Living in Tokyo(このページは英語表記)
Living in Yoshida House, you're close to all that's going on in Tokyo. Magazines like Metropolis and newspapers like the Japan Times have lots of listings of events taking place around the city. The Friday edition of the Japan Times lists events going on over the weekend. For picking a good restaurant around town, the Tokyo Food Page comes in handy. For wanderings outside the city Outdoor Japan has lots of info on various destinations around Tokyo and all over Japan. Bryce Tanner maintains a great page of trips around Tokyo and Japan with lots of pictures.
For shopping nearby Yoshida House, Ikebukuro has two big department stores, Seibu and Parco, and several branches of the electronics store Bic Camera. There's also an outlet of the Tokyo Hands chain that stocks everything for home projects. For well-made, cleanly designed home items, Muji has several outlets in Ikebukuro. The Junkudo bookstore has a large stock of English books and magazines. In the back streets around the south exit of Ikebukuro are lots of shops famous for their ramen. You can enjoy the Japanese tradition of topping off an evening of drinking with a bowl of hot ramen before catching the last train home!
Two stops down the Yamanote line from Ikebukuro at Takadanobaba, the Blue Parrot bookshop has a good stock of used English and foreign language books. In the area is also the Waseda Shochiku which has interesting double features of recently released movies. Don't forget to stop by Ben's Cafe when you're there!
A little further down the Yamanote line, between the large shopping areas of Shinjuku and Shibuya, are streets filled with interesting shops and hidden cafes. Yoyogi Park is the place everyone goes to hang out and there are lots of pickup bands on the weekends. Next to Yoyogi is the beautiful Meiji Shrine, a must see on any trip to Tokyo. Less well known, the area in back of the shrine has nice lawns for picnics and is the home of the Shiseikan Martial Arts center. Especially interesting are the kyudo matches, the ritualized form of archery that is associated with the Shinto religion.
Outside of Tokyo
- Day trip ideas near Tokyo:
- Kawagoe, — old castle town with lots of well-preserved shops.
- Koma — little town located just outside Hanno in the Chichibu foothills, a nice place to take short walks and enjoy yummy food at Alishan Cafe, an organic cafe. The shop also has fresh organic produce on weekends.
- Studio Ghibli Museum, Mitaka — museum dedicated to the films of the studio led by Hayao Miyazaki, leading Japanese animator. Reservations required.
- Kamakura — the ancient seaside capital of Japan, with lots of temples and gardens to explore.
- Mt. Takao — located at the end of the Chuo line, very popular hiking spot. There's a chair lift for the lazy.
- Nihon Minkaen — an outdoor museum featuring traditional houses from all over Japan in Kawasaki.