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A slow, relaxed walk in Tokyo's retro towns enticed by famous foods


July 2024

Special Feature:
Handcrafted treasures in historic Tokyo

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A new spot for art lovers opens in Shibuya

July 8, 2024 Shibuya Facility
From Shibuya Station’s east exit head towards Aoyama-dori to reach the new 23-story complex "SHIBUYA AXSH," opening on July 8. Among the 15 tenants from the 1st to 4th floors are restaurants, art galleries and the first Japanese restaurant from Nakai Shoten, the renowned salt wholesaler from Nihonbashi. With artworks throughout the public space, anticipation is rising for a place where fine art is a part of everyday life. What used to be just a "passageway" is set to become a new hub of dynamism in the area.

See why Japanese swords are a cut above

June 22 - August 25, 2024 Marunouchi Exhibition
  • Japanese swords
  • Japanese swords
  • Japanese swords
  • Japanese swords
  • Japanese swords
  • Japanese swords
Japanese swords have a history of over a millennium. Beyond being symbols of samurai, their gentle curves and beautiful blade patterns have also gathered acclaim as works of fine art. From June 22 to August 25, the Seikado Bunko Art Museum near Tokyo Station is holding an exhibition that details the fascination of Japanese swords and how best to appreciate them. In addition to nine swords designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, the exhibition also features stunning antique works from the 10th to 14th centuries. One by one, experience the unique charm of these sharp, lean blades, each made with exquisite craftsmanship.

SHIBUYA TSUTAYA is back, better than ever!

From April 25, 2024 Shibuya Facility
Facing Shibuya Scramble crossing, a favorite spot for sightseers from Japan and abroad, SHIBUYA TSUTAYA reopened on April 25. From the B2 basement to the 8th floor aboveground, the total of 10 stories offers a Pokemon Card Lounge to play the world-famous game, a Collaboration Café produced alongside all kinds of content creators, and much more. From “idol” celebrities to the newest anime, this is the place to feel the flow of all the latest trends. It’s what you might expect from Shibuya, where new styles and fashions are born every day. The café / share lounge has over 500 seats, so when your legs are reaching their limit, this is the place to take a break.

Scale the summit, then “kampai”! Mt. Takao’s beer garden opens

Until early December, 2024 Southern Tama Area Event
  • Mt. Takao’s beer garden opens
  • Mt. Takao’s beer garden opens
  • Mt. Takao’s beer garden opens
  • Mt. Takao’s beer garden opens
  • Mt. Takao’s beer garden opens
  • Mt. Takao’s beer garden opens
August 10 is Mountain Day in Japan. Started in 2016, this relatively new holiday is designated as a day to learn about mountains and appreciate their role in our lives. One great spot to enjoy casual mountaineering is the 599m high Mt. Takao, just an hour from Shinjuku. Whether heading up in your everyday clothes by cable car and lift, or hiking the ideal summer routes along cool streams, “Takao-san” offers a variety of trails, each with its own distinct flora and difficulty level. With a little luck, you might be able to see Mt. Fuji from the summit. The Takao View Restaurant, at an altitude of 488 m, operates as a beer garden with extended hours until 9PM until October 15. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a beer while gazing upon the night view of the city center. (Opening hours vary in spring and fall.)

Artisan heritage in Tokyo’s shitamachi, traditional district

Tokyo’s Taito and Sumida cities are famous for being home to the familiar tourist attractions, Asakusa and TOKYO SKYTREE. However, beyond the façade of vibrant retro shopping streets, the area has also long been renowned as a thriving center of “monozukuri,” Japan’s distinct art of handmade craftsmanship. Asakusa flourished as the dynamic heart of commerce and fashion in the Edo period (17th to 19th centuries), attracting craftsmen from far and wide. Additionally, this hub for shipping along the Sumida River further enhanced its prosperity. Many water-intensive manufacturing industries, such as leather and glass, also gathered in this area where, even today, a wide variety of workshops still line the streets.

Read on to find out more about artisans in the area, and products made with exceptional skills passed down for generations. Workshops under the direct guidance of master artisans also provide firsthand experiences of this one-of-a-kind culture in Tokyo. Try this kind of eye-opening, artistic and cultural experiences between seeing the sights of the city.

Edo Kiriko

Edo Kiriko Edo Kiriko Edo Kiriko Edo Kiriko
Edo Kiriko refers to a category of glasswork from Tokyo since the Edo period, made by carving delicate patterns into glass, a process known as Kiriko manufacturing. Since the late Edo period this local industry has developed in the city’s older areas and is now designated “Traditional Crafts of Tokyo,” as well as one of the "Traditional Crafts of Japan" designated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.The traditional good luck motifs and patterns created by each workshop, carved into colored glass thinner than 1 mm, create a strikingly beautiful play of light and reflection. They are the quintessential souvenir of Tokyo. Be sure to check out one of the workshops, as some of them offer English guidance for carving these patterns. The Edo Kiriko Cooperative Association showroom exhibits and sells a variety of Edo Kiriko glass products.
Edo Kiriko Cooperative Association Official Site (Japanese site only)

Starbucks Starbucks
Six Starbucks shops in Sumida City also sell limited edition Edo Kiriko glasses made by craftspeople in the district. The blend of cutting-edge style and age-old tradition in the iced coffee glass is the perfect way to make this art part of your daily life.
Starbucks (Japanese site only)

Folding Screens

Folding Screens Folding Screens Folding Screens Folding Screens
As shelter from the wind, and partitions of space, folding screens have been an essential of people’s lives since olden times. Since being introduced from China over 1,300 years ago, their evolution in Japan has been unique, becoming decorative furnishings considered as fine art.
Kataoka Byoubu near the base of the TOKYO SKYTREE in Sumida City’s Mukojima area is the only store in Tokyo specializing in folding screens. To incorporate this traditional art into modern living, the store is making and selling original products. Also, it is enthusiastically working on made-to-order screens, as well as collaborations with manga. The store offers folding screens of various sizes and patterns, including ones featuring art by Katsushika Hokusai, the famous “ukiyo-e” artist from Sumida City.
To preserve and promote the culture of folding screens, the store has a Byoubu Museum, which features tools used in the creation process, panel displays, and provides opportunities to learn about folding screens.
Kataoka Byoubu (Japanese site only)


Kintsugi Kintsugi
Kintsugi Kintsugi Kintsugi
Kintsugi is a unique Japanese technique to repair cracked or chipped pottery by gluing pieces together with lacquer and decorating the seams with gold. By intentionally highlighting the mended cracks in gold, the pottery takes on a different look from the original design, creating a new fascination with more artistic and valuable charm. This way of restoring damaged ceramic vessels and tableware is itself getting a new lease on life in light of SDGs as part of building a sustainable society that takes good care of things. Currently, there are Kintsugi classes in Tokyo that accept foreign tourists, such as “Tsugu Tsugu Inc.” (Ebisu, Asakusa) and “TNCA☆: Taku Nakano CeramicArts☆” (Aoyama).

“Tsugu Tsugu Inc.” in Asakusa offers a casual way to enjoy Kintsugi in a roughly one-hour workshop. Classes on repairing tableware, and others on making accessories and chopstick rests with Kintsugi techniques, are available in English.
Tokyo Kintsugi Workshop TSUGU TSUGU

Tokyo Silverware

Tokyo Silverware Tokyo Silverware
Tokyo Silverware Tokyo Silverware Tokyo Silverware
Japan has been one of the world’s leading producers of silver since the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, one-third of silver in circulation worldwide is said to have been produced in Japan. Even in those days, silver tableware and decorative items were widely enjoyed among common people. As silver became more widespread, processing techniques also advanced, with unique production methods developed, such as the repeated striking of silver plates to create curves and using special hammers to carve patterns. This unique texture only possible from hand-made products is cherished around the world. It is now designated as both a Traditional Craft of Tokyo and one of “Traditional Crafts of Japan.”
Nisshinkikinzoku Co., Ltd. is one of the Tokyo Silverware workshops where you can take tours and participate in crafting experiences (English support may be available. Please inquire in advance). In the workshop, participants make ice cream spoons.
Nisshinkikinzoku Co., Ltd. (Japanese site only)

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Notice: Information as of June 2024.

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Issued by: Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Supported by: Tourism Division, Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government.