Tokyo

We swear you’ve never seen Tokyo like this before 【Video】

Art can appear in the strangest of places and what qualifies as art is as wide and as varied as the works themselves. So, what about a city? Can a city be art? You might not think so, but artist darwinfish105 is about to prove you wrong with his breathtaking shots of Tokyo.

You are about to see the largest city in the world change into a futuristic technological metropolis. In addition, all of this is accomplished with just a camera and some mirrors.

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Disney Store is all grown up with new branch designed for adult women opening in Tokyo

Disney enjoys broad popularity with Japanese children, with tykes across the nation regularly getting excited for the studio’s animated films and begging their parents to take them to Tokyo Disneyland. This isn’t a recent development, though. Disney’s been a hit with kids for decades now, and while the age of many fans who grew up watching Mickey, Minnie, and their pals has changed, that doesn’t mean their love for the cartoon characters has.

That’s why this spring a new branch of the Disney Store is opening up in Tokyo, and while the staff won’t be turning away little girls at the door, it’s really being designed for adult women.

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A little sweet with your spicy? Tokyo restaurant serves curry with strawberries and ice cream

One of the great things about curry is how versatile it is. The standard way to eat the spicy dish in Japan is with carrots, potatoes, onions, and pork, but you can also toss in chicken, shrimp, beef, or tuna. Things are wide open when it comes to vegetables, too, with some people opting for eggplant, spinach, or tomatoes.

But why limit yourself to just meats and veggies? One curry restaurant in Tokyo feels its menu should be inclusive of the entire food pyramid, and will fix you a plate of curry rice that represents the fruit and dairy groups in the forms of curry with strawberries and even ice cream.

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Epidemic! Tokyo issues an influenza alert following a significant increase in cases

Are you feeling under the weather? Is your fever running higher than 38°C (100.4°F)? Are you living in or around Tokyo? If you’ve answered “yes” to all of the above, then there’s a good chance you have the flu! After the results of a weekly influenza check came in for the week of December 22 to 28, it seems that epidemic levels of the virus have reached Japan’s capital city.

Grab your mask and water for gargling; it’s only predicted to get more serious!

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Haneto Izakaya: Enjoy Aomori food and music from the comfort of Tokyo

Tokyo is a wonderful city; there’s no denying that. But sometimes you might want to get out into the country and experience some of the different cultural areas of Japan. Of course, if you’re busy working all week or only in the country for a brief time, you may not be able to get out to a place like Aomori Prefecture.

Recently, however, we were in the mood for some tsugaru-jamisen and a few glasses of Aomori Prefecture’s distinguished sake. We didn’t have time to jump on a train to the northern prefecture, but, fortunately, Tokyo is home to Haneto Izakaya, an establishment featuring food and music from Aomori Prefecture. Check out the food, drinks, and a video of their amazing shamisen player rocking the joint!

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Dedicated railroad otaku creates the digital swiss army knife of Tokyo Metro maps

This past year the Tokyo Metro has been brought to life in many different ways, ranging from a spaghetti-alien map to, well, a 3-D spaghetti-alien map. But it’s the latest re-imagining of the Tokyo Metro in the highly versatile SVG format that’s currently causing a lot of commotion online.

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Coming to Harajuku? Check out this new tourist booth for maps, Wi-Fi, crêpes and more!

Long before Gwen Stefani was inspired by the Tokyo neighborhood, Harajuku’s status as the center of Japanese fashion and pop culture had been well solidified. From strange footwear to unbearably cute cuisine, a visit to Harajuku is never dull and is a must-see for any tourist coming to Tokyo.

But the crowded streets, small shops and the language barrier might be a bit daunting for a first-time visitor. So to make that trip more worthwhile, a tourist organization is opening up a bilingual information booth in the heart of Harajuku to make sure visitors get the most out of their time in the exciting neighborhood.

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Toilet slides and turd hats: welcome to Tokyo’s crappiest exhibition

Imagine crowds of Japanese families donning poop-shaped plush hats and sliding into a huge toilet. No, this isn’t a scene from a dream brought on by a questionable bowl of ramen, this is just one of the many surreal exhibits from a Tokyo educational expo that organizers hoped would inspire visitors to “gain an increased appreciation of toilets.”

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Street Fighter II creator Yoshiki Okamoto talks games and his new project, Monster Strike 【Interview】

When Street Fighter II creator and retro gaming legend Yoshiki Okamoto announced two years ago that he was leaving console games forever to pursue mobile gaming projects, many probably thought he was joking. A lifelong arcade and console game creator abandoning ship to work in the much loathed and parodied mobile platform? This must be some kind of pre-retirement prank, surely?

As it happens, Okamoto was dead serious, and – far from having retired – has made good on his promise to focus on mobile games, working with a protege to crank out one of the most successful mobile games of all time: Monster Strike.

Monster Strike has reached over 16 million players in Japan and Taiwan, exceeding all expectations and becoming a cultural institution in the game’s native Japan. Sensing it was time to strike out into other territories, Okamoto, game producer Koki Kimura and his team are now working to expand the game into the west and beyond. We caught up with Okamoto and Kimura in San Francisco at Monster Strike’s North American launch party to talk about the game and the industry in general:

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Photos from 140 years ago show Tokyo’s skyline was amazing long before the Skytree was ever built

In 1853, the rulers of Japan ended the country’s more than two centuries of isolation from the rest of the world. But while foreigners could now get into Japan for trade and commerce, it would take more than 10 years until Japanese citizens could leave the country, meaning that outside cultural influences were still slow to find their way into the half-opened nation.

As such, there’s a brief, time capsule-like period in which Japan’s culture was still almost entirely of indigenous origins, but foreign visitors had the technology to visually document it, as shown in these beautiful photographs of 19th century Japan.

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Restaurant refuses to serve couples on Dec. 24 so singles won’t be reminded of their loneliness

Ah, December 24, Christmas Eve. The time to spend with parents, siblings, drunken aunts and that one crazy uncle that’s always telling you about chemtrails after four or five eggnogs. Or, the time for romantic dinner dates, proposals and convenience store chicken, if you’re in Japan.

The holiday has long been the bane of Tokyo singles, who are forced to watch thousands of happy couples marching all over town Christmas Eve, hand-in-hand, checking out the Christmas “illumination” shows that have become so popular over the years. That it’s one of the few times public displays of affection are relatively accepted in polite Japanese society just makes it all the more difficult for lonely guys and gals to bear.

But, this year, one Tokyo restaurant has a plan to give all those Forever Alones out there a safe haven to dine in peace on Christmas Eve and, who knows, maybe even find a potential partner.

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Visiting a maximum security shrine at the foot of the Narita airport runway

Flying into Narita International Airport, many travelers are surprised to learn they are almost 60 km outside of Tokyo and need to take an hour train ride to get into the city. Its location in rural Chiba Prefecture was chosen in the 1960s when the government realized the smaller Haneda airport could not keep up with the booming postwar air traffic in and out of Tokyo. Many locals protested the new airport that bulldozed over their formerly quiet lives and the bitter fight left the area with some very odd landmarks, such as a heavily secured and monitored shrine that sits almost directly in front of one of the runways.

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Snickers may have come up with their best campaign ever: A free barber shop

That delicious combination of peanuts, caramel and nougat all coated in chocolate known as Snickers has been around for ages. But I always wondered why it was called “Snickers.” Apparently named after a horse belonging to the Mars candy dynasty, it seemed like an odd name despite its inherent zip.

In what initially looks like an even weirder move, Snickers will open a barbershop in Omotesando, Tokyo giving away free haircuts for a limited time this month. Although seemingly random on the surface, a quick glance at the choice of hairstyle will show you why. These styles will guarantee you get snickers everywhere you go.

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Tokyo’s Christmas displays offer dazzling rebuttal to calling Paris the City of Lights 【Photos】

Spring in Japan belongs to the cherry blossoms. Summer is all about the country’s amazing fireworks shows. And in fall, there’re the beautiful fall colors to look forward to.

In winter though, Christmas decorations take center stage. Specifically, it’s the lights covering the urban landscape, called “illuminations” by the locals, that really bring out the crowds. So if you’re looking to do a little prep work for your Christmas Eve date, the following collection of Tokyo Christmas display snapshots should help you choose which one will best set the mood, and is also a chill-free way to get into the holiday season for those of you more comfortable at home with a hot mug of cocoa than braving the elements outdoors.

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Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building now accepting applications to watch first sunrise of 2015

With 2014 winding down, it’s time to make plans for the new year holidays. For many people in Japan this means finding a place to watch the first sunrise of the year, or hatsu hinode; a common custom of the season.

However, many Tokyoites may be unaware that the perfect spot to view the sunrise is standing in plain view: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. This 243-meter (797 ft) building has a pair of observation rooms which offer the greatest views in the city and is a spot popular amongst tourists, though few ever think of when it comes to New Year’s Day, assuming that because it’s a government building it would shut down for the holidays.

But ever since 1995 the building has been opening its doors to a handful of visitors, giving them the chance to take in the first sunset of the year from high above the city. Here’s how to apply for a spot on the observation deck.

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Japan’s 10 best ryokan inns and top 10 hotels, as chosen by foreign visitors

Ask any member of the RocketNews24 team, and we’ll tell you: Japan is awesome. A lot of people seem to agree, too, seeing as how Japan gets more and more visitors from abroad every year.

But as much as we love all of our readers, and hope you all get a chance to come visit, our staff doesn’t quite have the collective living room floor space for you to crash at our apartments. Thankfully, the country has plenty of amazing accommodation, as shown by this list of the top 10 inns and hotels in Japan, as picked by foreign travelers.

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Tokyo’s Rikugien garden: Beautiful for 300 years, but especially in autumn after dark

They’re often overshadowed by the sakura, but Japan’s fall colors make the country a beautiful place to be at this time of year. Maples and gingkos even have a few advantages over cherry trees. They tend to hold their color a little longer, and the cooler weather is less conducive to large outdoor parties, meaning your appreciation of the beauty of nature is less likely to be disturbed by the carousing of drunks.

In contrast to Tokyo’s many cherry tree-lined parks and boulevards, though, getting a good view of crimson and yellow leaves often means having to head out of the city and up into the mountains. That’s not always the case, though. Historic Rikugien Garden has plenty of fall color, is located right in the middle of Tokyo, and right now is so beautiful it’s staying open after dark.

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Tokyo adding free Wi-Fi to 143 subway stations for foreign travelers

I honestly don’t remember the last time I used a taxi in central Tokyo. The extensive subway network is clean and efficient, and not only is it far cheaper than a cab, a lot of the time, it’s faster, too.

As if public transportation didn’t already have enough going for it, next month things are about to get even better, as over 100 Tokyo subway stations are about to start offering free Wi-Fi to foreign travelers.

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Tokyo train delayed due to the strangest of reasons

The JR East Musashino Line sure has an impressive track record when it comes to trains being delayed due to unusual circumstances. And after a most bizarre early morning collision on Friday last week, the rail line can add another reason to that list. 

Although the details of the incident are still murky, one thing is for certain–no one ever expected this to happen in the middle of Tokyo!

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Filled to bursting point? Rush-hour crush on Tokyo subway leaves train with broken window

The Tokyo metropolitan subway system is notorious for being incredibly crowded at rush hour, with commuters packed into narrow train carriages like sardines in a can. You’re probably familiar with images of white-gloved train conductors literally pushing people onto trains in an attempt to squeeze just one more body on before departure.

It can be very scary being squished into a mass of people like that, and this particularly holds true in case of sudden incidents such as the one that occurred this week when the window of a train literally broke due to the pressure of all of those heaving bodies. Join us after the jump for images of crushed glass and scenes of utter chaos! Okay, it’s actually only a few cracks, but still…

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