Do Minecraft lessons, an edible garden, and diploma iPads make this the greatest school in Japan?

Education is always one of the number one topics of conversation among citizens. People want to know that their child is given the best education that they can get, and they will pick up and move to a new neighborhood just so their kids can be in a better school.

But just how do you determine what the best school is? A strong case can be made for Aiwa Elementary School in Tokyo as the best elementary school in all of Japan, and we are going to give you three reasons why: Minecraft, edible gardens, and iPads.

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Bookstore-styled Tokyo hostel has 1,700 books to read, bunks in the shelves to sleep next to them

Last summer, we heard about what sounded like the perfect place for lovers of travel and literature: a hotel in Tokyo designed like a bookstore and filled with reading material. It might sound like a fictitious flight of fancy, but Book and Bed Tokyo is very much real, and with its grand opening just days away, not only have pictures have surfaced of the unique accommodations, we now know how much it will cost to stay there and a little more about what kind of books it will have.

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Tokyo’s massive Monster Burger is the combining robot of hamburgers

With Halloween just around the corner, people across Japan are getting ready to transform into all manner of awesome creatures. As a matter of fact, even some restaurants are getting into the spirit with special Halloween menu items, and we found one that’s a genuine monster: Tokyo’s massive Monster Burger, which is actually five burgers combined as one!

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Mr. Sato takes our newest reporter to a sushi restaurant, he mistakes it for a love hotel!

It’s been one month since Nakazawa, who’s also a guitarist for two bands, joined the Japanese RocketNews24 team. On a recent day, our veteran reporter Mr. Sato told Nakazawa to follow him as he ventured into the outside world. When Nakazawa asked where they were going, Mr. Sato coolly replied: “To a good place. I’m going to make you happy.”

Not one to argue with a perpetual fan-favorite reporter, especially as a new recruit, Nakazawa obediently agreed.

Two short train rides later, our two adventurers finally arrived at their destination: a collection of bars and other late-night eateries near Tokyo’s Kita-Senju Station. Nakazawa followed Mr. Sato silently until the expert reporter suddenly stopped in his tracks. “We’re here,” Mr. Sato announced. Nakazawa looked up and was shocked to discover that they were standing in front of what looked like a hotel—and not just any hotel, but a LOVE hotel!

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Dine like a samurai on the night of the Ikedaya Incident at Kyoto-themed restaurant in Tokyo

If you’ve ever wanted to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Kyomachi, the old streets of Kyoto, there’s a special dining establishment in Tokyo that will take you there. The Kyomachi Koishigure restaurant features private dining rooms, red bridges, bamboo corridors and a running stream so you can enjoy all the traditional beauty of Kyoto without having to leave the nation’s capital.

And now, for a limited time only, the restaurant will take you back in time to the late Edo period, with a special “fair” that recreates the infamous Ikedaya Incident, a significant moment in Japan’s history when a group of masterless samurai were ambushed at Kyoto’s Ikedaya Inn.

As part of the experience, diners can enjoy a specially designed menu inside a recreation of the inn, and staff dressed as members of a sword-wielding police force who “ambush” your private room every time you place an order.

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Cool Sweets: Tokyo’s sweet-and-sour shaved ice is the perfect dessert after Tsukishima monjayaki

Tokyo is packed full of delightful little neighborhoods, each with their own specialties. One of our favorite little neighborhoods is Tsukishima, renowned for Monja Street, an area overflowing with monjayaki restaurants. Located not far from Tsukiji Fish Market, it’s a great place for lunch when spending the day around Tokyo Bay.

But after eating a meal of monjayaki, you may have a hankering for something sweet. Fortunately, Cool Sweets, one of the best kakigori (shaved ice) places we’ve found yet, is located right on Monja Street! We recently stopped by to grab some photos and video of their delightful treats and highly recommend that you do too!

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We try cute meals, drinks and sweets from Namja Town’s Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal menu

We recently brought you news of the enticing Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon-themed menu at Namja Town, an indoor theme park operated by Namco, in Tokyo. The themed offerings were really quite something, and after spending so much time poring over the unbelievably cute items on offer, we found ourselves itching to stop in for a visit!

And visit we did. Come with us now as we eat everything from Luna P-Ball, Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick, and even Tuxedo mask’s pocket watch. These incredible edibles are absolutely adorable and filled with so many surprising details they’re almost too cute to eat! Almost…

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Tokyo’s Hana Yori Dango cafe features cool 3-D art panels of anime hunks and special desserts

We’ve recently seen a pair of Sailor Moon-themed dining options appear in Tokyo, allowing fans to wrap themselves in the hit franchise’s atmosphere as they enjoy a bite to eat. But if your anime and manga tastes run more towards beautiful boys than magical girls, now there’s a place for you too, at the new Hanai Yori Dango Cafe in Tokyo’s Shibuya.

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Edible owls and cats make sweet appearance at Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro Store!

If you love cats and owls — and judging from the popularity of cat and owl cafes in Japan, we’re guessing there are a good number of people who do — then the Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro Store in Tokyo may be a place you want to check out this month. Their ongoing special event features various cat and owl-themed products including irresistibly cute sweets, and we just had to share with you the images of these expertly crafted cat and owl cakes!

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Meet Orizuru, the origami paper crane that can really fly 【Video】

For one special little crane who thought he was destined for greater things than gathering dust on someone’s desk, dreams really can come true. The intricately folded origami bird proved that the sky’s the limit when it comes to development in Japan, as he was released to an enthralled audience of onlookers in Tokyo this week.

So how did the impossible become possible? We take a look at the video of the beautiful bird in flight and the team that gave him functional wings after the break.

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Nadeshico Sushi restaurant challenges gender roles with all-female staff clad in kimono

How many times has a woman made sushi for you at a sushi bar in Japan? If you answered ‘never’, you’re certainly not alone as the world of sushi is one that’s traditionally been dominated by men. While a number of female sushi chefs are working hard to change societal norms and stereotypes, there’s one special restaurant in Akihabara that’s taking things even further, with a sushi bar staffed entirely by women. From purchasing ingredients to preparing fish and making sushi, these ladies are looking to challenge the male-dominated profession, and they’re doing it all while dressed in traditional Japanese clothing.

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Introducing the delightfully strange “Bakeneko Festival,” full of kitty cosplayers

The bakeneko (“monstrous cat”) is but one of the many, many yokai of Japanese folklore. For centuries, Japanese people suspected that cats held mystical powers – due, it appears, both to cats’ aloof behavior and to the animals’ yokai-like physical features, such as their slit eyes and ability to move around silently. Even today, some elderly Japanese folks still harbor superstitions about cats.

One ability of the bakeneko, legend has it, is the ability to walk around on two legs (which we’ve actually seen demonstrated in real-life), which makes the yokai a fairly easy choice for cosplay. In fact, there’s a whole festival dedicated to bakeneko celebration and cosplay! And, before you ask, yes, of course we’re going to it.

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Wanted: 2,300 people to dance like the walking dead at Halloween zombie party village in Tokyo

Halloween just keeps getting bigger in Japan. While stores are full of all sorts of cute paraphernalia to mark the celebration and a number of Halloween activities are marked on the calendar, there’s one very special event that’s bigger and more unusual than any other in Tokyo. In fact, it’s so popular the organisers sold all 2,000 tickets in one evening and are now offering an extra three hundred tickets to those who get in quick by applying online.

It’s the Zombie Party Village, which comes alive once a year with thousands of walking dead—all of whom are free to dance to their unbeating heart’s content without being bothered by angry mobs and cross-bearing priests. If you’d like to be a part of the 2,300-strong zombie dance collective, read on to find out all the details after the break.

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We check out the spooky snacks of the ghost-themed GeGeGe no Kitaro cafe

Maybe you’re familiar with the popular video game and anime franchise Yokai Watch. It’s a series that combines the addictive qualities of Pokemon with the traditional ghostly lore of Japanese yokai monster stories.

But maybe you didn’t realize the “real OG,” if you will, when it comes to cutesy renditions of traditional Japanese ghosts is the manga and anime franchise GeGeGe no KitaroGoing strong since the 1960s, Kitaro is a beloved series in Japan that tells the tale of a ghostly boy fighting for peace between humans and ghouls, like a Japanese ghost-flavored X-Men.

The series is especially cherished in the author’s hometown in Tottori, but Kitaro mania extends as far as Tokyo proper, where a Kitaro-themed cafe exists. Of course, our ghost-obsessed Japanese writer felt compelled to make a pilgrimage recently.

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Samurai Studio: Tokyo’s new photo studio where you can get your picture taken in samurai armor

Even in the modern era, you’ll find plenty of occasions in Japan to dress up in kimono, such as for festivals, fireworks exhibitions, or other special events (and considering how relatively easy it is to do, it’s something you really should try at least once). But as much as Japan may love its traditions and history, there aren’t too many occasions when you get to strap on a set of samurai armor, so when life gives you the opportunity to do so, like at this new photo studio in Tokyo, you won’t want to let it pass you by.

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Here’s what happens when the trains shut down in Tokyo during rush hour: Craziness 【Photos】

Compared to some of the cooler or more elegant-sounding parts of Tokyo, like Jiyugaoka (“Freedom Hill”) or Akihabara (“Field of Autumn Leaves”), the Shinagawa neighborhood has a pretty dull name, meaning essentially “Merchandise River.” Still, you have to admit it’s appropriate. Located near the mouth of the Sumidagawa river, for generations Shinagawa has seen plenty of cargo ships sail past as they ferry goods in and out of Tokyo’s ports.

The name even works in a figurative economic sense, as Shinagawa Station is a major rail hub that thousands of workers pass through every day on their way from their homes in the suburbs to their offices downtown. The facility is designed to keep passengers efficiently flowing in and out, but this morning the “river” got blocked due to a problem with the trains, resulting in perhaps the most crowded scene of rush hour in Japan that we’ve ever seen.

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This is what a Tokyo crepe with every dessert topping they’d let us order looks like 【Photos】

Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood means different things to different people. The beautiful people living the Japanese high life are drawn by the brand-name jewelers on the tree-lined Omotesando boulevard. Teens, meanwhile, flock to the narrow Takeshitadori shopping street to score up-to-date fashions that leave their parents scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And for those with a sweet tooth, Harajuku is all about the crepes.

Our intrepid Japanese-language correspondent P.K. recently took a break from seeing how many slices of roast pork or boiled eggs he could cram in his stomach and instead decided to see how much dessert he could consume in a single serving, as he decided to max out a Tokyo crepe by ordering one with every available dessert topping.

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Over 20 Museums, Galleries and Zoos in Tokyo are free for today only!

Today (October 1) is Citizen’s Day in Tokyo, celebrating the independence and welfare of the area’s residents. And what better way to do that than by giving them free access to over 20 of Tokyo’s cultural attractions from museums to art galleries to gardens and even zoos.

Now, considering it’s Citizen’s Day you might be thinking that such a deal is only open to people living in Tokyo, but no! Anyone who can get out here today and today only can get free admission to the following places.

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Turns out 15 seconds a day is enough to document a two week trip to Japan【Video】

After living in Japan for long enough, you might find yourself occasionally forgetting the beauty and wonder you felt when you first arrived. Being surrounded by it all the time, it might alip your mind that Japan is a place unlike anywhere else in the world. That is why when photographers or filmmakers come to Japan and capture the essence of the country through fresh eyes, it really reminds us of how awesome it can be.

One such filmmaker is Francisco Fuentes, better known online as Birdo, who visited Japan in May 2015 and captured his 14 days of travel through unique video clips that altogether only amount to 15 seconds of video per day. As a testament to his artistic vision, those 15 seconds are exhilarating to watch, even when his subject matter is normal, mundane tasks. Those who have never been to Japan before will be greeted with an excellent “amuse-bouche”, while people who have lived in Japan might get a little nostalgic for all their favorite places.

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