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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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News around town: Tokyo’s Toranomon poised to become trendy area

Today, we share an interesting article published in the English section of the Japan News by Yomiuri Shimbun.

Source: Yomiuri Shimbun

Shintora-dori avenue, which connects the Tokyo districts of Shinbashi and Toranomon, is set to be transformed into a fashionable area lined with open-air cafes in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The Tokyo metropolitan government is expected to complete the first stage of the work, reconstructing the sidewalk, by the end of this month. The Toranomon Hills high-rise complex nearby opened two years ago, but development of the area between Shinbashi and Toranomon had been neglected. Long-established stores and other local businesses have high hopes about the area’s redevelopment.

Shingo Tsuji, the president of Mori Building Co., which manages Toranomon Hills, announced at a press conference on April 13 that the company would build three more high rises in the area. “Our aim is to make this one of the most important business hubs in the world, as well as a gateway to Tokyo,” he told reporters.

Click here for the article: English version of Yomiuri Shimbun, The Japan News

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Japanese stationery now sprouts herbs in your garden with the Blooming Pencil


Recently published in Rocket News24, is a writeup on the next generation in Japanese omiyage — a pencil that can be planted to create a small plant. Here is the article: the Blooming Pencil. An excerpt is reprinted below.

3Once its life as a pencil is over, this innovative piece of stationery will colour your garden by blooming into a variety of edible plants. From Minecraft erasers to iced tea-scented pens and pretty bow-trimmed rubber bands, Japanese stationery has always fascinated us with its unusual, innovative designs. Now it has a creative solution to the problem of pencil ends, which are usually discarded once they become too short to hold and use. Instead of letting them go to waste, there’s now a way to have them breathe life into something that’s both beautiful and edible at the same time.

8While the Blooming Pencil functions as an ordinary pencil, the coloured lead ends at the banded section, with the small remaining portion embedded with plant seeds. Each pencil comes with the name of the plant written on the pencil itself, along with the recommended months for planting. The red-coloured pencil blooms into lotus flower, or Chinese milk vetch, a perennial herb from the pea family that’s often used in Chinese medicine to boost the immune system. This pencil stub is recommended for planting in September or October.

In addition to the Chinese milk vetch plant, there are four other types of blooms available: mini tomato,  aalvia farinacea (mealy sage), white clover; and basil. Eating something grown from your pencil might be a strange concept, but it reflects an idea that’s close to home for the products’ distributors, who also run the Bunbougu Cafe in Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando district.

The cafe brings the joys of stationery to the world of dining, with paper tablecloths for customers to draw and scribble on, so the addition of pencil-grown herbs to the menu seems an organic next step. The pencils can be purchased from their online store for 340 yen (US$3.10) each.


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Lessons from the Bees: The Rooftop Hives of Central Tokyo

Today, we share an translated article published in the English page of Nippon.com (originally written in Japanese by Sakurai Shin and published on May 12, 2016. Photos © Nagasaka Yoshiki). Back in 2006, the Ginza Honey Bee Project set up hives on the top of a multistory building in central Tokyo. A decade on, the project is a regular supplier of honey to local businesses and continues to provide food for thought on the relationship between the urban and natural environments.

Here is the article: Lessons from the Bees: The Rooftop Hives of Central Tokyo

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Average rents in 23-Ward Tokyo increased marginally YoY

According to the latest Kantei rental data, the average monthly rent was JPY3,307 per sq. meters in 23-Ward Tokyo, representing a month-on-month (MoM) drop of 1.4%, However it also represents an increase of  2.1% year-on-year (YoY). Kantei recorded an average apartment size of 55.94 sq. meters and average building age of 16.7 years.

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