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Exploring Ebisu Yokocho – a perfect start (or finish) of the evening!

Ebisu Yokocho is truly a world in its own right. A retro-arcade straight out of the Showa era! A wonderful little cluster of restaurants and bars that only have seats for a handful of guests each. If you can’t get a seat, you can always stand at the counter. You’re guaranteed not to feel lonely! Step inside and you feel like you’ve travelled a few decades back in time! A mini-alley of great restaurants Ebisu Yokocho is basically a roofed alley packed with mini-restaurants and bars on both sides. It’s pretty difficult to find if don’t know exactly where it’s …

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Tokyo Shinjuku Golden-gai – a gem from the past

Shinjuku may be a mecca for shopping. Something like almost four million people use Shinjuku Station every day. That’s the population of a small country! Go to any of the huge electronics stores, and you’ll find it’s packed almost any time of the day. People visit Shinjuku from all corners of the globe, and you’ll hear more languages spoken than you knew existed. There’s just no end to the flow of people. Shinjuku is really about shopping, shopping and shopping. But also eating, drinking and entertainment. My personal favorite in Shinjuku has always been a “block” called Golden-gai, located just …

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Tokyo’s eccentric store fronts

There is no shortage of crazy, attention-grabbing store fronts in Tokyo. Some are more eccentric than others, and it’s all about catching the attention of the people passing by. If you take a walk around Shibuya, Shinjuku or Ikebukuro, some of them will certainly catch your eye. Of course, whether you go inside or not is another story… No end to the ideas I love just walking around in random shopping areas of Tokyo and let my eyes wander. Sometimes I come across stores fronts that are beyond eccentric. It’s like a cry of “Please look at me!” Due to …

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Tokyo’s Nakameguro district – a textbook example of gentrification

Nakameguro might have the highest concentration of cool coffee shops and colorful tapioca bars in the whole of Tokyo. It’s a paradise for foodies, artists, celebrity-spotters, wannabe celebrities, cherry-blossom gazers, fashion designers and fashionistas. You’ll find young and hip people everywhere, including tourists from the world’s all corner, all mixed up with the area’s wealthy residents. Nakameguro’s rise to fame What I like about Nakameguro is that in spite of its rising popularity, it’s still pretty cozy. It still has a local, casual, almost relaxed atmosphere about it. Maybe it’s because there are still no large shopping centers and of …

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Next book out soon!

Photo by Ryo Yoshitake For anyone who is interested in my books, I’ve just completed my next one. It’s currently out for final editing and will, with a bit of luck, be done and ready by the end of February. Idyllic fishing town in Izu This one is a bit different from the “urban jungle” setting of Shibuya Nemesis – A Journey towards the Top of Tokyo. It takes place in a small idyllic fishing town on Japan’s Izu Peninsula, close to the famous resort of Atami. The beautiful little community with its port and beach is tucked away between …

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Shibuya’s smallest park?

Shibuya can be very much “in your face”. People everywhere, neon lights and giant screens competing for your attention, and bars and restaurants beckoning with their eye-catching entrances. Need a quick break in Shibuya? If you ever get tired from walking around and exploring Shibuya, and want to escape the hustle and bustle for a quick break, without emptying your wallet at one of the hip coffee shops, where do you go? The most obvious answer is Yoyogi Park, this giant green oasis located at the top of the hill, bordering to Harajuku and Meiji Shrine. You just need to …

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Things to do in Ginza – explore the hidden back alleys!

Who hasn’t heard of Tokyo’s Ginza district? A globally renowned glitzy mecca for high-end shopping and fine dining. A must on the list of places to visit for tourists. But there is a side to Ginza that few people ever see. In fact, I doubt that most visitors are even aware of its existence. I’m talking about the intricate artery of narrow alleys that lead to the back entrances of the shops, bars and restaurants. Ginza’s hidden back streets These alleys are often difficult to find, since there are no signs. They are sometimes so narrow that only one person …

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Shibuya contrasts – exploring old versus new

Shibuya offers a mystical mixture of old and new. Modern versus traditional, all cramped into a compact space, somehow coexisting in a strange symbiosis. Although gradually the “old” is unfortunately disappearing, there is still plenty of it remaining. Even around the station, in the midst of all the flashy developments, some of the old still manages to survive. It’s amazing how close to each other the two different “worlds” exist! Nonbei Yokocho – a treasure from the past A great example is Nonbei Yokocho, or “drunkard’s alley”. This cluster of old two-story buildings packed with restaurants and bars still stands …

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Things to do in Shibuya – explore the “pencil buildings”!

Why is it impossible to get bored in Shibuya? The answer is “pencil buildings”! What is a pencil building? For those of you who have never been to Japan, a pencil building is exactly what the name suggests; a building that is so thin that the shape looks like a pencil, balancing on its head. Pencil buildings can be found in any urban area of Japan, especially in the old parts of town, that modern urban planning has not yet extended its claws into. Shibuya, this crazy city within a city, has over two million people using its train station …

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