Posts tagged ‘tourism in tokyo’

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

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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 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

November 5, 2011

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing in early November

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing in early November

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

November starts today and if you have free time available between November 1and November 4, you have four fantastic days of horse racing at Tokyo City Keiba. Also, with hot and mild weather forecast for the next few days then Tokyo City Keiba is an ideal place to enjoy fantastic racing from the early afternoon to late evening.

Of course the emphasis is on horse racing and the views of every race can be seen by all because of the lovely layout of this horse race track. Not only this, you can decide on a little luxury if you desire because the amenities available makes everything so much more pleasurable.

The real beauty of Tokyo City Keiba is that the stunning lighting system and watching horse racing when the last rays of sunshine have dimmed, means that the atmosphere is electric. The owners of Tokyo City Keiba have managed to fuse together quality horse racing, a stunning atmosphere, places to eat and drink, abundance choice of viewing areas, and the modern feel of sport in the heart of Tokyo is “a real winner.”

Tokyo City Keiba really cares about image and being user friendly. Therefore, this lovely horse racing track caters for all and sundry. This applies to your real horse racing enthusiast; business and hospitality; a romantic evening where you can watch horse racing and eat delicious food; a nice relaxing evening for friends and individuals; and creating a high quality race meeting which caters for the younger generation and ladies.

Also, if you have an early morning flight from Haneda Airport and you are staying in a hotel the day before you travel, then for the next few days you can enjoy your evening before your flight at Tokyo City Keiba.  After all, this horse race meeting is so convenient and you have many nice restaurants to visit while you soak up the atmosphere of the best afternoon to evening sporting venue in Tokyo.

In the last article about Tokyo City Keiba by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “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.”

Not only this, the Diamond Turn area is a great place to enjoy scrumptious food, the spacious amenities provided and to relax in style while watching horse racing at its very best.  Management at Tokyo City Keiba are innovative, always thinking one step ahead and because of this you have a lovely environment which caters for racing enthusiasts and new people to horse racing.

Both writers of this article have been to top notch horse race meetings in England and France (Aintree, Ascot, Chantilly, Chester, Epsom, Longchamp, and Newmarket) and without a shadow of a doubt Tokyo City Keiba provides its own unique ambience. This applies to the stunningly illuminated track; modernity of the horse racing stands; welcoming environment; and staff members who are available to help.

On top of all this, you have a wide choice of other areas which adds spice to the sporting nature and entertainment aspect of Tokyo City Keiba. This applies to restaurants, gardens, color projections, the natural buzz of watching horse racing at night and the warm hospitality on show.

Tokyo City Keiba is in the heart of Tokyo and only takes 25 minutes from Ginza and irrespective of where you stay in Tokyo, this lovely horse racing track is a real treasure. Therefore, Tokyo City Keiba adds spice to both the sporting nature of this ultra-modern city and the horse racing on show and the lovely environment is really enticing.

Finally, if your Japanese isn’t up to scratch then don’t worry because if you visit the website of Tokyo City Keiba, then you can learn how easy it is to bet because of quality guides to help tourists on this website. 

Therefore, if you are lucky to have free time in Tokyo during the first four days of November or you have a flight from Haneda Airport, then why not visit Tokyo City Keiba? After all, you can enjoy a lovely day of quality horse racing and enjoy the fantastic entertainment provided by this stunning horse race track. 

Tokyo City Keiba stands for “quality,” “innovation” and “sporting excellence” and all this is provided in the heart of Tokyo. Why wait?

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

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

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

November 1, 2011

Tokyo fashion: Esola in Ikebukuro is a trendy fashion store

Tokyo fashion: Esola in Ikebukuro is a trendy fashion store

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

Fashion in Ikebukuro continues to bloom and the store Esola is a very trendy place to visit.  Ikebukuro isn’t internationally famous like Aoyama, Ginza, Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku but this district in Tokyo is awash with fashion. Also, in the last few years the west side of Ikebukuro is becoming a fashion hub in its own right. Therefore, Ikebukuro is not only on “the fashion map of Tokyo” but it is increasingly becoming more assertive and fashion lovers are spoilt for choice in this vibrant district.

Of course Seibu Department Store and Tobu Department Store have been the backbone of Ikebukuro and part of the modernization process of this district. Marui and Parco also have fashion outlets in Ikebukuro and Lumine on the west side is a lovely place to visit for elegant fashion.  

At the same time you have a modern underground hub of fashion stores which were built when the Fukutoshin train line opened. Therefore, when you exit the Ikebukuro Fukutoshin train station you are directly entering into a delightful world of underground boutiques.

Immediately you will see many elegant stores catering for fashion, accessories, places to eat and you can feel the vibe of the area which is awash with shoppers. Esola is easily connected with this area and this shopping mall is within a short walk from five different train lines which have train stations in Ikebukuro.

Also, Esola is very close to Lumine and Tobu Department Store and this in itself is creating a lovely hub for fashion.  Marui is also near because it only takes a few minutes to walk between both trendy fashion stores.

In Esola you have many exquisite boutiques based in this lovely and stylish shopping mall.  This applies to 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.

All these fashion boutiques have created a quaint and sophisticated fashion store because the companies located in Esola have their own style and the mix is delightful. Therefore, Tokyo ladies are spoilt for choice and can enjoy the nice surroundings and layout. Also, with Esola being so close to Lumine, Tobu Department Store, and Marui, then this shopping mall mixes well because you can feel an independent spirit about Esola.

Not only this, in Esola you have quality stores catering for cosmetics, beauty care, food, furniture, and dog wear. On top of this, you can relax in café de Esola or if you want to wine and dine then you have many scrumptious restaurants to pick from. The restaurants cater for Japanese and international cuisine and the surroundings make it a very pleasurable place to eat.

Ikebukuro is fantastic for fashion and keeps on growing and with exquisite companies like Lumine, Marui, Parco, Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, and many others, then Esola is maintaining and enhancing the quality of fashion in Ikebukuro.

Therefore, Tokyo ladies who adore fashion will certainly enjoy the elegant boutiques in Esola and this exquisite shopping mall is part of the “fashion buzz” which can be fealt in Ikebukuro. The atmosphere also suits the lovely layout because you can browse around lovely boutiques and take in the ambience of the shopping mall.

Boutiques in Esola are charming, elegant and sophisticated.

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

All images of fashion clothes in Esola by Modern Tokyo Times

November 1, 2011

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing Nov 1 to Nov 4

Tokyo Tourism and Tokyo City Keiba: 4 lovely days of horse racing Nov 1 to Nov 4

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

November starts today and if you have free time available between November 1and November 4, you have four fantastic days of horse racing at Tokyo City Keiba. Also, with hot and mild weather forecast for the next few days then Tokyo City Keiba is an ideal place to enjoy fantastic racing from the early afternoon to late evening.

Of course the emphasis is on horse racing and the views of every race can be seen by all because of the lovely layout of this horse race track. Not only this, you can decide on a little luxury if you desire because the amenities available makes everything so much more pleasurable.

The real beauty of Tokyo City Keiba is that the stunning lighting system and watching horse racing when the last rays of sunshine have dimmed, means that the atmosphere is electric. The owners of Tokyo City Keiba have managed to fuse together quality horse racing, a stunning atmosphere, places to eat and drink, abundance choice of viewing areas, and the modern feel of sport in the heart of Tokyo is “a real winner.”

Tokyo City Keiba really cares about image and being user friendly. Therefore, this lovely horse racing track caters for all and sundry. This applies to your real horse racing enthusiast; business and hospitality; a romantic evening where you can watch horse racing and eat delicious food; a nice relaxing evening for friends and individuals; and creating a high quality race meeting which caters for the younger generation and ladies.

Also, if you have an early morning flight from Haneda Airport and you are staying in a hotel the day before you travel, then for the next few days you can enjoy your evening before your flight at Tokyo City Keiba.  After all, this horse race meeting is so convenient and you have many nice restaurants to visit while you soak up the atmosphere of the best afternoon to evening sporting venue in Tokyo.

In the last article about Tokyo City Keiba by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “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.”

Not only this, the Diamond Turn area is a great place to enjoy scrumptious food, the spacious amenities provided and to relax in style while watching horse racing at its very best.  Management at Tokyo City Keiba are innovative, always thinking one step ahead and because of this you have a lovely environment which caters for racing enthusiasts and new people to horse racing.

Both writers of this article have been to top notch horse race meetings in England and France (Aintree, Ascot, Chantilly, Chester, Epsom, Longchamp, and Newmarket) and without a shadow of a doubt Tokyo City Keiba provides its own unique ambience. This applies to the stunningly illuminated track; modernity of the horse racing stands; welcoming environment; and staff members who are available to help.

On top of all this, you have a wide choice of other areas which adds spice to the sporting nature and entertainment aspect of Tokyo City Keiba. This applies to restaurants, gardens, color projections, the natural buzz of watching horse racing at night and the warm hospitality on show.

Tokyo City Keiba is in the heart of Tokyo and only takes 25 minutes from Ginza and irrespective of where you stay in Tokyo, this lovely horse racing track is a real treasure. Therefore, Tokyo City Keiba adds spice to both the sporting nature of this ultra-modern city and the horse racing on show and the lovely environment is really enticing.

Finally, if your Japanese isn’t up to scratch then don’t worry because if you visit the website of Tokyo City Keiba, then you can learn how easy it is to bet because of quality guides to help tourists on this website. 

Therefore, if you are lucky to have free time in Tokyo during the first four days of November or you have a flight from Haneda Airport, then why not visit Tokyo City Keiba? After all, you can enjoy a lovely day of quality horse racing and enjoy the fantastic entertainment provided by this stunning horse race track. 

Tokyo City Keiba stands for “quality,” “innovation” and “sporting excellence” and all this is provided in the heart of Tokyo. Why wait?

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

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

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

October 12, 2011

Tourism in Japan: gradual pick-up in numbers to stunning Japan

Tourism in Japan: gradual pick-up in numbers to stunning Japan

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The devastating events of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11 followed by the nuclear crisis which resulted because of this in Fukushima meant that tourism suffered badly.  In April you had a 62% decrease in numbers and by May this had come down to 50% below 2010 figures.  However, recent data for June and July stipulates a decline of 36% from the year before and clearly a recovery is emerging in the tourist sector in Japan.

It is also worth remembering that the high yen and world economy isn’t helping, therefore, in a normal year you may have a margin of a decrease of 5% to 10% because of these factors.  If this is taken into account, then the real number of the decrease in tourist numbers when related solely to the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear crisis, is likely to be 26% to 31%.

This figure, when all things are considered, is a clear sign that the message of Japan’s recovery is clearly on its way.  Also, when viewed in the context of the longevity of the nuclear crisis in Fukushima and certain hysteria in some quarters of the media, then the Japanese tourist board can be relatively pleased with the numbers because it could be a lot worse.

Like previously mentioned, the high yen and global economic downturn is a real issue for Japan because it must be off-putting for many individuals. However, despite all the negatives it is clear that the appeal of Japan is very strong because tourism wise this country provides such a unique blend of history, culture, and ultra-modernity.  Alongside this is the stunning natural beauty of Japan and this applies to many amazing places to visit. Therefore, for this reason the rebound is emerging much stronger than some people had anticipated.

Of course you will have other factors, for example the government of Japan continuously reassures the international community that the country is back on track. Also, more important, it is also factual that despite all the carnage and the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, that the vast majority of Japan was not directly involved in this crisis.

Therefore, by the end of April scenes were turning to normality in Tokyo which felt the power of the earthquake on March 11. Individuals, organizations and embassies which had panicked about radiation after March 11 to the end of April, began to realize that much of the panic was based on misguided comments and fear. 

Also, while the whole of Japan was hit by shock and grief on March 11 because of the utter devastation of areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami, the same did not apply to events on the ground.  Therefore, for citizens and tourists in Hiroshima, Kobe, Koyasan, Kyoto, Himeji, Hokkaido, Nagoya, Nagasaki, Nara, Okinawa, Osaka, and other popular destinations, you had no fears or worry by events which emerged on March 11.

In time, Tokyo would gradually pick up and media campaigns, the fashion sector, positive images of Japan and a host of other factors, would witness a gradual realization that Japan is truly alive and kicking powerfully. 

In a much earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times which was published on April 16 called Tokyo needs to reinvigorate tourism and take centre stage it was commented that     “Governor Ishihara, the central government, tourist agencies, hotel chains, and other areas of interest; should start a major advertisement campaign in order to attract tourists to Tokyo and other parts of Japan.”

“If images of vibrant Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, were shown then many people outside of Japan would be shocked.  This applies to the return to normality, ladies shopping for exquisite clothes in fashionable shops, people enjoying the cherry blossom season, and showing glimpses of the raw energy of youth in Shibuya.”

It must be remembered that the above quotes were made when you still had serious doubts and issues about the crisis in Fukushima. Also, the crisis was in the full glare of the mass media and this clearly impacted on the tourist sector.

All in all, the recent figures show that people are visiting Japan in increasing numbers and tourism is rebounding.  Therefore, while more needs to be done in order to attract people to Japan, it is clear that the positive message is being heard by the international general public.

http://www.japantravelinfo.com/top/index.php

http://www.japanroads.com/index.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com

September 10, 2011

Tokyo fashion: culture and aspects of the pulling power of Japan

Tokyo fashion: culture and aspects of the pulling power of Japan

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The old Japan still appeals to vast numbers of people because of the rich cultural legacy of this unique nation.  This applies to so many factors, from the cradle of high culture in Nara which was then followed by Kyoto and the religious influence of Zen Buddhism,  Kukai, and Nichiren. Other major areas apply to ceramics, martial arts, ukiyo-e, Japanese tea ceremony, the samurai, geisha, kimono, kanzashi, Japanese garden, haiku, kabuki, mysterious world of the ninja, ikebana, bonsai, and a host of other factors. 

Indeed, the uniqueness of Japan is best summed up within the Shinto faith because no other major nation maintained its indigenous faith within just one location. All other major nations throughout the world became swallowed up by Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.  Hinduism of course is the indigenous faith of India but Hindu civilization spread to distant shores, from Afghanistan to Indonesia, before the advent of Islam.

 

In modern times the pulling power of the old world still exists but new themes attract the international community and this applies to the younger generation and all generations.  Therefore, Japanese animation, kawaii culture, fashion, cosplay, maid café, computer games, gadgets, and a host of other areas, is drawing people close to Japan. 

 

Regionally also, Japan is a huge pulling power for music and many American singers and groups have fallen in love with the buzzing fashion of Tokyo and Osaka.  Not only this, but Korean pop (k-pop) music and dramas now understand the power of Japan because more and more k-pop groups and television series from South Korea want a slice of the “Japanese apple pie.”

European fashion companies also desire a slice of the “Japanese apple pie” and this can be seen by the strong showing of profits made in Japan.  The South Korean k-pop scene is now following the same logic and this will only enhance the international reputation of Japan.

Therefore, while the economic base of Japan may be stuttering and the ravages of nature continues to create havoc during this sad year in the land of the rising sun – the soft power still continues to grow despite all these negative upheavals.  Indeed, political leaders in Japan and many internal companies should be doing more to reach out globally because the younger generation in many nations is focused on aspects of modern Japan. 

Fashion wise Tokyo and Osaka are buzzing and not only these cities because Kobe fashion is extremely vibrant and Kobe in its own right is a stunning city and one which is creative.  However, internationally the focus is on Tokyo and Akihabara (anime, gadgets, otaku, and maid café), trendy Shibuya, independent Harajuku, high fashion of Aoyama, Omotesando, Ginza and Roppongi Hills, and the name of Shinjuku, are all internationally well-known.

Osaka also is a huge international market and places like Namba and Umeda are great places for fashion and Namba entertainment district never sleeps.  In truth, Osaka is overlooked too much because the Kansai region is one of the richest regions in the world.  Therefore, Namba fashion and Umeda needs to be sold more and Osaka needs to reach out to the international community because this city is so energetic and contrasts greatly with Tokyo in terms of thinking.

Twenty years ago the younger generation in China and South Korea were largely disenfranchised from Japanese street culture.  This no longer applies and Japan is a hip place to visit and the Chinese tourist market to Japan is growing and developing rapidly.  Therefore, more fashion companies in Japan are focused on developing their image in China and also attracting Chinese tourists.

The best of k-pop in South Korea are also focused on the huge music market in Japan and this is altering the music balance.  Fifty years ago to the last ten years the American music power dominated in Japan and the same applied to the film industry.  However, in recent times more and more young people in Japan are listening to j-pop and k-pop and the domestic film industry is seeing a growing share.

 

Of course American music is still powerful and the same applies to the film industry but companies like Warner Bros. Studios in America are increasing their sights in Japan by also focusing more on Japanese films.  Warner Bros. Studios is a fantastic company in this sense, because they understand that times are changing and the best of both worlds is being provided by this dynamic company.

Therefore, while j-pop and k-pop continues to grow within Japan for the younger generation both music styles are making inroads in other nations like China, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and others within Asia.  It must be remembered that in China, Japan, and South Korea, you have over 1.5 billion people and the growing middle class and upper class in China is leading to new thinking and new energy.

Japan will always attract people because of its rich legacy and Kyoto, Nara, Kamakura, Koyasan, and so many other places, will always attract people because of high culture and the richness of Buddhism in the old world is internationally famous.  The Shinto faith also provides the real uniqueness of Japan and festivals throughout the year keeps this faith within the soul despite Japan being secular on the whole.

Turning back to fashion then this sector is so rich and diverse and each area within major cities like Tokyo and Osaka will have special zones which cater for certain styles. Also, exquisite international companies want a share of the “Japanese apple pie”

In a previous article about fashion I comment that “The beauty of Tokyo is that different areas contrast greatly and you have noticeable changes within fashion styles. Therefore, you will find greater individualism in Harajuku and Shibuya and both areas have a youthful image and are powerhouses.” 

“This contrasts greatly with Ginza and other fashionable areas like Ebisu and Aoyama which cater for young adults and all age ranges, with the emphasis being high income earners or people with wealth. Ginza is awash with international brands and Japanese brands where the focus is on elegance, sophistication and extreme quality.”

“Harajuku and Shibuya are not just about youthful fashion because both areas connect with Omotesando and within each area the mixture of fashion is amazing.  Therefore, you can visit independent companies like 6%DOKIDOKI in Harajuku and within a short distance you will find international and famous Japanese brands.”

“The fusion of fashion companies and the noticeable change within districts or within a short distance; increases the spice and the creativity of fashion in Tokyo.”

 “This all adds to the high energy of fashion in Tokyo and the spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI and Macaronic are a blessing.  Therefore, designers like Sebastian Masuda (6%DOKIDOKI) and Takashi Aoki (Macaronic) have no boundaries and instead their creativity and passion can be felt within the products that they provide”.

Sebastian Masuda

In the past Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo were famous for attracting broad followers and each individual is highly respected within the fashion world. Despite this, the fashion sector in Japan is extremely diverse and no individual designer or brand can dominate because the market is so complex.

The beauty of the fashion sector in Japan is its rich diversity and collectively all the influential designers compliment this aspect of the fashion scene.  Therefore, Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Sebastian Masuda, Yohji Yamamoto, Takashi Aoki, Junya Watanabe, Tsumori Chisato, Yoshie Itabashi, Chiharu Kikuchi, and many other fantastic designers, are collectively creating a major buzz throughout the international fashion industry.

 

It matters not if your favorite company is A Bathing Ape, Comme des Garçons, N. Hoolywood, Grimoire, Samantha Thavasa, 6%DOKIDOKI, SmackyGlam, Diet Butcher Slim Slim, Hiroko Koshino, Rip Van Winkle, H. Naoto, Macaronic, Candy Stipper, or any of the multitudes of quality and imaginative fashion companies in Japan. The most important aspect is the creativity of each individual company and how competing styles help to highlight fashion in Japan.

6%DOKIDOKI and SmackyGlam use amazing creativity and color schemes within their designs and both companies have different thought patterns and client bases.  Yet, this diversity amidst creative fashion is attracting fashion lovers from all over the world.

The brainchild behind 6%DOKIDOKI is Sebastian Masuda and this extremely creative fashion designer and thinker, never remains static because the spirit of fashion and Harajuku run through his veins. He is blessed with excellent staff who enthuse not only kawaii culture and chaotic punk, but who have raw energy and a rare vibrancy and spirit. 

The color schemes and creativity of 6%DOKIDOKI is beyond boundaries and kawaii culture and their free thinking shines out in a world of fashion which can sometimes be constrained.  6%DOKIDOKI is a company which makes Harajuku tick and their fashion and accessories say much more than people could ever imagine.

Another amazing aspect of fashion in Tokyo is that you have so many districts in this city which have their own distinctive vibe. Therefore, while places like Aoyama, Ebisu, Ginza, Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ueno, are more well-known and established areas, this is not the entire picture.  This applies to trendy smaller areas of Tokyo like Kichijoji, Daikanyama, Jiyugaoka, Nakano, Naka-Meguro, and Shimo-Kitazawa, because these places highlight the plethora of areas to visit for fashion in Tokyo and this is rare for a major city because the options are enormous and extremely varied.

The image of Japan is changing in the eyes of the younger generation because the new Japan is trendy, creative, and provides rich new trends which have global appeal.  Kawaii culture is no longer stuck in Japan and cosplay, Japanese anime, new gadgets, fashion, computer games, maid café, and other areas are all adding up and leading to new dimensions.

At the same time, the mysterious Japan is still potent and appeals to all generations and this unique factor makes the land of the rising sun so fascinating. For some individuals it is all about kawaii culture and Japanese anime.  However, for others it is about the richness of Nara, Kyoto, Wakayama Castle, Koyasan, Japanese gardens, Buddhism, Japanese ceramics, kabuki, ukiyo-e and other high cultural aspects of Japan.

 

Obviously many individuals will enjoy both worlds and feel relaxed within the rich traditional culture of Japan and the changing aspects of the new nation which is constantly evolving because of new trends.

Therefore, the pulling power of Japan will continue to grow and k-pop groups and other international music styles will continue to focus on the “Japanese apple pie.” The same applies to the magnificent and stylish fashion scene because of amazing designers who focus on creativity and innovation.

Overall, Tokyo is amazing for fashion and cosplay, anime, maid café, kawaii culture, and a plethora of other trends, is leading to such a rich and vibrant culture.

http://www.dokidoki6.com/ 

http://www.smackyglam.com/

http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/tokyo/harajuku_fashion.htm (Harajuku – Tokyo)

http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/search/detail/shopping_5160.html  (Namba – Osaka) 

http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/tokyo/shibuya.htm (Shibuya – Tokyo)

http://candystripper.net/

http://www.macaronic.jp/

http://tokyofashion.com/

http://shibuyafashion.metrocity.nl/

http://www.photopassjapan.com/tokyo_-_shibuya/

http://www.warnerbros.co.jp/main/homepage/homepage.html (in Japanese)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 25, 2011

Tokyo National Museum: Kukai’s World and The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism

Tokyo National Museum: Kukai’s World and The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo National Museum is currently showing an exhibition about Kukai and Esoteric Buddhism.  Kukai is of major importance in Japan and this applies to Shingon Buddhism and the rich legacy he left, and in time this rich legacy would reach many distant lands.  Therefore, the current exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum will highlight the richness of his teaching, Shingon Buddhism, Koyasan, cultural factors and take you into the world of Esoteric Buddhism.

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.

His theory that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime was very powerful in his day and it gave hope and a new freshness to Buddhist thought within Japan.  Kukai also spread his message and thinking on the top of Mount Koya which is situated in Wakayama and you can imagine the impact of nature and the isolation of Koyasan on his thinking.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “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.”

“Today, in the modern period, other worlds still survive and in Koyasan you feel the richness of culture, the souls of the dead within the mysterious graveyards, the beauty of life within the grounds of so many Buddhist temples and a culture which still survives.”

Near the end of Kukai’s life he stopped taking food and water and instead he meditated and it was reported that his body did not decay for several years.  Many legends have sprung up about Kukai and one claims that Kukai was transformed into an eternal Samadhi. Therefore, the legend states that Kukai wanders around Mount Koya where he is awaiting a major spiritual event to take place and this applies to the next Buddha Maitreya appearing.

Other legends have developed, therefore, if you want to understand about Kukai and esoteric Buddhism then the exhibition at Tokyo National Museum is a must.  If you reside far from Tokyo in Japan or in another nation, then check the website which will be supplied and read more about this very important individual.

http://www.tnm.jp/modules/r_free_page/index.php?id=1393 Tokyo National Museum

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

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

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

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

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/06/26/koyasan-in-wakayama-stunning-mysterious-and-sublime-architecture/

(If you attend the exhibition after reading this article then please mention that Modern Tokyo Times highlighted the exhibition)

 
 
July 27, 2011

Akihabara: escapism, modernity, maid cafe ladies and raw energy

Akihabara: escapism, modernity, maid cafe ladies and raw energy

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is a very dynamic city and each district is special for various factors and the natural ambience changes quickly.  In Akihabara the distinctive nature of this place is because of the latest high tech gadgets on sale and if you want to buy the latest electronic models then you have come to the right place.  However, Akihabara is not just about electronic goods it is also famous for maid café bars, anime and a place where otaku can buy countless goods which are in demand.

Akihabara is a place which either suits you greatly or it isn’t your cup of tea and this is because of the nature of this part of Tokyo.  In Harajuku you have the vibrancy of youth and changing fashion styles. If you walk along the main street which connects you with Omotesando, then it is clear that you are in fashion paradise.  Not only this, you have the stunning Meiji shrine in the same environment near Harajuku train station and the ambient buzz of Omotesando Hills. Therefore, this area is a fantastic fusion of fashion, culture, and history.

However, in Akihabara this place really connects with people who suit what this place provides.  Therefore, Akihabara may not have the sophistication of Harajuku but if you want to visit an area which is buzzing because of commerce and escapism then Akihabara caters for you.

Maid café bars have spread from Akihabara to countless other nations and this is an increasing pulling power alongside anime and otaku goods.  This in itself means that surrealism and realism blends together like the fusion of life and this all adds to the uniqueness of Akihabara.   

It matters not if Akihabara is not your classical part of Tokyo because this place is internationally famous in its own right and with the booming nature of maid café bars then you feel like you have entered into another world. 

All major cities in the world have places of high fashion and independent fashion but in most major European cities you don’t have anything like Akihabara.  Therefore, this place is a magnet for tourists based on the latest electronic gadgets, anime, otaku culture, maid café bars and in the back streets you can also find old gadgets and computer games. This means that if you love searching around for hidden old computer games then Akihabara is a gem of a place to visit because it caters for old school individuals.

In another article I wrote about Akihabara I stated that “…the electronic beauty of Akihabara is that it is not only famous for newly developed electronic goods which have just entered the market but it is also a place where the old world of electronic goods can be found.  If you are nostalgic and see the world in pixels or you dream about the first videogame which got you fascinated by this new world. Then Akihabara also provides ample opportunities to search around and find your hidden childhood.”

“The Tokyo Anime Center is another added attraction which is located in Akihabara.  Although the building is not huge it is certainly welcoming and you can obtain information in Chinese, English, and Korean, and of course in the native language.”

“In the past Akihabara was staunchly known for being famous for electrical goods but the growth of anime and maid café is changing all this and now all are part and parcel of Akihabara and this fusion makes the visit even more intriguing and distinctive.”

“Therefore, the world of Dragon Ball, Evangelion, Mazinger Z, Ultra Man, and for me, Ghost in the Shell, opens up and the rich culture of Nara seems like a different planet. In truth, this is the beauty of Japan because it offers many worlds and environments within the same nation and clearly Tokyo is a city where you can find ample diversity and the same can be said about Osaka.”

This means that Akihabara is a gaming and anime heaven and for people who are fascinated by both then locals and tourists alike will certainly love the environment of Akihabara.

Maid café bars also attract many people and this image for tourists is now very potent and it should not be underestimated irrespective of your thinking.  After all, many nations have borrowed from Akihabara and this helps to keep the place fresh and open to new changes.

It is true that in Osaka you will find maid café bars and you have a few in Shinjuku but it appears much more natural in Akihabara because of the environment.  However, you also have a distinctive feel in Osaka because the culture in this city is very different from Tokyo and this applies to the energy level and places like Namba and Umeda are very dynamic.

Ladies involved in working in the maid café bar sector do dress sexily in a cute way and they look very appealing and with a special charm.  However, just like the world of anime it is an illusion and you don’t have sexual overtones in proper maid café bars.

It could be said that maid café ladies are the modern version of the old geisha in Japan but based on different concepts and with much more innocence. Therefore, while traditional geisha was based on a more subtle, placid and gentle role this can’t be said completely for maid café ladies. After all, while the piety part will apply via language it is clear that maid café ladies are more commercial and the bond between client and staff will also be different and clearly environmental factors and time are a million miles away.

Overall, it is easy to understand the appeal of Akihabara and this part of Tokyo ticks to a different beat but the beat continues to pulsate and attract vast numbers of people.

http://akihabara-tour.com/

http://www.e-akihabara.jp/en/index.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com