From Tokyo

Eastern capital of Japan

Matcha Heaven

Nanaya matcha

Enjoying matcha (抹茶) tea and other confectionery made from it is one of the great pleasures of living in Japan where access to the freshest supplies is plentiful. A few weeks ago a friend invited me on an early morning excursion to sample some of the richest matcha ice cream in the world, an opportunity I could not pass up! Read more

Kagurazaka Awa Odori Festival

Kagurazaka Festival

Back when I used to live in Waseda, one of my favourite places to hang out was the quaint neighbourhood of Kagurazaka (神楽坂) which provides a snapshot of old Tokyo with its many narrow alleyways and traditional restaurants. Over the summer I paid a return visit one evening to enjoy the annual Awa Odori (阿波踊り) festival which is held along the main Waseda Dori shopping street. Read more

Shibamata Sojourn

Shibamata Taishakuten Temple

Alongside Kawagoe, Asakusa, and Yanaka, Shibamata (柴又) is one very few remaining spots in Tokyo where you can get a glimpse of the city how it once was during the Edo period (1603 – 1868). The area combines a charming old shopping street with a beautiful temple and garden. Read more

Hachioji Festival

Hachioji Matsuri

For a few weeks every summer in Japan the streets of neighbourhoods around the country come alive with the sights, sounds and smells of traditional festivals (matsuri 祭) usually sponsored by a local shrine or temple. Notable matsuri often feature processions including elaborate floats (dashi 山車), which are pulled through the town, accompanied by performers and musicians. Read more

Yumenoshima Park

Yumenoshima Park

Back in 2013, shortly after I had moved to Japan, the language school I was attending at the time took us on a class outing to Yumenoshima Park (夢の島) for a sports day (as if we were 10 years old…). Literally meaning “Dream Island”, Yumenoshima Park was built on land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay using waste landfill. Read more

Kosoan Cafe in Jiyugaoka

Kosoan Cafe

Tokyo’s many neighbourhoods are full of hidden restaurants, cafes & bars, often hidden from view at street level, for which discovery is as much a part of the experience as anything else. Read more

Toritsu-daigaku Sakura

Toritsudaigaku Sakura

A little less than a year ago I moved to the sleepy neighbourhood of Toritsu-daigaku (都立大学) in south-west Tokyo (15 mins from Shibuya). An old ryokudo (緑道) “green road” lined with cherry blossom trees runs through the centre of the area and at the end of April, almost overnight, it sprang into full bloom. Read more