Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo As a person who love all things art and crafts I've hunted down the best shops that I could find during my travels in Tokyo. Here's a guide to my personal favourites. Read more

Japan Candy Box review + giveaway

Japan Candy Box This is a promotional post. The Japan Candy Box was kindly sent to us to try and review for Why So Japan. We've been wanting to try a Japanese themed box for a long time now and thanks Read more

Japanese TV Adverts #54

It's been a while since we last posted about Japanese TV adverts from YouTube user JPCMHD who uploads them regularly. They're always fun to watch, and the latest upload includes adverts for Mouse the computer company, Y! Mobile with Read more

Elvis Presley’s influence in Japan

This is a collaborative post. Often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King,” Elvis Presley’s influence and image makes him one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. He’s so popular Read more

JAPAN - Where tradition meets the future

Japan National Tourism Organization JNTO in Europe has just started it's largest ever promotional campaign for inbound tourism from Europe, as a part of the visit Japan project. The tourism organization based in London has launched a site showcasing what Japan has Read more

Media

JAPAN – Where tradition meets the future

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

Japan National Tourism Organization

JNTO in Europe has just started it’s largest ever promotional campaign for inbound tourism from Europe, as a part of the visit Japan project. The tourism organization based in London has launched a site showcasing what Japan has to offer in “tradition and “innovation”.  The JNTO will be promoting Japan in 15 different European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and more via several media platforms. The campaign showcases Japan through the eyes of Europeans with an interactive site, with it’s main feature being a video that was made by filmmaker Vincent Urban from Germany. Vincent Urban has also made the video “In Japan 2015”, which to date has been viewed on Vincent’s Vimeo channel over 2.2 million times. Check our previous post on his video and other great filmed in Japan by clicking here: http://www.whysojapan.com/videos-filmed-japan/

Where tradition meets the future

The film was shot in 45 different locations in Tokyo, Kyoto, Kumano and Ise – from the modern to the traditional and beyond. The video takes you on a whirlwind journey through the modern sites of arcade centres, Tokyo Skytree and the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, to the beautiful picturesque scenes of the the Great Buddha of Nara and the unbelievable Sagano Bamboo Forest Road in Kyoto, just to name a few. After watching the interactive video on the site you can click back to all the different parts of the video and read more information about the certain location in the film. I found this to be a great feature, because I’ve now been able to discover more parts of Japan that I want to visit.

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

The second section to the site is an interview part with people from Europe have been asked questions about Japan and their experiences. The site is available in five different European languages (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish).

whysojapan Where tradition meets the future tourism

I found the whole site to be beautiful. A great read, I loved the interactive video, and even the background music that is played while on the site is lovely. I think that this will be just the start as we look forward to the 2020 Olympics, where Japan is going become more and more in demand.

Visit the site here: http://visitjapan-europe.jnto.go.jp/en/

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Posted on by Paul in Media, Visiting Leave a comment

Videos filmed in Japan

why so japan tokyo japan travel blog video Videos filmed in Japan

Videos filmed in Japan

Once in a while we stumble upon videos filmed in Japan that really connect us back to Japan. It’s that feeling the videos give that sort of sums up how you have seen Japan and how it makes you feel – from the ultra modren sights of Tokyo with everyone and everything working and moving at a high pace of life – to the more traditional and not in rush way of living. Even though both the videos are filmed in a modern style I still think they capture Japan in the ways that we have seen it while traveling around. Of couse, every one has a different take on Japan.

Japan 2015

Filmed by: Vincent Urban, Alex Schiller and Alex Tank. A collection of moments and memories of a 3-week railway journey through Japan. What we love about this video is that you get to see so many different things from Japan in just one video. Check out Vincent’s Vimeo page for more of his work: https://vimeo.com/vincenturban

 

Hello Tokyo

Filmed by: Christoph Gelep. A collection of time lapses shot around Tokyo, this was Christoph’s first time in Tokyo and the videos are shot over 5 days. This is another great video and we just love how he managed to capture the busy life of Tokyo on video. Check out Christoph’s Vimeo page for more of his work: https://vimeo.com/user16483724

 

 

why so japan tokyo japan travel vlog video Videos filmed in Japan

These were just two videos that we came across that really made us think of why we love Japan and why we must visit Japan as often as we can. Through these videos we can relive stuff we love and find new things to see and do. When you think you have seen all Japan has to offer you find the next new amazing place or thing just around the corner.

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Posted on by Paul in Media, Visiting Leave a comment

Takeshita Dori – Shopping in Harajuku

Takeshita Dori

Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street in English) is a very famous shopping street in Harajuku. It’s a pedestrian only street and the shops are focused on fashion, Japanese pop culture and young people. The street is about 400 meters long and there are a lot of shops on both sides.

The area

This part of Tokyo is seen as an youthful area. There are a lot of clothes shops with the latest trends in fashion, alternative styles and independent designers. Harajuku has become famous for young people dressed in more fun or alternative fashion styles, such as visual-kei, lolita and cosplay and hanging out on the Jingu bridge and in the Yoyogi park. Takeshita Dori is the place where new trends are tested and where you can spot Harajuku celebrities like Shironuri. It’s also where Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was discovered.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan harajuku station

Shopping

Of course, everyone won’t have the same favourite shops, it depends on your personal taste, but if you like Japanese fashion you’re very likely to find something you like here. You’ve got shop after shop after shop along the street. Some are more expensive, some are cheap. I didn’t have any problems finding clothes that were just as nice as the ones you find in Shibuya 109, but a lot cheaper, the difference being they’re no brand here. But you can also find very famous and more expensive brands too, like Liz Lisa.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan liz lisa

Here’s a list of a few of my favourite shops:

Paris Kids
Cheap and fun jewellery. You’ll find lots of teenagers coming here, because everything is so cheap. I think it’s a set price, 324 yen last time I was there, for each item. You’ll find necklaces, ear rings, bracelets, hair accessories and more. I found lots of nice necklaces that were typical Japanese and Harajuku style. I loved it! You’ll find the shop on your left hand side, if coming from the station, and it’s at the beginning of the street.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan paris kids

Daiso 100 Yen Shop
Daiso is a 100 Yen chain shop. They sell everything and anything, and it’s fun browsing the shop. It’s pretty big, several floors, and you will find beauty products, stationary, sweets, kitchen items, crafts and lots more. A lot of the things are of lower quality, but you can find some great bargains too. Daiso is also located at the left hand side.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan daiso

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan daiso 100 yen

Wonder Rocket
I absolutely love this clothing shop. You’ll recognize it by the mannequins with hare masks. The clothes are very Japanese, I’d say romantic and mori girl would describe their style. Lots of muted earthy tones and pastel colours, lace, ribbons and flowers. I absolutely love just browsing the shop and looking at all the pretty things they have for sale. It’s located on the right hand side, a bit further down on the street.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan wonder rocket

The crepes
Not really a shop, it’s a food stall. Harajuku is famous for it’s delicious crepes, and I dont think it’s possible to walk though Takeshita dori without stopping for a crepe. The queues can be long, but they move pretty fast, and it’s well worth the wait. They have loads of different fillings and I try to remember to try out a new one every time we are there. They’ve got whipped cream, strawberries, mochi, red bean paste, banana, chocolate sauce, ice cream, custard, peach… I could go on forever. Remember to stand to the side or have a sit down while enjoying your crepe, since it’s considered rude to eat and walk in Japan. If you go to the big crepe stand somewhere in the middle of the street on the left hand side, there’s a good area just behind the crepe stand for eating. You’ll probably see it, because that’s where everyone else is sitting or standing.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan crepes

How to get there

Takeshita Dori is located in Harajuku, an area in Shibuya in Tokyo. to get there, take the Yamanote Line to the Harajuku station. There are two exists, the southern exit is closer to the Yoyogi Park and northen exit is closer to Takeshita Dori, and it’s this exit you want to take, because as soon as you’re out of the station, you just have to cross over to the other side of the road, and there you have Takeshita Dori. If you happen to come out the other exit, you walk down the hill to the left until you reach the crossing and then cross the street. It’s very easy to spot Takeshita Dori once you’re close to it, because the entrance has a gate you can’t miss and the street is probably packed with people.





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Fashion, Food & snacks, Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment

Visiting Sega Joypolis Odaiba

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

Joypolis

Joypolis, or Joiporisu (ジョイポリス) in Japanese, is an amusement park chain in Japan and China, where the games and rides are based on Sega’s characters and games. The first Joypolis opened in Yokohama in Japan in 1994, and has since then spread to Odaiba in Tokyo,  Umeda in Osaka, Okayama City in Okayama and Qingdao in China. There used to be more parks, but they were forced to close due to not enough visitors.

On one of our first trips to Tokyo we saw the Joypolis out at Odaiba, but it was closed for refurbishment, which was a shame, since it sounded really fun to go to. Luckily enough, the next time we were in Japan we decide to go there with a couple of Japanese friends. To get to the Odaiba park you can take the Yurikamome line to the Odaiba Kaihin Kouen Station, or the Rinkai line to the Tokyo Teleport Station, and then walk a few minutes to Decks shopping mall. It’s located on the western side of the mall, and once there you can’t miss it.

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

We all meet up at the venue and used the lockers outside to store stuff we didn’t really want to carry around with us inside. We payed our entrance fee and we were in. You can either pay an entrance fee and once inside use the vending machines to buy tickets for each ride, or you can buy a passport for entrance admission with rides included. We got the passports, so we could go on any ride without having to bother with getting tickets.

As soon as you enter the venue your brain is filled with lots of sights and sounds. It’s like entering a night club, but with theme park attractions instead. It was very obvious we were in a Sega run company, with loads of Sonic the Hedgehog and other Sega characters. The place definitely felt like an amusement park, even though it was all inside.

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

 

First we went on a roller coaster ride, which also involved shooting at monsters. We rode a few cool simulators rides, which were great fun. My favourite was a racing car ride, where you sit in real cars that are up on hydraulics with a big screen in front of you, giving you the feeling that you are driving a real car at high speed. Great fun! One of the more scary things was a walk through horror story of The Ring. Sadly it has now been replaced. There were lots of arcades, which were fun too. There’s even an archarde game above the urinal in the men’s toilet! I think in rides way, the roller coaster is probably the biggest ride at the venue. I wouldn’t say it’s an amusement park for thrill seekers, it’s more of a place for all ages to have a good night out.

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

whysojapan odaiba joypolis amusement park sega

It did come in handy that we visited Joypolis with two native speakers, since some things were only in Japanese and they could help translate for us, but for the most part we did not find the language barrier a problem at all. We would recommend this place and it’s the perfect place to for a great night out with a minute of rides, 3D movies, even a live digital show on the stage sometimes and a whole lot more. Check with the homepage for the different price packages before visiting Joypolis to get the best value ticket.

Link: Ticket information in English

 





Posted on by Vega @ whysojapan.com in Reviews, Visiting Leave a comment

Don Quijote – Japan’s Best Discount Store

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

Don Quijote

Our first experience with Don Quijote (ドン・キホーテ) was the Kabuki-cho Shinjuku store in Tokyo. It was stocked with goods, floor after floor. On our first trip to Tokyo we must have gone into that particle store almost everyday and we would check out one floor at a time. We found that it was best to visit the shop when it was not so busy, because the shop could get really crowed at certain times of the day. We soon learned that the best times were early in the morning, around 10am, or late at night after 10pm.  Even better was after 12 at night, because the store is open 24/7, which is great. In the store you get to listen to the store’s own theme tune, playing on a loop, called “Miracle Shopping” (ミラクルショッピング?) sung by Maimi Tanaka, who was a store employe.

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki

Stores

There are a few other Don Quijote stores that you can visit in Tokyo. One night, while we were walking around in Shinjuku, we found this other Don Quijote. It was late at night, like 12:30am I think, and we just saw loads of neon light and the Don Quijote penguin mascot Donpen. We followed the bright lights to what we decided to call Donki World, just because of the size of this place. It was really big! It was all on one floor, but spread across different buildings, and the best thing was that it was open 24/7 too.

whysojapan Don Quijote discount store Donki
Other Don Quijote stores we have seen or been in: There’s one in Ikebukuro, close to the station. There’s one in Akihabara, which has its own theatre, where the idol group AK48 play daily. We also found a store in Roppongi, which has a half pipe theme ride on the roof. The ride has never been used though, because of complaining neighbours. There is another store with a ride, and its in Osaka. It has a ferris wheel stuck to the outside of the store, which I would love to try sometime. There are a lot more stores to check out, not just in Tokyo, but all over Japan. The best place to check is the website for store listings: http://www.donki.com/index_en.php

What you can buy in store

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki productsI would like to say you can buy everything, because that’s what it seems like when you are browsing the stores hour after hour. But ok, maybe not everything, but almost. Some of the products we have seen are clothing (love buying Japanese Kigurumi in Don Quijote!), everything and anything for mobile phones, cases, batteries, selfiesticks – you name it. There are also lots of cosmetics and beauty products, lots of electrical products – from toasters to instax mini camera (including cheap film for them), and more. The food section is always a great place to look through. Last time we were in the store we bought loads of the Poppin Kitchen DIY sweet boxes at a great price. I could go on and on about all the products they have. We have taken some photos just to show how huge the product range is, which can be seen below.

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products fake beard

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products Daruma Maneki-neko whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products Totoro

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

whysojapan_Don_Quijote_Donki_products_05 whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products game

whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products whysojapan Don Quijote Donki products

About Don Quijote

Japanese love to shop and one of the biggest and best discount stores you can find throughout Japan, with its 160 stores, is Don Quijote. The stores are also known as Donki, which is a shortening of the company’s name. Don Quijote started off in the 80’s under the name Just Co. with its first retail store opening in Tokyo. Just Co then changed from retail over to wholesale after a couple years of business. The company’s first Don Quijote named store opened in Tokyo 1989, and it was also then the company changed back to focusing on retail again, with the company changing it’s corporate name from Just Co to Don Quijote Co., Ltd in 1998. Don Quijte also operates three stores in Hawaii.





Posted on by Paul in Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment