News & Announcements
Developing GO TOKYO Site
Designed for Smartphones
From the end of this July, GO TOKYO, the Tokyo's official tourism website, becomes available for smartphones. Even after arriving at Tokyo, you can easily get a variety of information through your smartphone with more use-friendly display.

More Photos in Photo Stock
New photos of Tokyo are added to the photo library and now about 300 photos are available free of charge!

The Latest Issue of Art News Tokyo Released in July
Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture publishes Art News Tokyo, a quarterly magazine introducing a variety of events of Tokyo Metropolitan's museums and facilities as well as art-featured articles. The latest issue is published in July and covers activities of the museums scheduled from July through September, 2013. You can get this magazine at the museums and at Tokyo Tourist Information Center on the 1st floor of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No.1.
Art News Tokyo (PDF)

First Cabin Opened in Akihabara
First Cabin
"First Cabin," which is a compact hotel with rooms in the style of first class airline seats, opened its second hotel in Tokyo on June 27, 2013 after the first one in Haneda Airport. Close to Akihabara Station and Akihabara, which is a "sacred place" of Japanese pop culture, it will be a convenient base for going around Tokyo as well as a good accommodation you can use at affordable prices.
First Cabin

Tokyo Marathon 2014 Applications Accepted During August
Tokyo Marathon, a full marathon plus a 10km race, is one of the top marathon races in Japan and one of the biggest sport events in Tokyo. It attracts many amateur runners who enjoy the rare chance to run through the streets of central Tokyo.
The official site of the Tokyo Marathon 2014 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 23.
Tokyo Marathon 2014
A brochure of the Tokyo Marathon 2014 will be available for download. (Available date is tbd.)

Tokyo's "Sento"
Japanese people are said to extremely fond of bathing. So do Tokyoites. There are a variety of "sentos," or public bathhouses in Tokyo, from traditional types to hot springs theme-park types. Let's go to a sento!

Sento's images
Sento's images

What is a Sento?
The current type of public bathhouse was first built in Tokyo in the late 19th century. With the increase of private residences with a bath, the number of public bathhouses has been decreasing since the late 20th century, but even now some people like to go to a public bathhouse because they can relax more by soaking in larger bathtubs or enjoy many types of bathes such as saunas, mist baths, and bubble baths. Some sentos even offer medical baths, mud baths, and massages.

How to take a bath at a Sento

Basics of Sento
What you have to bring
When you go to a sento, you usually bring a towel for washing, bath towel, soap, shampoo, and change of clothes. But if you don’t prepare them, don’t worry - basic essentials can be bought at all sentos. So don’t forget bringing a small amount of money for entrance, or for buying some drinks or getting some additional services. Taking along valuables is NOT recommended, but if you do, depositing them in a locker for valuables is highly recommended.

How to use
1. Paying the fee
How to use
There are two types of entrances. In a traditional type, at the entrance, doors for men and women are separate. The door for men has a curtain (usually bluish) with kanji character "男" (meaning men) and the door for women has one (usually reddish) with kanji character "女" (meaning women). Enter through the appropriate door according to your gender, and pay at the reception desk, which is called "bandai."
In another, newer type, the entrance is the same for men and women. Inside the building, rooms for men and women are separated. After entering the building, pay the fee at the front desk.
The fee is set at 450 yen for an adult for all sentos in Tokyo (as of July, 2013).
Take your shoes off and put them in a shoe locker.

2. Undressing
How to use
At the changing room, get undressed. Please remember to undress completely, which is the proper manner at a public bathhouse. Put your belongings and clothes in a locker with a key. You may wear the key on your wrist or ankle.

3. Entering the bathroom
When you enter the bathroom, first splash your body, using a small bucket, with hot water from one of the tubs. This is to clean your body before soaking in a bathtub and also to prevent surprising your body by first accustoming yourself to the water temperature. Some people like thoroughly cleaning the whole body before soaking in a bath. In the same vein, don’t add oil, salts, or creams to your body before soaking in a bath.
How to use
Courtesy of
Tokyo Sento Association
When you soak in a bathtub, don’t put your towel in the tub; rather, put it on your head or put it in a wash bowl. Usually there are at least two or more kinds of bathtubs, with different temperatures, etc., so enjoy each of them. Finally, wipe moisture off your body with a towel and enter back into the changing room. While bathing, you’ll sweat a lot. So it is a good idea to drink water or a beverage after bathing.

Important things
You should not take a bath just after eating or drinking alcohol, and also you should not take a bath while drinking alcohol. Taking photos in the bathhouse is NOT allowed and also using smartphones or cellular phones is NOT recommended.

Check http://www.ota1010.com/sentou.cgi for further information on sento's basics.

Enjoyable Wall Painting
For some, seeing gigantic wall paintings is one of fun things in visiting a sento. Picturesque scenery is usually painted and among other scenes, Mt. Fuji is the most popular item. It was first painted at a bathhouse in Kanda, Tokyo, in 1912, and many bathhouses have Mt. Fuji painted on the wall. Since Mt. Fuji was registered as a World Heritage site this June, Mt. Fuji paintings on bath walls have started to draw fresh attention. There are only two specialists that paint sento wall paintings remaining in Japan, Mr. Morio Nakajima and Mr. Kiyoto Maruyama. Why not come to see Mt. Fujis and other dynamic scenes in sentos in Tokyo - after seeing the real Mt. Fuji?

Fukuno-yu (Sendagi, Bunkyo City)
The two specialized painters paint Mt. Fuji in both the male and female bath areas.
Open 11:00-24:00 (weekday), 8:00-24:00 (Sat, Sun and holidays)
Closed Everyday open
Nearest Station Honkomagome (Tokyo Metro Namboku Line) / Map

Arai-yu (Honjo, Sumida City)
Arai-yu is in the vicinity of TOKYO SKYTREE® and the tower is painted, in addition to the Mt. Fuji mural.
Open 15:30-24:00
Closed 6th, 16th, 26th (If it falls on Sun, Fri, and holidays, it is closed the next day.
Nearest Station Honjo-azumabashi (Toei Asakusa Line) / Map
URL http://www.1010.or.jp/cgi/dsearch.cgi?sel=2&tno=7077 (Japanese only)

Must-see, Traditional Sento
Some people are interested in the sento from the viewpoint of art. You may be somewhat confused to see a traditional sento building, because it is gorgeous and looks like a temple with a unique "karahafu" roof. Karahafu-style is a prestigious architectural style that was used for castles and temples in the 16th century. Why do sentos adopt this style? Most sentos in Tokyo were destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923. After the earthquake, large sento buildings were reconstructed by temple-specialized carpenters. They built gorgeous buildings for sento, which were community places in those days, in the hope of revitalizing the town. In addition, sento then and now are dynamically ornamented with high ceilings, colorful tile paintings, and large wall paintings, and so on. The following sentos are a little bit far from the center of Tokyo but worth seeing.

Myojin-yu (Minami-yukigaya, Ota City)
This is an authentic, traditional Japanese-style sento, which is rare now in Tokyo. It is often used as a setting for movies and commercial films.
Open 16:00-23:30
Closed 5th, 15th, 25th (If it falls on Sun and holidays, it is closed the next day)
Nearest Station Yukigaya-otsuka (Tokyu Ikegami Line) / Map
URL http://www.ota1010.com/yu.cgi?no=059,code=e

Takara-yu (Senjumotomachi, Adachi City)
This bathhouse has a majestic hafu-style roof and a picturesque Japanese garden.
Open 15:00-23:30
Closed Friday
Nearest Station Kitasenju (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Hibiya, Hanzomon lines) / Map
URL http://slowtime.net/takarayu/ (Japanese only)

Sento in the Center of Tokyo
Even the center of Tokyo has sentos, most of which stand among other, taller buildings. The following are particularly noteworthy.

Konparu-yu (Ginza, Chuo City)
Opened in 1863. This is in the prestigious commercial area, Ginza.
Open 14:00-22:00
Closed Sunday & holidays
Nearest Station Shimbashi (JR, Tokyo Metro Ginza Line), Ginza (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line) / Map
URL http://www002.upp.so-net.ne.jp/konparu/ (Japanese only)

Shimizu-yu (Minami-aoyama, Minato City)
Located in the fashionable Omotesando area, this is a modernized bathhouse that has a100 year-history but was renovated in 2009.
Open 12:00-23:30 (weekday), 12:00-22:30 (Sat, Sun and holidays)
Closed Friday
Nearest Station Omotesando (Tokyo Metro Ginza, Hanzomon, and Chiyoda lines) / Map
URL http://shimizuyu.jp/ (Japanese only)

One of characteristics of Tokyo’s sento is kuroyu, or blackish brown water. In particular, Kamata, an area near Haneda Airport, is famous for being home to many kuroyu public bathhouses. The color, which comes from organic substances in the water, may be surprising at first glance but your skin will smooth as a baby’s after bathing. Here are some lists.

Kaisei-yu (Nishikamata, Ota City)
Open 15:00-24:30
Closed Friday
Nearest Station Kamata (JR) / Map
URL http://www.ota1010.com/yu.cgi?no=018,code=e

Yu-city-kamata (Kamata, Ota City)
Open 11:00-24:00
Closed Tuesday
Nearest Station Kamata (JR) / Map
URL http://www.ota1010.com/yu.cgi?no=011,code=e

For more info, see http://www.ota1010.com/e_main.html

Onsen Theme Park
At most local, traditional sentos, services are not available in English. For those who hesitate to visit such sentos but want to experience public bathhouses, large-scale spa-type facilities are recommended. The prices are higher, but these facilities are enjoyable in the way of a hot-springs theme park. Services are usually available in English, so you may feel more at ease. Some of these onsen-type "sento" require wearing swimsuits.

Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari (Aomi, Koto City) / Map
One of the largest onsen theme parks in Japan, which opened in Odaiba in 2003.

Spa LaQua (Kasuga, Bunkyo City) / Map
A spa facility adjacent to Tokyo Dome in Korakuen.

Sento Runner
In recent days, a so-called "sento runner" system has been attracting a lot of attention. You start running from a sento after changing clothes to running wear and depositing your bag at the sento, and then after completing your run you come back to the sento, refresh by soaking in a bath, and then change to town clothes to go home or go beer-drinking. As many runners jog around the Imperial Palace, this system began in that area. It is a new way of using and enjoying sento!

Bain Douche (Kojimachi, Chiyoda City)
Not residential in character, Chiyoda City has only four sentos as it is home to central government offices, the Supreme Court, and numerous companies. But also with the Imperial Palace nearby, this small bathhouse, the origin of the "sento runner" system, is usually full of runners.
Bain Douche
Open 15:00-24:00 (weekday), 13:00-23:00 (Sat)
Closed Sunday and holidays
Nearest Station Hanzomon (JR Hanzomon Line) / Map
URL http://www.1010.or.jp/cgi/dsearch.cgi?sel=2&tno=1005 (Japanese only)

Did you Know? Fun Facts About Tokyo: Have you ever heard about "Fish Therapy"?
Fish Therapy
Fish Therapy is a kind of therapy treatment by "Dr. Fish," or Garra rufa, a small freshwater fish, about 10 cm long. The fish mostly lives in rivers and ponds in western Asia and has become famous for eating human's dead skin at hot springs in Turkey. You can experience this "Fish Therapy" in some facilities in Tokyo, including Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari, which we feature in the "Sento" article of this e-Tokyo Today.
When you put your arm in a tank, scores of fish come around and start pecking your skin. Since the fish do not have teeth, you will feel a slightly tickling and comfortable titillation through their wiggling, without damage to the skin. It is considered to have a massage effect and to bring relaxation! After the "therapy," your skin is sure to be smoother. If you're interested in, try!

Event Information
Takao no Himatsuri (Fire Walking Ritual)
Takao no Himatsuri
Square in front of Jidosha Kito-den Hall at the foot of Mt. Takao / Map
Access: about 50 min from Shinjuku Sta. to Takaosanguchi Sta. by train on the Keio Line, 5-min walk from Takaosanguchi Sta.
March 10 (Mon), 2014

On the second Sunday of March each year the temple holds a large open-air fire ritual called Saito Goma-ku in front of the Kito-den Hall at the foot of the mountain. Worshippers rub their bodies with sticks called nadegi, which are later thrown into the flames. The climax of the event is fire-walking. When the fire dies down, yamabushi (mountain priests) and also gutsy spectators walk barefoot over the hot coals, praying for peace, good health, safety, and taking away of bad luck. The flames are considered to purify people by burning all defilements away. Mt. Takao, a 599-meter densely wooded mountain in western Tokyo, received three stars from Michelin "Voyager Pratique Japon" in 2008 along with Mt. Fuji, and has been known as a sacred mountain since the Edo period (1603-1867).

Asakusa Kannon Jigen-e
Asakusa Kannon Jigen-e
Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa / Map
March 18 (Tue), 2014

"Jigen-e" means the actual appearance of deities in this real world in various shapes to help people. It is said that the deity of Senso-ji Temple appeared on March 18, 628. To celebrate this day, the Jigen-e ritual ceremony is held on March 18 every year.
Two fishermen brothers who were catching fish at the Sumida River found a Buddhist statue on March 18, 628. They gave it to Haji no Nakatomo, a local officer of Asakusa, and he realized it was a statue of the bodhisattva Kannon. He enshrined the statue on a tree stump, entered the priesthood, turned his home into a temple, and became deeply religious.
On March 18, before the ritual, priests of the temple parade along the Nakamise-dori Street, and the ritual is performed at the main hall from 2 p.m. Kinryu-no-mai is based on the legend that a golden dragon came down from the sky at the appearance of the deity.
Asakusa Kannon Jigen-e
Senso-ji Temple

Comments from Tokyo Tourism Rep FAM 2013
Professionals from 48 leading tourism agencies that are eager to promote tourism to Tokyo were invited to the FAM trip and came to Tokyo at the end of this May. They joined from ten cities in Europe, North America, and Australia where Tokyo Tourism Reps are located, and experienced the "real" Tokyo through different programs in accordance with the market characteristics and tourist demands. The following two persons gave us comments on behalf of the participators.

Tokyo is value!
Dr. Joanna Rush
Rush Expeditions
As a tour operator, clients often approach me for recommendations as to where they should spend their vacation time. As one of my favourite destinations, I always recommend a trip to Japan, but I find one of the common responses from clients is "I'd love to go to Japan, but isn't it very expensive?" Overall, there is a perception of Japan and Tokyo in particular as being a costly destination. While Japan may not be as cheap as some other Asian destinations, as I emphasise to my clients, Japan IS good value.
Read more (PDF)

Two thumbs up!
Mr. Ernesto Garcia Dresbach
Mr. Ernesto Garcia Dresbach
Southern Cross

The group of attendants consisted of a mix of some 50 travel agents and tour operators from 10 destinations worldwide where Tokyo Tourism currently keeps offices. All of us where chaperoned by the Japanese Reps from those offices, during a very tight week full of activities, excursions, hotel site inspections, meetings and a workshop as a grand finale, sprinkled by delicious luncheons and gorgeous dinners. As mentioned, the program was very tight, meaning early wake-ups and breakfasts and only returning to the room fifteen hours later. But this allowed all of us to experience Tokyo at its best!

Tokyo 2020 Gearing up for Final Two Months
Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul, the three cities vying for the rights to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, made presentations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Members at the 2020 Candidate City Briefing in Lausanne, Switzerland earlier this month. Tokyo put forward an exceptionally strong case, promising to maximise the power of sport on a global stage, raise the profile of athletes, and promote Olympism for new generations in this challenging and rapidly changing era for sport.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games is the world's greatest sporting celebration. Held once every four years, it has a hugely significant meaning for the host city, as well as sport enthusiasts worldwide. Tokyo kept the best and improved the rest from its previous Bid, any true competitor knows to return to continue preserving in reaching your goal. Tokyo 2020's passion to contribute to the Olympic Movement is as strong as ever.

With the selection of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games' host city now just two months away, Tokyo is going all out to communicate the many compelling reasons why it would be an excellent choice to host the celebration. Its vision for the Tokyo 2020 Games, named 'Discover Tomorrow', combines dynamic innovation and global inspiration, uniting the Olympic Movement and the unique values of the Japanese people in a dynamic city that sets global trends. Underpinning the Bid is Japan's deep belief in the power of sport and its ability to inspire dreams and deliver positive change.

Japan has a long history and passion for the Olympic Movement, and the Japanese people hold athletes - Olympians and Paralympians in particular - in great esteem. During the most recent Summer Olympic Games in London, Japanese athletes once again demonstrated their world-class abilities, bringing home 38 medals to inspire this nation as never before. Excitement and momentum continue to build in Japan, where all levels of society - including government, business, sport leaders, athletes, and the general public - have united as one cohesive team pulling together.

Tokyo is the capital of the future, a true global city, with a culture that respects tradition with values that inspire the modern world. Every visitor is surprised by the number of highlights spread across so many different districts, and in 2020, athletes, members of the Olympic Family, and all visitors will see the many faces of Tokyo. With its dynamism and excitement on one hand, and harmony and peace on the other, every visitor in 2020 will leave with memories to last a lifetime.

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