Category Archives: Akishima & Moritown

Daruma Doll Festival-Haijimadaishi Temple

Looking for a fun New Year’s activity? Look no further than the Daruma Doll Festival, in nearby Akishima. A visit to a shrine, within the first few days of the new year, is  very important aspect of Japanese culture, known as hatsumode.
2015-01-02 13.53.12
The lines to get to the front of the shrine will be very long,  but we bypassed the line and had a great time wandering the festival. Daruma is a good luck doll for the upcoming year. You buy a new Daruma doll each year (there were many to choose from of all sizes), and color in one eye when you make your wish. If your wish comes true during the year, you color in the other eye.2015-01-02 13.57.15
You bring last year’s Daruma to throw in the fire, which is part of the Japanese approach to the new year, “out with the old, in with the new”.
2015-01-02 14.36.21 HDR

Also look for the kabura-ya, or arrow with a “turnip” shaped tip, for a fun souvenir. These are modeled after arrows that the samurai used, to attach messages to and shoot them into a fortress or other enclosure. Now, they are sold at Shinto shrines at the new year, as protection from evil spirits.
2015-01-02 16.27.13

Of course, as with all Japanese festivals, there will also be FOOD! There were many vendor stalls set up selling your favorite Japanese street food; yakisoba, yakiniku, takoyaki, etc.2015-01-02 13.50.28

The festival is held at the Haijima Daishi temple every year on January 2nd and 3rd. Parking is extremely limited. The website recommends taking the train, closest station is Akishima station (which is the Moritown station), then it is about a 20 minute walk from Akishima station. Jamie Cowan, December 2015

Website:http://haijimadaishi.com/daruma-ichi/
Hours: 0900-1600, January 2nd and 3rd.
GPS to the shrine: 35.7056997,139.3449119

Fukubukuro- New Year’s “lucky bags”

2015-01-01 08.09.13New Year’s Day is the most important Japanese holiday, where many “firsts” are celebrated. Some of these special firsts include; first prayer, first sunrise, and first …SALE! The Japanese phenomenon known as fukubukuro, (orlucky/happy bag”), entails heading to a store on January 1-3 and buying a bag with unknown contents for a set price. The only guarantee is that the bag will be worth more than you paid, sometimes several times more, but it’s a gamble.

If you are a risk taker at heart, you will love this custom! Some stores show the contents of the bags, but most do not, it’s a complete surprise. Opening your lucky bag has all the anticipation of Christmas morning, and possibly some of the disappointment. Was it money well spent, or not?2015-01-02 08.49.17-1

For example, I spent Y3000 for this bag at a kitchen wares store, and this was its contents; a  small roasting pan with rack, frying pan, spatula, “pig” microwave lid, utensil holder, and two fish shaped kitchen sponges. This bag was definitely worth more than what I paid.

 

Head to your nearest mall, specialty store or grocery store January 1-3, to join in the fun. But, beware, if you don’t act fast you’ll miss your chance! Lucky bags are only around while supplies last. Jamie Cowan, December  2015

MoriPark Outdoor Village

MoriParkNear Akishima Station, only a 5 minute drive out the East Gate, is a huge “Outdoor Village” where you will find shops, food, and outdoorsy activities. Take a right out the East Gate and head towards MoriTown Mall.

Shops include Jack Wolfskin, Columbia, Mont-Bell, The North Face, Solomon, Coleman, Mountain Hardware and more. Many of the shops have boutique restaurants serving coffee and lunch.

There’s a giant rock climbing wall and a small man-made pond where people were testing out kayaks. And there were tents set up everywhere, for people to crawl around in. When I was there on a Saturday, there was a giant “convention center”-like space that had an open market, with local vendors selling fruits and vegetables. There were children driving around miniature Segways.

MoriPark2The website for the outdoor village is: http://outdoorvillage.tokyo. The hours are 11:00-20:00 on weekdays and 10:00-20:00 on weekends. GPS: 35.716617, 139.361475. It’s right next to the Harley Davidson Shop. There was parking nearby, you may have to pay.

I wasn’t able to do a ton of research, but there was a place called Play (a part of the village), which has an indoor and outdoor climbing gym, and yoga studio. The phone number is 042-541-3223. Please share any information you might have in the comments below. Michelle Nexon, July 2015.

Sherlock Holmes: Steak Restaurant

SH8Sherlock Holmes is steak and hamburger-steak restaurant where the meat is initially prepared in the kitchen, then brought out on a very hot skillet. The cook places the skillet on a wood setting and continues to prepare it to your specification. Be sure to hold up a napkin to prevent the meat from splattering on your clothes.

SH6There is an English menu which lists several choices of meat and sauces. The lunch menu ranges from ¥1500 to ¥2000 and includes the entrée, potato and vegies, soup, rice or bread, and a drink. For dinner you can choose either hamburger-steak for ¥1980, or steak for ¥2480. The dinner includes the entrée, and an additional meat (salmon, chicken, lamb, wild duck, scallop, shrimp, etc.), potato and vegies, soup, salad, rice or bread, dessert and drink. All steaks and hamburger-steaks are charcoal grilled with a choice of sauces: brown, tomato, garlic brown, garlic soy, radish soy, ginger soy, soybean, spicy, and black pepper. The restaurant also serves a selection imported beers.

SH2Children are welcome as well. The children’s menu is ¥1200 for hamburger-steak and ¥1600 for a steak. The child’s dish includes soup, rice or bread, drink and ice cream. But be careful as the plates are very hot!

The restaurant is open every day. Weekdays: Lunch 11:30am – 3pm, Dinner: 5:30 – 10:30pm. Weekends: 11:30 – 10:30. Telephone: 042-531-7856. GPS: 35.730254, 139.364376. Michelle Nexon, 2013.


View Larger Map

Hamazushi: Conveyor Belt Sushi

My husband and I discovered Hamazushi during one of our adventures to the MoriTown Mall. We were craving sushi, so we decided to give it a try. It was the perfect sushi fix, and we’ve been back many times. In fact, Hamazushi is a chain restaurant with many locations throughout Japan.

HamazushiYou can park in the parking lot outside the restaurant. Once you enter, make sure you get a ticket with a number to be seated. You can choose to sit at a table or the bar. There is a television screen in the waiting area. When your number is displayed on the screen, take your ticket to the register where you will be handed a second number. This number corresponds to your seat. Once you find your seat, you are ready to eat.

It’s a conveyor belt sushi bar, so you simply grab what looks appealing (as long as the plate is not elevated on a tray, these are special requests from other tables). If you are feeling brave, you may use the touch screen to order specific foods, however, it’s in Japanese. When the food is on its way, the touch screen will beep to let you know the sushi (on an elevated tray) is on the belt near your table. Choose from a variety of sushi, desserts, and sides. Most plates are ¥105. Water is self-serve. Or you can make green tea at your table. You can order beer and other beverages through the waiter. To summon a waiter, press the yellow button on the right side of the touch screen. When you are finished push the button. A waiter will come, count your plates, and give you a ticket. Take the ticket to the register to pay.

The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. However, the last opportunity to be seated is at 10:30 pm. GPS 35.714612, 139.365307. Michelle Nexon, July 2013


View Larger Map

Aroma Company

One of my friends referred me to Asayo at the Aroma Company. It is located less than 5 minutes from the supply gate and they offer many types of body treatments and services. You may have seen an ad on YokotaAds also for them. I received a basic facial which lasted an hour. Included was shoulder massage, foot massage and scalp massage on top of the facial treatment. She can perform ion treatment, abrasion, etc. She also offers oil massage, hot stone, body wraps and body scrubs for a very reasonable price. The facial was $35 and she accepts yen OR USD. It was a lovely experience and I will definitely go back again (and again and again)!  Reach them by email: aromacompany-koubou@docomo.ne.jp.

DIRECTIONS: Upon leaving the Fussa Gate, turn left on Route 16 and stay in the left lane.  Proceed straight for three traffic lights (1.1 km) and you’ll pass the Supply Gate (Gate 5) on your left. Continue going straight and around the 2.0 km point there will be a Y-split and you’ll veer to the right following the blue sign that says “Hachioji”.  You’ll then cross over a bridge that goes over the railroad tracks and when・you get to the bottom of the bridge (2.5 Km), you’ll make a hard 135 degree left turn.  Pass the first traffic light and on the left corner will be a Lawson Convenience Store and about another 100 yards the road will make a 90 degree right turn.  Instead of following the road to the right, you’ll go straight for about 20 yards and turn left into a narrow road which goes to the left.  You’ll see a “P-sign” for 100 yen parking. Park here and she’ll reimburse you the fee. To get to the Aroma Company-Koubou shop, walk back to the Lawson Convenience Store.  At the Lawson intersection cross the street and immediately turn right and you’ll see a automatic glass door on the building in front of you.  Go into the building and go to the basement.  At the bottom you’ll see the entrance to the Aroma Company Koubou Shop. – Kelly Bull, February 2013

Cainz Home Center

Cainz 1Cainz 4Cainz 5Cainz is a big-box store that sells hardware, housewares, garden supplies, automotive accessories, sporting goods, even puppies. Some say it’s cheaper than Joyful Honda, but it seems to be a matter of personal preference. It has a tiny food court at the north end of the building. GPS: 35.7178, 139.3667.
DIRECTIONS: Turn right out of the East Gate (0km). Keep going straight, past a Family Mart on the right, across a set of train tracks (1.7km), past a golf course (2.1km), until you reach a used Toyota dealer and a traffic light at 2.6km. You’ll see Cainz on the far left corner. Turn left at the light and then right into the parking lot. Liz Ruskin, 2012. Photos Michelle Nexon, March 2014.

MoriTown Mall

This is a fairly large, American-style mall that’s a fav for Yokota shoppers. The shops are mostly Japanese, including the Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo, which has stylish, cheap clothing akin to the Gap. It also has a Disney Store, a Starbucks and other U.S. chains. There’s an indoor food court and many restaurants around the adjacent plaza, including KFC. It has a large parking garage. Take a card on the way in, then show it every time you buy something. Before you return to your car, feed the card into the machine by the elevator and pay what you owe. If you’ve bought lunch or any trinkets, you probably won’t owe anything. Then drive to the parking garage exit and deposit the card to lift the barrier. Liz Ruskin, 2012.
GPS: 35.7142, 139.3642
DIRECTIONS: Exit the East Gate and turn right. Keep going straight. At 3km you’ll reach the mall, on your right, clearly marked in English. But keep going straight. The parking garage entrance is on the right, at 3.2km. Look for a blue sign with a white “P.” TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa station, catch a train going toward Tachikawa. Get off at the third stop, Akishima. Exiting the station, you’ll see the Espa department store on your right, which is one of anchors of the mall.


View Larger Map

Restaurants near MoriTown

Inaba Tonkatsu Wakou

Tonkatsu (ton=pork + katsu=cutlet) or fried breaded pork cutlet dishes (better than it sounds) can be found throughout Japan as can this chain of restaurants using American pork. The Akishima branch with wax models outside and English menu inside is next to Kentucky Fried Chicken in the outdoor section of MoriTown leading to Akishima station. Smoking seemed to be prohibited.

The Pork Cutlet with Salad Special for ¥1,480 comes with shredded cabbage salad, miso soup, rice, pickles, a drink, and sherbet or ice cream. “Steamed egg hotch potch,” also known as chawan mushi or a custard appetizer is also available; salad dressings are a light Caesar or Perilla Leaf (the broad green shiso leaf sometimes in tempura).

The small set is ¥1,050 and if you don’t care for pork yourself, there is also a fried shrimp set for ¥1,350.  The twin variety set (for two) is ¥3,200.

DIRECTIONS: To get to MoriTown mall, turn right out the East Gate and drive about 3.3km. Turn right into the yellow MoriTown parking garage. When paying for your meal, be sure to get your parking card validated; if you come in a group, keep the cards separate, as each card is vehicle specific. Website: Although prices are not shown and the text is Japanese, you can check out pictures of the menu through www.r-wako.com/ by hitting the first brown tab on the left and scrolling downward. Hours: daily from 11am-9pm. Telephone: 042-544-0890

Buffet Grand China

Across the street from MoriTown proper, near the entrance to the Movix theatre, and accessible through a second floor walkover, is this restaurant consisting of a buffet layout including a ramen corner and dim sum station next to a salad and dessert section.

Lunch costs adults ¥1,449 and most children ¥840. Children under three are free anytime, while those from 3 to 5 years old are ¥525. The charge for the non-alcoholic drink bar with various teas and soft drinks is ¥210. The dinner buffet costs adults ¥1,780 and children ¥1,260. Alcoholic dinner drinks including the soft drink bar is ¥1,260 for men and ¥945 for women. Please note some of the dishes are spicy.

Directions: To get to MoriTown mall, turn right out the East Gate and drive about 3.3km. Turn right into the yellow MoriTown parking garage. When paying for your meal, be sure to get your parking card validated; if you come in a group, keep the cards separate, as each card is vehicle specific. Website: www.buffet.jp/china. Hours: Lunch 11am-4pm, Dinner 5:30-10:00pm. Telephone: 042-549-7750

Akishima Restaurant: Aiya

Sounds like a great place, but I wish I knew more. Been there lately? What kinds of dishes do they serve? — Liz

This is the place for the TRUE Japanese food lover! There are many traditional dishes to suit every palate. Although very modern, the atmosphere and decor are typically Japanese. Upon entering, you are required to remove your shoes and place them in lockers. The lockers come with a large wooden key with Japanese numbers and alphabets. The menus are in Japanese. There are a few pictures that go along with their specialty dishes. I suggest that you go with someone who can read and speak the language on your first visit. The prices are quite reasonable, with most dishes within the ¥2,000 range. There are two Aiya restaurants near Yokota. One out of East Gate and one out of Fussa Gate

DIRECTIONS, Akishima Location: Turn right out of East Gate.  At the fifth light, Route 7, turn right.  You will continue on this road veering left and going through 4 lights.  You will pass Off House on your right.  At the fourth light you will turn left.  You will see the South end of base to your right.  After you turn left, you will follow this road through three lights and under an underpass.  You will  pass the Fish Onsen on your right and a Family Mart on your right.  After the underpass, you will come to a light where the road T’s.  Turn left. The  restaurant will be up a couple of blocks on your right.    You will see the tall, square blue sign with two Kanji on it for the restaurant.  It is just past a Ringer Hut. Hours? Telephone?

DIRECTIONS to the Hamura Location: This is on Yanagi Dori. To get there, go straight out the Fussa Gate and across one set of tracks. Go right at the “Y” intersection. Turn right at the second light and go straight for 15 lights. Look for the “Welcome” sign after passing McDonalds on the right. Jean Kuramoto, 1997.  Nina Carr verified 2007.

Restaurant: Saizeriya

Saizeriya is a clean family-style sort of Italian restaurant with picture menus. It offers pizzas (small ¥380+), pastas (¥450+), risottos (¥480+), large salads (¥380+), and desserts (¥290+). This chain marks its locations with a green sign.

DIRECTIONS: The Espa branch of this chain is in a two-story gray concrete building on the far side of Espa from the parking lot in MoriTown mall. To get there, turn right out the East Gate and keep going straight. Just before the road narrows and makes a sharp turn to the left, you will turn right into the pay parking lot. Take a ticket from the machine; if you eat or buy over ¥2,000, parking is free for two hours. When you exit the lot, show the attendant your receipts. Hours? Telephone?

Jena Flowers, Teresa Negley, Directions updated: Brian Marriott 5/02

Spa at the Forest Inn Resort

This is a great spa just 10 minutes away from the base, across the street from Mori Town Mall. The spa is on the 2nd and 8th floors of the hotel and has an English-speaking staff. This spa has just about any service you could want, including: deep-clean facials, oil facials, Thai massages, body wraps, manicures and  pedicures. Prices range from ¥1500 for an individual service to a package for the day at ¥31000. Most massages range from ¥3500 to ¥8000.
DIRECTIONS: turn right out of the East Gate and stay on that road for approximately 10 minutes (depending on the time of day). You will approach Cainz, a big green building on the left that sells home goods. Pass Cainz and you will see an even larger sign for Mori Town Mall. Turn right on that street—if you pass the sign and reach a dead end you went too far. After turning, you will see a Forest Inn Resort sign. Turn into the second entrance and an attendant will be there. Just ask where to park for the spas services. Linda Frommeyer, 10/06.  See comments below by Pam Tubbs.  Here is the URL for the onsen/hotel: www.showakan.co.jp/english/stay/

– For reviews of three more local onsens see Onsen-Japanese Hot Spring Baths