Friday, 20 April 2012

Shibuya and Harajuku


For me there is no better place that captures the energy of modern Japan than Shibuya crossing. 

I was pleased to track down the statue of Hachikō, a dog who waited on his late master at Shibuya Station every day from 1923 to 1935, eventually becoming a national celebrity for his loyalty.  Here’s a pic of me giving Hachikō a big hug!

Shibuya Kaikan Monaco Arcade is a short walk away from the intersection.

The arcade may seem a little run down and decrepit, don’t let that put you off.  This is truly a gamer’s arcade, featuring rows of New Astro City’s with a nice mixture of classics and the latest Cave offerings.  And the best bit of all – games are set to 50 Yen per credit!  Sadly my camera battery died so I wasn’t able to take any pics inside the arcade.


I took the Mrs to Harajuku as it is considered a fashion capital of the world, renowned for its street fashion.  The shopping district features many clothing brands, both international brands and its own.  Somewhat bizarrely and unexpectedly, the Mrs seemed to enjoy spending time in the arcades more than looking round the clothes shops!

The new OutRun game is shaping up nicely!

Meiji Shrine

Here are some pics of Meiji Shrine.  Tokyo’s most famous Shinto Shrine, it is dedicated to the late 19th century emperor who opened Japan to the West.  We visited the shrine on a Sunday morning, and were lucky to catch a traditional Japanese wedding in progress.  The lush greenery and serene atmosphere is a striking contrast to the modern Japan outside.

Monday, 9 April 2012


I had read some good reviews of the Tempura Tsuahachi Restaurant in Shinjuku, so one evening we decided to check it out.  The restaurant was a bit of a struggle to find, but well worth it.  The meal was lovely, particularly the conga eel and it was good watching the chef prepare our tempura just a couple of feet away from us.

When we came out of the restaurant, it was raining heavily so we decided to take refuge in a nearby arcade, ESTADIO Paseo. 

When we entered the arcade a kind gentleman saw my wifey was wet and offered her his umbrella before promptly leaving! 

During our time in Shinjuku we also visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Building and the Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Building is truly spectacular, as are the views from the observation decks which are open free to the public.  The building was designed by Kenzo Tange.  His other projects include the Odaiba Fuji TV building and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

View from the observation deck.

“For relaxing times, make it Suntory time”

Lost in Translation is one of my all time favourite films, along with Alien and Blade Runner.  We paid a visit to the Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel which features in the film and had a beer in the New York Bar on the 52nd floor.  The bar offers an amazing view of Tokyo and it’s just like how it is in the film, with the same atmosphere and a band in full swing.  Sadly the lovely Scarlett Johansson wasn’t about though.