Monthly Archives: November 2014

30 November 2014: Cheerful saxophone concert at Brasserie St. Bernardus!

Our French travel manager in Japan just enjoyed a cheerful live saxophone concert and delicious Belgian food with 2 friends at Brasserie St. Bernardus (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo). On this cold evening of autumn, the bar/restaurant was warm and full of Japanese people 🙂

The young but skilled musicians of the HotateQ group, 4 cute Japanese girls studying at Showa University of Music, played the saxophone from 19:00 to 20:45:
Saxophone concert at Brasserie St. Bernardus (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo) in November 2014.

As usual, the music was free 🙂 If you wish to enjoy such a concert in Tokyo, check the events schedule of Brasserie St. Bernardus, take the subway or train, get off at Kanda station, walk to Brasserie St. Bernardus, and take a good seat…

Music in Tokyo: Live at Brasserie St. Bernardus

You can enjoy live music for one hour at Brasserie St. Bernardus during 2 to 4 concerts every month, usually on Monday or Sunday evenings: saxophone, violin, guitar, drum… There is no “music charge” but the musicians would certainly appreciate a small (or big) donation. Listen to nice live music, get your photo with the Japanese musicians, savour Belgian food and beer, and have a good time with the locals 🙂

Brasserie St. Bernardus is a Belgian restaurant/bar 1 minute south-west of Kanda train station (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo) and 3 minutes east of Hotel Villa Fontaine Otemachi. Yes in Japan staff had great fun there!

Restaurant in Tokyo: Nago Café closed

Nago Café closed permanently tonight. It is a pity because the Japanese chef Tsugumi NASHIRO cooked delicious Okinawan cuisine at this restaurant…

Check our selection of best restaurants in Chiyoda ward to eat great Japanese food near Jimbocho subway station or Suidobashi train station. For other areas, see the Yes in Japan list of selected restaurants in Tokyo 🙂

From Qatar for autumn photos in Tokyo, gifts made in Japan and a vegetarian buffet!

We guided a businessman from Qatar in Tokyo today, for the last day of his first stay in Japan. Leaving in a comfortable car from Tokyo Dome Hotel, we visited a Japanese garden, ate at a vegetarian restaurant, bought gifts at a shop owned by a couple of Japanese artisans, saw many tourist spots, and visited holy sites.

To make great photos of Japanese autumn with the morning light, we first strolled in the peaceful Rikugien garden (Bunkyo ward, Tokyo). Coming from Qatar, the traveller was particularly pleased with the seasonal yellow grass, trees with red leaves, green pine trees, and mirror-like pond, which were gorgeous under a big blue sky! The singing birds, lively carps, wooden bridge, lanterns, teahouse, and numerous Japanese grandmothers and grandfathers made this time very enjoyable 🙂
Tree with red leaves and yellow grass at Rikugien garden (Bunkyo ward, Tokyo, Japan).

Stone lantern and autumn leaves at Rikugien garden (Bunkyo ward, Tokyo, Japan).

We lunched early at Petit Bonheur in Chiyoda ward, enjoying a vegetarian buffet with fragrant and tasty vegetables and fruits from Japan. This popular restaurant was full but only two other men were in sight; we were surrounded by Japanese women!

After coffee, we looked at old buildings in the Kanda area of Chiyoda ward and went shopping at the wonderful shop Kanda Chonko to buy high-quality handmade gifts made in Japan for the businessman’s family: Japanese fans, bags, hairpins, a sumo wrestler kokeshi doll, a decoration made using rice grains, a miniature with a Japanese boy and girl in kimono…
Takemura (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan).

Our driver proposed a scenic tour to see and photograph important places in Tokyo before going to the Asakusa district: Tokyo train station, the fortifications of the Imperial Palace, the Ministry of Justice (old and new buildings), the National Diet Building, Tokyo Tower… and lines of beautiful trees with yellow leaves!
Tokyo Tower (Minato ward, Tokyo, Japan).

In Taito ward, we took an elevator for a great panoramic view of Asakusa: Asahi Breweries headquarters, Tokyo Skytree, Senso-ji Buddhist temple, the pagoda, the shopping street… We then entered the Thunder Gate, shopped lightly in the shopping street, received a handwritten document with a holy seal at Senso-ji Buddhist temple, visited Asakusa Shinto Shrine, and ate shrimp sushi 🙂 After that, it was time to go catch the flight back to Qatar at Narita international airport…

Update on 02 December 2014: A Japanese partner of the Qatari businessman called to thank us; our tour in Tokyo was praised 🙂 In fact, our English-speaking staff also spent a very pleasant autumn day thanks to this friendly visitor!

If you too wish to visit Tokyo with us, reserve a 1-day Yes in Japan private tour.

Jimbocho/Takebashi area in Tokyo: Japanese paper, prints, paintings, sushi…

Exciting Japanese art and culture in Tokyo near Jimbocho and Takebashi subway stations! Traditional paper, prints and paintings, artworks from diverse artists, an imperial spot for green tourism, and delicious raw fish! In autumn and winter 2014, Yes in Japan‘s travel manager recommends you:

Sumi-e painting at Toyokuni Atelier Studio (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan).

Visit these unique shops and cultural spots if you study/work in Jimbocho, stay at a hotel in Chiyoda ward, attend a tournament at the nearby Martial Arts Hall of Japan or go to Yasukuni Shrine!

Suidobashi/Ochanomizu area in Tokyo: Fish, saké, armours, swords, antiques, art, garden

Traditional Japan before your eyes in Tokyo near Suidobashi and Ochanomizu train stations! Raw and grilled fish, saké, samurai swords, kendo armours, traditional everyday objects, and a Japanese garden with beautiful flowers and leaves… For this autumn and winter, Yes in Japan recommends you:

  • Hanaya, restaurant with staff in kimono serving seasonal fish, crab, shells…
  • Ippo, “izakaya” restaurant with fish, meat and Japanese alcohol!
  • Saké Ichishimaya, liquor store with selected bottles of nihonshu and shochu.
  • Shobu-do-sangyo, specialist store with kendo armours, bamboo & iaido swords…
  • Sankei-shoten, Japanese antique and art dealer.
  • Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, splendid in autumn thanks to its maple trees 🙂

Japanese alcohol at Saké Ichishimaya (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan).

Try these exceptional shops and the garden if you stay at a hotel/ryokan in Bunkyo ward or Chiyoda ward, study Japanese at a language school in Suidobashi, or visit the nearby Tokyo Dome City or Jimbocho Book Town!

Akihabara/Kanda area in Tokyo: Made in Japan, food, statue, bicycle rental

Enter two parallel worlds in Tokyo near Akihabara and Kanda JR stations! Modern and traditional “Made in Japan”… Foreign and Japanese food… Shinto and anime design… This autumn and winter, the Yes in Japan team particularly recommends:

Handmade fan, sumo kokeshi, Mount Fuji cups, and accessories at Kanda Chonko (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan).

This area is great to visit if you stay at a hotel in Chiyoda ward, study the Japanese language at a school in Akihabara, or go to the nearby Tokyo Dome City, Jimbocho Book Town or East Gardens of the Imperial Palace!

Iidabashi/Kudanshita area in Tokyo: Martial arts, park, restaurant, shrines

Walk in Chiyoda ward near Iidabashi and Kudanshita stations to discover the Japanese culture, see many facets of the Shinto religion, and eat vegetarian food if you stay at a local hotel, study at a language school in Iidabashi, or wonder what to do after your visit of Kagurazaka area, Tokyo Dome City or Jimbocho Book Town! For your autumn and winter in Tokyo, the Yes in Japan team particularly recommends:

Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Grand Shrine in April 2014.

Before leaving, admire the decorations inside Iidabashi station and Kudanshita station as part of your tour of Tokyo 🙂

Ukiyo-e woodblock print in Tokyo: Maple Trees at Mama at Ebisudo gallery

Give colourful ukiyo-e woodblock prints by Master UTAGAWA Hiroshige to your family or good friends! For example, this print “The maple trees at Mama, the Tekona shrine and Tsugihashi bridge” (nowadays Ichikawa city in Chiba prefecture) with autumn leaves, designed in Japan in 1857 and found at Ebisudo gallery (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo):
Ukiyo-e woodblock print with Mama's maple trees at Ebisudo gallery (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan).

To buy this ukiyo-e reproduction part of the “One hundred famous views of Edo” series, take exit A7 at Jimbocho subway station and bring 12.960 yens to the Japanese art shop.

Tokyo in February 2015: Calendar for Chiyoda ward

In Japan in February 2015? Enjoy Japanese events in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo, especially:

  • 03 February 2015: Setsubun Festival at Kanda shrine (celebrating Spring in Japan’s ancient calendar).
  • 08 February 2015: Martial arts tournament at Nippon-Budokan (Kobudo, ancient martial arts).
  • 11 February 2015: Festival for National Foundation Day (the foundation of Japan) at Yasukuni shrine.
  • 21 February 2015: Martial art tournament at Nippon-Budokan (Tankendo, with an armour and short bamboo sword).

Lanterns of Kanda shrine (Tokyo, Japan) at night.

To discover the Japanese culture, join a Yes in Japan tour including or complementing an event! “Insight Into Art: Origami? Shinto?” is quite popular 🙂