On the edge of Akihabara (electronics’s town), on the embankment of the Kanda River, lies the Mach Ecute mall.
In 2013, as part of the reconstructed old Minsebaishi Station, the lower level of the red brick viaduct was transformed into a shopping arcade; the arches separating each space. Showcasing young designers and manufacturers in a combination of fashion, housewares, restaurants, cafés and bakeries.
If you are cruising Akihabara, definitely swing by. There is access to the pltform cafe and roofgarden and, importantly, there is a Hitachino’s Nest Brewing Lab for tasting many a life affirming beer!
In a city where Department Stores rule, the youthful and luxury Isetan, in the heart of the Shinjuku district, stands out. Isetan is a wonderful place to see and shop for new and established Japanese designers; and most importantly, to eat!
The lower level of the building, as in most department stores in japan, holds a football pitch of food! Supermarket, specialty food booths, tiny kitchens preparing delicious dishes for take away, Liquor and wine sections, and a sprawling pastry area, create a food fantasy! In the sweets, It is very difficult to choose; each stand has the most seductive sweets and chocolates most of them french but with the Japanese touch of perfection.
The top floor of the building is a green roof park with a children’s playground area, as well as benches and tables where one can consume the delicacies from the lower level. This is a perfect way to start the day with a quick bite in a lovely setting 🙂
If You are visiting Japan, Isetan and Mitsokushi are the two best places to buy food to bring home. It is definitely worth visiting the 2 department stores as they both sell supreme Japanese food, from all over the country.
Noix de Beurre – Chestnut pudding
Noix de Beurre – Chestnut pudding
Patiserie Aoki éclair, beer, Sandwich Magic – Brie mini Baguette
Totoro, Kiki, Chihiro, the Catbus – these are names that speak to me the way that Snow White, Ariel and Nemo might to many an American Youth. Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation institution; a corollary to Disney.
And if an American pilgrimage to Disney Land is necessary for some, then our trip to the Ghibli Museum was a destined moment in life.
The museum itself is designed as if you were in the movie. Your transverse a series of watercolor sketches and story boards. Spend time in both the animation studio and the worlds created there. From the miniature to the larger then life, you are smiling the entire time. From the basement dioramas up to the external spiral staircase to the green roof where the iron Giant stands, across interior bridges, and balconies – Ghibli museum is a dream brought to life.
The Studio Ghibli Museum is located in Inokashira Park. Please note there is a strict no-photo policy inside the museum. It is Very important to buy tickets ahead of time , a month if possible as the museum is not large. You can buy tickets online prior to arrival in Japan. Once in country, you can buy tickets at any of the Lawson’s convenience stores. Also note you cannot buy tickets at the museum itself.
35.6939° N, 139.7047° E, Kabukicho, 1 Chome−1−2
Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0021, Japan
Tokyo’s Golden Gai is a Labyrinth of six narrow alleys hosting over 200 tiny bars; some with a maximum capacity of six people!. There are a few private club/bars and most are open to public. Do to their small size and to avoid bar-hoppers, most charge a small cover that includes a little appetizer. Our advice is don’t sweat the cover – you’re on vacation!
Bar Otokichi was our favorite, a very friendly local crowd and the barman (who we think lives upstairs?) kept up an amazing mix of rare, upbeat old jazz tracks….. and the shochu with matcha green tea is defenately worth the try!
Give yourselves an hour or two in Golden Gai before heading to the Robot Restaurant!