Tag Archives: Shopping

Hard Off: A Chain Second Hand Store

photo-83If you like thrift stores then you will love Hard Off. Located in various locations around Japan, Hard Off is a chain second hand store that sells a variety of gently used items. You will be amazed at all the treasures you can find at these stores such as furniture, clothes, electronics, toys, baby gear, dishes, sporting goods, purses, jewelry and much much more.  Need a surf board or shelves for your storage unit? Dying to have a designer purse? Then visit Hard Off  to see if you can find one for a discounted price and still in great condition.

The nearest Hard Off is out the east gate and about a 8-10 minute drive depending on traffic. It is open daily from 10:30 am-7:30pm and has ample parking space. photo-86 They do accept credit cards and yen.  There is an area to try clothes on.  Just remember to take off your shoes. If you find a piece of furniture that won’t fit in your car they will hold it for you for a few days. Thus allowing you time to borrow your friend’s van to come back and get it. However, you will have to pay for it before they will hold it. They will write you a receipt which you will show upon pick up.

Note that this second hard store is actually three stores in one; Hard Off, Hobby Off, and Off House.  Purchases must be made at the appropriate cash register depending on what “store” or section you found your item. If you aren’t exactly sure which cashier to use the workers will direct you. To purchase an item from upstairs use the checkout located on the second floor.

photo-84Have items you want to get rid of? Bring them to the Hard Off and make a little bit of money. After inspecting your items they will offer you an amount for what you have brought in.  If you agree with that offer you will be required to sign a piece of paper and then they will give you the money for your items. Some have said they were not offered a lot, but it is worth a try.  GPS: 35.72987,139.360812

photo-85DIRECTIONS: Turn right out the east gate. Drive on this road and then turn right at the fifth stoplight, which is Route 7.  Continue on Route 7 for .5 km thru one stoplight. The Hard Off will be on the right. -Renée Booe July 2013

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Hamura Produce Market

This is a popular farmers market in Hamura, easily noted by the lines of people who patiently wait for the market to open at 9:30 each morning. It’s just 5km from Yokota, and all the produce here is grown entirely by farmers local to this area. Getting here when it opens is the best way to get produce that comes in small lots, such as anything just beginning to come into season. These things disappear quickly! The prices vary from lot to lot because each is brought in by a different farmer. There are usually also small batches of fresh baked goods, noodles, and some canned goods. There are always plenty of farm fresh eggs. GPS: 35.76730,139.30728.
DIRECTIONS: Go straight out the Fussa Gate. Cross one set of railroad tracks, stay left at the “Y” and cross another set of tracks. At the Fussa City Hall intersection (with City Hall on the far left corner and the post office on the far right) turn right, onto Shin Okutama Highway, more commonly known as Route 29. Drive about 3.5km, until you reach an intersection that is signposted “Hamura Sports Center.” Go straight through htis intersection. The produce market is the very first right, with a distinctive three peak building where the produce is sold. Meg Martin, 2012.

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Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City

Photo by Jason Tsay

Sixty stories tall, Sunshine City is a mall, a science center, a museum, a theme park – in short, an amazing indoor world.
When you enter the building on the B1 level, you traverse a long hall with a “people mover” escalator to the main entrance. There is an information desk with computers where you can get directions printed for places in the complex. Or, you can just wander through and follow the color-coded lines on the floors. The red lines lead to the World Import Mart, the aquarium and planetarium. The blue lines lead to the Ancient Orient Museum and Sunshine Theater. The orange lines lead you to Shopping Center Alpa.
You can make a circle tour of the Bl level as there are two main corridors the length of this level. When you are facing the information desk, if you take the entrance to the left, you will come to a beautiful fountain which has a show of dancing water accompanied by organ music at 1pm, 2:30 and 4pm. The first three levels are mostly department stores. In taking the escalators up, you will find some interesting shops and restaurants on the other floors.
*The above post is from 2011, so the information could be outdated. Please let us know if you have updated information.
Sunshine City Website:
https://www.sunshinecity-global.com/en/

The big features:
 Sky Circus, Sunshine 60 Observatory :


Sunshine 60 observatory was closed in May 2015 for a large-scale renovation and re-opened in April 2016 as Sky Circus. At this new “experience-based observatory”, you can enjoy the latest VR rides and games.

Hours: 10am-10pm.
Tel: 03-3989-3457
Website: http://www.skycircus.jp/english/
Admission:
Adults: ¥ 1,200
Students (high school and college *present ID): ¥900
Children (elementary and middle school) ¥ 600
Toddlers (4 and up) ¥ 300
You have to purchase separate tickets for the VR rides. Tickets are available at the ticket counter on the B1 floor or the observatory. -Mai Takahashi, June 2017

•Aquarium: Tenth floor, on top of the World Import Mart. There is a seal show, and exhibits of seals, flamingos, penguins, etc. There are many fish not seen in the States as they are only found in this part of the world. Allow at least one hour for the aquarium. 10am-6pm (-8pm in summer.) Tel: 03-3989-3466
Adults (high school and up) ¥2,000
Children (elementary and middle school) ¥1,000
Child (4 and up) ¥700
65  and up  ¥1,700

•Konica Minolta Planetarium: 10am-6pm with shows on the hour, http://www.konicaminolta.jp/manten/ Tel: 03-3989-3546
Adults (middle school and up) ¥1,500
Children (4  and up) ¥900

•Namco Namjatown: An indoor theme park by Namco, a Japanese company that produces video games. Themed dining, carnival-style games, a creepy haunted house and character mascots in the form of giant kittens. There’s an entire gyoza village and a “dessert republic.” 10am-10pm. http://www.namja.jp/img/pdf/guidemap.pdf/
Admission:
Adults ¥500
Children ¥300
You need to purchase tickets for rides and games separately.

•Tokyu Hands: This store, at the B1 entrance to the Sunshine Building, will delight crafty-minded shoppers. There is something different on every floor and the breadth is astounding, from toys to stationary and leather craft to hardware. Bonus: There’s a “cat cafe” on the top floor. It’s one of those “only in Japan” things.
DIRECTIONS: Take the Ome line to Tachikawa, and change to the Chuo Line. At Shinjuku, transfer to the green Yamanote Line in the direction of Shin-Okubo and get off at the fourth stop, Ikebukuro. Head for the east exit towards Seibu Department Store. You will see signs for Tokyu Hands also.
Coming out of the station, look for the tallest building (sometimes the top is hidden in the mist) and walk towards it. This will be Sunshine City. It will be in front of you as you come out of the station. You will have to go right a little bit to pick up the tree-lined street to the building.

Our Story: My family and I took the train to Sunshine City during winter break 2011.  Ikebukuou Station is pretty large and we ended up asking someone to help us find the correct exit for Sunshine City.  The mall is down a store lined street which was closed to traffic the day we went.  With small kids we didn’t do much shopping, but headed straight to the 3rd floor devoted to restaurants.  We found a nice Japanese place to eat, but also noticed Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and French restaurants.  We also went to the Aquarium on floor 10.  It was larger than expected.  It was pretty crowded, but I think that was because of the holiday season.  The kids enjoyed all the giant aquariums.    Sarah Straus, 2011

Shrine Sales and Flea Markets

Why are they called “shrine sales”? Because they’re held on the grounds of temples and shrines, of course. But they go by many names: Antique market, flea market and “nomi no ichi” (flea market in Japanese). Whatever you call them, they’re always fun and interesting. Dealers sell beautiful old kimono for as little as ¥500, obi, tea boxes, antique ceramics and artwork, among many other treasures. Vendors are usually open to bargaining and may reduce prices 20% or so. Indoor markets tend to have finer goods and higher prices, but of course they take place rain or shine. Outdoor markets are often canceled for heavy rain.

Kumagawa Shrine Sale
One of the most interesting and inexpensive shrine sales around here is at Kumagawa Shrine, a seven minute drive from Yokota, on the second Sunday of the month. Mr. Akira Sunagawa is the coordinator of this shrine sale. Sunagawa-san owns Marii antique shop outside the Supply Gate on Route 16. He speaks fluent English and will be happy to help you with any questions. About 30 vendors set up here. Wooden tubs, baskets, hibachis, toys, dolls, blue and white china, obis, teapots and swords are all for sale here. It’s also called the Shichifukujin Antique Market, for the  Seven Deities of Good Fortune you can see inside the shrine compound.
DIRECTIONS: Go straight out Fussa gate. Cross over two sets of railroad tracks and go through four signal lights. The fourth signal light will be at Shin Okutama Kaido. (The Fussa Post Office is on your right across the street.) Turn left at this traffic light. Drive straight on Shin Okutama Kaido and you will eventually cross another set of train tracks. Continue straight until you see a Big Boy restaurant on your right. Turn right immediately after Big Boy and head down the narrow road. The road will then ‘Y’. Take the right fork and continue straight in with the back of the Big Boy parking lot on your right. You will soon see the shrine’s torii gate. There is limited parking on the left in a gravel parking lot in front of the torii gate. If this parking lot is full, continue along the road to the back of the shrine, turn left and there is another parking lot behind the shrine. Mavis Hara. Directions updated 2011.

Kawagoe Antiques
Kawagoe is filled with treasures. It is held on the 28th of every month from dawn to dusk, rain or shine.  It’s about 1 to 1.5 hours drive from Yokota. Or you can take a train from Higashi Fussa Station.
DIRECTIONS: Set the odometer at “0” as you turn right out the Terminal Gate, turning north via the underpass onto Route 16 where you will stay most of your trip. At 10.9km, the road splits with Rt. 16 to the left. The road also narrows to two lanes temporarily. Follow the blue signs for Kawagoe and stay on Rt. 16 as it bears left again. You will pass the SATY store on your right at 15.2km. Route 16 turns right around a bend at 23.4km with more blue signs to direct you. At 26.6km (round Hotel 10 ahead), bear left onto Rt. 254 toward Higashi Matsuyama. Stay in the left lane, go under the arched pedestrian bridge at 27.1km, then make a left turn immediately afterward (not before the bridge). At the second light, 27.9km, make a left then park in the lot on your right (¥500/three hours) before the Kitain Temple complex. The monthly sale is held at Narita-san Shrine, a couple blocks to the right down the street on the other side of the parking lot. GPS for parking lot: 35.9186,139.4902. About a kilometer away from the shrine sale is “Old Kawagoe,” also known as “Little Edo.” Refer to the Sightseeing section for more detail. Barbara Kirkwood, 2001. Directions and lot details verified 2010.

Takahata Fudo Antique Fair in Hino
This shrine sale near Tachikawa  is on the grounds of a beautiful temple. About 120 dealers show up.  Third Sunday of each month, 7am-4pm. (See Tachikawa Sights for more info about this temple.) GPS for parking lot entrance: 35.66164,139.41131.
DIRECTIONS: Set your odometer to zero and turn right out the East Gate. At the first signal light, turn left. At the next light (0.6km), a five-way intersection, make a hard right turn. At 5.2km turn left at an intersection with a Daihatsu/Onyx car lot on the far left. This is a large four-lane street (Shin-Okutama Kaido, Route 29).  At about 9km, you will see a VW dealership on the left and arrive at Tachikawa Five Corners. Turn right here onto 256 and cross the Tama River. Drive along until you reach the street that has the elevated monorail down the middle. Turn left and follow the monorail line past Takahata Fudo station. Cross under a set of railroad tracks and at the next intersection, signposted “Takahata,” turn right at the light. Takahata Fudo will be on your left, about 3 blocks after the light. Turn left into a small parking lot. Please note this is a popular temple and parking is scarce.
DIRECTIONS BY TRAIN: Take the train from Fussa to Tachikawa. Exit the station and follow the signs for the Tama monorail station. Ride it until the Takahata Fudo stop.  The temple is a two-minute walk from there: Exit the station by the main entrance and look to the right for a red tori gate. Walk through the gate and along the shopping street. It ends at the temple.

Arai Yakushi
One of the very best flea markets is held on the first Sunday of every month, at Arai Yakushi Temple in Nakano. Over 80 vendors offer items ranging from grandfather clocks, musical instruments, porcelain dishes, old kimonos, etc. What- ever you are looking for, you will probably find it at Arai Yakushi. DIRECTIONS: Take the Ome Line Fussa Station to Tachikawa. Change to the Chuo Line. Get off at Nakano Station and take the north exit next to a large indoor shopping mall. In front of the mall runs the Nakano Dori street. Follow the street for about a 15 minute walk to a five-way intersection. Take the first right after the intersection. The temple will be a short distance to your left.  Alternatively, take the Seibu Line from Seibu Tachikawa Station toward Taka-danobaba – but you will get off at Arai Yakushi Station. Leave the station, turn left and walk three blocks. The shrine will be on your right.

Roppongi
The Roppongi Roi Building (near the Hard Rock Cafe and Spago’s) houses a flea market on the fourth Thursday and Friday of each month. There are over 30 dealers, and the prices are said to be good.
DIRECTIONS: From Fussa station, take the Ome Line to Tachikawa. Change to the Chuo train to Shinjuku. Transfer to the Yamanote Line to Ebisu. There, change to the Hibiya Line and go two stops to Roppongi. Exit the ticket wicket and turn right. Go upstairs and turn left. On the corner across the street, you will see the Almond Cafe (large pink sign). Cross the street to the cafe, turn right at the corner and go one and one-half blocks. On the next big corner will be the Roi Building. For more information call the Kottoichi Co. at 03-3980- 8228.

Heiwajima
One of the most well-known antique fairs is the Tokyo Antique Fair held in the Tokyo Ryutau Center in Heiwajima. It is a big one, with more than 250 dealers. The three-day event held four times each year. Dealers bring everything imaginable including furniture, lacquer ware, ceramics, and baskets. There are dolls of all kinds including kokeshi, hakata and cloth. There are kimonos, obis and fabric for tablecloths and other sewing projects. You will find jewelry, tea ceremony sets, teapots, and spinning wheels. There are old postcards and pictures, coins, stamps, and collectibles. It is an indoor market, therefore the dealers charge more to recoup their cost of rental space. Bargaining with the dealers is expected and encouraged. One advantage of this large market is that the dealers will deliver large purchases or make arrangements to have them delivered for you, for a fee of course.
The fair is located in the exhibition hall of the Ryutsu Center on the second floor. You will find clean rest rooms and restaurants on the second floor as well. The restaurants are reasonably priced but remain crowded. The fair is open 10am- 6pm Friday and Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday. Admission to the fair is free, but parking is costly. The fair is held in March, June, September and December, usually the second weekend. Check on the dates before venturing out. Information can be obtained by calling the English information line in Tokyo, 03-3980-8228. The Yujo Community Center usually has access to this information as well.
DIRECTIONS BY CAR:Take the Chuo towards Tokyo (Shinjuku). It will join the Shuto Expressway. Follow the through-traffic signs and the signs to Route 1. You will go through three tunnels. As you go through the third, the Chiyoda Tunnel, take the right branch at the first split. From there keep to the left until you exit the tunnel. After you pass the Kasu-migaseki exit (Exit 24), the road will split. Follow the signs to Haneda Airport, or Routes 1 and 2. You will be able to see Tokyo Tower ahead on the left. When the road splits again, follow the signs to Haneda, Routes 1, 6 and 7. When the road splits next, follow the signs to Haneda, Route 1, to the right. You will now be heading to- wards Yokohama. Tokyo Bay and the Monorail will be on the left. Continue to follow the through traffic signs on Route 1. After you pass the horse racing track on your left, at about 9 kilometers, you will exit to Heiwajima (Exit 105). You will be on the frontage road; go straight and keep to the left lane. You will need to take the first left after the traffic light. Take the first left, which will bring you past a guard booth and you will be on a wide street. There will be a six- story, open-sided building on both sides of the street. You will need to keep to the left lane. Just ahead of you will be the Ryutsu Exhibition Hall (two-story, white building). When the street ends you must turn left. You will see the entrance to the parking garage on the right. Take a ticket from the machine as you enter and be sure to remember where you parked. From the parking garage you can enter the hall from the ground level and go up to the second floor or you can use the walkway from the garage on floor M34.
DIRECTIONS BY TRAIN: Take the Ome Line to Tachikawa. Change to the Chuo Line to Shinjuku. Change to the Yamanote Line and get off at Hamamatsucho Station. Here switch to the Tokyo Monorail Line heading to Haneda Airport. Get off at Ryutausenta Station, the second stop from Hamamatsucho. The exhibition hall will be ahead of you to the left when you exit the station. An alternate route is to take the Seibu Haijima line from Haijima or Seibu Tachikawa Station. Get off the train at Takadanobaba Station and change to the Yamanote Line to Hamamatsucho Station.

Setagaya’s Boro Ichi
As the new year comes, the Japanese undertake an early “Spring Cleaning” to end the old year and begin anew. It is one of the best times for hitting the markets and junk shops. One well-known open air market is Boro Ichi in Setagaya during December and January. It is named Boro Ichi or rag market, because in past centuries, some stalls sold rags and straw used to make sandals (waraji). You can pick up a pair of waraji to keep as a souvenir. This market, originally called Raku-ichi, began over four hundred years ago.
The selection is large, and includes not only antiques but also new year’s decorations, hagoita (colorful battledores), daruma dolls, and potted plants. Unfortunately, the crowds become overwhelming later in the day. Arriving while the vendors are still setting up around 8am is best. By noon, there are people from all over and it may be impossible to move around. The dates are always the same, December 15 and 16 and January 15 and 16. If you really like antiques, go both months. The selection won’t be the same. Boro Ichi stalls will be set up on Daikan Yashikimae-dori, Kamimachi, Setagaya-ku.
DIRECTIONS: Take the Ome Line toward Tokyo. At Tachikawa, change to the Nambu Line on track eight. At Bubaigawara change to the Keio Line for Fuchu/Shinjuku. You can take an express or regular train, but if you take an express, get off at Chofu and transfer to the local (across the platform when the express pulls in) and get off at ShimoTakaido. Transfer to the Setagaya Line (a very small line, only two cars) and take it to Kamimachi Station. At the station, ask for directions to Daikan Yashikimae- dori (the street where Boro Ichi is located) or try walking to the end of the platform, turning right, crossing the tracks and going two blocks.
Another way is to take bus number 21, 24 or 34 from Shibuya Station for Kamimachi or Seijo Gakuen, getting off at Daikan Yashikimae-dori. Vicki Lyn Paulson-Cody, Meg Gilster, Sue Neuhaus, 1997

Honryuji Temple Boro Ichi
A market similar but smaller is the Boro Ichi at Honryuji Temple in Sekimachi, Nerima-ku, Tokyo. This market is held December 9 and 10 from morning until l0pm. Honryuji Temple is near Musashi-Seki Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.
DIRECTIONS: Take the Seibu Haijima Line from either Haijima or Seibu Tachikawa Stations heading towards Seibu Shinjuku Station. You will stay on this train for quite some time, passing Hagiyama, Kodaira and Tanashi. Get off at Musashi-Seki Station and ask for directions to Honryuji. Vicki Lyn Paulson-Cody, Meg Gilster, Sue Neuhaus, 1997

Antique Markets Near and Far

Tokyo

•OEDO Antique Market
250 vendors. Courtyard of the Tokyo International Forum, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo.
1st and 3rd Sunday of every month.  9am-4pm.  (Another market, called Best Flea Market, sets up in the same place on the 2nd Sunday of the month. It is on hiatus from November 2011 to February 2012.)
Canceled for heavy rain. Check the organizer’s website: http://www.antique-market.jp
1 min. walk from Yurakucho Station (JR)  or 5 min. from Tokyo Station. Also Yurakucho metro station.

•Arai Yakushi Temple Antique Fair
80 dealers, Arai Yakushi Temple
1st Sunday of each month (2nd Sunday of Jan.) 9am-4pm (Note: Temple festival 8th, 18th, 28th day of each month, from late morning to dusk)
5 min. walk from Araiyakushi-mae Station on Seibu-Shinjuku Line or 15 min. walk from JR Nakano Station

•Setagaya Boro-ichi Antique Market
750 dealers
Dec. 15-16 and Jan. 15-1 6
Near Kamimachi Station and Setagaya Station on Tokyu Setagaya Line

•Hanazono Shrine Market
50 dealers, Hanazono Shrine, 5-17-3, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Every Sunday (But spotty in May and November)6am-3pm.
5 min walk from Shinjuku San-chome Station (Marunouchi Line, Exit B3) or Toei Shinjuku Line

•Heiwajima Antique Market
200 dealers, Heiwajima-Tokyo Ryutsu Center Bldg
Three consecutive days, four times a year.
At Ryutsu Center Station on Tokyo Monorail Line
For exact dates, call 03-3950-0871

•Roppongi Antique Fair
30 dealers, Roppongi Roi Bldg. 5-5-1, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Fourth Thursdays and Fridays, 8am-7pm
3 min walk from Roppongi Sta. (Hibiya Line)

•Shinjuku Antique Market
40 dealers, Dai-ichi Seimei Bldg.
Third Fridays and Saturdays
10 min walk from JR Shinjuku Station

Tokyo Suburbs
•Sagami Antique Market
45 dealers, Atsugi Shrine, 3-8 Atsugi-cho, Atsugi-city, Kanagawa. Tel for Shrine: 0462-21-5875
First Saturday of each month, 5am-4pm
5 min walk from Hon-Atsugi Sta. (Odakyu Line)

•Yamato Promenade Antique Market
200 dealers, Yamato City (Near Naval Station Atsugi & Camp Zama)
Third Saturday of each month, 6am-4pm.
At Yamato Sta. on Odakyu Enoshima Line & Sotetsu Line

•Shonan Antique Market
20 dealers, Yugyoji Temple
First Sunday of each month
20 min walk from JR Fujisawa Station

•Urawa Antique Market
180 dealers, Tsukinomiya Shrine, 3-17-25 Kishi machi, Urawa-city, Saitama prefecture
Fourth Saturday of each month
3 min walk from JR Urawa Station

Antiques Further Afield

•Antique Auction
Second and fourth Saturdays
Silk Center, Yokohama

•Kyoto Antique Market
200 dealers, Toji Temple
First Sundays, the 21st of each month
5 min walk from Toji Station (Kintetsu Line)

•Tenjin Antique Market
100 dealers, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, the 25th of each month
30 min by bus from JR Kyoto Station

North of Base

Shopping

Costco and Mitsui Outlet Park in Iruma Costco
The Costco outlet near here is so similar to the American versions that frequent shoppers will already know their way around the store on their first visit. If you’re a Costco member in the states you’ll be able to shop here but you have to transfer your membership to your Japanese address, so visit the membership counter inside the store on your first visit. (Do you know how to make a Japanese address from your APO box number? See the Japan Post section under General Information.) Costco, for those who haven’t had the pleasure yet, is a worldwide bulk sale store with membership costing ¥4,200 per couple per year. Two guests can accompany members. Depending on the item, prices may be less than on base. Costco does not validate parking tickets for the outlet mall lots, and only American Express credit cards are accepted; Costco.co.jp
The outlet mall right next door to Costco contains name brand stores such as Coach, Columbia, Naturalizer, Reebok, Levis, Adidas, Diesel, and Banana Republic, etc. Forest Kitchen is the second story food court, while Forest Lounge on the ground floor has a Harrods tea and coffee outlet with a green tea counter across the aisle.
Costco members may park free in the top of the Iruma Costco building but entrance to the rooftop parking is only via a left-turn entry from Route 16 if you’re coming from the Kawagoe direction, so it’s awkward when you’re coming from Yokota. Instead, drive through the Outlet Park, out the rear then left toward and onto Route 16 (back toward Yokota and Hachioji). If asked, tell the parking attendants “Costco,” and they will wave you toward the rear exit. Once back on Rt. 16 going in the opposite direction, you will be waved to the entrance on the left. Costco parking hours are 9:30am-9pm while the store hours are 10am-8pm.
DIRECTIONS: Turn right out the Terminal Gate onto Route 16, drive north toward Kawagoe. Continue past The Mall and Hotel The Rock on the left. On the right will be a turn lane and sign for the Mitsui Outlet Park at 8.6km (depending on traffic, between 15 and 45 minutes). There is parking all around the mall for the Outlet Park; the first three hours are free weekdays while the first two hours are free on weekends. A minimum purchase of ¥3,000- from one store or  the same amount of combined receipts from the food court is  required for an additional two hours of parking validation.  3169-2 Miyadera, Iruma City, Saitama 358-0014, Japan. Tel. 04-2935-2200. GPS: 35.81082,139.37808. Teresa Negley, Ann Bowersox, Judiann Carey

Kojitu Outdoors
There are several places close to base to obtain outdoor and camping equipment, including  Kojitu Outdoors store located on Ome Kaido Road, just north of base.
DIRECTIONS: Set your odometer to zero and turn right out of the Terminal Gate. Go under the underpass and turn right at the fourth light after the underpass onto Ome Kaido Road. (2.8 km. Mc Donalds on left.) Kojitu will be on the right in about 0.3 km. (3.1 km from base.) Hours? Phone? Brian Marriott, 2002

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: Shin-Ome Kaido Location: You can approach the Saizeriya on Shin-Ome Kaido from either the Terminal Gate or the East Gate. From the Terminal Gate, turn right (north) and go through the tunnel. Turn right at the 4th light after the tunnel (onto Ome-Kaido Road –truck stop on right, McDonalds on left.) Saizeriya will be on your left after the Dennys, before the McDonalds. From the East Gate, turn left out the gate. Bear left at the second light (“Y” intersection.) When the road ends, turn left. Turn right at the third light (just past the baby clothes store with bunny on sign.) Take this road to Shin-Ome Kaido Avenue (Musashimuraya mako Kita intersection, there is a McDonalds on the left side of the road.) and turn right. Saizeriya will be a short way down on the right, before you get to Dennys. Hours? Phone? Jena Flowers, Teresa Negley. Directions updated: Brian Marriott, 2002.

Curry House CoCo
While there are many CoCo Curry Houses in the area (including a small one at the Fussa station), the Mizuho branch out the East Gate may be the closest with parking. At any CoCo, you have several choices to make, starting from a basic curry dish for ¥400, including the spiciness of your curry (mild 1 is ¥20, spicier is more expensive), whether you prefer rice (naan is also available), whether you want meat (chicken cutlet ¥250), if you want a salad, etc. Most of the picture menus also have English too. Once you know what you want, push the bell to order.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the East Gate, veer left at the “Y” inteserction (1.1K). At the second light (1.8K Shiritsu Jusho Minami) next to the Baby Bunny Store (bunny sign), turn right. At the fourth light, you will see McDonalds (2.6K). Turn left onto ShinOme Kaido and past the first light (3.2K), a yellow Coco’s Curry House will be on your right next to Saizeriya Restaurant. Hours: 11am-midnight. Telephone: XX. Website: www.ichibanya.co.jp. Teresa Negley, Debbie Diaz, 2006

Culture

Iruma City Museum
About fifteen minutes away, there is a wonderfully modern museum in a landscaped setting. The museum is divided into several parts. In one gallery, art by local artists is displayed, including fifty-foot long painted murals to smaller oil paintings. Upstairs, a smaller Children’s Science Room is arranged with hands-on models including the effects of visual illusion through mirrors and a gyroscopic experience using bicycle wheels. Next door, a life-size exhibit of local plant and animal life reflects the natural setting of Iruma as it changes from dawn through twilight and night. The history of the area is shown through displays of local archaeological finds, feudal periods, the clothes of local townsmen, silk production models, etc. A ramp leads to exhibits on tea, a most important product of Iruma. Life-size models of family rooms in China and Tibet show the differences in lifestyles and how tea is preserved and used in different cultures. Glass display cases enclose teapots and English teacups ranging from those with large saucers to smaller porcelain items. A full-size replica demonstrates the simple designs of a traditional teahouse with thatched roof (the low doorways and narrow rooms inhibited the drawing of swords in a feudal society of five hundred years of war). Films on tea and other subjects can be viewed in a museum theater. Teacups and local merchandise can be purchased in the museum gift shop and a restaurant is also on the grounds.
Although English-language explanations are not present on all displays, an English brochure includes introductions on the permanent exhibits, building layout, and museum grounds. Cost: ¥200/Adults, ¥100/high school/university students, ¥50/junior high/elementary students.
DIRECTIONS: Turn right out the Terminal Gate and head north on Route16 via the underpass. Turn left (west) at the first light past route 219 (7.3 kilometers from the Terminal Gate and just prior to a large sign reading “AUTOBACS” on the left. If you get to Crystal Park [on right] you have gone too far). Take a LEFT (south) at the first light (There is a 7-eleven on the corner). The museum is about 0.4 kilometers on the left. It has a large parking lot just past an entry gate. The address for Iruma City Museum Alit is 100 Nihongi, Iruma. Hours: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, closed Monday (and closed on Tuesday if Monday was a holiday. Also closed 4th Tuesday of each month and 12/27-1/5 for New Years’ Celebration. Tel. 0429-34-7711. Teresa Negley, Sumiko Evans, 1997. Directions updated by Brian Marriott, 2002

Tokorozawa
Tokorozawa, a 45-minute drive north of Yokota, is a nice place to spend a day shopping and eating. In addition to the three very nice, large department stores (Daiei, Marui, and Waltz), there are also many small shops. There is a Wendy’s, a Shakey’s Pizza, and many Japanese eateries and bakeries. These are all within a short walking distance of each other. In Daiei you will also find a large variety of restaurants. On the top floor there are many restaurants and on the bottom floor you will find buffet restaurants. If you begin your shopping experiences at Daiei, you can walk across the street to McDonalds and take a left. You will be on a narrow street with no cars, and lots of shops. Here you will find Shakeys and one of two McDonalds. There are CD shops, flower shops, vegetable markets, video stores, electronics, pachinko and more. Then you will come out and go past the station and continue on up the main street to Waltz and many other small shops and accessory stores. Cross the street again and head back to Daiei. The name of the street is “Purope.” One of the best bakeries for fresh bread, called “Sun Merry,” is there. You can park at any of the three department stores as early as 9 am. Parking is free for two hours if you make a purchase of at least ¥2000. After the first two hours, you will be charged ¥100 per thirty minutes.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the East Gate. At the first light turn right. Stay on this road until it dead-ends, and then turn left. Continue on this road until you reach Shin Ome Kaido. (You will go through two traffic lights and pass the big Yamada discount store on the left.) At Shin Ome Kaido there will be a Mos Burger on the left and a used car dealer on the right. This is your landmark for the return trip. Turn right onto this road. Continue on this road for about 9km. After you go over a long overpass, get into the left lane. Turn left on Fuchu Kaido (the intersection is very large). Stay on Fuchu Kaido for about 2.5km. Keep to the right at the fork in the road, which has a gas station in the center of it. Turn left onto Tokorozawa Kaido. In a few minutes you will see the large department stores and the train station. Continue straight to park in the parking garages.
Lori Belk, Judy Harvey, Viki Paulson-Cody. Directions verified 2001


Ome Museums

Ome Railroad Museum: See separate entry.

 Ome Municipal Museum & Ome Art Museum
A pleasant afternoon can be spent in Ome visiting the Ome Art Museum and the Ome Municipal Museum. When we visited, the Ome Art Museum had a small display of pieces in a variety of style from ink to watercolor, mostly from the 1930’s through the present. On the first floor was a room with artwork done by school children in a nearby park. It costs ¥200, and is closed Mondays. After going to the art museum, we walked across the Tama River, through a wooded park beside the river, and visited the Ome Municipal Museum. Everything is in Japanese, but you can look at a variety of artifacts from arrowheads to farming equipment. They have a 250 year old farmhouse that you can go inside and look at the way people lived. This museum is free.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Take the Ome line from the Fussa Station away from Tokyo and get off at Ome (14 minutes). Walk straight out of the station to the first light (“Ome Sta” intersection) an turn right. Go to the second light (411, Ome Shinimkaika Int) and turn left. At the next light (Ome Civic Hall S. intersection), cross the street and turn left onto Ome Kaido Road. The art museum is a two story white brick building a short way down on the right. The name is in kanji (above) on the wall. After going to the art museum, go back to Ome Civic Hall S. intersection and turn left (away from the station.) The first small street past the next light takes a very sharp turn down a hill. Go down the hill to a parking lot. Cross the pedestrian path over the river. Wander downstream and you will see the Ome Municipal museum short way past the next pedestrian bridge.
DRIVING DIRECTONS: At the Terminal Gate, set your odometer to zero and turn right and go under the overpass. Turn left onto Ome Kaido Ave, (Hakonegasakinishi Intersection, the 4th light after the underpass, appx 2.8 km from Terminal Gate. McDonalds is on far left corner.) You will wind along Ome Kaido all the way to the lake. At 8.3km, take the left fork at the “Y” intersection. Follow the signs for Okutama. Just before 10.6 km you will pass the Ome Art Museum on the left. At 10.6km, the road ends (Ome Civic Hall S. intersection). Turn left. At the first tiny street past the next light take a very sharp (almost u-turn) left, down a hill, there is a free parking lot at the bottom of the hill along the river. From here you can walk to both museums.


Koenji – Second-hand shops and Street fashion

Harajuku is fabulous for the people-watching and accessory shops, but once you’ve been there, tried that, consider Koenji. This neighborhood, between Tachikawa and Shinjuku, is billed as the center of Tokyo’s alternative youth culture. Street fashion, vintage clothes and consignment shops abound here. It was largely untouched by the bombs of World War II, so it’s also great for those who want to stroll through an older neighborhood of Tokyo. Some of the second-hand clothing shops are highly curated. One is devoted to the Little Red Ridinghood look, another to the cutsey-Alice-in-Wonderland look, and a third to the 1950s cowgirl vibe. Some specialize in high-end European clothes, some in embellished t-shirts. Unlike Shibuya and Harajuku, this area seems relaxed and more like a neighborhood than a commercial shopping area.
I explored the area to the south of the train station, specifically Pal Street and Look Street. Vintage stores and little shops line both sides of these streets. As evening falls, strings of red lanterns light up the side streets, luring thirsty shoppers to the many local izakaya (taverns) and specialty restaurants. I went on a weekday afternoon. Some shops were closed but the neighborhood still seemed open for business. I hear the best time to go is after 3pm on the weekend. Some of the trendy stores stay open until 10pm or later.
Next time, I intend to look at the north side of the tracks to find the Kita-Kore building, where pop star Lady Gaga shopped when she came to Japan in 2011. The building has five shops that the New York Times describes as  “equal parts used-clothing outlet and high-end recycling atelier.” Where else are we going to find fashionable body armor, or footwear that combines Nike uppers on traditional Japanese wooden sandals?

RESTAURANTS:

WE COULD USE DESCRIPTIONS HERE OF THE CUTE-LOOKING CAFE NOBLE AND TACOS CAFE. AMONG MANY OTHER PROMISING SPOTS.

Smart Sushi: This is a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant, but the better food arrives by special order. You use a touch-screen overhead to order, and the food comes shooting down the track at you, above the conveyor belt, on a wooden “boat.” Take your food and send the boat back by pressing the glowing red button. Food was standard sushi fare. Cheapest sushi order was ¥120. Near the top of the Pal street mall, a five-minute walk from Koenji station.
Planet 3rd: The decor at this Asia fusion eatery is like The Jetsons meets Sex in the City.  It’s cheerful and hip, with 1950s-style furnishings. For such a cool-looking restaurant, I was surprised to find the prices weren’t shocking. Examples: Thai-spiced chicken mince on rice, with lots of veggies, for ¥930.  Or beef stew with omelette for ¥1000. English menu, with pictures. 2-49-18 Koenji-Minami, Suginami-ku, GPS: 35.70192, 139.6496
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, take a train bound for Tokyo. Change trains in Tachikawa to get on the Chuo Line, heading for Tokyo. On a local service train, Koenji is 12 stops after Tachikawa. If you’re on an express train, change at Mitaka to a local Chuo Line train and go five more stops to Koenji. Alternatively, stay on your express train all the way to Nakano and backtrack one stop to Koenji. Total travel time: 50-60 minutes. It’s a short walk from the station to the shops of Pal and Look streets, Exit Koenji station by the south exit and turn right. Walk parallel to the tracks about 300 feet, toward the roof-covered street with a sign that reads “Pal.” Turn left on Pal and start browsing. If you keep going straight after the roof ends, you’ll be shopping on Look Street.

Liz Ruskin, Sept. 2011


View Koenji in a larger map

Roppongi

This district is a favorite among night-clubbers and the younger foreign crowd, and it’s not far from the New Sanno Hotel. Here you will find coffee shops, bars, discos and restaurants for people of all cultural backgrounds and tastes. Trendy people come out to liven up the area on the weekends. Yet Roppongi is not only for the party-goers. It also provides an atmosphere for people interested in culture, theater and museums. Shopping is expensive, but there are some shops that are reasonable in Roppongi. Many of the clothing store prices are based on the latest fashion trends. Most people go to Roppongi for the countless bars and restaurants that line its streets. It’s also home to American favorites such as Hard Rock Café, Tony Roma’s Ribs and Johnny Rockets.
GENERAL DIRECTIONS: It takes about 1-1.5 hours to get to Roppongi from Yokota. Take the Ome Line to Tachikawa or Tokyo. Switch, if necessary, at Tachikawa for the Chuo (orange line) for Tokyo. Get off at Yotsuya, one stop after Shinjuku. Change to the Marunouchi Line and get off at Roppongi. It’s just a 30 minute walk from the New Sanno (less if you use the subway) and 10 minutes from Hardy Barracks.
Or, if you’re leaving in the morning, catch the daily shuttle to the New Sanno Hotel. It leaves the Kanto Lodge at 9:30am and costs $8.

SIGHTSEEING

Tokyo Tower – see separate entry

SHOPPING

Aoyama Bookstore
One of the several book stores with English books is found in the Roppongi area. Aoyama Bookstore is near Almond’s and the main Roppongi intersection under the highway.
Brian Marriott 2002

Jane’s Pearls
The Wally Yonamine Pearl Company, affectionately known as Jane’s Pearls, is located on one corner of Roppongi Crossing outside Roppongi station on the Hibiya (exit 4A) and Oedo Subway Lines or about a 25 minute walk from the New Sanno Hotel (ask for a map). Jane’s carries  a selection of jewelry, with $ prices depending on the yen rate and cost of gold, ranging from inexpensive freshwater pearl bracelets to valuable larger diameter cultured pearl necklaces. If you don’t know much about pearls, Jane’s can give a detailed introduction on the different types and sources.
The popular t-shirt necklace of seed pearls, often given to young women, can be worn all year long and dressed up with a pendant, while the so-called Jodie Foster necklaces in white or yellow gold with red, blue, or green enamel spacers cost three times more due the increase in gold price. Jane’s also has opera length strands of different colored fresh water pearls which can be combined into an elegant twisted necklace.
Open 9:30am-5:30pm Monday-Saturday, closed Sundays and Japanese holidays. Look for the blue and white “pearls” sign in the entrance of the Arts Shop building, and take the small elevator to the 5th floor. Credit cards OK, janespearl.com; Tel. 033-402-4001 or 033-403-4687.

Amit Trading
While Amit has a branch at the New Sanno, their main store is on the 5th Floor of the ISO Building, next to the Softbank shop on the corner of Roppongi Crossing opposite Jane’s Pearls. While Jane’s seems to carry a larger array of designs, Amit’s is known for good prices in custom gem jewelry and traditional cultured pearl strands as well. If you know what you want or have a specific design in mind (whether for a necklace, earrings, bracelet or other accessory), check with Amit.
Open 9:30am-5:30pm weekdays, www.pearls.jp; 033-3404-3853.

Asahi Pearls
Noted in Frommer’s guides, Asahi (Shoten) Jewelry has stores within the Imperial Hotel arcade and 1st Floor of the Yurakucho Building outside Exit A-3 of the Hibiya Subway Station. While not as popular with the base crowd, Asahi also carries a selection of moderately priced pearl and gem jewelry. Open weekdays 10am-7pm, 10am-6:30pm weekends and holidays. 03-3271-6260.

Roppongi Roi Building Flea Market
The Roppongi Roi Building (near the Hard Rock Café and Spago’s) houses a flea market on the fourth Thursday and Friday of each month. It has more than 30 dealers, and the prices are said to be good. Hours?
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, take the Ome Line to Tachikawa. Change to the Chuo Line to Shinjuku. Transfer to the Yamanote Line to Ebisu. There, change to the Hibiya Line and go two stops to Roppongi. Exit the ticket turnstile and turn right. Go upstairs and turn left. On the corner across the street, you will see the Almond Cafe (large pink sign). Cross the street to the cafe, turn right at the corner and go one and one-half block. The next big corner will be the Roi Building. For more information call the Kottoichi Company at 03-3980-8228.

Author, date?

Uchida Is this store still around? It’d be nice to have an update, and an address or GPS coordinates.
For a unique shop/gallery with a wide array of art and artifacts from all over the world, visit Uchida, located in Azabu. They carry Indonesian baskets, Japanese lacquerware, clay figures, textiles from all over the world, and more. Uchida provides a showcase for a collection of art and gallery space for artists to show their work.
DIRECTIONS: Exit the Roppongi Subway Station using the Roppongi Crossing Exit. Turn down the side street to your right. Follow this street past the Swedish Center and Homeworks. Turn right at the gas station, and at the second corner, turn right again. It is only about a block from the Blue and White Store (under the New Sanno section). Hours: open daily until 7pm, except Tuesdays and the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays. Also open on holidays. Melody Hostetler, date?

RESTAURANTS

Gonpachi
This is the restaurant Quentin Tarantino used as inspiration for the Crazy 88s fight scene in the movie “Kill Bill”. It’s located in Roppongi, 1.5km from the New Sanno Hotel. This place has a beautiful modern Japanese atmosphere, good food with a variety of Japanese dishes (tempura, yakitori, soba, etc.) as well as Gonpachi’s specialties, such as house pizza, tuna tartare and Camembert/avocado tempura. Prices are reasonable.  Their website is www.gonpachi.jp/en/nishi_azabu/home/location. Reservations are taken online, via the website. The restaurant has branches in Ginza, Odaiba and Shibuya. Tel. for the Roppongi location: 03-5771-0170. Address: 1-13-11 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031. GPS: 35.6600, 139.7234
DIRECTIONS: Take the train from Fussa Station to Ebisu, then take the Tokyo Metro to the Roppongi Station. Exit the station onto Roppongi Dori (crossing under the street) and turn left. Walk about 850 meters to the intersection of Roppongi Dori and Gaien-Nishi Dori (second major intersection). The restaurant is on the corner to your right. It is across Gaien-Nishi Dori from Zest, and diagonally across Roppongi Dori from a Hobson’s ice cream shop. Kevin Green, 2012.

Pizzakaya Roppongi
This small groovy eatery has California-style pizzas with excellent options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The name is a contraction of “pizza” and “izikaya,” a casual Japanese pub. The atmosphere is relaxed and retro, and the selection of American craft beers is excellent. You’ll fee like you’re in Santa Cruz again, though the prices (¥2100 for a medium 10-inch pizza) will remind you that this is still Tokyo. The two-person set for ¥4725 seems like a good deal. The menu includes big salads and pasta. It’s convenient to the New Sanno, and they do deliver. English menu and English-speaking staff. Hours: Lunch: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:00pm (Except Japanese national holidays). Dinner: 5-10:30pm (-9:30pm Sundays) Address: Dai-ichi Koyama Building 2F, 3-1-19 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031. Tel: 03-3479-8383. GPS: 35.6605, 139.7266.
Directions from Roppongi Station: Take Exit 1C (Hibiya Line, Oedo Line), turn left and walk away from the Roppongi Intersection, towards Roppongi Hills. After Roppongi Hills you will come to the intersection of Roppongi and TV Asahi streets. Cross the street and keep going about 100 meters toward the Nishi Azabu Intersection until you reach a restaurant called “Charleston Cafe Oriental.” Pizzakaya is on the second floor of the next building. There’s a sign out on the street. It is about a seven-minute walk.
Directions from New Sanno Hotel: It’s a 1.8km walk. Turn right out of the hotel and right again at the next major road, which has a pedestrian bridge overhead. Walk up hill, passing the Hiroo Metro stop. Keep going along this road until you get to Roppongi Dori, which has an elevated expressway down the middle. Turn right on Roppongi Dori and go about 300 meters, until you see the blue-trimmed Papasu Pharmacy. Pizzakaya is in the next building, on the second floor. If you get to a dark building with the sign “Charleston Cafe Oriental” you’ve gone a few steps too far. Liz Ruskin, 2012.

New Sanno to Pizzakaya, on foot

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Hard Rock Café

The Hard Rock Café in Tokyo is like any other Hard Rock. Americans and others fill the place, listening to classic rock and viewing paraphernalia donated by some of America’s best music artists. Food selections are also the same. Starters range from homemade soup (¥600) to pizza (¥1400)). Salad and sandwich choices include chef, chicken, and fruit/avocado salads, HRC Sandwich, BLT, and the awesome California Club (¥1,300-1,600). Last, but not least, for the “American palate,” there is the charbroiled burger, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, and Mt. Fuji Double Burger (¥l,400-2,000). Desserts are plentiful: Apple pie, devil’s food cake, brownies, Key lime pie, N.Y. Cheesecake, etc. The servers speak English, and there is no dress code. Address: 5-4-20 Roppongi MinatoKu, Tokyo 106.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Pay parking is available, but it is easy to go by train. From Fussa Station, take the train toward Tokyo. Change trains at Shinjuku Station and get on the Yamanote line (lime green) to Ebisu (four stops). Exit and to the right will be the subway station. Take the Hibiya line two stops to Roppongi and exit from Exit 3. Turn left out of the station and cross the street to your right. Turn left. Turn right after the Almond Restaurant (pink and white canopy-also on the right). You should see Tokyo Tower straight ahead. Follow this road until you see a McDonalds on your right. Turn right directly past it and Hard Rock Café /Tony Roma’s is ahead of you. If you get lost, ask. Hard Rock is well known. Hours: 11:30 am – 2:00 am (Monday-Thursday), 4:00 am (Friday-Saturday), and 11:30 pm (Sundays and holidays). Tel: 03-3408-7018 Karen Ozment, Delores Street, date?

Tony Roma’s
Located in the bottom half of the Hard Rock Café building, this one is also an international classic. It attracts a more business-like crowd so most people are dressed in work attire (as in no shorts). Specializing in ribs, Tony Roma’s charcoal broils them and adds barbecue sauce to make them as tender as anything Memphis has to offer. Order the onion rings for ¥780. They are absolutely mouthwatering and feed 3-5 people. Other appetizers include fried cheese, shrimp tail fingers, cold fresh asparagus and country pork sausage with dijon mustard, all for ¥980. Salads include seafood, Mesa Verde, garden, Cobb, and Santa Fe, ranging from ¥650-1,450. Tony Roma’s original barbecued baby ribs come in regular (¥2,750) and large (¥3,980) sizes. Combination plates with barbecued chicken, grilled swordfish, steamed lobster, steamed lobster tail, grilled lamb, grilled steak or grilled scallop brochette are also available, ranging from ¥2,080-2,980. Seafood entrees include lobster, Spanish shrimp, swordfish, salmon, rainbow trout, and a combination platter. Meat selections include charbroiled N.Y. cut sirloin steak (¥2,880), barbecued chicken (¥1,780), grilled lamb chops (¥2,080), London broil (¥2,180), and Roma burger (starts at ¥l,380).
DIRECTIONS: follow the directions to Hard Rock Café (above). Tony Roma’s is on the first floor of the same building. Hours: 5-11:00pm, last order at 10:30pm. Telephone: 03-3408-2748 Karen Ozment, date?

Hachioji

Sightseeing

Takiyama Park

This park, about 30 minutes from Yokota, is an inexpensive getaway. The park has picnic tables and an area large enough for softball. The size of the park is fantastic. It has monuments, a shrine, bridges and a pavilion. There is a soda machine if you get thirsty while trekking through the woods. It is a perfect place to reflect on nature. The park used to be the grounds of a castle.

DIRECTIONS: Go straight out the Supply Gate. Cross two sets of tracks. At the third light after the second set of tracks turn left (Ushihama Post Office Intersection, Steak House on right). Continue straight on this road for about 1.5km, through four lights. You will pass a Saizeriya and Bamiyan on the left, and a Family Mart and Denny’s on the right. At the 5th light turn right (onto Mutsumi-bashi Dori at the Uchide Koban Intersection). Cross the Tama River on the 4-lane bridge. Continue to the 4th light (counting the light at the end of the bridge) and turn left on a 2-lane road with a bicycle shop on the corner (Ogawa Intersection). Stay on this road for 3km as it crosses a small river and travels along the base of the hills for awhile. Follow the road over a hill and through the woods into the next valley. At the first signal after going over the hill, turn left (Tangimachi 3 Intersection—This road is 411, although it is not marked as such at this intersection). Take the very first left off of this road onto a VERY small road that looks like a driveway less than 100 meters (0.1 km) after you get onto it. It is just past the gas station that sits on the far right corner of the intersection. It will wind up a steep and narrow road into the park. If you come to another signal you have gone too far. Melody Hostetler, Brian Marriott 12/01

Shopping/retail

Hachioji Station Shopping: SOGO Department Store, Virgin CD, Body Shop, Disney Store, Tokyu Square (smaller mall), Tower Records, Crabtree & Evelyn, Crazy Shirts, Nature Trail, Mister Donuts, McDonalds and Subway Sandwiches

Don’t miss the shopping in Hachioji, just 24 minutes and ¥230 yen from Higashi-Fussa station. As you turn right out of the Hachioji Station, you will see the department store SOGO. Go downstairs or use the escalator, turn left and straight ahead is the department store OIOI (MARUI) with a big sign on it saying VIRGIN CD which is located in the basement of the department store. Once you enter the store towards your left you will see the Body Shop on the first floor. Tokyu Square is located directly across from the JR Hachioji Train Station and you will see an advertisement on the front of the building of the Disney Store located on the 3rd floor. Tokyu Square is a very nice, “small mall” type in itself. As you enter Tokyu Square, immediately on your left is Crabtree & Evelyn – Body Shop (personal products shop). Proceed up the escalator and on the second floor is Nature Trail (clothing), and on the third floor two stores away from the Disney Store is Crazy Shirts from Hawaii (mostly T-shirts, sweatshirts, handkerchiefs, golf items; all a bit more expensive than their catalog which you can request and place on-line orders at www.crazyshirts.com). Directly past Tokyu Square or behind it, you will find Tower Records on the 5th floor, where CDs range from ¥1800 yen-¥2300, with the latest single CDs available ranging from ¥600-1000.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Take the train from the Higashi-Fussa station and go four stops to Hachioji Station. At Hachioji Station, get off the train and proceed up the steps towards the exit and turn right out of the train station. Kathleen A. Vactor

Restaurants

Hachioji Station Eating

If the shopping at the Hachioji Station wears you out, there are several American-style restaurants to choose from. In Tokyu Station, right across from Nagasakiya is Subway Sandwiches, open 10am-10pm. Several shops down is Mister Donuts open 7am-10pm. McDonalds is also in Hachioji.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Take the train from the Higashi-Fussa station and go four stops to the Hachioji Station. At Hachioji Station, get off the train and proceed up the steps towards the exit and turn right out of the train station. To continue to Tokyu Square, exit the department store and go across the street (look for the sign on the outside of the Disney Store). Kathleen A. Vactor

Baghdad Café
Baghdad Cafe is located close to the Hachioji train station. Its décor is somewhat dark and “cozy”—not too large, with tables and chairs scattered in interesting niches around the room and some lights along the walkways under grate-type flooring—with a definite foreign mystique about the place. There were a few gaming tables (roulette, poker, blackjack) but none were used while we were there. The luncheon menu – a.k.a the placemat – had nine entrees with pork, chicken, hamburger, or spaghetti. The ample portions had a slightly spicy flavor, but not overdone. All luncheons were ¥780 and included hot vegetables, salad bar, and either cola, tea or coffee (a refill is ¥300). Beer, wine, and cocktails were ¥380 per glass. The salad bar had a dozen bowls containing fresh fruit, vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, sauces, and dressings.The dinner menu has an entertaining long narrow black cover, filled with white pages and sketches in black. There is a long list of cocktails, “hors d’oeurves froid”, salads, side dishes, pizza, seafood and pasta. The last two pages showed a picture of a roulette wheel with an explanation of the game along with some poker hands and black jack odds. I imagine dinner time is for adults but the lunch could be a family outing.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Go to the Hachioji Station. Exit towards Central Hachioji and turn left, going around the square toward the pedestrian street walkway. Baghdad Cafe is 4 or 5 blocks down on the left. Hours: Lunch 11am-5pm, Dinner starts at 5:30pm. Telephone? Judith McKay, date?

Akiruno, Akigawa and Itsukaichi

These all could be updated… want to take an entry… add photos and turn it into its own post?  Go for it!  Email the updates to: editor@yokotatravel.com.

Ninomiya Shrine
This shrine was established over 800 years ago and was first used by farmers to pray for good weather and to give thanks for a good harvest. Today it is used primarily by resident merchants in the surrounding community. It is also known for its Ginger Festival on September 9 (go to in the festival section for more information).
DIRECTIONS:From Fussa Station, take a train toward Tachikawa but get off at Haijima, a four-minute ride. Transfer to the Itsukaichi Line. Ride another seven minutes and get off at Higashi-Akiru Station. The shrine is a four-minute walk from here. Need walking direction from station.

Ninomiya Shrine Museum

Thirteen thousand years ago people settled the area now known as Akigawa City and this area has been inhabited ever since. The fertile triangle created by the confluence of the Hirai and Aki rivers with the Tama river, a ten minute drive from Yokota, has yielded many archaeological finds from the Paleolithic Era to modern times. A sample of these artifacts is available for viewing at the Ninomiya Shrine Museum. The museum, opened in 1990, is located on the grounds of the Ninomiya Shrine and is open Friday – Sunday from 10am to 4pm. To find the museum, follow the path around the right side of the shrine through an area of smaller monuments including a red torii gate. The museum is divided into three areas. The doors open into a central room where visitors are greeted and literature displayed. Maps on the wall, although annotated in Japanese only, will give you an idea of the areas where artifacts have been excavated. Proceed from this room to the display room on the right. The display room is set up to be viewed from the left where a model of a Jomon period (10,000 BC to 300 BC) hunter-gatherer dwelling is displayed. If you have visited American Indian museums, you may see a similarity to the dwellings and life-styles of prehistoric Eastern American Indians. The third large section of the museum is a working archaeological lab where pot shards and other finds are painstakingly pieced together under the guidance of Masanori Narusako Sensei. This area is not open to visitors. While at the museum, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Exploring Akigawa City. This map is written in English and shows hiking trails, shrines, archaeological digs and other points of interest in the area.
DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate and then turn right at the first light. You are now on Tamabashi Dori, which changes to Itsukaichi-Kaido after you cross the Tama River Bridge (2km from the Fussa Gate). Just after you cross the river, the road doglegs to the left, then to the right. The second light after the doglegs will be labeled Route 168 to “Ninomiyajinja.” Go straight, but slow WAY down, because you will be turning into the first tiny street past the light. It looks almost like a driveway. Go up the hill and park at the end of the street in the lot in front of the torii gates. The museum is on the left of the torii gates. The shrine is through the torii gates in front of you. This is only about a 15-minute drive. Marja A. Weaver, date?

–Cross-ref Tsuru Tsuru Onsen

Akigawa River
If you like to paddle in a rocky stream, float along in a rented boat or on an inner tube, or just people watch, consider the Akigawa River. It is about 25 minutes from Yokota. The most famous spot in Akigawa is Summerland, but upstream from there you will find access to the river and even some fishing spots.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate onto Highway 16. Set odometer to zero. Go to the first signal light and turn right. This road is marked “Tamabashi Dori.” Go through Fussa, across two sets of tracks. The road will go downhill and cross the Tama River. Keep to the main road as it bends going up a hill. You will come out on level ground on the other side of the river and then the road will be “Itsukaichi Kaido.” Fresh farm produce is sold along this road in the summer. At 5.1km you will come to a light with the sign, “Akigawa Shiyakusho.” Keep going straight. The light at 5.5km is the turn for Summerland (the cross street is Rt. 411, so you would take a left if going to Summerland). Keep straight for Akigawa. You are getting into the country now and can see the mountains. The road will widen at 7.8km and there will be a map of the district on the roadside at 8km. From now on, you can turn left down almost any side road and reach the river. The light at 8.8km marks the left turn that will take you to a private beach. On a near right corner, up high, there is a large pink, red and white sign with a flower on it and an arrow pointing to Ozawa, a nearby store. The name under the light there is Yamada. Turn left here and follow the road downhill and across the Akigawa River. Just across the bridge on the left is a little shop/restaurant through which you have to pass to get to the beach. You can park up the hill to the right for a fee. (¥500). The little shop “Sansuiso” sells drinks and snacks but no western food. The shop is open year round, except rainy days 8am-5pm. There is a small entrance fee. You can also rent a “teppan” (large griddle for outdoor cooking) and buy charcoal. There are old toilets and running water. You can also rent small rowboats. Mosquitoes are bad in this area in the summer season so be sure to bring insect repellent. Claire Scriba, date?

Fishing in Akigawa
Even trout fisherman can find a way to ply their sport while they are in Japan. The nearest fishing hole is the Akigawa River, which is full of rainbow trout. The Japanese government owns all the streams and landowners along the way can open their portion to fisherman. They raise trout and release them into the stream, usually between 9am and 1pm. Fish of different sizes can be caught and some are pretty big. You can fish all day for about ¥3000 and there is a 10 fish limit. The fee does not include equipment but you can rent a bamboo pole for about ¥300. You can buy bait for about ¥400. Outdoor Recreation offers fishing equipment rental and they can provide you with the current laws regarding fishing and other useful information. Sunday is the busiest day because the Japanese are off work, so going on a week day would be best. With the exception of the fly fishing area, the trout camps are open year round.
DIRECTIONS: Go out the Supply Gate and go straight. You will cross over 2 sets of railroad tracks. At 1.4km, turn right onto Denen-Dori. There will be a large, four-corner pedestrian overpass at this intersection. Go 1.3km to the “T” intersection and turn left. Go 2.6km and at the top of the hill, turn right. When you come to a fork in the road, bear right. Go about half km to the light. There is a gas station on your left. Go straight through the intersection. Follow the road about 5km and you will come to another “T” intersection; turn left. After about 2km you will cross railroad tracks. Shortly after that, you will see a big sign, in English, for the “Akigawa Trout Fishing Camp.” Keep to the right. About 2km after the sign, you will come to a light; turn right. You will soon see the big Welcome sign to Akigawa. Sondra Halweg and Rosandra Corea, date?

Shopping/retail

Akiruno Rupia & Tokyu
The Akiruno Rupia is a small mall next to the Tokyu Department Store in Akigawa. It contains gift shops, boutiques, and restaurants, including the sandwich chain Subway. On the second floor is a covered walkway to the four-story Tokyu next door. Tokyu has a supermarket section with a bakery nearby on the ground floor. There are also cosmetics, accessories, handbags, and shoe sections surrounding an open area with benches. Mens’ and Ladies’ wear are on the second floor with children’s clothing, housewares, furniture, and appliances on the third floor.
DIRECTIONS: Go left out the Fussa Gate and turn right at the next light. Cross two railroad tracks, pass a 7-11 store on the left, and cross two bridges. You’ll be on the road to Itsukaichi. As you cross the river, there’s a sign for Honda. Hours: 10am-8pm, closed Wednesdays. Telephone: 042-550-0109/Tokyu

Akigawa Farmers Center

Restaurants

Haijima – Bamboo House
Owners Sue and Tatsuaki Ichikawa have been serving homemade noodles at this location for twenty years. The building is spacious, with four seating areas holding approximately 50 customers. One section has tables and chairs (for 14 customers); the other three raised tatami sections have cushions and low tables. Although English isn’t spoken, Americans are warmly welcomed and the menu is in both Japanese and English. Although udon and soba noodles (served hot or cold) are the specialty of the house, tempura and rice dishes are also available. Meal prices range from ¥650 to ¥1000 for either lunch or dinner. Because there are only two parking spaces at the restaurant and the street is narrow and filled with parked bicycles, driving is not recommended.
DIRECTIONS: Take the Itsukaichi Line from Platform 1 at Haijima Station two stops to Higashiakiru. It’s a four-minute ride and costs ¥l50. As you exit the Higashiakiru Station, turn left over the tracks (past lots of bicycles). It is the second building on your left. Hours: 11am-3pm, Tuesday through Friday, 11am-8pm on Saturday and Sunday, and closed on Monday. Telephone? Sally Mayberry, date?

Hinohara – Black Tea House
The Black Tea House, or Kurochaya, about a 40 minute (13km) drive from Yokota on Itsukaichi Kaido, is a wonderful restaurant of traditional construction next to a river among bamboo groves. It’s where you may want to take visitors from abroad if they cannot visit Kyoto or Nikko (there’s lots of tatami, wood, and sliding doors). Although the meals are expensive, they seem worth it and you get plenty of food (some of it just for the brave). Multi-course meals of barbecue-it-yourself beef or chicken plus in-season vegetables were offered for ¥4,500 to ¥7,500 at lunch time. Plum brandy is included in the meal along with fruit and a sweet. Arrive early enough to roam the grounds and enjoy the gazebo, waterwheel, river and trees. Once inside, each party has a private room with a deck-like balcony, overlooking the beautiful surroundings. Reservations in English are accepted.
DIRECTIONS: Turn left out the Fussa Gate, then right at the first light. Go over the river and past Route 411 (Akikawa Kaido) toward Hinohara. About 2km after the Itsukaichi Station sign, past the police station on the right, turn left at the Ko-Nakano intersection (gas station on right). The restaurant is down the “block” on the left (the main parking lot is down through a steep and narrow ramp. You may also park back in the corner lot, on the right). Hours: 11am-8pm except Tuesdays and Japanese holidays. Telephone: format?96-0129. Karen Ozment, Teresa K. Negley, date?

Kawagoe

sarah straus kawagoeTake a glimpse of old Japan just a short journey from the base. Here you can see a street of Edo-era storehouses and merchant houses, the Kitain Temple, and a castle converted into a museum.  For a small entrance fee at the Temple you can Girl at Kitain Temple Kawagoe by Sarah Straussee some remains from Edo Castle that were moved here, a beautiful garden, and 540 statues of Rakan with no two Buddhas alike. Download a tourist map of the area here and walk to the castle and to the historic commercial street. We enjoyed seeing the many kimono clad Japanese ladies out for a stroll and the interesting buildings.

The history of “Little Edo”
Kawagoe was a castle town, protecting the northern flank of Edo Castle, which is now the Imperial Palace in downtown Tokyo. The Matsudaira family ruled Kawagoe for 100 years, boosting rice production to sell downriver in Edo. Much of Tokugawa-era Kawagoe (1700-1800s) remains for you to rediscover.

Gardens behind the remains of Edo Castle, by Katheryn Wolfe

Be sure to make at least one trip to Kawagoe timed so that you can browse the shrine sale held on the 28th of each month at Naritasan Temple. The shrine sale antiques reflect the old buildings of Little Edo, remainders of an older community that was not bombed during World War II. After shopping, visit Kitain Temple around the corner from the shrine sale. Kitain became the main temple of a three-temple complex that prospered due to a friendship in the 1600s beween the head monk and the first shogun. The Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, had the place rebuilt in 1638 and arranged for part of Edo Castle to be relocated in Kitain. One ornate room with a floral ceiling is thought to be the room where he was born. Diagonal to Kitain is the place of Gohyaku Rakan or Five Hundred Buddhas (with its entrance next to a small shop). Made from 1781 to 1825, each two- or three-feet tall Buddha is different.

After looking around Kitain, head toward the streets of old town where the kurazukuri buildings are located. The kurazukuri are icons of old Kawagoe. These combination store/residence buildings are fireproof, having been constructed from a wood frame packed with clay and plaster. The 30 or so remaining buildings were mostly built after the Great Fire of 1893.
The Osawa family owns Kawagoe’s oldest kurazukuri, built in 1793. This building is now an “Important Cultural Property” and shop specializing in folk art. It is located in Saiwai-cho, along with the city-run Kurazukuri Museum and other kurazukuri protected by the city. Two tourist information office in the old warehouse district can supply you with maps, but the town has lots of tourist-oriented maps posted and directional signs in English. Be sure to visit the quaint Penny Candy Lane.
Teresa Negley & Catherine L. Sadler.  Updates & lead photo by Sarah Straus, 2012.

DIRECTIONS: Drive or take the train from Higashi-Fussa station, per the directions below. The parking for the shrine sale (GPS: 35.9186,139.4902) is right by the Kitain Temple.

Shopping

Kawagoe shrine sale by kelly cash 2Kawagoe Shrine Sale
Kawagoe is filled with treasures. We’ve found rice buckets, pottery, wooden items, brocade obi, shoji screens, baskets and lacquerware, among other booty. Held on the 28th of every month from dawn to dusk, rain or shrine, Kawagoe flea market is on a circuit of many flea market vendors.
DIRECTIONS: Set the odometer to zero as you turn right out the Terminal Gate. Go north via the underpass onto Route 16 where you will stay most of your trip. At 10.9km, the road splits with Route 16 to the left. The road also narrows to two lanes temporarily. Follow the blue signs for Kawagoe and stay on Route 16 as it bears left again. You will pass the SATY store on your right at 15.2km. Route 16 turns right around a bend at 23.4km with more blue signs to direct you . At 26.6km kawagoe shrine sale by kelly cash(with the round “Hotel 10” ahead), bear left onto Route 254 toward Higashi Matsuyama. Stay in the left lane, go under the arched pedestrian bridge at 27km, then make a left turn immediately afterward (not before the bridge). At the second light, 27.9km, make a left and then park in the lot on your right (¥500/three hours) before the Kitain Temple complex. (The parking lot entrance is slightly tricky. They’ve set it up so that you first come across the exit. Drive a bit further to find the entrance.) The monthly sale is held at Narita-san Shrine, a couple blocks to the right down the street on the other side of the parking lot. GPS for parking lot: 35.9186,139.4902. – Shrine Sale photos by Kelly Cash, July 2013

View Kawagoe in a larger map
DIRECTIONS HOME: Backtrack to Routes 254 and 16, turning into the first right two lanes, and head towards Hachioji (not up the ramp). Then, move over to the far left lane before Route 16 curves left. Barbara Kirkwood 2001. Liz Ruskin verified directions and parking lot info in 2011.
TRAIN DIRECTIONS:You can get to Kawagoe in less than an hour from the Higashi-Fussa station. This station is even closer to the base than the main Fussa station. You don’t even have to transfer if you chose the right train, so check Hyperdia before you go. Take the JR Hachiko line toward Kawagoe (not toward Hachioji). On trains bound for Kawagoe, the name of the line changes at Komagawa, but the same train continues on to Kawagoe station. When you get out of the train station you’ll be on an elevated plaza. Go just to the left of the Atre store and descend on the stairs that will put you behind the Atre and across the streets. You’ll be on a pedestrian street called Crea Mall. (Look for the “Crea Mall” banner over the walkway. There’s a red “New Crown” sign on the corner.) Stay on the Crea Mall for a kilometer, past where it becomes a real street. Continue on it until you reach a 4-way intersection with a big road, labeled 15 on maps. Beyond this road, the pavement color changes to grey as it goes into the historic district. Instead, turn right on 15 and walk until you see a blue pedestrian overpass. The entrance to the shrine sale is right there, on your right. Total distance from Kawagoe train station: 1.7km. Liz Ruskin, 2011.

Kawagoe RISM Outlet Mall
This is a collection of shops in a modern setting, southeast of Kawagoe and about 30km northeast of Yokota. On the second level there is an Eddie Bauer outlet and an outdoor/sports shop with goods by Patagonia, Columbia, and Coleman in addition to an Italian diner, and a carpet shop at the opposite end. There is also a shoe store with Cole Haan, Dr. Maartens and other famous brands; a large drugstore; a shop selling kitchen goods alongside lingerie; and several clothing shops. Kids will like the arcade of snack shops and game machines on the first level. www.rism-city.com.
DIRECTIONS: Turn right out the Terminal Gate onto Route 16, heading for Kawagoe via the underpass. Route 16 will narrow from four lanes to two lanes and widen again. As you enter Kawagoe, the Route 16 signs will change to show Kasukabe and Omiya (at about 20km, stay on Route 16 in the right lane). You’ll pass a blue sign for The Old Spaghetti Factory on the right. Stay in the right lane as Route 16 takes a sharp right turn (at 23.4 km). As the road curves to the left, you’ll see 3 large blue signs (Kawagoe Station, Higashi-Matsuyama, and Tokyo). Stay in the right lane and turn right onto Route 254 for Tokyo, and later Ikebukuro. The road will cross Route 56 with a Royal Host on the right. Stay on Route 254, going straight. At about 30km, there will be an Esso station on the right and a Toyota auto dealer on the left. Turn left at the light where Jonathan’s Restaurant and Men’s Plaza Aoki are on the far left corner. You’ll pass a park on the right. Turn right at the second light (there’s a fire station on the left, and a Mos Burger opposite it on the far left – look for the “M” sign). Follow the “P” (for parking) signs around the mall to the left into an underground garage. Push the green button on the machine to get a parking ticket. The first two hours are free, then it’s ¥100/half hour. For the return, back track via Routes 254 and 16 toward Hachioji. Stay in the left lane as you approach Route 16. The drive is 1-1.5 hours, 32km away. Hours: 10:30am – 7:30pm; closed on the third Wednesday of the month. Telephone: 0492-69-3939. Address: Ureshino 2-10-87, Fujimino-shi, Saitama-Ken. GPS: 35.8580, 139.5253. Chieko Brumley, Wendy Matheny, Teresa Negley, 1996. Opening hours and GPS added 2011.


Tachikawa Shopping

Books Orion (English books)

Books Orion in Tachikawa is the closest bookstore that regularly stocks English books, including useful reference books for those living in Japan and children’s books. Pick up a complete JR East train map for ¥250,  or a an extensive Japanese phrasebook. To get there, take the train to Tachikawa Station. Exit the East Gate turnstiles and turn right, toward Lumine, then go out the North Exit. You will now be on an elevated plaza. Stay on the elevated walkway and go slight left toward Isetan department store. When you reach the building, turn left, walk to the corner of the building and turn right, keeping Isetan on your right. As you walk under the monorail track, you will see HMV Music ahead and to the left. Enter HMV Music from the elevated walk and go straight up the escalator into Books Orion. The English section is to the right as you get off the escalator. 10am-9pm every day but Jan. 1. Tel. 0425-221-1231. Liz Ruskin 2010

Grand Duo Mall

Grand Duo Mall is located inside the Tachikawa train station, and offers a variety of shops. Eddie Bauer is just one of the western brand stores available. The sixth floor is primarily restaurants – Indian, Italian, Japanese and an ice cream shop with, among other concoctions, green-tea soft-serve. The seventh floor is considered a local Chinatown with many Chinese restaurants. The eighth floor has beauty care shops, including two hair salons, an herbal shop and a hair supply shop.

If you choose to drive instead of taking the train, pay parking is available at other larger shops near the station, including under Takashimaya department store and at Lumine just past the train station’s North Exit (see the “Tachikawa Shopping” section for more precise directions). If you purchase a minimum amount (including meals at the restaurants within the building), parking is free for the first two hours. Takashimaya charges ¥500/hour unless you buy at least ¥5000 of merchandise.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: It obviously easier to take the train, but if you need to drive, start at the East Gate. Turn left onto Itsukaichi Kaido. Stay on Itsukaichi Kaido until the light with the Yakiniku All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant on the far right corner (the turn for American Village) then turn right. Turn left at the second light (convenience store on the left.) Turn right at the next large intersection and pass Tachikawa Air Base and the main entrance to Showa Memorial Park. At the next large intersection, the sharp left will lead you to Takashimaya while the angled left will lead you to the North Exit of Tachikawa Train station. The drive time is 20-40 minutes depending on traffic. Shannon Edwards, 2000

Takashimaya Department Store

Located on the second floor of this emporium is a small Disney store with stuffed animals, kitchen items, baby goods, key chains, etc. While there, ride the escalators to all of the floors. There are specialty sections including items by Ralph Lauren, Mikimoto pearls, and famous French designers. Also found are hats, stationery, stereo equipment, clocks, wedding dresses, kimonos, optical goods, and home furnishings as well as a food court on the top two floors. Takashimaya is next to Cinema City.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, ride the train seven stops to Tachikawa. Take the North Exit, then proceed down the stairs on the left. Cross the street and walk directly away from the station. Go down the alley next to Klimt Coffee Shop (pink awnings). Continue on straight and when you see the Inoue Building, continue past it to the large road. Takashimaya will be across the street in front of you on the left. See map on opposite page. Hours: 10:00 am – 6:30pm. Telephone? Karen Ozment, date?

Daiei

This is a chain of discount stores, supermarkets and burger bars. Resembling a vertical K-Mart, the merchandise includes chinaware, rugs, clothing, toys, sporting and electrical equipment. Personally, I find the nearby 100 Yen shops more fun.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: Ride the train to Tachikawa station and take the North Exit out to the street below. Walk down the main street away from the station to the next big intersection. Turn right onto Midorikawa Dor. Daiei is in the middle of the block on the left-hand side. Hours? Telephone? Liz Ruskin 2010

100 Yen Store

Magnets and thumbtacks in every shade of cute, plus kitchen gadgets, hardware, garden supplies and fun miscellany. You know the drill: Everything is ¥100 (plus tax) unless otherwise marked.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station on the North Exit, go straight across the plaza and down to street level. Pass Bic Camera. Before you get to the next big intersection, you’ll see a store called From Chubu. The ¥100 Store is in the basement.

Lumine Department Store

Lumine is a collection of boutiques and restaurants. This is a store for window shoppers arranged in standard Japanese department store fashion, with a basement supermarket. The first floor has a large gift food area. On the upper levels are two floors of variously priced restaurants. Besides food, there is an art supply area, a florist, myriad clothing sections, an art gallery, electronics, books, toys and specialty items.

TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa Station, take the Ome Line to Tachikawa. Turn right as you exit Tachikawa’s train ticket gates and you’ll see Lumine from inside the Tachikawa Station. Hours? Telephone?

Rachel Keyser-McClendon, date?

Bic Camera

Six floors of gadgetry and appliances. If it needs batteries or bulbs, it’s probably here. Along with the batteries. It’s like a mini-Akihabara. And, to feed your more feminine side, the 7th and 8th floors are a massive craft shop, Yuzawaya. One floor is devoted to fabric and the sewing arts. The 8th has yarn, paints, office supplies and an excellent collection of beads, included Miyuki Delica. 12-2 Akebono-cho 2-chome, Tachikawa, Tokyo 〒 190-0012 . Tel. 042-548-1111.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station by the north entrance and keep going straight. Go to street level, keeping your back to the station, and you’ll see Bic Camera on the left side of the street. Liz Ruskin 2010.

Kikuya

This kitchen store has a good selection of dishes and lacquerware and seems to have a perpetual sidewalk sale with some good deals.  Cute sauce dishes for ¥100. Giant ramen dishes and snappy bento boxes for ¥600. Indigo shibori (Japanese tie-dye) aprons for ¥980.

DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station from the North Exit and keep going straight down to the street. Stay on the right side of the main street leading away from the station and continue straight through the first big intersection. Kikuya is in the middle of the next block, on the right-hand side. The cafe upstairs – “Louvre” – has a more prominent sign. Liz Ruskin 2010

Kichijoji Shopping

This area has tons of shops, including: Tokyu, Parco Department Store, Williams-Sonoma, Marui department store, Body Shop, L.L. Bean …  If you find one you think we ought to list here, post a comment.

LOFT
This multi-story shop is a great place to buy a small gift. It’s a drug store! A Kitchijoji by Jenn B 3stationary store! A kitchen store! It has everything but tires, I think. And all of it is uber cool. The paper department has lovely washi and other Japanese traditional arts. See our entry on LOFT in the Shibuya section.
DIRECTIONS: From the central exit of Hachijoji station, look across the plaza to find the opening to Sun Road, an arcaded shopping street. Walk down Sun Road until you reach an intersection with a traffic light. This is Honchoshindo, and it’s at about the mid-point of Sun Road. Turn left on Honchoshindo. Walk past the Coppice department store. Loft is on the left, just before you reach the next traffic light. Hours: 10:30am-8:30pm. (Closing time varies by an hour on certain days.) Tel: 0422-236-210. GPS: 35.7055908, 139.5788847.

Atre
This mall is attached to the Kichijoji station and is far more vast than it first appears. The first floor has a beautiful bakery and other eateries. The lower level has a nice cheap thrill, a chain store called Three Coins. Nearly everything in it costs ¥315, but unlike a ¥100 store, this one has a definite “look.” Kind of West Elm but more feminine. Mall hours: 10am-9pm, although some floors close earlier. Tel.: 0422-221-401.

Village Vanguard
This is a book store with lots of toys and miscellany cramming the aisles. It gets rave reviews. It appears to be right next to Tokyu. Details anyone?

Park Exit of the station
Kichjijoji by Jenn B 2The Marui department store is here as is Yuzawaya, a very large craft store that is said to be a good place to buy Japanese souvenirs. Walk straight out of the station for about a minute, past the glittering pachinko parlors, until you reach a main street called Inokashira Dori.  It’s dominated by Marui, so look for the “OIOI” sign. (The word maru means circle). There’s also a Body Shop, Subway Sandwiches, and L.L. Bean. Continuing on, you will come upon the Inokashira Park—a great place to take your lunch.
Liz Ruskin 2010, photos by Jennifer Bobrowski, July 2013

Main Kichijoji page