Fun and funky Fukagawa

| Dec 27, 2009

Fun and funky Fukagawa

by Kit Nagamura

After so many yearend parties and as the weather grows wintry in Tokyo, it might seem like madness to go for a walk, but a stroll east of the Sumida River, in Fukagawa, is an ideal way to clear the head. The area offers ...

Kichijoji captivations

| Nov 29, 2009

Kichijoji captivations

by Kit Nagamura

Kichijoji has shopping covered, literally and figuratively. The roofed malls at this popular stop on the Chuo Line 15 minutes west of Shinjuku sport prices markedly lower than those of central Tokyo, and the lure of its bargains is easily as strong as its ...

The haunting beauty that is Yushima

| Nov 1, 2009

The haunting beauty that is Yushima

by Kit Nagamura

On a glowering October morning, I exit the Chiyoda Line at Yushima Station and stroll northwesterly through the back streets of Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward. I am in search of Kyu-Iwasaki-tei, the Western-style residence commissioned by Baron Hisaya Iwasaki (1865-1955), third president of Mitsubishi, the ...

Hot stuff in Tsukishima

| Sep 27, 2009

Hot stuff in Tsukishima

by Kit Nagamura

Dating from 1892, Tsukishima is Tokyo’s oldest island of reclaimed land — and also its monjayaki Mecca. Once a cheap after-school treat cooked on griddles in working-class neighborhoods of postwar Tokyo, monjayaki has morphed into a dinner entre — and Tsukishima is the place ...

| Sep 27, 2009

Hot stuff in Tsukishima

by Kit Nagamura

Dating from 1892, Tsukishima is Tokyo’s oldest island of reclaimed land — and also its monjayaki Mecca. Once a cheap after-school treat cooked on griddles in working-class neighborhoods of postwar Tokyo, monjayaki has morphed into a dinner entre — and Tsukishima is the place ...

A textiles tour to dye for

| Aug 30, 2009

A textiles tour to dye for

by Kit Nagamura

A landlocked train stop named Hikifune (Tugboat) begs a question. Two such stations in Tokyo’s downtown Sumida Ward — the other is nearby Keisei Hikifune — suggest there should be some answers. I get out at Keisei Hikifune Station on a muggy afternoon during ...

| Jul 26, 2009

Hopping on through Mita

by Kit Nagamura

High on a hill in Tokyo’s central Mita district, the Australian Embassy is easy to spot. Two national coats of arms bolted to the outside of the building feature oversize images of emus and kangaroos, designated as symbols of this self-styled progressive nation because ...

Hopping on through Mita

| Jul 26, 2009

Hopping on through Mita

by Kit Nagamura

High on a hill in Tokyo’s central Mita district, the Australian Embassy is easy to spot. Two national coats of arms bolted to the outside of the building feature oversize images of emus and kangaroos, designated as symbols of this self-styled progressive nation because ...

Creative boho blooms in Jingumae

| Jun 28, 2009

Creative boho blooms in Jingumae

by Kit Nagamura

The area known as Jingumae, literally “shrine front,” hugs central Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine and is bifurcated by chic Omotesando street, the shrine’s main approach. Roiling with well-heeled fashionistas, foreigners and photo hounds chasing the hottest new looks, Omotesando’s stores showcase global mega-brands — think ...

Where whimsy meets wonder

| May 31, 2009

Where whimsy meets wonder

by Kit Nagamura

Antiques tell tales of values, past and present. It’s a good guess that whatever survives for a century or so in the tight confines of a Japanese home is either a work of art, a tool of cunning design, or an item of great ...

Lost in construction

| Apr 26, 2009

Lost in construction

by Kit Nagamura

If you ever have a hankering for nikka-zubon and jika-tabi, the outre puffy pants and split-toed booties rocked by Japanese carpenters, construction dudes and painters, supply store Mannenya in 3-chome (district 3) of Nishi Shinjuku has got you covered. The building is hard to ...

Catch a falling star

| Mar 29, 2009

Catch a falling star

by Kit Nagamura

Overhung by funky plastic streetlights, enlivened by piped music, and flanked with small stores, Shinohashi Shirokane Shotengai is exactly the kind of shopping street that once served as the commercial hub of many postwar Tokyo neighborhoods. The nostalgic character of this shotengai (shopping arcade) ...