News & Announcements
Tsukiji Market Tuna Auction Observation Area Reopens from July 26
The Tuna Auction Observation Area of the Tsukiji Market, temporarily closed after the Great East Japan Earthquake, will be open again to visitors from July 26.
Here are some important changes regarding acceptance of visitors:
Re-opening of Visits to the Tsukiji Market Tuna Auction Area and Changes to Visiting Procedures
Tsukiji Market

Tokyo Shitamachi Sightseeing Bus Resumes its Operation with New Routes
Sightseeing Bus (tokyo shitamachi bus), the route bus that covers major sightseeing spots in Tokyo, has resumed its service with three new routes from July 20.
Two routes operating on weekdays start from Ueno and go through nearby TOKYO SKYTREE®, the new landmark in Sumida Ward. Then, one route continues bound for Ryogoku, and the other continues bound for Kinshicho, which is home to one of the biggest one-coin shops in Tokyo and near the old town of Kameido, known for its nostalgic atmosphere.
The other route, a longer one operated on weekends and holidays, starts from Tokyo Station.

Major Stops
Route 1 (weekdays): Ueno Matsuzakaya - Ueno Koen Yamashita - Kikuyabashi - Asakusa Kaminarimon - Narihirabashi - Oshiage - Kinshicho Station
Route 2 (weekdays): Ueno Matsuzakaya - Ueno Koen Yamashita - Kikuyabashi - Asakusa Kaminarimon - Narihirabashi - Oshiage - Ryogoku Station
Route 3 (weekends): Tokyo Station - Nihombashi Mitsukoshi - Kanda Station - Ueno Matsuzakaya - Ueno Koen Yamashita - Kikuyabashi - Asakusa Kaminarimon - Narihirabashi - Oshiage - Ryogoku Station
English site (to open soon)

Applications for Tokyo Marathon 2012 Accepted during August
Tokyo Marathon
The official site of the Tokyo Marathon 2012, one of the biggest sport events in Tokyo, is now open. The maximum number of runners is set at 35,500 (including 100 elite runners, 3,000 charity runners, and 3,000 premium members of Tokyo Marathon's official ONE TOKYO club) this year. Those who want to participate in the race should apply from August 1 to August 31. Runners are chosen by a lottery if applicants exceed the maximum number of 35,500. The race is scheduled to be held on February 26.
Tokyo Marathon 2012

"Galapagos Islands of the East" Becomes Tokyo's First World Heritage Site: Ogasawara Islands
AccessThe Ogasawara Islands, located in a subtropical area 1,000 kilometers south of central Tokyo, officially belong to the Metropolis of Tokyo. These remote islands won World Heritage recognition on June 24, 2011, Tokyo's first ever World Heritage site and the fourth World Natural Heritage site in Japan. The registered area covers 6,360 hectares of land, including parts of Chichijima and Hahajima, and 1,580 hectares of the surrounding sea.

SeaThe Ogasawara Islands, consisting of more than 30 islands, have an oceanic climate with an annual average daily temperature of 23.3 degrees Celsius. The beautiful nature of the land amongst the cobalt blue ocean is indeed a paradise. Because they are far from other lands and thus home to many indigenous flora and fauna, they are called "The Galapagos Islands of the East."

Swimming with wild dolphinsThey have a lot to offer: marine activities like swimming with wild dolphins, whale-watching, diving and snorkeling in the sea with coral reefs and swarms of tropical fish, sea kayaking, and fishing. Other activities, including forest and mountain nature hikes, sunset and night tours and bird watching, are also available.

In addition to administrative ordinances, some organizations voluntarily set up rules for protection of the vulnerable ecosystem of the Ogasawara Islands and to control the balance between use and protection. Please confirm these rules prior to visiting the islands.

SunsetThe only way to visit the Ogasawara is a 25-hour journey by boat from Tokyo, but the extraordinary beauty of the islands is sure to be worth the visit. Above all, geographical distance which allows you to leave all cares and worries behind and enjoyment of total relaxation time are irreplaceable features of the Ogasawara travel experience.

On scheduled days, the "Ogasawara-maru" liner departs from Takeshiba Pier in Tokyo at 10 a.m. and arrives at Chichijima at 11:30 a.m. next day (a 25.5-hour trip). From Chichijima to Hahajima by the "Hahajima-maru" ferry is another 2 hours.

Movie Collection from Ogasawara Visitors Tourism Bureau
Ogasawara Village Tourist Association
Ogasawara Kaiun Co., Ltd.
Ogasawara Rule Book

TOKYO SKYTREE® Opens May 22, 2012
May 22, 2012, has been decided to be the opening day of TOKYO SKYTREE, a tower now under construction targeted as the new landmark of Tokyo, and TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN®, the complex of facilities around the tower.
TOKYO SKYTREE in Sumida Ward in eastern Tokyo reached the planned height of 634 meters on March 18. (now under construction)
This 634-meter-high terrestrial digital broadcasting tower will be Japan's tallest structure and the world's tallest self-standing telecommunications tower. From the observatories, the First Observatory at 350 meters above ground and the Second Observatory at 450 meters above ground, visitors will be able to watch down on the beautiful fireworks displays during the Sumida River Fireworks Festival usually held in July (though it is put off to August 27 this year due to the earthquake). The tower will be open for business from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the first year following the opening. TOKYO Solamachi®, an adjacent commercial facility of TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN, houses about 310 shops in six zones: souvenirs, fashion and fancies, restaurants, a new "shitamachi" downtown, trend shops, and food and confectioneries.

  First Observatory Second Observatory
adults (18 and over) 2,000 yen + 1,000 yen
junior and high school students
(aged 12-17)
1,500 yen + 800 yen

elementary school students
(aged 6-11)

900 yen + 500 yen

(aged 4-5)

600 yen + 300 yen
children (under 3) free free

Located between Narihirabashi Station (to be renovated and renamed TOKYO SKYTREE Station) on the Tobu Isesaki Line, and Oshiage Station on the Tobu Isesaki, and Keisei Oshiage train lines, and the Hanzomon and Asakusa subway lines.

If you want to know more about the construction, why not visit the exhibition? A special exhibition called the "Making of TOKYO SKYTREE® - Welcome to the Construction Site in the Sky" has opened at Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation) in Odaiba until October 2. The state-of-the-art technology that enabled the building of the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower is explained.
Special Exhibition "Making of Tokyo Sky Tree®- Welcome to the construction site in the sky -"

How to Enjoy Tokyo This Summer
Many Tokyoites assume that this summer in Tokyo will be hotter than usual, as they will have to use less air conditioning in fear of power shortages caused by the disaster after the Great East Japan Earthquake in March. However, they think this as a good occasion to pay closer attention to saving power and eco-friendly activities and enjoy the hot summer.

Traditional Cooling Methods
sudare (bamboo blinds)
sudare (bamboo blinds)
Many Tokyoites are applying traditional customs to cool down during the summertime that do not use electric power. Summer has always been hot in Japan, and people in the past devised ways to stay comfortable in summer. One such technique is the sprinkling of water (uchimizu in Japanese) around the house during the cooler hours of the day, such as early morning or early evening, and the evaporation process keeps the area cooler during the hot hours. Other effective measures include attaching bamboo blinds (sudare) to the outside of windows and hanging a wind chime (furin) to catch the breeze to cool the senses.

Modern Power Saving Methods
Most companies are saving power by turning off lights, changing to LED lights, curbing the use of air conditioners, decreasing the operation of elevators and escalators, and encouraging workers to wear "Cool Biz" fashion, a new business dress code more casual than the conventional one. Under this dress code, businessmen are allowed to remove their tie and jacket. "Super Cool Biz" fashion, such as polo shirts and casual wear, are recommended at some workplaces.
Some companies are allowing employees to start and end their workday earlier and so they have more leisure time starting from as early as 4 p.m. in the late afternoon, which is much earlier than usual, and save electricity at work. Other promotions to save energy are longer vacations and working from home offices. Some factories, such as in the automotive industry, are closing on some weekdays and operating on weekends to level out the use of power over the week.

Leisure After 4
MORINO BEER GARDEN (Forest Beer Garden)
MORINO BEER GARDEN (Forest Beer Garden)
For most locals, a beer garden (a seasonal open air pub) is the place of choice to cool down on a summer evening after work. Drinking cold beer in the night breeze is a great way to burn off the heat of the day.
There are a lot in Tokyo, but one of Japan's largest beer gardens is the MORINO BEER GARDEN (Forest Beer Garden) in Jingu Gaien. Restaurant Luke's Beer Terrace on the top floor of the 47-story St. Luke's Garden building is the highest one and has a splendid view. Mt. Takao's Beer Mount, 500 meters above ground, is also very popular. The huge Beer Restaurant Garden Islands is in the garden area of the Tokyo Prince Hotel and has seating for 1,000.

St. Luke Garden (Japanese Only)
Beer Mount
Beer Restaurant Garden Islands

Natural Cooling
If you want to avoid the city heat completely, a good idea is to visit one of the many waterfalls or valleys around or even in Tokyo. Hossawa Falls in the village of Hinohara is a beautiful waterfall and considered one of the 100 finest waterfalls in Japan. The great Mitoh Falls, also in Hinohara, is just a 30-minute walk on a wood-chip-filled trail from the parking lot of Tomin no Mori Forest. The hiking route in the Hatonosu Valley along the Tama River is a hiking trail in good condition and easy for people of all ages. Todoroki Valley in Setagaya Ward is surprisingly abundant in trees and clear water, even though it is close to central Tokyo.

Hinohara Village
Hatonosu Valley
Todoroki Valley

Although efforts to save power are being forced upon Tokyoites by the disaster, it is a good opportunity to find new and exciting ways to enjoy the hot summer.

I Came, I Saw, I Enjoyed! : Messages from Journalists Who Visited Tokyo
Please check the comments about Tokyo and Japan from journalists after the quake.

Mr. Daniel García GonzálezMr. Daniel García González from Spanish magazine "Muchoviaje." (Filmed on April 22)
Message from Mr. Daniel García González, Spanish Magazine "Muchoviaje"

Ms. Begoña Pérez BlancoMs. Begoña Pérez Blanco from Spanish magazine "Muchoviaje." (Filmed on April 22)
Message from Ms. Begoña Pérez Blanco, Spanish magazine "Muchoviaje"

Mr. Mark MurphyMr. Mark Murphy from Performance Media, who publishes major travel magazines such as "Vacation Agent" and "Agent @ home," updated some videos shot in Tokyo in June 2011.
June 17, 2011: Why You Should Travel to Japan…and Do it Now
Travel Pulse.com

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