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Midtown Loves Summer
Tokyo Midtown gears up for the hot season with a packed programme of summery fun. The complex interior will be decorated with wind chimes, while the expansive outdoor lawn, which will be illuminated at night, is where to dip your feet in a cool stream or sit down for some refreshments at the Roku Midpark Lounge. To top things off, there's a huge art garden, with digital art creating a motif of a Japanese-style rock garden through light and fog special effects, combined with a digital hanabi (fireworks) show.
Sports x Manga
In preparation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, Panasonic, one of the sponsors, is fueling the hype for the upcoming Games with a special exhibition, showcasing 100 works of Japanese sports manga. Look forward to famous football comic ‘Captain Tsubasa’, high school basketball story ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ and the '80s baseball-themed manga 'Touch', all displayed using the latest in Panasonic technology, such as projectors and LCD panels. Discover the evolution of sports in manga through the different decades, learn about the history and culture, and experience the latest in cutting-edge technology – all at this free exhibition.
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Guide to climbing Mt Fuji
July doesn’t only mark the beginning of summer, it’s also the kick-off season for adventurous hikers who plan to conquer Mt Fuji (3,776m), the iconic peak that have to symbolise Tokyo and Japan as a whole. This active stratovolcano is also the highest mountain in Japan. Climbing season lasts roughly three months until early September; any attempt out of this period is prohibited. Before taking on the challenge, there is quite a lot to prepare – so let’s get right to it.
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Where to stay in Tokyo
Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Though it shares a celebrity buzz with its sister hotel the Park Hyatt, the effortlessly sleek Grand is pleasingly low-key. Its location in the upmarket Roppongi Hills complex might not suit those who like their Tokyo served straight up, but by the same token it provides a restful retreat. And having high-end shops and restaurants, a 53-floor panorama and world-class art on your doorstep can be considered quite an amenity. As is the Nagomi spa (though there’s a charge for guests) which, in addition to the usual list of artful treatments, has a lap pool, steam and sauna and a luminous white jacuzzi. Though not flashy, the guest rooms are extremely comfortable and well thought out, with dimmable lights, Bose stereos and free high-speed internet, and a tub you could park your car in. A 10th anniversary renovation has added Oxford chairs, original washi paper artwork and Bluetooth connectivity to the amenities.
Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
Focusing not just on Tokyo, but on the historic Nihonbashi area in which it sits, the Mandarin is the antidote to that feeling that luxury hotels are the same the world over. Many of the materials are sourced from local artisans. The lobby and rooms all hint at traditional Japanese motifs, from the torii shrine gates and washi paper lanterns to the woven fabrics that hang in place of paintings. The view from the rooms trumps most of its top-end rivals, with a mosaic of lights from the business district in the foreground, and Mt Fuji straight ahead.
Hot new openings
Craving a late-night parfait? This cosy café in Ikebukuro caters to those who prefer a sweet dessert over a boozy night on the town. From 5pm (3pm on weekends) you can devour an over-the-top parfait creation made from fresh fruit, sorbet, gelato, whipped cream and various other toppings. The items at this Hokkaido-born ‘parfaiteria’ change monthly based on what's in season, so you'll want to come back frequently to see what they have in store.
This new sour specialty shop inspired by Harajuku's shopping mecca Cat Street has its roots in Kyoto, and and has brought around 20 of their boozy creations to the streets of Shibuya. Choose from fruity options mixed with shochu including lemon, watermelon, pineapple, kiwi and passion fruit, all topped off with their respective pieces of fruit. Sour Harajuku's interior concept was also designed by the clever folks behind Kyoto-based shop and gallery Vou/Bo, where they've completed the space with artwork by artists from Japan's former capital.