Finding fun things to do in the big city
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This specialized museum houses thousands and thousands of dolls. The collection starts off with a huge display of traditional dolls and human figures from more than 100 countries around the world. Japan is represented by numerous styles such as Hina dolls for Girl's Day celebrations, daruma good-luck amulets, and kokeshi dolls with distinctive cylindrical bodies. Other exhibits focus on... [Continue reading]
A surprisingly detailed diorama of a crowded Ikebukuro market square in the early 20th century is one of the highlights at this tiny history museum. There are also scale models of a 19th-century residential neighborhood, a collection of ancient pottery, and a big Toshima-related library, though there's not much description of anything in English. Special exhibits provide a glimpse into the... [Continue reading]
With its inspiring collection of housewares, stationery and assorted knickknacks from up-and-coming designers, Koncent is a fun shop to browse even if you don't need anything. You'll find colorful tote bags, beautiful pastel crayons and stylish geometric-print umbrellas. There's a good assortment of stuff for kids, from tastefully crafted toys to cute animal-themed tableware. One corner of... [Continue reading]
This relatively large contemporary art gallery is conveniently located just behind Yokohama City Hall, in one of the beautifullly restored Imperial Silkworm Warehouse buildings that date back to 1926. Run by the BankART 1929 NPO, they exhibit a range of contemporary Japanese artists in solo and group shows. The sprawling museum shop area next to the main gallery showcases the work of local... [Continue reading]
This small building on a Bakurocho side street looks like it's midway through the process of being demolished, but it's actually home to three cutting-edge contemporary art galleries on its three floors. It's definitely worth stopping by if you're doing a gallery tour of the Bakurocho art district. Fourth floor: Con_ Gallery (closed Monday through Wednesday.) [Continue reading]
Located on the second floor of a popular pet shop, Coorikuya has a more relaxed atmosphere than your average cat cafe. Unlike places in more touristed neighborhoods like Shibuya or Akihabara, there were only a handful of visitors on a weekday afternoon in spite of the bustling crowds in Nakano Sun Plaza just downstairs. The cafe occupies a single large rectangular playroom looking out over the... [Continue reading]
Young children who are fascinated by package-delivery services are perhaps the main audience for this rather specialized corporate facility, although professional museum designers and connoisseurs of quirky museums may also find it of interest. Younger visitors can dress up and pose in delivery uniforms and caps, and then explore the inside of an actual delivery truck. For the more nostalgia... [Continue reading]
Clearly someone with excellent taste has curated the cool merchandise for sale at this stylish little design shop. The eclectic wares are all over the place, with area rugs and clothing, desk lamps and audio equipment, cosmetics and plants all neatly arranged on the shelves and display tables. The shop is particularly strong in tableware, showcasing the work of artisans producing beautiful... [Continue reading]
We were greeted by loud squawks as we entered the building - just a small taste of the exotic-bird adventure ahead. In spite of the name, this current incarnation of Tori no Iru Cafe (Cafe with Birds) isn't technically a cafe but a pet store - a very immersive pet store. Several dozen parrots and other birds fly freely around the main bird room, ready to meet visitors and entertain with their... [Continue reading]
Illustrator Chiharu Sakazaki's beloved penguin mascot, Suica's Penguin, now has an exclusive character goods shop inside JR Ueno Station. Images of the efficient urban penguin, originally designed to promote prepaid Suica cards from private railway JR East, adorn everything from stationery goods to folding umbrellas. There's a surprisingly wide range of penguin-themed clothing as well as... [Continue reading]
An extensive collection of Chinese pottery and porcelain, covering several dynasties, is at the heart of this century-old museum's holdings. The 6500-item collection also includes swords, tea ceremony utensils, Chinese and Japanese paintings, calligraphy, lacquerware and wood carvings. Located in the historic Meiji Seimei Kan building in Marunouchi (itself a Tangible Cultural Asset), the... [Continue reading]
This ambitious design museum/gallery has the unusual mission of showcasing commercial, industrial and product design from all 47 Japanese prefectures. Products cover everything from pottery, lacquerware and kitchen utensils to stationery, fabrics, children's toys and even food and drink. Some exhibitions concentrate on one prefecture, while others focus on a particular style of design or... [Continue reading]
Special Interests
Notable buildings by contemporary architects like Kenzo Tange, Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban
Galleries, museums and artsy bookstores
Graphic-art and product-design galleries and design shops
Anime and manga, toys and more popular culture
Artisanal crafts, Japanese gardens, and history-themed museums
Aquariums and zoos, bird-watching parks and horseback-riding stables
Food markets, ramen museums, brewery tours, professional knife stores and regional food shops
Science and tech museums, planetariums, botanical gardens,
Parks, gardens and other places to enjoy the fresh air
Batting cages, bowling alleys and other sporty spots
Observation decks, skyscraper bars and more viewing spots
Explore Tokyo's rivers and Tokyo Bay
The best jazz kissa (coffee shops) for vinyl fans, and clubs for live jazz
Amusement parks, train museums, Legoland, and other diversions for younger Tokyoites
Venue categories
Eating and drinking
The latest food and drink listings from sister sites and Craft Beer Bars Japan.
This commuter-friendly, underground branch of the popular Italian chain includes an imported food market, a cafe, a casual wine bar, and a full-fledged pizza- and pasta-centric restaurant, all located just steps away from...
Good Hong Kong-style dim sum is served all day long in this conveniently located shop attached to Shinjuku Station. You can choose from a fair assortment of dim sum favorites - xiao long bao, spicy xiao long bao,...
Deux Mil serves solid, modern French cuisine in a pretty dining room. The atmosphere is quiet but not stuffy. And sometimes that's exactly what you're looking for, whether you're having a low-key family celebration or just...
One of Yokohama's two long-established Greek restaurants, Olympia takes a fairly traditional approach to the cuisine, which is also reflected in their old-school dining room. The kitchen serves up reliable standards like...
Despite the name, one of the things we like best about this gorgeously appointed bar is its relaxed atmosphere. (The name comes from its location on the top floor of a boutique hotel called The Lively.) There are...
This branch of the original Joe's Shanghai in NYC is best known for their first-rate xiaolongbao (shoronpo) soup dumplings as well as their 59th-floor view. If you want a full dinner, prix-fixe menus start at around Y7,000,...

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Cat, rabbit and bird cafe guide
Craft Beer Bars Japan
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