THE NEW TOKYO STATION The City’s Transport Hub Gets a Facelift
Comfort & Innovation in Sarugakucho
HERMAN MILLER'S TOKYO HOME LUXURY HOTELS & RYOKANS SIGHTSEEING IN SHIBAMATA
Scotch Grain Spider No.634 Tokyo Skytree Town Solamachi(1F) Each shoe is made by sewing together 38 pieces of leather taken from the neck and belly parts, which are not usually used. The superb technique of our craftsmen has been maintained since 1964 when Hirokawa was established. We are proud that we have used only the Goodyear welt process, and have engaged in economic activities that are friendly to the environment.
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Publisher - Lloyd Cunningham Marketing Dir. - Pia von Waldau Editor in Chief - Kelly Wetherille Designer - R. Paul Seymour Contributors - Paul McInnes, Elisabeth Lambert, Ikuko Inoue, Stephen Parker Photographer - Marco Lüthy
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6 Tokyo Now A quick look at some of the city’s newest shopping, architecture and sightseeing venues
8 Dining & Entertainment Some of Tokyo’s best new
restaurants have opened in the recently refurbished Tokyo Station Hotel
10 The Residential Areas of Tokyo A comprehensive guide to the city’s residential areas, from Chiyoda to Setagaya and Yokohama
26 Daikanyama T-Site Innovative design and retail concepts merge in Sarugakucho
30 Guide to Renting Property Everything you need to know about renting an apartment in Tokyo
34 Art & Design Exploring Herman Miller’s Tokyo home in Marunouchi
38 Guide to Buying Property All the details and procedures related to buying properties in Tokyo
42 Luxury Hotels & Ryokans An amazing lineup of some of Japan’s top hotels and ryokan
56 Sightseeing in Tokyo A selection of both well known and off-the-beaten-path places to explore in Tokyo
66 Discover Hakuba A quick guide to the “white season” in Hakuba, including ski resorts, hotels, chalets and entertainment
75 Reference Guide & Directory Some useful information to help both newcomers and long-term residents get settled in Tokyo
Cover photo courtesy of Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. 5
TOKYO NOW What’s New & Notable Around Town
Shibuya Hikarie If shoppers didn’t already have enough places to spend their hard-earned money in Shibuya, the newly opened Hikarie complex gives them an additional nearly 200 shops, 26 eateries, design and art galleries, and a large musical theater. But it’s not just the building’s size or imposing location towering over the station that sets it apart. Unlike the shopping district centered around the iconic Shibuya 109 building, this new high-rise project is designed to attract more mature shoppers, marking a shift in the perception that Shibuya is a fashion mecca exclusively for teens. Targeting consumers in their 20s to 40s, the shops inside Hikarie sell luxury goods and health products such as high-end cosmetics and organic foods. Address: 2-21-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5468-5892 Nearest station: Shibuya www.hikarie.jp/en/
Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku
Originally opened in 1914, this Tokyo landmark recently underwent a large-scale renovation project to restore the Marunouchi side back to its pre-war condition. The station officially reopened in October 2012, and upon entering, it quickly becomes apparent that its purpose goes far beyond a train terminus servicing a thriving metropolis. Shops ranging from clothing stores to souvenir vendors, a vast array of restaurants and takeout food options, and the newly reopened Tokyo Station Hotel provide both residents and visitors with an experience unrivalled by most other world transport hubs. For more information, see Living Japan’s Dining & Entertainment section on page 8, the hotel special on page 54, and a sightseeing feature on page 56.
Occupying prime real estate at the intersection where trendy Harajuku meets chic Omotesando, this new commercial complex is home to some of the biggest fashion brands in the world, as well as popular restaurants and coffee shops. The Starbucks here, with plenty of relaxed seating among tall trees on an expansive outdoor terrace, has quickly become a prime place for hipsters and young creative types to see and be seen. There is also a branch of Australian chef Bill Granger’s restaurant, which is a popular brunch spot among both Japanese and expats, especially on weekends. Tommy Hilfiger and American Eagle anchor the building with large, multi-floor stores.
Address: 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Address: 4-30-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5220-1111 (Tokyo Station Hotel)
Nearest station: Tokyo
Nearest station: Meiji-Jingumae / Harajuku omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/en/
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Opened in December 2011, Daikanyama T-Site is an innovative retail complex that specifically targets customers over 50— although appeals to a much wider age range—with a relaxing, homey atmosphere and a selection of carefully ‘curated’ products and services. T-Site includes a restaurant, camera store, electrical bicycle shop, toy store, and dog groomer and hospital. But the crowning glory of the complex is Tsutaya Books, a huge media store-cum-lounge housed in three buildings connected by covered walkways. For more information, see Living Japan’s feature on T-Site on page 26.
This new 634-meter tower and the complex of offices and shops surrounding it breathe new life into both Tokyo’s east side and Japan as a whole. Completed in June 2011, Tokyo Skytree officially opened in the spring of 2012. Two observation platforms at 350 meters and 450 meters offer unsurpassed views of the city, while also serving as the metropolis’s new digital broadcasting tower. At the base is Tokyo Solamachi, with over 300 shops and restaurants. Also nearby is the Sumida Aquarium, which houses over 10,000 sea creatures and has the largest open indoor tank in Japan. The myriad of attractions makes for a great way to spend a weekend day.
Address: 17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Address: 1 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3770-2525 (Tsutaya Books)
Nearest station: Daikanyama
Nearest station: Tokyo Skytree
Hankyu Men’s Tokyo
Uniqlo Marché Printemps Ginza
This department store, which caters specifically to male customers, opened in October 2011 near Yurakucho station, not far from the ritzy designer boutiques and department stores of Ginza. The store consists of nine floors selling everything from leather goods to formal wear and even bicycles and stationery. The basement level houses the world’s first Monocle Café, a shoe repair center and an ordermade shirt shop. Other unique services include a “remaking” salon on the fifth floor, where customers can take beloved old clothes and have them reborn as something new. The top floor of Hankyu Men’s is dedicated to health and beauty, with an Aveda hair salon catering to men, as well as a men’s nail salon and relaxation massage spa.
Japan’s homegrown fast-fashion brand seems to open a new store somewhere in the world just about every week, but this one, opened in early November 2012, is unique. Most shoppers don’t know that Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, actually owns several successful international fashion brands. Now, for the first time, many of those brands are housed together under one roof, on the sixth and seventh floors of Ginza’s Printemps department store. In addition to Uniqlo, there is the even lower priced G.U., Theory offshoot PLST, popular French casual wear brand Comptoir des Cotonniers, and the very first Japan outpost of Paris-based lingerie, home wear and swimwear brand Princesse Tam.Tam.
Address: 2-5-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Address: 3-2-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5159-3931 (Uniqlo)
Nearest station: Yurakucho
Nearest stations: Ginza, Ginza-Itchome, Yurakucho
DINING & ENTERTAINMENT
Dining & Drinking at the Tokyo Station Hotel
The Tokyo Station Hotel features a variety of fine and casual restaurants, representing a wide range of cuisines and atmospheres. Guests can entertain business clients, celebrate a special occasion, or just enjoy a meal or casual drink with friends or family. The hotel’s proud 100year legacy of service, as well as its official designation as an Important Cultural Property of Japan, ensures that each visit will exceed guests’ expectations for a truly outstanding gourmet experience.
The Lobby Lounge
Executive chef Ishihara serves up authentic French gourmet dishes enhanced with a modern twist. Blanc Rouge offers three private dining rooms, ideal for business or private gatherings.
With its contemporary European design, high ceilings and elegant windows, the Lobby Lounge is the perfect place to enjoy the soothing aroma of freshly brewed coffee, a fine selection of teas and a delectable choice of desserts.
Opening hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. (weekdays), 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m. (Sat, Sun & holidays); dinner 5:30–10 p.m. (weekdays), 5–10 p.m. (Sat, Sun & holidays)
Opening hours: Weekdays 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun & holidays 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
Pricing: Lunch from ¥3,600; dinner from ¥8,000 Tel: 03-5220-0014
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Pricing: Cake sets from ¥1,900; coffee and tea from ¥1,250 Tel: 03-5220-1114
Marunouchi 1-chome Shichi Jyu Ni Kou
Cantonese “en” Ken Takase
Famous Japanese restaurant Aoyagi opens its first sushi bar, featuring offerings from red snapper fish of Naruto Strait to a variety of seafood from Tsukiji Market.
Renowned chef Akio Saito is behind this authentic Japanese restaurant, specializing in the freshest seasonal produce selected from all across Japan, served in modern Japanese kaiseki style.
From a la carte to full course menus, this Cantonese restaurant offers healthy meals made from the best ingredients available during each season.
Opening hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; dinner 5:30–10 p.m.
Opening hours: Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; café 2–4:30 p.m.; dinner 5–11 p.m.
Opening hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; dinner 5:30–11 p.m.
Pricing: Lunch from ¥2,800yen; dinner from ¥7,000 Tel: 03-6269-9428
Pricing: Lunch from ¥2,800; dinner from ¥7,000
Pricing: Lunch from ¥3,000; dinner from ¥6,000
Ristorante & Bar Enoteca Norio
This is the first branch location of an established yakitori restaurant in Azabu Juban. Enjoy the exquisite taste of Japanese yakitori carefully prepared by chef Hiroyuki Seo. A wide selection of wine complements each yakitori dish.
Enoteca Norio is a popular restaurant in the quiet residential area of Yotsuya, and this new branch highlights Italian dining prepared with seasonal ingredients abundant in Japan.
Toraya Tokyo opens on the second floor of the South Side Dome and features the original red brick wall interiors. The ambience blends well with the iconic building and Toraya’s 480-year tradition of serving premium Japanese sweets.
Opening hours: Dinner 5–10 p.m. Pricing: Dinner from ¥5,500
Opening hours: Lunch 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.; dinner 5:30–10:30 p.m. (weekdays, Sat), 5–9 p.m. (Sun, public holidays)
Opening hours: 10 a.m.–9 p.m. (weekdays, Sat); 10 a.m.–8 p.m. (Sun & holidays)
Pricing: Lunch from ¥1,800; dinner from ¥3,800
Pricing: Confections from ¥840; meals from ¥1,050; beverages from ¥525
Bar & Café Camellia
Following the renovation, Camellia reopens not only as a bar, but also a café serving delicious lunches accompanied by popular beverages for a hearty, satisfying meal.
Legendary bartender Hisashi Sugimoto offers his signature cocktail concoction called “Tokyo Station” to the delight of his many avid fans.
Opening hours: 11:30 a.m.–midnight
Operating hours: 5 p.m.–midnight
Pricing: Beef Stew ¥2,580; beer ¥900; cocktails from ¥1,100yen
Pricing: Cocktails from ¥1,100; beer from ¥950; whiskey from ¥1,200
NATIONAL ART CENTER, ROPPONGI
ROPPONGI & AKASAKA TOKYO’S HOT SPOT
RECREATION & SHOPPING
THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS
The areas of Roppongi and Akasaka form a central hub for international business, residential urban development, restaurants and nightlife. Housing in this area is typically newer, high-rise apartments with fewer private homes. It is certainly a convenient and exciting location for foreign residents, especially for younger singles and couples.
The Roppongi and Akasaka areas are home to an abundance of international supermarkets, restaurants, bars, clubs and shops. The past decade has seen massive urban redevelopment, with complexes such as Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown offering a wide array of modern office, residential, retail and green space.
A BRIEF HISTORY
RESTAURANTS & NIGHTLIFE
Founded by Buddhist monks in the Edo period (1603-1868), Roppongi remained a quiet temple town until after World War II, when the Akasaka and Azabu areas became home to U.S. troops and personnel. Coffee shops, nightclubs, hotels, and restaurants soon emerged to meet the needs of residents, and the Roppongi of today began to take shape. Japanese politicians and bureaucrats have traditionally patronized the black tile-roofed restaurants in Akasaka’s geisha quarter. As with many areas of Tokyo, Roppongi and Akasaka offer a unique marriage of traditional Japan with modern, international living.
Roppongi, often called “the city that doesn’t sleep” for its all-night culture of trendy bars and clubs, has a myriad of options for international entertainment. The Roppongi and Akasaka areas have also become the gourmet center of Tokyo, where diners can choose from world-class restaurants specializing in cuisines such as Japanese, Thai, Indian, Italian, fusion and much more. It is not surprising that it has emerged as the place to catch glimpses of Japanese celebrities and Hollywood stars when they are in town.
In addition to being prominent centers for business and entertainment, Roppongi and Akasaka offer some of the city’s most prestigious residential neighborhoods. The area is popular with expats for its central location, international atmosphere, and convenient surroundings. It is easily accessible from just about anywhere in Tokyo via five subway lines (Oedo, Ginza, Hibiya, Namboku and Chiyoda), and it offers a truly urban lifestyle, most popular with singles and couples. Typical residences tend to be modern high-rise and apartment complexes, with few detached homes. Some of the popular areas include Roppongi 1-Chome, Toriizaka, Izumi Gardens, Roppongi Hills, and the area around Hikawa Shrine.
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QUICK AREA GUIDE Residential neighborhoods in this area: Azabu-Nagasakacho, Azabudai, Akasaka, Roppongi, Roppongi 1-Chome, Nogizaka, Toranomon, Atago, Kamiyacho, Hikawa Shrine Area.
Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom ••••
Monthly Rent Rating
R2 R2 ia a supper club based on a 1930s underground New York jazz club with late night dining and entertainment. The exciting venue has been produced by ECN | Holdings, the creators of Two Rooms Grill and Bar. Its three highly experienced international directors with their combined expertise in beverage, cuisine and service promise a vibrant, comfortable and sophisticated environment with an exceptional product.
7-14-23 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-6447-0002 www.r2sc.jp/en/access
GALLERY SEIRAN Exhibition: Fusa Sakamotoâ€™s Kataezome Stencil Prints (Japanese landscape, festival, flower and Shisiodori new series). Nov 18 (Sun) to Dec 31 (Sat) 2012, open 11amâ€“7pm (to 4pm Dec 1).
3-15-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03- 3589-0492 www.gallery-seiran.com
FERIA Feria is a complex building of international nightlife. On the basement floor, Feria is crowded with both Japanese and expats who want to dance or socialize. Ristorante offers Tokyo cuisine, sushi, drinks and a wine lounge on the first floor. On the second floor, guests can enjoy live R&B performances at Midas before relaxing in the sophisticated Crystal Lounge on the third and fourth floors.
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7-13-7 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-5785-0656 lounge-feria.jp
One entrance fee is good for the whole building. Whether you are looking for wining, dining, lounging, or partying out, you can experience it all in the five floors of Feria.
RED CROSS HOSPITAL, HIROO
AZABU, HIROO & SHIROKANE PRIME EXPAT PROPERTIES
THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS
Azabu, Hiroo and Shirokane are prominent cosmopolitan areas right in the heart of Tokyo’s Minato ward. The pedestrian-friendly small streets are lined with boutiques, restaurants and upscale apartments, which are some of Tokyo’s prime expat properties. The Hiroo and Azabu areas have historically been home to many diplomats, senior executives and expats who want a convenient, Western lifestyle in the center of Tokyo’s foreign community. Also in this area are some of Tokyo’s most popular international schools, preschools, parks and recreational facilities, and international supermarkets.
The village-like feel of these tight-knit communities, coupled with the close proximity to Shibuya, Roppongi and Akasaka, has made these neighborhoods popular with expats for decades. Access to just about anywhere in central Tokyo couldn’t be better via the Hibiya, Namboku, Mita and Oedo subway lines. Azabu Juban has been a desirable residential address for nearly three hundred years, and to this day many of the establishments on its narrow shopping streets are local, family-fun businesses, rather than chain stores and restaurants. These historic Japanese shops, combined with the international community, provide a uniquely cosmopolitan feel. The Moto-Azabu area, home to the tree-shaped Motoazabu Hills residential high-rise building and the Nishimachi International School, has become one of the most desired residential neighborhoods in Tokyo. Just across the border of Shibuya ward, Hiroo is popular because of its charming neighborhoods with tree-lined streets and many Western style apartments. The area directly around Hiroo station has a nice selection of boutiques, cafés, restaurants and bars, yet it is very quiet after the
A BRIEF HISTORY Between the 17th and 19th centuries, feudal nobles built huge estates in this area, and many of these remain today as the premises of some of the many embassies here. Naturally, diplomats and foreigners associated with these embassies made their homes in the Azabu and Shirokane areas, establishing some of Tokyo’s first upscale suburbs.
last train around midnight. Arisugawa Park provides an ideal spot to enjoy a little nature on weekends. The Hiroo and Red Cross Hospitals are both well equipped to treat foreign residents, and the International School of the Sacred Heart is within a few minutes’ walk of Hiroo station. Shirokane is an “old money” neighborhood just one block south of Minami-Azabu, offering a quieter residential experience with smaller neighborhoods and plenty of greenery. There are several shopping streets and supermarkets, and the Institute for Nature Study is one of the city’s most tranquil getaways. The Shirokane area is a popular alternative to Azabu and Hiroo because it is still very central and convenient, but also offers some detached houses with private gardens.
QUICK AREA GUIDE Residential neighborhoods in Azabu: Minami-Azabu , Motoazabu, Azabu Juban, Nishi Azabu 3-Chome Hiroo: Hiroo, Nishi Azabu 4-Chome, Minami-Aoyama 7-Chome Shirokane: Shirokane 2-Chome, Shirokane 4-Chome, Shirokane 5-Chome, Shirokanedai 2-Chome, Shirokanedai 3-Chome
Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom ••••
Monthly Rent Rating
AZABU, HIROO & SHIROKANE
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PIZZA STRADA Diners at Pizza Strada will always find delicious food in a comfortable setting. Drop by for a quick bite after work, a romantic terrace dinner for two, a casual gathering with friends, or a family dinner where the kids can watch their pizzas being made from the counter. All pizzas are the classic Neapolitan style, with flavorful thin crusts and molten mozzarella cheese topped with seasonal, homemade, and imported Italian ingredients. Pizza Strada also serves a variety of tapas-style appetizers made with fresh local produce, which go well with beer or wine. To wash it all down, there is also homemade limoncello. Pizza Strada is located in Azabu Juban, a popular residential area for the foreign community, and menus are available in both English and Japanese. Please come and share our devotion to food.
3-6-2 Azabu Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-6435-1944 www.pizzastrada.jp
NATIONAL AZABU SUPERMARKET
Milieu may just be Tokyo’s best value for quality French food. Only ¥2,100 gets you a dinner set including salad, soup, a main dish, dessert, and coffee or tea. Owner and chef Manaka serves high quality meals at a very reasonable price. The avocado and shrimp salad is a favorite, the lamb is always cooked just right, and the flammekueche is probably the only decent one in Tokyo. The wine selection is very modest but adequate for the prices. Lunch is priced at ¥1,200, and there is a small outdoor sunken seating area where diners can watch the world go by.
National Azabu Supermarket, a tradition in Tokyo since 1962, is back again in a brand new building located near Hiroo station on the Hibiya line. For anyne looking for groceries that are not available in a regular Japanese supermarket, this is the place to shop. With a friendly smile and signage in English, even new arrivals will feel comfortable here. A wide variety of fresh produce, including some organic selections, is always of the best quality, and all products are labeled with their provenance. Along with fresh seafood, the meat department also carries organic and natural products. The selection of dry goods and other groceries includes merchandise from around the world. The second floor consists of kitchen and books sections, as well as a well-stocked party aisle. Customers can order groceries in English by telephone, fax, or email. Please contact the store for further information regarding delivery areas and times.
2-23-12 Higashi Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
4-5-2 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
HARAJUKU, OMOTESANDO & AOYAMA COSMOPOLITAN & ALTERNATIVE CULTURE
A BRIEF HISTORY
THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS
In an area roughly forming a triangle, Harajuku, Omotesando, and Aoyama are associated by name and adjacency, yet each has unique characteristics. The areas of Aoyama and Omotesando are synonymous with world-class design, high-end fashion, elegant cuisine, and cosmopolitan café culture. The area around Omotesando-dori is a shopping and fashion lover’s paradise, with nearly every major fashion brand in the world represented. The intersection with Meiji-dori marks the beginning of Harajuku, famous for its weaving back streets and Takeshitadori, where avant-garde fashions meet Tokyo’s alternative street style. Contrasting with Omotesando and Aoyama, Harajuku both accentuates and balances the area. Behind Harajuku station, Yoyogi Park and the densely wooded grounds of Meiji Jingu add some welcome serenity to the area.
The area now known as Aoyama owes its beginnings to Tadanori Aoyama, who planned and built aristocratic residences there during the Edo period. After the Meiji era, however, most of these stately mansions were converted into normal residences, and the remaining areas previously owned by the Aoyama family were transformed into Aoyama cemetery. Omotesando-dori was first built in 1920 and served as the main access to Meiji Jingu shrine—you can still find the stone lanterns on each side of the street marking the entrance. Two years after the Tokyo earthquake of 1923, the famous Dojunkai Aoyama Apartments were built in the spot that is now Omotesando Hills. The Harajuku area first became fashionable during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics due to its proximity to the Olympic gymnasium.
These neighborhoods are conveniently located on five major subway lines (Ginza, Hanzomon, Chiyoda, Fukutoshin and Oedo), as well as the JR Yamanote line. The four area stations are just a short commute to Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akasaka, Otemachi and many other major business districts, making this a prime location with easy access to just about anywhere in central Tokyo. Although these areas are predominantly commercial, there are many residential pockets as well. The perfect apartment or home may be difficult to find, as many units are older, more compact, or pricey. Families may have difficulty moving through the weekend congestion of shoppers, but it is very convenient for those with children who attend the nearby British School. Typically, the residential areas here offer one- to threebedroom apartments and fewer spacious family units or single-family homes. This area has one of the highest concentrations of parks and public outdoor spaces, including Yoyogi Park, Meiji Jingu Gaien Park and Aoyama Cemetary. This makes it easy to get out and enjoy weekend activities, sports, and jogging. Kinokuniya and Peacock supermarkets, which stock a good selection of international foods, are conveniently located on Aoyamadori close to Omotesando station.
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QUICK AREA GUIDE Residential neighborhoods in Omotesando: Minami-Aoyama, Shibuya 4-Chome, Jingumae Aoyama: Minami-Aoyama, Kita-Aoyama Harajuku: Sendagaya 3-Chome, Jingumae Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom ••••
Monthly Rent Rating
TWO ROOMS Suspended high above Tokyoâ€™s fashion district, Two Rooms Grill & Bar offers simple yet elegant dishes utilizing old and new world cooking techniques and only the freshest market produce. Working with exclusive winemakers from around the world, Two Rooms also offers a comprehensive range of international wines from a glass walk-in cellar. Located in the bar and lounge just across the water-terraced bridge from the main dining area, the 1,800-bottle cellar also doubles as the entrance to the private dining room. Two Roomsâ€™ exquisite cuisine and wines, extensive list of cocktails, elegant wood-and-leather decor featuring 50,000 year old swamp Kauri from New Zealand, plus stunning views of the Tokyo skyline, will ensure an exceptional dining experience.
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3-11-7 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3498-0002 www.tworooms.jp/en
EBISU, MEGURO & GOTANDA AFFORDABLE LIVING IN CENTRAL TOKYO Along the Yamanote line, which defines the inner circle of central Tokyo, are the areas of Ebisu, Meguro and Gotanda, which are just far enough away from the busier areas yet still a very short commute to all business districts (and within minutes of Hiroo, Roppongi and Kamiyacho). They are also places where it is possible to find more spacious homes for lower rent. It used to be that the areas of Meguro and Gotanda were favored only by more established foreign residents of Tokyo, but recently even newcomers are attracted to some of the charming residential neighborhoods that have plenty of parks, recreational centers, and a slightly more suburban feel.
A BRIEF HISTORY Once a quiet town called Mitamura, Ebisu originated from the popular beer
brand Yebisu, which established its brewery there in 1889. Soon after, the company built Ebisu Station to facilitate distribution of its product. The brewery was moved to Chiba in 1988, and the original site and surrounding area were transformed into Yebisu Garden Place, which opened as a shopping, dining and entertainment complex in 1994. The development and popularity of Meguro was due in part to a horse racetrack that existed there from 1907 to 1933. The racetrack was moved further west to Fuchu as Tokyo expanded, and today only the Moto Keba (former racetrack) bus stop remains. In the 17th century, feudal lords were required to spend half of each year in Edo, under the supervision of the Shogun. These lords built stately mansions and estates in the area that is now Shirokane and KamiOsaki, making this one of Japan’s first upscale suburbs.
THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS Ebisu and Meguro are well-located just minutes from many business districts, the many trendy boutiques of Daikanyama, and dining and clubbing in Roppongi. The lively, stylish area surrounding Ebisu Station is more suitable for singles or couples looking for oneto two-bedroom apartments. To the south of Ebisu station are some prime residential neighborhoods, including Chojamaru and
Hanabusayama Kami-Osaki 3-chome, with upscale three- to four-bedroom apartments and homes best suited to families. Between Ebisu and Meguro is the Nature Study Park, a nature preserve with lots of plants and greenery to enjoy. To the northeast of Gotanda station is Ikedayama Higashi Gotanda 5-chome, which boasts larger homes for those with bigger budgets and is also home to the Prime Minister’s estate. In a city with streets going in all directions, this neighborhood was laid out on a grid with a slightly suburban feel. Another notable residential area is Higashi Gotanda 3-chome, were the Seisen University is located. These areas are very convenient locations for commutes by car or train. Daikanyama is one of Tokyo’s hippest neighborhoods—a trendy place for young couples and families to shop and dine. Housing in this area tends to be newer low-rise buildings with apartments best suited for singles and couples, but some affordable larger units can also be found. The commute by train from Daikanyama or Nakameguro stations can be problematic at times due to the crowded trains of the Toyoko Line going to Shibuya. Nearby Ebisu is better, offering both the JR Yamanote line and Hibiya subway line, which connect easily to central locations and Yokohama.
QUICK AREA GUIDE Residential neighborhoods in Ebisu: Higashi-Ebisu, Kami-Osaki, Mita, Chojamaru Meguro: Aobadai, Meguro,Kami-Osaki 2-Chome , Kami-Osaki 3-Chome, Mita Gotanda: Higashi-Gotanda 5-Chome, Higashi-Gotanda 3-Chome
Nakameguro and Daikayama: Aobadai, Sarugakucho, Daikanyamacho, Nishi-Ebisu
Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom •••• 20 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
Monthly Rent Rating
QUICK AREA GUIDE Residential neighborhoods: Shoto, Shibuya, Yoyogi-Koen, Uehara, Yoyogi 5-Chome, Nishihara, Oyamacho, Tomigaya, Jinnan, Hachiyamacho, Nanpeidaicho, Sakuragaokacho.
Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom ••••
Monthly Rent Shibuya/Shoto ¥
HANAMI IN YOYOGI PARK
SHIBUYA, YOYOGI & SHOTO A VIBRANT CITY Largely a commercial and entertainment district, Shibuya is a vibrant, trendsetting place that is constantly in motion. Over the last 30 years, it has grown to become the center of Japan’s popular youth culture, and it has no shortage of department stores, record shops, discount stores, restaurants, and bars. Shibuya is also famous for one of the world’s busiest intersections—Hachiko crossing, directly in front of Shibuya Station. But not far from the hustle and bustle are some quiet, upmarket neighborhoods such as Shoto and Yoyogi.
A BRIEF HISTORY The areas of Yoyogi and Shoto grew prosperous in the 1920s and 30s after new rail lines were built out from central Tokyo. It was the Japanese families of Uehara who kept and preserved it as an area of residential green-
ery. The area became popular among foreign residents in 1978, after the Chiyoda subway line was completed, connecting Yoyogi Uehara to Otemachi, one of Tokyo’s major financial centers. In the 1960s a fierce department store war broke out in Shibuya, beginning the development of one of Tokyo’s most famous and active shopping districts. Previously monopolized by the Tokyu Railway Company, the area saw new competitors move in, to which Tokyu responded by building even more department stores such as the legendary Shibuya 109.
RECREATION & SHOPPING Yoyogi Park, the largest park and green space in Tokyo, defines this area with its paths and lawns that are packed with tourists and residents on weekends. It is a place to enjoy jogging, sunbathing, picnics and cherry blossom viewing. Residents is the area can easily enjoy some of the city’s best shopping and dining in Shibuya or Shinjuku, and Daikanyama, Omotesando, and Harajuku are only a short taxi ride, walk, or train ride away.
YOYOGI OLYMPIC STATDIUM
business district of Otemachi and other parts of Tokyo is ideal via the Chiyoda and Odakyu lines. Yoyogi Uehara is popular with families who have children attending the American School in Japan (ASIJ), as it offers the shortest bus ride on the ASIJ bus route. Shoto is a small, exclusive neighborhood very close to Shibuya Station and Yoyogi Park. Expect very high rents in this area, for Shoto has historically been a prestigious address with many exceptional Japanese and Western style residences. The area is great for shopping and dining, as it is just minutes from Shibuya or a short taxi ride from neighboring Daikanyama. Shoto offers easy access to the rest of the city through the major hub of Shibuya Station, and it is also on the bus route for ASIJ and very close to the British School.
THE RESIDENTIAL AREAS Yoyogi Uehara, Tomigaya, Oyamacho and Nishihara offer apartments and spacious single-family homes with gardens along wide, tree-lined streets. Commuting to the 21
YOTSUYA, IIDABASHI & ICHIGAYA A EUROPEAN COMMUNITY IN HISTORIC TOKYO Yotsuya, Ichigaya, Bancho, and Iidabashi are located between Shinjuku and Chiyoda wards, geographically in the center of Tokyo in what was the historical command post for the nation a few hundred years ago. Although the location is very central, there are distinctively charming neighborhoods, as well as surprisingly quiet residential areas. These areas have consistently been the favorites of European residents, particularly French expats, because of the nearby Lycee Franco-Japonais school (located between Iidabashi and Kudanshita). This is the ideal place for those looking for traditional Japan with a slice of European charm.
A BRIEF HISTORY You won’t get much closer to historical Japan then the Imperial Palace. Around the turn of the 16th century, the district that is now
the imperial grounds became the center of national affairs. The city of Tokyo (called Edo at the time) soon grew at breakneck speed. Even today, at the center of the capital of modern Japan, the Imperial Palace and its expansive grounds visually dominate Chiyoda ward. For residents and newcomers alike, the grand gates, the moat of the palace, and the Marunouchi office quarters to the east of Tokyo station offer a glimpse of the past and can be quite fascinating.
RECREATION & SHOPPING The area, with its mix of old and new urban styles, has a wide selection of parks, attractions and historical landmarks for both residents and visitors. The grounds of the Imperial Palace attract joggers year round, as well as large groups of people who come in the springtime to enjoy cherry blossom season. Shinjuku Gyoen, which is home to both Japanese and European gardens, is located on the west side of this area close to Shinjuku. One of the city’s most famous
shrines, Yasukuni Jinja, is on the east side. For sports and recreation, Tokyo Dome and its nearby shopping center and amusement park are located in the northern part of this area.
THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS Within minutes of Tokyo and Shinjuku stations, these areas offer convenient access to all districts of Tokyo and beyond. Four train and subway lines (Yurakucho, Marunouchi, Namboku, and the JR Sobu line) serve the area, with 12 stations nearby. Ichigaya and Bancho are the most popular residential neighborhoods for expats, and are also home to many of Tokyo’s prominent politicians. You will find pricey upscale apartments and homes in this area, despite the lack of greenery and mix of commercial buildings. Yotsuya offers mostly apartments in quiet communities with narrow streets and is perhaps the most well known of these areas for fine dining and having one of the best-connected train stations in the city.
QUICK AREA GUIDE Residential neighborhoods: Ichibancho - RokuBancho (districts 1 – 6 of Bancho), Shinanomachi, Ichigaya, Kagurazaka, Ushigome Kagurazaka, Ushigome Yangicho, Iidabashi, Kioicho, Kojimachi, Ichigaya Sadoharacho, Haraikatamachi.
Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom •••• 22 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
QUICK AREA GUIDE Residential neighborhoods: Denenchofu, Jiyugaoka, Senzokuike, Oyamadai, Todoroki, Kaminoge, Futako Tamagawa, Seta, Fukazawa, Sakurashinmachi, Nakamachi, Okusawa, Ookayama, Yoga, Seta, Komazawa. Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom ••••
SUBURBAN SOUTHWEST TOKYO COMFORTABLE FAMILY LIVING Just a short commute southwest of Shibuya and Meguro are some of Tokyo’s premier suburban neighborhoods. The area is full of quiet residential blocks with spacious homes in an array of tasteful styles, as well as gardens, parks, upscale shopping, and some of Tokyo’s best international schools. It’s the ideal place for those who value a home-centered, family-oriented life in an international atmosphere. Residents will also be able to get more space and possibly a garden or yard for the same rent as a smaller apartment in central Tokyo.
the time. His idea was well received, but the garden suburb truly began to boom after the Tokyo earthquake of 1923. Central Tokyo was leveled, but Denenchofu remained virtually undamaged. Today Shibusawa’s ideas can still be seen in the area’s multitude of parks, greenery and leisure facilities.
RECREATION & SHOPPING Throughout suburban southwest Tokyo, places to shop, eat, play, or simply go for a stroll are never far away. Residents and their families can easily enjoy the green open spaces of Komazawa Olympic Park or the Tama River for barbecues, picnics, dog walking, and weekend sports. Boutiques and gourmet eateries can be found on many side streets, and there are several Japanese and international supermarkets in the area. Jiyugaoka is notable for its many trendy shops and boutiques, and Futako Tamagawa offers great shopping around the station and at the Takashimaya shopping mall.
A BRIEF HISTORY
THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS
Southwest Tokyo began to develop in the early 1900s as the vision of developer Eichi Shibusawa, who planned to create a “garden suburb” designed after some of the suburban developments in other major cities at
These areas collectively span from western Meguro to Setagaya and Ota wards, and are nestled around stations on the Ooimachi, Denentoshi, Meguro, and Toyoko train lines. Two popular areas are Denenchofu
and Jiyugaoka, which are located along the Toyoko line just 12 to 15 minutes from Shibuya. Denenchofu is the original and perhaps most prestigious garden suburb, with tree-lined avenues of elegant homes surrounded by manicured gardens. Just to the southeast of Jiyugaoka is Senzokuike, near Senzoku Park and well situated on the bus route for the Deutsche Schule Tokyo Yokohama. It offers very easy access to central Tokyo via the Tokyu Ikegami line to Gotanda. Along the Ooimachi train line are the popular family areas of Oyamadai, Todoroki, Kaminoge, and Futako Tamagawa, which are between four and ten minutes from Jiyugaoka, close to international schools, and situated along the bank of the Tama River. The Seta residential area, close to Kaminoge station, is popular for families because it’s just a short walk to St. Mary’s International School. Just to the northeast of these areas are Fukasawa and Sakurashinmachi, which are popular for their many parks, lower population density, and excellent schools (including Seisen International School). With tree-lined streets, quiet neighborhoods, and a mix of impressive Western and Japanese style homes, these areas are favored by both Japanese and foreign residents alike.
YOKOHAMA TOKYO’S NEIGHBOR ON THE BAY
RECREATION & SHOPPING
THE RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS
Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan with a population of over three million, and a major tourist destination in its own right. Located just across the Tama River from Tokyo, Yokohama is fast becoming a popular area for foreign companies and residents. It is less than half an hour south of Tokyo by train, making it an ideal location for anyone wanting to live outside central Tokyo and enjoy a more reasonable cost of living. Yokohama also offers all the amenities of an international city with very convenient access to all the major business districts in central Tokyo, including Marunouchi, Shinagawa, Roppongi and Shinjuku.
Yokohama is well known among expats and tourists alike for its sprawling Chinatown district, which is home to any number of unique shops and delicious restaurants, drawing large crowds throughout the year. The Minato Mirai 21 complex is another popular destination on Yokohama’s waterfront. Originally a large shipping yard with brick warehouses, it has been developed into a city center with a long stretch of shopping centers, hotels, amusement parks and even relaxation spas with hot springs. Sky Garden, at the top of Landmark Tower, is the second highest observatory in the country, and the best place to enjoy a view of the Yokohama skyline.
As Yokohama quickly became a center of international trade at the end of the Edo period, the foreign population grew quite rapidly. Chinese residents gathered around what is now Chinatown, and Western traders took up residence in the nearby Yamate area, which was also called “The Bluff” due to its position in the hills above the harbor. The hilly residential areas of Yamate still feature parks and other places of interest today. Running parallel to the Nakamura River, the Motomachi shopping street is famous, as it was the first shopping street in Japan for foreign goods. It still maintains some of its history today, with high-end fashion boutiques, cafes, and restaurants that cater to both residents and visitors.
A BRIEF HISTORY Yokohama is of particular historical significance as it was Japan’s first major port to open to international trade at the end of the Edo period. It was just a small fishing village at the time, but soon found itself playing a major role in one of the biggest shifts in Japan’s modern history. After many years of isolation, Japan opened up to the world, and the importation of Western goods grew rapidly. Today, Yokohama remains a strategic city for import and export of a vast array of products.
Central Whole Sale Market
Yokohama Bay Brige Metropolitan Expressway
To Shinagawa / Shibuya
The city also has some beautiful natural scenery. Sankeien is the most historic and famous of all Zen gardens in Yokohama. This spacious garden is surrounded by some elegant and historically significant buildings, including a feudal lord’s residence, old-fashioned teahouses, and a majestic pagoda belonging to Tomyoji Temple. Yamashita Park is Yokohama’s promenade, stretching 750 meters along the bay, with wide green spaces and a path that runs right along the water.
Minato Mirai 21 Central District
Keihin kyuko Line.
So Ro JR To utet ute ka s ido u Lin 1 e. Lin e
Osanbashi Aka-Renga Yokohama Yokohama Yokohama Queen’s Square Park Shin International World Porters NYK Hikawamaru yam Museum of Art Yokohama Passenger ashit Mi Minatomirai Sta. Shinko-cho a Ram na Terminal Yokohama p to The Landmark Mi Cosmoworld Tower rai Yokohama Yamashita cho Ramp Ra Yamashita Park NYK Maritime Customs mp Sail Training Ship Museum Yokohama Yokohama Kenmin Hall Mu Nippon Maru Ro nic Silk Museum Marine Doll Osaragi Jiro ute ipa Kanagawa Tower Museum KishaMichi Yokohama Archives l Su 1 Harbor View Park Memorial Prefectural bw 6 of History Museum ay JR Government Motomachi-Cyukagai Sta. Bashamichi Sta. Nihon-odori Sta. Blu Kanagawa Sa Yokohama ku eL Yokohama Int’l Museum of Minatomirai Line rag ine Japan Foreign General School ich Modern Port Opening Newspaper Cemetery Iwasaki Museum Literature oS Sa Memorial Hall ta. Museum ku Yamate Museum Kanagawa China town rag Kamonyama Park Motomachi Prefectural Museum ich Ehrismann Residence oS Park of Cultural History Yokohama Yokohama Park ta. Kanagawa City Hall Prefectural Music Hall Motomachi St. Maur Int’l School Yokohama Stadium Yokohama Kannai Sta. Noge-cho Yamate Catholic Noh Theater To Honmoku Church JR Kannai Sta. Yamate Park Basha-michi
(National Convention Hall ofYokohama)
Yokohama Park Ramp Yokohama City Central Library Nogeyama Park
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JR Ishikawa Cho Sta.
Yamate Italian garden Isezaki-cho Isezaki-chojamachi Sta.
To JR Yamate Sta.
MINATO MIRAI STATION
QUICK AREA GUIDE Type of Housing 1 Bedroom •••• 2 Bedroom •••• 3 Bedroom •••• 4 Bedroom ••••
Monthly Rent Rating
Several years ago, before it became commercialize kanyama was one of Tokyo’s hippest neighborhoods—a fa hangout among the city’s young and fashionable. The n winding streets felt like a more grown-up version of Haraju more sophisticated Shimokitazawa, and rents were substa lower than other neighborhoods considering the close pro to Shibuya and Ebisu stations. But then came the chain stor atmosphere-deprived coffee shops, which gave Daika appeal across a broader demographic, but also signifi lowered its cool factor. Now, a handful of new develop that, while commercial in purpose, offer something diffe terms of design, feel, purpose or product offering, have again revived the area. Of these, Daikanyama T-Site stan above the rest.
Daikanyama T-Site is the brainchild of Muneaki Masuda ident, representative director and chief executive of Cultur venience Club, which owns the development. Masuda’s id to specifically target “premiere age” consumers, or those over 50, by creating a relaxing, homey atmosphere and a ra carefully “curated” products and services. Anyone who ha statistics on Japan’s falling birthrate and aging population
DAIKANYAMA Innovative Design T-SITE &Merge Retail Concepts in Sarugakucho By Kelly Wetherille 26 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
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Several years ago, before it became commercialized, Daikanyama was one of Tokyo’s hippest neighborhoods—a favorite hangout among the city’s young and fashionable. The narrow, winding streets felt like a more grown-up version of Harajuku, or a more sophisticated Shimokitazawa, and rents were substantially lower than other neighborhoods considering the close proximity to Shibuya and Ebisu stations. But then came the chain stores and atmosphere-deprived coffee shops, which gave Daikanyama appeal across a broader demographic, but also significantly lowered its cool factor. Now, a handful of new developments that, while commercial in purpose, offer something different in terms of design, feel, purpose or product offering, have once again revived the area. Of these, Daikanyama T-Site stands out above the rest. Daikanyama T-Site is the brainchild of Muneaki Masuda, president, representative director and chief executive of Culture Convenience Club, which owns the development. Masuda’s idea was to specifically target “premiere age” consumers, or those aged over 50, by creating a relaxing, homey atmosphere and a range of carefully “curated” products and services. Anyone who has seen statistics on Japan’s falling birthrate and aging population could
have guessed that this may have been a winning strategy, but what was perhaps surprising is that, in his efforts to cater to an older generation, Masuda inadvertently attracted a much wider range of customers than merely those considered to be premiere age. Masuda invited 70 architectural units to compete for the project in a design competition, and it came as a surprise to many when Tokyo-based international firm Klein Dytham Architecture came out on top. Run by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, the company had already gained renown by designing a series of small but notable buildings, as well as the interiors of several high-profile Tokyo retail and office spaces. But they had never before taken on anything remotely close to T-Site in scale. The complex is made up of a series of small and medium-sized buildings spread across an area of over 13,000 square meters. It is positioned along Kyu-Yamate-dori in Sarugakucho, just a few minutes from Daikanyama station. T-Site includes a restaurant, camera store, electrical bicycle shop, toy store, and dog groomer and hospital. But its crowing glory is Tsutaya Books, a huge media store-cum-lounge housed in three buildings connected by covered walkways. Originally, the designers had planned for the 27
Award-Winning Design Daikanyama T-Site’s appeal isn’t just apparent to the hundreds of people who visit it every day. It has also been recognized by the jury at the 2012 World Architecture Festival, where it won the award for best shopping center. In explaining its choice, the jury said, “T-Site proposes a new direction combining retail with a social experience and integrating online retail with a tactile, physical experience. With its beautifully resolved form, the design balances efficient use of space with an impressive garden experience.”
multi-media store to be one large structure, but building codes in the area prevented this. Therefore, the challenge for the architects was to make the three buildings feel like one. “We needed to break down these subconscious hurdles of going from one building to another and from floor to floor,” says Klein. The solution to this problem was the installation of a central “magazine street” that connects the three buildings and forms the spine of the store. It also informs the layout, as books are arranged according to subject matter to correspond with magazines in nearby areas. In addition, this plan references Tsutaya’s iconic T logo, which is also overlaid to form the store’s woven-look exterior. Working off Masuda’s brief of giving the indoor space a comfortable, lived-in feel, Klein and Dytham kept the lighting warm and soft, with lots of table and floor lamps adding to the home-like atmosphere. They contrasted open, high-ceilinged areas with smaller rooms of floor-to-ceiling shelves that create the sense of a private library. Window seats, cushy chairs and reading nooks provide spaces where customers can relax with a book or magazine. In the music section of the store, CD players perched on tables give shoppers the option of listening to the 28 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
products before buying. Throughout the store, iPads are placed discreetly among the shelves, and customers can use these to search for specific items. A small printer hidden among the racks then shoots out the location of the product on a slip of paper to make navigating the store easier. At the center of Tsutaya Books is the lounge Anjin, decked out with low leather sofas and long wooden tables, and framed with two huge, colorful Japanese screens as a background. Klein says the space started off as a “world magazine archive,” a fact that is evidenced in the shelves of vintage periodicals that line all four walls. Customers are welcome to browse the selection as much or as little as they like. “It’s a place for inspiration,” says Klein. “We have people having meetings or just having a coffee and hanging out at a table. Some people stay here all day.” In the year since it opened, Anjin has already proven its ability to attract a varied and eclectic group of customers, from students and young couples to artists and musicians. Two notable international fans of the space, both of whom make frequent visits to Tokyo, are Monocle magazine’s editor-in-chief Tyler Brûlé and fashion designer Paul Smith.
The menu at Anjin is displayed on iPads, which customers can also use to place their orders. The selection consists mostly of beverages and bar food, like roast beef sandwiches and a selection of cured ham and salami. There is also a lunch menu, and cakes and other desserts are popular among women who meet at Anjin for afternoon tea. The drinks menu is extensive, ranging from coffee and espresso concoctions to juices and a large selection of cocktails. The lounge often hosts special events as well, such as book signings or design workshops during the day and live music performances or cocktail parties in the evening. At intervals throughout the three buildings and two floors of Tsutaya Books are gallery spaces and small displays of vintage memorabilia, including signed guitars and framed movie posters. The displays change every so often, but nearly all of the merchandise is available for sale on request. “In the digital age, it’s about what you can offer in a physical retail space that online can’t offer you, and that’s eye candy,” says Klein. T-Site certainly is not short on eye candy, but this isn’t the only thing it has over online stores. Before Tsutaya Books opened,
Masuda took out ads in national newspapers, encouraging people from across the company to apply to work at his new store. But he wasn’t just looking for run-of-the-mill sales staff; he wanted older people, knowledgeable in a particular field, to become “concierges” at the store. Klein describes these experts as being “just as passionate as you are” about a particular subject, and their age means they can discuss these passions with the store’s target customers as peers. Finally, after customers have sipped their cappuccinos, perused decades of old magazines and test-driven several CDs, many will decide they want to make a purchase. This is when T-Site’s final impressive feature shows its face. Tucked discreetly alongside the usual cash registers are groups of high-tech self-checkout stations. The customer simple places his or her pile of products on a sensor and the impressive machine use RFIDs to instantly scan and determine the items in a purchase. It then accepts payment in either cash or credit card, and even provides correct change. The experience feels very futuristic, but also gives the sense that Tsutaya Books is very trusting of its customers. Either way, it makes it hard for even the most disenchanted of Tokyoites to walk away without a smile on their faces. 29
Getting the right apartment for your individual needs is very important when relocating, especially when moving overseas. Finding that perfect place in a city as expansive as Tokyo can seem overwhelming, so be prepared to spend some time house hunting to get a good idea of the types of apartments available. Typically, you will probably need to see at least 10 to 20 properties before making your final decision. However rest assured, whether you are coming to Tokyo on an expat package with a housing budget or are paying out of pocket, there is bound to be an apartment well suited to you.
EXPAT APARTMENTS Properties that cater specifically to expats are generally priced over ¥350,000 per month and include major appliances such as a washer, dryer, dishwasher, phone and phone line, and refrigerator. They require four to six months’ rent as a security deposit, but no key money.
TYPICAL JAPANESE APARTMENTS Apartments designed with Japanese renters in mind often cost under ¥350,000 per month in rent and do not come with any appliances or furnishings. They require between one and four months’ rent as a security deposit, in addition to another one to two months’ rent for key money. Most apartments in Japan are leased on two-year contracts, and a contract renewal fee of one month’s rent is charged for each additional two years a tenant wishes to stay. Once you have found a suitable apartment or house, you will need to make the necessary contractual arrangements before moving in. Before signing any contracts, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with some of the rental regulations and customs in Japan. Understanding some of the differences that exist between your home country and planning ahead will help to prevent any problems that may arise in the future regarding your new home. AGENTS COMMISSION (CHUKAI TESURYOU) There is a standard agents commission of one month’s rent plus 5% tax. SECURITY DEPOSIT (SHIKIKIN) Landlords will often request two to four months’ rent in advance as a security deposit. When a tenant moves out or the lease expires, the cost of cleaning and any necessary repairs will be deducted from this security deposit. KEY MONEY (REIKIN) The concept of key money is unique to Japan and requires some clarification. In short, key money is a non-refundable up front payment to the landlord and is usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent. This may not be well received by foreign residents unfamiliar with the concept, but the good news is, it is usually only required in the case of typical Japanese-style apartments. Even then, many landlords recently are open to negotiating on key money, and some are begin-
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ning to forego it altogether. In the case of the more expensive expat properties, key money is not usually requested at all. In the event that key money is required, it may be possible to pay it in monthly installments spread out over the two year contract. For example, if the rent is ¥120,000 a month and the key money is ¥240,000, you could pay ¥130,000 per month for two years. MONTHLY MAINTENANCE FEE (KANRIHI) In some typical Japanese style apartments a monthly building maintenance fee will be added to the rent. In the case of expat apartments maintenance fees are almost always included in the monthly rent.
CANCELLATION FEES If you cancel after signing the lease before you move in there will be a one month penalty. In the case of cancellation of the contract after moving in, you are obliged to give at least 2 months notice. If you move out before the end of the first year there is usually a one month penalty. If you move out without giving the full 2 months notice there is also a penalty of up to two months’ rent, (pro-rated). For example: - no notice is a two month penalty - 1⁄2 month’s notice is a one and a half month penalty - 1 month’s notice is a one month penalty
RENEWAL FEE (KOUSHINRYOU) In the case of typical Japanese apartments, a non-refundable renewal fee is often charged each time the two-year lease is renewed. This fee is typically equal to one month’s rent and is paid to landlord.
INSPECTION - CHECKLIST Before signing a lease for an apartment or house, it is a good idea to do a thorough inspection of the property to ensure there are no surprises after moving in. Be sure to check the following: 1.
Is there cable TV and internet access in the building?
2. Is there satellite TV in the building? If not, check to see if the owner will either install a satellite dish for you, or allow you to install your own satellite dish.
UTILITIES Generally speaking, the total cost of water, gas and electricity bills in Japan is said to be about seven to ten percent of the monthly rent. Utilities have a basic monthly starting fee, even in months when they are not used there will still be a small charge.
HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING For most tenants in Japan, the most expensive utility bill will be electricity, depending on how often the air conditioning and heating is used. Tokyo summers are very hot and humid, and the winters are dry and cold. In many apartments there are individual heating and cooling units in each room, allowing for much better localized climate control, which is likely to be more economical than central airconditioning. Some larger family apartments and houses will have two electricity bills, one that is only for air conditioning and the other for all other electricity used that month.
3. Are the TV and phone jacks located in places where you would want to use a TV or phone? 4. Is there ample closet space for your belongings?
SECURITY DEPOSIT DEDUCTIONS
When tenants vacate a property in Japan, they almost always have to pay a cleaning fee even if they have cleaned the apartment or house themselves before leaving. This fee is normally about ¥1,000 to ¥1,500 per square meter, so the bill for a 100m2 apartment would be between ¥100,000 and ¥150,000.
What is the condition of the paint, carpet and wallpaper?
6. Does the apartment have central air conditioning or separate wall units in the bedroom and living room? 7.
Are any appliances provided in good working condition?
8. Have your real estate agent check to see if there are any construction sites nearby. There is a lot of construction in Tokyo with new buildings going up in every area, and this may be noisy or change the conditions around your building by blocking views. 9. Car owners should ensure their cars fit in the parking space provided, as some parking garages are very small, have a low ceiling, or are the elevator type. Be especially careful if you plan to buy a large car or SUV.
DAMAGE Each time a tenant moves out of a house or apartment, a damage inspection will be conducted. This is done with the owner and/ or his representative, the real estate agent, and sometimes the tenant. The inspection is necessary to determine whether or not any damage has occurred. If there is damage, the cost of repairs will be invoiced to the tenant or his company and deducted from the original security deposit.
10. Is there any bicycle parking?
APPLICATION & CONTRACT SIGNING Once you have found a property that is right for you, your real estate agent will send an application on your behalf to the owner. The application, signed by the human resources department of your company in the case of a company contract, will include a bid for the rent, desired move-in date, and any other requests you may have. There is a possibility that an application will be rejected by the landlord, in which case you’ll have to continue your search for another suitable apartment. After both parties have agreed on the rent and terms, the owner will send a draft of the contract to your real estate agent or company. Contracts are almost always in Japanese, so it is important to review them carefully with a Japanese person before signing. 31
GUIDE TO RENTING APARTMENTS By Housing Japan The process of renting apartments and houses is quite particular in Japan. Therefore it is important for newcomers to familiarize themselves with the basic procedures. These seven steps outline the process from house hunting through to moving out.
1 HOUSE HUNTING INQUIRIES It is a good idea to make a list of requirements for your new apartment or house and start house hunting about two months before your desired move-in date. Check the Housing Japan listings online and begin to get an idea of what type of property and location interests you (for example, an 80m2 2LDK apartment in Hiroo). Choose several properties from our online showroom, keeping in mind that our inter-office database includes thousands of properties so our agents will be able to recommend many more properties based on your requests and initial choices. Once you have chosen some properties youâ€™d like to check out, send an inquiry to Housing Japan using our our online request form or by email or phone.
2 APARTMENT VIEWINGS As the leasing market in Tokyo moves quickly, it is better to view your chosen properties as soon as possible before they are taken. Based on your top choices, our agents will arrange some apartment viewings for you. Part of the tour will include an orientation of the areas and local amenities. You should prepare a checklist of requirements and things to check for at each property.
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3 APPLICATION Once you have chosen a property, one of our real estate agents will send an application on your behalf to the owner. The application, signed by you or the human resources department of your company, will include a bid for the rent, desired move-in date, and any other requests you may have.
5 PROPERTY INSPECTION & MOVING IN On the move-in date you will receive the keys from the agent or owner and an orientation of your new apartment or house. At this time, you should ask the owner to make a note of any existing damage, if any, so that you will not be responsible to pay for these repairs when you move out. When you leave the property, you or your company will be responsible to pay for any damage that may have taken place during your stay, so take care to check the condition of the property thoroughly before moving in.
6 FULL SUPPORT DURING YOUR STAY During your stay in the property, you can call the management company or real estate agent at any time if you have any questions or problems with the apartment, such as the air conditioning unit not working, plumbing issues, TV or internet assistance, or if you need a parking permit for your car.
NEGOTIATION & CONTRACTS After negotiations have been completed and both parties have agreed on the rent and terms, the owner will send a draft of the contract to your real estate agent or company (usually the human resources department). The contract will normally be for two years. After both parties have agreed to the draft, the owner will make an original contract for both parties to sign.
MOVING OUT When it is time for you to move out, the owner or management company will do a final house inspection and you will return all the keys to the owner. At this time, you and your agent will be able to negotiate with the owner over the damage fees. Note that for security reasons, if you have lost a key you will probably be charged for changing the locks, not just for making a new key.
ART & DESIGN
Herman Millerâ€™s Tokyo Home by Paul McInnes Not much more than a decade ago, Marunouchi was a dreary office district that died after dark. Today, however, it has been transformed into one of the hippest areas in the Japanese capital with numerous retail spaces, a plethora of top-notch restaurants, bars and cafes, and a much-needed overhaul of nearly the entire district. Squeezed between the grounds of the Imperial Palace, the recently renovated Tokyo Station and neighboring Yurakucho, Marunouchi has a little bit of everything. Highlights include the twin shopping giants of the Marunouchi Building and Shin-Marunouchi Building; the ultra-stylish Naka-dori (formerly a banking street), with its abundance of high-fashion flagships, including two Comme des Garcons stores; and the plush retail and restaurant project Marunouchi Brick Square. The area also houses the beautiful Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, originally designed by English architect Josiah Conder in 1894, and since December 2010, the worldâ€™s first directly owned Herman Miller store. The Herman Miller space fits perfectly into the new look Marunouchi. The store, designed by Torafu Architects, is both stylish and welcoming, and stocks a multitude of essential products for both offices and homes. At first glance customers see a brightly lit shop stocked with design-driven furniture, but from the moment they enter they realize that Herman Miller delivers a totally different and more in-depth experience than other retailers in similar markets, such as Francfranc or the Conran Shop. The compact size of the store, coupled with the fact that it offers design lectures, workshops, live art performances and other instore events, makes for a more personal shopping atmosphere.
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Over the years the Herman Miller brand, established in 1923 and based in Michigan, has become synonymous with the Eames lounge chair and other Charles and Ray Eames-designed furniture. Fans of the couple, their contemporaries such as George Nelson, or mid-century modernism will no doubt be entranced by this store. In addition to furniture and lighting, the shop also carries illustrated name card cases, top of the range stationary, cute children’s dolls, and a book area devoted to the illustrious history of Herman Miller and the Eameses.
Herman Miller Store: 7 My Plaza 2-1-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005 Opening hours: 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily Tel: 03-3201-1840
Some of the products that solidified the Herman Miller reputation, and which can be found in-store, are the iconic Eames lounge chair and ottoman, originally made in 1956 for legendary Hollywood director Billy Wilder; the Aeron chair, which sits, alongside the Eames lounge chair, in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and the George Nelsondesigned Coconut chair. These designs were originally created for Herman Miller and still encapsulate the Miller ideal, aesthetic and motto of, “For a better world around you.” Charles Eames once said, “Eventually everything connects— people, ideas, objects…” It’s somehow fitting, then, that Herman Miller sits in an area of Tokyo that has been subject to such a radical transformation, a place where like-minded people come to see the restored architectural glory, the high quality fashion, design and product stores, and a place where everything is ultimately connected by people, ideas and objects.
May’s Corporation has been assisting thousands of expatriates to settle into their new life in Japan for over twenty years. We also provide our interior design services to real estate developers and property owners. Our services are available in Tokyo’s 23 wards, as well as the surrounding areas of the Kanto region.
With May’s, starting a new life in Tokyo can be very easy. Whether you decide to lease or buy, we can provide everything you need for your interior. May’s offers a variety of styles and designs, from traditional Asian and European period furniture to modern classics and contemporary designer furniture. You will be impressed with our selection of fashionable, brand new items and the excellent condition of our reasonably priced, secondhand furniture. We can also supply you with curtains, lamps and lighting fixtures, electrical appliances and even tableware and linens. Now you can start your Tokyo life with few worries and leave your own furnishings back home.
Phone 03-3560-1301 Fax 03-5570-0301 www.mays.co.jp/eng Basic Costs to Lease Furniture Per Contract Term
1-bedroom home (About ¥840,000 worth of furniture) 1 year ¥50,000/month 2 year ¥35,000/month 3 year ¥25,000/month
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2-bedroom home (About ¥1.3 million worth of furniture) 1 year ¥75,000/month 2 year ¥60,000/month 3 year ¥40,000/month 3-bedroom home (About ¥1.9 million worth of furniture) 1 year ¥115,000/month 2 year ¥75,000/month 3 year ¥60,000/month
Showroom business hours: Monday-Friday 10:00am-6:00pm , Saturday 10:00am-5:30pm Sunday & Public Holidays Closed May’s Corporation Kowa 16 Bldg. South 1F 1-9-20 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 Ginza Line (G06) Nanboku Line (N06) Exit 9 or 13
BUYING GUIDE 38 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
Why buy? There are many motivations for buying real estate in Japan. Long term residents of Tokyo may desire to own their own home for stability. A young or growing family wants its own space. It is easy to tire of rental accommodations, which can be inflexible and of poor quality. Many buyers are also excited by the prospect of renovating or building their own home. Real estate in Tokyo is also an excellent investment. After years of deflation, property prices have come down dramatically and interest rates are very low. Rental returns, however, are still reasonably high. As such, it usually costs less per month to purchase a home with finance than it does to rent an equivalent property. On top of the financial advantages, the quality of construction is high, the ownership rights are sound and the purchase process is transparent.
apartment or house? The first decision is whether to buy an apartment or a house. Naturally, there are advantages and disadvantages of each. The table below provides a summary of some of the key points to consider.
Affordable Easy Maintenance Facilities
Depreciation Management Fees Parking Fees Low Control
Land Ownership Control Low Running Cost
Houses are more expensive and there arenâ€™t many available in good locations. The purchase price of an apartment is usually lower, but the building management fees and parking costs mean the monthly running costs are higher. The other issue to consider is control of the asset. In an apartment, decisions about building repairs and eventually rebuilding the apartment are made by the body corporate. As such, ownersâ€™ control over their apartment is somewhat limited, and this can cause the asset to depreciate more quickly. On the other hand, with a house you are free to renovate and rebuild at will. This complete control allows the asset to retain value over time. Of course, there are downsides to owning a house as well. The owner is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep, which can be time consuming and costly.
Purchase Process 1. Finance Speak to your bank about financing options. Housing Japan is able to help with introductions to expatriate friendly lenders. 2. Requirements List your requirements and discuss these with your agent. Consider the area, budget and level of accommodation you require. 3. Search Get to know the market and your agent. Spend time on the website and talking to your agent about properties. Look at the recent sales and understand the values and relative prices of properties in your target range. 4. Inspections The more you see, the better you will understand the market and the easier it will be to make the decision to buy when you find the right property. 5. Application When potential owners find the right property, they will need to submit an application to purchase. This is a non-binding written expression of a party’s interest to purchase the property at a certain price. An application shows the seller you are serious and will start the negotiation process. 6. Explanation of Important Matters Once the price has been agreed upon, your agent will start the contract process. The agent is required to investigate the details of the property and provide you with an Explanation of Important Matters. This document defines all the important terms of the contract. You should read and fully understand this document before executing the contract. 7. Executing the Contract The contract execution usually takes place at the agent’s offices and takes about two hours to complete. It is typical to pay the owner a deposit of 10 percent of the purchase price, or 10 million yen, at the time of the contract signing. 8. Loan Application Although you will probably have pre-approval from a lender, once the contract is complete you can make the formal loan application. It usually takes a month to six weeks for final approval, after which the final closing date can be set. If you using financing, the contract will have a clause saying that you are applying for a mortgage from a particular bank with a proposed approval date. If, for some reason, the mortgage is not approved, the contract will be terminated. 9. Final Settlement The final settlement usually takes place at the buyer’s bank and is handled by a judicial scrivener. The buyer will transfer the remaining balance to the seller’s account and the title of the property will be transferred to the buyer. On completion, the seller delivers all the keys to the property and the transfer of ownership is complete.
Summary of Costs When purchasing a property in Japan, normally the taxes and fees will come to about five to six percent of the purchase price of the property. Note that official estimated valuations are generally much lower than the market price. Acquisition Tax Official land estimated value x 0.5 (1/2) x 3% Official building estimated value x 3% Registration Tax Registration Tax is about 1% of the Standard taxable value Stamp Duty For a property of ¥50,000,000 to ¥100,000,000, the stamp duty will be ¥45,000 for the property contract and ¥60,000 for the mortgage contract. Judicial Scrivener Fees For a property of ¥100,000,000 the fee should be about ¥100,000 Agents Fee 3.15% of sale price + ¥63,000
Interest Rate Repayment
Worked over 3 years at the same company located in Japan
Apartment, Land, House
up to 5 - 7 times Annual Income
80 to 100%
up to 35 years
Application for permanent residency
Apartment, Land, House
up to 5 - 7 times Annual Income
80 to 100%
up to 35 years
Japanese spouse or permanent residency
Apartment, Land, House
up to 5 - 7 times Annual Income
80 to 100%
up to 35 years
Tokyo Star Bank
Worked over 3 years at the same company located in Japan
Apartment, Land, House
up to 5 - 7 times Annual Income
80 to 100%
up to 35 years
Working Visa in Japan
Apartment, Land, House
up to 5 - 7 times Annual Income
70 to 90%
up to 35 years
National Australia Bank
Working Visa in Japan
up to 5 - 7 times Annual Income
70 to 75%
up to 30 years
Working Visa in Japan
Apartment, Land, House
up to 5 - 7 times Annual Income
up to 90%
up to 30 years
A history of Tokyo real estate prices By Housing Japan Land prices in central Tokyo are now at levels last seen in the mid-eighties. After a long, slow climb during the decades of Japan’s economic miracle, prices exploded in the late eighties in the frenzy of the bubble economy. Over the following decade, prices collapsed by over 80 percent, reaching a low in 2002. Since then, the market has recovered somewhat and levels in 2011 were about 150 percent higher than they were at the lows.
Residential land Prices Minato-ku (JPY/SQM) 7 million 6 million 5 million
in the need for buyers to seek approval from the local ward office for transactions of land sized over 100 square meters. These restrictions brought the price rises to a grinding halt. The Bank of Japan also did its part by tightening interest rates to peak at six percent in 1990. In December 1989 the Nikkei average reached its all-time high of ¥38,915. In the following nine months it crashed to below ¥20,000. Financial institutions were swamped with bad loans as asset prices tumbled. Land prices were slower to react, but eventually starting dropping and continued to slide downwards for the next ten years. By 1995 the Bank of Japan had dramatically reversed its monetary policy, slashing rates to a previously unthinkable 0.5 percent in a desperate effort to stem the slide of the economy and asset prices.
Mini Bubble (2002 to 2008) As the new millennium began, the Japanese economy and asset prices failed to recover. In signs of desperation the Bank of Japan cut rates further to 0.1 percent and began extreme monetary policies in the form of QE (Quantative Easing). Around this time the J-Reit market began and the newly listed investment trusts caused a flurry of activity in the property market. In the early years of the new decade there were trillions of yen worth of securitized real estate transactions undertaken, which lead to a mini “fund boom” in real estate prices. These investment trusts focused their attention on assets in the major cities, with prices in some parts of central Tokyo rising as much 170 to 200 percent compared to lows seen in 2002, but the overall market continued to languish.
Mini Bubble burst
3 million 2 million 1 million 0 1975
Bubble period (1982 to 1990) Real estate prices across Japan rose by as much as six to seven times during the 1980s asset bubble. Confidence was strong as the Japanese economic model, often referred to as “Japan Inc.,” seemed to be invincible. Japanese corporations awash with cash made speculative purchases of real estate and corporate assets all over the world. At home in Japan, low interest rates and loose monetary policies fueled a strong economy and high stock prices. Following the Plaza Accord in 1985, the yen appreciated from around 240 yen to the US dollar to about 120 yen in less than a year. In response, the Bank of Japan lowered interest rates from 5.5 percent in 1983 down to 2.5 percent in 1987. This dramatic easing of monetary policy at a time of economic strength sparked an explosion of real estate transactions and high stock prices. Adding fuel to the fire, the government under Prime Minister Nakasone reduced corporate tax rates from 42 percent to 30 percent, and slashed top marginal income tax rates from 70 percent to 40 percent. It was said at the time that the value of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo exceeded the value of all the real estate in California. Land in Ginza 4-chome was reported to have traded at ¥90,000,000 ($750,000 at the time) per square meter.
Bubble burst As asset prices reached extreme levels, the government tried to slow the growing bubble and introduced policies which led to the bursting of the bubble. In 1990 the Ministry of Finance put restrictions on the total loan volume of real estate lending, which caused an immediate and dramatic drop in the availability of credit. Other government restrictions resulted 40 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
By 2006 it seemed once again that a bubble was beginning, so the Ministry of Finance moved again to restrict investment real estate loans. The global financial markets then took center stage as the US subprime loan scandal erupted in 2007, culminating in the “Lehman shock” of 2008. Foreign investors disappeared from the Japanese real estate market as the securitized non- recourse lending market ceased to exist. Real estate prices in Tokyo once again slumped but did not return to the lows of 2002. By 2010 prices managed to stabilize at levels around 150 percent above the lows.
Earthquake On March 11, 2011 the Tohoku region of Japan was devastated by an enormous earthquake, tsunami and the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power station. Tokyo also experienced a large tremor, but buildings and infrastructure were largely unaffected. Initially the real estate market froze as buyers were very nervous to commit in the wake of the disaster. As the situation stabilized and the recovery efforts in Tohoku commenced, real estate transactions began again and the price levels in Tokyo are basically unchanged from before the earthquake.
L u x ury H otels & R yokans in J apan The history of hotels in Japan goes back to the Meiji Restoration, when Japan first opened for international trade. The need for Western style hotels to serve international guests, as well as Western influences in architecture emerged in the second half of the 19th century. The brick buildings of the Marunouchi and Ginza districts in Tokyo are great examples of this trend that swept Japan at that time. Japanese architects became schooled in Western building techniques, and architects from abroad were brought in to design buildings in their native European styles. These included grand Western style hotels, such as the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo, which was built in the late 1880s, and the Tokyo Station Hotel in the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building in 1915.
Around the same time the nation was opening up and foreign culture started flowing in, the Japanese enjoyed a newly found freedom to travel and enjoy leisure. Transportation also became easier with the advent of trains, so resort accommodations around stations in the resort areas of Japan boomed. In the coming years, the Japanese traditional inn style merged with the Western resort style, forming a new type of resort accommodation often called “resort hotel-style ryokan”.
Bathing facilities and inns around natural hot springs in Japan often take the form of onsen, of which Japan has thousands. Onsen were traditionally used as public bathing places, and today may be either public or private and run as part of a hotel or ryokan. Onsen come in many sizes and types, but are mainly indoor or outdoor baths made of cypress, marble, or granite. Onsen water is believed to have healing powers derived from its natural mineral content.
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(Japanese traditional inns)
Perhaps the most distinctive features characterizing ryokan beside the architectural style or furnishings would be sleeping on tatami mat floors, traditional Japanese cuisine, and onsen (hot spring spa or bath) in mountainous areas.
(Japanese hot springs)
HOTEL STYLE RYOKAN
For over 100 years, some of the more popular resort areas in and around Tokyo have been Hakone in Kanagawa prefecture, Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture, and Kinugawa in Tochigi prefecture. Each of these popular getaways and leisure retreats exhibit a western influence that can be seen in their resort towns and hotel-style ryokan.
FUJIYA HOTEL, HAKONE
MAMPEI HOTEL, KARUIZAWA
This hotel was built by Sennosuke Yamaguchi over 130 years after returning from Japan’s first overseas delegation. He returned with the inspiration to found a world-class inn on the site of a thousand-year-old hot spring in Hakone. The historic Fujiya Hotel in Hakone has been patronized by noted literary figures, politicians and foreign dignitaries since the Meiji Restoration.
Since the late 19th century, expatriates have been visiting Karuizawa, which sits near Mt. Asama, mainly due to its cool climate and surrounding beauty. The Mampei, which was one of the first Western style hotels in the country, prides itself on having a level of service so good that guests generally return year after year.
KANAYA HOTEL, KINUGAWA
Situated in the sleepy town of Miyanoshita, the Hakone Ginyu is one of the top ryokan (Japanese-style inns) in the country. Recipient of the 2012 Traveler’s Choice Award, Hakone Ginyu offers a level of luxury and service that few other hotels can equal.
The Kanaya hotel in Kinugawa is a modern resort hotel-style ryokan that has preserved a warm hospitality and all the essentials of a ryokan without compromising any modern comforts. The history of Kinugawa dates back to a time when it was an exclusive hot spring spa for monks and feudal lords. The town opened to development in the early Meiji period (late 1800’s), and soon became a major destination for pleasure seekers from both Japan and all over the world. 43
M A MPE I H OT E L Apart from the fact that it is situated in the mountains and not near the sea, Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture is the Japanese equivalent of the Hamptons near New York. Since the late 19th century, expatriates have been visiting Karuizawa for its cool climate and surrounding beauty. The town, like its American equivalent, is packed with stylish stores and malls, churches (a link to its missionary past), and top-of-the-range hotels with services and facilities that are rated amongst the best in the country. One of the top hotels in the area is the luxurious Mampei Hotel, which was established in 1894 but has links as far back as the mid-Edo period when Japan had sealed itself off from the world. The Mampei, which was one of the first Western style hotels in the country, prides itself on having a level of service so good that guests generally return year after year. Some of the guests to do so have included John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Henry Kissinger, and generations of Japanese prime ministers and politicians. Facilities include a beautiful garden and cafĂŠ terrace (a particular favorite of John Lennon), a cocktail bar serving sev-
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eral original cocktails, a main dining room where guests can have breakfast on the veranda, high-end Japanese restaurants Yuugyoan Tankuma and Kappou Yuugyoan, and the Chinese eatery Manzanrou. There are four kinds of guest rooms starting with the AlpsTwin, which is located in a structure erected in the 1930s. All bathrooms have the classic claw foot bathtubs but presently have no internet access. The retro Usui-Twin includes a classic room, a study room or triple rooms, all of which have internet access. Built in 2001, the Usui Annex is perfect for guests wanting a little bit of solitude. The basic breakfast-only Atago-Twin, built in the 1970s, offers a cheaper room rate and seems to be more popular for guests attending seminars and conventions in the local area. The family-friendly Bekkan Annex is large, bright and spacious with rooms that sleep up to four people. Itâ€™s suitable for those with children in need of some freedom and relaxation within the confines of a top class hotel.
925 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken 0267-42-1234 www.mampei.co.jp
F UJ I YA H OT E L Just over 130 years ago, Sennosuke Yamaguchi returned from Japan’s first overseas delegation with the inspiration to found a world-class inn on the site of a thousand-year-old hot spring in Hakone. Over the next century the Fujiya Hotel, named after the nation’s most iconic mountain, would be graced by the presence of some of the most influential people of the era, from the young Emperor Showa to Britain’s King George VI, Albert Einstein and John Lennon. Situated in Miyanoshita, in the center of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park (just over 100 kilometers from Tokyo), the famed hotel continues its role in the modern world as a peaceful retreat away from the big city. The hotel has a colorful history as a honjin, a special inn for government officials during the Edo period. After World War II, the inn housed some more special guests with the arrival of the U.S. Eighth Army and later the families of General Douglas MacArthur, former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and President Eisenhower.
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It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fascinating history of the area, but there are plenty of things to see and do if you just want to relax. Soak in the famed hot springs, take in the nearby open-air museum, shop at the popular Gotemba Designer Outlet Mall, seek peace at Hakone’s large Shinto shrine, or play a pre-dinner round of golf at the hotel’s very own golf course. Foodies will not be disappointed with the selection of cuisine on offer at the hotel, from the respected Fujiya French restaurant to Kikka-so Inn Japanese restaurant and Wisteria, the hotel’s Westernstyle restaurant. Guests are also spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation, with five room options, some of which are registered as important architectural assets in Japan. Whichever room guests choose, all are equipped with the modern comforts visiting dignitaries would expect and perhaps something even the most experienced traveler wouldn’t: each bedroom has a private bath fed with spring water from the local onsen. In Japan it is said that “the customer is God.” At Hakone’s world-renowned Fujiya Hotel guests can truly experience a level of service and attention usually reserved for deities.
359 Miyanoshita, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 0460-2-2211 www.fujiyahotel.jp
H A KO N E GINYU Hakone is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. Conveniently located 100 kilometers from the capital of Tokyo, its forests and rivers sit within the shadow of Mt. Fuji— Japan’s tallest mountain and much loved symbol. The area is renowned for its hot springs and stunning views, and is perfect for those urbanites who require some downtime from the stresses of city life and want to swap the conference room for hiking trails.
tional Japanese arrangement) served in the dining area of each room. There is also a bar and lounge, as well as an on-site spa specializing in massages, facials and reflexology. The spa was fully renovated and reopened in 2010, and claims to heal the five senses. Booking well in advance is advised, as the spa is especially popular with guests. There are also two public baths (including an impressive infinity pool) and a sauna, all of which are open for most of the day.
Situated in the sleepy town of Miyanoshita, the Hakone Ginyu is one of the top ryokan (Japanese-style inns) in the country. Recipient of the 2012 Traveler’s Choice Award, Hakone Ginyu offers a level of luxury and service that few other hotels can equal. The inn’s 20 rooms, each with its very own rotenburo (outdoor bath), are separated by theme and style—Wind, Star, Sky and Moon. The inn’s general ambience is traditionally Japanese, but fused with a design-driven contemporary style.
The rooms available, although traditional in appearance, come with modern appliances such as plasma screen TVs, DVD players, sound systems and mini-bars. The Tsuki (Moon) rooms located on the first floor have a beautiful view of the inn’s Japanese garden, while the Kaze (Wind) rooms have a mountain view that lights up especially during the autumn, when guests can gaze out at the colorful leaves. It’s no surprise that the Hakone Ginyu is a romantic hotspot popular with cool Tokyoites who want to make the most of the views and atmosphere on offer.
Ginyu prides itself on having the very best of locally sourced and seasonal cuisine in kaiseki-ryori style (a multi-course tradi-
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100-1 Miyanoshita, Hakonemachi, Ashigarashimogun, Kanagawa-ken 0460-82-3355 www.hakoneginyu.co.jp
Kanaya H OT E L K I N U G AWA The Kanaya Hotel in Kinugawa Onsen has a deep history dating back to a time when it was an exclusive hot spring spa for monks and feudal lords. The town of Kinugawa Onsen opened to development in the early Meiji period (late 1800s) and soon became a major destination for pleasure seekers from both Japan and all over the world. Today the area is home to dozens of hotels and ryokan and attracts over two million visitors a year. The Kanaya Hotel, fully refurbished in April 2012, exudes all the amenities of a first class hotel. It is sure to surpass guests’ expectations, as everything is beautifully crafted with an attention to detail. It has preserved the warm hospitality and all the essentials of a ryokan (traditional Japanese Inn), but without compromising any modern comforts. Above the game tables in the cigar lounge are displayed old photographs of Kanaya Hotel founder John Kanaya in the early days of his career as a successful hotelier. Most of the photographs appeared to be of John and distinguished guests enjoying life in the “roaring twenties” in the Kinugawa area. The Kanaya Hotel has a full range of high-end suites and rooms, all luxuriously furnished. The interior designs bring together the best 50 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
of Japanese and western styles—traditional genkan (entrance), low tables on tatami mat flooring, spacious balconies with sofas and coffee tables, and futons or beds (depending on the room). Through the shower, glass doors open up to a private outdoor bath overlooking the mountains and river—pure pleasure. The dining experience at Kanaya is an exquisite journey of discovery. The delicate course meal is made up of several main dishes accompanied by sides, including fish and fresh organic vegetables. The rare cellar fermented soy sauce (with 220 years of history), high quality Tochigi sake, Nasu Tenkei eggs, and Otawara beef are all worthy of praise. After dinner, guests may want to move to the lobby lounge, where the John Kanaya Chocolatier sells chocolate cigars and bars filled with green tea, plums or cherries. In addition to private baths, the Kanaya also offers first class shared onsen. On the main floor there are large indoor baths with therapeutic saunas, as well as outdoor open-air baths. The main indoor baths are beautifully crafted from 2,000-year-old cypress wood, while the outside baths are carved from large blocks of white granite.
KANAYA HOTEL Logo A
1394 Ohara, Kinugawa Onsen, Nikko-shi, Tochigi-ken 0288-76-0001 www.kinugawakanaya.com John Kanaya chocolatier: www.johnkanaya.jp
SUNMARINA H OT E L
This is the perfect place for guests who want to enjoy a wide selection of marine sports in Okinawaâ€™s crystal-clear waters. Take a dip in the pool and try the thrilling waterslide, or challenge a friend to a game of tennis. The hotel offers a child-friendly environment, and most activities can be enjoyed by guests of all ages. Experience the ultimate resort life with a breath-taking view of the ocean, restaurants featuring delicious, mouth-watering dishes and the relaxation Spa Kupu-kupu, which will help even the most stressed out city-dweller unwind and enter a world of deep relaxation. Sunmarina Hotel truly has it all.
6-1 Fuchaku, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 098-965-2222 www.ishinhotels.com/sunmarina-hotel/en
O kinawa N ahana H otel & S pa
Okinawa Nahana Hotel & Spa is conveniently located in the center of Naha City, making it ideal for all types of travelers. Whether guests are visiting on business or for leisure, their expectations will be met with high quality facilities and services. The guestrooms feature a harmony of city and resort styles, and have just enough of everything guests may need. The restaurant serves up delicious Italian cuisine utilizing fresh, local products for food that blends the unique characteristics of Okinawa and Italy in perfect harmony. The Kotoran Spa provides guests with luxurious relaxation to fully escape the stresses of city life. For comfort and convenience, Okinawa Nahana Hotel & Spa cannot be beat.
2-1-5 Kume, Naha, Okinawa 098-866-0787 www.ishinhotels.com/okinawanahana/en
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J R T ower H otel N ikko S apporo
The JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo, is a resort hotel directly above JR Sapporo Station in downtown Sapporo. It occupies the top floors of the JR tower which is the highest building in northern Japan. The hotel combines the luxury and comfort of a hotel with the relaxation of a spa and resort. Offering excellent service and facilities, the hotel was awarded the Travelersâ€™ Choice award in 2012. The hotel offers a range of luxury guest rooms located between the 23rd to 34th floors - single, double, twin, family-type triple, and spacious suites with separate living rooms and bedrooms. All rooms boast breathtaking views and feature a chic and simple design. The 35th floor houses a unique selection of restaurants and bars with a spectacular night view - Sky J, Tancho, Serena, and Mikuni Sapporo. Enjoy local Hokkaido delicacies or world cuisine produced by Kiyomi Mikuni, a renowned chef from Hokkaido and one of the leading figures in French cuisine in the area. Relax and enjoy the spa facilities on the 22nd floor of the JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo. The entire floor is made up of state-ofthe-art spa facilities, including natural hot springs, air bubble baths and saunas. JR Tower Hotel Nikko Sapporo is very conveniently located above JR Sapporo Station offering easy access to and from Chitose International Airport by JR line. It is also an excellent central location from which to explore Sapporo and surrounding areas.
Nishi 2-5, Kita 5, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 011-251-2222 www.jrhotels.co.jp/tower/english
THE TO K YO S TAT I O N H OT E L The Tokyo Station Hotel has always been a large part of the iconic Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building designed by Kingo Tatsuno, a notable architect of the Meiji period. Completed in 1914, the building’s steel-andbrick structure and red brick gothic style projected a majestic but warm aura and has been cherished as a symbol of Tokyo. The building survived, only partially restored, after the Tokyo earthquake of 1923, and sustained heavy damage to the upper levels and dome during World War II. In 2003, it was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan and plans to restore the building began. The Tokyo Station Hotel was temporarily closed for preservation and restoration work in 2006. On October 3, 2012, the fully remodeled Tokyo Station Hotel was officially reopened for business in all its original beauty.
guests from Japan and abroad. When business resumed after World War II, the hotel became known for its coffee shop, serving genuine sandwiches and hamburger steaks, and its main bar, which was presided over by a legendary bartender. The hotel’s convenience and relaxed atmosphere made it a favorite among numerous literary figures over the years.
The historic 150-room hotel offers unique accommodation such as spacious suites, bi-level maisonettes and guest rooms that are positioned along the iconic north and south dome cupolas of Tokyo Station.
Each of The Tokyo Station Hotel’s 150 guest rooms and suites are designed with classic European décor, high vaulted ceilings and expansive windows. Each guestroom and suite blends sophisticated elements of European classic and contemporary design, while conveying the property’s rich heritage and historical significance. Room types range from classic to the lavish Royal Suite, which measures 173 square meters and features a king bedroom, as well as a separate living area and den.
The Tokyo Station Hotel opened in 1915, one year after the completion of the iconic Tokyo Station Building. Offering 58 guest rooms and banquet facilities, the European-style hotel, distinguished by magnificent architecture and state-of-the-art facilities, welcomed 54 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
The Atrium, located on the fourth floor with a total area of 400 square meters, is the main breakfast venue exclusively for hotel guests. The Atrium features an elegant interior of nine-meter-high ceilings, oversized windows and original bricks of the iconic building. Private meeting rooms and a library space are available for guests to enjoy.
1-9-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-5220-1111 www.thetokyostationhotel.jp
TOKYO STATION Marunouchi Building
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By Elisabeth Lambert In contrast to most train stations throughout modern Japan, Tokyo Station is somewhat of an anomaly, having evolved into far more than a transportation hub since its construction nearly a century ago. From the outside, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the station’s original red brick façade and distinguishing station house, which immediately sets the complex apart from both its surrounds and other railroad houses around the country. Built in 1914, the station initially opened with four platforms servicing two electric trains and two non-electric trains, and exit and entrance gates located only on the Marunouchi side. With the population of Tokyo rising, expansion plans were put into place, and by 1929 the Yaesu side of the ever-growing station was also opened. Although Tokyo Station did suffer extensive damage during the air raids of World War II, it was rapidly rebuilt the following year with what were supposed to be temporary modifications, such as angled roofs instead of the previous, distinctive glass domes. While various renovations and developments were carried out over the ensuing years, these first adjustments remained until recently, when in October 2012, a major operation to restore the Marunouchi side back to its pre-war condition was concluded. Today, with approximately 4,000 trains running through its 14 lines, Tokyo Station sees the highest number of trains in Japan on a daily basis. It’s also the starting and finishing point for most of Japan’s spectacularly efficient and impressive Shinkansen or bullet train rail lines. Yet, upon entering Tokyo Station, it quickly becomes apparent that its purpose goes far beyond a train terminus servicing a thriving metropolis. Housing a vast array of shopping and eating experiences, connected by the station’s substantial underground and aboveground passageways, Tokyo Station has fast become a destination too, and one that is not without its ‘only in Japan’ quirks. Need to pick up a souvenir? Head to First Avenue, located on the Yaesu side, and investigate its themed retail areas which include Tokyo Okashi Land, Japan’s first confectionary-themed retail strip, Tokyo Character Street, a shopping zone selling merchandise of the country’s most popular anime characters, and the aptly-named Omiyage Plaza, which features 30 stores offering up different traditional Tokyo gourmet gifts.
Opening Hours: The station functions from first train until last train, with the shopping and eating areas operating from between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Admission: Some areas, such as First Avenue, are freely accessible to all; other areas, such as GrandSta, are located within the station gates, and are accessible to commuters only.
Foodies are also well catered for with GrandSta, a wide promenade that runs through Tokyo Station at street level and features almost 50 different stores selling all kinds of fare. With Tokyo Station being so accessible, there really is no excuse not to experience all that is on offer. And it’s also the perfect place to escape the elements, whether it’s the heat of a Tokyo summer or the biting winter chill.
MARUNOUCHI & The Imperial Palace By Elisabeth Lambert Sitting above Tokyo Station, Marunouchi is generally known as the financial district of Tokyo, with major banks and the Tokyo Stock Exchange situated in the area. However, the name Marunouchi literally means “inside the circle” and refers to the outer moat of the nearby Imperial Palace, so it’s no surprise to learn that the calm and quiet grounds of the Imperial Palace are within a few minutes’ walk of Tokyo Station. Located in the exact center of the city, the view when approaching the palace grounds is breathtaking. Greeted by a large wide moat bordering abrupt and commanding stone walls, it’s easy to get a sense of how dramatic and imposing this type of compound would have been in feudal Japan. Once known as Edo Castle, in November 1868 the emperor made it his new residence upon the Meiji Restoration and resulting surrender of the Shogunate. He renamed it Tokei Castle, before changing its name again in 1869 to the Imperial Castle. The original imperial castle was lost to a fire in 1873, and a new Imperial Palace Castle was built on the site in 1888. Again, the majority of the structures were destroyed in 1945 during the air raids of World War II, and it was from the basement of its concrete library that Emperor Showa declared Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. New buildings were constructed in the 1960s and renamed the Imperial Residence, before a portion of the grounds was opened to the public in 1968. Covering an area of 1.32 square miles, the grounds today incorporate the main palace, the private residences of the imperial family, administrative offices, an archive and a museum. While the inner palace grounds are not open to the public, Kitanomaru Gardens, the East Gardens and Kyoko-gaien are popular areas 58 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
for tourists and Tokyo residents to relax, whether it be via picnicking with family and friends, undertaking Tai Chi on the well-manicured lawns, or simply enjoying the feeling of soft, fresh grass underfoot. There is also a popular three-mile ‘Around the Imperial Palace’ jogging course that starts near Sakuradamon, and carries on around the inner moat of the Palace. It also takes runners past the Imperial Palace Public Square, Takebashi and the cherry tree-lined Chidorigafuchi, followed by the British Embassy, the National Theater, and the National Diet Building (for a map, see: www.city.chiyoda.tokyo.jp/english/eguide/jogging). And every December 23 (the emperor’s birthday) and January 2 (New Year’s), public access is granted to the inner palace grounds to see the members of the imperial family, who make several public appearances—albeit behind bulletproof glass—on those days. Throughout the year, guided tours of the palace are available. Tours are in Japanese (an English pamphlet and audio guide are provided) and must be reserved in advance via the Imperial Household Agency (see www.kunaicho.go.jp).
Opening Hours: Please note that last entry is half an hour before closing time. • March 1 to April 14: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. • April 15 to August 31: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. • September 1 to October 31: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. • November 1 to February 28/29: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed: • Every Monday and Friday (open on national holidays except the emperor’s birthday, December 23) • From December 28 to January 3 • In circumstances where it’s deemed necessary to close the gardens due to imperial court functions or other occasions.
Admission: Free at entry/exit points: Ote-mon Gate, Hirakawa-mon Gate and Kitahanebashi-mon Gate.
Closest Station: The main entrance is located at Ote-mon Gate near Otemachi Station (Chiyoda, Marunouchi, Tozai Metro lines)
MEIJI JINGU By Elisabeth Lambert Walking through the massive and imposing cypress torii that marks the entrance to Meiji Jingu, arguably Japan’s most famous Shinto shrine, is to encounter a side of Tokyo that is poles apart from the hubbub and commotion normally associated with the city. Surrounded by densely wooded grounds spanning 700,000 square meters, the few minutes’ walk it takes to reach the shrine complex seems to have a specific purpose: to allow visitors to shed the stresses of everyday life, and drink in the undeniable calm that takes over as the shrine draws near. And fittingly so, seeing as the shrine was erected as a way for the Japanese people to commemorate the virtues of Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912.HisroleintheMeijiRestoration,whichsawthecountryreestablishimperial rule, was significant, with Meiji becoming the first Emperor of what is now recognized as modern Japan. Construction of the shrine commenced in 1915, and it was formally dedicated to the emperor on November 1, 1920.
The outer area of the shrine is known as the Gaien and incorporates the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, a range of sporting facilities (such as the Meiji Jingu Gaien Stadium and Tokyo Olympic Stadium), and the Meiji Memorial Hall, which was initially employed for government meetings but is today utilized for Shinto weddings. Indeed, most weekends offer the chance to catch a glimpse of a priest, bride, groom and their relevant attendants, dressed in traditional wedding kimono and garments, making their way from the shrine to the hall. The shrine of course has religious importance within the Japanese Shinto faith, and specific spiritual holidays and events on the Japanese calendar, such as New Year, Coming of Age Day (January), Children’s Festival (May) and the Tanabata (Star) Festival (July) provide a great occasion to experience Japanese customs and traditions firsthand. Its expansive setting is also seen as a place for both recreation and relaxation among locals and tourists alike.
Yet in 1945 Meiji Jingu suffered the same fate as many other structures in Tokyo, when its original buildings were destroyed during World War II air raids of the city. After a conscientious public fundraising effort, Meiji Shrine was rebuilt, with restoration concluding in 1958.
In fact, the serene forest that greets visitors to Meiji Shrine today was the result of a true labor of love for the Japanese people. When building of the shrine initially began, people from all over Japan donated trees, which were painstakingly planted by volunteers to create the striking woodland. Today, over 245 different species of trees grow in the shrine’s grounds.
The shrine itself is actually made up of two major areas, known as the Naien and the Gaien. The Naien refers to the inner area, which is centered on the shrine buildings and includes a museum that houses items belonging to the emperor and empress.
Whether looking for a beautiful and unique tourist experience with fantastic photo opportunities, or an easy-to-access sanctuary in which to gather thoughts and take five from the grind of Tokyo city life, a visit to Meiji Jingu will undoubtedly impart a sense of enlightenment.
GINZA IN THE EVENING
GINZA Ginza is home to neon lights, brand name shopping, historic and cultural sights, and stunning modern architecture. It offers the culture lover a chance to experience traditional kabuki theater, eat Japanese style grilled chicken in the Yakitori Alley, visit the old Imperial garden at Hama Rikyu, and shop for Japanese trinkets such as samurai swords and beautiful origami paper. For the technophile there is nothing quite like the world famous Sony Building, where many of Sony’s wide selection of products are available for demonstration across six floors. HISTORY The name Ginza is derived from an official organization established in 1612 whose purpose was to cast silver into coins for the then-ruling Tokugawa Bakufu, during the Edo era. The name stuck in the minds of the people and Ginza became the official area name in 1869. When largely destroyed in a massive fire that struck the area in 1872, the Tokyo governor at the time, Yuri Kimimasa, proposed to reconstruct the town using bricks in order to prevent further fires from taking their toll. Within five years, Ginza had largely changed into a Western-style neighborhood with countless two-story brick buildings, a change that also facilitated it becoming the first Western-style shopping district in Tokyo. 60 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
SHOPPING Ginza is home to some of the best department stores in Japan, as well as flagship boutiques of nearly every imaginable international and Japanese fashion and jewelry brand. Mitsukoshi is the oldest and most famous department store in Japan, and remains a popular shopping destination today. Across the street is the Wako department store, with its remarkable clock tower. It is known for its original, elegant, and stylish products as much as it is famed for the higher end and imported prestigious brands it provides to shoppers. GETTING THERE Ginza is one of the hubs of Tokyo’s transportation network, and is accessed by both subway and Japan Railways. By JR, disembarking at JR Yurakucho or Shimbashi Stations provides an overland access route for those who don’t mind walking a little.
TSUKIJI Just a 10- to 15-minute walk from Ginza on Harumi-dori, Tsukiji is home to a world-famous wholesale market selling fish, fruits and vegetables. Regularly handling more than 2,000 tons of marine products per day, Tsukiji ranks at the top of world fish markets in every measurable category. It handles more than 400 different types of seafood, from sardines to golden brown dried sea slug caviar. Even if you are not planning to watch the exciting and renowned tuna auctions, it’s best to get to Tsukiji early—before 8 a.m.—to see the action. Just be sure to be aware of your surroundings and stay out of the way of vendors and those delivering products between the ships and the stalls, as tourists that impede or slow business transactions are understandably frowned upon. Tsukiji is one of few shopping spots in Tokyo where haggling is common and accepted. However, it is important to note that prices are already lower than the regional averages, so it’s best not to push the sellers too hard. A spattering of non-food items, such as hand made knives and ceramics, are also available. Tsukiji Fish Market is closed on alternate Wednesdays as well as every Sunday. Sushi fanatics will tell you that it’s best to avoid eating sushi in Japan on Wednesdays, on the grounds that you risk getting the Tuesday leftovers. One of the most famous sushi bars in Japan—and perhaps the world—is Daiwa Sushi. Split into two neighboring stalls, this sushi bar regularly has a wait of over 30 minutes. There is no menu, and the ¥2,100 set includes the chef’s selection of about seven to eight nigiri zushi, one tuna roll, miso soup and tea.
KOKUSAI FORUM IN YURAKUCHO
DON'T MISS: • The Sony Building, where the company tests its latest products. • Yakitori Alley in nearby Hibiya, where old-style street cafés under the train tracks serve barbecued chicken on a stick with beer. • Ito-Ya, the city’s most famous stationery store, with a wide array of specialty papers, writing utensils, greeting cards and more. • Hama Rikyu, a former imperial garden with a teahouse in the middle of a lake. It’s also along the water bus route from from Asakusa. • Tokyo International Forum, an architectural gem featuring a lofty, nautical-inspired glass and steel design. • Hakuhinkan, one of Tokyo’s biggest toy stores. Note : The famous Kabukiza-za theater is closed for renovations until 2013 61
Ariparis Asia Maeda is not your typical Japanese women. After running away from home, she traveled to the United States where she cultivated her wildly independent streak. Coming back to her native country after stints in Boston, New York and Paris, she decided to do something to help motivate Japanese women to be more like the strong role models she met abroad. Her solution: create a community of women centered around beauty products. Sold entirely by word of mouth and never doing any press coverage (until now), Ariparis is a unique cosmetics company that is growing fast in Tokyo and Hong Kong. By empowering women, Maeda hopes to change the direction of Japan and to help the country find its way in the world again but she is well aware of the challenges she faces: “Japanese women are quite different from European or American women, we may wear the same clothes but inside our spirit is very different,” she says. Modern Japan, as Maeda points out, is not as modern as it may seem. Many families still use traditional matchmakers to find a husband for their daughters, something that caused her to flee Japan for more distant, and in her eyes, more progressive shores. 62 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
After studying abroad and touring the world for several years she returned to Japan with the realization that Japan still has a long way to go in terms of women’s rights. Japanese women may control the household purse but are powerless in many other areas. In particular stay-at-home wives must become a thing of the past if Japan is to move on. “If women are independent and free, they can find their own way, start their own business or choose their own husband.” she says. Selling cosmetics may be an unusual way to help women, but Maeda is clearly passionate about her cause: “I want to make a good women’s community, it’s my mission to tell Japanese women that there is a different way to live. I want to spread my message like I spread my beauty product; by word of mouth.” After the earthquake and tsunami, Maeda traveled to Tohoku to give cosmetics to survivors and this experience, she says, is proof of the power of making people feel good: “People were so happy to receive free cosmetics, for the first time in weeks people began to feel like normal. Beauty products can really help people.” she says.
Perfect for a Christmas or Birthday gift, Ariparis skin serum is available to purchase by appointment only: Telephone: 03-3446-1891 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Ariparis Skin Serum: • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles • Revitalize your skin and diminish signs of aging • Stimulate the renewal of skin cells • Excellent antioxidant support Contains four key ingredients, made to a secret recipe in Japan: • Gold: To encourage skin turnover. • Silver: Antiseptic, helps reduce infections. • Amber: Deep skin penetration, enriching and moisturizing. • Placenta: Anti-aging, full of nutrients, minerals and antioxidants.
ASAKUSA Japan is a culture of legends, and Asakusa has its own rich history made up of both fact and fiction. Around a thousand years ago the Hirokuma brothers found a statue of Kannon in their fishing nets, and the village chief dutifully enshrined it. The Asakusa shrine was thus established in 1649, and the three people in the legend were consecrated as gods of the shrine, hereby earning it the nickname Sanja-sama (the shrine of the three gods). Senso-ji, also known as Kannon-sama, has a history that spans over 1,370 years. It is the oldest temple in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and is frequently visited by overseas travelers. The three-meter-high paper lantern that hangs in the gates has become the symbol for Asakusa and the Senso-ji shrine. It is located along Asakusa Street, and bears the characters Kaminari-mon (meaning â€œthunder gateâ€?). Most notable among the other historical buildings in the area is a five-story pagoda, which is the second highest pagoda in Japan. In addition, many annual events are held at Senso-ji, including Hari-Kuyou (a memorial service for old needles) in February, the Chinese lantern plant market in July, and a battledore market in December. Asakusa-jinja, located next to Senso-ji, is also the site of the famous Sanja Festival. Held in May, the festival is Tokyoâ€™s largest and one of three that have been held continuously since the Edo era.
Stretching from Kaminari-mon to Senso-ji, the Nakamise shopping district is the oldest such surviving area in Japan, dating back to the 1700s. Among the approximate 300 meters of stores are structures that first opened during the Edo era and which still continue to serve the patrons of Nakamise to this day. Lining the streets of the Nakamise area, these treasures from an older era, along with their younger neighbors, offer numerous area specialties, including kaminari-okoshii (toasted rice patty snacks), ningyo-yaki (red bean filled pastries molded into various shapes), toys from the Edo era, tekisenbei (large circular rice crackers), and tortoise shell crafts. Intersecting the heart of Nakamise is Shin-Nakamise. Collectively, these two areas are home to more than 150 stores. In addition to the abundance of traditional crafts and foods, Nakamise also offers a glimpse into the heritage of Asakusa in a truly unique fashion; painted on the shutters of the stores is the Asakusa Picture Scroll, a sequence of scenes depicting the many festivals and events held in Asakusa. Designed by the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, the colorful shutters ensure that even after-hours visitors to Nakamise will be able to enjoy the rich history of the area.
SHIBAMATA By Tomonori Saito Shibamata offers a variety of attractions, such as Buddhist architecture and art, historic shopping streets, Japanese gardens, and even a traditional ferry ride across the Edogawa river. All of these attractions are closely located within walking distance from each other. Shibamata is also famous as a filming location of the beloved Japanese movie series “Otoko wa Tsurai yo” (or “It is Tough to be a Man”), of which 48 installments were produced over 26 years. A statue of the films’ main character, Torasan, stands in front of Shibamata station, welcoming visitors to this intimate and lively neighborhood. Just five minutes’ walk from the station is the shopping street Taishakuten-Sando. The street is packed with traditional style shops and restaurants where visitors can eat Japanese foods and sweets, such as freshwater fish, tsukudani (preserved fish, shellfish and shrimp boiled in soy sauce and sugar), rice crackers, kusadango (mugwort-flavored rice dumplings topped with sweet red bean paste), and kuzumochi (Japanese arrowroot cake topped with soybean flour and brown sugar syrup). The shop Takagiya-Rouho has a fine selection of such sweets, and visitors can also see photos of stars from the movie series in the shop. Kawachiya is a freshwater fish restaurant with 250 years of experience serving carp, eel and loach dishes. Marujin specializes in tsukudani. A detailed English guide booklet of the shopping street is available for free at a tourist information center just in front of the station.
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The shopping street leads straight to Taishakuten temple, which is said to have been founded in 1629. The temple is famous for its historic architecture and also its art gallery exhibits of Buddhist wooden carvings inspired by stories in the Lotus Sutra. There is also a Japanese garden called Suikei-en. Nearby, visitors will find a one-story Japanese style house called Yamamoto-tei, which has an impressive Japanese garden. The house is open to public, and visitors can buy refreshments from the cafeteria and relax in Japanese style drawing rooms while viewing the garden. It is also possible to reserve a tea ceremony room if enough notice is given. Other local attractions can be found along the Edogawa riverside. Yagiri no Watashi is the only ferry service in Tokyo that still exits from the early Edo period. The ferry crosses the Edogawa River from Shibamata to Yagiri several times a day through the end of November, but it is available only during weekends and national holidays between December and early March. The fare is ¥200 one way, or ¥400 yen roundtrip. There is also Tora-san Museum on the riverside, where tourists can see the actual movie set used in the series. Shibamata station is on the Keisei-Kanamachi Line and has a good access to both Tokyo Sky Tree and Narita International Airport.
KAWACHIYA - FRESHWATER FISH RESTAURANT
TAKAGIYA-ROUHO YAGIRI NO WATASHI
YAMAMOTOTEI JAPANESE GARDEN
Hakuba is Japanâ€™s premier ski resort area, ideally positioned in the heart of the Japanese Alps of Nagano prefecture. Set against the backdrop of rugged peaks, the scenery of Hakuba is truly amazing both in winter and during the warmer months. There are over ten resorts in Hakuba and the neighboring valleys, covering a huge expanse of skiable terrain. Hakuba earns its reputation as one of the best ski resort areas in Japan in many ways. It has the highest number of resorts, which offer a multitude of ski runs and a large variety of slopes, and it also offers the highest vertical of any ski resort in Japan.
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History Over 75 years ago, the farming village of Hakuba was chosen by the Hosono ski club of Japan for its abundant snow and pristine ski conditions. The resorts that resulted from the impending development, along with some of the most demanding ski terrain in all of Japan, really helped put Hakuba on the map. Hakuba Happo-One was chosen as the site for 1998 Winter Olympic Games, and it continues to host FIS World Cup events for downhill, slalom, ski jumping, cross country and biathlon. Today, the area has mushroomed into a worldclass ski destination of unparalleled alpine opportunities. This should come as no surprise, as Hakuba gets over ten meters of exceptional powder snow every year and offers something for everybodyâ€”a variety of alpine skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding, Telemark and Nordic skiing, snow rafting and tubing, snowmobiling and heli-skiing.
Skiing & Snowboarding Whether for novices or expert skiers, Hakuba provides some of the best skiing in all of Japan, with gentle slopes, steeps, moguls, long groomers and of course plenty of fresh powder. The variety of terrain is more than enough for snowboarders of any level, with no shortage of half-pipes, terrain parks, gullies, hits, dry and deep powder bowls, ungroomed trails and steeps. Hakuba 47 and Happo are two of the favorite destinations for boarders, offering challenging and diverse terrain, a terrain park, and a half pipe. There are ski schools at most of the large resorts, offering private and group lessons in both English and Japanese. Some of the best schools for English lessons are Snow Instructors Japan and Evergreen.
Recent Trends Over the last few years, interest in the Hakuba area has increased both in Japan and around the world. This is especially true for Koreans and Australians, who have started choosing Japan for their ski holidays and who make up about half of all foreign visitors to Hakuba. For Australians, Japanese ski resorts offer great powder conditions, cheaper lift tickets, and the chance to enjoy alpine sports during their summer season. The overall number of foreign tourists who visit Hakuba each year has gone up by four times since 2004, and the number of foreign investors is following close behind. With the success of other resort areas in Japan, including Niseko, developers, investors and business owners are aligning themselves for what could be the next real estate boom.
SKI RESORTS OF HAKUBA
The town of Hakuba, at the foot of the Japanese Alps, is surrounded by topnotch ski resorts. Each ski area, from the north to the south of the valley, offers a unique alpine experience with a variety of challenging slopes that rate highly amongst skiers and boarders at all levels.
Goryu & Hakuba 47 Ski Resorts Goryu and Hakuba 47 are two modern, connected resorts popular with skiers and boarders of all levels due to a varied terrain with north-facing slopes boasting lots of great powder snow conditions. The runs are connected at two spots at the top of the mountain and lift tickets are valid for both areas.
Goryu Goryu is a one of the larger resorts and is made up of three main slopes—Alps-daira, Toomi and Iimori. It offers some longer scenic courses and fantastic views of the mountains and valley below from the top of Zizou Peak. The area is very well serviced in terms of hotels, bars and restaurants, with lots to choose from on the slope, around Escal Plaza Base Center, and in the town below. • Highest elevation 1,620m, vertical 800m • 1 gondola, 12 lifts, 16 runs, longest run 6.5km • www.hakubagoryu.com/e/
Hakuba 47 Hakuba 47 is the newest of all the ski resorts in the area and boasts seven runs across one mountain with deep valleys and challenging terrain, 68 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
a half-pipe and a snow park. The R-4 Big Snow Park is one of the largest snow parks in Japan, with a variety of jumps and rails making it very popular with snowboarders and freestyle skiers. The “Wipein” course is full of twists and turns, making it a wild and challenging run. • Highest elevation 1,614m, vertical 794m • 1 gondola, 4 lifts, 7 runs, longest run 6.4km • www.hakuba47.co.jp/winter/en/
Sun Alpina Ski Resort Sun Alpina is located in the southernmost part of the Hakuba ski area and is actually made up of three connected resorts: Aokiko, Kashimayari and Sanosaka. It is well known for having open hills with a variety of slopes, great mogul runs, plenty of trails to explore, and a spectacular view of Lake Aokiko at the base of the mountain. • Sun Alpina Aokiko • Highest elevation 1350m, vertical 500m • 5 lifts ,7 runs, longest run 3.5km • www.snowjapan.com/e/resorts/resort detail.php?resid=71 • Sun Alpina Kashimayari • Highest elevation 1550m, vertical 720m • 8 lifts, 21 runs, longest run 5km • www.kashimayari.net (Japanese site) • Sun Alpina Sanozaka • Highest elevation 1200m, vertical 460m • 7 lifts, 6 runs, longest run 2.1km • www.sanosaka.com/homepage/ english.htm
Hakuba Happo-one Ski Resort
Hakuba Minekata Ski Resort
Hakuba Happo-one is Hakuba’s oldest and most famous resort, with the highest elevation, longest runs, and best variety of world-class runs for both skiers and boarders. A total of 31 lifts and 13 major well-groomed runs stretch along Mt. Karamatsu, with a vertical of over 1,000 meters. Having hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics slalom and ski jump, the Happo area is also the hub of activity in Hakuba. It is second to none for hotels, bars and restaurants in the resort area.
Hakuba Minekata is located a short drive from Hakuba town on the south side of the valley. The runs are compact, usually not crowded, and great for beginners and intermediates. There is also a long cross-country ski course.
• Highest elevation 1,831m, vertical 1071m • 1 gondola, 31 lifts, 13 runs, longest run 8km • www.hakuba-happo.or.jp/index.html (Japanese site)
Hakuba Iwatake Ski Resort Hakuba Iwatake ski resort, located in front of Hakuba’s highest peak, is perhaps one of Hakuba’s top spots for beautiful scenery and panoramic views. Sunny Valley, Iwatake’s main run, is 3.8 kilometers long and is great for skiers at beginner or intermediate levels. This resort is also very popular with snowboarders because of its two half pipes and a terrain park.
• Highest elevation 1,050m vertical 210m • 2 lifts, 6 runs, longest run 1.4km • www.hakuba-minekata.com (Japanese site)
Tsugaike The Tsugaike ski resort is located to the north of the valley, above the town of Tsugaike and alongside a beautiful national park. Tsugaike offers a wide variety slopes across a vast skiable terrain, with some long uninterrupted trails that are great for beginners and intermediates. The town of Tsugaike is also very accessible from the slopes and offers plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.
Norikura & Cortina Just outside the town of Hakuba, at the northern end of the valley, are the resorts of Cortina and Norikura. The two resorts are smaller than some of the other resorts, but are interconnected and use a common ski pass. Together, these two resorts offer a good variety of wellgroomed runs for both skiers and boarders. The location offers more challenging terrain, excellent snow conditions and is rarely crowded. For these reasons it is very popular with local skiers. • Norikura • Highest elevation 1,300m, vertical 500m • 10 lifts, 15 runs, longest run 2.5km • www.hakubanorikura.jp/ (Japanese site) • Cortina • Cortina boasts the highest snowfall in the entire valley • Highest elevation 1,402m, vertical 532m • 8 lifts, 17 runs, longest run 5km • www.hakubacortina.jp/ski/
• 1 gondola, 22 lifts, 11 runs. longest run 6km • www.tsugaike.gr.jp/ (Japanese site)
• Highest elevation 1,289m, vertical 559m • gondola, 16 lifts, 15 runs, lo ngest run 3.8km • www.hakuba.jp/iwatake/snow/
Lift Tickets All of the ski resorts in the Hakuba Valley use an electronic lift pass system. The pass is a re-programmable computer chip in a plastic card, which allows access through the electronic gates at each lift (refundable ¥1,000 deposit required).
OWNING A PHOENIX CHALET Year round income. The phase 1 of the Phoenix chalets has been in operation since 2010 and has enjoyed extremely high winter occupancy and an increasingly busy green season. Bilingual concierge service. Prior to arrival e-mail or call us and we ensure that the heating is turned on and your chalet is clean and ready for your arrival. Our concierge service is ready to help arrange in house-dining, shopping, lift tickets, ski hire, lessons, car-hire, taxi pickups and everything else you need to make your stay comfortable. On-site management. Peace of mind that someone is keeping an eye on your investment.
THE Phoenix HOTEL The Phoenix Hotel is pleased to present an exciting opportunity to participate in the growth and development of Hakuba, Japan’s premier Alpine resort area. Since opening in 2008, The Phoenix Hotel has established a reputation for quality accommodation and the highest standard of gourmet dining available in the region. The hotel is situated in a beautiful natural forest setting in a prime location between Wadanomori and Happone villages. Phase one of The Phoenix Chalet development is complete with eight chalets operating in both winter and summer with great success since 2010. The Hotel is now offering investors the chance to design and construct their own Phoenix Chalet for private use or as a fully managed investment utilizing the rental pool of The Phoenix Hotel. Hakuba valley is Asia’s grand Alpine playground. In Japan, visitors from the metropolises of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya have long flocked to this special region, which stands out as the preferred destination for winter enthusiasts. Likewise guests from around the world, in particular from Asia, have begun to discover the beauty of winter in Hakuba. Set against a backdrop of the rugged peaks of the Japanese Alps, the scenery of Hakuba is truly amazing. It earns its reputation as a winter destination with a large number of resorts (nine in total), all easily accessible and offering a multitude of runs and a large variety of terrain from beginner to advanced. There is also the added attraction of a cross-country ski park 70 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
and ski jump facility, purpose built for the 1998 Nagano Olympics and still used as a venue for world cup events. Hakuba also has much to offer in the spring, summer and autumn: the so called “green season”. In fact, visitor numbers are typically higher during the green season than in winter. Spring brings with it a burst of color and life as the valley turns green and the mountain flowers and cherry blossoms bloom. In summer, the refreshing alpine lakes offer swimming and boating activities, and the mountains attract many day walkers and serious mountain climbers. Other activities include whitewater rafting, paragliding and mountain biking, not to mention local cultural attractions, including many temples and castles. Hakuba valley also has many natural hot spring springs, which are popular year round. And then there is the food. Hakuba is located in the Shinshu region, the breadbasket of Japan. The Japanese cuisine offering is diverse and without exception delicious. Even the Western offerings are exceptional, due to the meticulous traits of the Japanese chefs and the freshness of the ingredients. Perhaps unique to Hakuba as a mountain destination is the availability of wonderful seafood since the valley is located only 40 kilometers from the wild oceans of the Sea of Japan. The amazing Shinshu beef, Hakuba Pork, a variety of Alpine game, and local trout or “Shinshu salmon” create a cacophony of flavors for your enjoyment.
Proximity to Tokyo. Hakuba is only one hour by car from Nagano which is a 1.5 hour bullet train ride to Tokyo. The drive direct from Tokyo takes about 3.5 hours. Ideal location. The Phoenix Hotel is set in a beautiful forest location in Wadanomori close to the Happo slopes yet only a 10 minute walk to the Hakuba bus depot and Happone village. Quality Construction. The Phoenix Chalets are constructed to the highest standards by Fusion Homes, the most experienced and only truly bilingual building professionals in the region. Work with Fusion to customize your Chalet to your individual taste and requirements. Technology. High speed internet and cable TV system. Work from Hakuba if you must! Access to The Phoenix Hotel. Five star dining at Mimi’s Restaurant and Bar. In Chalet catering service and take out Deli menu. Hotel Japanese style bath and sauna facility. Shuttle Bus transfers to the major mountain resorts.
PHOENIX CHALET HAKUBA The Phoenix Hotel is offering a limited number of brand new Ski Chalets for sale. The chalets are located right next to the Phoenix Hotel in prestigious Wadanomori, offering easy access to Hakuba’s amazing Ski resorts. The Phoenix Chalets are available for the personal enjoyment of family and friends throughout the four seasons. For those times you can’t be around to take in the splendor of Hakuba, the professional management of the Phoenix Hotel will ensure your investment continues performing for you.
Priced From ¥ 80 million • Luxury Ski Chalets • Free-hold ownership • Full Hotel Service • 2 or 3 Bedrooms • Fully Furnished • Completion winter 2012 • Hydronic Floor Heating • Hardwood Floors • Mountain Views
For Inquiries contact : email@example.com www.housingjapan.com
HAKUBA TOWN HAKUBA HAPPO-ONE SUN ALPINA
Tokyu Hotel Daini Sato Olympic no Yu Sign
Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium
Daiichi Sato no Yu Echo Land Ecoland Village no Yu
Meitetsu Village Iimori Hakubano Mori
Take no Yu
Shirouma no Yu
Iwatake no Yu
Garden no Yu
Kurashita no Yu
Mimizuku no Yu
Juro no Yu
KAMISHIRO Sta. To Matsumoto
Iimori Rikkyou Kita
Obinato no Yu
SHINANO MORIUE Sta.
Tenjin no Yu
Supermarkets Gas Stations Ski Lifts Landmarks
NORIKURA & CORTINA
To Itoigawa To Minekata
Getting Around Hakuba
Hakuba Apres Entertainment
Many hotels are located within walking distance of the slopes and nightlife. Accommodation that is further from the slopes will usually provide transport to and from the ski resorts. The Hakuba 47, Goryu Toomi and Happo-one resorts also offer complementary shuttle services. Finally, there is a reliable public bus service called the Genki-go bus, which runs along the valley, providing access to all of the ski resorts and other desired locations in town. (짜500 roundtrip, only available during ski season).
Hakuba probably has some of the best apres-ski entertainment of any of the ski resorts in Japan. There is a wide choice of Japanese and other restaurants, as well as numerous izakaya (Japanese style pubs) and bars. For those who like to party hard, there is a club scene with dancing and drinking until early hours of the morning. There are several really cool standing bars, a wine bar and even an English pub. Most of the action is in Happo and Wadano, although there are many venues scattered across the town. The free resort guides available at all hotels have detailed information on what is available.
There are, of course, several taxi companies in Hakuba, although the distances can make this quite an expensive way to get around. Fares start at 짜710 and go up after 1.5 kilometers. Hakuba is somewhat spread out, and it can be quite cold waiting for a bus or shuttle. Therefore the most convenient way to get around is by car, whether your own or a rental. The roads are well snowcleared but can get icy, so you snow tires are recommended. These are standard on cars rented from nearby Nagano and Matsumoto.
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Getting There By Car There are two options from Tokyo to get to Hakuba by car: 1. Take the Chuo Expressway to the Okaya J.C.T and head towards Nagano on the Nagano Expressway. Exit at the Toyoshina Interchange and follow Route 147 &148 through Omachi to Hakuba. 2. Take the Kanetsu Expressway to the Fujioka J.C.T and head towards Nagano on the Joshinetsu Expressway. Exit at the Nagano Interchange and follow the Hakuba Nagano Olympic Road to Hakuba. Both routes take about four hours.
By Train & Bus From Tokyo Station, take the Nagano bullet train (Asama Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Nagano Station. Bullet trains run regularly throughout the day. Take the NaganoHakuba Line bus from Nagano to Hakuba. Buses run regularly from Nagano station to Hakuba village every hour or two from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (there are no trains from Nagano to Hakuba). Total travel time is about three hours.
By Train From Shinjuku Station, take the Chuo Limited Express (Super Azusa) directly to Hakuba. Total travel time is about three and a half hours.
Other Sightseeing Options There are plenty of other things to see around Hakuba as well. Two of the favorites are Naganoâ€™s Matsumoto castle, and the hot springs of Jigokudani Monkey Park, which offers a unique opportunity to see Japanese snow monkeys bathing in hot springs.
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TV SERVICES GETTING TV SERVICE
SATELLITE TV SKY PERFECTV!
There are 12 channels of publicly broadcast TV in Tokyo, including the governmentowned NHK channels. Since most of the programming is exclusively in Japanese (although some news programs are broadcast with English translations) it may not be very entertaining for non-Japanese speakers. Fortunately, there is a selection of cable, optical fiber, and satellite service providers in Japan that provide access to a wide variety of international programming.
The other option for expanded TV programming is satellite TV service. The dominant provider is SKY PerfecTV! which includes SKY PerfecTV! and SKY PerfecTV! e2. Both are direct broadcast satellite services (DBS) .
CABLE TV SERVICE PROVIDERS About 80 percent of the buildings in Tokyo are already connected to cable TV (CATV), but in the rare cases where the building is not connected it might be difficult to install CATV. This is an important point to confirm when searching for your new apartment. For more information: www.jcom.co.jp/services/tv/course.html Each ward or city has its own cable TV service provider. The channels and packages offered by each company are quite similar. The cable service providers offer a choice of about seven to ten English and Japanese bilingual channels and 40 to 50 specialty channels. There are two set packages of channels to choose from, with some optional channels you can add to each. The monthly rate is about ¥4,400 to ¥6,000 for a package of channels, depending where you live and which package you choose. Some of the major international channels available include Fox, Star Channel (movies), CNN, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and MTV.
CABLE TV SETUP 1. Call your local cable company and have them send an application form. 2. Fill in all the details and choose your package and optional channels. You will have to specify payment by credit card or direct bank payment. 3. In about three to seven days, someone from the cable company will come and install the cable. You will have to designate a room for the cable to be installed. Basically it is one line and one tuner for one TV (you won’t be able to see cable TV in every room that has a TV jack; only the jacks that the cable TV person has installed).
If your building is older than two years, you will probably need to set up and install a small SKY PerfecTV! satellite dish on your balcony. It is necessary to install the satellite dish in such a way that it has an unobstructed view of the sun between 1 and 2 p.m. on a fine day toward the southwest. Placing the dish on the roof of your building may require the building owner’s permission. It may be difficult to install the dish yourself, so it is often better to arrange to have a professional install it for you. In some cases newer buildings will already have a dish on the roof for SKY PerfecTV! and you will just have to buy a tuner, which costs around ¥8,800 to ¥10,800. A tuner and dish will cost ¥6,825 to ¥13,125. You can purchase these items at any major electronics store and installation will cost about ¥10,000 to ¥15,000. Out of the total 290 channels SKY PerfecTV! offers, about 48 are English channels, but these will depend on which plan you have. For more information: www.skyperfectv. co.jp/en/guide/welcome/ Some of the channels available include the Golf Channel, J Sports 1+2+3, Sports-I, ESPN, Cinefil Imagica, Star Channel Multiplex, Movie Plus, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, Animax, Disney, Bloomberg, Fox, CNN, and BBC.
OPTICAL FIBER BROADCASTING TV SERVICE Fiber optic TV (or Hikari TV as it is called) is the most high tech option for TV service in Japan and is often bundled together with internet (and possibly IP phone) for more reasonable rates. SkyPerfecTV Hikari HD (Flet’s TV Plan): Initial fee ¥2,940 Monthly fee approximately ¥6,000 SkyPerfecTV Hikari HD (Apartment Plan) Initial fee ¥2,940 Monthly fee approximately ¥5,000 Some of the available channels include the Golf Network, J Sports 1+2+3 HD, Cinefil Imagica, Movie Plus HD, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, Animax, Disney, the History Channel, Fox HD, Fox Crime HD, CNNj, and the National Geographic Channel.
TV SERVICES (Continued)
THE DIGITAL TV ERA In 2003, TV Japan entered a new era of digital television as part of the transition from analog broadcasting to nationwide digital by July 2011. The new digital broadcasting offers better graphic quality (digital high vision), better sound, subtitles and audio guidance. If you are new to Japan or haven’t made the leap to digital yet, expect to spend some money on compatible hardware to get setup for the 2011 changeover. Access to digital broadcasting requires cable or satellite television services, a digital broadcasting tuner, and in some cases a UHF antenna. Many televisions already have built-in digital broadcasting tuners so only a UHF antenna may be needed. UHF antennas can be purchased at most electronics shops, (prices are about ¥3,000 to ¥8,000). Some TV’s (especially analog-only TVs), however, will require a separate digital tuner, which costs about ¥20,000. Japan successfully made the switch to digital TV in March 2012. The Association for Promotion of Digital Broadcasting offers more information on its website at www.dpa.or.jp/english/index.html.
Cable TV & Internet Service Providers
INTERNET Types of Internet Service
Whether you want to surf the internet for business or pleasure, this is one of the things you will probably want to get set up as soon as possible. You will need to choose an ISP (internet service provider) and the type of connection you would like to use. Other than dial-up, ISDN connection, or wireless PC Cards (which are very expensive and slow), there are basically three ways to connect: ADSL, Cable, and Hikari Fiber.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is similar to DSL in the US and is by far the most widely used service in Japan. ADSL is relatively cheap when compared with other services, and faster than both dial-up and ISDN. ADSL services come in many speed offerings, up to speeds of about 50mb/s. ADSL actually uses an analog line, which is split and allows you to surf the internet and make calls at the same time. When having ADSL installed, you will need to specify to NTT which room or rooms you want to have connected, for not all jacks in your apartment will necessarily be an internet connection.
Cable Modem Cable internet service can be very fast, depending on the network you connect to. The speeds vary from 3mb to 50mb/s. Cable modems are great for streaming content such as video or internet radio, as they are quite stable. It can be cheaper if you buy a package with cable TV and internet bundled together. When having your cable internet installed, you will need to specify which room or rooms you want to have connected, for not all jacks in your apartment will necessarily be an internet connection unless requested.
How to Apply for Cable Internet
ITS Communications Shibuya, Meguro, Setagaya, Shinagawa & Ota wards www.itscom.net/en (English site)
If your building is already wired for internet cable service (most newer buildings are), getting the service is quite easy. You need only contact your local cable company, fill out an application, and wait for installation.
Minato Cable & Shinjuku Cable TV www.cabletv.co.jp/english/ cms/information (English site)
Note: If your building already has this service this process usually takes a few days to one week. • Initial fee to get cable internet ¥5,000 to ¥6,000 • Initial fee to get cable TV and internet ¥5,000 to ¥6,000 • Cable internet package ¥2.980 to ¥6,000 per month • Cable internet and TV package about ¥6.000 to ¥10,000 per month
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1. Contact your provider and ask for an ADSL application form or use an online form. 2. Choose your desired speed and send the application form back online, by fax, or by regular mail. The provider will then send you a password and ID by post. 3. The provider will send you a modem.
For more information: www.jcom.co.jp/english/pricing.html
Shinagawa Cable TV www.cts.ne.jp (Japanese only)
JCOM www.jcom.co.jp/english/ services.html (English site)
How to Apply for ADSL
4. The provider will send you the date that your internet service will start. On that date you simply connect the modem to your PC. Note: this process usually takes about two weeks, depending on the provider. • Initial fee to get ADSL ¥4,000 to ¥7,000 • ADSL Internet package ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 per month
Hikari Fiber Fiber-optic or “Hikari Fiber” as it’s known in Japan, is the current speed king. Having a fiberoptic system installed in your home will require that you contact your building owner, and a hikari provider to see if your area has access to the service. While dial-up, ADSL and cable use existing lines, hikari fiber is a relatively new system, and one that has not been implemented widely. The fiber-optic network for this service is provided by TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company). One great benefit of using hikari fiber is that your line will nearly always be stable. You can expect consistent transfer times, and incredibly fast loading times of up to 100mb/s on the internet.
CARS How to Apply for Hikari-Fiber Basically the setup process is very similar to ADSL and cable, but you will need to check with your building management and a provider first to see if this service is available in your building. Note: Many of the newest buildings in central Tokyo already have this network and service available, so getting setup is quite easy. If your building already has this service, this process usually takes between one week to one month to have installed. • Initial fee to get hikari fiber approximately ¥800 to ¥3,000 • Hikari fiber internet package about ¥3,000 to ¥5,000 per month • Hikari-Fiber internet and TV package about ¥7,000 to ¥10,000 per month
PHONE There are basically two types of telephone line services in Japan. One is a standard traditional analog phone line service and the other is IP phone service.
ANALOG PHONE LINE Japan’s fixed line system traditionally required the purchase of a phone line (technically speaking a “right” to install a phone). This non-refundable right is, however, transferable for a small fee and trades at a significant discount through brokers or agents. As such, few people will actually purchase it directly from NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone), which charges significantly for the new line or right. You also have the option of buying a line directly from a broker or at an online auction or renting a line from NTT for ¥800 per month on top of your regular phone bill.
IP Phone Another option which has become quite popular is to have an IP phone account set up with your internet provider or NTT. This service allows for calls to be made through the internet using a regular house phone. The calls are routed through an IP phone capable modem instead of using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). In the case of NTT’s Flet’s Hikari
optical fiber service, you can expect the same type of phone numbers (such as 03-XXXX-XXXX), a lower monthly fee, and a lower calling rate compared to standard analog phone service. NTT Analog Telephone Service Required Fees (For Individual Application) • NTT activation fee ¥2,940 to ¥15,750 • NTT monthly fee ¥2,940 Note: • It takes approximately seven days to activate after your application. • NTT installation fee will be ¥2,800 if there is no need to visit your residence for activation. • Calling fees will be charged separately. • Prices shown above are including tax. NTT IP Telephone Service (Hikari Denwa) Required Fees (If using Flet’s Hikari Apartment Type) • NTT activation fee is free if you activate at the same time as Flet’s Hikari service, ¥1,050 if you activate independently • NTT monthly fee ¥997 (including IP phone router rental cost) Note: • It takes approximately seven days to activate after your application. • You will need to have Flet’s Hikari optical fiber service in order to use this service. • Calling fees will be charged separately. • With this service, you cannot make calls to prefix numbers starting from “00”. • If you have a security system or built-in phone system, please check the compatibility in advance. • Prices shown above include tax,
DRIVING IN JAPAN Driving in Japan can be difficult for foreigners who are used to driving on the other side of the road or following different rules. In Japan, driving is the same as Australia, Britain, and some other European countries. Drivers sit on the right side and drive on the left side of the road. Basically, the road signs and rules follow international standards, and fortunately most signs on major roads and highways are in both Japanese and English. Drivers must be at least 18 years of age or older to legally drive in Japan.
DRIVING COSTS Relative to the cost of living, buying a car is not that expensive in Japan. In the homeland of Toyota, Honda and Nissan there are many deals on used and new cars. Owning and maintaining a car is the expensive part due to the mandatory inspections (shaken), insurance every two to three years, automobile taxes, high parking costs in cities, expensive tolls on highways, and the high price of gasoline, (about ¥105/ liter). Getting a driver’s license can also be quite expensive due to the mandatory driver’s education course.
BUYING CARS Due to many local regulations and taxes, buying a car in Japan can be a bit painful. However, you will enjoy the wide selection of Japanese and imported cars. Dealers in Japan normally show only the base price for the car, but the actual “on-theroad” cost will go up as additional mandatory charges are added on top of it. Shaken is the Japanese vehicle inspection system, which is a series of tax payments. The first shaken inspection and payment is valid for three years on new cars, after it must be paid every two years.
Getting a Driver’s License Foreign residents who already have a valid driver’s license from their own country can drive for up to one year in Japan with an international driver’s license. International driving permits must be obtained in your home country, usually through the national Automobile Association before coming to Japan. However, Japan only recognizes international driving permits from countries on the Geneva Convention of 1949. Therefore, international driving permits from some countries, such as France, Germany and Switzerland, are not valid in Japan. Instead, foreign residents with driving permits from these
countries can drive in Japan for up to one year with an official Japanese translation of their driving licenses from their respective embassies or consulates in Japan.
rural Japan and are traveling in groups. To rent and drive a car in Japan you need a Japanese driving license or an international driving permit.
Foreigners who reside in Japan for more than one year and wish to continue to drive in Japan must convert their driver’s license into a Japanese license by getting a translation of their country’s license and or by taking an eye exam, aptitude test and possibly a practical exam.
Some of Japan’s leading car rental companies are Japaren, Mazda Rentacar, Nissan Rentacar, Toyota Rentalease, Nippon Rentacar and Orix Rentacar. They operate hundreds of outlets across Japan, offering cars in all sizes and, in some cases, large vans, buses and RVs. Note: Most Japanese car rental companies do not provide English websites or service in English.
Residents from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, France or other European countries are exempt from the tests and can change their driver’s license easily. Residents from the US or some other countries have to take a written and practical driving exam to change their license into a Japanese one.
TYPICAL COSTS FOR RENTING CARS
For more information about Japanese driver’s licenses see www.japandriverslicense.com.
NECESSARY DOCUMENTS & FEES 1. Alien registration card 2. One 3 x 2.4cm photo 3. Passport 4. Valid driver’s license from your home country 5. Japanese translation of your original license from the Japan Automobile Federation. For this you will need a photocopy of the front and back of your driver’s license and, in the case of most countries, your alien registration card. The translation costs ¥3,000 and can be done at the JAF or by post. 6. Fee of ¥4,150 For more information: www.jaf.or.jp/e/membership_s.htm JAF is an organization that provides 24-hour road service throughout the year. If your car breaks down or you lock your keys inside, you can easily contact JAF for help. The JAF annual membership fee is about ¥4,000. JAF Regional Headquarters 2-2-17 Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-6833-9000 To download the application form and get more information, see www.jaf.or.jp/e/switch.htm. The book “Rules of the Road” is an easy to read English translation of the actual rules of the road in Japan prepared by the National Public Safety Commission. It is available from JAF offices for about ¥1,000.
RENTING A CAR IN JAPAN Renting a car is usually an economical option, especially if you are planning to explore
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• Small or compact cars: about ¥6,000/day • Mid-sized cars: about ¥10,000/day • Full-sized cars: about ¥15,000/day • Prices include a mandatory insurance fee. • Rates are usually higher during peak seasons. Tocoo Club is a recommended budget car rental service that offers online discounts and has service in English. For more information: www2.tocoo.jp/english
TOLLS & ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) One of the major expenses about driving in Japan is the highway tolls. Even the Metropolitan Expressways from Tokyo to the neighboring suburbs are toll-roads costing about ¥700. Tolls must be paid in cash, highway ticket or coupon at the time of entry or departure from the expressway. There is also an ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) system in place at most tolls, which has reduced congestion in these areas. The system requires the driver to have an ETC compatible credit card and a wireless transmitter. The table to the right shows distances and approximate costs for a regular vehicle between selected major cities. Rates are lower for light vehicles and motorcycles, while rates are higher for trucks, buses and trailers.
HIGHWAYS A highway network of over 7,000 kilometers covers Japan’s four main islands and Okinawa. Foreign visitors should find it relatively easy to use Japanese highways, since all the important signs are written in both Japanese and English. The speed limit for passenger cars is usually 100 km/h.
AIRPORTS IN TOKYO There are two airports serving the greater Tokyo area. Haneda Airport (HND), formally known as Tokyo International Airport, is by far Japan’s busiest airport handling most of the Tokyo’s domestic flights. It has three terminals, and is located about 30 minutes south of central Tokyo. Narita Airport (NRT), once known as New Tokyo International Airport, is a major international gateway and handles almost all of the international flights for the capital city. It has two terminals and is located in the city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture, about 60 km northwest of Tokyo.
INTERNATIONAL & DOMESTIC AIRFARE Fortunately, international flights to and from Japan have been getting cheaper in recent years due to increasing competition between airlines. However, to avoid the crowds and the most expensive ticket fares you should try to fly outside the peak seasons, which include Christmas and New Years, Golden Week (the end of April beginning of May), and the summer holidays of July and August (especially during the Japanese Obon holiday in mid to late August). Similarly flights within Japan have been getting cheaper and cheaper (if you fly outside the peak seasons). In some cases, flying is now a cheaper option than taking the Shinkansen (bullet train).
GETTING TO AND FROM NARITA AIRPORT Perhaps most comfortable and convenient way to get to and from Tokyo Station is the JR Narita Express (NEX) – there are departures every 30 to 60 minutes and it takes approximately one hour. NEX‘s newest cars have electronic displays showing train stops and flight information in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. All seats are also equipped with electrical outlets and wireless Internet connections, (UQ Wi-Fi or BB Mobile Point subscription required) For more information: www.jreast.co.jp/nex/car/index.html
TRAIN Access to Narita Airport All seats are reserved and the one-way fare between Narita Airport and Tokyo Station costs about ¥3,200. For more information: www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/ The JR Sobu Line, (Rapid Service), is a bit slower but cheaper alternative to the Narita Express – it takes about 90 minutes from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station and costs ¥1,280 for the one way journey. Departures are usually about one per hour. In July 2010, Keisei Railway started a new train service called ‘Narita Sky Access’ which is now the fastest way to get to and from Narita. The new ‘Narita Sky Access’ makes the trip from Narita to Nippori (north of Tokyo station) in just 36 minutes and costs about ¥2,400. Departures are usually every 20 to 30 minutes. For more information: www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/ Limousine buses to Tokyo Station or Shinjuku depart Narita Airport every 15 to 20 minutes. The one-way journey takes about 80 to 100 minutes and costs about ¥3,000. In many cases buses connect to or pickup passengers at major hotels. Considering all the other much cheaper, faster, and more convenient ways to get to and from the airport, taking a taxi is not a viable option. Depending on traffic, it could take up to two hours and cost as much as ¥15,000 or more.
Japan’s railway system includes the Japan Railway (JR) nationwide network, some private railways, and the subways in major urban areas.
SHINKANSEN (BULLET TRAIN) The Shinkansen is one of the world’s fastest and safest trains and covers the main island of Honshu via all the major cities, (especially Tokyo). The first Shinkansen, over 40 years ago, was the world’s first high speed train running at speeds of about 200km/h. Today, the Shinkansen reaches speeds of over 300km/h and has extended its service to almost all parts of the four major islands of Japan.
THE SHINKANSEN HONSHU DIVISIONS Osaka, (Tokaido line), Aomori (Tohoku line), Yamagata (Yamagata line), Akita (Akita line), Niigata (Joetsu line), Nagano (Nagano Line). The Shinkansen operating on these different networks have a variety of express trains, which stop at different stations and frequencies. The trains operating on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen are of the following three categories: • Nozomi: Nozomi are the fastest trains, which stop only at the most important stations, and reach Osaka from Tokyo in about two and a half hours. The Nozomi is one of the very few trains on the JR network that cannot be used with the Japan Rail Pass. • Hikari: Hikari trains stop a little bit more frequently than Nozomi trains, and need roughly three hours to reach Osaka from Tokyo. On the Sanyo Shinkansen, the Hikari trains are known as “Hikari Railstar”. • Kodama: The slowest category. Kodama trains stop at all stations.
JAPAN RAILWAYS (JR) The Japan Railway group is actually made up of six regional railway companies, (JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR Shikoku, and JR Kyushu), which operate a nationwide network of urban, regional, and interregional train lines, night trains, and bullet trains, (Shinkansen). There are 5 major JR lines in Central Tokyo: Yamanote Line, Keihin Tohoku Line, Chuo/ Sobu Line, Chuo Line, Saikyo/ Rinkai Line Other Railway Companies: Tokyu Railways, Tobu Railways, Seibu Railways, Keio Railways, Odakyu Railways, Keisei Railways, Keikyu Railways.
TOKYO’S SUBWAY SYSTEM Compared to some other major cities, Tokyo’s subway system may be a bit expensive, but it is very highly developed, convenient, and runs with ultimate precision. This makes it one of the best ways to get around, even for newcomers. Tokyo’s subway system is basically operated by the Toei Subway with 4 lines, and Tokyo Metro (formerly known as Eidan Subways), operating 8 lines. Together these two systems service Tokyo with a dense network of subways. The area inside the circular Yamanote line and around Ginza is especially close-knit with one or more train stations never more than 500 meters away.
JR TRAIN LINES IN TOKYO If you planning to tour around Tokyo for a day there are a variety of money-saving tickets and day passes available which are valid for the calendar day that they are purchased. Tokyo Free Kippu (about ¥1,580) - Unlimited use of all Toei and Tokyo Metro subway lines, and JR lines in central Tokyo for one day. Toei and Tokyo Metro One-Day Economy Pass (about ¥1,000) - Unlimited use of all Toei and Tokyo Metro subway lines for one day. Tokyo Metro One-Day Open Ticket (about ¥710) - Unlimited use of all Toei and Tokyo Metro subway lines for one day. This covers only 8 of Tokyo’s 12 lines. Toei One-Day Economy Pass (about ¥700) - Unlimited use of all Toei subway lines, buses, and streetcars for one day. This covers only 4 of Tokyo’s 12 lines Holiday Pass (about ¥2,300) - Unlimited use of all local and rapid JR trains in the greater Tokyo area for one day. This includes Yokohama and Kamakura and can only be used on weekends and public holidays. Prepaid cards don’t include a discount but are quite convenient because you don’t have to buy a ticket every time you take the train. Passnet Cards (about ¥1,000, ¥3,000, ¥5,000) - Prepaid cards purchased at ticket vending machines that can be used on almost all subway and JR trains. The fare is automatically deducted from the card each time it is used. Suica (from ¥500 and up) - Prepaid cards purchased at ticket vending machines that can be used on all JR in the Tokyo area. It uses a sensor which quickly reads your card when going through the ticket gates. The fare is automatically deducted from the card each time it is used and can be recharged again after each time it has been fully used.
BANKING BANKING IN JAPAN
CHECKS & CREDIT CARDS
For the most part Japan is still a cash- based society – most everyday payments are made in cash. However, frequently retail shops or restaurants will accept credit cards, and some may even have debit card readers, which automatically withdraw money from your account. To be safe though, you should always be prepared to pay cash while shopping, and you will need a bank account, which allows frequent withdrawals in convenient locations.
Checks are not used in Japan. The most common service used for large payments is an account-to-account transfer (furikomi). For purchases at shops, however, cash is your only option if you do not have a credit card.
Bank accounts are available for individuals and businesses at Japanese banks or post offices, which are usually open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Everyday bank accounts usually pay interest, but the rates are so low that you may not notice. If you want to use your money to make more money, you may need to move it out of Japan, or at least into an account at a foreign-based bank. Citibank has the largest branch and ATM network of the foreign based banks in Japan, otherwise not many foreign banks currently provide retail banking services. Citibank also allows you to use overseas issued Citibank cards at ATMs in Japan, and use cards issued in Japan overseas to withdraw money in the local currency.
OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT Bank accounts at major banks or the post office are available for individuals and companies, (there are no joint accounts in Japan). Quite often people in Japan have two (or more) accounts, an account at a regular bank and a second account with the post office. The latter arrangement can be useful if you want to access the full range of transfer and payment services offered in the post office system. In order to open an account at a Japanese bank, you will need to present your alien registration Card, (foreigners staying in Japan for more than 90 days must apply for this), and your hanko or inkan, (personal seal or stamp). Your signature will be an adequate substitute for a seal on most occasions, but life in Japan will be smoother if you have one. Personal seals, (inkan; hanko), are stamps bearing your name or the name of your company, and serve the same purpose as a personal signature on official documents. Most people have more than one: a seal for everyday use, and a ‘bank’ seal. Everyday seals are sold in a variety of locations, usually wherever you find pens and other stationery. They are often self-inking and are generally machinemade. ‘Bank’ seals are sold at special seal carvers’ shops,and are always hand carved, (this makes them individually identifiable like personal signatures).
The major credit cards used in Japan are VISA, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express, JACCS, Saison, and JCB. To apply for credit cards in Japan you will need the same information as when you apply for a bank account. Only international ATMs found in post offices, major department stores and airports accept foreign credit and debit cards.
Some Major Japanese & Foreign Banks: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ www.bk.mufg.jp/english/ HSBC www.hsbc.co.jp/1/2/home Citibank www.citibank.co.jp/en/
EVERYDAY BANKING – ATMS You can take care of most of your everyday banking at automatic teller machines (ATM) and cash dispensers (CD). At ATMs one can pay, withdraw, deposit and transfer money (furikomi), while at CDs it is usually only possible to withdraw money. Some ATMs and CDs are unavailable on weekends and during the night, but the number of 24 hour ATMs is increasing. The machines found in convenience stores, for example, are often available around the clock. With a few exceptions, ATMs and CDs function just like bank machines in any country. They usually feature a touch sensitive screen to select the kind of transaction, and input cash amounts and personal information. Above the screen, there are slots to insert your cash card and your bankbook, and a sliding door, which will retract to reveal cash or allow you to insert cash. Some ATMs are in Japanese only, so you may need to ask for help with your first transactions.
OVERSEAS REMITTANCE If you want to send money to a foreign country on a regular basis, there are basically two types of remittance services: Registered Mail - send a Bank Check from your local bank, (¥2,500 to ¥5,000), or Postal Money Order from a post office, (¥1,000 going up in increments of ¥500 according to the amount), via registered mail. Note: Sending money by registered mail is good for small amounts but takes 6 to 14 days.
Mizuho Bank www.mizuhobank.co.jp/english/ Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation www.smbc.co.jp/global/ Shinsei Bank www.shinseibank.com/english/
POST The Japanese postal system was privatized in early 2007, but most of the services offered have remained relatively the same. Most post offices are open between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Large central post offices are also open on the weekends. It is common to find drop-off mailboxes outside some convenience stores.
INTERNATIONAL MAIL Perhaps the best method, and most widely used international parcel service is EMS (Express Postal Tracking). EMS service allows you to track your parcels as you ship them to most countries around the world. Other notable options are as follows:
Electronic Transfer – send your money to an overseas account via telegraphic transfer (TT) from a bank or the Post Office, (¥2,000 to ¥7,000). Note: Sending money electronically is fast, (up to 2 business days), and secure but may be costly depending on the surcharges from overseas intermediary banks. Specialized remittance services are the most efficient way to send money overseas. The cheapest service is offered by Lloyds TSB Bank,
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(¥2,000). Citibank offers commission-free remittances only to account holders who maintain an account balance of over ¥20,000,000; otherwise it’s ¥3,500.
• Express Mail (sokutatsu) - from ¥270 - write “Express” in red ink in the top left corner of your item and it will be sent immediately after reaching the post office. • Priority delivery Registered Mail (kakitome) - from ¥420 (may be insured) - special registered mail cash envelopes (genkin kakitome futo) are available for sending money. • Surface Mail (funabin -sea mail)
DOMESTIC TIPS • SAL (Surface Airlifted) - delivery within two to three weeks. This is cheaper than airmail and faster than surface mail. • Airmail (kokubin) - delivery within three to eight days.
POSTAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS It is possible to set up a Postal Savings account at almost any post office in Japan. Postal savings is a very secure way to save you money. You’ll need you Alien Registration Card and your passport or other accepted Picture ID to open an account. Expect to wait up to two weeks to receive your cash card, which you will then be able to use at any post office and many ATM’s across Japan.
DOMESTIC MAIL The Japanese postal service has several classes of mail. The normal charge for a letter is ¥80, a postcard is ¥50, and a return-paid postcard is ¥100. Here are some of the other domestic mail services: • Letters (tegami) • Standard letters - no thicker than 1cm & between 9 x 14cm and 12 x 23.5cm in size. *under 25 grams - ¥80 *under 50 grams - ¥90 • Non-standard letters - ¥120 for 50 grams or less, and ¥1,350 for a maximum of 4kg. • Mini Letter (yubin shokan) - only thin materials to be included (e.g. piece of paper, photo) ¥60 (maximum 25 grams). • Express Mail (sokutatsu) - from ¥270. • Priority delivery Registered Mail (kakitome) - from ¥420 (may be insured). Special registered mail cash envelopes (genkin kakitome futo) are available for sending money. • Lettax (denshin-yubin) - hand written letters and pictures may be sent by facsimile, ¥580 (first page). Money and flower delivery options are also available. • Parcels from ¥510 - postage varies according to weight of package and destination. • Printed Matter (shoseki kozutsumi) - the cheapest way to send magazines, books and pamphlets within Japan.
Postal Services Information (English): 0570-046-111 Also, the post office publishes a new edition of its English-language Post Office Guide each March. It is available for a charge of ¥200 (plus an additional ¥180 shipping fee if you have it mailed).
The typical wall coverings in Japanese apartments and homes are light colored cloth wallpaper which can be quite easily stained or torn. It is the tenant’s responsibility to keep these coverings clean and to avoid doing anything that may result in holes being made in the walls. Hanging pictures on the walls is certainly permissible if proper precautions are taken. Therefore, do not use screws, nails, or even pins without brackets when hanging pictures on the walls. The use of pin-type hanging brackets is recommended as they leave only pinholes which are hardly noticeable. You can buy pintype hanging brackets at just about any lifestyle or hardware store such as Tokyu Hands.
Unlike the typical apartment in Japan, (¥350,000 – ¥400,000/ month), most expat properties will come with appliances such as a fridge, washer, dryer, dishwasher, phones, phone lines, and air conditioners.
Tokyu Hands Shibuya - located 5 minutes northwest from the Hachiko Square exit of Shibuya Station, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Tel: 03-5489- 5111. Tokyu Hands Shinjuku - located a few minutes from the south exit of Shinjuku JR station in the Takashimaya department store, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.,Tel:03-5361-3111,www.tokyu-hands.co.jp/en.
CARPET DAMAGE The carpets are the most expensive interior item and should be looked after with care to avoid damage or staining. Try to avoid putting any plants on carpeted floors as the bottom may get moldy even if in a waterproof vase. If you have a plant on the floor you should move it frequently, especially in the summer.
PLACEMENT OF FURNITURE When moving in and carrying furniture, all pieces should be wrapped in blankets, or cardboard in order not to damage the walls or floors. Your moving company will have to contact your new building management in order to arrange for the move-in and follow any special conditions during the move. To prevent mold it is a good idea to keep the area directly behind furniture ventilated by placing furniture at least 5 centimeters away from the walls.
The filters of some of these appliances should be regularly cleaned as follows: Range-hoods, Air Conditioners, Washing Machines – every 2 weeks to once a month Dryers – filters should be cleaned at least after every 3 times being used
A WORD ABOUT TRASH As in many countries, the rules regarding what to do with trash in Japan are quite particular. Basically, all trash needs to be separated into 3 types and either placed in the appropriate building trash bins, (in the case of apartments), or put out at the curb on the proper collection day, (for more information about trash collection schedules contact your building manager or local city ward office). Trash should be separated and treated as follows: Burnable Trash - (paper, biodegradables, organic materials and things that are easily and safely burnable). Burnable trash should be relatively dry, put into semi-transparent garbage bags, and placed in the “burnable garbage bins” in your apartment building or at the curb in a designated area on the proper “non-burnable trash” collection day, (usually 2 days a week). Non-burnable Trash - (glass, china, vinyl, plastics, and metal) Non- burnable trash should be treated the same as burnable trash except placed in the “non-burnable garbage bins” or put out on the proper “non-burnable trash” collection day, (usually 1 day a week). Recyclables - (cans, paper cartons, plastic bottles and containers, small bundles of newspaper or cardboard) Recyclables need to be sorted and separated, and either placed in the designated recycle bins or put out at the on the proper “recyclables” collection day, (usually 1 day a week). For information concerning large oversized trash such as furniture, heavy garbage, and large quantities of newspapers contact your building manager or local city ward office.
CLINICS & HOSPITALS
Shinjuku Mitsui Bldg Clinic 2-1-1, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3344-3311
International Catholic Hospital (Seibo Byooin) 2-5-1 Naka-Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3951-1111
Takeshita Clinic 2-14-22, Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3200-1281
Kato Ladies Clinic 7-20-3 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3366-3777
The King Clinic 6-31-21 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3409-0764
Saiseikai Central Hospital 1-4-17, Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3451-8211
Toho Women’s Clinic 5-3-10, Kiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo 03-3630-0303 Akasaka International Clinic Akasaka Tanaka Bldg. 6F 3-16-11 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-5570-2288 Akasaka Sekiguchi Clinic International OAG-Haus (German Cultural Center) 406 7-5-56 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3584-1727 Azabu Otolaryngology Clinic Azabu-Yano Bldg. 2F 4-13-5 MinamiAzabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3448-0248
Tokyo Women’s Clinic 2F, Roppongi Denki Building, 6-1-20, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3408-6950 Tokyo British Clinic Daikanyama Y Bldg. 2F 2-13-7 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-5458-6099 Tokyo Maternity Clinic 1-20-8 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3403-1861
Endo Clinic 305 Meguro Nishiguchi Mansion 24-13 Kamioosaki 2-Chome, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 03-3492-6422
Tokyo Medical & Surgical Clinic 32 Mori Bldg. 2F 3-4-30 Shiba-koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3436-3028
Fertility Clinic Tokyo (Odawara Women’s Clinic) 2-11-16 Ebisu-nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3477-0369
Helios Acupuncture Clinic Rm.1003, Calm Nogizaka Bldg. 6-27, Akasaka 9-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3403-3272
Hibiya Clinic Toho Twin Tower B3, 1-5-2, Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-3502-2681
Hirano Kameido Himawari Clinic 2F Z Bldg., 7-10-1 Kameido, Koto-ku, Tokyo 03-5609-1823
International Clinic 1-5-9 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-3583-7831 Imperial Clinic 4/F, Imperial Hotel 1-1-1, Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-3503-8681
HOSPITALS Aiiku Hospital 5-6-8 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3473-8321
Kaijo Clinic Tokyo Kaijo Building Shinkan 3F, 1-2-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-3212-7690
Hiroo Metropolitan Hospital 2-34-10 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3444-1181
Kamiyacho Clinic Tokyu Reit Toranomon Buiding 1F, 3-17-1, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3433-0343
International Catholic Hospital 2-5-1 Naka Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3951-1111
Kanda Second Clinic 3-20-14 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3402-0654
Inoue Eye Hospital 19F. 20F 4-3, Surugadai, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-3295-0190
Mizumachi Clinic Shinjuku Daiichi Seimei Building 3F, 2-7-1, NishiShinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3348-2181
Japan Red Cross Medical Center 4-1-22 Hiroo Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 03-3400-1311
Nozaki Eye Clinic Kasuya Building, 2-9, Sakuragaoka, Shibuya-ku,Tokyo 03-3461-1671 National Medical Clinic #202 5-16-11 Minami Azabu Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3473-2057 Odawara Women’s Clinic 2-11-16, Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3477-0369 Sakakibara Kinen Clinic 4F,Shinjuku NS Building, 2-4-1, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3344-4817 82 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
Nihon University Surugadai Hospital 1-8-13 Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-3293-1711 NTT Kantoo Teishin Hospital 5-9-22 Higashi Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 03-3448-6111 Keio University Hospital 35 Shinanomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3353-1211 Endo Clinic 305 Meguro Nishiguchi Mansion 24-13 Kamioosaki 2-Chome, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 03-3492-6422
Shiseikai Daini Hospital 5-19-1, Kami-Soshigaya, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 03-3300-0366 Sanno Hospital 8-10-16 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3402-3151 Seibo International Catholic Hospital 2-5-1 Naka Ochiai, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3951-1111 St Luke’s International Hospital 9-1 Akashi-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 03-3541-5151 Tokyo Adventist Hospital 3-17-3 Amanuma, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 03-3392-6151 Tokyo Teishin Hospital 2-14-23 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-5214-7381 Tokai University School of Medicine Tokyo Hospital 1-2-5, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3370-2321
CHIROPRACTIC Akasaka Chiropractic 2F 1-3-18 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-5561-0531
PHYSIOTHERAPY V & B Colless #104 Atrium Shirokane 2002, 5-12-27 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3443-6769
PHARMACIES American Pharmacy - Marunouchi Marunouchi Bldg. B1F 2-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 03-5220-7716 American Pharmacy - Tachikawa Granduo 1F 3-2-1 Shibazakicho, Tachikawa-shi, Tokyo 042-540-2158 National Azabu - Supermarket Pharmacy 4-5-2 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3442-3181 The Medical Dispensary 32 Mori Bldg. 3-4-30 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3434-5817
FITNESS CLUBS TOKYO Chiyoda-ku Konami Sports Club Grancise Otemachi 25-27F Otemachi Nomura Bldg., 2-1-1, Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo - 03-3516-2771 Work Out World Akasaka Prudential Tower 2F., 2-13-10, Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo - 03-5510-4001
Riviera Sports Club Minami Aoyama 3-3-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-5474-8000
Konami Sports Club Shibuya 18-11, Shinsen-cho, Shibuya-ku, 03-5489-3621
Roppongi Hills Spa 6-12-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-6406-6550 http://www.hillsspa.com/
Megalos Ebisu 2-4-4, Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-5773-5100
Spa Shirokane 1-1-18 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-3444-5811
R-Body Project ASAX Hiroo Bldg., 2F., 1-3-14, Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 03-5447-1122 www.r-body.com
The Premier Club Shiroyama Trust Tower 3F, 4-3-1, Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-5472-0055
Tipness Shibuya 16-4, Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-3770-3531
Tipness Roppongi Piramide Bldg. B1F, 6-6-9, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-5474-3531
Tokyu Sports Oasis Aoyama B2F Tepia Bldg., 2-8-44, Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-5770-6109
Tokyu Sports Oasis Seiroka Garden B2 St. Lukes Tower 8, Akashi-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 03-3545-0109
TOTAL Workout Roppongi Hills Metro Hat / Hollywood Plaza B2F, 6-4-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-5414-1102 - www.totalworkout.jp/english/
Central Fitness Club Jiyugaoka 1-14-17 Nakane, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 03-5729-0550
Central Sports Heisei Bldg.,3F, 2-41-11, Yoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo - 03-3700-6116
Konami Sports Club Meguro Aobadai 2F Meguro-Aobadai Bldg. 2-19-10, Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo - 03-5773-1926
Renaissance Sangenjaya 2-2-16, Sangenjaya, Setagaya-ku, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo - 03-5481-8500
Libertyhill Club 3-26-6, Yakumo, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 03-5731-5731
The Sports Connection 4-15-30, Seta, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 03-3707-8211
The Club at Yebisu Garden Yebisu Garden Place 1-13-2, Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo - 03-5424-1211
Tipness Shimokitazawa 2-5-2, Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 03-3487-3531
Central Fitness Club Shimokitazawa 1-46-5, Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 03-5738-5420
Ark Hills Spa Ark Towers West 1-3-40, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-5573-2830 http://www.hillsspa.com/
Konami Sports Club Shimokitazawa 5-20-3, Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo - 03-5486-9821
Central Fitness Club Minami-Aoyama B1-B2F, 6-1-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 03-5468-1191 Esforta Akasaka B1F Akasaka DS Bldg. 8-5-26, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 0120-870-496 Esforta Fitness Club Roppongi Izumi Garden Terrace 2F 1-6-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 0120-870-497 Green Hills Spa Atago Forest Tower 42F 2-3-1, Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-6402-1900 http://www.hillsspa.com/ Motoazabu Hills Spa Forest Terrace East 1-3-2, Motoazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo - 03-3769-6201 http://www.hillsspa.com/
Shibuya-ku BODY by VITAL ola BC SALON 4F, 1-14-11, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 03-6418-0064 Esforta Fitness Club Shibuya B1F Shibuya Infos Tower, 20-1, Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 0120-870-493 Gold’s Gym Cocoti 9F•10F•11F, 1-23-16, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 03-5464-7373 Ichigeki Fitness Club 2-16-9 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 03-5766-5773
Jexer Sports 7F Atre Oimachi, 1-2-1, Oimachi, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 03-3772-5014 Lafore Tokyo Fitness Salon 4-7-36, Kita-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 03-5488-3911 www.laforethotels.com/tokyo/ tokyo/futai_conteng.html Central Fitness Club Tenouzu 24-26F Sfia Tower, 2-2-8, Higashi-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 03-5462-2355 Tipness Gotanda 2-3-3, Higashi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 03-3441-3531
Shinjuku-ku Esforta Fitness Club Ichigaya 1F Sumitomo Ichigaya Bldg., 1-1 IchigayaHonmuracho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 0120-870-494 Jexer Fitness Club Yotsuya Sotobori Park, 1, Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3355-2415 Tipness Shinjuku 7-1, Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 03-3368-3531
YOGA CLASSES Be Yoga 4F ORE Hiroo, 5-10-26 Minamiazabu, Minato-ku. Tokyo - 03-6277-0177 www.beyogajapan.com Sun & Moon Yoga Higashi Guchi Bldg., Kami Osaki 3-1-5, Suite 204, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo - 03-3280-6383 http://sunandmoon.jp/top/ Yoga Room Purusha F Iijima Bldg 3-18-7 Gohongi, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 080-3121-7883 Yogajaya 2F, 1-25-11, Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 03-5784-3622 www.yogajaya.com/
Konami Sports Club Aoyama 4F Oval Bldg. 5-52-2, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - 03-5766-0852 83
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS IN TOKYO & YOKOHAMA
Chiyoda-ku Lycee Franco-Japonais (Fujimi) Kindergarten - 5 eme 5-57-37 Takinogawa Kita-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-6823-6580 Fax: 03-3262-6780 URL: www.lfjtokyo.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Accreditations: French Curriculum
Edogawa-ku Global Indian International School Japan Kindergarten - Grade 12 3-20-6, Minami-Shinozakicho, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5636-9151 Fax: 03-5636-9158 URL: http://www.globalindianschool.org Email: admissions.tokyo@ globalindianschool.org Annual Schedule: July to March Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed
Itabashi-ku New Hope International Preschool Ages 3 - 5 years 5-1-2, Narimasu, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5383-0421 Fax: 03-6915-6767 URL: www.newhopeclc.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Mr. Jeremy Seminoff
Koto-ku K. International School Tokyo Pre-Kindergarten - Grade 12 1-5-15, Shirakawa, Koto-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3642-9993 Fax: 03-3642-9994 URL: www.kist.ed.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mr. Craig Larsen Annual Schedule: August/September - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Accreditations: IB World School International Baccalaureate (PYP, MYP, DP) Tokyo YMCA International School Kindergarten - Grade 6 2-2-20, Toyo, Koto-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3615-5632 Fax: 03-5635-1023 URL: http://tokyo.ymca.or.jp/tyis/ Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Marsha Nishikawa Annual Schedule: August - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Chateau des Bambini (Nishi-Azabu) Ages 1 - 6 years 1-5-9, Moto-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel:03-5419-1888 Fax: 03-5771-3669 URL: www.montessori-rainbow.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Evangeline Kahai International Secondary School Ages 6 - 13 years 4-17-26, Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5730-1331 Fax: 03-5730-1332 URL: www.isstokyo.com Email: email@example.com Admissions: Mr. Shawn Hutchinson Annual Schedule: August - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Accreditations: Associated School of Laurel Springs School(WASC), University of Nebraska-Lincoln Independent study H
2-2-1 Shoto, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5738-6556 Fax: 03-3481-8300 URL: www.aobaonline.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Gregg International School (Tokyo) Ages 18 months - 11 years 1-14-6, Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3725-8000 Fax: 03-5701-2554 URL: www.gis-j.com Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Reiko Matsuzawa Annual Schedule: August - June Montessori Friends International School Ages 18 months - 6 years 3-8-8, Midorigaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3726-9386 Fax: 03-3726-9386 URL: www.montessorifriends.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Jeanne Shimazaki
Minato-ku ai International Preschool Ages 18 months - 6 years 5-4-1-3F, Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3769-3372 Fax: 03-3456-0488 URL: www.aiinternationalschool.com/ Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Eri Ohashi ABC International School (Hiroo Campus) Ages 15 months - 5 years Katsu Court #101, 2-7-25, MotoAzabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5793-1359 Fax: 03-5793-1359 URL: www.abcinternationalschool.com Email: ABCintl@gol.com Admissions: Ms. Elizabeth Minahan Azabu International School Ages 15 months - 5 years City Azabu Rm.302, 3-10-12, Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3451-8477 Fax: 03-3451-8476 URL: www.azabuis.com/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mr. Keith Jacobsen
Ayla International School Ages 18 months - 6 years 102 Shirokanedai Heights, 5-13-28 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku,Tokyo Tel: 03-3448-2585 Fax: 03-3448-2585 URL: http://aylais.com/ Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Puteri Zailan
Aoba-Japan International School (Pre School) Kindergarten - K1-K4
American School in Japan Early Learning Center
84 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
Nursery - Kindergarten 6-16-5, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5771-4344 Fax: 03-5771-4341 URL: http://community.asij.ac.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Judy Beneventi
K Space Ages 16 months - 5 years 5-13-39, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5421-4186 URL: www.kspace.to Email: Juliet@kspace.to Admissions: Ms. Juliet Rogove The Montessori School of Tokyo Ages 2years 8months - 12 years 3-5-13, Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5449-7067 Fax: 03-5449-0087 URL: www.montessorijapan.com Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Ushiki PAL International School Ages 6 months - 6 years 3-8-18, Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5770-8166 Fax: 03-5770-8167 URL: www.pal-school.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mrs. Ayako Kim Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed RLC Playgroup / Preschool Ages 18 months - 4.5 years Roppongi Lutheran Church 3F, 6-1644, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 080-2393-7788 Fax: 03-5545-5335 URL: www.rlcpreschool.com Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Aliy Lickfold Summerhill International School Ages 15 months - 5.5 years 2-13-8, Motoazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3453-0811 Fax: 03-3453-0820 URL: www.summerhill.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Monique Keller St. Alban’s Nursery Ages 3 - 5 years 3-6-25, Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3431-8534 Fax: 03-5472-4766 URL: www.saintalbans.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Mrs. Gilma Yamamoto Tokyo International School Pre-4 - Grade 8, Co-ed 3-4-22, Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5484-1160 Fax: 03-5484-1139 URL: www.tokyois.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Aya Suzuki & Ms. Cathy Marti Annual Schedule: August - June Accreditations: Candidate for IB authorization, accredited with NEASC and ECIS
Willowbrook International School Ages 15 months - 5 years 2-14-28, Moto-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3449-9030 Fax: 03-3449-9064 URL: www.willowbrookschool.com Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Hiromi Ishikawa Mitsui Gardens International Preschool Ages 18 months - 5 years 2-1-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3224-6796 Fax: 03-3224-6796 URL: http://mitsuigardenspreschool.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Pam Wasilewski J’s International School Ages 1.5 - 6 years 2-12-14, Motoazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3452-2078 Fax: 03-3452-2092 URL: www.js-international-school.com Email: email@example.com Admissions: Mrs. Yang
Setagaya-ku Tamagawa International Preschool 1.5 - 5 years 1-17-5, Tsurumaki, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3439-8685 URL: http://tips-japan.com/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org American World International Pre-school and Kindergarten Pre-school - Kindergarten 4-30-5, Kaminoge, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 408-656-7959 Fax: 03-5758-3858 URL: www.americanworld.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Bobbie Buntin British School in Tokyo Showa Year 4-13 1-7-57, Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3411-4211 Fax: 03-3411-4212 URL: www.bst.ac.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Lowly Norgate Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Grace International Learning Center Ages 18 months - 6 years 2-13-11, Seta, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5716-3100 Fax: 03-5716-3100 URL: www.grace-learning.com Email: admin@GILC@gmail.com Admissions: Ms. Cheryl Ann Cabusora Komazawa Park International School Ages 18 months - 6 years 2-12-16, Fukazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5707-0979 Fax: 03-5707-3970 URL: http://kpischool.com Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Itsuko Takeuchi Keiki Intercultural Preschool Ages 3 - 6 years 4-5-8, Nakamachi, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3703-8778 Fax: 03-3703-8778 URL: www.keikipreschool.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mr. JeongLa Dumas PTC Pacific International School Ages 2yr 6mths - 6 years 5-11-5, Shimouma, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5481-9425 Fax: 03-5481-9425 URL: www.ptc-school.net/ Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Yoko Takatsuka Seta International Preschool Ages 18 months - 6 years 2-19-21, Seta, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5717-6769 Fax: 03-5717-6769 URL: www.seta-inter.com
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Masako Misumi Accreditations: Well-balanced curriculum with Montessori and manipulatives. St. Mary’s International School Kindergarten - Grade 12 1-6-19, Seta, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3709-3411 Fax: 03-3707-1950 URL: www.smis.ac.jp Email: Admissions:@smis.ac.jp Admissions: Mrs. Bedos T. Santos Annual Schedule: August - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Boys Accreditations: Western Association of Secondary Colleges, the European Council of International Schools Seisen International School Kindergarten - Grade 12 1-12-15, Yoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3704-2661 Fax: 03-3701-1033 URL: www.seisen.com Email: sisAdmissions:@seisen.com Admissions: Ms. Ninnette Trout Annual Schedule: August - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Girls Accreditations: New England Assoc. of Schools and Colleges, European Council of International Schools. Seisen International School (Kindergarten) Ages 3 - 6 years 12-15, Yoga 1-chome, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3704-2661 Fax: 03-3701-1033 URL: www.seisen.com Email: sisAdmissions:@seisen.com Admissions: Ms. Ninnette Trout Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed
Shibuya-ku British School in Tokyo (Shibuya Campus) Nursery - Year 3 1-21-18, Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5467-4321 Fax: 03-5467-4322 URL: www.bst.ac.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Lowly Norgate Annual Schedule: September - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Accreditations: British curriculum International School of the Sacred Heart (ISSH) K - Grade 12 4-3-1, Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3400-3951 Fax: 03-3400-3496 URL: www.issh.ac.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Hisaoka (5-12) Annual Schedule: Late August - Early June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Girls Accreditations: US Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the European Council of International Schools. International School of the Sacred Heart ( Kindergarten ) Ages 3 - 5 years 4-3-1, Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3400-3951 Fax: 03-3400-3496 URL: www.issh.ac.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Kawaguchi Annual Schedule: Late August - Early June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Poppins International Pre-school Ages 1 - 3 years Yebisu Garden Terrace Nibankan 1F., 4-20-2, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5791-2105 Fax: 03-5791-2106 URL: www.poppins.co.jp/pips/index.html Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Camille James St. Marian Nursery School Ages 46 days - 6 years 1-16-12, Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 0120-415-212
Fax: 03-3461-1021 URL: www.st-marian.co.jp Email: email@example.com Sesame International Preschool Ages 18 months - 6 years 1-5-14, Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5485-1197 Fax: 03-5485-1219 URL: http://sesame.jap.co.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Sachiko Nagasawa Yoyogi International School Ages 18 months - 6 years 1-15-12, Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5478-6714 Fax: 03-5478-6713 URL: www.yoyogiinternationalschool.com Email: info@ yoyogiinternationalschool.com Admissions: Ms. Yuko Muir Maria’s Babies’ Society Ages 18 months - 6 years Tomy’s House #101, 3-36-20, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3404-3468 Fax: 03-3404-3625 URL: www.mariasbabies.co.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Maria Matsuoka Jingumae International Exchange School Ages 3 - Grade 6 4-20-12, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5413-6090 Fax: 03-5413-2020 URL: www.jies.jp/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Keiko Mikawa Annual Schedule: September - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Saint Annie’s International Kindergarten K1-Pre3, Co-ed Kishi bldg. 2F, 1-5-3 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-6407-9221 Fax: 03-6407-9221 URL: http://saintannie.net/ Email: email@example.com Annual Schedule: September - June
Shinagawa-ku KAIS International School Grade 6 - 12 2-7-16 Kami-Osaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5421-0127 Fax: 03-5421-0127 URL: www.kaischool.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Misako Horikawa Annual Schedule: September - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed
Shinjuku-ku Au Pays des Sakuras Ages 2 - 6 years Koyo biru 2F 1-6-3 Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Tel: 090-8344-0270 URL: www.aupaysdessakuras.com Admissions: Ms. Celine Guillery Accreditations: French Kindergarten
Suginami-ku Aoba-Japan International School (Suginami Campus) Kindergarten - Grade 9 2-10-7, Miyamae, Suginami-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3335-6620 Fax: 03-3332-6930 URL: www.aobaonline.jp/ Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Lee Annual Schedule: September - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Accreditations: Complete English curriculum; integrated Japanese language program Busy Bees International School Ages 3 - 6 years 1-19-14 B1, Izumi, Suginami-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6413-1901 Fax: 03-6413-1901 URL: www.busybees-school. com/en/index.html Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mr. Willie Hines Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed
Taito-ku Lycee Franco-Japonais (Ryuhoku) 6 eme - Terminale 5-57-37, Takinogawa, Kita-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-36823-6580 URL: www.lfjtokyo.org/ Email: email@example.com Accreditations: French Curriculum
Toshima-ku New International School Preschool Age 3 - Grade 9 3-18-32, Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-3980-1057 Fax: 03-3980-1154 URL: http://newis.ed.jp/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mr. Steven Parr Annual Schedule: September - June Co-ed/Boys/Girls: Co-ed
Others American School in Japan Nursery - Grade 12 1-1-1, Nomizu, Chofu-City, Tokyo Tel: 0422-34-5300 Fax: 0422-34-5303 URL: http://community.asij.ac.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Mary Margaret Mallat Annual Schedule: August - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Christian Academy in Japan Kindergarten - Grade 12 2-14, Shinkawacho 1-chome, Higashi-Kurume City, Tokyo Tel: 0424-71-0022 Fax: 0424-76-2200 URL: http://caj.or.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mrs. Carolyn Eddams Annual Schedule: September - June Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Christian school. Columbia International School 1-5-3 Matsugo Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture 359-0027, Japan Tel: 04-2946-1911 Fax: 04-2946-1955 URL: http://www.columbia-ca.co.jp Email: email@example.com Tokyo International Learning Community (TILC) For children with learning difficulties 2-51-7, Tama-cho, Fuchushi, Tokyo 183-0002 Tel: 042-401-0585 Fax: 042-401-0588 URL: www.isbi.com/index.asp Admissions: Mr. Dennis Mckibben German School, The Ages 6 - 18 years 2-4-1, Chigasaki-Minami, Tsuzuki-ku, Yokohama-City, Kanagawa-Pref. Tel: 045-941-4841 Fax: 045-941-4481 URL: www.dsty.ac.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Petra Wels Annual Schedule: September - June Accreditations: Gernman curriculum, German Baccalaureate Horizon Japan International School (Yokohama) Ages 3 - Grade 9 1-33-6, Higashi-Terao, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama-City, Kanagawa-Pref. Tel: 045-584-1948 Fax: 045-584-1947
URL: http://www.horizon.ac.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Yumiko Ozeki Annual Schedule: September - June Saint Maur International School Ages 2.5 years - Grade 12 83, Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, YokohamaCity, Kanagawa-Pref. Tel: 045-641-5751 Fax: 045-641-6688 URL: www.stmaur.ac.jp Email: Admissions:@stmaur.ac.jp Annual Schedule: August - June Co-ed/Boys/Gils: Co-ed Tree House Montessori School Ages 18 months - 6 years 16-5, Honmoku-Makado, Naka-ku, Yokohama-City Tel: 045-622-5804 Fax: 045-622-2803 URL: www.tms-school.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Ms. Jenny Vyvial Annual Schedule: 16-5, Honmoku, Makado, Naka-ku, Yokohama-City Yokohama Overseas Chinese School Pre-school - Grade 12 142, Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-City, Kanagawa-Pref. Tel: 045-681-3608 Fax: 045-671-1070 URL: www.yocs.jp/ Email: email@example.com Yokohama Yamate Chinese School Pre-School - Grade 9 2-66 Yoshihamacho, Nakaku, Yokohama-City, Kanagawa-Pref. Tel: 045-641-0393 Fax: 045-641-3776 URL: www.yokohamayamatechineseschool.ed.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Yokohama International School Ages 3 - Grade 12 258, Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-City, Kanagawa-Pref. Tel: 045-622-0084 Fax: 045-621-0379 URL: www.yis.ac.jp Email: email@example.com Admissions: Ms. Susan Chen Annual Schedule: August - June Yokohama Union Church International Preschool Ages 2 - 4 years 66-2, Yamate-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-City, Kanagawa-Pref. Tel: 045-651-5177 Fax: 045-651-5191 URL: http://preschool. yokohamaunionchurch.org Email: preschool@ yokohamaunionchurch.org Admissions: Ms. Linda Schmidt Makuhari International School Kindergarten - Grade 6 3-2-9, Wakaba, Mihama-ku, Chiba City, Chiba Pref. Tel: 043-296-0277 Fax: 043-296-0186 URL: http://mis.ed.jp Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Admissions: Mr. Paul Rogers Annual Schedule: April - March
Saitama-ken Columbia International School 153 Matsugo Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-0027 Tel: 04-2946-1911 Fax: 04-2946-1955 URL: www.columbia-ca.co.jp Email: email@example.com Contact: Christopher Holland
IMMIGRATION ALIEN REGISTRATION & RE-ENTRY IMMIGRATION INFORMATION CENTER PERMITS DISCONTINUED Alien registration used to be required for all foreign residents over the age of 16 who were staying in Japan over 90 days and necessary when applying for almost any social service - mobile phones, bank accounts, apartment rentals, health care. or driver’s licenses. As of July 9, 2012, the Japanese government passed a law and replaced the Alien Registration system with the Foreign Residents’ Registration system. From July 10, 2012, Alien Registration cards were discontinued and replaced with Resident’s ID Cards. Where foreign residents used to apply for Alien Registration cards at their local municipal offices (or Ward offices) they now need to apply at Regional Immigration Bureaus for Residents’ ID Cards.
NEW FOREIGN RESIDENTS’ REGISTRATION SYSTEM & ID CARD The new Foreign Residents’ Registration system sees non-Japanese residents recorded alongside Japanese residents in the Juminhyo system, (a registry of current residential addresses maintained by local governments in Japan). Current Alien Registration cards will be replaced with Residents’ ID Cards the next time foreign residents apply for a visa extension (or when they apply to change their Status of Residence, if they do this at an earlier date). Alien Registration cards will become invalid on 8 July, 2015, or when the resident’s current visa expires, whichever comes first. It appears that anyone issued with a visa valid for more than three months, or anyone who stays for more than three months, will require a Resident’s ID Card. With the new ID, the maximum length of a visa (other than visas such as permanent residents or special long-term residents) for foreign residents was extended from three to five years, and a reentry permit won’t be required for overseas trips of up to one year (but of course not such that the visa expires while one is out of the country).[ Visa renewals will be automatically reported to City Offices. Immigration Dept. penalties for failing to promptly report changes in address to the City Office may turn out to be quite severe. As was the case for Alien Registration, penalties for not carrying registration cards at all times are still likely to be heavy. As well, the Regional Immigration Bureau will likely be more active in checking to make sure foreign residents are in Japan legally, have Japanese National Health Insurance, and pay into the Japanese national pension scheme. For more information visit the Immigration Bureau web site: www.immi-moj.go.jp/ newimmiact_1/en/point_1-2.html 86 LIVING JAPAN VOLUME 6 2012
If you need assistance on immigration matters, visit or call the new Immigration Information Center in the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau. The center provides consulting and information services on immigration procedures: • Guidance on procedures to apply for entry permission for spouses, employees and others. • Guidance on procedures for acquiring or changing status of residence and extending periods of stay. • Guidance on alien registration procedures. • Guidance on various documents required for applications. • Guidance on general immigration matters.
RE-ENTRY PERMITS With the new Foreign Residents’ Registration system which began July 10th, 2012, reentry permits are no longer required for visa holders for overseas trips of up to one year.
TYPES OF VISAS Working Holiday Visa - This is a special visa for young citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Holders are expected to work only part-time jobs and spend a portion of their time traveling in Japan. Working Visa - Before coming to work in Japan, foreigners need to apply for an appropriate working visa. You may also apply for a working visa after coming to Japan. In all cases you will need a company sponsor for your visa. There are about a dozen types of working visas, each allowing the holder to engage in paid activities only within a defined professional field - there are visas for artists, professors, engineers, instructors, and entertainers. If you change jobs while you are in Japan and the new job falls into a different professional field, you also need to change your status of residence. Most working visas are valid for one or three years and need to be extended before they expire. Student Visa - There are a few types of student visas depending on the type of studies. Holders are not allowed to engage in any paid activities.
Spouse Visa - Applicants who are married to a Japanese national can apply for a spouse visa before or after coming to Japan. Visa holders are allowed to engage in any paid activity. A spouse visa is valid for one or three years and needs to be extended before it expires. Permanent Residence - Residents that have lived in Japan for at least five consecutive years and fulfill a few more conditions, may be eligible to apply for permanent residence. Permanent residents do not need to worry about extending visas anymore and are allowed to engage in any paid activity.
Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau Office 5-5-30, Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo Tel: 03-5796-7112 Hours: 9am - 12pm, 1pm-4pm Monday – Friday (except National holidays) Telephone inquiries are accepted only during office hours.
PHOTO CREDITS p.5 - (Top left) ©Nacasa & Parters Inc., (Bottom right) Courtesey of Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building p.6 - (Top right) by Toshinori Baba, (Bottom left) courtesey of Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building, (Bottom right) by Rs1421 p.7 - (Top left) ©Nacasa & Parters Inc., (Top right) ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO p.8-9 - All photos courtesey of Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building p.26-29 - All photos ©Nacasa & Parters Inc. p.54-57 - All photos courtesey of Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building p.58 - Photo ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO p. 59 - All photos ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO p. 68 - ©JNTO p. 69 - (Bottom) ©JNTO, (Right) ©Nagano Prefecture/©JNTO