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This repurposed former train station (Manseibashi, last used in 1943) has been beautifully transformed into a niche shopping complex, housing a handful of upscale interior and design stores, cafes, restaurants and other shops. Part of the original station platform can be seen on the second floor, and original staircases dating from 1912 and 1935 have been preserved. [Show more]
Exhibits at this rather large museum feature archeological finds from the area, including a pit dwelling from the Jomon period. There are also collections of swords and armor, pottery and metalware, and famous 16th-century scroll paintings depicting scenes from the medieval war chronicle Taiheiki. [Show more]
This huge 67-hectare park is famous for its Japanese red pines, apricot trees and numerous cherry trees, and it's an especially popular destination during cherry-blossom season in late March. It's also home to several sporting facilities, a free zoo, the Saitama Museum of History and Folklore, and the 2400-year-old Hikawa Shrine. [Venue data]
Collectors and devoted fans of winter weather-themed novelty souvenir items will be interested in this unique cultural resource - the world's only museum devoted to snow globes (aka snowdomes). Hundreds of examples of this much-neglected artform are on display, with motifs generally focusing on sightseeing landmarks at various tourist destinations as well as animals and nature scenes. [Show more]
In terms of sheer size, Aeon Laketown is awe-inspiring - it's basically made up of three very large shopping malls lined up next to each other, with over 700 shops and restaurants plus a cinema complex, department store and supermarket. You can choose from five separate branches of Starbucks, not to mention a pretty decent selection of restaurants in all price ranges. [Show more]
A stylish new retail venture from JR (the train company), Chabara is a sister store of the nearby under-the-tracks Aki-Oka crafts complex, showcasing local food products from around Japan. The retail section offers a vast selection of food and drink, focusing on regional specialties like soy sauce, miso, rice crackers, tea, sake and quite a bit more, with special events every month. [Show more]
Once you're done checking out Isetan's high-end fashions, head down to the basement to experience the best food hall in Tokyo. You'll find fresh seafood and produce, gift-ready (and astronomically priced) melons and matsutake mushrooms, luxurious bento boxes and simple tempura and yakitori to go. Plus an enormous selection of pickles, miso, rice crackers and packaged sweets - all of them top quality. [Show more]
Visitors are encouraged to pet, play with and feed the dozen or so rabbits "on staff" at this small backstreet cafe. Several different breeds are represented, and most of them seem to be quite lively (especially compared to typical residents of a cat cafe). The rabbits take turns scampering about and spending time in their cages, with only a few running loose at any given time, although you can play with the ones in their cages too. [Show more]
The Legoland Discovery Center is a mini-theme park inside the Tokyo Decks shopping complex, offering fun activities and charming attractions for visitors of all ages. There are a couple of entertaining rides, a 3D adventure movie, and hands-on building activities. The most impressive feature, though, is probably the one-of-a-kind Lego Miniland, a miniature version of Tokyo made from 1.5 million Lego bricks, with moving trains, boats, and trucks.

Most of Tokyo's major landmarks are represented here, including a few architectural classics like the Nakagin Capsule Tower and Yoyogi Olympic Stadium. There's a sumo stadium where you can stage your own match between button-activated wrestlers, and a button-activated Godzilla-like monster that menaces the Q-Front Building in the mini-Shibuya district. The whole mini-city goes through a gradual day-and-night cycle, with illuminated buildings and fireworks displays after it gets dark.

In addition to Miniland, other attractions include a short amusement park-style ride where you shoot at trolls with a laser gun, and an engrossing 15-minute 3D movie set in animated Lego world, with special "4D" effects (wind, mist) to enhance the experience. (Dialog is in Japanese, but it's very easy to follow nonetheless.)
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Rising from a relatively narrow (326-square-meter) plot, the seven-story structure is fashioned as a series of irregular horizontal planes stacked precariously on top of each other, with several of the levels bounded by distinctive-looking walls of vertical wooden slats. [Show more]
Highlights at this charming local museum include life-size reconstructions of an Edo-era storehouse, residential interiors, and half a streetcar. There's also a large scale-model diorama representing the early post town of "Naito Shinjuku" - rows of shops and houses surrounded by farms, occupying the area between modern-day Shinjuku station and Isetan Department Store.

Seemingly random memorabilia from 1900-1960 focus on Shinjuku's history as an entertainment district, filled with bars and restaurants, cinemas and live theaters. One unexpected display illustrates the history of Japanese curry rice, using old newspaper articles, menus and plastic food models. Other exhibit areas show off archeological finds from the Jomon and Yayoi periods and a number of Edo-era paintings and drawings.
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The Marunouchi district is teeming with smart new shopping-dining-office complexes, but Kitte ("postage stamp"), brought to you by the Japanese Postal Service, is the only one with its own natural-history museum. Or is it a contemporary art gallery? Whichever, this slickly produced two-story facility is worth checking out, and admission is free of charge.

Interdisciplinary experimentation is the goal here, and the museum's impressive collection of hundreds of taxidermied birds and animal skeletons is recontextualized as a "revival of historical heritage within the contemporary urban cityscape." In other words, it's like visiting a really old museum, except it's new and in a shopping mall.

Specimens are neatly arrayed in century-old wooden cabinets, and shelves are crowded with glass-topped display cases, apothecary jars and leather-bound books. Off in one corner is a life-size recreation of a late 19th-century university lecture room. Some natural-history highlights include skeletons of a minke whale and an enormous Elephant Bird, a now-extinct species that was once the heaviest bird in existence.
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The garden area here is laid out around a large pond inhabited by turtles, carp and ducks and other birds. Kiyoumi Gardens is best known for its collection of exotic landscape stones gathered from around Japan, many of which are used to create stepping-stone pathways through shallower areas of the pond. An attractive teahouse sits at one end.

The azaleas, irises and hydrangeas are generally at their best in May and June. The garden was first laid out in 1878 by the founder of Mitsubishi Corporation as a place to entertain business guests; it was given over to the city of Tokyo in 1932.
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Cat cafes are so 2011 - bird cafes are the next big thing. Enjoy the company of owls and parrots while sipping your herb tea and snacking on owl-shaped cookies and coffee jellies. They also offer a selection of beers and wines that feature birds of prey on their labels, including three varieties of the excellent Hitachino Nest Beer (weitzen, white ale, sweet stout) as well as Steenuilke ("Little Owl"), a blond beer from Belgium (all Y1000/bottle). [Show more]
Life in Japan during and after World War II - the period from 1935 to 1955 to be exact - is the focus at this small historical museum. Completely renovated in January 2013, the museum offers a unique glimpse into everyday life during this turbulent period, with themed exhibits incorporating old photographs, household objects and clothing from the era. The substantial collection of posters, advertisements, books and magazines also serves as a showcase of mid-century Japanese graphic arts and design. [Show more]