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Nakamise, Asakusa

nakamise

Nakamise (篁画??筝?) is one of the oldest shopping avenues in Japan.
After the Tokugawa Shogun settled in Edo (羆????, the former name of Tokyo), the population of Edo grew, and visitors to Sensoji temple (羌????絲?) increased.? Afterwards, neighbors of Sensoji were granted permission to set up shops on the approach to the temple.? This is the origin of Nakamise, and?it?is said that?this was?around 1688 to 1735.

Near Sensoji were cafes (though it is very different from the Western ones), and near Kaminarimon (??潔??), the entrance gate of Sensoji, were shops of toys, sweets, and souvenirs.

In?1885, the government of Tokyo ordered all shop owners to leave.? The area was reconstructed in Western-style brick in the same year. ?During the?Great Kanto earthquake in 1923, many of the red-brick shops were destroyed.??They were?rebuilt in 1925 using concrete, only to be destroyed again during the bombings of WW2.

nakamise

After the war, the people of Asakusa restored Nakamise, and in 1985, they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the modern Nakamise.? Illuminated signs were renovated, and the pavements were repaired.
In 1989, having Ikuo Hirayama, professor of Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music as editorial suprvisor, the shutters of Naakmise were painted with drawings of events in Asakusa.

The length of the street is approximately 250 meters and contains around 89 shops.? Take your time, and enjoy the shopping street and its history!


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Tour to Bank of Japan

boj

The Bank of Japan is located in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.? Currently, the new wing, which is a modern building, is used for?most the operations.? The old wing, designated as important cultural property, can be visited as a guided tour.? The tour includes an introductory video about the Bank and a visit to exhibits of historical interest and the underground vault of the Old Building, which is registered as an important cultural property.

The old wing of the Bank of Japan was completed in 1896.? In the Edo period, there was a gold mint in the site.
The building was very modern for that age.? It was the first building in Japan to install a flush toilet, and the 2nd elevator made in Japan was used.
In the basement is a vault, which was used for more than a hundred years from 1896 to 2004.? Expansion work was made in the early Showa period, which?expanded the width of the?vault to about 1426 sqm.? The door is 90cm thick, and weighs 25t.? It takes 2 men to open the door.? Inside the?vault are rails, which were used for lorries.

boj

English guided tours of the Bank of Japan are available free of charge.? Reservations by phone is required.

Day/hour of?English guided tour: Tuesday, 11:00-12:00
Tour will not be held on a holiday of the Bank of Japan

For more information, visit the website of Bank of Japan.
http://www.boj.or.jp/en/type/etc/annai.htm (Eng)

boj

By the way, the old wing of Bank of Japan looks like the Kanji ‘Yen’ (???), the Japanese currency, when seen from above.? This is merely a coincidence, but isn’t it interesting?? You can see this ‘Yen’ from Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, which stands right next to the building.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Earthquake Museum

Living in Tokyo, you must be surprised by the frequently occuring earthquakes.? Most of these earthquakes are weak, at most level 3 at the Japanese earthquake scale. ?Japanese people are so used to it, that they won’t be surprised, and some are even unresponsive.
These small earthquakes aren’t very grave.? You don’t have to panic at these.? However, there are possibilities that large earthquakes would occur, causing a disaster.? It is better that you?know about earthquakes and make ready for them.
It is difficult to picture what a huge earthquake would be like from writings.? It would be easier if you?feel it.

earthquake

At the Earthquake Science Museum (??育???????絖?え), you can experience earthquakes from level 2 to 7 in a mock-up of a Japanese room.? Level 7 is the maximum intensity of the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, which destroyed the cities in Hyogo prefecture.? The quake is very strong - you can’t stand still, and furniture fall with a crash.
The experience might frighten you, but don’t worry.? The instructor will teach you what to prepare, and how to act in case of disastrous earthquakes.

There is a Japanese proverb, ??????????????井?????????? (if you are prepared, you don’t have to worry).? It is important to lessen worries, to lead a safe and happy life.

Earthquake Science Museum (??育???????絖?え)

Location: Nishigahara, Kita-ku
Open Hours: 9:00-16:00
Website: http://www.city.kita.tokyo.jp/misc/kanko/data/g/10.html (Jap)


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/



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Monja, Cheap Gourmet in Tsukishima

monja

Monjayaki (??????????????若??), or Monja, is a Japanese fast food.??Monja is a?fried batter with various ingredients.? It is similar to Okonomiyaki (???絅純?睡?若??), another Japanese fast food, but Monja is made with a more watery dough.
The ingredients are finely chopped and mixed into the batter before frying.? After heated up, it is eaten directly off the grill using a small metal spatula.? The appearance is not so nice (it can be said that it looks like slop), the taste is delicious :)

monja

Many Monja restaurants can be found in Tsukishima (???絣?), where?Monja is said to have originated.? On a shopping street which is called ‘Monja street’, there are about 75 Monja restaurants.? Most also serve regular Okonomiyaki.
Monja was at first simple snacks for children in Tsukishima, a district that started as?a downtown with many row houses.? Today,?the range of?ingredients are very wide, including vegetable, meat, cheese, and sea food.? There are even sweet Monja with fruits in it!


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Pokemon Center Tokyo

pokemon

If you want Pokemon goods, you know the Pokemon Center is the place to go!? The Pokemon Center is a specialist store for Pokemon goods.? They have?a wide range of original goods, and many Pokemon events are held.? For example, there are walk rally events around the shop, and Pokemon card game classes.? You can battle your Pokemon against the shop staffs too!

pokemon

Pokemon Center will be a great place to visit for your children’s birthdays.? If you have the game soft Pokemon Black or White, the shop will present you a Pokemon, ‘Tabunne’, with a birthday ribbon.? This version is only available at Pokemon Center!
They will also present you an original Pokemon card with your name on (not for battles), and a sticker.
These services are available 1 week before and after your birthday.

pokemon

Pokemon Center Tokyo
Location: 1-2-3, Kaigan, Minato-ku
Open Hours11:00-20:00 (10:00-19:00 on Sat. Sun. Holidays)
Website: http://www.pokemon.co.jp/gp/pokecen/english/?inc=pokecen (Eng)


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Railway Museum

railway

If you are a ‘railway-phile’, and you are in Tokyo, I recommend to you the Railway Museum (????????????え).
The Railway Museum is a museum in Saitama, the prefecture in the north of Tokyo.
The museum exhibits real retired train cars from Japan and abroad.??The exhibitions shows you?the history of rainways in Japan, from the British made locomotive to the uniquily Japanese Shinkansen.
There are also miniature railway models as well as the real trains.? The diorama in this museum is the largest in Japan.
There is a hands-on exhibition, too.? You can sit in the real cockpit of a steamer, electric train, and Shinkansen, and enjoy a simulating game as the driver!

railway

Railway Museum

Location: Omiya, Saitama
Open Hours: 10:00-18:00
Website: http://www.railway-museum.jp/en/index.html (Eng)


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Traditional Technique Museums in Sumida-ku

There are many small museums in Sumida-ku, Tokyo.? Most of these museums are ran by old shops and craft centers, willing to show their techniques from hundreds of years ago.? They are very small, and not so popular, but the exhibitions are very unique.? Most of the shops are still open, so if you are interested, you can purchase a souvenir :)
Below are some of the relatively-well-known museums.

Bekko Museum (??鴻?g?画?????蕕?)sumida

Bekko (藜????) is?a material produced mainly from the shell of hawksbill turtle. It was widely used in the 1960s and 1970s in the manufacture of items such as combs, guitar picks, and?sunglasses.? It is a translucent material with red and yellow colors, and is much more light than plastic.? Many accessories are shown and sold at the museum.

Location: 5-5-2, Yokozuna, Sumida-ku
Open Hours: 10:00-17:30
Shop closed on Sundays, holidays.

Nomen Museum (??初?√?????え)

sumida

Nomen is a mask used in Noh (???), one of the oldest Japanese theatrical arts.
At this museum, about 50 Nomen are displayed.? You will see that every one of them have different expressions.? You can also look around the manufacturing process of Nomen.

Location: 5-10-5, Narihira, Sumida-ku
Open Hours: 9:00-12:00, 14:00-17:00
Closed on Tuesdays, Saturdays, and the 4th Sundays


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Hinamatsuri, Girls’ Festival

hinamatsuri

On March 3rd, a festival called Hinamatsuri (???腑???) is held.? Hinamatsuri is a festival for girls, and is celebrated by displaying a set of dolls, Hinaningyo?(???篋阪就)

The custom of displaying dolls began during the Heian period.? People believed the dolls possessed the power to?trap bad spirits into itself.
Hinamatsuri originates?in an ancient Japanese custom called Hina-nagashi (???羌????), literally ‘doll flowing’, in which straw or paper?Hinaningyo,?believed to take away bad spirits with them,?are set afloat on a boat and sent down a river to the sea.

hinamatsuri

Today, in most homes, the dolls are not flowed, but just displayed.? The dolls are?representing the Emperor, Empress, and their merry men, dressed in Kimono of the Heian Period (794-1185).

The arrangement of the doll differ by area, but the popular way of setting the dolls are to place them on a stair-shaped stage.
On the top stair is placed the Emperor and Empress.? On the next is the three court ladies.
With the dolls, many instruments used in the palace life, such as drawers and oxcarts,?are usually displayed.

Families generally start to display the dolls around mid-February and take down the platforms immediately after the festival. Superstition says that leaving the dolls out past March 4 will result in a late marriage for the daughter!

hinamatsuriThere is a?customary drink for the festival?called Shirozake (??初??), a sake made from fermented rice.? There are also customary foods, Hinaarare (????????????),?a colored , bite-sized rice crackers flavored with sugar or soy sauce, and Hishimochi (?偓??), a diamond-shaped colored rice cake. ?Chirashizushi (??<?????絲水??), Sushi rice flavored with sugar, vinegar, topped with?eggs, shrimp,?and a variety of ingredients, is often eaten. ?A salt-based soup called Ushiojiru (?????????羆?) containing clams still in the shell is also served. ?Clam shells in food are?a symbol of a united and peaceful couple, because a pair of clam shells fits perfectly, and no pair but the original pair can do so.

Chirashizushi and Ushiojiru are usually made in each family, but are purchasable at supermarkets.? Hinaarare and Hichimochi are in supermarkets as well.? Hinaningyo are quite expensive, but paper dalls or fabric dolls are available at reasonable price.? If you have a girl, why not celebrate Hinamatsuri starting this year :)


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Kappabashi Street Kitchen Town

kappabashi

Kappabashi is a street between Ueno and Asakusa, populated with shops supplying the?restaurant trade.? At the entrance of Kappabashi street by?Asakusa street is a giant cook mascot.
The shops sell everything from tableware, restaurant furniture, decorations, and stoves, most of them mass-produced.

The street’s name is believed to come from either the Kappa?(???臂?, raincoats) of nearby residents which were hang out to dry on the bridge, or from a merchant named Kihachi Kappaya?(???臂遵????????)?who funded the project to build Shinhorikawa River (??医??綏?, doesn’t exist today) for water management.
kappabashiHowever, due to the homophone with the popular mythical creature, Kappa (羃括?), the group of shops along the street officially adopted the creature Kappa as its mascot.? Images of the Kappa shown on the left?appear on shops along the street and web pages.

kappabashi kappabashi

One of the most popular and entertaining shops is Sample Shop Maizuru.? This is a shop of?plastic display food (sample foods),?found outside Japanese restaurants.? There are many real size sample foods, such as Sushi and cakes, and also miniature samples made into cell phone straps and magnets.? There are also unique interior goods like Sushi clocks!

kappabashi


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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Golf Bar - New Indoor Sports

golf

Golf is of course an outdoor activity, but with the new virtual golf simulator, you can also enjoy it indoors!

Virtual golf may be similar to golf games using Wii, but the difference is that in virtual golf, you actually use real golf clubs and balls.? The sensor analyzes your swing, and decides the speed, direction, and the flying distance.? The result is shown in the large screen in front of you.

golf

This new attraction is enjoyable at some bars and cafes in Tokyo.? You can use it for practicing on your own, or have fun with your friends.? If you don’t own your own golf equipments, rental is available at many cafes/bars.


Higherground Co.,Ltd.
2-8-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
TEL:03-6459-2230
HP:http://www.higherground.co.jp/
TOP PAGE:?http://livingtokyo.net/



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