Posts tagged ‘tokyo tourism’

July 13, 2012

Tokyo Fashion and lifestyle in Daikanyama and Ebisu

Tokyo Fashion and lifestyle in Daikanyama and Ebisu

Kanako Itamae, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Daikanyama and Ebisu in Tokyo are notable for fashion and the lifestyle angle is richly appealing because despite being located in a notable part of this city, the refinement angle is a huge pulling power. Tokyo lifestyle in smaller quaint districts like Daikanyama, Jiyugaoka, Shimokitazawa, Hiroo, Nakameguro, and other sophisticated areas are highly desired. Therefore, despite the fashion angle belonging to all the above, it is clear that each area caters for a nice lifestyle irrespective if single, families, expatriates, students, age group, and so forth.

The fashion angle to Daikanyama is known to be hip, stylish, independent, and where creativity flourishes. The closeness to Ebisu and other adorable areas is another major pulling power. After all, Ebisu is blessed with lovely department stores and the layout is relaxing. The environment within the Yebisu Garden Place complex is a must place to visit because of the European architecture and open spaces.

For fashion lovers you have Mitsukoshi Department Store and Atre Department Store in Ebisu. In both stores you will find exquisite boutiques, lifestyle stores, and other amazing shops. Also, the eating area in Atre Department Store is not only elegant and stylish but the food is extremely delicious. Therefore, many shoppers like to relax in this lovely environment which is extremely refreshing.

Boutiques in Atre Department Store include Salon de la Trinit’e, Papill Onner, Allureville, N.Natural Beauty Basic, ENCHAINMENT UNI point de mignon, Lock Your Hearts, and so many other amazing fashion stores. Atre Department Store is extremely individualistic and on the seventh floor you have a cultural angle. Within the same department store you also have many scrumptious cake shops.

Likewise, in Mitsukoshi Department Store you have exquisite boutiques and many crème de la crème companies selling sophisticated products. Mitsukoshi in Ebisu is also extremely innovative and the location is richly rewarding because this fantastic store is located in the Yebisu Garden Place complex. Therefore, individuals visit for kid’s apparel, lifestyle products, fashion, Art products, shoes, beauty and relaxation, bags, accessories, food and you also have relaxing places to enjoy quiet moments over a delicious drink. After visiting this adorable department store you can then soak up the environment of Yebisu Garden Place.

In Daikanyama you have a delightful “European fashion district” and you also feel the same European influence at the Atre Department Store in Ebisu. This lovely feel about the place means that fashion lovers in Tokyo adore Daikanyama and Ebisu which share the same environment. Also, the independent feel to fashion in Daikanyama is most appealing and when fused with the “European fashion district,” it is easy to understand why this part of Tokyo is highly regarded.

Therefore, fashion stores like Evisu, Hollywood Ranch Market, Via Bus Stop, Actus, Silas and Maria, Loveless, Tsumori Chisato, APC, Arigato, Alfredo Bannister, Hemisphere, AS, and a host of other lovely boutiques, attract fashion lovers from all over Tokyo. The layout of Daikanyama is also nicely designed in the fashion area and you have many places to wine and dine in Daikanyama and Ebisu. This means that both districts appeal greatly based on lifestyle because within minutes of the busy areas you have lovely suburbs.

In Ebisu you also have the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and Beer Museum. Overall, the lifestyle is extremely appealing and for Tokyoites it is clear that both Ebisu and Daikanyama are extremely popular. The closeness to each other and to other districts like Hiroo, Nakameguro, Roppongi, and central Shibuya is also another major pulling power.

 

http://trinity-corp.net/

http://www.allureville.com/

http://www.mammina.co.jp/

http://n.naturalbeautybasic.com/

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

http://www.atre.co.jp/shiten/index.php?scd=1

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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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)

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

February 11, 2012

Tokyo tourism: Chinzan-so garden, delicious food and rich in culture

Tokyo tourism: Chinzan-so garden, delicious food and rich in culture

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

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.

The natural beauty of Chinzan-so is so refreshing because not only can you connect with stunning nature but also this garden is rich in culture and history. The stunning pagoda and aspects of Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, and the sacred 500 year old tree, also highlights the exquisite nature of Chinzan-so.

Luxury can also be found at (http://www.fourseasons.com/tokyo/the Four Seasons Hotel which can be found throughout the amazing city of Tokyo and internationally. The Four Seasons Hotel highlighted in this article applies to the hotel which is located in the same Chinzan-so area. Therefore, if you adore luxury, architecture, the backdrop of an amazing garden and so much more; then the sublime Four Seasons Hotelfused with your stay in Tokyo and the richness of Chinzan-so garden is an amazing break which will stay long in the memory.

Chinzan-so is like walking into the past and into a magical world where you can imagine the amazing animation film called “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki. This applies to the stone deities, aspects of Buddhism, small Shinto shrine, and famous religious tree. Therefore, the spiritual nature of Chinzan-so is a welcome dimension and at night if you have an “over imagination,” then you can feel the mystery of the old world which is also highlighted in the animation film called “Spirited Away.”

This stunning garden enables people to feel the hidden magic of the Edo period and the changing times of Japan in the Meiji period. Also, it is clear that the opulent wealth of the elites in the past developed this splendid garden and they did so with an eye on culture and aesthetics.

Prince Aritomo Yamagata built his magnificent mansion where modern Chinzan-so stands but of course modifications have been made. The name Chinzan-so means “House of Camellia” therefore you will find many types of camellia throughout this exquisite and stunning garden.

In a past article about Chinzan-so by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “The prestige of Prince Aritomo Yamagata and his importance and how Chinzan-so is viewed can be judged by the fact that the Emperor Meiji held many important meetings in this place, in order to plan the future with dignitaries who held important seats of power.  Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the stunning environment, remote settings where seclusion could be found from prying eyes and the cultural aspect of Chinzan-so meant that it was an ideal setting.”

 

“Much of the historical legacy today which can be viewed must be credited to Baron Heitaro Fujita because he utilized the stunning grounds and topography.  This applies to adding important historical monuments and many of these came from Kyoto and Toba. However, the stunning pagoda which is very beautiful was relocated from Hiroshima.”

Therefore, the historical legacy and richness of culture is abundantly obvious because Baron Heitaro Fujita utilized every positive aspect of Chinzan-so and today Tokyoites and tourists can witness many intriguing aspects of Japanese culture. Also, from a religious and philosophical point of view the Taoist images from ancient China fuses naturally with aspects of Buddhism and Shintoism. These images and the numerous stone lanterns are a wonder to behold and the delightful pond, exquisite pagoda, images of Taoism and Buddhism, small Shinto shrine, a sacred 500 year old tree, waterfall, and the stunning layout of the garden means that Chinzan-so is very special.

Throughout the grounds you also have many restaurants to visit and for tourists and Tokyoites you can enjoy not only the natural beauty of Chinzan-so, but you can also eat scrumptious food. This applies to “Kinsui”which is a traditional restaurant which is famous for the kaiseki cuisine; “Mokushundo” where they provide delicious Japanese box lunches, fondue, and barbecue; “Chuu-an” restaurant serves up Edomae sushi and other delicious food; and “Mucha-an” restaurant provides delicious food and is known for their delicious Japanese soba.

The beauty of all these restaurants is that they blend in naturally within the stunning grounds of Chinzan-so. Therefore, the dining experience is a real treasure because not only can you eat extremely delicious food, but the backdrop of the stunning scenery is really special. Not surprisingly, all these restaurants are of the highest quality and cater for different styles of Japanese food.

Also, you have a firmly established restaurant called “Camellia” in this stunning environment and this dining place is famous for its French cuisine. This restaurant is rich in history because for more than 50 years it remains highly acclaimed based on the mouth-watering food which is provided.  The view is also extremely majestic and the setting is spacious. Therefore, if you are a connoisseur of scrumptious French cuisine then restaurant “Camellia” will certainly please you.

Within the main hotel complex overlooking Chinzan-so you have “Café Foresta” which is very spacious and a great place to relax and drink tea, coffee, and other choices, and to eat a delicious cake and so forth “Café Foresta” also provides amazing views of Chinzan-so if you are lucky enough to find a place by the enormous windows. At night, the view is fantastic because of the lights which highlight the beautiful pagoda and other special areas.

Chinzan-so is a must place to visit in Tokyo because of everything highlighted in this article and so much more.

 

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

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

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

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

January 4, 2012

Tokyo tourism and gardens: Rikugien and Kiyosumi are exquisite gardens

Tokyo tourism and gardens: Rikugien and Kiyosumi are exquisite gardens

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is an enormous city which attracts Japanese tourists, international tourists, and business people, all year round. This ultra-modern city means many things to different people because for some it is all about modernity but to others they want to dig deep and see the rich culture of Tokyo and Japan. Of course, for others it is a mixture of both and for busy business people it may just be a flying visit because of the nature of commerce.

However, irrespective of the reason why people visit Tokyo or if you are a Tokyoite, the gardens in Tokyo provide a place to relax, to look at sunning nature, to understand aspects of Japanese culture, and more important, to escape the “madding crowd.” Therefore, the gardens of Tokyo are not only therapeutic but the richness and style is a wonder to behold because you can feel continuity, a fusion of ideas, and feel the passion of Japanese gardeners who put everything into their work in order to create a different world

Rikugien Gardens and Kiyosumi Gardens are just two of the many gardens to visit in Tokyo and both provide a different ambience. Also, both gardens are located in quiet parts of Tokyo because Komagome and Kiyosumi Shirakawa are a million miles away from the fashion orientated districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku. This aspect makes a welcome change because the pace of life is much slower but you still have many quaint shops in Komagome which cater for handcrafts, antiques, and local goods.  

Komagome is extremely close to Ikebukuro and Ueno by the Yamanote Train Line and in a way Rikugien Gardens is a perfect link. This applies to the bustling nature of fashion and commerce in Ikebukuro and the many museums located in Ueno. Also, in Ueno you will find the fashion scene in full flow and a major park which is the central theme to this lively and important part of Tokyo.

However, Komagome is a sleepy suburb but a great place to relax because of Rikugien Gardens and nearby is Kyu-Furukawa Gardens. Therefore, garden lovers have the opportunity to visit both stunning places because they are in close proximity.  

All the main gardens in Tokyo are beautifully maintained and Rikugien is extremely spacious. This enables individuals to follow the main route around the exquisite pond or to walk around more natural parts of this garden by relaxing in quiet areas. The winter period, spring season, and late autumn are most relaxing because you have no dreaded mosquitoes bothering you unlike in the height of summer whereby you need mosquito spray.

Another lovely aspect of Rikugien Gardens is that you can rest and drink delicious traditional Japanese tea and eat a scrumptious small Japanese sweet. The location of the small resting place is located near to the pond and the scenery is truly stunning. Therefore, while drinking delicious Japanese tea you can feel the spirituality of Rikugien and this simplistic pleasure creates a lovely feeling for tourists who want to feel the old Japan.

Kiyosumi Gardens is equally beautiful and to reach Kiyosumi Shirakawa you need to take either the Toei Oedo Line or Hanzomon Line. Also, in Kiyosumi Shirakawa and the surrounding area you have many museums to visit and a good guide book will enhance your visit.

In a past article about Kiyosumi Gardens by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “The Iso-Watari section is a real treat because the stepping-stone pathways lead across the pond where it is shallow. For children, it is a time of fantastic pleasure because they can enjoy playful times and be connected with nature at its best. Also, for adults, the “child inside” comes flooding back when you walk on the stepping-stone pathways and at all times you will have opportunities to see fish in the pond.”

“Inside Kiyosumi Gardens you also have stylish buildings and this applies to the Ryotei building and Taisho Kinenkan. These buildings heighten the cultural aspects and ambience of Kiyosumi Gardens. Therefore, if you enjoy photography you can combine architecture and nature together and of course each angle provides a new image to treasure.”

Kiyosumi Gardens is a place where individuals, friends, or groups touring Tokyo, can sit back and look at sublime views. Also, the little pathways by stepping stones are an enthralling feature of this exquisite garden. Given this, the pamphlet guide in different languages is most welcome because it highlights important factors about Kiyosumi Gardens.

Japanese gardens are also spiritual and philosophical and each garden may have a different angle. This applies to the fusion of the respective garden with Buddhist elements, Confucian aspects, Taoism factors or being Japan, a mixture of all and of course the role of nature in the indigenous faith of Shintoism is powerful. Given this, the background of each garden is often very intriguing because Japanese gardens connect “the self” with nature. Also, space, layout, monuments, and other aspects, are meant to transcend everyday life therefore you can clearly feel the therapeutic nature of gardens in Japan.

The entire area provides many hidden treasures and this applies to the Fukagawa Edo Museum, Basho Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Morishita Culture Center. Therefore, it is important to check respective websites to see what options are available to you when you visit this part of Tokyo.

Koto City in Tokyo highlights a different ultra-modern city by focusing on culture, art, haiku, music, history, and other rich traditions. Kiyosumi Gardens is a lovely central point to your visit and the different museums open up a new world and this applies to either tradition or the modern vibes of the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

The gardens highlighted in this article are truly beautiful therefore please visit the links provided below.

Please visit the links below for more information about the gardens highlighted

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/index.html Rikugien Gardens

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/    Kiyosumi Gardens

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/ Kyu-Furukawa Gardens

More tourist information about places named

http://www.kcf.or.jp/fukagawa/event_list.html   Koto City Fukagawa Edo Museum

http://www.kcf.or.jp/basyo/index.html  Basho Museum

http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/eng/  Museum of Contemporary Art

http://shintomin.com/xoops/modules/chapox2/content.php?lid=12   Morishita Culture Center

ALL IMAGES FROM MODERN TOKYO TIMES

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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November 30, 2011

Tokyo fashion and gardens: Rikugien, Kyu-Furukawa and fashion in Omotesando

Tokyo fashion and gardens: Rikugien, Kyu-Furukawa and fashion in Omotesando

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The beauty of Tokyo is that this mega-modern city caters for various lifestyles and areas change quickly. If you adore fashion then Tokyo is an amazing city because you have a plethora of choices. Therefore, each fashion district is buzzing for different reasons and on the opposite side of the coin you have many lovely gardens to relax and enjoy stunning nature.

Omotesando is famous for high-end fashion because you have so many fabulous companies to visit.  This applies to international boutiques and Japanese boutiques. Also, the closeness to Aoyama, Harajuku and Shibuya means that this fashion area is one of the most dynamic in the world. This isn’t an overstatement, it is based on facts and the same applies to the diversity of fashion.

Therefore, in Omotesando you are on the edge of so many different styles. This applies to exquisite and elegant fashion, kawaii trends, street styles, Lolita fashion, Dolly Kei, Vintage fashion, mainstream, and a host of other styles. Also, the age range changes quickly and this all adds to a fantastic buzz and natural energy.

Grimoire is on the border of Harajuku and Shibuya and this company is extremely unique and vibrant. The same applies to many other companies like 6% DOKIDOKI and the talented designer Sebastian Masuda. Therefore, with companies like Grimoire, Candy, and 6%DOKIDOKI (Harajuku), you can feel a lovely individualistic style and other amazing boutiques have created a lovely buzz and vibrant spirit.

If you love more mainstream fashion and elegant designs by top notch boutiques then a visit to Omotesando Hills is a real treat. Inside this building of stunning architecture you have countless international and Japanese boutiques which are sublime.

This applies to stunning boutiques in Omotesando Hills which include Adore, Anterpima, Betsey Johnson, Black Fleece, Escada Sport, Tour H. creer (Merveille H.), Yves Saint Laurent, Zara, Tracy Reese, Kiwa Sylphy, iliann loeb, Milly, Tiara, Apartment Department, Martinique Le Conte, Patrizia Pepe Firenze (Incontro), Oriental News and so many others. In truth, every single boutique is a wonder to behold and the design and architecture of Omotesando Hills is a real treasure.

Therefore, if you love fashion then “think” Omotesando, Harajuku, Aoyama and Shibuya. Of course you have many fantastic fashion districts in Tokyo but this collective area is difficult to beat in any nation. After all, you can travel between each area on foot and the different trends and styles are amazing.

On the opposite side of the fashion coin in Tokyo are the many gardens which grace this amazing city. If you want a lovely contrast between vibrant and buzzing Tokyo with a more sedate and tranquil area, then Komagome is well worth visiting. This applies to lovely gardens and many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to visit alongside shops which focus on antiques and other products.

It is difficult to imagine than Komagome is so close to Ikebukuro with all its trendy fashion in yet another fashion district in Tokyo. Alternatively, it is also difficult to believe that Komagome is so close to Ueno which is blessed with so many museums and tourist places to visit. Also, fashion in Ueno is electric but in its own distinctive style and you have a more Northeast Asia feel about Ueno than the usual Tokyo vibe.

Yet in Komagome you can enjoy the stunning gardens of Rikugien and Kyu-Furukawa which is in the same area. Both gardens are kept beautiful all year round and the main walkways provide glimpses into the ethics of Japanese gardens.  Therefore, space, time, views, emotions, minimalism, and other elements, fuse naturally with aspects of Confucianism, Buddhism and Shintoism.

A real added bonus in Rikugien is that you can sit down and drink traditional Japanese tea and eat delicious Japanese sweets. At the same time, the view is amazing and you can look out and gaze at the stunning pond and see nature in all its beauty.

The pond in both gardens is the central theme but if you desire you can walk around more secluded areas. Komagome is extremely rewarding because of the therapeutic nature of both gardens. Therefore, if you want to escape the buzzing fashion districts of Tokyo or to enjoy the best of both worlds, then a visit to Komagome is essential.

The shopping district in Komagome is only small but you will find folk art stores, antiques, traditional Japanese sweets, Japanese dyed garments, ceramics, independent shops and so much more. Also, if you search around you will feel the sedate and tranquil nature of this part of Tokyo and another world will open up to you.

Kyu-Furukawa Garden is a little more natural despite the garden being well kept and while Rikugien Garden is the more famous garden, both gardens enrich each other. Not only this, the architecture of the Josiah Condor (1852-1920) Western-style residence in the Kyu-Furukawa Garden is a lovely bonus. Therefore, this building alongside the rose garden provides a lovely British and Japanese theme.  

Overall, Omotesando and Komagome may seem like chalk and cheese however, this is what makes Tokyo so special. Therefore, a visit to both places will make Tokyo come alive and Tokyoites and tourists gain from both amazing places.

Please visit the  links  below for more information about both gardens

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/index.html

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/shops-restaurants/index.html  

Individual fashion companies

http://www.dokidoki6.com/

http://www.grimoire.jp/

http://candy-nippon.com/

Omotesando Hills

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/  

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/

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leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

ALL FASHION IMAGES BY MODERN TOKYO TIMES

November 23, 2011

Tokyo tourism: Kiyosumi Gardens and Fukagawa Edo Museum

Tokyo tourism: Kiyosumi Gardens and Fukagawa Edo Museum

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is ultra-modern and the fashion scene is amazing throughout the capital of Japan. However, if you want to know more about Japanese culture and relax in a stunning garden then a visit to Kiyosumi Shirakawa via either the Toei Oedo Line or Hanzomon Line is most rewarding.

The stunning Kiyosumi Gardens is extremely beautiful and without a shadow of a doubt it is one of the most exquisite gardens in Tokyo. Therefore, irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or a tourist to this dynamic mega-city, you will certainly enjoy the magnificent layout and feel refreshed.

Kiyosumi Gardens is blessed with many stunning features and the autumn and spring periods are real treasures because the humidity of summer is over and the same applies to the pesky mosquitoes. This means that you can sit down and look at the exquisite surroundings, read a book, take photos, chat with friends or enjoy quality time by yourself.

The Iso-Watari section is a real treat because the stepping-stone pathways lead across the pond where it is shallow. For children, it is a time of fantastic pleasure because they can enjoy playful times and be connected with nature at its best. Also, for adults, the “child inside” comes flooding back when you walk on the stepping-stone pathways and at all times you will have opportunities to see fish in the pond.

Inside Kiyosumi Gardens you also have stylish buildings and this applies to the Ryotei building and Taisho Kinenkan. These buildings heighten the cultural aspects and ambience of Kiyosumi Gardens. Therefore, if you enjoy photography you can combine architecture and nature together and of course each angle provides a new image to treasure.

The fee to enter is only 150 yen for adults and clearly every yen is being used to maintain this stunning garden complex. Also, you will be given pamphlets in various languages in order to help non-Japanese people who can’t read this complex written language.

In truth, a visit to Kiyosumi Gardens is a must because the ethics of Japanese gardens is truly wonderful. Space, time and connecting nature with “the self” comes together naturally and while the inner vibe will depend on each individual, it is true to say that a natural change will happen within the psyche. This is because of tranquility and the exquisite nature of Kiyosumi Gardens.

Also, from a cultural point of view the entire area is rich and this applies to the Fukagawa Edo Museum, Basho Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Morishita Culture Center.

Currently at the Fukagawa Edo Museum you have a stunning collection of ukiyo-e and this applies to Ando Hiroshige and Keisai Eisen. The exhibition will finish on November 27 (2011) and it is a real treat for lovers of ukiyo-e. Also, if you want to see a glimpse of old Edo then the permanent collection of the streets of Fukagawa-Saga Town of the Tempo Period (1830-1843) is a real treat.

Koto City in Tokyo highlights a different ultra-modern city by focusing on culture, art, haiku, music, history, and other rich traditions. Kiyosumi Gardens is a lovely central point to your visit and the different museums open up a new world and this applies to either tradition or the modern vibes of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

It is pleasing to know that haiku is being preserved at the Basho Museum and they are connecting this rich tradition to children in the modern world. Also, you have a famous Basho Haiku stone in Kiyosumi Gardens. 

Overall, a visit to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa is most rewarding and for Tokyoites, then “once bitten always smitten” and for tourists it is a great place to relax and soak up Japanese culture.

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/  Kiyosumi Gardens

http://www.kcf.or.jp/fukagawa/event_list.html  Koto City Fukagawa Edo Museum

http://www.kcf.or.jp/basyo/index.html Basho Museum

http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/eng/ Museum of Contemporary Art

http://shintomin.com/xoops/modules/chapox2/content.php?lid=12  Morishita Culture Center

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

ALL IMAGES FROM MODERN TOKYO TIMES

October 25, 2011

Tokyo Tourism: Rikugien Garden and Kyu-Furukawa Garden in Komagome

Tokyo Tourism: Rikugien Garden and Kyu-Furukawa Garden in Komagome

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is ultra-modern and because of the sheer size of the population and rich diversity of this superb capital city, you have endless places to visit. However, if you want to feel a more sedate side of Tokyo and enjoy beautiful gardens, then Komagome is a real treat because Rikugien Garden is very beautiful and Kyu-Furukawa Garden is within walking distance.

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that Komagome is so close to the buzzing districts of Ikebukuro and Ueno. This applies to the slow pace of life which is in stark contrast to the intensity of life in the other two mentioned districts. However, despite the sedate nature of life in Komagome you have splendid places to visit and the area is higly desirable.

Not only this, you have many quaint shops selling pottery, antiques, clothing, and other types of goods. Also, you have beautiful Buddhist temples and a genuine feel of a refined Tokyo where the old culture survives and not only in images. This in itself is a lovely contrast to the mega fashion districts of Tokyo and the commercial heartland.

The gardens in Komagome are very beautiful all year round and both gardens have their own style and unique feel. Rikugien is a stunning garden which is extremely well cared for and away from the main walkway you have areas which are relatively quiet even during a busy day.   

Another added bonus of Rikugien is that you can drink traditional Japanese tea and eat a small Japanese sweet while being surrounded by stunning nature. This is most rewarding because the lovely taste of traditional Japanese tea matches the serenity and stunning views which are provided by this exquisite garden.

During your visit to Rikugien you will notice many gardeners who care deeply about their work and because of their professionalism and focus on detail, the visitor is blessed by the ethical aspects of the garden. This applies to space, time, minimalism and fusing the world of nature within the concepts of Japanese culture and ethics.

The walk around the pond is very therapeutic and uplifting and if you desire to escape and venture into a more wild area of the garden, then the choice is open to you. The contrast of both areas fuses well together and the feeling of serenity is very refreshing.

On leaving Rikugien Garden it is well worth browsing around the small shopping area because Komagome is also a treasure by itself. The shopping district is only small but you will find folk art stores, antiques, traditional Japanese sweets, Japanese dyed garments, ceramics, independent shops and so much more. 

Another stunning garden to visit in the same district is Kyu-Furukawa Garden and despite the rose garden section, this garden is more natural. This applies to the more wild nature of the garden whereby nature often dictates over human interference.

Of course gardeners maintain the garden and have reshaped many aspects but you still have the feeling that nature is more natural in contrast to the ethical aspects of Rikugien. The pond and the garden appear smaller in size compared with Rikugien but the contrasting feel compliments both gardens and you have a nice ambient feel in Kyu-Furukawa.

Josiah Condor (1852-1920) designed the Western-style residence in the garden and this feature creates a distinctive environment. This fine building blends together a nice English and Japanese theme and Kyu-Furukawa gains from the creativity of Josiah Condor.

Irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or a tourist, it is clear that Komagome should be high on your list if you adore gardens and culture.

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/index.html

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/

Please visit the above links for more information about both gardens

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com

October 25, 2011

Tokyo Tourism: Tokyo City Keiba is a lovely horse racing course

Tokyo Tourism: Tokyo City Keiba is a lovely horse racing course

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Images of tourism in Tokyo applies to exquisite gardens, lovely Buddhist temples, spiritual Shinto shrines, ultra-modernity, electronic town in Akihabara, sublime fashion (Aoyama, Daiganyama, Ebisu, Ginza, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Jiyugaoka, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Yurakucho), ukiyo-e, kabuki, museums in Ueno, ultra-modern Odaiba, Tokyo Imperial Palace, and so much more. However, sometimes it is nice to unwind in the early evening and sit back and watch the entertainment on offer.  Therefore, Tokyo City Keiba is such a place to enjoy and watch horse racing from afternoon to night racing.

Also, because the meeting is conveniently located and finishes not too late, then the night is still young enough to chill out in many trendy parts of Tokyo. Not only this, you can enjoy a nice meal at restaurants inside Tokyo City Keiba and enjoy the different cultural aspects of racing in Japan.

Horse racing is truly international and this applies to America, Australia, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world like Dubai. This in itself means that Tokyoites, individuals working in Tokyo but residing in other prefectures, and tourists to Tokyo can enjoy a sport which is liked and respected throughout the globe.

It takes approximately 25 minutes from Ginza to reach this lovely course and the floodlights have been done elegantly.  Therefore, the view is very pleasing and this adds to the occasion. Not only this, the cost of entering Tokyo City Keiba is so cheap that it is pointless to mention how much. 

Of course, if you want to sit in more up-market areas then you will have to pay but if you prefer the stands which are open to everybody, it is still fantastic because the view of the entire race is clearly visible to the eye at all times.

In 2003 the L-wing was opened and part of the aim of this was to attract more ladies to horse racing and the indoor gardens, color projections, restaurants, and other factors, all created modernity and a relaxing atmosphere. The L-wing was obviously designed to enhance Tokyo City Keiba for all clients but it was partly aimed at making the race meeting user-friendly for everyone. 

The L-wing and the contrasting light schemes enhance the atmosphere because the lighting change from dusk to “Twinkle” (night racing) is a nice touch. Therefore, it is clear that the owners of this race track are innovative and willing to make modern changes in order to reach new clients. However, all modern changes have flowed nicely because the management desire to keep regulars and attract new people to horse racing.

This approach is based on thinking about the bigger picture and maintaining the power of horse racing in the heart of Tokyo. After all, sport is a very competitive market and Tokyoites and tourists who may visit desire a quality meeting, whereby you can enjoy many aspects of horse racing and other forms of entertainment which is provided.

The Diamond Turn is also a great place to watch horse racing, enjoy tasty food and sit back and enjoy the racing in comfort. Therefore if you want to enjoy the spacious amenities provided by the Diamond Turn you won’t regret.

The stunningly illuminated track and modernity of Tokyo City Keiba makes this a great place to unwind. It is well worth a visit irrespective if you are a Tokyoite, new to Tokyo, work in Tokyo but reside in other prefectures or a tourist to Tokyo.

Horse race meetings (http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/index.php) are held regularly and just check the website provided above which also can be viewed in English.

Twinkle racing is great to watch and a nice way to enjoy the evening. Therefore, if you want to visit a special sporting arena which is spicy and entertaining, Tokyo City Keiba is just the place to unwind and enjoy all the entertainment which is provided.

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/index.php

http://www.tokyocitykeiba.com/04/english_top.php

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 13, 2011

Tokyo tourism: Mount Takao-san is a stunning place to visit

Tokyo tourism: Mount Takao-san is a stunning place to visit

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Mount Takao-san is a lovely place to visit and for visitors this part of Tokyo makes a welcome change from the high rise buildings of Tokyo. The stunning scenery of Mount Takao-san contrasts massively with the buzzing fashion districts of Tokyo. This dimension is often overlooked by many individuals when they think about this amazing city.

The religious dimension of Mount Takao-san is also fascinating because you will see many religious places of worship on this mountain peak and the architecture is also visually attractive. Therefore, the cultural dimension of this part of Tokyo is very rich and this increases the pulling power and adds to the mystery of Mount Takao-san.

When you visit this place you will see romantic couples enjoying quality time together, individuals escaping the stress of normal life, tourists, people interested in culture, religious people who want to pray and connect with their faith, hikers, families enjoying precious time, group tours, friends relaxing together, photographers, nature lovers and you will have other factors behind the reason for people visiting Mount Takao-san. 

However, the one common binding factor is that all will enjoy the stunning scenery and the richness of culture.  The changing seasons also adds another dimension and for locals and people who reside in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures, it means that each season adds to a new experience and for this reason many local people visit several times a year.

During my visits to Mount Takao-san I have witnessed the different seasons and cherished each time.  Also, the history and mystery surrounding the places of worship is very appealing and you can visualize the old world and aspects of the mythology of Japan.

The reason Mount Takao-san is important in history and culture is because Emperor Shomu ordered the building of the Yakou-in Temple in 744. This rich legacy is very important because since the eighth century you have had countless number of pilgrims and non-religious people who have visited Mount Takao-san because of the cultural and religious dimensions of this part of Tokyo.

In another article about Mount Takao-san I commented 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-san 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. Therefore, despite the modern reality of Tokyo you still have a magnificent mountain range on the edges of this fabulous city.

Mount Takao-san is a must place to visit!

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

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