News & Announcements
Tsukiji Market Tuna Auction Observation Area to Be Reopened Mid-January
Tsukiji Market Tuna Auction Observation Area
The tuna auction observation area of the Tsukiji Market, which has been temporarily closed to visitors to help ensure greater safety and efficiency for those working over the busy New Year season, has resumed on January 21, 2013. The regulations concerning observation are the same as before.
Tsukiji Market

The Highest Ranking of Three-Star by Michelin
The 2013 Michelin Guide to Tokyo/Yokohama/Shonan was released in December. Although the number of three-star restaurants in Tokyo decreased by two, the number is still the biggest in the world.
In Tokyo, 14 restaurants were awarded three stars and 53 restaurants were awarded two stars, which includes six new restaurants.
Regarding one star, 175 restaurants are selected in Tokyo, with 14 new ones.
Come and enjoy dining in Tokyo, the world's "gourmet city"!
Michelin Press Release

Tokyo Fan Week Starts from February 1
Tokyo Fan Week
Tokyo Fan Week is held from February 1 to 28 in and around the Omotesando/Harajuku area, giving you the chance to enjoy this exciting area in different ways.
More than 60 shops, including Laforet HARAJUKU, KIDDY LAND and OMOTESANDO HILLS, join to offer a discount or a novelty. What you need to do is to pick up an official guidebook at the information desk and show it at the participating shops.
For those who want to know the area better, there are several free-guided tours available, including a "fashionista tour" that takes you to some of the famous apparel shops in the area.
You can also join the traditional cultural experience program. The event features workshops for making Tokyo ginki silverware, Tokyo shippo cloisonné enamel, and Edo Kiriko cut glass. It also offers Japanese sake tasting and lessons of tenugui cloth wrapping techniques.
For further details, pop in to the information desk of Tokyo Fan Week, located at the entrance of OMOTESANDO HILLS.

Andaz's First Expansion into Japan
"Andaz Tokyo," a luxury brand of American big hotel chain Hyatt Hotels, will open in Toranomon in 2014. As a part of the redevelopment of the Toranomon district, the hotel will be located on the 47th to 52nd floors of a skyscraper now under construction. The total number of the guest rooms is to be 164. This "Andaz Tokyo" will be the first branch of Hyatt Hotels in Japan.
Hyatt Press Release

Versatile Nightlife in Tokyo
Do you think Tokyo has no quality nightlife? If so, you are wrong. Luckily, it's not too late to get exposed to versatile nightlife that features each area in Tokyo! Roppongi, one of the most multinational areas in Tokyo, has bars and clubs as multicultural as those who gather there. Shinjuku, a hive of chaotic energy, is filled with all kinds of places of entertainment. Shibuya and Ebisu attract younger generations with popular clubs and live houses, while Ginza is filled with high-class nightclubs, promising you a luxurious nightlife experience.
According to "Cities Survey" by TripAdvisor® in 2012, Tokyo is ranked No.1 city where you feel safe. And, actually, it is safe. Let's enjoy unique and diverse nightlife in Tokyo.

Experience Traditional Geisha Entertainment at Ryotei

"Geisha" is probably one of the best known Japanese words worldwide. Geisha are professional female entertainers who have mastered traditional Japanese dances and music.
In Japan, we enjoy dinner at ryotei, Japanese-style restaurants on special occasions, like an important business dinner or a celebration, and arrange for geisha so as to liven it up, but you, who are non-Japanese traveler, can enjoy geisha entertainment just as an experience. Tokyo has some ryotei in hanamachi entertainment districts offering such geisha experience. Have fun with geisha in Tokyo!

What's geisha entertainment about?
Geisha entertainment
Geisha entertainment is one of the most sophisticated and elegant entertainments for adults in Japan. A typical ryotei restaurant is in a traditional Japanese style building decorated with tasteful high-quality furniture and goods, creating a tranquil atmosphere. Superlative Japanese food with carefully-selected ingredients and alcohol are served, while geisha entertain guests with Japan’s traditional performing arts, including dance, singing, and shamisen, a three-stringed instrument. Guests play unique ozashiki asobi games with geisha. Keep in mind, ozashiki asobi games with glamorous geisha are more for enjoying than competing. As a penalty, you are "forced" to drink sake if you lose in some games. Lucky loser.

Some typical ozashiki asobi games:
Most games with geisha are played to the accompaniment of music; games are controlled by tempo, rhythm, and other elements of the music.

Omawari-san: Sit down to face your opponent with a taiko drum in between. Play rock-paper-scissors, and the winner plays the drum while saying "omawari nasai" (turn around), and the loser turns around along with the drum beats. If you lose consecutively, you know what will happen after having a few drinks.
Tora-tora game: Basically rock-paper-scissors by gestures of "Watonai" (historical figure; spearing), "tora" (tiger; getting down on hands and knees), and "obasan" (old lady; walking with a cane). Watonai wins over tora, tora wins over obasan, and obasan wins over Watonai. Two stand with a folding screen in between, and come out while gesturing along with music to decide the winner and loser.
Kompira-fune-fune: Sit down to face your opponent with a Japanese soup cup facing down in between. Place your hand on the cup alternately with your opponent while singing the Kompira-fune-fune song, and you either take away the cup or leave it. If one takes away the cup, the other one has to put out his/her hand holding, and if one leaves the cup, the other one has to put out his/her hand spread onto the cup. If you make a mistake, you lose.
Tosenkyo: Throw a fan at a target called cho (butterfly) placed on the top of wooden box base, and calculate a score according to the formation of the fan and the target.
Ohiraki-san: Stand facing your opponent. Play rock-paper-scissors, and the loser has to spread his/her legs a little. Keep playing until the loser falls down.

How to arrange geisha asobi:
Geisha asobi may be one of the things you want to try at least once in your life, but it is said that the geisha industry turns down any first-time guests without an introduction. So, here are some things you have to do for your geisha asobi.
Tokyo has six hanamachi districts, including Shimbashi (Ginza), Akasaka, Yoshicho (Nihombashi Ningyocho), Kagurazaka, Asakusa, and Mukojima. Here is a list of ryotei that will accept first-time customers. As the ryotei gives you a bill for everything including geisha charges, usually there is no need to pay directly to geisha, except for the tip.

Ryotei that you can make a reservation without an introduction (No English reservation accepted, so book through a Japanese travel company.)
Kiyoshi (Japanese only)
Map (Mukojima)

Sakurajaya (Japanese only)
Map (Mukojima)

Besides food, drink and geisha charge, you need to pay a table charge, service fee and tax.
For example, if you are in a group of four, arranging to have fun with three geisha for two hours, an average charge is from 45,000 yen. (100 yen = 1.1 USD)
Give your geisha the tip enclosed in a little envelope or kaishi (fancy Japanese paper) in a subtle way, not in the Western way of tipping.
Of course, different ryotei charge differently and your charges change depending on what you order for food, drink, the number of geisha, and type of geisha asobi. Recently, some ryotei have more affordable set charges, making it easier for a wider range of people to experience geisha asobi.

Azuma Odori and Akasaka Odori
Azuma Odori
Azuma Odori takes place at Shimbashi Enbujo, a theater built for geisha in Shimbashi to improve their dance and other skills. This event formerly was held twice a year in spring and autumn, and now is held once in spring. This year marks the 89th anniversary.
Geisha in Shimbashi, whom those in Kyoto admired and modeled themselves on, perform elegant song and dance routines. Enjoy tea served by geisha and a bento boxed lunch prepared by ryotei in Shimbashi! (extra cost charged)
In addition to the dance, you can appreciate calligraphy, handicrafts, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, and other Japanese culture. An interpreter is available for a group tour.
*If you are interested in a group tour with an interpreter, please tell them the number of your group in advance. Interpreters may not be able to get accompanied with your group depending on the number.

Date: May 17 (Fri)-20 (Mon), 2013
Tickets: S seat: 7,500 yen, A seat: 6,500 yen, B seat: 5,500 yen, C seat: 2,500 yen
Reservations: Please contact inq@wajuku.jp by email to reserve tickets. (Japanese and English available)
Venue: Shimbashi Enbujo Theater (6-18-2 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo)
Boxed Lunch: 2,000 yen-
Azuma Odori (Japanese only)

Akasaka Odori
During the Edo period (1603-1867), Akasaka used to be home to sophisticated teahouses and restaurants where high-ranking retainers gathered and amused themselves. Even in the 1950s, it was still a flourishing entertainment district with many geisha. You can see brilliant performances of Akasaka geisha in Akasaka Odori held at Akasaka ACT theater.
Date: March 2 (Sat)-3 (Sun), 2013

If You Prefer a Casual Atmosphere to Enjoy Sake and Food...

Izakaya and Yokocho
Want to enjoy drinking more casually? Then, try izakaya, Japanese-style pubs, and yokocho, narrow alleys lined with small pubs and food stalls, to enjoy Japanese dishes with the common touch for reasonable prices. TOKYO YOKOCHO Week is being held until March 15. Mingling with salaried employees after work and local people, you can enjoy food and sake in an "ordinary" atmosphere. Yokocho is congested mostly with cheap izakaya, offering you a place to enjoy local food without worrying about your budget.
Never tried izakaya before? Then, visit Shin Hinomoto, owned by a British guy to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere with many foreign workers and customers.
Shin Hinomoto

Theme izakaya
Sengokubuyuuden Busyoukoshitsu Shinjuku
Want a bit more entertainment at izakaya, then how about "theme izakaya?" Try a variety of theme izakaya, including "busho warlord izakaya," which is decorated with samurai swords and armor and hannya mask, a Noh theater mask representing a jealous female demon, making you feel like you are in the Age of Civil Wars, "prison-type izakaya," where you will be served by prison guards, "ghost-house izakaya," or "fishing izakaya," where you can catch fish from a fishing boat set in the restaurant and eat the fish cooked as you like. Get an izakaya experience at a "theme park"!
Sengokubuyuuden Busyoukoshitsu Shinjuku

Alcatraz (Japanese only)

Zauo (Japanese only)
Map (Shinjuku)
Map (Kameido)
Map (Meguro)

Nightlife Is Not Only About Drinking...

How about entertainment...
Billboard Live TOKYO
Interested in enjoying jazz, live shows, and a live concert with your meal? Tokyo has a full range of restaurants where you can enjoy full-scale dance shows and live performance by first-class musicians. Be entertained as you savor delicious dishes!
Blue Note Tokyo (Japanese only)

Cotton Club Tokyo

Billboard Live TOKYO

How about hot springs and relaxation...
Does refreshing in a bath after drinking sound like the perfect way to finish your day?
Spa Laqua, where you can enjoy baths fed with natural hot spring water from 1,700 meters below Tokyo Dome City as well as saunas, is open until 9 a.m. Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba, an onsen theme park recreating the town of Edo, is also open until 9 a.m., offering a variety of baths and amusement facilities.

Oedo Onsen Monogatari

*Please be careful not to take a bath right after drinking, which can be very bad and sometimes dangerous for you. Make sure to be sober when you take a bath.

Missed the Last Train?

Then, take a taxi. The minimum taxi fare in Tokyo is generally 710 yen during daytime, which goes up 90 yen for every additional 288 meters. The midnight taxi fare (10 p.m. - 5 a.m.) is an additional 20% to the daytime fare.

Hesitating to take a taxi?
Welcome aboard!
According to "Cities Survey" by TripAdvisor® in 2012, Tokyo was ranked No.1 among 40 cities for five items, including friendliest taxi drivers and best taxi services. So, no need to be scared. Better to prepare your destinations along with their addresses written down in Japanese and/or a simple map, since the driver may not recognize names of restaurants and facilities. Many taxies now accept payments by credit cards and e-money that you'd have for public transportation, such as Pasmo and Suica, and some taxies carry a phrase sheet which allows communication with drivers by pointing phrases you want to say. That’s the best service in the world!

Event Information
Sumidagawa Hanabi (Sumida River Fireworks Festival)
Sumidagawa Hanabi
The fireworks festival is a quintessential charm of summer. The Sumida River Fireworks Festival has a long history, beginning in the 18th century. Many people died of starvation and contagious diseases in the great famine of that time. The Tokugawa Shogunate held a ceremony in the Sumida River to pray for the souls of victims and drive away evil diseases. In this occasion, restaurants near Ryogoku Bridge launched fireworks with the government permission.
The elegant, about 20,000 fireworks adorn the night sky over the water at the center of the metropolis against the backdrop of TOKYO SKYTREE®. It is one of the biggest and most famous fireworks festivals in Tokyo.

The first venue: From Sakurabashi to Kototoibashi (7:05 p.m.-8:30 p.m.)
Komagatabashi to Umayabashi (7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.), Sumida-ku, Tokyo (tbd)
July 27 (Sat), 2013
*Every year the festival is held on the last Saturday in July, but details are decided in mid April.
Sumida River Fireworks Festival

Tokyo Koenji Awaodori (Tokyo Koenji Awa Dance Festival)
Tokyo Koenji Awaodori (Tokyo Koenji Awa Dance Festival)
Koenji in western Tokyo hosts a big event of local, regional folk dance, Koenji Awaodori, at the end of August every year. Inspired by Awaodori in Tokushima Prefecture, which is a traditional dance festival with a 400-year history, the Koenji Awaodori was first started with only 38 participants and 2,000 visitors. Attracting more and more people, now it draws over 10,000 participating dancers, with more than one million people converging to watch. Dancers dance to the accompaniment of jaunty musical rhythm, and onlookers also enjoy watching the exciting parade as if in a trance.
Many teams come from all over Japan, joining local teams' dancing and generate more excitement. Visit and feel the energetic power of the big carnival of Tokyo in summertime.

Shopping streets around JR Koenji Station and Tokyo Metro Shin-koenji Station, and 8 theaters along Konan-dori street
August 24 (Sat)-25 (Sun), 2013
Tokyo Koenji Awa Dance Festival

Setomono Ichi (Pottery Fair)
Setomono Ichi (Pottery Fair)
The pottery fair is annually held in Ningyocho Shopping Street in an old district, so-called "Shitamachi" downtown, in Tokyo. Its origin dates back to 1953 when a memorial service was first conducted there for fragments of broken or cracked ceramics to return to the soil, which is the birthplace of pottery. After the memorial service, nearby ceramic wholesalers started to hold a pottery fair in Ningyocho.
Nowadays, a ritual ceremony is held under the clock tower in Ningyocho to give thanks to pottery and pray for future prosperity on the first day's afternoon. The main street from Suitengu to Ningyocho junction is lined with tents of ceramic wholesalers of Nihombashi.
Ceramics and kitchen utensils are sold at special prices for items which include cups, plates, glasses, and lacquer ware. Some are cheaper than usual prices by 30 or 40 percent, and some are surprisingly sold at 50 percent off. So, even though it takes place in the heat of mid-summer, a lot of people look forward to visiting there to find a bargain every year. Hands-on experience in making pottery is also available.

Ningyocho Shopping Street (Suitengu - Ningyocho Junction)
Three days in early August, 2013
*Usually it takes place on the first Monday to Wednesday, but details will be decided in June.
Tokyo Nihonbashi Ningyocho

No Negative Impact on Our Health: Updated Radiation-related Information in Tokyo
Radiation dose after touring Tokyo for one day (July 9, 2012) Report on field measurements (Japan Tourism Agency)
According to the survey on radioactivity in Tokyo conducted by the Japanese Tourism Agency, the measured air dose was below the global average.
Radiation dose after touring Tokyo for one day (July 9, 2012) Report on field measurements

Radiation Level in the Air (Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health)
Environmental radiation levels in Tokyo

Radiation Level in Tap Water (Bureau of Waterworks Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
No radioactive substances have been detected either from raw water or at the water purification plants of Tokyo since April 2011.
Latest information related to the effect on purified water by radioactivity

List of banned foods and shipping restrictions
Food products are monitored every day for radioactive materials. The Japanese government restricts distribution and consumption of food products containing any level of radiation that exceeds the regulatory standards.
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: Information on the Great East Japan Earthquake

Q&A on Foods and Fishery products
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Questoins and answers on rice, meat and eggs, milk, dairy products, mushrooms, and edible wild plants (as of December 19, 2012)
Fisheries Agency: Questions and answers on fishery products

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