shinjuku Subway Line, the Mita Subway Line or the Hanzomon Subway Line

Mon - Fri / 9:00 -18:00
Closed on Saturday,Sunday and Holiday

Shinbashi 新橋
Sanyodo Honsha Bldg., 2F, 1-18-14, Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

1 minute walk from Uchisaiwaicho Station on the Mita Subway Line. 3 minutes walk from JR Shinbashi Station.

Mon - Fri / 10:00 - 18:30
Closed on Saturday, Sunday and Holiday

Nerima 練馬
2-19-8, Toyotama Minami, Nerima-ku, Tokyo

Take a Kanto Bus from Nerima Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line or the Oedo Subway Line bound for Koenji. 2 minutes walk from Nakano-Kita Post Office bus stop.

Mon - Thu / 9:00 - 18:00
Fri & Day before Holiday / 9:00 - 19:00
Sat / 9:00 - 12:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Tama 多摩
2-30-12, Tama-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo

Take a Keio Bus from the North Exit of Musashi_Koganei Station on the JR Chuo Line bound for Tama-Reien Station/North Exit of Chofu Station, or take a Odakyu Bus bound for Mitaka Station. 3 minutes walk from Tama-cho or Tamacho-2 chome bus stop. Take a Keio bus from the North Exit of Tama-Reien Station on the Keio Line bound for Musashi-Koganei Station. 3 minutes walk from Tamacho-2 chome bus stop.

Mon - Thu / 8:30 - 18:00
Fri & Day before Holiday / 8:30 - 19:00
Sat / 8:30 - 12:00
Closed on Sunday and Holiday

Mailboxes, etc. (in Tokyo)
No hours or maps relative to transit are given in the store locator
# JP0001
Phone: 81-3-3264-2221
Fax: 81-3-3264-2220
# JP0002
TOKYO, 103-8337 - JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-3278-3555
Fax: 81-3-3278-3566
# JP0003
TOKYO, 100-0004 - JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-5255-3836
Fax: 81-3-5255-3837
# JP0004
TOKYO, 100-0006 - JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-5208-1730
Fax: 81-3-5208-1750
# JP0005
TOKYO, 170-6001 - JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-5911-1050
Fax: 81-3-5911-1051
# JP0006
TOKYO, 105-6201 - JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-3431-6033
Fax: 81-3-3431-6233
# JP0007
TOKYO, 107-0052 - JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-5549-7441
Fax: 81-3-5549-7442
# JP0011
TOKYO, 100-0004 - JAPAN
Phone: 81-3-3218-1086
Fax: 81-3-3218-1087
# JP0012
Phone: 81-3-5468-5236
Fax: 81-3-5468-5239

Flying is an efficient way to travel from the main islands to any of the small islands, and is often not much more expensive than going by rail. Check whether you qualify for discounts - there are some weird and wonderful ones (for example JAL offers discounts for three or more women travelling together, or for a husband and wife if their combined age totals 88 or more). Train is the way to travel in Japan. The trains are fast, frequent, clean, comfortable and often very expensive. Services range from small local lines to the shinkansen super-expresses, or 'bullet trains', which have become a symbol of modern Japan. Shinkansen reach speeds of up to 270km/h (167mi/h), are spookily efficient and can be travelled on with one of Japan's few travel bargains, the Rail Pass. Rail Passes must be pre-purchased overseas and are valid for almost all Japan Rail services. Intercity buses are generally slower than trains, but they are markedly cheaper. Also, unless you've got a sleeper, travelling overnight in a reclining bus seat can be preferable to sitting upright on the train.

Driving in Japan is much more feasible than it's normally made out to be. You wouldn't want to get behind the wheel in Tokyo, but in other urban centres the roads are fairly well signposted in English, other drivers are mostly considerate and cautious, petrol is no more expensive than it is in Europe (which means it's about three times the price it is in the US), and parking is not as difficult to find as popular mythology suggests. Motorcycling can be a great way of getting around Japan; 50cc 'step-thrus' are often available for local sightseeing, and you don't need a motorbike licence to drive one. Traffic in Japan moves on the left.

Exploring Japan by bicycle is perfectly feasible. The secret of enjoyable touring is to get off the busy main highways and onto the minor routes. Ferries are an excellent way of seeing parts of Japan you might otherwise miss. The densest network of ferry routes connects Kyushu, Shikoku and the southern coast of Western Honshu, across the waters of the Inland Sea. Ferries also connect the mainland islands with the many smaller islands off the coast and those dotted down to Okinawa and beyond to Taiwan.

Local transport is generally efficient. The largest cities have subway systems, which are the fastest and most convenient way to get around. Almost every Japanese city will have a bus service, but many foreigners find buses difficult to use. Trams, which operate in a number of cities, are easier to negotiate. Taxis are convenient but (quelle surprise) expensive.

Country Information

This begs the question of what the other 90% of people in Japan are. ^_-

Name :  Japan
Official Name :  Japan
Capital :  Tokyo
Climate :  Cold and dry in the north, warm and wetter in the south. Devastating typhoons occur from late August to early October.
Race :  9.4% Japanese, 0.6% other (mostly Korean).
Language :  Japanese, English
Official Language :  English
Religion :  84% observe both Shinto and Buddhist, 0.7% Christian, 15.3% other.
Government :  Constitutional Monarchy.
Population (in mil) :  126.5
Literacy Rate :  100%
Visas :  US passport holders and most EU residents do not require a visa if staying in Japan less than 90 days.
Visitors from the rest of the countries are required to get a visa.
Immunisations :
Time :  GMT/UTC plus nine hours.
Electricity :  100V; 50 Hz (Tokyo and eastern Japan), 60 Hz (western Japan).
Weights & Measures :  Metric
Currency :  Yen
Travellers Cheque :  Travellers cheques and cash can be changed at ‘Authorised Foreign Exchange Bank’, large hotels and stores.
Credit Cards :  International credit cards are widely acceptable in major cities.
Tipping :  There is little tipping in Japan.
Bargaining :  Bargaining is largely restricted to discount electronics districts.,1743,TRAVELOCITY|2662,00.html
Making a Pilgrimage to a Temple or Shrine: From mountain-top shrines to neighborhood temples, Japan's religious structures rank among the nation's most popular attractions. Usually devoted to a particular deity, they're visited for specific reasons: Businesspeople call on Imamiya Ebisu Shrine in Osaka, which enshrines the patron saint of business and good fortune, while couples wishing for a happy marriage head to Kyoto's Jishu Shrine, a shrine to the deity of love. Shrines and temples are also the sites for most of Japan's major festivals.

Taking a Communal Hot-Spring Bath: No other people on earth bathe as enthusiastically, as frequently, and for such a long duration as the Japanese. Their many hot-spring resorts--thought to cure all sorts of ailments as well as simply making you feel good--range from hangarlike affairs to outdoor baths with views of the countryside. No matter what the setup, you'll soon warm to the ritual of soaping up, rinsing off, and then soaking in near-scalding waters.

Participating in a Festival: With Shintoism and Buddhism as its major religions and temples and shrines virtually everywhere, Japan has festivals literally every weekend. These celebrations, which range from huge processions of wheeled floats to those featuring horseback archery and ladder-top acrobatics, can be lots of fun to attend; you may want to plan your trip around one.

Dining on Japanese Food: There's more to Japanese cuisine than sushi, and part of what makes travel here so fascinating is the variety of national and regional dishes. Every prefecture, it seems, has its own style of noodles, its special vegetables, and delicacies. If money is no object, order kaiseki,a complete meal of visual and culinary finesse.

Viewing the Cherry Blossoms: Nothing symbolizes the coming of spring so vividly to the Japanese as the appearance of the cherry blossoms--and nothing so amazes visitors as the way the Japanese gather under the blossoms to celebrate the season with food, drink, dance, and karaoke.

Riding the Shinkansen Bullet Train: Asia's fastest train whips you across the countryside at more than 180 miles an hour as you relax, see the country's rural countryside, and dine on a boxed meal filled with local specialties of the area you're speeding through.

Staying in a Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inn): Japan's legendary service reigns supreme in the traditional ryokan. Staying in a ryokan is the height of both luxury and simplicity: You'll bathe in a Japanese tub, dine in your own tatami-floored room, sleep on a futon, awaken to lovely views (usually a Japanese garden) past the shoji screens, and breakfast in your room to start the day.

Shopping in a Department Store: Japan's department stores are among the best in the world, offering everything from food to designer clothing to electronics to kimono. Service also is among the best in the world; if you arrive as the store opens, the staff will be lined up at the front door to bow as you enter.

Attending a Kabuki Play: Based on universal themes and designed to appeal to the masses, Kabuki plays are extravaganzas of theatrical displays, costumes, and scenes--but mostly they're just plain fun.

Strolling Through Tokyo's Nightlife District: Every major city in Japan has its own nightlife district, but probably none is more famous, more wicked, or more varied than Tokyo's Kabuki-cho in Shinjuku, which offers everything from hole-in-the-wall bars to strip joints, discos, and gay clubs.

Seeing Mt. Fuji: It may not seem like much of an accomplishment to see Japan's most famous and tallest mountain, visible from 100 miles away. But the truth is, it's hardly ever visible except during the winter months and rare occasions when the air is clear. Catching your first glimpse of the giant peak is truly breathtaking and something you'll never forget whether you see it from aboard the Shinkansen, from a Tokyo skyscraper, or from a nearby national park. If you want to climb it, be prepared for a group experience because 400,000 people climb Mt. Fuji every year.

Spending a Few Days in Kyoto: If you see only one town in Japan, Kyoto should be it. Japan's capital from 794 to 1868, Kyoto is one of Japan's finest ancient cities, boasting some of the country's best temples, Japanese-style inns, traditional restaurants, shops, and gardens.

A Japanese Castle Bares Its Secrets

WITH its peaked gables and shimmering tiles, the castle that gave the city of Matsumoto its name seems to hover over the flat plains of the town in the dry, brilliant weather that is common here like some fantastically inspired wedding cake.

As a piece of timing, the 400-year-old building, which is Japan's oldest surviving castle, was an abject failure. It was conceived at the height of a period of intense warfare between feuding samurai clans, but by the time the extraordinary six-story defensive structure was completed, in 1614, Japan had entered an era of unprecedented stability. The peace under centralized rule would last two and a half centuries.

The very plan of this old city -with its narrow, zigzagging streets that seem to turn back upon themselves, leading to nowhere and thus confusing attackers - was laid out with war in mind. The battles never reached here, though, and the effect that remains, happily, is one of overwhelming tranquillity, particularly after the noise and bustle of Tokyo.

Nagano, the capital of the mountainous prefecture of the same name, and home to the majestic twin ranges of the Japanese Alps, is by far the best known and most heavily frequented city in this central region of Honshu, Japan's largest island. The construction of a new shinkansen, or bullet train, line for the Winter Olympics the city played host to in 1998 assured that it would hold onto the distinction. It is just three hours from Tokyo.

But for many Japanese, and for foreign visitors who prefer being just slightly off the beaten path, Matsumoto is the real jewel of the prefecture, a city treasured for its unhurried sophistication and historic charms.

Easily manageable on foot or by bicycle, the city of just over 200,000 is a convenient and comfortable jumping-off point for skiers in the winter and hikers and climbers who, in the warmer months, head for the mountains that loom in the distance in virtually every direction.

Visitors from Tokyo love Matsumoto for, among other things, its famous soba noodles, the buckwheat delicacy that this Alpine region, where rice cultivation is difficult, has long made its specialty. The Matsumoto area is also home to countless onsen, or Japanese-style hot baths, built over hot springs, where a series of steamy soakings during a night or two spent in an austere tatami mat room and eating traditional delicacies meal after meal can provide an amazingly thorough unwinding.

Just as the city grew up around its superb fortifications, any visit here logically begins at Matsumoto Castle. Unlike European castles, which are usually made of stone, Matsumoto's 98-foot structure, one of four Japanese castles officially designated as National Treasures, is made almost entirely of wood. The building can be seen from almost anywhere in the central city, which makes finding it simple. To get inside, the visitor must cross two footbridges spanning moats filled with mottled golden carp, ducks and geese.

English-language brochures are available at the entrance, and volunteer guides who speak serviceable English are often on hand to accompany foreign guests inside. Few will regret taking them up on the offer, because it becomes clear in just a few minutes that they really know their stuff. As one does entering a Japanese home, you must take off your shoes, the difference here being that you carry them with you in a clear plastic bag.

Among the first facts learned about the castle is that it was designed not with postcard prettiness but rather serious violence in mind. The able guides, who are mostly retirees and housewives, explain that the tiny windows at the lower levels were used for dropping stones on any attacking samurai who tried to scale the building. A little higher up, other, slatlike windows were used for throwing spears and lances, and shooting arrows and the guns that were just making their way into use in Japan.

The inside of the castle reveals a world made of wood: huge cedar beams cut and carved by hand, and floorboards that are pleasantly cool to the foot, at least in the warm months. No visitor will fail to notice the steepness of the stairs, for one because the guides are always reminding you to take your time and to be careful. Even here, one is told, the design had defense in mind. The 50-plus-degree incline and the long distance between rises was intended to slow attackers down and put them off balance.

 The surprise on the intermediate floors, between steep climbs, is to find that the castle serves as a museum, beginning with the country's largest collection of ancient firearms dating back to the early 17th century. Displayed in glass cases, the long Japanese guns, which sometimes fired stones for shot, seem like distant kin to our muskets and blunderbusses, from which they had been only recently derived. For their makers, aesthetics seems to have counted as much as function, and each of these strangely beautiful creations reflects the same kind of individuality and soul that Japanese craftsmen of the era so famously imparted to their swords.

The castle also contains displays of the intricate body armor without which no samurai would have dreamed of jousting, including one pierced by a bullet. Countless times one will have heard that the thick, colorfully stitched padding inspired the costume of the Star Wars villain, Darth Vader. But until one sees the real item at close hand, as one does here, it is impossible to realize just how pale a shadow Hollywood's minimalist creation is.

The fortress's ultimate subterfuge, after the surrounding streets that seem to lead everywhere except for the moats, and the stairs that leave visitors feeling winded and dizzy, comes on a sixth, intermediate floor, where the builders created a hidden half story, which was designed to fool attackers who from outside would have only counted five. Should any attacker have made it this far, a small army of samurai would have been lying here in wait to prevent them from reaching the abode of their daimyo, or lord.

Nowadays the best rewards undoubtedly go to those who persevere to the top, where the guide's expertise shifts from architecture to geography. Under the blue skies that seem to reign over these plains, Japan's northern Alps range in the western distance, snowcapped from early November until late spring. To the east runs another range, including a series of nearby peaks known as Utsukushigahara, or beautiful plateau, signifying the grassy flatlands at an altitude of 6,500 feet, where cows graze for half the year.

After a tour of the castle, a visit to one of Matsumoto's 50 or so soba shops is in order, and luckily some of the most famous ones are immediately at hand. Near the monument's entrance sits Soba Shou, a two-story soba shop where diners remove their shoes, sit on tatami and enjoy views of the castle. A matronly waitress who took a foreigner's order asked if he wanted tempura, saying "That's what all the foreigners eat."

I can attest to the quality of the tempura, but it would be a shame for anyone who came from abroad to miss the local specialties, which in addition to large servings of hot or cold soba include sansai, or mountain vegetables (delicious, wild, crunchy greens), and for those with the stomach for it, chewy horsemeat.

Less appealingly, large parts of Matsumoto resemble almost any other medium-sized Japanese city. This is particularly true of the commercial district around the main train station, which is as much the center of Japanese urban life today as castles and forts once were.

A 15-minute walk from the station, and a fairly short distance from virtually anywhere in this modest-sized city, however, sits an older, sublimely elegant part of town that alternates streets showcasing the cozy bourgeois affluence of a Swiss canton with narrow, riverside alleyways that still recall the feudal period.

Along the banks of the Metoba River, one finds shops dating from the early Edo period, built in the kura style, with decorative walls of white plaster and black beams. One of the shops, the Yama-ya, has been selling candies since 1672. Here too is one of Japan's oldest coffee shops, Marumo, a place with an Old World feeling, where classical music from a huge collection is played at a whisperlike volume on a stereo, waitresses murmur irrashaimase (welcome) with every entrance and departure, and a mostly prosperous, middle-aged clientele gathers to exchange gossip.

The coffee shop's distinctive furniture, low-slung, dark and beautifully lustrous cherry, reflects another local specialty. The most famous producer of the style, known as mingei kagu, or folk art furniture, has a shop nearby, Matsumoto Mingei Kagu, but be prepared to hold your breath, not just for the quality, which is high, but for the prices, which are equally lofty. A table for six, for example, can be had for around $4,000.

 On the other side of the river sits the Yohashira Jinja, a lovely Shinto shrine that one enters through large torii, or beamlike gates. In addition to being a quiet place to sit down and collect oneself while resting the feet, the shrine provides an interesting window on a little-understood side of Japanese life: a spirituality that encompasses the simultaneous practice of several faiths.

Young mothers come to the shrine's grounds to play outdoors with their children. Lovers kiss surreptitiously in the shade. And office workers come to steal a moment for a smoke outdoors.

But on this day, with school exams approaching, several teenagers, who will almost certainly marry in Christian ceremonies and be buried in Buddhist ones - a pattern that has prevailed in recent decades in a country where few people are attached to a single religion, but rather pick and choose ceremonies from the three faiths - come and stop before the colorful altar to clap their hands twice in a call to the gods. After a moment's meditation, and dropping a few coins, they tie a prayer to a cord hung off to the side, in a final appeal for success, and then they are gone.

Visitor Information

Matsumoto Castle is open daily. English-language brochures are available at the entrance, and volunteer guides who speak serviceable English are often on hand to accompany foreign guests inside free of charge. The fee is $4.35, $2 for children, at an exchange rate of 119 yen to the dollar. The trip from Shinjuko Station in Tokyo to Matsumoto Station takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express.

Japan Folklore Museum, in front of the castle donjon, has on display more than 91,000 artifacts concerning the archaeology, history, folklore and nature of the area. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (must enter by 4:30). The admission fee for the castle covers the museum.

Alps Park, 25 minutes by bus from Matsumoto Bus Terminal, is 2,625 feet in altitude. The scenery of the Northern Japan Alps, Azumino and Matsumoto can be enjoyed from here.

Former Kaichi Gakko (School) Building, a 10-minute walk from the castle, was built in 1876 and is the oldest Western-style school structure in Japan.

Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum, near Shimo-Kanai Bus Stop, 15 minutes by bus from Matsumoto Station, was built in 1962 by Taro Maruyama, a noted folk artist of the city, and displays 6,000 folk home utensils of wood, bamboo and glass. The museum closed for renovation shortly after I visited, and is scheduled to reopen in April.

Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, seven minutes by car from JR Matsumoto Station or a 15-minute walk from Oniwa Station on the Matsumoto Dentetsu Railway, houses some 100,000 woodblock prints. Closed Monday; admission $8.

Asama Spa, 20 minutes by bus from Matsumoto Station, is a quiet hot spring resort. It serves as a base for excursions to Utsukushigahara Plateau and Lake Misuzu. Bus fare $2.95.

What's Doing In Tokyo
By James Brooke

World attention swivels to Japan and Korea when the two nations are hosts to the World Cup soccer final, May 31 to June 30. The games will coincide with the annual iris festivals, a bit early this year because of the unseasonably warm weather. And whether they are soccer fans or flower fans or neither, summer visitors to Tokyo will find a city that is more relaxed and more affordable than at any time in recent memory.

While some Tokyo men still dress in business suits for Sunday brunch, it is easy to navigate to zones of hipper individualism. The simplest way to enjoy the new Tokyo is to stroll down Omotesando-dori in the center of the city on a Sunday afternoon. A magnet for people, the avenue draws dog walkers and window shoppers, poseurs and parasitos. The latter are live-at-home professional young women who spend all their money on clothes. Admiring glances, if discreet, are appreciated.

Side streets are a fascinating trove of ultrachic boutiques, interspersed with charming restaurants, often with outside tables for more people watching. Here, visitors will enjoy the 15 percent devaluation of the yen over the last year. Up and down the quality scale, Tokyo restaurant prices are now roughly on a par with New York's.

Besides the informal passing parade along the Omotesando, organized parades, often Shinto processions, take place there most Sundays. At the end of the avenue lies the Harajuku rail station, where bleached-blonde teenagers dress up as cartoon characters. Harajuku is a main entrance for Meiji Shrine Park, which, from the end of May through mid-June, will show off 1,500 plants from 150 varieties of Japanese iris. Admission to this floral display, one of Japan's most famous, will be $3.75.


Iris season ? a palette of lavender, purple and pink ? peaks in mid-June. In addition to the display at Meiji Shrine Park, 6,000 plants are expected to bloom in the Horikiri Shobuen, an iris park that has inspired painters for centuries; open daily in June from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with free admission; otherwise closed Monday and Tuesday, except for the fourth week of each month, when it is closed Sunday and Monday. The park is a 10-minute walk from Horikiri Shobuen Station of the Keisei line; (81-3) 3965-1111.

An even larger display will be at Toritsu Mizumoto Koen, where 14,000 plants will be on view 24 hours a day, also free. The park is a 10-minute walk from the Kanamachi Station of the Chiyoda subway line.

In honor of Japan's partner as host of the World Cup, the Tokyo National Museum, 13-9 Ueno Park, Taito ward, (81-3) 3822-1111, will present an exhibition of Korean treasures ? including a gold crown and an eighth-century Buddha statue ? from June 11 through July 28. Closed Mondays. Admission free to foreigners from one week before to one week after World Cup Games. Otherwise $10.

The World Cup games will be played at a variety of sites in Japan, including the stadiums in Yokohama city and Saitama city near Tokyo. For those without tickets, wide-screen television sets will proliferate in Tokyo sports bars for raucous collective viewing. It's best to check the ubiquitous free weekly Metropolis for game times and cheering places.

From May 12 to 26, the May Grand Sumo Tournament will take place at the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena, in eastern Tokyo. Tickets, from $27 to $85, are available at many travel agencies and convenience stores.

The old Asakusa neighborhood ? where many shrines, temples and even some shops date from the Edo Period (1600-1868) ? will be the scene of one of the year's largest outdoor festivals, the Sanja Matsuri, May 17 to 19. Thousands turn out for food and sake as chanting men and women lug huge Shinto shrines through the streets.


Visiting Tokyo is a humbling experience for non-Japanese speakers ? you can't read the signs or talk to cabdrivers, and traffic moves on the left. The streets and avenues often carry no names, and they seem to be cement versions of the wandering cow paths they once were.

To put together the pieces of the puzzle, take the elevator up Tokyo Tower, (81-3) 3433-5111,, to the 1,092-foot-high glassed-in viewing platform. Newly refurbished this spring, it offers views in all directions, including Mount Fuji on a clear day; the best views are just after the 9 a.m. opening, before haze builds up. General admission, $6.20. Open daily till 8 p.m.

A welcome antidote to Tokyo's madcap rush to modern development is the Imperial Palace, on the grounds of the 17th-century Edo Castle, the heart and soul of the city. The inner sanctum is off limits, but the palace's 53-acre East Garden, or Higashi Gyoen, (81-3) 3213-2050, offers a quiet green refuge of winding park paths and historical ruins. The garden is open free of charge 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Monday and Friday.

The Edo-Tokyo Museum, 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, (81-3) 3272-9974, near the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena where the May Grand Sumo Tournament takes place, is a repository of Tokyo's history and culture. From June 15 to July 14 it will feature an exhibition of recent archaeological discoveries in Japan. Closed Monday; admission $4.50.

Daiba, a commercial center on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, has become a magnet for young Japanese. In addition to shops, movie theaters and restaurants, it has a seaside park.

Where to Stay

The red-brick Hotel Ginza Daiei, (81-3) 3545-1111, fax (81-3) 3545-1177, may not be chic, but it's within two blocks of the chic shops and restaurants of the Ginza and is behind the Kabukiza Theater, a Ginza landmark. The 107 rooms are small but feature bilingual TV, trouser presses and minibars. Doubles, $121.

Across town, in the new high-rise cluster of Shinjuku, the four-year-old Hotel Century Southern Tower, (81-3) 5354-0111, fax (81-3) 5354-0100,, offers 375 rooms equipped for business travelers in the 22nd to 35th floors of a skyscraper. There's a reception area on the 20th floor and a health club on the 21st. Double rates are $166 and $212.

Budget: For an affordable alternative, the Ryokan Sansuiso, (81-3) 3441-7475, fax (81-3) 3449-1944,, offers country-inn accommodations in nine rooms with tatami mats (no beds), shoji screens and wood ceilings in a white two-story house on a side street in the city's Gotanda section. It charges $65 for a double with clean, shared bathroom and $68 for a double with private bath.

Luxury: Across from the American Embassy, the venerable Hotel Okura, (81-3) 3582-0111, fax (81-3) 3582-3707,, contains home-grown Japanese touches (like screens and flower arrangements) in its 854 rooms that set it apart from the international chains. It combines Western roominess with an attentive staff. Guests can use the pool and health spa without charge if they join the hotel club, which is just a matter of signing up. Doubles: $284 to $318.

The Imperial Hotel, (81-3) 3504-1111, fax (81-3) 3581-9146,, has reigned supreme in the heart of downtown since the days when the Imperial Palace, across the way, was Japan's power center. Impeccable service, 1,057 large, well-appointed rooms ? some with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the palace, the Ginza or Tokyo Bay ? make the 80-year-old Imperial the doyenne of Tokyo hotels. Among the amenities are a 20th-floor fitness center and swimming pool with a sweeping view of Tokyo Bay. Doubles, $295 to $402.

Where to Eat

In cosmopolitan Tokyo, most high-end restaurants now have English menus and many family-style restaurants have picture menus. Dishes often arrive at the table singly and in no particular order, which can make for disjointed group meals. Also, many restaurants that offer $8 lunch specials charge $20 for dinner.

Between the chic Ginza and the gritty Tokyo harbor, Tsukiji is the biggest fish market for one of the world's biggest fish-eating nations ? and it is a safe bet that you can find melt-in-your-mouth sushi in the area. Sushizanmai, (81-3) 3541-1117, has two restaurants in Tsukiji; my favorite is two blocks in from Shin Ohashi Dori, the one with the pink banner. The upstairs restaurant gives a little relief from the raucous cries of the sushi chefs taking orders; a setto of 10 different tuna pieces and tea goes for $23. A meal for two with beer or sake is $60. Open 24 hours; no reservations accepted.

A cheaper lunch or dinner can be found by wandering Shin Ohashi Dori in front of Tsukiji and stopping at the stand-up tempura and noodle shops under the covered sidewalk; a filling bowl of buckwheat soba noodles and shrimp tempura can be had for about $10 a person with beer.

Fujimamas, (81-3) 5485-2262, fax (81-3) 5485-2281,, is one of many medium-priced restaurants about a block off the Omotesando. Pan-Asian dishes include smoked and spiced chicken with mint chutney and sweet potato salad ($6.80). Dinner for two with drinks, $30. Open daily for lunch and dinner. On Omotesando, turn left at La Costa, a sporting goods store, and go a few yards.

George and Laura Bush dined in February with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Gonpachi at the Nishi-Azabu crossing of Roppongi-Dori, (81-3) 5771-0170, fax (81-3) 5771-0160. The three-story restaurant opened in August, looking like a whitewashed feudal manor rising out of the jangling electronic hubbub of the Roppongi entertainment district. In warm months, the third floor features an open-air sushi restaurant. The sake list is outstanding. Gonpachi offers quiet, country-style dining, in a booth or at a table. Sharing several dishes, such as miso-glazed black cod, skewered pork with lime pepper, and cold soba noodles with baby scallops and fried shrimps, two can dine for $35, including sake.

The owners of Gonpachi also operate Monsoon Cafe, a chain of five Tokyo restaurants. They offer a Thailand shrimp stir-fry with coconut curry, Indonesian fresh vegetable salad with peanut sauce, and Chinese rice noodles with pork and vegetables, and the pan-Asian theme carries over to the décor. The one in Shibuya, (81-3) 5489-3789, on Kyu-Yamate Dori near the intersection with Route 246, has a veranda for outdoor dining. Among the other branches are the ones at 2-10-1 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, and 7-3-1 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku. All are open daily for lunch and dinner. The Monsoons offer dinner for two, with drinks, for about $40.

When you are ready to splurge, make a dinner reservation at Hanezawa Garden, (81-3) 3400-2013, fax (81-3) 3400-2251, a walled garden and estate house on a back street in the Hiroo district that has recently been converted into a soothingly quiet restaurant. The seven-course $75 prix-fixe dinner starts with smoked seafood appetizers, continues with beef filet with ponzu sauce and concludes with a sushi course and dessert. Down below, in a more informal terrace garden, the prix fixe barbecue menus are $26, $34 and $38; all you can drink for two hours is $23. Both restaurants offer à la carte menus. Inside the manor, where the polished wood provides the feeling of an old family residence, dinner for two with drinks costs about $125.

JAMES BROOKE is the chief of the Tokyo bureau of The Times.

The Japan FAQ information on Japan

Getaways From Tokyo Scented by Sea and Flowers

Japan National Tourist Organization

How not to order what you don't want to eat

Vacation In Japan inexpensively
ATMs are located in major airports and at train stations
I bought a unlimited 14 day pass for the Japanese Rail System.  Get on/off the train when/where you want.  I paid $373.00.  You can not buy this railpass in Japan.  You can buy it from your travel agent. This is a great price when you consider that one round trip train ticket from Tokyo to Osaka is about the same price.

Japan Ryokan Association
Ryokans are Japanese style hotels, this page touches on what we should expect if we happen to stay at one.  -- PG
Tipping is not expected nor encouraged, but a small amount in an envelope or wrapped in a clean tissue may be presented to your maid --- who has taken such good care of you. 
Traveling Cheaply to and in Japan

General prices of things in the Tokyo area

Tokyo Tower (Panoramic Quicktime Views)
Tokyo Tower Tourist Guide

Learn a few helpful Japanese phrases before you go

Mama-san misery
Mike in Nagoya is up in arms. He wandered not so long ago into a local but previously unexplored izakaya pub with some friends for a few pints and was landed with an eye-popping bill.
"The mama-san charged us each 5,000 yen on top of the drinks. We tried to make a fuss but some of the regulars got quite agitated."

This once happened to us in Kyoto; I was with my Japanese husband too. The bill came to near 15,000 yen for a few beers. I was horrified, but he said it was normal.

Basically the 5,000 yen was a service charge for allowing you to stay as strangers. This is why introductions are so
important in Japan. If someone the mama-san knew had taken you there, no problem. But you just walked in off the
street, unknown and non-Japanese at that.

Research: Burger King/Hungry Jack near the hotel ( to try Japanese specific foods )
Burger King has pulled out of Japan as of Summer 2001

Lodging in Japan

Guest Houses
One way to cut costs while traveling in Japan, as well as have a chance to penetrate below the surface of the daily life you're passing through, is to check into a minshuku. The Japanese equivalent of guest-home type lodgings, minshuku are family-run businesses, with the rented rooms being part of the owners' own home. They are often found in choice resorts and vacation spots, and feature moderate rates.

As befits their "home industry" status, minshuku offer considerably fewer amenities than strictly professional establishments. Guests, for example, are expected to fold up their bedding in the morning and stow it away in a closet, just as a family member would.

Minshuku also don't provide the kinds of courtesies you can expect from a hotel or ryokan, such as towels and yukata. Minshuku rates are about 6,500 yen, which includes two meals, usually served family style.

Pension accommodations generally fall somewhere between the homey atmosphere of a minshuku and the more pampered amenities of a hotel.

They are usually found in areas popular for sports, such as near ski resorts and in mountains and their open-spirited philosophy and unrestricted management styles are usually very accommodating to anyone who is adaptable. The average cost for one night, without meals, is 8,000 yen, or 10,000 yen with two meals

American Style Hotels
First Class Hotels
A double or twin room at a deluxe hotel will cost an average of 30,000 yen per night, and around 20,000 yen at a first-class hotel.Business Hotels
A somewhat less expensive accommodation favored by many Japanese business travelers is the business hotel. As a rule, they are smaller hotels with fewer amenities, including no room service. Vending machines dispensing snacks and drinks are installed on guest room floors. There is usually one restaurant on the premises, and the hotel's location is conveniently close to a railway station.

Reception clerks and other staff people do not usually speak English, but the procedure for check-in and checkout is much like elsewhere. Since these hotels are patronized mainly by businessmen, the rooms are usually singles with bath. 

The room charge is 5,500 yen to 10,000 yen on average.

Ryokan are found all across Japan, though for the best experience, you'd be wise to seek out one in a quiet residential district. Most ryokan are small buildings of no more than a dozen or so rooms, often built facing a small garden. There are some 70,000 ryokan in Japan, of which 1,800 are quality establishments belonging to the Japan Ryokan Association.

Although ryokan rates vary greatly, with a few very exclusive establishments charging high rates, charges are usually in the range of 12,000 yen to 20,000 yen per person, including two meals and excluding tax and service charges. For the budget traveler, there are more than 80 inns belonging to the Japanese Inn Group, which specializes in welcoming visitors from abroad. These inns are also quite economical, with room rates averaging around 5,000 yen per person, excluding meals.

Getting Acquainted with the Japanese Style
Guests are obliged to remove their shoes at the entrance of a ryokan or any other kind of Japanese-style accommodation. Slippers are worn inside, except on the tatami matting, so bring thick socks if the weather is cold.

A room in a ryokan is usually a single large, undivided room floored with traditional tatami (rice-straw matting), with the only piece of furniture being a single low table. Doors are shoji (sliding screens), and decoration will usually be one or two simple ink brush drawings or scrolls. Seating in the room is on cushions, called zabuton, arranged around the low table. In the winter season, there may be a blanket around the table. You slip your feet under the blanket for the warmth of a kotatsu electrical heating unit.

Guests sleep on futon (Japanese style bedding) laid out in the evening by maids after the evening meal. It ordinarily consists of a mattress, sheets, thick coverlet, and extra blankets if needed.

The typical lounging wear of a ryokan, a blue and white-patterned yukata (cotton robe) is also provided. In cold weather it is supplemented by a tanzen gown worn over it.

The toilet is usually Japanese-style. You don't sit on it but squat over it, facing the hooded end. Special slippers are usually provided for use only in the toilet cubicle.

Most ryokan will have a communal bath, which is generally for separate sex bathing. Numerous superb hot-spring resorts, known as onsen, are in fact ryokan built on the site of a hot spring. Before going into the communal bath, you disrobe in an anteroom, placing your robe and underclothing in a basket or shelf compartment. The inn gives you a hand-towel to drape over your midriff while standing up in the bathroom. This towel is also used for scrubbing and drying. To take a bath, first sit on a low stool in front of a pair of hot/cold water faucets. Fill a bath pan with water, and pour it over your body to get soaking wet all over. If there are no faucets, use a bath pan to scoop water from the bath. If shower outlets are available, shower while seated on the stool, never standing up. Soap and rinse off thoroughly. Only then do you get into the bath for a good soak.

Japanese Inn Group

Hotel research legend:
(far outside circle) Nearest subway station is very far outside of the circle formed by the grey Asakusa line
(outside circle) Nearest subway station is outside of the circle formed by the grey Asakusa line.
(part of the circle) Nearest subway station is part of the circle formed by the grey Asakusa line.
(inside circle) Nearest subway station is inside of the circle formed by the grey Asakusa line.
Notes Address
Nearness to subway station(s)
Cost/day for double occupancy VISA
Bed Bath
Sawanoya Ryokan
Medium distance from nearest subway station
Map is on website
Coin operated laundry
Free Internet access in hotel lobby
Has a shared communal refrigerator
2-3-11, Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0001

7 min. walk from No. 1 exit of Nezu Sta. on the subway chiyoda Line(inside circle) or 10 min. by taxi from JR and Keisei Ueno Sta.
and 30 min. by walk from JR or Keisei Ueno Sta.

¥11,200 Y N N
(private bath was not available)


Annex Katsutaro Ryokan

Very short distance from nearest subway station 
Map is on website
Internet access from room if you have your own PC & LAN card
Internet access via iMac in lobby
Coin operated laundry
3-8-4, Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0001

2 min walk from Dokanyama Exit (No.2) of Sendagi sta. on the Chiyoda subway Line.(inside circle)
7 min walk from West Exit of Nishi Nippori sta. on JR Keisei (nee JR Yamanote/JR Keihin-Tohoku) Line. 

¥10,000 - ¥12,000
(Larger room is more expensive?)

(didn't detail public or private on website) 

Kikuya Ryokan
Long distance from nearest subway station 2-18-9, Nishi-Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0035

8 min. walk from Tawaramachi Sta. on the subway Ginza Line(outside circle)

10 min. by taxi from JR or Keisei Ueno Sta.

¥8,400-¥8,600 Y N N
(private bath is available)
Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu
Internet access in hotel?
Map is on website
Within long walk of a park and a shrine
1-31-11, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0032

Within walking distance of Tobu Asakusa station (Eidan Ginza Line & Toei Asakusa Line)(outside circle)

¥14,000 ? Y N
(public bath is available)
Sakura Ryokan
Medium distance from nearest subway station
Coin operated laundry is available
Map is on website
Television in room
2-6-2, Iriya, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0013

5 min. walk from No. 1 or No. 2 exit of Iriya Sta. on the subway Hibiya Line(outside circle)or 15 min. walk from Minamiguchi exit of JR Uguisudani Sta.

6 min. by taxi from JR Ueno Sta. or Keisei Ueno Sta. 

¥10,600 Y Y Y
Ryokan Sansuiso
Short distance from train station & subway station
Map is on website
Bilingual television is available
2-9-5, Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0022

5 min. walk from Gotanda Sta. on JR Yamanote Line or Gotanda Station on the subway Toei-Asakusa Line(part of the circle).

¥9,000 Y N N
(private bath is available) 
Ryokan TOKI
Very long distance from nearest subway station
Map is on website
Bilingual television is available
5-21-1, Minamikoiwa, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo 133-0056

10 min. walk from Koiwa Stn. on JR Sobu-line. 5 min. by TAXI from Keisei-Koiwa Stn. on Keisei-line.

¥8,500 Y Y Y
Ryokan FUJI
Very long distance from nearest subway station
Map not on website
Free Internet access in hotel
6-8-3, Higashi-Koiwa,Edogawa-ku, Tokyo 133-0052

5min. walk from JR Koiwa sta. on Sobu-line.
10 min. walk from Keisei Koiwa sta. on Keisei-line.

¥10,000 Y N N
(private bath is available)
(Shinjuku - Area)
Short distance from nearest subway station
Map is on website
Close to a convenience store and a pharmacy
6-1-1, Honcho, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0012

5 min. walk from Sugiyama park exit (No. 1 exit) of Shin-Nakano Sta. on the subway Marunouchi Line(far outside circle) or 15 min. by taxi from JR Shinjuku Sta.

¥8,200 Y Y Y
Hotel Fukudaya
Very long distance from nearest subway station
We need to take a bus to get to Shibuya proper
It's in the suburbs away from the bustle of the city
4-5-9, Aobadai,Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042

At the south exit of JR Shibuya Sta., take Tokyu bus for "Wakabayashi Orikaeshijo", and get off at the second stop "Aobadai yon chome".

N.B. Shibuya subway station is part of the circle

¥11,000 Y Y Y
(private? website wasn't clear on this) 
Ryokan Katsutaro
Medium distance from nearest subway station? (map wasn't clear)
4-16-8, Ikenohata, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0008

10 min Walk to right from Ikenohata exit of Keisei Ueno sta. 15 min. walk from Shinobazu exit of JR Ueno Sta./ 5 min. walk from Ikenohata exit (NO.2 exit) of Nezu Sta. on the subway Chiyoda Line.(inside circle)

¥9,000 Y N N
(didn't detail public or private on website)
Tokyo Inn Short distance from nearest subway station
Map is on website
143-0021-2-31-6 Kitamagome, Ota-Ku

1 minute by foot from A3 exit of Toei Subway Magome Station Asakusa line.(far outside circle)

¥10,200 Y Y Y
Shukubo Komadori-sanso
Very long distance from nearest subway station
We need to take a bus to get to Mitake, and then a cable car to the top of a mountain
155, Mitakesan, Oume City, Tokyo 198-0175

Take JR Chuo Line to Tachikawa Sta. Transfer to JR Oume Line and get off at Mitake Sta. Take a bus to "Cable-shita" and change there to cable car. To the Top Sta. 15 min. Walk./ Ascent from "Cable-shita" takes 60 min.

¥11,000 Y N Bath facilities are not available

Tiny Transactions, Without the Coins
TOKYO -- THE biggest pothole on the road to a cashless society has always been coins, those pesky pieces of metal needed to buy everything from bubble gum to bus tickets. Credit cards and checks are fine for bigger-ticket items, but they have never been practical for smaller, faster and more frequent purchases.

Pockets in Japan, however, are getting lighter with the growing use of integrated-circuit smart cards. The size of a credit card, they are packed with thin antennas and an encrypted integrated chip that can be used thousands of times to pay for train fares, meals at restaurants and snacks at convenience stores. In less than two years, nearly seven million people in Japan have started using one of two types of cards, both based on technology developed by Sony.

So far, the main client for the cards is JR East, the largest railway company in Japan. Nearly six million train and bus commuters have started using the first of the two types, known as Suica cards, since they were introduced 18 months ago. Although train riders in Hong Kong and Paris have been using that type of card for several years, Japan is the largest market yet to adopt them.

Their biggest selling point is speed. The card's antenna sends signals to readers at ticket gates, so no card-to-machine contact is needed. The entire transaction takes one-fifth of a second, faster than is possible with similar technology introduced by the Philips group.

"It's a marginal improvement, but our society is wealthy because of millions of these little improvements," said Jeffrey Funk, an associate professor of business at Kobe University who tracks wireless technology. "Taken together, they are part of the elimination of cash from society."

In the United States, toll collection systems like E-ZPass employ similar radio-wave technology, as does the Speedpass system, in which customers can pay for gasoline and convenience-store products at Exxon and Mobil service stations. Procter & Gamble, Gillette and other companies are now using the technology to track products from assembly line to store shelves.

JR East, which operates in the Tokyo area, spent 45 billion yen (about $384 million) to roll out Suica. Its hope is to save money: fewer coins means fewer security guards to haul them away. The card also cuts down on paper for tickets and on repairs to ticket-vending machines.

Suica, which requires a 500-yen deposit ($4.25), is essentially a debit card. Riders take the cards to vending machines and add as much money as they want. If the card is lost, the cash cannot be recovered, but there is no need to call a credit card company to cancel it because it is not linked to a specific account.

Within a year, JR East plans to add card readers to its bullet train ticket gates and to 500 of its fast food and convenience stores.

For the cards to generate more profits, experts say, credit capability would need to be added to allow shoppers to spend more freely. By and large, however, the Japanese prefer cash over credit. The Japanese fear that the government and aggressive marketers could use the cards to track their every purchase, and they like to keep a tight rein on debt.

"With the prepaid cards, I know how much I am spending," said Kotaro Matsuoka, a 22-year-old student who started using Suica last April. "If there was a credit function, I wouldn't know how much I owe. It's scary."

Companies are trying to make it more convenient to add money to the cards. Toward that end, Sony and 28 other companies have formed a joint venture called bitWallet, which created the Edy network. The network is based on the same technology used in the Suica cards, except that readers require contact with the cards. For 2,980 yen (about $25), consumers can buy a small reader that connects to a computer with a U.S.B. cable. They can log on to a secure Web site from home or the office and add money to their cards, sending the bill to their credit card issuer or bank account. The bitWallet venture also plans to lease vending machines, at 3,000 yen a month each (about $26), to shops that accept its cards.

At the moment, Edy cards are accepted in 2,100 shops nationwide, including about 1,400 convenience stores; they are also being tested in several Tokyo neighborhoods. About half of the 650,000 users, however, are people who work for companies that have installed the system in their cafeterias and other places. But bitWallet expects eight million users by March 2004 as it installs readers in more shops. By then, bitWallet, which takes a percentage of sales on the cards, hopes to break even.

Trains in major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya are packed with people between 7 a.m. through 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through 7 p.m. Tourists, especially people with luggage, are advised to avoid these time zones. Train rides during rush hour are uncomfortable for Japanese people. It would definitely be a painful experience for foreign visitors.

Tokyo International Anime Fair It's in March, darn -- PG

Food Theme Parks Yes, food! Several in Osaka.. one other one, a gyoza theme park, is in Tokyo -- PG
Theme parks of a new kind have lately been springing up across Japan. Conventional theme parks, such as Tokyo Disneyland and Osaka's Universal Studios Japan, are grand projects that require huge quantities of cash to construct and operate. The new parks are much smaller than that. And in the majority of cases, these are indoor facilities that have made the novel choice of food as their theme. These "food theme parks," as they are called, are whetting the appetites of the food-curious Japanese.

A Taste of the Best
The first food theme park in Japan, the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum, opened in 1994. Ramen, the theme of this facility, is a noodle dish that originated in China and has been adapted to suit Japanese tastes. It became explosively popular in the 1950s and 1960s, spread to all parts of Japan, and underwent a process of diversification. Today ramen is without doubt a genuine Japanese food.

At the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum, visitors can try out some of the most popular varieties of ramen all in one location. About seven or eight branches of well-established ramen shops from around the country are set up on a permanent basis, and the museum invites other famous eateries to offer their fare for limited periods. Featured frequently on television and in magazines, it attracts from 100,000 to 150,000 visitors each month.

Not far away, the Yokohama Curry Museum (site is Japanese only) opened in 2001. Popular curry restaurants in various parts of Japan have outlets here. Curry is another food that entered Japan from foreign shores and was adapted to Japanese tastes; the shops at the museum primarily serve Japanese-style and Indian-style curry.

New in 2002
Two new food theme parks made their debut in July 2002: the Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium (site is Japanese only) in Tokyo and Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho (Osaka Eaters' Alley) in Osaka. The Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium hosts 12 particularly popular restaurants specializing in gyoza (dumplings stuffed usually with minced pork and vegetables). Like ramen, gyozaare Chinese in origin, but the Japanese dumplings are usually pan-fried rather than boiled or steamed, and diners dip them in a soy sauce and vinegar mix when eating them. Temujin (site is Japanese only), a Kyushu restaurant, serves bite-size gyoza with an original sauce touched up with a citron garnish. Kirasse (site is Japanese only) offers dumplings delivered from several restaurants in Utsunomiya, a city in Tochigi Prefecture that has made itself famous for gyoza.Representing Yokohama's China Town is Shofukumon, which serves Hong-Kong-style dumplings that have been slightly modified for Japanese consumers.

Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho is the first food theme park in the Kansai region around Osaka. The project is something of a gamble, as Osaka is known for an overabundance of places to eat. Instead of focusing on a single food, Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho brings together 20 restaurants that are popular in and around Osaka. One is Hokkyokusei, the inventor of omu-raisu, an omelet filled with fried rice, which is today eaten throughout Japan. Another is Jiyuken (site is Japanese only), a curry restaurant famous for a dish in which rice and curry sauce are mixed together, on the center of which a raw egg is dropped.

The interior designs of both the Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium and Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho are reminiscent of Japan's high-growth years. The former has the nostalgic look of urban shopping streets in the third decade of the Showa era (1955-64), when the high-growth period was getting underway, while the latter is modeled after downtown Osaka in the second half of the 1960s, a particularly lively period when the city was gearing up to host Osaka Expo '70.

Keeping Customers Coming Back
In addition to the four food theme parks already discussed, Japan has three more: Shimizu Sushi Museum in Shizuoka Prefecture, Otaru Unga Shokudo (Otaru Canal Cafeteria) in Hokkaido Prefecture, and Raumen Stadium in Fukuoka Prefecture. Surprisingly, the designer and manager behind as many as four of these parks (Ikebukuro Gyoza Stadium, Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho, Raumen Stadium, and Shinyokohama Curry Museum) is Namco, a leading video-game manufacturer.

In the amusement industry, the arcade business - of which Namco is a leading player - has peaked, and all except the largest theme parks, such as Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan, are struggling to survive. This must have made the virgin territory of the food theme park look like a good place to explore. According to a Namco representative, "Customers come to the parks even in these difficult times because they offer sensory pleasures at reasonable prices." There is, moreover, still ample room for growth in this field. Namco forecasts that the number of these parks will increase to around 30 in the next three years.

In order to prevent an erosion of popularity, some of the older food theme parks are reshuffling their tenants and renewing their menus. As competition grows, each facility will need to redouble its efforts to keep customers coming back. From the consumers' point of view, this means they can look forward to satisfying their appetites at more parks with better fare.

Way of Tea (Japanese Tea Ceremony)

Schedule of Japanese Fireworks by location (none occur during our trip to Tokyo)

The Tale of Murasaki
Describes the life of a woman in the Imperial court during the Heian period.

Kansai Time Out
A monthly English-language news-and-listings magazine circulated throughout west Japan
Osaka is in the Kansai Prefecture

Toei Uzumasa Eigamura (Movie Village)
Uzumasa Movie Village is near Kyoto
Kyoto is 3 1/2 hours away from Tokyo by bullet train.

Nara Sightseeing: Visit the old Capital of Japan, even older than Kyoto.  Visit a historical shrine, and a temple, and see the great statue of Budda.  You will even meet famous Nara deer.
Nara is 3 1/2 hours away from Tokyo by bullet train.

Sapporo, Hiroshima

Travel Tips for Foreign Visitors

Akhibara District Electronics  It's been recommended that we only purchase something there if we have a Japanese speaking friend come along with us to point out if a price is too high  --  PG
The best time to visit is on a weekday, when the locals are working.
On Sunday in Akihabara the main streets are closed to traffic.

Don't pay sales tax when shopping in Akihabara
If you take a trip to Japan and buy some electronics, etc, be sure and carry your passport with you to the store and you will be exempted from paying the 5% sales tax.  They will fill out a little card, put a stamp on it, and staple it into your passport. When you exit the country, they will take the little card out of your passport.
Some of the the electronics stuff is labelled to run on 100V AC, but it works fine over here. And remember, don't buy a DVD player unless you really want the region 3 encoding!

...many restaurants for weekday lunches will have an all-you-can-eat (called "tabe hodai") lunch for about 1000 yen or so.

Food in Tokyo   floats in and out of Engrish ^_^

Food in Tokyo

sushi restaurant writeup (Hinazushi in Shibuya & Tsukiji Tamazushi in Odaiba)

Many, many, many tabehodai specials ( no restaurants -sushi or other types- that have not already been listed)

Godzilla Museum
(Kyodo News) Monday, April 29, 2002 at 08:30 JST
KAWASAKI Visitors are flocking to an exhibition in a Kanagawa Prefecture museum dedicated to the popular fictional monster Godzilla and its place in Japanese culture, according to museum officials.  Officials at the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art in Kawasaki, southwest of Tokyo, said the exhibition marks the first time a museum has treated Godzilla as a cultural phenomenon. The Godzilla movies, which first hit the screens in 1954 with the monster's trademark blasts of breath that devastate cities, capture the times in which they were made, the officials said. Events such as H-bomb testing by the United States, Japan's high-growth period after World War II and environmental pollution issues can be seen reflected in the movies, they said. Displays will include three Godzilla film costumes and 10 costumes of the monster's adversaries such as Space Godzilla and Destroyer, as well as nine original posters of the Godzilla series and stills from the movies, the officials said.  The exhibition will run until July 28.

Tokyo Weekender
Flea Markets held in Tokyo (No locations were listed):
Antique Markets help in Tokyo:

Dinner and Karaoke party on "yakatabune", a Japanese style houseboat.  Cruise along the Sumida river and down to Odaiba, the dazzling waterfront town.  Estimated costs are ¥10,000/person, minimum booking of 20 people.  I couldn't find a way to book for only two people  --  PG
For ayakatabune agency near you, call the local Yakatabune Association or travel agency. In Tokyo (around Tokyo Bay): Harumiya
6-17-12 Higashisuna
Koto-ku, Tokyo
Tel 03-3644-1344
Fax 03-3644-5445
Web site: Harumiya(English available) Yakatabune Tokyo Association
Tel 03-3666-6811
Fax 03-3666-6883
Web site: Yakatabune Tokyo Association

Tokyo from the Water
Cruise companies operate lunch, afternoon, sunset, and dinner cruises on Tokyo Bay.
Symphony Cruise: phone:03-3798-8101
    Departs Hinode Pier m1-B3
    I found one of their cruises, it's reasonable  --  PG
Vingt-et-Un Cruise: phone:03-3436-2121
    Departs Takeshiba Pier m1-C3
Tokyo Cruise Ship Co.: phone:03-3841-9178

Japan Atlas
Lists festivals (none that occur during our visit  --  PG), mentions the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

Research: McDonalds near the hotel ( to try Japanese specific foods )
Store locator (Babelfish Translation)
Hotel's address is 3-8-4, Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0001
"The Tokyo" -> "The Taito Ku"
There were several McDonalds on the map shown, possibly close to our hotel.. unfortunately I can't read Japanese ^^;  We'll probably run into one walking down a street in Tokyo.   I think that one is very close to Ikebukuro station  --  PG

Research: How to ship things home, this assumes that we purchase things that won't fit in our luggage
DHL & Mailboxes, etc. have several locations in the Tokyo metropolitan area.  UPS is inside the Tokyo Oroshuri Center in Gotanda.  --  PG

Food Museums throughout Japan

Do's and Don't's in Japan


People in Japan bow -- a lot. While visitors are not expected to know the complexities of the bow, a few tips will help. First, bow from the waist with the arms straight at your sides. Imitate the bows you receive (there are lots of rules regarding the depth of bows -- social abstractions that take decades to learn). Don't overbow or ignore the greeting. It's better to smile politely and nod your head than to be perceived as rude. After awhile, you'll find yourself bowing automatically (when I encountered a Japanese coworker at my office in Los Angeles, I automatically found myself bowing in greeting).

Etiquette - Guests

The Japanese are gift-givers. If you're invited to their homes (very rare, as the culture tends to entertain in public places), bring a gift -- the hotel's concierge can assist in this matter if necessary. While we are very fond of the gift melon concept, flowers, candy, or alcohol are also appropriate (besides, a good melon in Tokyo can cost a small fortune). For any kindness done, be sure to be profusely thankful. You may feel awkward, but your return gestures will be remembered and appreciated.


Western-style restrooms are generally found in larger department stores and many restaurants. If you encounter a Japanese-style toilet, remember that you squat (or aim) facing the raised hood of the unit (it takes some getting used to, but it is quite sanitary). Always carry tissues or toilet paper with you -- not every restroom stocks these items. And, we've found, paper towels are also scarce in restrooms. It's helpful to note that a current marketing trend involves printing advertisements on small packages of tissue. These packages are usually handed out around the major subway stations and can come in quite handy.
Blowing your nose in public is considered to be bad manners. Excuse yourself and go into the restroom.

While the number of public baths in Tokyo has declined, the custom is still prevalent. Men and women bathe separately except in outdoor hot springs. You will be guided through the process, however the ritual is generally the same in all situations: first, remove your clothing and (after discretely covering the front of your body with your washcloth), proceed to the bath area; before actually entering the bath, you must first wash yourself; basins and stools are situated near faucets -- fill the basin with water, sit on the stool, soap down completely, then rinse off the soap; once you're clean, then you may enter the bath. The water will be very hot (ease in slowly), but after a while, relaxation seeps into your bones and peace enters your soul.

Language - Spoken

Japanese is a phonetic language, and that makes it easy to learn some basic phrases. English is generally read and spoken by younger Japanese people, however, the differences between Japanese and English generally make conversation very difficult. Stick with the basics, carry a phrase book, and try to elicit the help of your concierge for directions and information whenever possible.

Language - Written

Conveniently, the language has three different written formats: kanji, hiragana, and katakana. While kanji is the most complex and not easily learned, a basic understanding of hiragana and katakana will be very useful (both are phonetic, and a basic understanding of them can help in translating menus); most train stations (at least in Tokyo) have the current and upcoming stations indicated in a combination of kanji, hiragana, and romanji -- the Arabic symbol version of the language. With a little training, you too can read menus with ease...slowly, but easily. Power Japanese (a CD-ROM based learning program) is highly recommended as a way to learn the language.


It is considered to be rude to count the change that has been handed back to you after making a purchase. This is a culture that prides itself on its honesty -- it's better to be trusting (plus, are you really in a position to translate the currency quickly enough to make this assessment?). Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere (despite the fact that Japan is generally a cash-basis society. ATM machines are also widely available (but play it safe -- before leaving home, visit your bank and change your PIN to a 4-digit number; don't follow my lead by learning that not all machines around the world have the fun little letter/number combination on the keys or that they only accept 4-digit PINs).


The Japanese are nothing if not polite. In fact, they are so polite that varying degrees of politeness (or lack thereof) are often used to convey rudeness. One of the great complexities of the Japanese language actually involves the many different words that are often used to communicate the same meaning. Some words are considered to be far more polite than others. Even if you don't intend to speak much Japanese, this is an important concept to understand during your stay in Japan. At all times try your best to be VERY polite.


When, where, why, and how shoes are worn in Japan can be confusing. Generally, shoes are not worn in Japanese homes, temples, ryokan, and various other public places (including some restaurants). Again, it's helpful to follow the lead of locals -- don't panic, your shoes won't be stolen while you're off touring a temple. Sometimes, slippers will be provided to guests. These slippers generally fall into two categories: house slippers (for walking the halls, but remove them before walking on tatami) and bathroom slippers (remove the house slippers, put on the bathroom slippers, do whatever you're going to do, remove the bathroom slippers, replace the house slippers, continue on your way).


It's true -- tipping is not customary in Japan. Whether in a taxi or restaurant, you pay the price indicated. Note however, that some establishments may add a service charge (10 - 15%) to bills, although this is generally limited to higher priced establishments.

Visiting Cards

Visiting cards, or business cards, are essential for business travelers. The meishi are exchanged in small ceremonies whereby the parties bow and present their cards with both hands to each other (if you're in a business situation, watch your hosts for guidance) -- the recipient of the card should be able to read the information while you're presenting the card, so take care to ensure that the printed information is facing in the correct direction. The concierge at your hotel will be able to help those who don't have cards of their own (or, if you have the available resources, you can save quite a bit of money by printing up the cards on your own before leaving home -- I priced the cards at about 100 for $100).

Several things to do in and around Tokyo, mentions the Imperial palace gardens and department store pet shop

Japan National Tourist Organization: Java map of Japan

The Metropolitan Tokyo Consumer Life Ordinance

It's a dangerous world out there. Oodles of malevolent little products and shoddy shopkeepers are just waiting to take you and your hard-earned yen for a ride. For the unwitting foreign resident who doesn't know where to turn because of language barriers, getting help can be nearly impossible. Fortunately, help is here.

A variety of programs have been implemented under the dry-sounding title "Metropolitan Tokyo Consumer Life Ordinance." Here, people can call in for any kind of problem ranging from contract disputes to unfair business practices, dry cleaning fiascoes or injury compensation systems. Cleaners lose your suit? Put on clothes just brought back from the cleaners and your skin breaks out in a rash? Buy a wok at the supermarket and get second-degree burns from its 90°F wooden handle? The Products Liability Law holds businesses liable for these types of accidents, if only you know where to go for help. Well, look no further: If you have any questions concerning consumer life ordinances or anything related to life in Tokyo, these advisory desks will help you in English. Get your printer ready.
First and third Thur 1-4pm
Residents Advisory Service
Tel: 03-3802-3111, ext. 2149
Mon-Fri 10am-4:30pm (closed 12-1pm)
City Hall, Head Office Bldg 1F
Tel: 03-5772-5060
Wed 10am-4pm
Bunkyo Civic Center 2F, Public Programs Information Center
Tel: 03-5800-4488
Tue/Thur 10am-4pm (closed 12-1pm)
Public Relations Section, City Government Information Office
Tel: 03-3312-2111
Thur 1-4pm
Consultation Corner in the Suginami-ku International Exchange Association Foundation Office
Tel: 03-5378-8833
Mon 1-4pm
Green Palace
Tel: 03-3653-5151, ext. 326
Wed 1-3pm
Sumida Residents' Advisory Office
Tel: 03-5608-1616
Fri 9am-12pm
International Exchange Association Foundation Office
Tel: 03-3579-2015
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Resident's Advisory Desk
Tel: 03-3981-1111, ext. 2149
Mon 10am-4pm
City Hall, Main Bldg 2F
Tel: 03-3695-1111, ext. 2143
Second and fourth Thur of the month, 1-4pm
City Hall Lobby
Tel: 0424-81-7032
Residents Advisory Service Office, 3F, No. 2 Window, Public Relations Section
Tel: 03-3908-1111, ext. 2146
Second Tue and fourth Thur of the month
Citizens' Advisory Service Office
Tel: 042-366-1711-5
Tue/Thur 1-4pm
Advisory Office, Public Relations Section
Tel: 03-3228-8802
Wed 1-4pm
Information Corner, Kodaira-shi International Exchange Association Foundation Office
Tel: 0423-42-750
Mon-Fri 10am-4pm (closed 12-1pm)
Foreign Residents' Advisory Service Counter, International Office
Tel: 03-3792-2113
First and third Tue of the month, 10am-12pm
City Hall Government Bldg No. 2, Public Relations Desk
Tel: 0423-87-9818
Tues/Thur 10am-4pm
Public Relations Desk, Residents' Advisory Office in City Hall
Tel: 03-3578-2111, ext. 2050 and 2051
(direct 03-3578-2053)
First and third Mon of the month, 10am-12pm
Citizens' Advisory Service Corner, City Hall 1F
Tel: 042-576-2111
Mon, Thur, Fri 1-4pm
Nerima International Exchange Association
Tel: 03-3994-4725
Second Fri of the month, 1-3pm
Citizens' Advisory Service Office
Tel: 0422-44-6600
Mon-Wed, Fri 10am-4pm (closed 12-1pm)
Public Relations Consultation Desk
Tel: 03-5432-1111, ext. 2892
Sat 1-4pm
Information Corner, International Exchange Association Office
Tel: 0422-56-2922
Wed 9am-5pm
Residents' Advisory Office
Tel: 03-5742-6616

Foot tours in and around Tokyo

Places that serve eel in Ginza
Online character translator. If you speak some Japanese but cannot read kanji, just enter the URL of the site you want to read, and Rikai will help!

Most fashionable avenues in Japan: Aoyama Avenue, Omotesando Avenue, Meiji Avenue
Yesterday's style, color, favorite foreign food and just about everything else are quickly forgotten in trendy Tokyo. Best places to check out the current trends are the adjoining Harajuku and Aoyama areas in Minato-ku, south of the Meiji Shrine (Harajuku Station on the JR Yamanote Loop line or the Omotesando Station served by the purple Hanzomon line, the orange Ginza or dark green Chiyoda subway lines)

Kite Museum (Nihonbashi) - Kite flying is a national pastime in Japan. This kite museum has kites of all kinds, from tiny miniatures to large scale ones. The bamboo and paper kites are beautifully decorated, with scenes such as The Battle of Ichinotani," "Waves and Rabbit" or "Kabuki Actors."

Doll Museum (Asakusabashi) - On March 3, girls celebrate the doll festival (Hina Matsuri) by displaying special hina dolls representing the Japanese court. The hina dolls are taken out once a year and are not to play with. Visit the
Doll Museum (Yoshitoku) to see a gorgeous selection of dolls, including the emperor and empress and royal family for the Doll Festival, and other samurai, geisha and sumo wrestler dolls. 
Museum of Maritime Science - This museum encompasses the history of ships, not just in Asia, but all around the world. Inside you can steer radio controlled boats in the water, and outside there is a Japanese seaplane and real boats to climb on. In the summer, have fun in the museum's water park.

Bunraku is Japan's 300-year-old puppet drama. Unlike any other puppetry in the world, Bunraku takes three puppeteers to operate each puppet. You can see Bunraku at various times of the year in the National Theater of Japan (Small Hall). For performance dates and times, check with a ticket agent or that theater at 4-1 Hayabusacho in Chiyoda-ku (Nagatacho Station on the yellow Yurakucho or purple Hanzomon subway lines). Call 3265-7411 for information in English. Tickets cost [yen]4,700-[yen]5,700.

Noh is Japan's unique composite theater combining song, dance and drama. It can be seen year round in Tokyo at several theaters. For performance dates and times, check with a ticket agent or this theater: Kanze Nohgakudo at 1-16-4 Shoto in Shibuya-ku (Shibuya Station on the orange Ginza or purple Hanzomon subway lines, or the JR Yamanote Loop), phone 3469-5241. At the National Noh Theater, tickets range from [yen]2,300-[yen]15,000. It's at 4-18-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, phone 3423-1331 (five minutes from JR Sendagaya Station on the Chuo line). Kyogen is the humorous side of Noh -- it's often performed between two Noh performances.

Structured tour

CHOICE TABLES; Culinary Delights Laid Out to Tempt Japan's Commuters


Published: April 25, 2004

PHENOMENAL food halls are not news in Japan. They have been found in the basement level of Japanese department stores since the 1920's. Nevertheless, your first visit to a depachika, as they are known, will probably leave you speechless. Typically, it houses more than 50 independent merchants. And there are about 20 in Tokyo.

Set up as islands, rather than in long supermarket-like aisles, each showcase has its own cash register and sales staff. The glorious produce includes slender-and-straight cucumbers, verdant spinach, with soil still clinging to perfectly aligned, red-tinged roots, and flawless fruit, boxed and beribboned for gifts (yes, that 10,000-yen melon is the equivalent of about $95 at 109 yen to the dollar). There will be at least one, and often several, fish sellers in a single depachika, each offering a wide variety of glisteningly fresh offerings -- many whole, mostly filleted and wrapped in clear plastic, and some sushi and sashimi-ready platters.

At the meat counter, tissue-thin slices of lean pork and marbled beef, plump poultry legs and satiny strips of chicken fillet are exquisitely displayed. Intriguing dried, pickled, and preserved foodstuffs (many aquatic, though most terrestrial), and unfamiliar condiments and exotic seasonings come sealed in tubs, tubes, tins, spice mills and jars. A vast selection of green and black tea leaves sold by weight, domestic and imported beer in cans and bottles, a huge assortment of both kegged and bottled sake, and wines from the world over are also for sale in these subterranean food halls.

In-store bakeries sell fresh-from-the-oven breads (bake-off times are posted, and customers line up accordingly) and elaborate cakes. Deli-like foods prepared for take-out, known collectively as osozai, include briny salads of sea lettuces, mounds of crisply fried sweet potato, lotus root, and burdock chips, slabs of grilled bean curd slathered with pungent miso, skewers of salt-broiled whole fish, and more kinds of flavored and shaped rice dishes, including plump, geometrically configured rolls of sushi, than you ever imagined possible. Crunchy, coarse-crumb-crusted korokke (greaseless, bite-sized croquettes eaten at room temperature with a sweet-and-spicy sauce) are the best-selling item in nearly all depachika.

Although intriguing nibbles, neatly arranged for sampling with toothpicks, have long been a part of the depachika scene, the current trend is toward eat-in spots that encourage customers to linger rather than graze. Eat-ins have a limited menu with just a few seats at a bar or communal table adjacent to the vendor's showcase. Ice cream and beverage stands offering frozen treats and fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, satisfy a demanding sweet tooth or quench an instant thirst.

Even the most optimistic economists concede that Japan's retail environment is ''challenging.'' Yet in those department stores that succeed, depachika pull in astonishing sums. Gross sales for a best-selling brand of cake or cookies can, at a single location, come to about $4.5 million.

No one can say for sure just why Japan's food markets were first placed at basement level, nor why they generate nearly a quarter of a store's total revenue, but the most likely explanation lies in the pervasive train-taking and gift-giving culture here.

Clustered about major railway and subway stations in Japan's big urban centers, department stores are a magnet for commuter traffic. In Tokyo, more than four million passengers traverse Shinjuku Station daily, while in Ikebukuro Station, the hub for eight rail and subway lines that connect the northern precincts of the city with suburbs to the west, nearly three and a half million commuters pass through the turnstiles every day. Even at Futako Tamagawa Station on the southwestern edge of Setagaya Ward, where only two rail lines intersect (and many of the neighborhood's affluent residents own cars), the outdoor train platform is jammed every morning with tens of thousands on their way to work in midtown Tokyo. Later in the day, and on weekends, the shopping center adjacent to the Futako Tamagawa train station attracts students, elderly people, young couples, moms with toddlers and fashionable matrons.

Like many stations on the Yamanote Line that circles midtown Tokyo, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro are a maze of underground passageways that lead directly to several depachika, each with its own sprawling underground market. In Shinjuku, my favorite is Odakyu's Halc Food, while in Ikebukuro I prefer Tobu department store's food hall. Both Halc and Tobu boast double basements; gift and packaged items are on one level, fresh and prepared foods on the other. And, within walking distance from my Tokyo apartment, the newly refurbished Takashimaya Shopping Center at Futako Tamagawa is nothing short of spectacular. The centerpiece of this collection of specialty shops and boutiques is Foods City, stretching from the basement of the main building through a short, brightly lighted hallway to the new south wing. In Japan, gift-giving has long been a kind of social glue, binding people and businesses. A well-developed vocabulary identifies basic types of exchange: omiyage (souvenirs), otsukaimono (token items presented when requesting a favor of someone -- utterly different from wairo, or bribery), omimai (get-well gifts), and okaeshi (''return'' gifts). The latter category, the usual response for Japanese who receive sizable sums of money from family, friends and colleagues at funerals and weddings, is the one that puzzles Americans. (Although this kind of reciprocity seems to be a never-ending escalation, in reality it is a calculated balancing act).

Unlike the custom in America, where originality is fundamental to gift selection, in Japan price is what counts -- the occasion and relationship to the recipient dictates the amount. Food is the most popular gift. The Japanese depend on personal relationships to sustain them throughout their lives. Most feel that the time, money, and energy they spend on nurturing a network of professional and personal contacts are both essential and gratifying.

That $95 luxury melon, presented to the patient but consumed by family members, becomes a welcome respite as they worry about illness. In a society that finds effort meritorious, time spent on a long line waiting to buy a limited edition gift adds to its intrinsic value. An exclusive, $20 assortment of petit fours becomes a coveted prize. Presented to a math tutor before a big exam, that box of little cakes (one of only 30 offered for sale at the depachika that day) demonstrates the parents' determination to have their child succeed, while acknowledging the importance of the tutor's role.

When I first came to Japan in the mid-1960's nearly every department store had a rooftop entertainment area complete with rides and games for children, as well as art gallery space on the top floors. These areas were key to a retail strategy known as the ''shower'' effect: Customers drawn to the upper levels were expected to ''drizzle down'' to the floors below, stopping along the way. Today, the pattern is reversed as a ''fountain'' effect is intended to ''bubble up'' from the food halls through the store. With rooftop amusement centers gone, depachika provide entertainment in the form of grazing and people-watching, with an occasional cooking demonstration behind a glassed-in open kitchen. And, although gallery and special exhibition space still occupies a segment of the upper floor in most Japanese department stores, it is the artful food of depachika that beckons customers to buy.

Treats for people on the go

All the depachika listed are in Tokyo and most of them are open from 10 until 8 at night, or later; restaurants and eat-in counters usually begin service at 11:30 a.m.

Tobu in Ikebukuro Station. (81-3) 3981-2211, 1-1-25 Nishi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku. Tobu is housed in three structures connected to Ikebukuro Station, the main building, central building and plaza building. Recommended eat-in spot: Maison Mikuni (38 seats, including large central table and small side counter) in the plaza building. Daily specials from about $11.25. Sea vegetable soup with assorted rolls, tea ($7). Soy-glazed foie gras over rice, with coffee ($15).

Halc Food in Shinjuku Station (81-3) 3342-1111, 1-5-1 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Halc Food is part of the Odakyu department store connected to Shinjuku Station. Recommended eat-in spots: Natural Station Juice (four seats). Fruit and vegetable combos from $2.35. Soh's Omusubi (four seats), (81-3) 3343-6788 Pressed rice sandwiches with various fillings and small side dishes from $1.50. There is also a branch of Maison Mikuni, (81-3) 3342-7206 (20 seats) Elegant boxed lunches from $15.

Foods City Tamagawa Takashimaya in Futako Tamagawa. 3-17-1 Tamagawa, Setagaya-ku. General information: (81-3) 3709-2222. Recommended eat-in spot: Tsuruya (large communal table around display case), Japanese confectionery. Seasonal pastry and powdered tea, about $7.85.

A Million Head Came to Japan in 2001! Speaking of a hamster, it has become a synonymous with lovely small animals....
According to pet shop, main purchasing class is school children especially girl student, who asked their parents to buy them. Then the case of the couple in their twenties, who comes to pet shop and mainly a woman often buys them. The reason why there are many feminine owners may be due to influence of animation...
The popularity of touching zoological garden is rising among those who can not keep pet according to the situation
even if they want to do so and those who is at a loss whether to keep. There seems to be some kindergartens and elementary schools which adopt touching zoological garden as a course of excursion.
Besides it seems that the touching zoological garden of official trip style visiting the meeting place of event on demand is increasing.
There are some hamsters in almost touching zoological garden. The reason why is that even those who are fearful and cannot touch large animals can touch small hamster in safety mostly. According to touching zoological garden, there seems to be those who decided to keep hamster after touching...
Such scenes are common now that a pet shop moves into a super market as a tenant, or to drop in a pet shop by the
way of shopping of other goods as home center began to sell pets. Furthermore, such hamster related articles as breeding case etc. began to be sold, and baits for hamsters were added to items of uniform 100 yen-shop, making care easy after you have bred them.
The largest pet store in Tokyo may be on the roof of the Seibu Department Store in Shibuya. A random blog mentioned that this store was extremely knowledgeable and caring toward its animals.
Hamster Corporation
Tokyo Pet Shops
Babelfish translation

Sammy sells pachinko machines

Tsukiji business search translation
(may be busted with Excite)

Used Japanese book stores in the U.S. (Per Kyoko: huru hon=used book, comics)  (Book Off in NYC, off Madison Avenue)

Parks in Tokyo
PAO Kid's Farm (Jinnan) is a department store devoted to kids. It has kid-sized toilets, changing tables for infants, and free strollers. The rooftop playground is a big safe place where kids can run and just be kids.

Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau (English)

All ATMs listed appear to use the PLUS network, which our ATM cards are part of
Citibank and Post Offices definitely accept foreign ATM cards, including PLUS
ATM service is free (excluding PNC's fees) at a post office
Konbini may have 24 hour ATMs but they may not take foreign cards; there is also a 24 hour Citibank ATM in Narita Airport

Post Office ATM hours are usually: 9 a.m. -5:30 p.m Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. -5 p.m Saturday, 9 a.m. -5 p.m OR closed Sunday

Japanese ATMs
Banks in Japan are open Monday to Friday 9:00- 15:00. They are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. The cashpoints/ATM's usually stay open until 19:00 and from 9:00-17:00 on Saturdays. They are usually open for a short period on Sundays. (between 6:00 and 7:00 PM a handling charge of ¥103 is added to each transaction).

24 hour ATM services are now becoming available in convenience stores and if you are with a larger bank you may be able to take advantage of this for a fee.

ATM hours in Japan are as follows:
Monday to Friday
Time of Day
before 18:00
after 18:00
9:00 to 14:00
14:00 to 17:00
Your Bank
Other Banks
Post Office

Post offices and other ATMs [only lists the first 99 in Tokyo]

"2-5-23, Yanaka, Taitoku"
Tokyo JAPAN  110-0001

A few big Mitsui-Sumitomo Banks accept foreign Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and Cirrus. They usually boast a conspicuous "Visa" sign. Since 2002, Japanese Post Offices also accept foreign cards and have menus in English, but close relatively early. Otherwise, Citibank is the best bet for most visitors to Japan, as it offers 7day/24h ATM service, accept foreign cards and is free for Citibank (or associate) card holders. The drawback is that they aren't as numerous as Japanese banks or post offices.

Check the list of Citibanks in Japan below:

24h Citibank ATM's locations


Banks and exchange
You'll find dozens of authorized "Foreign Exchange Banks" all over central Tokyo; Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank generally handles the broadest range of currencies. If you need money outside banking hours , the major department stores often have exchange desks, though most handle a very restricted range of currencies. You can make credit card withdrawals from "international ATMs" at the post office and at cash corners run by Visa (tel 0120-133173), Mastercard (tel 00531/11-3886) and Citibank (tel 0120-504189); call their 24hr toll-free English-language helplines to find the machine nearest you - some are accessible 24hr. The American Express office in Ogikubo also has a 24hr ATM (American Express cards only). Visa and Mastercard holders can make over-the-counter cash withdrawals from Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank's head office (2-7-1 Marunouchi), while major branches of Sumitomo Bank (due to be renamed Mitsui Sumitomo) handle Visa card withdrawals only.


Entering Japan
We can bring in three, 760cc bottles of alcohol and gifts totalling less than 200,000 yen

Entering the U.S.
General goods:
We each have an $800.00 exemption and may declare jointly to total $1600.00

Customs recommends that electronics be preregistered to avoid being dutiable on return - to prove that items were not bought in Japan - or a receipt or other proof of prior ownership be kept

>To make things easier, you can register certain items with CBP before you depart - including watches, cameras, laptop computers, firearms, and tape recorders - as long as they have serial numbers or other unique, permanent markings. Take the items to the nearest CBP office and request a Certificate of Registration (CBP Form 4457). It shows that you had the items with you before leaving the U.S. and all items listed on it will be allowed duty-free entry. CBP officers must see the item you are registering in order to certify the certificate of registration. You can register items with CBP at the international airport from which you're departing. Keep the certificate for future trips.

Items that need to be registered at Customs in Newark:
Acer Ferrari Laptop
Acer Ferrari Laptop power supply
Acer Ferrari Laptop airplane & auto power supply
Nikon Coolpix 5400 Camera
Nikon Coolpix 5400 Camera charger
Pharos Bluetooth GPS
Pharos Bluetooth GPS charger
Lingo PacificaTalk
Rayovac NiMH charger
Motorola Pager

Mailing back home:
The following information techincally relates to postal shipments - Customs wouldn't elaborate on shipping by courier
The $200.00 waiver appears to be in addition to the $800.00 accompanied exemption
Itemizations need to be visible on packages
Duty on items you mail home to yourself will be waived if the value is $200 or less ... Antiques that are at least 100 years old and fine art may enter duty-free, but folk art and handicrafts are generally dutiable.
Customs recommends that if your goods are "used personal goods returned," you indicate this on the outside of the package since this can significantly reduce the amount of duty, if any at all, that you are charged for the shipment.
If the item is intended as a gift, write unsolicited gift on the outer wrapper. If the package contains your own used belongings, mark the package personal goods returned. If the package contains new purchases you bought for your own use, mark it personal purchases.

The purchase price of alcohol counts against our $800.00/person exemption and is also subject to a limit of 1 liter per person

No meat or fruit, in short
>Food Products (Prepared)
You may bring bakery items and certain cheeses into the United States. The APHIS Web site ( ... offers extensive information about bringing food and other products into the country. Many prepared foods are admissible, although almost anything containing meat products, such as bouillon, soup mixes, etc., are not. As a general rule, condiments, vinegars, oils, packaged spices, honey, coffee and tea are admissible. Because rice can often harbor insects, it is best to avoid bringing it into the U.S.

Clothing or fabric may be subject to unspecified restrictions beyond the personal exemption - but only if it is mailed to our home instead of carried, so best to carry it

Custom-kun plush
Japan Customs states that they don't sell Custom-kun toys


Tokyo Address key: #-#-#; District # (Chome)-Block #-Building #

Research: Addresses of shrines
Kishibo shrine is in Ikebukuro
An old-style Japanese candy store is located on the grounds of Kishibo Shrine
I couldn't find the address for this shrine  --  PG

Delsey brand luggage is European French, do not purchase them
Berlitz "Japanese For Travellers" travel guide is Swiss, do not purchase it
Jusco supermarket is Malaysian owned, do not buy items there

Locate Wi Fi Hotspots around the world (Including Tokyo, Japan)

Research: Books to buy
$13> Zagat 2003 Tokyo Restaurants ISBN 157006-443-1

Restaurant reviews:
Tokyo All You Can Eat Club (In Japanese)
Tokyo All You Can Eat Club - search page (In Japanese)
On 3/5/2004, all of the AYCE Sushi Restaurants listed on this site indicated that they were closed T-T
Also, both Babelfish's and Excite's Japanese translation service do not appear to work with the search form  -- PG

Research: Toy Shops, Digimon, Sanrio, Morning Glory (are they in Japan?), & Doraemon
Choeki explained that we would be able to find lots of toys in department stores

Research: Electronics trade shows (Comdex Asia?) in Tokyo when we're visiting.  If there are any, how do we get on the invitee list
None were identified and our schedule is completely booked -- PG

Research: Candy shops

Research: Alcohol shops - especially stores that sell small bottles (for collecting)
Choeki explained that convenience stores tend to sell small bottles of domestic spirits

Research: Sanrio World

Utsuwa No Yakata rice bowl 211-122 (Hamsters)

Research: Adult store
Tourist Traps & Love Hotels
Some adult stores have bright pink awnings.

Research: "Cool" electronic toys store / electronic chatchkas store  (Ahkibara district?)

Task: Create a transliteration table of place names and signage so we can read signs

Notes: "Douitashimashite" means "You're welcome". It is often used to reply "Arigatou gozaimasu (Thank you very much)". It's very polite.

Notes: In East Asia, visitors recount tales of the eternally refillable glass. In countries like China, Japan and South Korea, you never fill, or refill, your own glass, only others' glasses. The thirsty may pour a drink into a neighbor's glass as a gentle hint. "These are very group-oriented cultures,"

Excite Japanese to English Translator:
Use "日→英" to translate from Japanese to English.

Tips from Choeki:

Reserve Front Row seats at Kabuki-za, as the space between rows are for very short people

If you just want an electronic dictionary, the "Canon: Wordtank" is the best one out there for 10 years running now
Ah, actually, it may be cheaper to purchase the Berlitz "Japanese For Travellers"  Also has cross-index for Japanese people to tell you what they want to say
Those multi-language units are a little unreliable

Only eat natto w/ fish paste & mustard
Sliced tomatoes complements it well
Also fresh Japanese mayo

Hm, you may want to try a mayonaise restaurant
They cook dishes using an entire bottle in each dish
Like stirfry seafood

You skipped one of the best (imo) supermarket chains...

Harajuku has an Antiques flea market on the weekends

Hm, here's a bargining phrase:
Motto yasui narimasu mo ii desu ka?  Onegai?
Make sure to be cute when you do the "onegai"
Don't have a man do it - that's creepy.
Just flash a smile and clasp your hands together in schoolgirl parody
You'll get a laugh at least and they will probably have a little mercy

Your US passport is worth at least $5000 US to identity thieves
MalAdroit suggests that we carry photocopies


東京都   Tokyo-Gun   市  City (Noichi?)   区 Ku (Town)
Adachi Ku
The Arakawa Ku
Itabasi Ku
Edogawa Ku
Ota Ku
Katsushika Ku
Kita (North) Ku
Koto Ku
Shinagawa Ku
Shibuya Ku
Shinjuku Ku
Suginami Ku
Sumida Ku
Setagaya Ku
The Taito Ku
Chiyoda Ku
Chuo Ku
Toshima Ku
Nakano Ku
Nerima Ku
Bunkyo Ku
Meguro Ku
Akishima city
Akiruno city
Inagi city
Oume city
Kiyose city
Kunitachi (National) city
Koganei city
Kokubunji city
Kodaira city
Komae city
Tachikawa city
Tama city
Nishitama Gun
Chofu city
West Tokyo city
Hachiozi city
Hamura city
Higashi Murayama city
Higashi Yamato city
Hino city
Fuchu city
Machida city
Mitaka city
Musashi city
Musashi Murayama city

tabehodai, tabe hodai, tabe-hodai 食べ放題 All-you-can-eat
con-bini コンビニエンスストア
Convenience Stores
Department Stores
depa chika

Department Store basement (food court)
suupaa maaketto スーパーマーケット Supermarkets
¥ Yen
oo toro

very very fatty tuna
chuu toro
very fatty tuna
fatty tuna
normal red tuna
tekka maki
red tuna roll
squid legs
tamago yaki
egg omulet
conger eel
small shrimp
kuruma ebi
salmon roe
cod roe
miso shiru
miso soup
tsuke mono
rice ball
Useful phrases
[Thank you very much] Arigatou gozaimasu

[You're welcome] Douitashimashite

[Hello?] Moshi moshi?

[Is this @@@ store/@@@ restaurant?] @@@ san desuka?

[Excuse me, do you speak English?]Suimasen, eigo wa shabere masuka?

[I'm a tourist (from foreign country), so I can't speak enough Japanese, so could you help me to answer just yes (hai) or no (iie) please?]
Watashi wa (gaikoku kara kita) ryokou kyaku desu. Nihongo ga yoku wakara naino de, hai ka iie de kotaete morae masuka?

[Are you open today?]Kyou wa eigyou shite imasuka?

[Do you have Tabehoudai course still?]Tabehoudai wa yatte masuka?

[Do I need to make a reservation?]Yoyaku wa hituyou desuka?

[I'd like to make a reservation of Tabehoudai/lunch/dinner.  For 2 people.]
Tabohoudai no / ranchi no (ohiru no) / dinaa no (yuu shoku no) / yoyaku wo shitai no desuga. Otona hutari desu.

[I'll come at noon(12 pm)/ 7 pm.]12ji ni /hichiji ni iki masu.
(number of the time is good in English, They will understand. "Seven pm, night!" like that is good. ^ _^  you don't have to worry too much.)

[My name is @@@]Watashino namae wa @@@ desu.

[I see / I understand]Wakari mashita. or, just "OK" is fine!

[I beg your pardon?(couldn't catch)]Nande suka?

[Could you say again?]Mouichido itte kudasai?

[I couldn't understand]Wakari masen deshita./errr, Wakara nai desu.

[Could you speak more slowly?]Mou sukoshi yukkuri itte morae masuka? / Yukkuri itte kudasai.

[Thank you very much / Thank you / Thanks]Doumo arigatou gozai masu / Domo arigato / Arigato. or Domo!

[(please use just in Akihabara)Could you reduce the price little bit? ]
Mou sukoshi yasuku nari masenka?

[Little bit more...?]Mou sukoshi???

[Please?]Onegai simasu.

[Pleeeeease]Onegaaaaaaaai/Onegai desuuuuuuuuu. (when girls do this, it's cute. boys do, yes, it's "ewwww".)

And this is native Japanese,,.
[Could you kindly consider to reduce the price? (word in friendly and humorous way)]
Benkyou shite kudasai! (=please study! =I know it's hard to reduce the price, but I'm telling it's a nice lesson for you! )
If you say this to store person, they must be shocked in good way! They may think you know so much about Japanese way of talking and culture.

(general words)
[Excuse me](When you want ask something) Suimasen.

[Excuse me / coming through]suimasen / toori masu.

[I'm sorry / Sorry!]suimasen / gomen nasai.

[Good morning]ohayo gozaimasu / ohayo

[Hi, hello, good afternoon]Konnichiwa

[Good evening]Konbanwa.

[Good night / sleep well]Oyasumi.

[How do you do?]Hajime mashite.

[Delicious!]Oishii desu!

(masculine way) Umai!


[Totally awesome!]Chooooo sugee! ^__^;;;;

[May I have your autograph?]Sain kudasai.

[Can I take pictures with you?]Shashin torasete kudasai.

[I love you!]Daisuki!!!


[I came from United States, to meet you!]Watashi wa anatani aini amerika kara kimashita!

(Directions around town)
[@@@ eki]station name like Ikebukuro eki, Yokohama eki.

[Where is @@@?]@@@ wa doko desuka?

[Which way (direction) is @@@?]@@@ wa docchi desuka?

[I'd like to go to @@@ / I wanna go to @@@]@@@ ni ikitai no desuga / @@@ ni ikitai desu.

[How can I get to @@@?]@@@ e wa douyatte ikun desuka?

[Which line is it?]Nani sen desuka?

[Which platform is it?]Nanban sen desuka?

[I'd like to buy @@@]@@@ wo kaitai desu.

[How much is it?]Ikura desuka?

[I'll have this]Kore (wo) kudasai

[(while on a Taxi) Please go to @@@]@@@ ni itte kudasai

[We're in a hurry]isoide imasu

[FLEA MARKET BARGAINING PHRASE] Motto yasui narimasu mo ii desu ka?  Onegai?
Make sure to be cute when you do the "onegai", don't have a man do it -
Just flash a smile and clasp your hands together in schoolgirl parody
You'll get a laugh at least and they will probably have a little mercy

[Reservation] Yoyaku
[Travel Service Center] Ryoko Center
[Reservation office] Tokkyu
[Express] Kyuko
[Rapid Train] Kaisoku
[Local Train] Kakuekiteisha
[Ordinary (Train) Car] Futsusha
[Green (Train) Car - superior accommodations] Green-sha
[Dining (Train) Car] Shokudosha
[Reserved Seat] Shiteiseki
[Non-Reserved Seat] Jiyuseki