Finding fun things to do in the big city
 
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The magnificent main building of this concert hall was completed in 1961 and designed by the Japanese modernist architect Kunio Maekawa. Maekawa apprenticed with Le Corbusier in Paris from 1928-1930 before returning to Japan and starting his own practice, and his firm, Maekawa and Associates, was the first employer of the very... [Continue reading]
Wondering what Japanese robots are up to these days? Find out at the Tokyo Skytree campus of Chiba University of Technology, which is actually just a couple of exhibition spaces located upstairs from the Skytree's shopping-mall complex. One area is devoted to robotics technology, with several interactive exhibits examining... [Continue reading]
Thousands of maneki neko (good-luck cat statues) fill the interior of this spacious cafe-bar, along with signed covers of jazz albums and underground theater posters. There's a counter and several tables, making this a good venue for a small party. Service is friendly and the air isn't too smoky, although smoking is allowed... [Continue reading]
The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures is part of Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park. It houses more than 300 historical artifacts, mainly from the seventh and eighth centuries, which were donated to the Imperial Household by Horyuji Temple in Nara in 1878. The building was completed in 1999 and is the work of architect Yoshio... [Continue reading]
This lovely museum is devoted to the work of Katsushika Hokusai, Japan's most famous ukiyoe artist, who lived and worked for most of his life here in this traditional neighborhood. The wide-ranging permanent collection provides a good overview of Hokusai's life and the evolution of his artistic styles and subject matter, while... [Continue reading]
This inexpensive mini-theme park is an entertaining destination for young train fans who still have leftover energy after a visit to Tama Zoo, located just across the road. It's a very hands-on attraction, with several different train simulators and a huge room-size layout with four separate control booths for operating the... [Continue reading]
Although this specialized museum is rather compact in size, the very detailed English-language tour makes up for it, and is highly recommended. The tour brings Japan's samurai history to life as you're introduced to room after room filled with rare swords, armor, helmets and many other historical artifacts. This is also a... [Continue reading]
Located less than an hour from Shinjuku station, Mount Takao is a popular hiking destination, drawing some 2.5 million visitors every year. There are several different trails to choose from, and the climb from base to summit, standing 599 meters above sea level, takes around 90-100 minutes. Along the way are beech and cedar... [Continue reading]
If you're in Tokyo and you feel the urge to take an English-language tour of a real-life sake brewery, Ishikawa Brewery in Fussa is the place to go. The picturesque brewery, in operation since 1863, is located in the mountains around fifty minutes west of Shinjuku by train, with several historical buildings and cultural... [Continue reading]
Cartoon fans can learn about the history of Japanese animation, try their hand at using animation software and browse through a massive library of DVDs and comics at this free museum. The museum's attached theater boasts a 150-inch screen and surround sound. All displays are well captioned in English, and the free audio guide... [Continue reading]
Things to do in Tokyo
Food markets, ramen museums, brewery tours, professional knife stores and regional food shops
Exhibtions of contemporary and traditional arts, design and crafts
Notable buildings by contemporary architects like Kenzo Tange, Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban
Aquariums and zoos, bird-watching parks and horseback-riding stables
Graphic-art and product-design shows, design shops, and an open-air architecture park
Artisanal crafts, Japanese gardens, and history-themed museums
Observation decks, skyscraper bars and more viewing spots
Amusement parks, train museums, Legoland, and other diversions for younger Tokyoites
Our popular guide to cat, bird and rabbit cafes - now expanded to a site of its own at Animal Cafes.com
More interests and categories
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Eating and drinking
The latest food and drink listings from sister sites Bento.com and Craft Beer Bars Japan.
Va Bene: Shimo-Kitazawa
Va Bene's casual ground-floor bar is a convivial spot to enjoy some scrumptious meaty snacks along with a glass of wine or two. The assorted appetizer plate (Y980) is a perfect match for a robust Italian red, and our...
Sake Diary - Soregashi: Ebisu
Soregashi is a laid-back, very unpretentious local izakaya where you can explore a good range of craft sake along with an interesting food menu. There are a couple dozen sakes to choose from, including a good number of...
Ethical: Shimo-Kitazawa
Exotic, ethnic-themed cafes in Japan have their own special charm, and Ethical Cafe is a fine example of the genre. The decor is fashioned after a tropical resort, with rattan sofas, chairs and tables and a cabana-style...
Shirube: Roppongi
Located in a relatively respectable corner of Roppongi, Shirube offers a decent sake list and reliable izakaya-style fare at reasonable prices in this often expensive area. The dining area is quite large, with private rooms...
Hagare: Shimo-Kitazawa
If you're a cheese fan it's well worth dropping by this casual wine bar just to try their excellent four-cheese platter. The shop offers around a hundred wines by the bottle and twenty by the glass, including an...
Sake Diary - Tejimaul: Nishi-Shinjuku
Excellent heirloom-breed pork dishes served with an impressive selection of premium craft sake - that's the simple but appealing formula at this unpretentious drinking spot. There are around thirty or forty craft sakes to...
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