The custodians of culture in Koishikawa

| Jun 27, 2015

The custodians of culture in Koishikawa

by Kit Nagamura

Exiting the Nanboku subway’s Korakuen Station near Tokyo Dome, I gaze up at clouds resembling bunches of purple hydrangeas. Directly overhead, a roller coaster car swooshes by, its passengers shrieking, which is a good sign, because, despite its aquatic name, the Thunder Dolphin coaster ...

Flora, fauna and fellows on the river

| May 30, 2015

Flora, fauna and fellows on the river

by Kit Nagamura

With summer’s heat punching in early this year, I’m already angling for riverside relief. I trundle down to Ota Ward’s Rokugodote, the southernmost train station in Tokyo’s 23 wards, and a stone’s throw from the Tamagawa (Tama River). The 138-km-long Tamagawa, which in this ...

Finding your sea legs on Tokyo Bay

| Mar 28, 2015

Finding your sea legs on Tokyo Bay

by Kit Nagamura

It’s wretched weather for putting out to sea: gusty winds, cloud banks brooding with rain and water spouts, temperatures a micro-notch above freezing and the waters of Tokyo Bay like wet elephant hide. Nonetheless, at the generous invitation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau ...

Finding thrills on plum blossom hill

| Feb 21, 2015

Finding thrills on plum blossom hill

by Kit Nagamura

February is a tricky month for venturing out in Tokyo. Daylight hours lengthen and the light softens slightly, but the weather itself seems controlled by a sadist at the thermostat. Blissfully warm one moment and freezing the next, it’s 50 shades of uncertainty. Nonetheless, ...

Monkeying around in Sarugakucho

| Jan 24, 2015

Monkeying around in Sarugakucho

by Kit Nagamura

Sarugakucho — which loosely translates as “monkey fun town” — is a hot spot near Daikanyama Station in Shibuya, Tokyo. As a place to hang out, this area sets the bar pretty high: Its backstreets are a zoo of uber-cute boutiques offering exclusive jeans, ...

Dead reckoning in the haunts of Honancho

| Oct 25, 2014

Dead reckoning in the haunts of Honancho

by Kit Nagamura

Halloween in Tokyo rarely gets scarier than the price of imported pumpkins, but I’ve heard that Honancho — a terminal station on the Marunouchi subway line — hosts an uber-spooky obakeyashiki (ghost house). Navigating the station’s dank, barely-lit stairwell at Exit 2, I’m already ...

Not ducking tradition in Higashi-Ueno

| Jun 28, 2014

Not ducking tradition in Higashi-Ueno

by Kit Nagamura

With its lotus-laden Shinobazu pond, park grounds, and national museums, the Ueno area in Tokyo draws millions of visitors a year. Nearby Higashi-Ueno (Eastern Ueno), however, seems to be another world altogether. When I exit Shin-Okachimachi station, under skies portending summer heat, this low-lying ...

Spring greening in Koganei

| Apr 26, 2014

Spring greening in Koganei

by Kit Nagamura

It’s time to bask in sunshine, birdsong, and blossom-filled breezes. Koganei Park, situated at the center of the Tokyo metropolis, looks like the ideal spot for such a “spring-gasm.” The JR Chuo express train whisks me from Yotsuya to Musashi-Koganei in less than 30 ...