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Emma Steen

Emma Steen

Writer, Time Out Tokyo

Articles (135)

Best art exhibitions in Tokyo right now

Best art exhibitions in Tokyo right now

With an abundance of art shows happening this season, it'll be hard to catch all of the latest installations before they disappear. Nonetheless, we've got a list of the top art exhibitions taking place in some of Tokyo's most popular galleries to help you figure out where to start. For a full day of art excursions, you should also check out Tokyo's best street art and outdoor sculptures, or fill your Instagram feed at two of the hottest digital art museums: teamLab Planets Tokyo and Immersive Museum. Note that some museums and galleries require making reservations in advance to prevent overcrowding at the venues.  RECOMMENDED: Not in Japan? You can still visit these amazing Japanese museums via virtual tours

東京、チョコレートショップ20選

東京、チョコレートショップ20選

タイムアウト東京 > ショッピング&スタイル > 東京、チョコレートショップ20選 もしウィリー・ウォンカが東京でチョコレート工場を始めていたら、彼は今頃休暇を取っているかもしれない。東京のチョコレートシーンは競争が激しく、有名なフランスのサロン・デュ・ショコラでは日本のチョコレートメーカーが最優秀賞を取得し、海外のエキスパートとも肩を並べているからだ。ここでは、情熱的なショコラティエが届ける、複雑な風味のカカオを使ったチョコレートショップを中心に紹介する。 バレンタインシーズンの直前に、恋人に贈るにも自分を甘やかすにもおすすめしたいチョコレートショップを厳選した。シングルオリジンのシンプルなチョコレートバーもよし、アソートスイーツの詰まったぜいたくなギフトを奮発するのもよし、豪勢なデザートを注文してその場で味わうのもいいだろう。 関連記事『東京、バレンタインイベント2023』

6 places in Japan that look like scenes from Spirited Away

6 places in Japan that look like scenes from Spirited Away

From floating castles to enchanted forests, Hayao Miyazaki’s imagination seemingly knows no bounds. Some of his otherworldly places are so eye-wateringly beautiful, it hurts to know they don’t really exist, but Ghibli fans can still access the next best thing – the places that inspired the ones seen in Miyazaki’s films.  Not everywhere on this list is acknowledged as an influence on ‘Spirited Away’, but they all look like they belong in the same mysterious spirit world. Soak in the baths of Kanaguya or catch a train at the seaside Shimonada Station and you might just find yourself feeling like a character straight out of ‘Spirited Away’. RECOMMENDED: What we know so far about the upcoming Ghibli theme park

5 most unique bars in Tokyo

5 most unique bars in Tokyo

There are endless types of bars to choose from in a city like Tokyo. We’ve got award-winning cocktail bars featured on the World's 50 Best lists, standing sake bars, record store bars, sports bars, craft beer bars and Japanese pubs. Then, there are the places that fit into categories all of their own, inspired by special interests or experiences that offer more than just drinks and a fun atmosphere. As an added bonus, these unique bars are filled with enough conversation starters that you won’t have to worry about running out of things to talk about if you’re trying to impress a date. Ever wanted to drink from a test tube, eat candy floss in a fairy tavern or geek out in a train-themed bar? We’ve got just the places to check out for a memorable late-night adventure. RECOMMENDED: Best secret bars in Tokyo 

The anti-Valentine’s Day guide to Tokyo

The anti-Valentine’s Day guide to Tokyo

Valentine’s Day can be a trying time for everyone. What’s more, here in Japan we must face the ordeal twice with Valentine’s Day on February 14 as well as White Day on March 14. For those wondering, White Day is a day marked in Japan as well as neighbouring Asian countries where the men who have received gifts on V-Day must return the gesture (it is typically the women who give men chocolates on February 14). For some, Valentine’s Day is a welcome excuse to eat lavish chocolates and go for ironic outings with your pals, but for others it’s a distressing day that they wish they could avoid altogether.  Still a little stung from your most recent break-up? Too busy for romance? Perhaps you just have a low tolerance for capitalist nonsense. If you're trying to dodge the potential strike of cupid's arrow this season, we've got you covered. Here's a roundup of the most unromantic places in the city, where you'll be able to hide from all those saccharin-sweet couples.  RECOMMENDED: Best restaurants in Tokyo for solo diners

20 best things to do in Daikanyama

20 best things to do in Daikanyama

Here’s a little secret – the neighbourhood of Daikanyama is a lot smaller than you’re led to believe. The block is shaped like a rectangle and it takes about 10 minutes to walk from Daikanyama's train station to the other end of its perimeter. However, many of the shops and restaurants in the nearby corners of Sarugakucho (and even Meguro) like to identify as part of the Daikanyama community. And who could blame them for wanting to be a part of Tokyo’s coolest neighbourhood? While Daikanyama has earned itself a reputation as a highbrow neighbourhood of brunch spots, third wave coffee stands and designer boutiques, the area isn't as pretentious as you might think. The green-filled neighbourhood is full of local businesses where the owners know their patrons by name (like our favourite takoyaki stand Tempu) and relaxed hangouts like Spring Valley Brewery – built on disused Tokyu Line tracks – make the area more welcoming than snooty.  A mash-up of all of Tokyo’s best bits, you've got niche art galleries you might find in Roppongi mixed with the underground music venues of Shimokitazawa, lively Shibuya-style bars and enough trendy boutiques to rival Ginza – all in one place. There’s a lot going on here, with something for everyone, whether you’re into bargain hunting or fine dining, but nothing feels out of place.  To get you started exploring the neighbourhood, here’s our list of the best things to do in Daikanyama. RECOMMENDED: Explore more of the city with the 101 best thing

8 best secret bars in Tokyo

8 best secret bars in Tokyo

The thing about keeping secrets is that some things are too good not to share. So as much as we’d love to keep these fanciful hideouts to ourselves, we’ll spill the beans just this once in the firm belief that these hidden bars and speakeasies are so nifty that everyone ought to experience them. We’re talking cleverly concealed entrances in quiet alleyways and private wine bars that you wouldn’t know unless a well-connected friend brought you there.  Think you know every nondescript nook and clandestine cranny Tokyo has to offer? We reckon this list says otherwise. Looking for a view instead? Here are the best rooftop bars in Tokyo.

東京から日帰りで行くアート旅6選

東京から日帰りで行くアート旅6選

タイムアウト東京 > トラベル > 東京から日帰りで行くアート旅6選 東京には魅力的なアート展示や、パブリックアートなどがある。しかし建物が密集しているため、大規模なアート施設を新たに造ることは困難だろう。希少な絵画やサイトスペシフィックなインスタレーションを観たいのであれば、千葉、神奈川、埼玉といった近隣の県へ日帰りで出かけるのもいいかもしれない。 草間彌生のインスタレーションが2つある農場、ロンドンの「テート・モダン」にあるようなマーク・ロスコ専用の部屋がある美術館など、自然の中でリラックスしてアートに触れることができる休日に訪れたいアートスポットを紹介する。 関連記事『ジブリパークを訪れるなら知っておきたい11のこと』『日本で最も美しいホテル&リゾート施設15選』

8 best gin bars in Tokyo

8 best gin bars in Tokyo

Once written off as mother’s ruin, gin is making an exuberant comeback thanks to cool craft distilleries experimenting with new herbs, fruits and spices alongside the spirit’s signature juniper berries. In Japan, homegrown distillers are also incorporating local botanicals including tea, yuzu, cherry blossoms and sansho pepper into their production. The results are stunning, with Japan taking its place at gin’s top table with some really aromatic tipples that are distinctively different from its counterparts in Europe. Interested? Here’s our list of the best gin bars in Tokyo, where you can enjoy top class G&T and gin cocktails. RECOMMENDED: Most unique bars in Tokyo

8 biggest art exhibitions coming to Tokyo in 2023

8 biggest art exhibitions coming to Tokyo in 2023

After several seasons of museum closures, event postponements and virtual gallery tours, it's a relief to enter 2023 with a calendar of large scale exhibitions ranging from Japanese artworks from the Edo period (1603-1867) to masterpieces from the Impressionist movement. Some events, like the display of handmade Japanese talismans in the ornate gallery rooms of Hotel Gajoen, have already started, while autumn programmes like the Exhibition of Yves Saint Laurent give us something to look forward to in the coming months. The best time to visit Tokyo can sometimes depend on your specific interests, but while the prime time for ski and snowboard enthusiasts is limited to the colder months, art lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to designing an itinerary. Whether it's avant-garde paintings or glittering costume pieces that draw your attention, art is best appreciated in the flesh. Here are the biggest shows to mark in the calendar for the weeks and months ahead.  RECOMMENDED: Best art exhibitions in Tokyo right now

日本で最も美しいホテル&リゾート施設15選

日本で最も美しいホテル&リゾート施設15選

タイムアウト東京 > トラベル >日本で最も美しいホテル&リゾート施設15選 旅先の宿泊施設は、荷物の一時保管や休息するための場所にすぎない。しかし旅そのものであり、日常のストレスから解放されてリラックスでき、その地域を体験する場所でもある。 ここでは、旅の目的にぴったりな快適な日本のホテルやリゾート地を紹介。山奥のモダンなホテルから天然温泉のある伝統的な旅館までそろっている。これらの施設は、次の旅行計画のハイライトになるだろう。 ※宿泊料金は季節によって異なる場合があるため、最新情報は公式ウェブサイトで確認しよう 関連記事『日本で行きたい「千と千尋の神隠し」モデルスポット5選』『日光でしかできない30のこと』

20 best things to do in Sangenjaya: restaurants, cafés, bars and attractions

20 best things to do in Sangenjaya: restaurants, cafés, bars and attractions

Sangenjaya – or ‘Sancha’ to locals – is a sprawling jumble of stores and winding backstreets that has a neighbourly vibe, but with a grungy edge. Translating to 'three teahouses', Sangenjaya was a place for eating and drinking back in the Edo period (1603-1867), and these days it remains true to the cause. The area is packed with restaurants, cafés and bars: hotspots include the Sankaku Chitai alleyway, along Chazawa Street towards Shimokitazawa, and the meandering web of streets south of Sangenjaya station. The neighbourhood’s most eye-catching landmark, however, is the bizarre giant gorilla statue that looms over a FamilyMart on Chazawa-dori. The King Kong lookalike has been a resident of the area for so long that even the locals aren’t entirely sure of its origins, but it’s now an indispensable part of Sangenjaya. On a pleasant day, don’t miss a trip to the top of the Carrot Tower for free views of Tokyo or the chance to explore the green oasis of Setagaya Park. RECOMMENDED: Our ultimate guide of 101 things to do in Tokyo

Listings and reviews (5)

Everything Went Fine

Everything Went Fine

3 out of 5 stars

Anyone who caught the film adaptation of Jojo Moyes’s novel ‘Me Before You’ will get a twinge of déjà vu when watching François Ozon’s Everything Went Fine. Like that soapy romantic drama, it deals with the controversial issue of assisted suicide. Rather than a whirlwind romance between a handsome millionaire and a vivacious twentysomething, however, this French drama centres on the rocky relationship between a miserable elderly man and his weary adult daughter.  Everything Went Fine is based on a memoir by Emmanuèle Bernheim, a writer whose collaborations with Ozon have already delivered 2003’s sultry thriller Swimming Pool. Sophie Marceau plays Emmanuèle, who rushes to the hospital at the beginning of the movie upon hearing that her father André (André Dussollier) has suffered a stroke. Shortly after being admitted to hospital, André asks Emmanuèle to arrange for an assisted suicide – a plea André doesn’t back away from even as his physical condition improves. Though André was never a particularly good father, she and her sister find it painful to grapple with their father’s desire to end his life. Eventually, Emmanuèle reluctantly looks into euthanasia at her father’s insistence, thus beginning a months-long application process to move him from his hospital bed in France to an expensive assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.  You’re left with a nagging feeling that everything could have gone… better Despite impeccable performances from its talented cast, we never get to

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande

4 out of 5 stars

Don’t clutch your pearls if you ever catch word of your buttoned-up former RE teacher having a tryst with a sex worker. At least, that’s one of the takeaways to gain from Sophie Hyde’s (Animals) sex comedy. It stars Emma Thompson as widow and retired educator Nancy Stokes, who decides to hire a rent boy in his twenties to try and reclaim a life she’s never lived. When Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) comes knocking on her hotel room door, however, Nancy’s self-doubt gets the best of her and she questions whether she is prepared for such an encounter. But after a few false starts and countless reassurances from the effortlessly charming Leo, she gradually allows herself to become more vulnerable. Despite its taboo-tackling premise, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande isn’t the raunchy romp that one might expect it to be. Though the clothes come off fairly early on, it focuses on the intimacy that unfolds as the two characters lay bare the innermost parts of themselves, rather than just their bodies. Don’t clutch your pearls if you ever catch word of your old RE teacher having a tryst with a sex worker Like Thompson’s character, the film takes its time to gather momentum, but eventually finds its footing as a progressive conversation-starter about modern attitudes towards sex work, as well as a cheering nudge to drop the useless inhibitions holding you back from leading a fulfilling life. Excellent writing by Katy Brand leaves plenty of room for both light-hearted humour and deeply pers

Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum

Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum

The posh neighbourhood of Minami Aoyama is often associated with upscale boutiques and bakeries, but the area is also chock full of small museums and galleries, which often get overlooked in favour of larger attractions in the vicinity like Meiji Jingu. Among these hidden gems is the Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, dedicated to one of Japan’s most prominent masters of contemporary art. Born in 1911, Taro Okamoto was an artist and art theorist famous for his avant-garde paintings and sculptures that have become permanent fixtures in public spaces across Japan. These include ‘Tower of the Sun’, which served as the symbol of Expo '70 held in Osaka, as well the 60m-long mural found in Shibuya Mark City titled ‘Myth of Tomorrow’. The latter carries a poignant message as it depicts the instant of an atomic bomb explosion (you can read more about the piece here).  Opened in 1998, the museum served as Okamoto’s primary studio and residence for the last 44 years of his life. Okamoto, who moved from Japan to Paris at the age of 18, spent the beginning of his career exploring abstraction. He later went on to become the youngest member of the Abstraction-Création group in 1933. Four years later, he left the group and turned his attention to the Surrealism movement and rubbed shoulders with pioneers by the likes of Max Ernst and Man Ray.  Highlights at the museum include the back gallery, where Okamoto conceived his ‘Tower of the Sun’ sculpture and created all of his paintings from 1954. Th

One of These Days

One of These Days

3 out of 5 stars

There’s something morbidly fascinating about witnessing a group of people participating in the absurd marathon car-touching contest depicted in German filmmaker Bastian Günther’s sobering true-life drama. It follows 20 or so people in a small southern town in the US who compete in a car dealership contest in a bid to win a brand new pickup truck. The last person to remain standing with their hand on the vehicle gets to take it home.  Questions soon spring to mind: how long can the average person actually go without sleep? Is anyone here desperate enough to publicly wet themselves for this truck? Haven’t people died from doing this? Why would anyone come up with this idea in the first place?But One of These Days is keen to take you from the position of a bemused onlooker to the grim reality of being one of these sleep-deprived contestants still clinging on after 24 hours standing in unbearably hot weather. Among them is fast-food employee Kyle (Joe Cole), who struggles to make ends meet and believes that winning the contest is the key to proving himself as a worthy provider for his partner Marie (Callie Hernandez) and their infant son.  Peaky Blinders’ Joe Cole does an exceptional job as a man striving to keep his head above water  Cole does an exceptional job portraying this desperate man who is striving to keep his head above water in a tight-knit but hard-scrabble Bible Belt town. The film zeroes in, too, on Carrie Preston (True Blood) as the contest’s perky organiser Joan

Meiji Shrine & Inner Garden

Meiji Shrine & Inner Garden

Everything you need to know about visiting Meiji Shrine and its inner garden (1-1 Yoyogi-Kamizonocho, Shibuya, Tokyo). From its majestic torii gate and the surrounding forest to the iconic wall of sake barrels, Meiji Shrine (or Meiji Jingu) is easily the most iconic shrine in Tokyo and draws millions of visitors every year. Completed in 1920, the shrine is dedicated to Emperor Meiji – whose reign (1868-1912) coincided with Japan’s modernisation – and his consort, Empress Shoken. The original shrine buildings (except for Shukueisha and Minami-Shinmon) were burnt down after an air raid during World War II, so the current main buildings date back to 1958 when they were reconstructed. These structures are an impressive example of the austere style and restrained colours typical of Shinto architecture.  While the shrine is an ever-popular spot for sightseeing, it gets especially busy for Hatsumode (the first Shinto shrine visit of the New Year). Hatsumode occurs over the first three days of the New Year and is an auspicious occasion to worship and wish for good fortune. The shrine also regularly hosts numerous festivals, including two sumo dedicatory ceremonies in early January and at the end of September. You are likely to see couples dressed in wedding attire on your visit, as it is a common venue for Shinto marriage ceremonies.  Know before you go Admission is free, but if you want to experience the shrine at its most tranquil state, you might need to be up by dawn as the landm

News (832)

Guide to Kyotographie 2023: featured photographers, exhibition venues and more

Guide to Kyotographie 2023: featured photographers, exhibition venues and more

This year’s edition of Kyotographie will mark the first time in four years that the international photography festival can take place without border restrictions, meaning this upcoming programme will be the first true return of Kyotographie as we know it. Kyotographie 2023 will begin near the end of the sakura season on April 15 and run through May 14 with 15 main exhibitions highlighting renowned photographers from both Japan and overseas at some of Kyoto’s most compelling venues. Here’s everything we know about the event so far.  Photo: Diana MarkosianWorld Press Photo Frames and boundaries  In light of Japan’s full reopening, the overarching theme selected for this year’s event is ‘Border’, which feels well timed. But Kyotographie co-founders Lucille Reyboz and Yusuke Nakanishi also want to emphasise all the abstract lines that shape our society and the human experience.  Many of the exhibitions highlight critical global issues, as demonstrated in César Dezfuli’s ongoing project ‘Passengers’, which focuses on the migrant crisis at the borders of Europe. An exhibition dedicated to stories from the World Press Photo competition, meanwhile, features a series of photographs taken between 2000 and 2021, which have been selected based on their portrayal of gender inequality, modern feminism and the evolving role of women in our world today. Photo: ©Lucille ReybozSalif Keita Kyotophonie  In addition to its photography exhibitions, this year’s festival will bring the first eve

There's an Ultraman illumination in Osaka for the superhero's 55th anniversary

There's an Ultraman illumination in Osaka for the superhero's 55th anniversary

If fairy lights strung over a couple of trees feels a bit ‘been there, done that’, this Ultraman illumination display over in Osaka might convince you to brave the cold winter air for a little while. The event, held in the expansive Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park, celebrates 55 years of Ultraman with a series of after-dark displays based on the silver superhero and his kaiju foes.    Photo: Japan Illumination Association Organisers have said the scenes featured in the event have been selected from the most popular Ultraman stories and spin-offs covering the past few decades so fans of every generation will have something to look forward to.  Aside from Ultraman himself, characters you’ll spot among the installations include the Ultraman brothers and Anne Yuri from Ultraseven. There are even more kaiju to encounter, with supernatural villains like astronaut-turned-alien Jamila, the Deadly Starfish and the dinosaur-like Gomora. Photo: Japan Illumination Association The Ultraman Illumination is on now through March 5 at Tsurumi Ryokuchi Park. Tickets are available online and at the venue from ¥1,800 per adult (middle school students and above) and ¥800 per child (elementary school student and younger). As the event is in collaboration with Osaka Metro group, Pitapa IC transportation card-holders can present their card at the venue to receive a free LED souvenir.   More from Time Out Tokyo Incredible illuminations and light displays in Tokyo There's now a decadent Godiva shokupan for

5 new Japanese films and series coming to Netflix in February 2023

5 new Japanese films and series coming to Netflix in February 2023

December and January brought us a smashing line-up of new titles on Netflix, from the long-awaited second season of ‘Alice in Borderland’ to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘The Makanai’, but there’s no slowing down for February. On top of the standard rom-coms that are sure to crop up near Valentine's Day, a handful of dramas, uplifting comedies and thrilling suspense shows are due to hit Netflix Japan in the coming weeks. From the world premiere of Netflix’s original movie ‘Call Me Chihiro’, to the 2020 film ‘Gift of Fire’ that got overlooked during its release amid the pandemic, here are the best shows and films to look out for this February. Bear in mind that not all of these films offer English subtitles and regional restrictions may apply.  A Madder Red  Synopsis: Seven years after losing her husband in a traffic accident, Ryoko (Machiko Ono) is struggling to keep her family afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic. When her café business goes under, Ryoko finds herself juggling jobs at a flower shop and a sex club to support her father-in-law, who is in a nursing home, as well as her middle schooler Junpei.  Overview: Machiko Ono is spectacular in this story about the minority class who suffered most during the pandemic. While the film loses its footing a few times with its volatile plot devices and overly long runtime, ‘A Madder Red’ is filled with enough heart to make it worth your while. Available February 2.  Call Me Chihi

Tokyo Dome City is getting a major revamp this spring

Tokyo Dome City is getting a major revamp this spring

Tokyo Dome City in Bunkyo is chock full of attractions with its baseball stadium, amusement park rides and huge sento bathhouse. But the entertainment complex, which has been in business since 1958, has been in need of a little face lift for a while now. Fortunately, big changes are underway with new openings and renovations slated for the coming months.  Photo: Tokyo Dome Co., Ltd.Spa Laqua On top of general refurbishments, super sento Spa Laqua is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the addition of several facilities this May. This includes a low temperature sauna, new lounge area and an open-air deck with a bar and footbath.  Photo: Tim Ho Wan As for food, there are 20 new shops and restaurants that are scheduled to open between March and May. This will provide a wider variety of options for mealtimes, ranging from the Hong Kong dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan, to Japanese teishoku restaurant Akomeya and an outlet from the organic food and wellness brand Biople.  Photo: Tokyo Dome Co., Ltd.Artist's impression of the first floor food hall There’s also a new food hall – think department store depachika – coming mid-April, which will be on the first floor of the LaQua sento facility. There will be 25 vendors selling everything from coffee beans to fancy bento lunch boxes for those who want a quick and casual snack or something to bring home for dinner.  Photo: Tokyo Dome Co., Ltd. Finally, a new theatre is set to open sometime in December with capacity for 700 audience mem

You could win two seats at Noma Kyoto if you can identify a mystery ingredient

You could win two seats at Noma Kyoto if you can identify a mystery ingredient

Noma’s charging a whopping ¥125,000 per head for its upcoming pop-up at Ace Hotel in Kyoto, but that hasn’t put off zealous foodies from trying to get a table. In fact, all bookings for its two-month event – set to run from March 15 to May 20 2023 – were filled within mere minutes after the online reservation system was launched last November. There is, however, still some hope for Noma fans who haven’t managed to secure a booking – and we’re not just talking about the online waitlist. Noma chef-owner René Redzepi is now holding a small competition on his Instagram account, where anyone who can successfully name the main ingredient featured in his latest reel – as well as whatever it’s marinated in – can score two seats at Noma Kyoto. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Rene Redzepi (@reneredzepinoma) The chef has replied to several commenters who guessed sea creatures like jellyfish and cuttlefish saying they were ‘close’, but it seems no one has managed to hit the mark just yet.  If you think you might have an inkling as to what the mystery slab might be, leave a comment on Redzepi’s post and you might just land a spot at one of the world’s hottest dining tables.  More from Time Out Tokyo  There’s now a Yayoi Kusama robot in Tokyo The 2023 Japan cherry blossom forecast is here Japan to downgrade Covid-19 status to same level as seasonal flu The Little Prince Museum in Hakone is closing at the end of March This onsen in Morioka is rank

This is what Shibuya Nichome could look like in 2029

This is what Shibuya Nichome could look like in 2029

Central Shibuya might look a lot different compared to what it was five years ago, but recent developments like the Shibuya Miyashita Park complex are just the beginning of the district’s transformation. According to Tokyo’s Bureau of Urban Development, a new set of redevelopment projects designed for the west side of the Shibuya Nichome neighbourhood are slated to begin in 2025.  Photo: Tokyo Tatemono The plans include three new structures that are scheduled to open in 2029. The first building is a landmark that looks vaguely inspired by Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel in New York. The structure will have six floors including a basement level and a rooftop observatory that overlooks Aoyama-dori. Photo: Tokyo Tatemono The other two structures are skyscrapers that will be positioned across the road from each other. The first tower has floor space of roughly 2,220sqm with a total of 45 floors (41 storeys, plus four basement levels). The building's facilities include shops, hotel rooms and office spaces to accommodate both local residents and tourists. Photo: Tokyo Tatemono The second tower is of a similar design, with 41 storeys and two basement levels. All three buildings will be connected by sky bridges to give pedestrian access to the facilities without having to cross traffic.  And while we’re a few years away from the 2029 completion date, the wait for this is not nearly as long as the renovations for Shinjuku Station (scheduled to wrap up in 2046). So with that in mind,

Travel from Fukushima to Niigata on the spectacular Tadami Line train

Travel from Fukushima to Niigata on the spectacular Tadami Line train

A bucket list item that every globetrotter should aim to check off this year is a scenic train journey through Japan's dynamic natural landscapes. There’s a host of attractive sightseeing options to choose from, including novelty engines and luxury locomotives, but few trains can compete with the scenery that JR East’s Tadami line offers in the colder months. Photo: Yusheng Hsu/ShutterstockPhoto of a train crossing the Daiichi Tadami River Bridge in autumn Opened in 1928, this magnificent railway spans a total of 135 kilometres from Niigata’s Koide Station to Fukushima’s Aizu-Wakamatsu Station. Last October, the train line made headlines after sections that had been damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and torrential rains were finally restored and reopened after being out of service since 2011.   The full re-opening marked the first time in over a decade that nature lovers and train enthusiasts could experience what is often referred to as one of Japan’s most beautiful rural railways in its entirety. Though the picturesque landscapes of the journey are reason enough to make the pilgrimage from Niigata to Fukushima, the abundance of ski resorts and natural hot springs dotted along the route make it especially great for a winter getaway. Photo: Musashi2001/ShutterstockTsuruga Castle Start in Fukushima's city of Aizu-Wakamatsu, where you can visit sites like the reconstructed fortress of Tsuruga Castle before soaking in the natural springs of Higashiyama Onsen – a sma

Eat Play Works in Shibuya now offers sip and paint sessions on weekends

Eat Play Works in Shibuya now offers sip and paint sessions on weekends

Hiroo’s Eat Play Works complex is best known for its diverse collection of open-kitchen restaurants where you can wine and dine on Edo-style sushi, modern tacos, tapas and more. From this February, however, the venue will have even more to offer wine lovers with regular sip and paint workshops scheduled every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Photo: Eat Play Works The two-hour sessions are hosted by Artwine Tokyo, which opened its first atelier in Ueno last winter to encourage busy adults to get back in touch with their artistic side. All of the instructors hold visual arts degrees and anyone is welcome to join the workshops, especially beginners.  Photo: Eat Play Works Every session will feature a different bottle of wine, selected by an expert from the Japan Sommelier Association to match the painting of the day and its artist. A recreation of ‘The Kiss’ by Klimt, for instance, might call for a gold-hued glass of Austrian wine, whereas a session dedicated to van Gogh’s ‘Café Terrace at Night’ could come with a classic French red. At each session, you can expect to learn as much about each bottle of vino as you will about the featured artwork.  Photo: Eat Play Works Sip and paint classes at Eat Play Works will begin on February 3. Admission is priced at ¥7,700 per adult, which covers the cost of the wine and necessary materials. For bookings, visit EPW’s website. More from Time Out Tokyo The 2023 Japan cherry blossom forecast is here See beautiful cherry blossoms in Febru

Haneda Airport to get new complex with luxury hotels and express bus terminal

Haneda Airport to get new complex with luxury hotels and express bus terminal

Tokyo’s Haneda Airport is currently ranked as the world’s second best airport according to Skytrax's 2021/2022 World Airport Survey, but it could be vying for first place in 2023 with a new complex opening this month. Set to open on January 31, Haneda Airport Garden will be directly connected to Haneda Airport Terminal 3 and features a new bus terminal, a rooftop spa plus dozens of shops and restaurants. Photo: Sumitomo Fudosan Retail Management The facility also includes two Villa Fontaine hotels, which opened on December 21 2022. As its name suggests, Hotel Villa Fontaine Grand is the larger of the two, with a total of 1,557 guest rooms that include Japanese-style tatami rooms. Hotel Villa Fontaine Premier, meanwhile, is a touch more luxurious than its sister establishment with 160 spacious suites overlooking the Tamagawa River. Photo: Sumitomo Fudosan Retail ManagementLobby of Hotel Villa Fontaine Premier Those who don’t need to spend a whole night at the airport on their layover have the option of unwinding at the 2,000sqm hot spring facility on the 12th floor of the complex, which is open to non-hotel guests for a separate admission fee. On a clear day, you should be able to see the tip of Mt Fuji from the rooftop baths as planes fly overhead (hopefully the passengers will be too high in the sky to see you). Photo: Sumitomo Fudosan Retail Management Of all the fancy amenities soon to come, however, it's the bus terminal that has the potential to be a real game chan

Converse unveils new sneakers in collaboration with Nissin Cup Noodles

Converse unveils new sneakers in collaboration with Nissin Cup Noodles

Remember those limited-edition sneakers Reebok released with Baby Star Ramen? Well, it seems Converse is hot on their heels with its own series of ramen-inspired sneakers. In its new collaboration with Nissin Foods, Converse is dropping three All Star sneakers inspired by Cup Noodles on January 27.  Photo: Converse Japan The two high-top sneakers, which come in red and blue, are made to look like the styrofoam noodle cups you’ve seen in the convenience store, and have barcodes printed on their white canvas. The red sneaker is inspired by the original Cup Noodle flavour, while the blue one is based on the seafood noodles. Instructions for how to prepare your noodles are printed on sneaker tongues, but we don’t recommend steeping your shoes in hot water.  Photo: Converse Japan Rather than resembling the classic Cup Noodle packaging, the third sneaker has a slightly more subtle design with black canvas and white lettering that isn’t immediately identifiable. The low-tops, however, do come with coiled ramen-coloured laces that you can tie loosely if you want to fully embrace the springy noodle aesthetic.  Photo: Converse Japan Each pair of sneakers is priced at ​​¥13,200 and will be available for purchase online and in some Converse stores from January 27. You can find more about them here.  More from Time Out  The 2023 Japan cherry blossom forecast is here There's a frozen icicle forest just outside of Tokyo – and it's lit up at night Cherry blossom season has already beg

Harajuku is getting a new shopping complex with a rooftop vertical garden

Harajuku is getting a new shopping complex with a rooftop vertical garden

There are so many parts of Tokyo that are undergoing a massive overhaul, it’s hard to keep track of everything that’s set to open in the next year or two. Things are particularly busy in Shibuya, with renewal projects underway for central hubs like Yoyogi Park, Shibuya Marui and Shibuya Station. The ward is also set to open more shiny new buildings in the shopping district of Harajuku, including an unnamed project that will be based at the intersection of Omotesando and Meiji-dori (some of you will remember this as the former site of the Condomania flagship store). Photo: Tokyu Land Corporation Construction for the new shopping complex was originally expected to wrap up sometime in 2022, but is now set for completion in the spring of 2024 due to Covid-related setbacks. The building is designed by architect Akihisa Hirata and will have 12 floors, including three basement levels. From the artist’s rendering, it looks like the top floors will be reserved for a multi-level terrace featuring a vertical garden – something Hirata often incorporates into his projects.  Photo: Tokyu Land Corporation While the structure is expected to take up 3,085sqm on street level, it will have a total floor area of 19,930sqm. Similar to the photogenic entrance of Harajuku’s Tokyu Plaza, the new facility will feature mirror-like panels on its facade, which we think will make it an Instagram hit when it opens. This article was originally published on September 11 2020 and updated on December 5

The 2023 Japan cherry blossom forecast is here

The 2023 Japan cherry blossom forecast is here

Cold weather got you down? Keep your chin up, because we’re not too far away from sakura season. In fact, the Japan Meteorological Corporation has just released its first cherry blossom forecast of 2023, with predicted dates for sakura in Tokyo as well as other parts of Japan.  These forecasts are based on the Somei Yoshino cherry tree, which is considered to be the most popular variety of sakura. According to JMC, the warmer-than-average temperatures we’ve experienced from autumn 2022 till now indicate that the cherry trees will break dormancy a little later than usual, but this will only push peak blooming time back by a few days, if at all.  Photo: Japan Meteorological Corporation Tokyo will be one of the first cities to see cherry blossoms, where flowers are expected to begin blooming around March 22 and peak on March 30. Meanwhile, Kyoto's and Osaka’s blossoms are predicted to begin flowering on March 27 and March 28 respectively, with both cities expected to hit their peak blooming time on April 5.  As usual, the sakura season in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido is expected to overlap with the Golden Week holidays in early May. In Sapporo, the flowers are predicted to begin blossoming on May 2 and hit their peak on May 5.  The forecasts are subject to change as we draw closer to spring, but we’ll keep you updated as more information is released. In the meantime, check out these early-blooming winter cherry blossoms in Atami.  More from Time Out Tokyo Cherry

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