Nakamise-dori, situated in central Asakusa provides an extremely unique shopping experience by combining the beautiful surrounding of Senso-Ji temple with the delights of an authentic Japanese market. 

The majority of things that are on offer here include souvenirs of a Japanese origin (folding fans, figurines and even samurai swords too!), but there is a particular focus on Japanese cuisine specialising in Tai-Yaki, a special variety of red bean cake, ‘just made’ seasoned, warm rice crackers and also delicious mochi… all of which can be found throughout the market. Be sure to try all of them if you want to delve in head first to the kinds of delicacies that Tokyo has to offer… (especially if you have a sweet tooth like me!)

Nakamise features as the approach to the popular destination Senso-Ji Temple and thus is busy and bustling on any day of the week. With tourists from all over the world as well as local tourists from all over Japan, so it is not recommended for those wanting to find a peaceful get away with retail shopping.

Personally I loved the authenticity of the market, the constant shouting from each stall, the excitement of being in the hustle and bustle of a crowd, but what awaits each person at the end of this thriving row of stalls is a tranquil paradise for anyone to relax. I wont delve into the wonderful world of Senso-ji, it is a place that can only be visited, not described. But I do highly suggest that anyone take a stroll through the gardens of Senso-Ji temple and the surrounding atmosphere. Myself and a friend very much enjoyed watching the koi carp in the beautiful ponds nearby.

I have heard extremely good things from everyone who has visited Nakamise. Experience it for yourself.

I absolutely LOVE music boxes… and therefore I am extremely happy to have bumped into this shop when exploring the temples around Kamakura Prefecture, an hours journey just outside of Tokyo. Strangely enough, I was thinking of a music box that a friend of mine owned only a few days before and I was dying to get my hands on my own, and to my fortune ran into a shop so named “Kamakura Music Box Museum”.

The music boxes they display come in sizes as small as a keyring only a couple of centimetres in size, to very large, antique music boxes which were a few feet in comparison. And range from prices as low as ¥1,700 for a small but no less delightful music box in glass and faux gold, to unpriced antique music boxes, the price of which can be discussed with the shop staff.

I don’t know much about the mechanics of these delightful trinkets, but I do know that when slowly and curiously exploring this shop and the many different varieties of music boxes offered, I am transported by the perennial tinkling into some nostalgic land of childhood fantasy that I love and adore. The atmosphere, strange and wonderful, almost eerie and dream like, phenomenal to the senses.

I resisted the charms successfully only for about 2 minutes until I discovered their ‘Studio Ghibli’ collection which stole my attention immediately. Being a big fan of the famous Japanese animation house I decided that it would be absolutely impossible for me to leave without purchasing at least one, and I did just so. My favorite song by far was ‘Tonari no Totoro’ so I bought an adoreable revolving, figuring which played this tune.

The interior is delightful, antique and decorated with small tables with clusters of music boxes and ornaments surrounding ornate, antique style lamps… slightly reminiscent of your Grandma’s house, but in the warm ‘at home’ feeling aspect.

Kamakura Music Box Museum boasts a delicate, entrancing and beautiful collection which is well rounded for all budgets and for those of all music tastes. The sales assistants were astounding, giving the freedom to take photo’s and having delightfully polite manners as well as being very supportive when I needed help or had an enquiry.

Give them a personal visit and be blown away at: 〒248-0016 神奈川県鎌倉市長谷3丁目10−33 (Punch into google maps for a better view)

Or visit the website: http://www.otaru-orgel.jp/
Omotesando Hills… One word: Phenomenal.
I come from a retail background of working in one of the largest malls in Europe, but after experiencing this magnificent mall in Harajuku, I was blown away by the sheer beauty, complexity and tranquility of it all. With Shopping Malls I can now proudly say that size is not everything! 
Omotesando Hills supplies a large ratio of boutique stores to a smaller amount of main stream stores which is a refreshing change to other malls such as Westfield which pride themselves on making as much money as possible from high street chain retailers.
The most overwhelming factor of this Shopping Centre is the sheer tranquility and beauty of ever detail, from the calming harp music that ripples through the surroundings as you amble absent minded around the geometric spiral which will take you seamlessly from the top to the bottom of the complex. Or the attractiveness of the pristine prism stairwell lowering into a small but interesting enough gallery.
Half inspired, half mesmerised by the difference, I became addicted to the feeling I was experiencing and to the stores I was visiting. Cute cafe’s selling macaroons at 260 yen a go were expensive but delicious with so many flavours but it was impossible to pick which ones to have! Also a phenomenal, high-end Japanese crockery and cutlery store took my breath away with their impressive chopstick selection ranging from an affordable 1,000 yen to a more pricey 15,000 yen (per pair!).
Overall I would recommend anyone and everyone to visit this Shopping Mall, whether it be for a pricey light lunch or some intense retail therapy… the selection of stores in the fantastic multi-storey complex will fascinate the majority of people and really are phenomenal.
Enjoy the feeling, enjoy the food, enjoy the shopping… Just waste half a day… and soak it all up!
Info
Web: http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/

Omotesando Hills… One word: Phenomenal.

I come from a retail background of working in one of the largest malls in Europe, but after experiencing this magnificent mall in Harajuku, I was blown away by the sheer beauty, complexity and tranquility of it all. With Shopping Malls I can now proudly say that size is not everything! 

Omotesando Hills supplies a large ratio of boutique stores to a smaller amount of main stream stores which is a refreshing change to other malls such as Westfield which pride themselves on making as much money as possible from high street chain retailers.

The most overwhelming factor of this Shopping Centre is the sheer tranquility and beauty of ever detail, from the calming harp music that ripples through the surroundings as you amble absent minded around the geometric spiral which will take you seamlessly from the top to the bottom of the complex. Or the attractiveness of the pristine prism stairwell lowering into a small but interesting enough gallery.

Half inspired, half mesmerised by the difference, I became addicted to the feeling I was experiencing and to the stores I was visiting. Cute cafe’s selling macaroons at 260 yen a go were expensive but delicious with so many flavours but it was impossible to pick which ones to have! Also a phenomenal, high-end Japanese crockery and cutlery store took my breath away with their impressive chopstick selection ranging from an affordable 1,000 yen to a more pricey 15,000 yen (per pair!).

Overall I would recommend anyone and everyone to visit this Shopping Mall, whether it be for a pricey light lunch or some intense retail therapy… the selection of stores in the fantastic multi-storey complex will fascinate the majority of people and really are phenomenal.

Enjoy the feeling, enjoy the food, enjoy the shopping… Just waste half a day… and soak it all up!

Info

Web: http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/

Harajuku is the origin for a variety of trendy boutiques. Many of which are rich in both products and customer service, but then again, it would be ridiculous to expect any less from any store in Japan even the local convenience store.

I decided to have a stroll around Harajuku with a friend knowing a high callibre store would be easy to find and sure enough I ran into the most fascinating furniture shop.

Journal Standard furniture provides phenomenal pieces, with high attention to detail and a real sense of craftsmanship, something that is extremely rare to find in the current retail atmosphere.

It was a pleasure to browse the products which boasted a strong hand crafted ethos at surprisingly affordable prices, displaying many wonderful pieces that gave a dated industrial theme with a modern twist with brighter colours and quirky features.

Pieces of particular interest included a vintage remastered locker, set in the most beautiful green, as well as a moss coloured corduroy chair and a shelving unit appearing to be made from driftwood or some ancient jetty, each individual shelf boasting a beautiful array of colours that just couldn’t be put together artificially.

The pictures displayed simply do not live up to the beauty of the furniture and I would therefore highly recommend stopping in if given the opportunity. If not, then at least scour the website… http://js-furniture.jp/ 

Company Name: Journal Standard Furniture 

Address:  6-18-14 JINGUEMAE, SHIBUYA-KU, TOKYO … zip… 150-0001

Telephone: 0357660510

Cafe Fiore provides a beautiful and serene atmosphere, perfectly suited to those who are interested in all things green and growing. Surrounded by a strong ‘home-grown- vibe, Cafe Fiore provides a small but sufficient menu of Japanese and French food and beverages that are all hand prepared and are extremely delicious. 
Being British, I highly recommend the apple and banana crumble and the French Black tea as a casual bite or if you are a little bit hungrier then definitely grab one of the Japanese style pizza’s!
Situated off the beaten track around Asakusa it is refreshing to the surrounding area as being a contemporary and forward thinking capsule towards the future of the growth of plants both economically and artistically, the cafe boasts several conceptual art works which feature the growth of plants which are a delight to be surrounded by.
Drop into this cafe if you get the chance, it’s definitely worth a visit if you have some spare time on your hands, especially if you are, like myself, intrigued by conceptual ideas regarding all things organic or biological.
At the moment, the business is not registered with google and I cannot nail an address, message directly for more information :)

Samuel Alexander 

Cafe Fiore provides a beautiful and serene atmosphere, perfectly suited to those who are interested in all things green and growing. Surrounded by a strong ‘home-grown- vibe, Cafe Fiore provides a small but sufficient menu of Japanese and French food and beverages that are all hand prepared and are extremely delicious. 

Being British, I highly recommend the apple and banana crumble and the French Black tea as a casual bite or if you are a little bit hungrier then definitely grab one of the Japanese style pizza’s!

Situated off the beaten track around Asakusa it is refreshing to the surrounding area as being a contemporary and forward thinking capsule towards the future of the growth of plants both economically and artistically, the cafe boasts several conceptual art works which feature the growth of plants which are a delight to be surrounded by.

Drop into this cafe if you get the chance, it’s definitely worth a visit if you have some spare time on your hands, especially if you are, like myself, intrigued by conceptual ideas regarding all things organic or biological.

At the moment, the business is not registered with google and I cannot nail an address, message directly for more information :)


Samuel Alexander