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New Bakery in Ebisu: Crossroad Bakery


In the last couple of years, we have seen many high-quality bakery cafes open up in Tokyo. With the TV-show famous City Bakery (Sex and the City) adding to the already sophisticated french-style versions and popular mall types (such as Aux Bacchanales), there just seems to be a fancy sit-down style bakery in almost every part of Tokyo.

At the foothill of Daikanyama, in Ebisu, a swanky new bakery has opened. Crossroad Bakery (http://crossroadbakery.com/) offers all-day breakfast as well as other carb-loaded delights. The new shop is located just a few shops from the popular Blacows burger restaurant, and is a few minutes walk from Ebisu station. An eat-in section accompanies the bakery, which offers a wide variety of bakery items for takeaway.

img_20160928_114446Items on the menu include: the usual burgers and sandwiches, but also offers other items not so commonly seen in Tokyo — the Philly Cheese Steak and various stews and fondue served in fresh bread bowls. There is also a dinner menu with main dishes, and appetizers that include guacamole, chili and popcorn shrimp.

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Photo Log: Brick End Stand Yokocho Opens


Here is a photo log on the recent opening of Brick End Stand Yokocho at Ebisu Garden Place. Brick End consists of a small cluster of eateries at one end of Ebisu Garden Place. Right beside the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, it faces the museum’s modern cafe, Maison Ichi. Here is a collection of photos highlighting this new commercial nook.


Located at the opposite end from the Sky Walk in Ebisu Garden Place, the businesses located in Brick End lies in a small and narrow lane that leads pedestrians towards the Meguro direction. Situated right beside the photography museum, customers are likely to be nomikai (afterwork drinking) patrons from the adjoining office building or from the museum. There are already a selection of restaurants and bars at Ebisu Garden Place, on its ground floor, basement floor as well as the top floors of its office building, but Brick End makes a welcome addition.

There are five different establishments: Aalaap Lene Waala,  KakuUchi, The Great Burger Stand, Music Bar Berkana and Moze No Yorimichi. The list includes a curry eatery, burger joint, Japanese eatery, music bar with craft beer and cocktails, and another drinking and snack place. The individual places are pretty small and cozy given the narrow surroundings.

For more information: http://gardenplace.jp/special/brickend/


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New in Town: The Ginza Place Opens


Located right on Ginza 4-chome crossing, the Ginza Place has opened in Ginza, Tokyo. The development replaces the former Nissan Gallery building, and features a number of shops and eateries. It also has the new Nissan Gallery, as well as a flagship Sony showroom. There are five restaurants and cafes in the property.

The 11-storey building is constructed with 5315 aluminium panels to give it a stunning, modern look. There are balconies on the 3rd and 7th floor of the building, which overlooks the Chuo and Harumi Avenues. The development was designed by Klein Dytham Architects and constructed by Taisei Corporation.


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Golden Accents Illuminates at Dolce & Gabbana in Stylish Aoyama


Tokyo is the place to head to for unique architecture and design, particularly in the retail and commercial segment; and the metropolis maintains its far lead from fellow Asian counterparts. In this article we highlight an interesting retail space in Aoyama.

Recently published by leading design and architecture webzine, Dezeen, the Aoyama District has a new boutique featuring a superbly decadent golden staircase and inner display nook at the new Dolce & Gabbana store. Below is an excerpt of the article. For the full article, as well as an entertaining 3-minute video on the layout and creative use of lighting at the store, follow the link to the Dezeen article.

dggoldenshop2The theatrical lighting illuminates products inside the new black and gold Dolce & Gabbana store in Tokyo by French designer Gwenael Nicolas. The Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana commissioned Nicolas’ Tokyo-based studio Curiosity to create a one-off design for its new store in the wealthy Aoyama district. The result is a 550-square-metre space that uses dramatic contrasts between pale and dark surfaces to spotlight garments and accessories, with 400 spotlights across the ceiling that move around and switch on and off. The lighting design creates pools of bright light and areas of intentional shadow to suggest the natural play of light on a sunny day.

Walls and plinths are painted with matt-black paint, which was selected as the flat color reflects the light to seem white when hit by the spotlights. The store houses both menswear and womenswear collections, and accessories over two levels. Each display plinth and surface is topped with a thin slab of pale Arabescato Carrara marble, and the floor is covered with matt-black ceramic tiles. The large staircase and a small room for the brand’s fine jewelry collection are finished with gold-colored walls and brass fittings – including a brass ceiling and gold-toned carpet in the jewelry area – to contrast with the rest of the store.dggoldenshop3

The Aoyama district is home to a number of flagship shops for international fashion companies, with well-known architects and designers brought in to add extra cachet by creating unique shops. Last year Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron completed work on an “understated” box-like shop for the Italian fashion brand Miu Miu led by Italian designer Miuccia Prada, opposite the seminal Tokyo Prada store it created 15 years ago. Aoyama’s Omotesando Street has possibly the highest concentration of luxury fashion stores designed by renowned architects, including buildings for Dior by SANAA with interiors by Peter Marino, Coach by OMA, and Tod’s by Toyo Ito.

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New in Tokyo: The Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho


A new large scale property development in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward, the Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho, has recently been unveiled. Located in the former site of the former Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka, the development houses a new luxury hotel, an upscale residence, business offices, and four floors of retail space.

kioichodevelopmentThe site is situated in the Kioicho and Nagatacho districts, which are areas revered for its long history, lush greenery, close proximity to the Tokyo government administrative area, as well as a famous landmark, the Imperial Palace. Right next to the main building, which is a 36-storey commercial building, is a shorter, 23-storey luxury residence. The residence, which houses 135 units ranging from 55.65m²~227.40m² (one to four-bedroom layouts), offer a variety of shared facilities. This includes two party rooms, resident lounge, a fitness center and conference facilities set in a high-end and sophisticated living environment.

Part of this development is the Classic House at Akasaka Prince, a western-style classical building which served as the former residence of Yi Un. Also known as the former Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka Old Building, the developer has restored the main portions of the building, such as lighting fixtures and outer walls to their original condition. This building is especially  ideal for wedding events with its charming restoration and unique appeal.kioichodevelopment3

Inline with other major multi-complex property developments in Tokyo, this development features a generous green environment open to the public. This is achieved by connecting the property development’s own green space with the existing greenery of Shimizudani Park, Benkei moat, the eastern end of the Imperial palace, and the State Guesthouse in the west, which provides a fluid movement of nature and green surrounding the property despite its central location.

Part of the main building includes a five-star hotel, The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, managed by  Starwood Hotel & Resorts’ Luxury Collection section. The hotel occupies the 30th to 36th floors, and the hotel lobby showcases sweeping cityscape views with its floor-to-ceiling glass. With 250 guest rooms, the hotel features an assortment of eateries including a Japanese  restaurant that will allow guests to enjoy the appeal of Japanese culture, an all-day dining Italian restaurant, and two bars with distinct styles, as well as a lounge, spa, and fitness area.

Click here for weblink: Tokyo Garden Terrace Kioicho

Address: 1-2, Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Access: direct access from Nagatacho station (Exit 9A) or 1-min walk from Akasaka-Mitsuke station (Exit D)

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Uniquely Tokyo: A Compilation of Unique Tokyo Houses

Yes, this is a house (in Tokyo)!

Yes, this is a house (in Tokyo)!

Another great piece from DeZeen, a leading architecture and design magazine, and the winner of numerous awards for journalism and publishing. This time it is a collection of interesting and unique houses across Tokyo from a professional photographer who spent four years on this project. French photographer Jérémie Souteyrat trained himself to photograph architecture after moving to Tokyo, by hunting down and documenting some of the best private houses in his adopted city. He had moved from Paris to Tokyo in 2009 and was a freelance professional photographer at that time.

Defying gravity

Defying gravity

“Tokyo has no style, that’s why I like it. It’s full of surprises, even though it’s not a total mess – everything is very organised,” he says in the essay. “Architecture photography is often only PR photography, so I had a documentary approach: no lies, the pictures had to tell what the houses look like when they are used.”

These photographs form part of Souteyrat’s Tokyo No Ie (Tokyo Houses) series, which has now been released as a book by French publisher Le Lézard Noir, with an afterword by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

For the entire article and more photos, follow this link to the Dezeen site: http://www.dezeen.com/2015/07/19/jeremie-souteyrat-tokyo-no-ie-documentary-photography-contemporary-houses-japanese-architects/

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More on Omiyage (Souvenirs) from Japan

Following our last feature on Japanese souvenirs, here is a new list that is centered on bags and small accessories.

sushi-backpacks-turn-over-japanese-7The Sushi Backpack:

Created by bag maker, Turn Over, is the Sushi Backpack. There are three types of sushi featured: egg, prawn, and salmon, which sit on the main body of the bag that is made to resemble sushi rice. The backs include a lot of functionality with pockets for drink bottles, smartphones and other small accessories.

More info from Turn Over: http://turn-over.jp/detail.php?id=220

gamaguchi1The Literal Gamaguchi bag:

Gamaguchi is a metal clasp that fastens a bag or a purse, and often seen on coin purses. The name Gamaguchi translates to mean the mouth of a toad’s mouth, which resembles the metal clasp with its wide, thin lips. This frog-shaped backpack is a literal take on this wordplay.

Made by GymMaster, this is available from Rakuten: http://item.rakuten.co.jp/gymmaster/g321357/

mtfujionigiri1Mount Fuji Riceball holder:

What’s more authentic than a holder for one’s favorite onigiri? While there are countless products featuring Japan’s number one natural wonder, this one is too cute not to mention, and is made from silicon. A completely adequate way to pack your lunch or snack.

Comes in two colors (pink and blue) and is available from Amazon: click on this link.


More Fujisan, you say!

Looking for something more traditional? Then how about a Mount Fuji tote by the king of all tote bag makers, Rootote, a Japan-grown maker of canvas totes.

Comes in two colors (red or blue), this is available from Amazon with this link.

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Cool Tokyo: The 100 Views of Tokyo By Shinji Tsuchimochi


Today we highlight an interesting artist that has drawn one hundred hip illustrations of modern Tokyo.

The Tokyo 100 Views project was created by Shinji Tsuchimochi, a Japanese artist. The illustrations depict life in modern Tokyo revealing a surrealistic calm and tenderness with the hustle and bustle of city life, coupled with elements that are unique to Tokyo and Japanese culture.

Inspired by Edo-period Ukiyoe artwork, particularly Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Tsuchimochi began illustrating the 100 views of Tokyo a few years ago, and has recently completed the 100th illustration.

Follow this link to see the artist’s website that showcases all the illustrations: https://www.behance.net/shinjitsuchimochi


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Uniquely Tokyo: Metal and Perforated Dots

House by Hiroyuki Moriyama

Dezeen magazine, one of the world’s most popular and influential architecture and design magazines, recently featured a stunning building that houses five individual duplex apartments, including the one for the owner of the site. Click here for the entire article with more photos, and here below is an excerpt.

House by Hiroyuki MoriyamaLocal architect Hiroyuki Moriyama, has created this compact residential building with perforated steel panels encompassing the private enclosures around the balconies.

Hiroyuki Moriyama Architect and Associates was asked to create five residential properties on a plot measuring just seven metres wide and 20 metres deep, without going above four storeys.

The biggest challenge was to bring enough light into each home without compromising residents’ privacy. One of the solutions Moriyama came up with was to create lightwells at the front of the building.House by Hiroyuki Moriyama

Each of these open-air enclosures is fronted by a screen of perforated metal panels, allowing light and ventilation to filter through, while also permitting views out for occupants.

Balconies for the two street-facing properties are contained behind these dot-patterned walls.

The building has a concrete frame. Aside from the perforated steel screens, exterior materials are kept simple, with white render and a few areas of stainless steel.

Inside, the two upper floors accommodate the largest of the five properties – a home for the client – and one other two-storey residence. Three remaining two-level apartments occupy the ground and first floors.

Interior finishes are also kept simple, with wooden floors and white walls.

High levels of insulation in the walls between each home make each one almost entirely soundproof.

Moriyama claims you can play an instrument in one home and not be heard by the neighbors. 

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Shibuya Station area undergoing once in a century makeover


The Shibuyagawa river flows behind the wall to the left in the area above the ceiling of a new east exit underground plaza under construction at Tokyo’s Shibuya Station. (Kenji Tsuji)

We share a recent article from the Asahi Shimbun about the current massive development in Shibuya. Written by Kenji Tsuji, Asahi Shimbun Staff Writer, the article describes the scale of the construction of the underground plaza.

An excerpt: The area around Shibuya Station, one of the busiest rail hubs in Japan, is undergoing a major makeover on a scale that occurs only once in 100 years, according to the railway operator. The new east exit underground plaza will measure about 1,600 square meters. It will be located beneath the Shibuyagawa river, which flows one level underground. The course of the river was redirected last summer as part of the project. Below the plaza and 25 meters below ground level, a huge water tank is also being installed. The tank measures 22 meters by 45 meters and is 7 meters deep, a capacity that can hold up to 4,000 tons of rainwater, equivalent to the volume of eight 25-meter-long swimming pools. Because Shibuya Station is surrounded by hills, the water tank is designed to help prevent flooding of the station and neighboring areas during rainstorms. Click here for complete article: Shibuya Station area undergoing once in a century makeover

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