Travel guide: Tokyo - Episode 03 - Best places to stay in Tokyo

Finding accommodation in Tokyo is extremely simple as the city offers types that fit everyone's needs. Whether it's a luxury hotel, a family one, a ryokan, the brand new capsule style, or something cheaper, Tokyo offers everything. However, what really makes the difference is the neighborhood. As we have seen in our blogs, each of them proposes splits of a complex and fascinating society, characterized by history, culture, modernity, technology and much more.

For this episode dedicated to our practical guides, we have decided to offer you and collect a list of what for us are the best areas to stay in Tokyo based on interests and their most outstanding characteristics.

Back in time: Asakusa, Edo all the way!

photo credits: ar.jal.co.jp

Asakusa, with its picturesque streets, offers history and culture without precedent. This neighborhood allows its visitors to immerse themselves in what used to be the old Tokyo of the Edo period. Traditional restaurants, inns, and shops where crafted souvenirs can be found everywhere. The center is the Sensōji temple, dedicated to Kannon Sama, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, the oldest place of worship in Tokyo.

Charm at great heights: the romanticism of Ebisu

photo credits: tokyocheapo.com

One of the Yamamote Line stations is Ebisu, a district of Shibuya with its tall skyscrapers. Here we also find the Yebisu Garden Place, a tower with European architecture, whose entrance is free. Surrounded by squares and gardens, here you can dine in a restaurant that looks like a French castle and you can fall in love with a breathtaking view of all of Tokyo. Ebisu is also home to the Mitsukoshi department store, the Beer Museum and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.

Extravagant nightlife: Roppongi & Shinjuku

Tokyo

photo credits: flickriver.com

Roppongi is the neighborhood that, par excellence, hosts bars, izakaya and restaurants that offer any type of cuisine. Roppongi is especially known for the Roppongi Hills, a gigantic complex that includes offices, apartments, shops and restaurants. But also cinemas, parks, a museum, a hotel, a television studio, and an outdoor amphitheater. At the center of this whole area stands the Mori Tower, a 54-story building.

Even more "outside the box" is Shinjuku, whose nightlife is vast and in some ways even perverse thanks to Kabukicho, the famous red-light district and the Golden Gai, a maze of narrow streets lined with an impressive number of tiny bars.

Far from the frenzy: Meguro

Tokyo

photo credits: realestate.co.jp

Predominantly residential, metropolitan life pauses in Meguro and the atmosphere is hipster. Here there are unique boutiques, elegant cafes, restaurants and vintage shops. However, what makes it all magical is the tree-lined area along the Meguro River. Here in spring the cherry trees give this neighborhood a rosy and extremely relaxing hue in which to enjoy a traditional picnic.

Kids will love Odaiba

Tokyo

photo credits: livejapan.com

There is no place more suitable then Odaiba for families. This artificial island offers plenty of entertainment for children of all ages. In fact, here we find the Toyota Mega Web, the famous Miraikan museum, Joypolis, Legoland and many shopping centers, overflowing with restaurants for every taste.

For lovers of luxury and food, nothing is comparable to Ginza

photo credits: gotokyo.org

There is no neighborhood known for its luxury shopping area like Ginza. Here we can find famous (and expensive) shops, but also department stores that, in the basement, host truly unique food shops. Moreover, Ginza is also famous for its restaurants that range from French haute cuisine to fusion dishes. But also for small izakaya and sophisticated cocktail lounges. In short, if you love drinking and eating and you want to devote yourself to gastronomic tourism, this is for you!

Fashion, dynamism and transport: Shibuya

Tokyo

photo credits: photo-collection.geo.fr

Want to experience the real frenzy of Tokyo? Shibuya will not disappoint you! This is in fact one of the most dynamic areas of the city. Constantly illuminated by the giant screens that are present on all the buildings, it is also the most colorful and characteristic area thanks to the young people who are dedicated to the art of cosplay. Not to mention the ganguro fashions (flashy and kitsch alternative clothing) and kogal (clothing and makeup are flashy and inspired by the West, exasperating our characteristics). Shibuya is one of the largest transport hubs in the country. From here, trains, metro, and highways will allow you to get anywhere at any time!

After reading each neighborhood's offers, which of these areas correspond to your personality? What do you look for in your stay in Tokyo? Write us your opinions and tell us about your experiences related to one of the most beautiful cities in the world!


Travel guide: Tokyo - Episode 01

Traveling is a unique experience that allows us to broaden our cultural background and come into contact with realities that are more or less distant from ours. In the same way, however, one of the most widespread customs is that of returning home, bringing back even material memories.
For this reason, in this new episode of our special guides, we want to show you where, how and what to buy in Tokyo!

We do not want to nourish the spirit of consumerism in you, but rather to lead you on the path of unique, cute, useful, necessary, satisfying purchases. In fact, the human being also needs to feel pampered and to spend some extra money for the sake of it.
So here is our little trip to the Tokyo shopping world!

Walking through Asakusa: Nakamise Dori

photo credits: thejapanesedreams.com

The Nakamise Dori is one of the most characteristic pedestrian shopping streets in Asakusa. Lined with numerous stalls where you can find traditional souvenirs and snacks, it is a perfect stop for last-minute purchases. The shops that line the street are a real paradise for those looking for washi, the Japanese paper for origami.

In the heart of Shinjuku: Okadaya

Tokyo shopping

photo credits: shinjuku-guide.com

The Okadaya store offers 6 floors of craft items, yarns, sewing kits, DIY guide books, linings, traditional Japanese materials, and other special fabrics. A destination much loved by students attending the design and fashion school nearby!

100 Yen or so: Daiso

Tokyo shopping

photo credits: planetyze.com

Daiso today is a brand known in many countries around the world and there are plenty of shops throughout Japan. In Tokyo, it's the ideal place to spend little and find a lot of objects more or less useful, cute, funny, particular and so on. Despite the extremely low cost, they are of a surprising quality!

Cuteness overload: Aranzi Aronzo, Character Street, Sunshine City e Yamashiroya

photo credits: matcha-jp.com

In the Tokyo sky tree shopping center, Aranzi Aronzo was opened, a store where everything is "cute, strange and cuddly". Here we can find tender characters in the form of toys, household items, stationery, accessories and craft books.

On the lower level of the Tokyo station, from the Yaesu and Marunouchi exits, the Character Street peeps out on First Avenue. It is an entire commercial street overflowing with shops dedicated to the most beloved characters in Japan. Here we find Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Totoro, Miffy, Tamagotchi, Rement, and Pokemon! Also at the Okashi Land, it is possible to stock up on the most famous sweets and desserts known as Pocky!

Tokyo shopping

photo credits: happyjappy.com

Instead, near the Ikebukuro station, there is a skyscraper of 60 floors inside which we find two shopping centers! In Sunshine City, there are wonderful shops like Donguri Kyowakoku, where you can find anything with a Studio Ghibli theme. And let's not forget about Dagashiya, where you can buy all kinds of sweets in lovely packages. HAPiNS, where you can find unique and delicious utensils and objects for the home and the plush toys of Hannari Tofu and Alpacasso. In addition, we also find the Pokemon Center, the Sanrio Vivitix, Kutsushitaya, the Village Vanguard, Swimmer. In short, there is certainly plenty of choice!
Yamashiroya is right in front of the entrance to Ueno station. A splendid store of 6 floors to be explored that offer all kinds of toys, collectors' items, action figures. But also stuffed animals of every kind and brand, souvenirs and lots of gacha-machines that supply some of the most beautiful gashapons!

The Creative Life: Tokyu Hands

Tokyo shopping

photo credits: gotokyo.org

The Tokyu Hands has really many branches scattered around Japan and here in Tokyo, they are easily traceable to Ikebukuro, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. It is the store par excellence where you can really find everything and everything typically Japanese! Whether they are creative, artistic and craft items, household items, beautiful stationery. Or suitcases, pots, furniture or tools for DIY, Tokyu Hands is a paradise. This is probably the place for which I would recommend an absolutely mandatory visit!

Which of these stores struck you most? Do you already have in mind a list of things that you absolutely must buy once you arrive in Tokyo? I believe that you will go crazy and you will probably spend money on absurd objects that you never thought you needed ... at least until that moment!


TENOHA & | TASTE: Sake Experience with Ayako Yoshida

The Hakken menu continues at TENOHA MILANO but this time we are talking about sake!

sake hakken

TENOHA MILANO once again brings Japan to Italy. Get ready, organize three special days with those you love or with friends to come to TENOHA Milano! This special Japanese drink becomes again the protagonist of a new experience with the collaboration of CBCTV Japan!
The internationally renowned sake sommelier, Ayako Yoshida, will take us on a wonderful journey with the company of different types of sake from two areas of Japan, Hokuriku and Shinshu.

Ayako Yoshida has decided to let us get to know these new flavors directly from Japan! Absolutely unique food and drinks, you can't miss this special occasion! The TENOHA aperitif is always more unique than rare, you can't find the same or better anywhere else, but this time they have outdone themselves! Are you ready? Obviously you will find us from Japan Italy Bridge here in the front row, join us in discovering new flavors!

Sake Hakken Hightlights

※ Special Guest: Ayako Yoshida, internationally renowned sake sommelier
※ Japanese welcome drink
※ Sake selection and food pairing with specialties from Hokuriku and Shinshu
※ Japanese Tea

Information

When: 6-7-8 December from 6.00pm to 8.30pm
Where: &|TASTE TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Cost: 12€

*Powered by CBCTV


TENOHA & | TASTE: Hakken Wagyu!

Attention, please! A GREAT NEWS! How much did you dream of eating Wagyu meat while not in Japan? TENOHA MILANO has decided to give you another great opportunity! Every Sunday in December, you can try a new HAKKEN menu and she is the protagonist, the much-vaunted and desired Wagyu meat, in particular, the beef sirloin [KAGOSHIMA GRADE A5].

Tenoha Wagyu Tenoha Wagyu
You can take advantage of three menus which are described below:

Menu 1 Menu 2 Menu 3
Starter:
NIGIRI SETS (2pcs)
WAGYU NIGIRI
Nigiri Sushi
Sirloin of
Wagyu beef
GYU COMPARISON
Nigiri sushi from Wagyu and Chianina beef
* WAGYU UDON *
Udon in broth of
dashi with wagyu,
chive and ginger

Let's enjoy the holidays at TENOHA Milano, because in addition to all the fantastic surprises in store, they decided to let us taste the Wagyu meat in its best shape! Obviously, Japan Italy Bridge will be here!

Information

Where: & | TASTE TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
When: Dal 01 Dicembre al 30 Dicembre

Carne Wagyu sponsored by “Selection Prime Meat”


Japan History: Shimazu Yoshihiro

Shimazu Yoshihiro (August 21, 1535 - August 30, 1619), also known as Shimazu Tadahira and Hyogo no kami. Second son of Shimazu Takahisa, he was the 17th Shimazu clan leader.

Shimazu Yoshihiro

photo credits: japanworld.info

He began serving his brother Yoshihisa in many military campaigns. During the battle of Kizaki, the "Okehazama of Kyūshū" in 1572, 300 men of Yoshihiro defeated Itō Yoshisuke's three thousand soldiers. In 1577 he obtained the supremacy of the Shimazu over the province of Hyūga. Later he participated in the battles of Takabaru (1576), Mimigawa (1576), Minamata (1581), and Hetsugigawa (1587).

The life of Shimazu Yoshihiro: From 1587 to 1600

In 1587 he was appointed daimyō following the submission of the Shimazu to Hideyoshi. He later led 10,000 men in the first Korean campaign (1592-93) from his ship Kotaka-maru. During this battle, a number of servants including his brother Toshihisa protested the call to arms and for this, they were punished by Yoshihiro. He then fought the second Korean campaign in the battles of Namwon and Sacheon. With these battles, he kidnapped some Korean potters as prisoners of war. This created a new style of vases called Satsuma-yaki which subsequently increased trade in the province.

Shimazu Yoshihiro

photo credits: facebook.com

During the battle of Sekigahara in the 1600s, according to the novel Rakusuishū of the Edo period, Yoshihiro appears to have been on the side of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Later humiliated by Torii Mototada on arrival at Fushimi's castle, he moved over to Ishida Mitsunari before Mōri Terumoto declared war by persuading Uesugi Kagekatsu to ally with them.

Yoshihiro and Mitsunari

According to his subordinate Kando Kutarō, Yoshihiro was a close friend of Mitsunari. However, novelists of the Edo period distorted reality by saying that Mitsunari had not listened to any of Yoshihiro's plans, including the notorious surprise night attack of the day before the real battle. Instead, that day, Yoshihiro and his 1500 samurai simply presided over their area without a fight. Yoshihiro was stormed by at least 30,000 Ieyasu troops, so he tried many times to get to the same Ieyasu. Yoshihiro retired and his troops simulated a false retreat called Sutegamari when a number of men died repelling the attacks. Toyohisa and most of the troops died allowing Yoshihiro to retire with his wife. He then moved from the province of Settsu to return to the province of Satsuma.

Shimazu Yoshihiro

photo credits: japanworld.info

Shiramine Jun, an important Japanese historian, wrote that Yoshihiro had been involved in the power struggle between Shimazu Yoshihisa and Ijuin Tadamune. In fact, for this reason, Yoshihiro lost the support of Yoshihisa during the Sekigahara campaign.

Ieyasu, noting Yoshihiro's behavior on the battlefield, caused the Shimazu clan to maintain his rule. In fact, he chose Yoshihiro's son Shimazu Tadatsune as his successor. In 1609, Yoshihiro and Tadatsune began a punitive expedition against the Ryūkyu kingdom.
He appears to have fought in 52 battles during his lifetime and was a skilled commander.

The death

Yoshihiro retired to Sakurajima and started teaching the younger generation. He died in 1619 causing the suicide of many of his servants who had joined him for the rest of his life.


TENOHA & | WORKSHOP: customized pop-up cards

We are approaching Christmas and TENOHA MILANO, who has always accustomed us to wonderful surprises, has decided to give us another special event: a workshop dedicated to personalizing your greeting cards!

TENOHA

This is a Christmas edition workshop to wait for the holidays together with a great artist, Anne Lise, aka Lili, who for over eleven years has worked for important international brands as an illustrator. In her Atelier, she organizes workshops to give space to imagination and DIY.

The gift is certainly beautiful, but accompanied by a special and personalized ticket is even better! Do you want to build your greeting card and amaze everyone? You can do it here at TENOHA Milano. It will be an experience not only unique but certainly fun. TENOHA Milano never leaves us without surprises! We are waiting for you!

TENOHA Biglietti pop up

Information

When: 30 novembre dalle 16.00 alle 18.00
Where: & | WORK TENOHA MILANO — Via Vigevano, 18, 20144 Milano
Cost: 30€ pax
Pax: 10 max


Travel Guide: Osaka

Let's continue the through among the prefectures and cities of Japan and today we take you to Osaka!

Osaka Osaka

photo credits: easyviaggio.com

The ancient capital

During the Tokugawa period, from 683 to 745, Osaka (大阪) was the capital of Japan with the name of Naniwa (難波). However, during the Meiji era the capital was moved to Tokyo. Subsequently, Osaka became the center of land, sea and river transport thanks to the entrepreneurs who took command of industrial development. During the Second World War, the city was razed to the ground, but the great Japanese spirit did not allow its defeat. In fact, Osaka was rebuilt more prosperous than it ever had been.
Today Osaka is considered as "the cuisine of Japan". Moreover, it is an important economic and port center, as well as the third most important city in the country.

Osaka Osaka

photo credits: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cowardlion

Falling in love with Osaka

Holder of unique charm, Osaka is a city that must necessarily fit into your wish list as it will make you fall in love in a short time!
A fundamental stop is the Osaka Castle, a place so loved during the Hanami period thanks to the 600 cherry trees that surround it. The castle built in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi is considered one of the most important historical attractions in Japan!

Osaka Osaka

If you love breathtaking views, the Umeda Sky Building will make you dream with its 360-degree view of the entire city. From its ultramodern observatory located 173 meters high, it is indeed possible to take breathtaking photos! In addition to Umeda you can devote yourself to shopping thanks to its spectacular shopping malls. Moreover, remaining in the theme, if you can not resist the shopping idea, you can go to Shinsaibashi. Shopping district par excellence, every tourist crosses the 600 meters of the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade with its numerous boutiques, retail stores, and luxurious department stores!


photo credits: gaijinpot.com

We said that Osaka is considered the "kitchen of Japan", for this reason, you should definitely visit Dotonbori. Glico Man (Glico is the name of the famous candy company that produces Pocky) will welcome you!

photo credits: favy-jp.com

This giant was installed in 1935 and has become the landmark of Dotonbori.
About 30 years later the mechanized crab of the Kani Doraku restaurant was built. This place serves all kinds of crab followed by Zuboraya and Kinryu Ramen, the most famous restaurants in the neighborhood.

Osaka Osaka

photo credits: 123rf.com

If you love museums, you cannot give up the Naniwa Rekihaku, the Osaka History Museum. Housed in a building with ultra-modern features, its specialty is that the visit to the museum starts from the tenth floor, the last one! From ancient Japan, the various floors dedicated to the various historical periods of the city are discovered in descent. Finally, we arrive at the first floor where there are the inevitable souvenir shops.

In the Edo period, Osaka was also the capital of Bunraku. This is a form of theatrical performance characterized by the use of puppets that entertained both the nobility and the population. Bunraku shows are generally held in January, April, June, July, August, and November in specific weeks. Please check the information on the National Bunraku Theater shows here: https://www.ntj.jac.go.jp/bunraku.html

photo credits: japantravel.com

And if after all of this you feel like having fun, a visit to the most beloved park in Japan is a must! We are talking about Universal Studios Japan (ユニーサルスタジオジャパン). The park is divided into 9 thematic areas: Hollywood, Universal Wonderland, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Amity Village, Waterworld, Jurassic Park, San Francisco, Minion Park and New York. For all information and details, please refer to the official website also available in English: https://www.usj.co.jp/e/

Osaka Osaka

photo credits: neverendingvoyage.com

Have we managed to intrigue you? Or have you already visited Osaka and fell in love with it? Tell us all your impressions! There is nothing more beautiful than memories to share a dream.


Journey through Kumamoto

In the Kyushu region stands Kumamoto (本市), surrounded by mountains and with its landscapes created by the volcanic activity of Mount Aso.

Kumamoto

photo credits: japantravel.com

When we think of this city, the immediate reference is that of the black bear with red cheeks: Kumamon (くまモン). A true symbol of the prefecture that has become its own mascot, Kumamon also helps promote tourism in Japan and abroad with the "Kumamon Square"! (official website in Japanese and English: https://www.kumamon-sq.jp/en/)

kumamon

photo credits: kyushuandtokyo.org

The origins

During the Nara period, Katou Kiyomasa was named daimyō in 1588 and built the impregnable Kumamoto castle around which the village grew. The Kiyomasa clan was succeeded by Hosokawa's. In 1877, former Satsuma samurai rebelled against the Meiji government with the Satsuma rebellion. The Castle of Kumamoto remained under siege for 53 days between drying out and fires, even the town was razed to the ground. A little curiosity, the facts of the Satsuma rebellion are narrated in the beautiful film "The last samurai".

The new political order was re-established in 1889, giving Kumamoto the role of an important economic and industrial centre of Kyushu. Thanks to this it obtained the title of "city designated by government ordinance" (政令指定都市) counting as many as 5 neighbourhoods within it. The districts of the city are Kita-Ku (北区) the northern district, Nishi-Ku (西区) the west district, Chūō-Ku (中央区) the city centre, Higashi-Ku (東区) the east district and Minami-Ku (南区) the southern district.
Unfortunately a violent earthquake struck the prefecture in 2016 causing enormous damage, but the great Japanese spirit did not allow its inhabitants to surrender and today Kumamoto is still shining.

Kumamoto

photo credits: zingarate.com

Explore Kumamoto

During the 60s and 70s, the castle underwent a massive restoration returning to its former glory. An unmissable stop is the Suizen-Ji Jōju-en garden built in 1636 by Hosokawa Tadatoshi. This serves as a retreat for tea thanks to the pure water of the pond. Inside there is the sanctuary of Izumi where members of the Hosokawa family are kept, a Nōgaku-dō and a Noh theatre. The Kokin-Denju-no-Ma teahouse was originally in the Kyoto Imperial Palace, but was moved here in 1912. The garden was declared a historic site of scenic beauty by the national government.

Kumamoto

photo Credits: sygic.com

If you love museums, a must is the Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art. Just 500 meters from the castle, it houses several sections dedicated to modern Japanese, European and American art. In the museum, we find an area where the funerary objects found in the kofun (ancient burial mounds) and a last part dedicated to the finds belonging to the city are collected. Kumamoto is spectacular also thanks to its landscapes. In fact, one of the most magical places from which to enjoy breathtaking views of the entire prefecture is the Hanaokayama Koen park. Lake Ezu is located in the south of the city. This stretch of water is surrounded by an immense natural oasis in which to walk, fish, take a ride on the characteristic Japanese boats for hire, or do birdwatching. Staying with nature, it is interesting to visit the Kumamoto City Zoological Garden. Here we find 124 different species of animals, beautiful botanical gardens and a small funfair.

photo Credits: zoosinjapan.blogspot.com

There is a place that it is worth visiting: the Reigando cave (霊巌洞). Sacred and mysterious, this cave rises at the foot of Mount Kinpo. This place has achieved fame mainly because here the philosopher Musashi Miyamoto composed the treatise on martial arts "Go Rin No Sho" (The Book of Five Rings. But not only that, it is here that over the centuries, monks, poets and warriors they went to meditate.

Kumamoto

photo Credits: kumamoto-guide.jp

To reach Reigando it is necessary to cross the Zen Buddhist temple of Unganzenji. The path consists of a steep stone staircase to the sides of which 500 unique statues of the enlightened followers of Buddha unfold. At the end of the path opens the entrance to the cave that overlooks the forest. At the back of the cave is the four-faced goddess Iwato Kanon. It is said that the statue was mysteriously washed in the cave 1000 years ago after the ship that transported it sank.

Kumamoto

photo Credits: japanshoreexcursions.com

Spiritual and relaxing, Kumamoto can really give its visitors a lot and absolutely deserves to be visited and loved, like every city in Japan.