TOKYO NOW―Email Newsletter from TOKYO to you

Vol.131, February, 2022

Winter from Afar or Up Close: A Mesmerizing Scenery

From Editor


Despite February being the coldest month of the year in Tokyo, the city comes to life as many festivals begin to welcome springtime. In such times, the old Japanese saying「冬来たりなば春遠からじ」comes to mind. This uplifting phrase roughly translates to “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” In fact, if you look closely at a tree that has lost all its leaves, you can already see small buds beginning to emerge. At Yushima Tenjin Shrine and Kameido Tenjin Shrine, white and pink flowers are in bloom, kicking off the early celebrations just before the arrival of spring with the Plum Festival. On Izu Oshima, an island south of Tokyo, the Camellia Festival is held as they are in full bloom. There are many places in Tokyo where you can feel the onset of spring even in the midst of winter.

Kyoko Higashi / TOKYO NOW Editorial staff

News & Topics

  • Culture
  • Northern Tokyo

The Tokyo National Museum Hyokeikan, is holding a special exhibition showcasing the traditional Japanese performing arts of Kabuki, Bunraku, Noh and Kyogen, Gagaku, and Kumi-odori, all of which have been registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in Japan. The exhibition is called “The World of Traditional Performing Arts,” and it features costumes, musical instruments, and props that have been used on stage, where you can see the unique beauty of each performing art. The exhibition was originally scheduled to be held in the spring of 2020 but was canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. It’s now scheduled to be held this January (Jan 7 – Mar 13) with additional content. All-year round, visitors are welcome to frequent by the Tokyo National Museum. Its endeavors on conserving and sharing precious cultural assets surrounding Japan's traditions are not time-bound; every bit of its exhibit awaits one to learn more about Japan, whenever your next visit to Tokyo is ready.

  • Attraction
  • Eastern Tokyo

Yakatabune boat cruises are unique dining experiences in Japan. Now for the first time ever, you can enjoy a little spook on your cruise with a new type of interactive entertainment that traps you on a boat with ghosts and ghouls. What starts out as a peaceful cruise takes a turn for the worse as tensions on board become so intense that you’ll feel like you’re in a scene from a scary movie. Hop aboard for yet another Tokyo-only experience, and if you’re lucky, you might just make it back to port alive. Performances are currently only held in Japanese.

  • Attractions
  • Eastern Tokyo

Jidaiya, one of the leading rickshaw operators in Asakusa, has launched “Hybrid Tour,” a new combination of in-person and online tours. Participants who come to Asakusa to experience the tour locally and those who join in remotely online will be connected via a screen, allowing everyone to enjoy the tour together. Jidaiya will be using knowledge gained from pasts in-person tours to offer online versions that showcase popular Japanese traditional culture like tea ceremony, Japanese dance, and iaido.

  • Culture
  • Eastern Tokyo

The Sumida Hokusai Museum, a popular museum for international visitors, is once again presenting a special showcase of Hokusai’s works with “Hokusai’s Historiographics: Japan Through the Ages ‐How Did He Depict Them?‐.” The exhibit features a collection of works by Katsushika Hokusai and his disciples depicting people and events in Japanese history, such as Shikibu Murasaki and Takeda Shingen. Come see the history of Japan and its heroes and heroines through the eyes of Hokusai.
Located in Sumida, the Sumida Hokusai Museum is where Hokusai Katsushika spent most of his life, and is a place dedicated to introducing Hokusai's works and life. The museum is a must-visit for Hokusai fans in Tokyo.

  • Food & Drink

The Michelin Guide Tokyo 2022, which went on sale on the third of last December, marked the 15th anniversary of its publication. This year’s edition includes 12 restaurants that have maintained a three-star rating for 15 consecutive years (three of which are Japanese and French restaurants), 41 two-starred restaurants, 150 one-starred restaurants, and 229 Bib Gourmand awarded restaurants. In addition, the number of “Michelin Green Star” restaurants, restaurants that are recognized for their sustainable efforts that The Michelin Guide began awarding in 2020, has increased to 14 restaurants. You can also watch a video about this special publication that was made available ahead of the guide’s release.

  • Attractions
  • Central Tokyo

Located only half an hour from Haneda Airport, Nihonbashi is a city that has flourished since the Edo period as a center of transportation, culture, economy, and commerce. There are currently five redevelopment projects planned along the nearby river. These projects will transform Nihonbashi into a new urban oasis where the long-established traditional businesses and new financial ones can coexist. Construction on the first and central part of this new urban redevelopment project is underway.

Get Inquisitive by Kyoko Higashi

For the Best Views of Tokyo, You Have to Aim High

TOKYO SKYTREE® and Tokyo Tower might offer some of the most famous panoramic views of Japan’s capital, but they’re far from the only game in town. With its 160 skyscrapers and other places with stunning observation decks, it has never been easier to get a bird’s-eye view of Tokyo. So, will you choose the centrally located Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center with its unique façade, or perhaps the cathedral-like Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building? Or maybe your interests lie further on Hachijojima Island located 287km south of Tokyo (yet still belonging to its municipality), which you can admire from the observation deck of Fureai Bokujo Farm halfway up Mount Hachijo-Fuji.

That’s Tokyo’s present, but what about its future? There are many construction projects underway in the city right now, including the Torch Tower near the north side of Tokyo Station. Once completed in 2027, the skyscraper will stand 390m-high, making it the tallest building in Japan. It will take that title from the Toranomon-Azabudai Project including the 330m A District Tower, which itself will earn it around 2023 when work on it completes.

Another skyscraper of Tokyo Midtown Yaesu on the east side of Tokyo Station will also reach a height of 240 meters at the end of August 2022. A building at the Shinjuku Station west gate will reach a height of 260 meters, higher than the 243-meter tall Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. On the other hand, the city will also be saying goodbye to some structures like the World Trade Center Building (established in 1970, 152 meters), one of Tokyo’s earliest skyscrapers, which will be reconstructed by 2027. The new structure will be 83 meters taller than the current building.

By the way, for Tokyo people, admiring the view of Mount Fuji from skyscrapers has a tremendous meaning. Since the 17th century, observing Mt. Fuji from Japan’s capital was a popular form of mountain worship, which came easy thanks to the area enjoying many clear days all year round. Once upon a time, Mt. Fuji could be seen from anywhere in Tokyo. Today, many places in Tokyo offer a grand view of Mt. Fuji, a feat far achieved compared to the past. Some of the best observation decks from which to admire Japan’s sacred mountain include Shibuya Scramble Square’s SHIBUYA SKY and the Bunkyo Civic Center Observation Lounge.

Pick up Movies

Monozukuri Series: Cheer for Art! - Traditional Arts
Tokyo is also a producer of the koto, which is recognized as a traditional craft of the city known as “Tokyo Koto.” This video introduces the sound of the Tokyo Koto and the process of making it.

Sumida River: One of Tokyo's Most Iconic Rivers
This beautiful aerial video of the Sumida River is presented by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

During the Edo period (1603-1868), Edo (then, Tokyo) marked the centuries as a spectacular ecological city filled with lush greenery. It was in this city that cultivated the Japanese people's deep love and respect of nature.

Made in Tokyo ~Kappo Yoshiba Restaurant~
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government introduces you to nabe, one of Japan’s most popular winter foods. Take a look at a chanko-nabe restaurant that has close ties to the world of sumo.
*This video was taken in 2016.

Tokyo Event Calendar

Check out these annual festivals and events held in Tokyo. You can see the list of all major festivals, fireworks, parades, religious events, and other events in Greater Tokyo.
*Depending on the situation, festivals and events scheduled in 2021 may be canceled. Please check the official website for the latest information.

Download for This Month

Please click on the links below to download the photos, press releases and new opening accommodation list

* [Update] Useful information on COVID-19 in Tokyo

Issue by: Tokyo Convention & Visitor Bureau
Support by: Tourism Division, Bureau of Industry and Labor Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government