Archive for ‘Tourist places to visit’

September 6, 2012

Japan tourism and Koyasan in Wakayama: Kukai, stunning scenery and Shingon Buddhism

Japan tourism and Koyasan in Wakayama: Kukai, stunning scenery and Shingon Buddhism

Olivier LeCourt and  Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Wakayama prefecture in Japan is blessed with stunning scenery throughout this adorable part of Japan. Equally important is the power of history, religion and culture in Wakayama because you have many national and regional treasures which beckon tourists and religious pilgrims alike to this lovely prefecture. In Koyasan you can feel the richness of Shingon Buddhism and the power of nature alongside stunning architecture. Therefore, it is easy to understand why Kukai picked this amazing place and it is nice to know that Koyasan is “a living Buddhism.”

Internationally, Kyoto is seen to be the cradle of high culture in Japan but actually this really belongs to Nara. After all, high culture was already flourishing before the power of Kyoto began because of the impact of Nara. Koyasan, just like Nara and Kyoto, is located in the Kansai region. Also, it is factual that Nara and Kyoto are much larger in terms of size and places to visit than Koyasan. However, the remoteness of Koyasan means that tourists and pilgrims flock to this stunning part of Wakayama. Given this reality, it is clear that Koyasan can’t be underestimated because of the power of Kukai and the richness of this exquisite part of Japan.

Zen Buddhism is internationally famous but in Koyasan it is the richness of Shingon Buddhism which thrives. It matters not if people are religious or not because when you visit Koyasan you can feel something special inside. This is because of the power of architecture, Buddhist temples, simplicity, “a living Buddhism” and the stunning views of nature which blesses Mount Koya in all directions.

The environment of Koyasan is extremely rich because of the layout and the abundance of temples to visit. Also, the main graveyard is extremely mysterious and many leading historical figures are buried in Koyasan. Another nice aspect is the environment whereby tradition alongside the yearning of normal tourists and religious pilgrims naturally flows.

Visual images of the Buddha mixed with the uniqueness of Shingon Buddhism is a real treat on the eye. This applies to the architecture and artistic aspects of everything that encompasses each amazing temple. Japanese gardens are equally famous and clearly the Buddhist concept of time and space can be felt deeply. The flow is so natural that lay people can feel the power and majesty of a faith which seeks a unique path along a complex road in this world.

In the world of monotheism the one God shows many sides and clearly you have various different sects. Likewise, in Buddhism you also have many different sects and in a sense religion is a mirror to what humanity is irrespective if good, mundane or where dark forces reign. Yet in Koyasan it appears that God’s Eden may exist because faith, philosophy, simplicity and nature come together.

In my earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times about beautiful Koyasan it was stated that “The non-religious may believe that God is an illusion and this may be so; however, in places like Koyasan you can feel “a magical atmosphere.” The “old world” survives within “modernity” but preserves its rich culture and maintains a rare spirituality.”

“Kukai (774-835) who became known as Kobo Daishi established the first monastery in the ninth century on mount Koya (Koya-san).  The Shingon sect had a different thought pattern within the many schools of Buddhism and Kukai believed that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime.”

“Kukai was a searcher and he visited China and during his stay he studied Esoteric Buddhism.  Initially, he prayed for peace and prosperity because he could not find inner-peace within city life, therefore, he searched for a place where he could meditate and become even more spiritual.” 

“When Kukai saw the stunning nature of Koyasan it was clear to him that he had found the place which he desired.  The mountains meant that he was cut off from everyday city life in this period and the sublime beauty of nature added to the mysterious feel of Koyasan.”

The lovely aspect about Koyasan is that Shingon Buddhism in this amazing place is “a living Buddhism” whereby the rich traditions continue to flourish. Buddhists and non-Buddhists will adore this lovely part of Wakayama prefecture because Mount Koya is extremely beautiful. Therefore, the vibrancy of culture, architecture and religion all pull naturally together.

It is clear that when Kukai searched long and hard to find a special place to spread his teachings, that he made the right choice. The remoteness of Koyasan during his lifetime must have provided great insights into this world. Of course, according to legend Kukai is still wondering around Koyasan after being transformed into an eternal Samadhi whereby he is waiting for the next Buddha Maitreya to appear.

Therefore, if you are looking for a special break then Koyasan should come to the top of your must places to visit. Without a shadow of a doubt this mystical place is extremely charming and the cultural and religious angle completes a perfect break for people who appreciate the finer things in life.

http://www.shukubo.jp/eng /  (stunning Koyasan)

http://www.koyasan.org/          (Information about Koyasn)

http://www.visiblemantra.org/kukai.html  Kukai and information

http://ww2.coastal.edu/rgreen/  Kukai and information

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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September 6, 2012

Tokyo fashion in Ikebukuro: the buzz of Ikebukuro fashion and Miu Miu

Tokyo fashion in Ikebukuro: the buzz of Ikebukuro fashion and Miu Miu

Sarah Deschamps, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ikebukuro is awash with fashion and in the last few years this part of Tokyo is re-inventing itself when it comes to stylish boutiques. Therefore, the opening of Miu Miu in the famous Seibu Department Store in late 2011 is mere confirmation that powerful boutiques view Ikebukuro in such a favorable light. This trend continues in 2012 and clearly this district is on “the fashion map” within Tokyo because of the buzzing fashion scene on both the east and west side.

It must be remembered that Ikebukuro train station is the second busiest in Japan and every week millions of people pass through this part of Tokyo. When this is added to the fact that Japanese people like convenience when it comes to shopping, then not surprisingly the fashion dimension within or around Ikebukuro train station is enormous. This reality means that the fashion area is a huge hub and Ikebukuro is also the gateway for people in Saitama prefecture.

Seibu Department Store and Tobu Department Store have a very rich history and both mega-companies, alongside Lumine, Marui, and Parco, are collectively creating a huge fashion district in Ikebukuro. Also, Esola is a lovely place for ladies fashion and you have scrumptious restaurants to eat.

In Esola you have exquisite boutiques which include Actuel, Amphi, Barbie Store, Beardsley Gallardagalante, Blue Bell Market, DouDou, Elleva, FRAMeWORK, Free’s Mart, Jolly Boutique, Muriel & Mercuria, Nuit et Jour Spick and Span, Opaque Clip, Royal Flash, and Turno Jeana.

Lumine, meanwhile, is one of the best fashion outlets in Tokyo and the store in Ikebukuro is a major attraction for Tokyo ladies because of lovely boutiques like SmackyGlam (Smacky Glam) and countless others. Also, the restaurant area in Lumine is a great place to relax and unwind.

Therefore, not surprisingly the fabulous boutique Miu Miu decided to open for business in Ikebukuro. While next year American Eagle Outfitters have also selected to open a store in this fashionable part of Tokyo alongside another store in the environment of Harajuku and Omotesando. This bodes well for the future of Ikebukuro because fashion is very dynamic in Tokyo and areas need to maintain their vibrancy.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times about fashion in Ikebukuro it was stated about American Eagle Outfitters that The new store will have three floors of fashion in order to attract the fashion conscious and the international aspect is an added dimension.  American Eagle Outfitters have clearly done their homework because Ikebukuro is a thriving fashion district in Tokyo and redevelopment projects are in the pipeline to further enhance the area.”

“Uniqlo also understands the reality of fashion in Ikebukuro because the future potential of this vibrant district is obvious.  Therefore, Uniqlo will expand their presence in Ikebukuro and this applies to occupying two floors in Tobu Department Store.”

Obviously the same applies to Miu Miu who decided to expand their international operations in the Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro. Also, the store was designed by Roberto Baciocchi and like usual for Miu Miu they focus on classic concepts and futuristic aspects. Therefore, you can have a lovely shopping experience and envisage the creativity of this exquisite company by viewing the stylish layout and theme of the Miu Miu store.

In the last few years Lumine and Esola have altered the fashion landscape of Ikebukuro and complemented Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Parco, and Marui. Also, the opening of the Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train station created a new fashion hub in Ikebukuro. This applies to delightful fashion boutiques and other shops which have created a lovely underground hub once leaving the main Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train exit.

The recent opening of Miu Miu and the future opening of American Eagle Outfitters in 2012, alongside the expansion of Uniqlo, is maintaining the vibrancy of Ikebukuro. Therefore, while Ikebukuro might not get the same media exposure, the reality on the ground is very different because Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Lumine, Marui, Parco, Esola, and other fashion outlets, would enhance any fashion district.

Not surprisingly, Miu Miu and other fashion companies are aware of the ongoing changes in Ikebukuro and future projects which will enhance this part of Tokyo. Given everything, the future of this fashion district is rosy and the elegance of the fashion scene is growing because of the quality of so many exquisite boutiques.

http://www.miumiu.com/it/stores

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://www.esola-ikebukuro.com/

http://orizzonti.co.jp/category/actuel/

http://www.barbie-stores.com/

http://www.bluebellmarket.net/index.html

http://www.palgroup.co.jp/brands/doudou/

http://www.turnojeana.jp/

http://www.frees-mart.com/index.html

http://m-muriel.jp/index.html

http://www.elleva.jp/

http://www.frame-works.co.jp/index_n.html

http://blog-s.frame-works.co.jp/ Spick and Span official blog

http://www.jolly-boutique.com/

http://www.world.co.jp/opaqueclip/

http://royalflash-jp.com/pc/home.html

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://sanyo-i.jp  –  Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

August 9, 2012

Japan Tourism in Toyama: Kurobe Lake and the amazing beauty of Toyama Prefecture

Japan Tourism in Toyama: Kurobe Lake and the amazing beauty of Toyama Prefecture

Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan is blessed (http://www.alpen-route.com/english/) with so many amazing places to visit that tourists are literary spoilt for choice. Familiar names for international tourists will apply to Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura, and countless other places like beautiful Koyasan in Wakayama. Therefore, with so many places to pick and choose it is difficult to pick one special place because you have so many fantastic places to visit.

If you adore stunning nature whereby you can relax and see the majesty of this world then Kurobe Lake and the beautiful prefecture of Toyama is highly recommended. Toyama prefecture is relatively small but despite this the area is a wonder to behold because of stunning nature throughout this delightful part of Japan. In the north you will find the Sea of Japan and Toyama is bordered by Ishikawa prefecture, Gifu, Nagano and Niigata.

One very special place is the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route which attracts around one million visitors each year. This amazing place is known internationally because of the stunning scenery and abundant places to visit and enjoy a special holiday. Prior to 1971 the remoteness of the area meant that it was difficult to travel around but since this year the transportation system opened up a real gem of an area.

Despite this, the local government of Toyama desired to maintain a natural balance between sublime nature and creating a tourist trade which would benefit the local community, tourists and preserve nature and the amazing environment. Therefore, you have major areas which protect wildlife and all development projects took enormous care in creating an environment which enhanced all angles. The end result of this well thought out plan is that you have a destination place which tourists desire to visit because they also understand that the natural environment remains un-spoilt.

The stunning (http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.htmlmountain range of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an enormous pulling power because the scenic views will literally melt the heart. This special route is approximately 90 kilometers long and this exquisite natural paradise is called the “roof of Japan.” The North Alpine mountain range is a place where seeing-is-believing and if you have never been to this part of Japan before then once bitten always smitten. Another special feature is the transportation system which enhances everything and this applies to the train system, cable car, ropeway, highland bus routes and trolley bus. Therefore, depending on when you travel to this part of Japan you can see the first signs of new life during the spring period, feel the increasing power of the sun throughout the summer time, witness the adorable red leaves of autumn and view the first snow falls which changes the landscape quickly. However, the area does close during the real cold winter time because the snow falls are too deep and dangerous.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “If you want to witness magnificent “Snow Walls” then you must visit between the middle of April to the end of May. The “Snow Walls” are very beautiful and it is an amazing experience and clearly this season is very popular. It must also be added that the Murodo-daira area of Tateyama on average reaches roughly seven meters of snow during the winter season. Also, in some areas you have snowdrifts reaching around twenty meters and the region gets some of the heaviest snow falls in the world.”

“The Kurobe Dam is a major tourist attraction and from June 26 to October 15 you can witness the water discharge from the dam which is spectacular to say the least. Therefore, this central point is a lovely place to visit and the panorama views are amazing and this applies to the Tateyama Mountain Range and the North Alpine area.”

Another lovely feature of the Kurobe Dam is that you can enjoy boat trips on Kurobe Lake and gently walk around parts of the lake at your own pace. In every direction you will see adorable views which will last long in the memory. The Kurobe Gorge is beyond your wildest dreams. Also, the Kurobe Gorge Railway transportation system will enhance everything. This applies to providing amazing views while you travel in this adorable part of Japan. The ropeways and cable cars which connect everything also blend naturally within the environment and this is because of the care of the local government.

Throughout Toyama you have so many amazing places to visit that the following places are only a partial list. Therefore, it is essential to check all the websites provided in this article and to search around carefully. This partial list applies to the stunning Kurobe Valley; the fascinating Gokayama Village which is rightly a World Heritage site; the Unazuki-onsen which is a pearl of a place to visit because it soothes the body and mind; the Zuiryu-ji Temple which connects people with the bigger picture in life; the amazing Shogawa-kyo Valley area; and a host of other amazing places to visit.

Another (http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/) important website to visit is the Japan National Tourism Organization because this website provides essential information about Toyama Prefecture. Also, like the name implies, the Japan National Tourism Organization provides information about tourist destinations throughout Japan.

Toyama prefecture is very special!

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/

http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/en/index.html

http://www.info-toyama.com/english/index.html

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/Highlight_theater/index.html

http://www.kurobe-dam.com/

http://www.alpen-route.com/english/map/index.html Alpine Route Map

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/destinations/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 9, 2012

Pola Museum of Art in stunning Hakone: Picasso and the Pola Collection

Pola Museum of Art in stunning Hakone: Picasso and the Pola Collection

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Pola Museum of Art (http://www.polamuseum.or.jp/english/in stunning Hakone is once more providing another beautiful collection to enjoy. This delightful and cultural museum is following on from the last beautiful exhibition which highlighted The Development of Impressionism: Monet, Renoir, and the Next Generations. Therefore, while this exhibition is now finished you now have another stunning exhibition titledPicasso and the Pola Collection (1st Period) which runs between July 14 and October 2, 2012.

If individuals have never been to Hakone then this place is truly magical and within reasonable distance from Tokyo. Indeed, for people who reside in Japan then visiting once isn’t enough because you have so many options available.

This applies to the stunning views which can be witnessed in all directions. The amazing natural beauty of the countryside and spectacular views of Mount Fuji from various vantage points is a wonder to behold. On top of this is the cultural side to Hakone because you have so many different galleries and cultural themes to visit. Therefore, Hakone is a place to enjoy the beautiful mountain landscapes and to connect with Japanese culture.

In total you have three exhibitions being linked together but which will be exhibited at different times. The second exhibition is called Monet and the Pola Collection (2nd Period) which runs from October 5, 2012 to February 26, 2013. This will be followed by the final and third exhibition titled Sugiyama Yasushi and the Pola Collection (3rd Period) which will be held from March 1, 2013 to July 7, 2013.

The binding theme of all three exhibitions is Suzuki Tsuneshi (1930-2000). This can be seen by the title called Looking for Beauty: Art Collector Suzuki Tsuneshi. In total Suzuki Tsuneshi graced the world of art by collecting countless stunning pieces of art over a period of 40 years.

On the Pola Museum of Art website it is stated that Suzuki Tsuneshi (1930 – 2000), son of the founder of Pola Orbis Group, assembled the works in the Pola Museum of Art collection over a period of 40 years. In all, there are around 9500 works, representing a range of genres, including modern European painting, modern Japanese Western-style painting, contemporary nihonga (Japanese-style painting), prints, sculpture, Oriental ceramics, modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics, glasswork, and cosmetic utensils.”

“The Pola Museum of Art collection, recognized as the largest, in both diversity and quality, by a Japanese post-war private collector, was created almost entirely by Suzuki Tsuneshi, a reserved person who talked little about the artworks or his collecting activities. Since the Museum’s opening, we have been interacting with the collection and making efforts to understand the artistic sense of this unassuming man. By analyzing works that strongly relate to Suzuki as an individual and as a public figure, this 10th anniversary exhibition aims to explore how Suzuki built up the collection. Further, the exhibition introduces cultural activities Suzuki Tsuneshi engaged in.”

The exhibition titled Picasso and the Pola Collection (1st Period) highlights the work of various fabulous artists who have blessed the art world. A partial list of artists highlighted in this exhibition applies to Pablo Picasso, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Okada Saburosuke, Georges Seurat, Sugiyama Yasushi, Emile Galle, Oka Shikanosuke, Henri Rousseau, Odilon Redon, Georges Henri Rouault, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees van Dongen, Maurice Utrillo, Leonard Foujita, Oguiss Takanori, Kishida Ryusei and others.

It is clear by the list above that you have a rich mixture of Japanese and Western artists. Also, the different styles are another attraction and clearly Oka Shikanosuke and Henri Rousseau flow naturally together. Therefore, the exhibition is a must place to visit for people who adore art.

Also, within the museum you can eat delicious European cuisine and enjoy the stunning scenery. For individuals who prefer something more casual then people can enjoy tea, coffee and snacks. Another added bonus is the Museum Shop which is a lovely place to browse around and buy delightful products.

In another article about the beautiful nature of Hakone and the cultural angle of this amazing place it was stated by Modern Tokyo Times that “Hakone is situated in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and the entire region is a tourist paradise whereby stunning nature is in all directions and you have so many cultural treasures to view. This notably applies to the Narukawa Art Museum for modern Japanese paintings; the Hakone Open Air Museum; the Pola Museum of Art; Venetian Glass Museum; Suzuhiro Corp. Kamaboko Museum; volcanically active Owakudani geysers; Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands; Odawara Castle Donjon; Local History Museum; Museum of Saint Exupery and the Little Pince in Hakone; Hakone Old Takaido Road Museum; Hakone Mononofu-no-Sato Art Museum; Hakone Art Museum; Honma Yosegi Museum; Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History; and you have a wealth of parks and special walks to go on.” 

If individuals are lucky then it is highly recommended to stay for a few days in beautiful Hakone and enjoy the best of stunning nature and the array of culture provided. Of course, the Pola Museum of Art is a must place to visit because of the delightful exhibitions they provide. Also, the express train from Tokyo to Hakone doesn’t take so long and the Odakyu Train Group provides a fantastic transport service if you buy a special pass.

http://www.polamuseum.or.jp/english/index.php  Pola Museum of Art

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2012/02/29/japan-tourism-and-culture-hakone-jinja-historical-treasure-museum-and-mount-fuji/

 

Images in this article relate to the artists who will be highlighted and not to any specific art pieces which will be part of the exhibition.  Please view the website of the Pola Museum of Art to find out more.

July 13, 2012

Mount Takao-san in Tokyo is an ideal place to visit

Mount Takao-san in Tokyo is an ideal place to visit

Olivier LeCourt, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japanese tourism is internationally famous because of many different angles. This applies to the rich traditions of Japanese culture which can be found throughout this nation. Therefore, images of the Japanese tea ceremony, kabuki, ukiyo-e, Buddhism, Shintoism, Japanese gardens, kimono and other traditional clothes, onsen, sumo, Japanese calligraphy, martial arts, haiku, and a host of other intriguing aspects are conjured up in the mind.

Likewise, images of Tokyo and major cities like Osaka remind people of ultra-modernity, state-of-the-art-technology, skyscrapers, and various modern cultural angles related to cosplay, maid café, kawaii culture, anime, manga and a wealth of other areas. However, within Tokyo you also have stunning mountains in and around Mount Takao. Therefore, for Tokyoites and tourists alike, the mountain scenery of Mount Takao is a welcome escape from the buzzing reality of modern Tokyo.

Another major aspect of Mount Takao is that the mountain range is blessed with many religious dimensions. Therefore, during your walking time you will often notice special holy places. This aspect of Mount Takao means that individuals will find an inner-peace based on the natural scenery which is extremely stunning. At the same time, the religious dimension provides a spiritual re-awakening for individuals who have lapsed from religion and the same applies to individuals who may be atheist. This doesn’t imply that people will suddenly find spirituality. However, people can’t fail to notice the religious dimension which blends naturally with the environment.

The cultural aspect of Mount Takao is extremely special and the natural reality of Shintoism means that faith and nature meet naturally within this unique religion. Given this reality, the power of the past remains spiritually alive within the natural world despite the different centuries ushering in more technological progress. Also, despite all the technological progress it is clear that the stunning scenery of the countryside can’t be matched because of the natural potency of nature.

The historical legacy of Mount Takao is also very important because Emperor Shomu ordered the building of the Yakou-in Temple in 744. This rich legacy enabled the religious angle to develop to a greater degree and provided a strong historical lineage to be cherished and honored. Therefore, since the eighth century you have had countless number of pilgrims and non-religious people who have visited Mount Takao because of the cultural and religious dimensions of this part of Tokyo.

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “During your visit you will see a statue of “Tengu” and Tengu is believed to be a deified man who mastered ancient mountain worship. Tengu is noticeable by having a long nose but the undercurrents of ancestor worship, Shintoism, and believing in the spirit world of the mountain is striking……mythology and a wisdom now lost is symbolized by the image of Tengu.”

“From an outsiders point of view Tengu reminds me of a mixture of human form and nature whereby the individual was at one with the mountain that he loved and therefore was deified.”

Mount Takao is protected by the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park therefore it is a place where wildlife can escape the onset of continuing developments. For Tokyoites who visit regularly, then this stunning place is a way of escaping all the stresses of modern life. Meanwhile, hikers will enjoy the various contours of Mount Takao.

Therefore, Mount Takao is a very special place to visit and it is protected by the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park. This stunning part of Tokyo is a reminder that the old world is still alive and ticking. Also, despite the modern reality of Tokyo you still have a magnificent mountain range on the edges of this fabulous city to explore and enjoy.

Mount Takao is extremely therapeutic. Therefore, tourists, religious people, romantic couples, individuals seeking refreshment, photographers, school children, artists, culture vultures, and so much more, will find this adorable place deeply refreshing.

 

http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/  – Mount Takao-san

http://www.japan-guide.co  – Mount Takao-sanm/e/e3029.html

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/takaosan.html  – Mount Takao-san

Takaosan-guchi Station via the  Keio Takao Line

http://moderntokyotimes.com  (please visit)

July 13, 2012

Tokyo fashion and tourism in Harajuku and Omotesando: Meiji Jingu to fashion

Tokyo fashion and tourism in Harajuku and Omotesando: Meiji Jingu to fashion

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

In 2012 the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara) opened for business and this vibrant new shopping complex which caters for fashion highlights the dynamics of Harajuku and Omotesando. This applies to new fashion styles, major changes related to architecture, fresh thinking, and other powerful dynamics. Therefore, Omohara, just like Omotesando Hills, is continuing with this fresh approach but the beauty of the entire area is that Harajuku and Omotesando remain to be distinctive.

Fashion tourism is increasingly growing in Tokyo and this applies to both individuals who reside in other parts of Japan and to international tourists. Powerful fashion areas like Aoyama, Harajuku, Ginza, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, are internationally famous to individuals who adore fashion. The reasons behind this are various and extremely dramatic because this applies to refined boutiques to kawaii culture and a host of other fashion trends.

However, for first time visitors to Harajuku then clearly you have many dimensions to this stunning part of Tokyo which flows naturally into Omotesando. One major attraction is the Meiji Jingu shrine which is a stunning Shinto religious place of worship. The grounds are enormous and the natural flow of nature and Shinto is enshrined by the beautiful design and landscape which works magically together.

Therefore, the Meiji Jingu is a must place to visit in Tokyo because individuals can contemplate in the spacious surroundings and enjoy the adorable garden. Also, the freedom of the Shinto faith is a rich blessing because you don’t have any restrictions on dress sensibilities, no overt missionary work, and of course Shinto and nature are embedded together. Given this, the stunning architecture of the main religious area blends naturally with the environment. The various walks within the grounds are also very therapeutic and it is easy to forget that you are in central Tokyo. If you are lucky, then you may witness a wedding, special event or see Shinto holy people walking around in unique dress styles related to their faith.

Another amazing aspect of the Meiji Jingu is that just outside the main gate you will often see young adults dressed in amazing outfits. This applies to Lolita fashion, cosplay and other unique trends which can be found in this part of Tokyo. Therefore, within seconds people pass from the world of new fashion vibes and daring styles to the uniqueness of the Shinto faith. However, because of the laidback nature of Shintoism everything seems natural.

Within minutes of leaving the main Harajuku Yamanote train station you either enter the world of religion or the world of fashion. Of course, for tourists, they will enter both worlds and enjoy a nice walk in Yoyogi Park. Turning to the fashion angle, then the Takeshita-dori is extremely busy because so many youngsters who adore fashion and the subcultures of Harajuku visit this place. Indeed, for young Tokyoites it is “a rite of passage” and the same applies to young people visiting Harajuku from surrounding prefectures which include Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama.

The beauty of Harajuku and Omotesando is that the Takeshita-dori is a million miles away from the fashion vibes of the main street which connects these two amazing fashion districts. Therefore, the youthful nature of the Takeshita-dori, kawaii culture, Lolita fashion, mainstream fashion, casual fashion, exquisite styles, and so much more, can be found within the same environment. Given this, within minutes you enter different fashion zones and styles and the same applies to the architecture. Also, the backstreets of Harajuku going towards Shibuya and similar backstreets in Omotesando are laden with casual fashion companies and independent and daring boutiques.

Omotesando Hills on the main street which connects Harajuku and Omotesando is blessed with fantastic boutiques. The architecture of this shopping mall is also very stylish and inside you have a mystical feel about the place because of the layout and lighting. Exquisite boutiques follow naturally inside and this applies to Adore, Anterpima, Apartment Department, Betsey Johnson, Black Fleece, Escada Sport, iliann leob, Kiwa Sylphy, Martinique Le Conte, Milly, Tiara, Oriental News, Patrizia Pepe Firenze (Incontro) Tour H. creer (Merveille H.), Tracy Reese, Yves Saint Laurent, and Zara.

If you visit (http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/ ) the website of Omotesando Hills then you will note that you have many companies inside which cater for lifestyle and beauty. A partial list of companies related to this angle includes Createur Reveal (nail salon), hair make Pas de deux (hair salon), le bois (spa and beauty treatment), M.A.C. (cosmetics), and shu uemura beauty boutique (cosmetics).

Another recent angle to Harajuku and Omotesando is the new Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku complex which highlights fashion and other angles related to the area. The nickname of this place is Omohara and not only is this mall blessed with sophisticated boutiques but also you have a nice garden and places to sit outside. Omohara links both Harajuku and Omotesando together therefore the name Omohara is most suitable.

Inside this elegant building you have many exquisite boutiques and various different fashion trends. Fashion companies located within Omohara applies to The Shel’tter Tokyo, Charms, American Eagle Outfitters, Minnetonka, Laboratory Work ReCurrent, Pink Trick, Rady, Rione Doras, Juge ETTA, Loaves, Phoebe, Roomy’s, Amo’s Style by Triumph, Tommy Hilfiger, Cheek by Archives, Choosy Chu, Glam Baby, Flag, Goa, Humor Shop by A-net, and Jewelna Rose.

Also, within Omohara you have lifestyle stores and places to relax and enjoy your shopping experience. The rooftop observatory is also a real delight and clearly this attraction is extremely appealing. Therefore, Omohara, Omotesando Hills and Laforet Harajuku are collectively creating a real buzz and vibe. This buzz and vibe continues within independent boutiques like 6%DOKIDOKI throughout both fashion districts and this is what is so special about Harajuku and Omotesando. Simply put, the amazing diversity and creativity of both districts is not only a gem for Tokyo but it is also “an international fashion gem” for all fashion lovers.

Laforet Harajuku (http://www.laforet.ne.jp/is an iconic store alongside Shibuya 109 and Marui One in Shinjuku. Within Laforet Harajuku you have a plethora of diverse boutiques which cater for many different styles. Laforet Harajuku just like Shibuya 109 is “a rite of passage” for fashion lovers in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures. Boutiques like Deicy, Topshop, Nomine, Lowrys Farm, and so many other amazing boutiques can be found in this fantastic fashion zone.

Harajuku and Omotesando are must places to visit if you adore Japanese and international fashion. The independent spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI to the buzzing casual scene in the backstreets is a real treasure. Similarly, mainstream fashion and exquisite styles can be found in so many stores and fantastic shopping malls. At the same time, the Meiji Jingu is a reminder of “the spiritual dimension” to this lovely part of Tokyo providing individuals seek solace. Overall, both districts are extremely special and collectively they provide a fantastic destination to visit.

 

http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/ Meiji Jingu Shrine

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3006.html Meiji Jingu and other tourist information

http://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/en/  Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara)

http://www.japanforum.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=2    (Harajuku fashion)

http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/?eid=508     (personal blog of Sebastian Masuda)

http://www.dokidoki6.com/    (Please visit this fashion website of 6%Dokidoki) 

http://www.metrocity.nl/tokyo/streetfashion/harajuku-fashion/

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/  Omotesando Hills Shopping Mall

Partial list of stores in Omotesando Hills

http://www.laforet.ne.jp/en/harajuku.html Laforet Harajuku 

http://www.adore2005.com/

http://anteprima.com/ 

http://www.ap-dp.com/

http://www.betseyjohnson.jp/ 

http://www.brooksbrothers.co.jp/fleece/index.html

http://www.erikonail.com/ 

http://www.escada.com/

http://www.iliannloeb.com/ 

http://eu.jimmychoo.com/en/restofworld/page/home?notify=yes

http://www.kiwasylphy.jp/ 

http://www.lebois.jp/

http://www.maccosmetics.co.jp/ 

http://www.merveilleh.co.jp/

http://www.melrose.co.jp/martinique/index.html 

http://ameblo.jp/oriental-news-omotesando/

http://www.incontro.co.jp/ 

http://www.melrose.co.jp/tiara/

http://www.pasdedeux.co.jp  

http://www.ysl.com/d/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/10/14/tokyo-fashion-omotesando-hills-and-adorable-fashion-in-tokyo/ 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://www.moderntokyotimes.com

June 25, 2012

Tokyo lifestyle and Ikebukuro: fashion, place to reside, and prime location

Tokyo lifestyle and Ikebukuro: fashion, place to reside, and prime location

Sarah Deschamps, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo lifestyle is extremely rich and choosing an ideal location to reside depends greatly on the demands of the individual. However, if you like the hustle and bustle of a very powerful area in Tokyo then Ikebukuro is a great choice. Also, the great thing about Ikebukuro is that the price mechanism varies accordingly and in the backstreets you will also find a more tranquil way of life.

The fashion angle of Ikebukuro is extremely powerful and this applies to department stores which include Lumine, Esola, Tobu Department Store, Seibu Department Store, Marui, Parco, and others. This means that Ikebukuro feels extremely young and vibrant in the main shopping areas of East Ikebukuro and West Ikebukuro. The central theme is the huge train station which links so many department stores.

Ikebukuro is blessed with several universities and you also have several other institutions which are nearby. This once more means that this vibrant part of Tokyo is blessed with an enormous pulling power. The same applies to Ikebukuro being the “gateway” which links Saitama with this powerful commercial area in Tokyo. Therefore, many individuals who reside in Saitama will pick Ikebukuro being their first major shopping destination in Tokyo. Similarly, many Tokyoites will also pick Ikebukuro because of the fashion angle and the vibrancy of the nightlife.

West Ikebukuro provides a different angle because it is more cosmopolitan and the abundance of fashion is amazing. This applies to utilizing the adorable Tobu Department Store which caters for amazing fashion brands, crafts, delicious food, and so much more. Also, for expats you have a fine selection of international cheese, wine, beer, and other products to make you feel like “home from home.”

Tobu Department Store also connects with Lumine Department Store in several places and both entities enrich each other. After all, both department stores have unique features and for young ladies who adore fashion then Lumine is one of the most popular department stores in Tokyo. Of course Tobu Department Store provides adorable boutiques for people of both sexes and different age groups. However, the price mechanism and nature of boutiques are different with Tobu Department Store having many exclusive boutiques and being more conservative. Meanwhile the trendy buzz and vibe of Lumine appeals greatly to younger ladies (also caters for male fashion) because this company understands the latest trends. Therefore, Lumine selects powerful shops-in-shop companies to be based in their department stores in order to meet the demands of the younger generation.

Esola is another lovely department store for ladies and Marui is also based in West Ikebukuro. Marui like Lumine is also in high demand for fashion lovers throughout Tokyo because both stores are extremely trendy. Meanwhile Esola provides a lovely elegant feel because despite have many exquisite boutiques, it isn’t too sizeable and this provides a lovely shopping experience. Also, within each department store they cater for other products and you have so many places to eat in the same buildings. This is an added bonus because people can unwind with friends and so forth by relaxing in stylish restaurants where the food is scrumptious.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space will re-open this autumn in 2012 and once the new design is on view then people will be able to relax in a stylish arena which caters to the cultural angle of Ikebukuro. Japan Traditional Craft Center in Ikebukuro is also a must place to visit for adorable Japanese crafts. This building is connected to Tobu Department Store and opposite Lumine. The Japan Traditional Craft Center provides a wealth of amazing products and this lovely shopping experience is richly rewarding.

In East Ikebukuro you have Parco Department Store and Seibu Department Store along with a host of other fashion companies in the streets of this side of Ikebukuro. Parco is another vibrant fashion zone for the younger generation meanwhile Seibu Department Store caters for a wealth of diverse products. Also, Seibu Department Store is blessed with stunning boutiques and clearly it is a great place to shop.

Also, on this side of Ikebukuro is Sunshine City which caters for shopping, entertainment, an aquarium, museums, observation deck, and hotel facilities. Sunshine City is an enormous attraction and the streets nearby provide a vibrant atmosphere. This applies to anime stores, entertainment, restaurants, nightlife, independent boutiques, and so much more.

Overall, the lifestyle of Ikebukuro is richly rewarding because this part of Tokyo provides so many options to enjoy. Not only this, the housing areas are relatively quiet and relaxing despite being very close to the buzzing central area. Ikebukuro is also very close to Shinjuku, Ueno, Shibuya, Harajuku, and other major parts of Tokyo. The price mechanism of the housing also means that this part of Tokyo is more affordable than most but of course you can also find places which are extremely expensive. Much depends on your purchasing power. Yet when it comes to being a desirable place to reside in Tokyo then Ikebukuro provides a wealth of options.

 

All photo images taken by Modern Tokyo Times 

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://www.esola-ikebukuro.com/ 

http://orizzonti.co.jp/category/actuel/ 

http://www.barbie-stores.com/ 

http://www.bluebellmarket.net/index.html 

http://www.palgroup.co.jp/brands/doudou/ 

http://www.turnojeana.jp/ 

http://www.frees-mart.com/index.html 

http://m-muriel.jp/index.html 

http://www.elleva.jp/ 

http://www.frame-works.co.jp/index_n.html 

http://blog-s.frame-works.co.jp/  Spick and Span official blog

http://www.jolly-boutique.com/ 

http://www.world.co.jp/opaqueclip/ 

http://royalflash-jp.com/pc/home.html 

http://sanyo-i.jp    –  Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

http://www.parco.co.jp/customer/ikebukuro/IkebukuroPARCO_FloorGuide.pdf

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

June 13, 2012

Tokyo tourism: Bridgestone Museum of Art and stunning exhibitions

Tokyo tourism: Bridgestone Museum of Art and stunning exhibitions

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Bridgestone Museum of Art (http://www.bridgestone-museum.gr.jp/en/is currently holding an adorable exhibition which will finish on June 24, 2012. This current exhibition is to commemorate the sixtieth year of the creation of this amazing art gallery in the heart of Tokyo. Following the current exhibition titled“Bridgestone Museum of Art at Sixty: You’ve Got to See These Paintings” it will be followed by an intriguing exhibition about “Debussy, Music and the Arts” which will run between July 14 and October 14, 2012. Therefore, all year round you will find extremely fascinating and diverse exhibitions which highlight culture, history, the arts, and so much more related to important elements of human interaction.

This article is about the current exhibition titled the “Bridgestone Museum of Art at Sixty: You’ve Got to See These Paintings.” The exhibition is aimed at highlighting the development of this intriguing museum and special themes have been selected to split the exhibition into eleven fascinating areas.

On the website of the Bridgestone Museum of Art it comments that “Here visitors can enjoy the essence of the Ishibashi Foundation Collection. It has been six decades since we began carefully to add to what began as Ishibashi Shojiro’s personal collection. We now offer our visitors the opportunity to savor the results in depth.”

The eleven “thematic categories” in this exhibition are The Self-Portrait, The Portrait, The Nude, Models, Leisure, The Narrative, Mountains, Rivers, The Sea, The Still Life, and Contemporary Art. Each theme highlights the beauty of Western art and Japanese art. The diversity of the artists on show means that the senses and fusions of ideas challenge you in each section and clearly you have many common denominators, notably the lore of France for many Japanese artists.

In the first theme titled The Self-Portrait the most striking image is Paul Cezanne because the color scheme, powerful eyes, and the rich background highlights many aspects of his art. The sternest image applies to Sakamoto Hanjiro because he looks “cold” and emanating strength. In the other direction the world of Pablo Picasso highlights the world he portrayed therefore no noticeable features can be seen. Unlike the portrayal of Sakamoto Hanjiro the image of Rembrandt van Rijin highlights innocence and a person who appears open.

The next theme takes you to The Portrait and the art works selected and the portraits highlighted apply to various themes. Pierre-Auguste Renoir in the Young Girl and Mlle Georgette Charpentier Seated highlights the innocence of young girls who have the world in front of them. Leonard Foujita (Fujita Tsuguharu) in contrast focuses on an elegant and sophisticated lady who looks extremely appealing. The most illuminating image is titled the Boy by Sekine Shoji because the facial expression and usage of red leaves a deep impression.

The Nude is the third theme and the two most distinctive images are After the Bath by Edgar Degas andWoman Reclining by Kuniyoshi Yasuo. Edgar Degas is clearly taking extreme care because the detail is very sophisticated. While Kuniyoshi Yasuo shows a lady entering another world with her eyes closed and the contours of her body expressing natural beauty. Alternatively, Henri Matisse painting called Nude in the Studiotypifies his distinctive style and much is left to the imagination. The most realistic pieces of art which are clear in this section apply to Wada Eisaku and Okada Saburosuke.

Following this theme is Models which flows naturally from The Nude section. This collection highlights six various pieces of art. The style of Henri Matisse means that his Woman with Blue Bodice is the most distinctive because the other pieces of art focus on mainstream images. The one image which is striking for its diversity and richness is the Girl of Brehat by Kuroda Seiki. For you have many fascinating angles which highlights the innocence of a young lady who isn’t broken by poverty and her surroundings. It could feasibly highlight nervousness to some individuals but personally this image focuses on strength despite adversity. Both pieces of art by Fujishima Takeji are classics because Black Fan and Woman of Ciociaria show two women who are very alluring because of their elegant features. Young Woman in the Woods by Camille Corot is also very beautiful but within a more simplistic message than the two paintings by Fujishima Takeji.

Leisure is the next theme and all seven pieces of art are extremely different. In a sense, this section is the most diverse because of the various styles of the artists. Therefore, it is difficult to pinpoint the most striking images because much will depend on the personal attraction of the viewer. Of course, this will apply to each piece of art but in this theme it isn’t easy to highlight what stands out because each image is extremely distinctive by itself. In saying that, the work titled In the Wings at the Circus by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is extremely fascinating because of the color scheme and layout. The darkness of In the Lamplight by Pierre Bonnard leaves much to the imagination but when you look very close up it is clear that the atmosphere is extremely relaxing. Overall, this theme is the most diverse because you have the natural leisure time by the sea painted by Eugene Boudin, to the non-facial and foggy contours of Masked Ball at the Opera by Edouard Manet, and this is followed by the striking colors of Saltimbanque Seated with Arms Crossed by Pablo Picasso.

The Narrative is the next theme and Christ in the Outskirts by Georges Rouault is extremely powerful by its simplicity and meaning. Also, for many artists they were “in the outskirts” because of thinking, poverty, and being unrecognized compared with the talents they had. Honore Daumier on the other hand is depicting a picture of strength and the color scheme to Don Quixote in the Mountains is extremely beautiful. The art work titled Onamuchi-no-mikoto by Aoki Shigeru is one of his finest pieces of work that he ever produced. This applies to the potency of the image and the mysterious angle regarding the lady holding her breast and looking directly at the viewer who studies this art piece. On top of this you have the majesty of A Biblical or Historical Nocturnal Scene by Rembrandt van Rijin.

Following on from The Narrative is the Mountains theme. This fascinating section highlights a traditional Japanese artist called Sesshu Toyo. He, like Rembrandt van Rijin, belongs to a different world than the majority of artists on show because both these artists belong to a completely different period of history. The Landscape of the Four Seasons by Sesshu Toyo is a reminder of the rich connection between China and Japan and how both cultures have impacted on each other. Mount Sainte-Victoire and Chateau Noir by Paul Cezanne is a completely different style than Sesshu Toyo but the majesty of nature and architecture bridges time, culture, style, and perspectives. Similarly, you can see a rich connection between Meadowland by Henri Rousseau andPower Plant in the Snow by Oka Shikanosuke. This doesn’t apply to the themes selected by both artists but it certainly applies to the style of art and clearly Oka Shikanosuke admired Henri Rousseau. The art pieces by Paul Gauguin, Gustave Courbet, Camille Corot, and Sakamoto Hanjiro, are all extremely beautiful based on different factors. Indeed, Ville d’Avray by Camille Corot could be a scene from any nation with a similar countryside landscape. Therefore, this stunning piece of art is timeless and international within nations that share a similar backdrop within the countryside.

Moving on to the next theme titled Rivers.  The stunning June Morning in Saint-Mammes by Alfred Sisley is a true delight along with Women Going to the Woods by the same artist. Alfred Sisley produced countless numbers of amazing landscapes and the nature of Vegetable Garden by Camille Pissarro which is highlighted in this collection would have appealed greatly to him. Flood at Argenteuvil, Water Lily Pond, and Water Liliesby Claude Monet highlights the majesty of this amazing artist who is deeply admired in Japan. The art pieces by Vincent van Gogh titled Windmills on Montmartre, Washing Place in Grez-sur-Loing by Asai Chu, and the delightful Landscape near Vernon by Pierre Bonnard, are real treats which show the power of the Rivers theme. Indeed, every piece of art in this collection is richly rewarding and while it isn’t clear why Café Terrace with Posters by Saeki Yuzo is in the Rivers theme, this doesn’t distract from the power of this piece of art which was created by an individual who died extremely young and in tragic circumstances. Another quality piece of art applies to Canal Boat by Maurice de Vlaminck which is so rich when it comes to the color scheme and with an industrial landscape in the background fitting in gently because of the amazing style of this artist.

The richness of this amazing exhibition is further highlighted by the next theme titled The SeaOnce more Claude Monet comes to prominence because the Belle-Ile, Rain Effect highlights the rugged beauty of nature.Collioure by Henri Matisse once more shows the powerful individuality of this artist and the style fits in well withPort of Concarneau by Paul Signac. Fujishima Takeji comes to prominence in this collection because four pieces of his art are displayed. Each piece highlights the richness of Fujishima Takeji but Waves at Oaraistands out because it is a real gem. In contrast to this is the delightful Distant View of Awajishima which is tranquil compared with the Waves at Oarai. Similarly to the power of the above mentioned artist is the stunningSeascape, Mera by Aoki Shigeru.

Following on from this theme is The Still Life collection whereby Roses and Lemons and a Melon by Yasui Sotaro are extremely beautiful. The theme of both isn’t complex but the style and power of color is a wonder to behold and highlights the strength of Yasui Sotaro. Innocent Moonlit Night by Koga Harue is intriguing because of the chaotic nature of things in the layout but the layout itself is based on order in a surreal sense. This collection is also blessed with Peaches by Pierre Bonnard, Bowl and Milk-jug by Paul Cezanne, Interior, House in Dordogne by Leonard Foujita, and Still Life with Horse’s Head by Paul Gauguin.

The final theme in this entire exhibition is titled Contemporary Art. In this collection the piece of art by Zao Wou-ki takes prominence because of the richness of the background. Other notable pieces of art includeComposition by Serge Poliakoff and Red Devil by Sugai Kumi.

Overall, the exhibition by the Bridgestone Museum of Art is a real treasure because the art on show is full of richness, diversity, and imagination. The artists speak for themselves because you have so many amazing artists which are highlighted in this adorable exhibition. Therefore, irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or tourist, the Bridgestone Museum of Art should come highly on your agenda because the richness of culture highlighted at this institution is truly remarkable.

http://www.bridgestone-museum.gr.jp/en/ in English

http://www.bridgestone-museum.gr.jp/  in Japanese

The images in this article do not come from the Bridgestone Museum of Art. In order to view the real works by all the artists highlighted then please visit the above websites.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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June 3, 2012

Tokyo lifestyle: Canal Café in Iidabashi, Chinzan-so garden and fashion in Ikebukuro

Tokyo lifestyle: Canal Café in Iidabashi, Chinzan-so garden and fashion in Ikebukuro

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is a very intriguing city which caters for so many different lifestyles. Also, within such a short space of time you can visit a wealth of diversity. This article provides a glimpse into the richness of Tokyo life by focusing on areas which appeal to people of all ages.

Within 9 minutes on the Yurakucho subway line you can visit the mega fashion district of Ikebukuro, the adorable Chinzan-so garden and relax at the Canal Café in Iidabashi. All three places can be visited by the Yurakucho train line and in total it only takes between 9 to 10 minutes in travel time. This amazing area provides amazing relaxation, the crème de la crème of fashion boutiques, the stunning garden of Chinzan-so, delightful Canal Café whereby individuals can enjoy gentle rowing, and so much more.

The Canal Café in Iidabashi is a great place to relax and enjoy the view provided by this elegant café. When the weather permits you will see people enjoying rowing, sitting outside, enjoying the lovely environment, watching the distant trains go by, and soaking up the delightful atmosphere

Also, individuals can enjoy Italian cuisine, Thai curry, and a host of other dishes. The Canal Café provides ample choice and this applies to dining inside, eating certain dishes outside via the spacious seating which is available, relaxing with a quiet drink, and for more daring individuals, then relaxing by rowing. Indeed, the choice angle and spacious sitting areas within the Canal Café, is most appealing and for this reason many Tokyoites enjoy the ambient atmosphere time after time.

The La Cucina restaurant provides delicious Italian food. Therefore, people can decide on a scrumptious meal or a more casual time. Either way, the relaxing nature of the Canal Café, the rowing angle, scenic background, and the spacious layout; means that it is a place which is well worth visiting.

For lovers of fashion then Ikebukuro is an amazing place to visit because this trendy district is going from strength to strength.  The east-side is extremely busy but the fashion angle on the west-side is developing nicely and you have a different feel to both sides of Ikebukuro. Also, the huge train complex is an enormous hub for fashion. Therefore, you will find amazing department stores which include Lumine, Tobu Department Store, Seibu Department Store, Esola, Marui, Parco, and so many other fantastic places to visit, either within the train complex, connected by underground passages (Marui) or within a one minute walk (Parco on the east side).

Of course, Tobu Department Store and Seibu Department Store cater for a wide variety of shopping and both stores focus heavily on their respective Ikebukuro base. The age range may vary at each department store but collectively individuals of all ages are served in Ikebukuro and this applies to stylish companies which provide real quality. This fact means that the fashion scene in this thriving district is blessed with top notch Japanese and international fashion companies, which caters for a vast spectrum of styles.

In Esola you have lovely boutiques which include Actuel, Amphi, Barbie Store, Beardsley Gallardagalante, Blue Bell Market, DouDou, Elleva, FRAMeWORK, Free’s Mart, Jolly Boutique, Muriel & Mercuria, Nuit et Jour Spick and Span, Opaque Clip, Royal Flash, and Turno Jeana. Esola is on the west side and is near to Lumine, Tobu Department Store, within easy reach to the trendy Ikebukuro Fukutoshin area, and within minutes from Marui. Also, you have a delightful art and crafts center in the same vicinity which is a must place to visit for Tokyoites and tourists alike.

Within the same Yurakucho subway line catchment area you have Edogawabashi where Chinzan-so is located. Of course, Ikebukuro is served by many train lines and is the second busiest train station in Tokyo. However, the Yurakucho subway line hub which applies to this article opens up all three areas which are connected by this underground train line.

Chinzan-so is one of the most adorable places to visit in the whole of Tokyo because the garden is extremely rich in history. The landscape and architecture highlights the refinement of Japan within such a compact area. Also, you have many restaurants within Chinzan-so in order to eat scrumptious food and the Japanese angle means that each place matches the scenic surrounding.

On top of this, you have an amazing hotel called the Four Seasons Hotel which is internationally famous(http://www.fourseasons.com/tokyo/) because of the sublime luxury that this company provides. The Chinzan-so based Four Seasons Hotel is located in such an amazing part of Tokyo, that a stay at this luxury hotel must rank high on the list of all individuals who adore quality in all directions. This applies to the stunning garden of Chinzan-so, the exquisite architecture, scrumptious food, richness of culture, and the majestic luxury of Four Seasons Hotel.

Turning back to the stunning beauty of Chinzan-so then in a previous article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Chinzan-so is a stunning garden in Tokyo whereby you can view the natural beauty of an amazing Japanese garden, beautiful architecture, elements of Buddhism, the magical world of Shintoism, and so much more. Also, unlike the vast majority of stunning gardens in Tokyo which close early this doesn’t apply to Chinzan-so therefore at night the garden is also extremely beautiful and you have many restaurants to eat scrumptious Japanese food. However, being Chinzan-so, then even the restaurants blend in with the natural environment and clearly this beautiful place would bless any major city in the world.”

Indeed, in Chinzan-so you also have a rich Taoist element. Therefore, the fusion of this philosophy, along with Buddhism and Shintoism, highlights the richness of this amazing garden. You also have a sacred 500 year old tree, a delightful waterfall, small Shinto shrine, Taoist images, lovely Pagoda, and so much more. This means that you can’t help but fall in love with Chinzan-so and the views at night are also extremely romantic because the garden is elegantly lit up.

Overall, the three places highlighted in this article show the richness of the lifestyle of Tokyo. After all, throughout this amazing city you will have countless catchment areas which are in easy distance because of the fantastic infrastructure of this high tech mega-city.

 

Chinzan-so and Four Seasons Hotel

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/

http://www.fourseasons.com/tokyo/   Four Seasons Hotel

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/restaurant.html

Canal Café

www.canalcafe.jp 

Fashion

http://www.esola-ikebukuro.com/

http://orizzonti.co.jp/category/actuel/

http://www.barbie-stores.com/

http://www.bluebellmarket.net/index.html

http://www.palgroup.co.jp/brands/doudou/

http://www.turnojeana.jp/

http://www.frees-mart.com/index.html

http://m-muriel.jp/index.html

http://www.elleva.jp/

http://www.frame-works.co.jp/index_n.html

http://blog-s.frame-works.co.jp/  Spick and Span official blog  

http://www.jolly-boutique.com/

http://www.world.co.jp/opaqueclip/

http://royalflash-jp.com/pc/home.html

Other Shops

http://www.loccitane.co.jp/shop/

http://www.unico-fan.co.jp/

http://www.aveda.co.jp/default.asp

http://www.laureloil.jp/

http://www.nonbrush.com/

http://gloccy.jp/

http://www.lunch8.com/

http://www.toffy.jp/

http://ameblo.jp/4ft-ikebukuro/

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

June 3, 2012

Tokyo lifestyle in Ueno: culture, fashion, and natural vibes

Tokyo lifestyle in Ueno: culture, fashion, and natural vibes

Sarah Deschamps, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Ueno district in Tokyo is extremely diverse because aspects of “Old Tokyo” still survive alongside modernity within this vibrant part of Tokyo. Ueno provides many cultural places to visit. Therefore, Tokyoites and tourists flock to this area because of the many attractions provided. However, within Ueno you get a real mish-mash which flows from cultural attractions to social deprivation; from fashion to the sex trade which is powerful; and other contradictory factors in this famous entertainment district.

Tokyo lifestyle in Ueno and the surrounding area provides a plethora of different angles but unlike most major parts of Tokyo, it is a district which is either loved strongly or disliked. It normally isn’t a district where people sit in the middle because of the very nature of the area. This applies to Tokyoites who are going to pick a new place to reside or to enjoy the natural vibes of this district.

However, from a tourist point of view then Ueno is a must place to visit because you have so many cultural attractions and places to enjoy. Also, the natural raw energy of Ueno can be felt because this part of Tokyo is very distinctive when compared with other major districts. Therefore, tourists can enjoy the usual cultural spots to visit and at night the entertainment aspect of Ueno is extremely vibrant.

Ueno is also a gateway for people who reside in Chiba prefecture and Ibaraki prefecture. In saying this, Ueno is still firmly entrenched within Tokyo because within a short distance by train you have thriving districts like Ikebukuro and Akihabara. In between you have sleepy but beautiful areas like Komagome which is blessed with stunning gardens. Also, Nippori is extremely fascinating because if you visit the old area, then you have many stunning temples to visit – and providing your knowledge of the area is really good, then individuals can walk from old Nippori to Ueno.

The most notable cultural attractions apply to the Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Western Art, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, National Museum of Eastern Art, Tokugawa Mausoleum, Shitamachi Museum, Sogakudo Concert Hall, University Art Museum (Tokyo University of the Arts), Tosho-gu-Shrine, Iwasaki Family House, Yushima Tenjin, the statue of Saigo Takamori, Ueno Park, Shinobazu Pond, and other attractions like Ueno Zoo. Therefore, from this extensive list, which could easily be added, it is clear that Tokyoites and tourists alike have much to enjoy in Ueno because the cultural factor is very important.

The diversity of Ueno can also be felt within the fashion angle because it is a real mixture of natural street fashion, top notch department stores, independent fashion, and other styles. Ueno isn’t like Aoyama, Ginza, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Omotesando when it comes to fashion; but this doesn’t take away from the buzzing fashion angle of Ueno. This means that the multi-dimensional factor behind Ueno is catering for different fashion vibes alongside the choice of major stores.

In Marui department store you will find many amazing boutiques and stores to visit. Marui is one of the most highly respected department stores for fashion lovers which can be found throughout Tokyo, and in other parts of Japan like Osaka. Marui focuses on lovely boutiques for ladies and caters for male fashion. At all times this company understands the trends of Japan and for this reason it’s pulling power remains strong year after year.

Stores that can be found in Marui in Ueno applies to Sly, Moussy, Vence, Peyton Place, Rew de Rew, Mercury Duo, Jill Stuart, Swingle, Samantha Thavasa, Xmiss, Gap, Muji, Tsumori Chisato, Anna Sui, Earth Music & Ecology, Laisse Passe, Will Selection, Mary Quant, and too many others to mention. The choice on offer by Marui sums up this company very well because you have so many elegant boutiques to visit and other companies in this adorable store. Therefore, Marui in Ueno is a magnet for fashion and the same applies to all Marui stores which enhance the lifestyle of so many Tokyoites.

Matsuzakaya is the most famous major shopping landmark in Ueno because this company was established in this part of Tokyo a very long time ago. Indeed, the company itself can trace itself back to the early seventeenth century. Matsuzakaya sells a vast array of products and given its rich history then individuals should pay a visit. Also, you can buy scrumptious food and enjoy the dining provided within this department store.

Ueno vibes can be felt in places like the Ameyoko bazaar (Ameya-yokocho bazaar) and Takeya where both places provide their own unique angle. Indeed, the Ameyoko bazaar stands out in Tokyo because you have a rare buzzing market to visit which caters for different goods. Likewise, Takeya caters for an array of products and the independent vibe is most welcoming. Therefore, both places are well worth a visit for bargains and to feel a different atmosphere which is rare for Tokyo.

Overall, Ueno is certainly very individualistic and the options available are enormous. This fact means that Tokyoites and tourists continue to flock to this part of Tokyo. Not surprisingly, the cultural angle is a huge pulling power. However, within Ueno you also have an interesting fashion scene and clearly it is a bustling place to reside. In saying that, the beauty of Ueno is that you also have many Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and cultural places to visit. This means that Ueno caters for a broad array of individuals.

http://www.tokyoessentials.com/ueno.html  (about Ueno)

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/ueno.html   (info about Ueno)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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