Tokyo

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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Giant black cat appears in Shinjuku Station, gives gifts in exchange for nose rubs【Pics & Video】

You never know what you might find when you’re walking the streets of Tokyo. You could stumble upon nine cats in a stroller along the Omotesando shopping strip or enjoy a chance encounter with costumed meerkats on a sunny street in Ginza.

But it’s beneath the city where the big surprises lie. For the rest of this week, deep within the underground labyrinth of passages, shops, and platforms that make up Shinjuku Station, you’ll find a huge black cat. And this particular feline is especially spectacular as it responds to a nose rub by opening its mouth and dispensing presents to passers-by.

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Domestic culture shock – 30 things people from Hokkaido experience when they move to Tokyo

When foreigners first move to Tokyo, they’re often amazed and overwhelmed by Japan’s biggest bustling metropolis. But sometimes culture shock can be more localized, and just because you haven’t left the country doesn’t mean there aren’t any surprises in store when you move to a new town.

Hokkaido has more than five times the area of any other Japanese prefecture, and the lowest population density in the country to boot. So when someone born and raised on the northern island moves down south to Tokyo, which is more than 90 times as crowded as Hokkaido, he’s sure to be surprised by a lot of things, and here are 30 of them.

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Sailor Moon Crystal menu at Namja Town features adorable drinks, meals and desserts

Namja Town, an indoor theme park in Tokyo operated by Namco, is putting  out a special spread to celebrate Sailor Moon’s 20th anniversary year. With a selection of five beverages and a whopping fourteen types of cute meals and desserts to choose from, this is the most extensive list of Sailor Moon-themed edibles we’ve ever seen!

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Cross-dressing bride in Tokyo leaves Japanese Twitter users confused

Cross-dressing isn’t a mainstream concept in Japan. It’s still a topic that comes up somewhat often in the media, though, and over the past few years there’s been a rise in services that offer Japanese men the experience of getting in touch with their more feminine side.

That said, on any given day in Tokyo you’re still unlikely to encounter cross-dressing personalities like Sailor Suit Old Man and Ladybeard, let alone a man in a wedding dress walking the streets of Tokyo, which is why Japanese Twitter has been abuzz about the sighting of an older man cross-dressing as a bride in the Akasaka neighborhood.

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Official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunches being served now at Tokyo anime-themed cafe 【Photos】

Maybe we’re just predisposed to thinking with our stomachs, but even with all the brightly colored pleated skirts and magical monster battles in Sailor Moon, we always find our attention drawn to the food that shows up in the hit anime series. So when we heard that the official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunch is now being offered by a Tokyo cafe, took a break from marathoning episodes of the magical girl saga to go and try it for ourselves.

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Tokyo’s labyrinthine Shibuya Station becomes a literal RPG dungeon in free smartphone game

Sometimes when I’m in Tokyo, I find myself wandering through seemingly endless subterranean passages that twist and turn back on themselves in a disorienting serpentine labyrinth. As I trudge forward I can feel my stamina fading, as well as my spirit. Still, though, I press on, delving deeper and deeper into the bowls of the earth, knowing that only at the very bottom level will I find what I seek: the platform for the subway line that takes me home from Shibuya Station.

And apparently I’m not the only one who feels that Shibuya Station feels more like an RPG dungeon than a rail hub, since there’s a new smartphone game that uses the map of the station as the layout for its fantasy adventure.

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