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Japan 2014

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Japan, 〒163-8001 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishishinjuku, 2 Chome−8−1
View of Tokyo at dusk as seen from the 54th floor observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Nishi-shinjuku. Admission to the observatory is free and well worth it for a fantastic, sweeping view of the Tokyo skyline.
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2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan
Touring Tokyo via Rickshaw is something I never thought I would do. For whatever reason it always seemed wrong to have a man standing where a horse would be in other cultures. But then again, every country is different and I soon learned that this...
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Japan, 東京都新宿区新宿3丁目
I had one free night in Tokyo—only one chance to connect with a Japanese acquaintance from a dive trip on Midway Atoll 10 years earlier. Our mutual friend, Shintaido master Haruyoshi Fugaku Ito, suggested we meet at the Shinjuku rail station and...
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2-1 Yoyogikamizonochō, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0052, Japan
Last November my wife and I had an 11-hour layover at Narita Airport, and so we took the Narita Express and then the Yamanote line into Shibuya. After Shibuya, we walked to Yoyogi Park. It was a Sunday morning, and the dry cold air made us feel...
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1-1 Hamarikyūteien, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0046, Japan
Hamarikyu Gardens is a 250,165-square-meter landscaped garden built on the site of a 17th-century game reserve owned by the Tokugawa family and located adjacent to Tokyo Bay. The garden features a variety of native flora and fauna, including...
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Japan, 〒130-0015 Tōkyō-to, Sumida-ku, Yokoami, 1 Chome−4−1
If Japan suddenly decided to launch a giant concrete space-faring craft into the deepest reaches of the cosmos—with the sole purpose of conveying a realistic mockup of traditional Edo Period and early 20th–century daily life in Tokyo to a bunch of...
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Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Shibuya is a center of Japanese fashion, culture, color, noise, and light. Harajuku girls? They're in Shibuya. Manga? Find it in Shibuya. Biggest scramble crossing in the world? Sit at the Starbucks in Shibuya and marvel at the madness below. You...
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Japan, 〒107-6290 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, 9丁目7−6 東京ミッドタウン・ガーデン内
Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake created this experimental design museum, and star Japanese architect Tadao Ando constructed the building. The museum always has great installations by artists such as the industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. —...
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Japan, 〒100-0006 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Yūrakuchō, 2 Chome−10−1
Koji, a volunteer for Tokyo Free Guide, knew only that I wanted to experience something in the city related to food. Instead of taking me to the Tsukiji fish market, he led me to a shopping mall in the Ginza neighborhood. We descended into the...
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Japan, 〒104-0061 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Ginza, 6 Chome−9−5
Uniqlo is the affordable and stylish brand of Japan. They sell men's and women's clothing and they excel at the basics: cotton tees, plaid shirts, underwear, sundresses, and jeans. The Uniqlo flagship store is located on Ginza's Chuo Dori amidst...
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In back-to-front Japanese books and especially magazines, the placement of text on the page, and the way it’s connected with visual images, resets the entire graphic structure. This produces a slight disorientation (at least to my Western eyes),...
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4 Chome-6-16 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-8212, Japan
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Japanese department stores are well-known for their incredible service: Where else in the world do you have white-gloved attendants greeting shoppers at the entrance and young ladies in uniform announcing each floor’s departments to passengers on...
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Japan, 〒101-0025 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Sakumachō, 1 Chome−1−6−5 アキバ・トリム 3F
Muji reigns supreme in clean Japanese design. Muji sells clothes, home goods, and furniture and has a deliberately simple approach to the way they design their products. The clean and pure design of Muji products has made it a beloved brand both...
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Japan, 〒105-0014 Tokyo, Minato, Shiba, 2丁目26−1 I・SMARTビル 1F・2F
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When the Japanese set their sights on something, they almost always end up producing superior copies of whatever the original in question was. The same is true of food—the world’s best Italian and French can be found in Tokyo, trumping almost...
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8 Chome-6-8 Ginza, Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to 104-0061, Japan
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I’m going to drop all pretenses and just come out and say this—this is the best steak in the world. Hands-down. Seriously, nothing else even comes close. Even Wagyu (as in true Japanese beef—not that horrible simulacrum pawned off on ignorant...
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Japan, 〒107-6301 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka, 5 Chome−3, 赤坂5-3-1 105-1 赤坂サカス内Bizタワー1F
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Spanish cuisine, particularly tapas, is very popular in Tokyo, perhaps because of its similarities to Japanese culinary culture—a focus on fresh ingredients, simple but elegant presentation, and small portion sizes that allow diners to sample many...
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Operated by the Seattle’s Best chain of coffee shops, Vashon Bar and Grill is a casual affair located in the immediate vicinity of Shiba Park and Zojoji Temple. In addition to fresh-roasted coffee, it offers a Northwest continental-style cuisine...
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Japan, 〒106-0041 Tokyo, Minato, 麻布台3丁目1-5 麻布台ヒノキビル1F
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Sure, there are lots of breakfast places in Tokyo that may make better versions of specific dishes, but there very few (indeed, if any) that offer the sheer variety as the selection of morning grub available at Suji’s, located next to the Russian...
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Japan, 〒106-0032 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi, 6 Chome−15−1 六本木ヒルズけやき坂テラス 1F
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Having just returned from a fairly lengthy sojourn to France, I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on croissants. (That, and I’ve also been eating them since I could put food in my mouth of my volition.) And I will admit that the iconic...
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Japan, 〒100-0005 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi, 3 Chome−5−1
The Tokyo International Forum is a stunning architectural masterpiece of glass and steel truss designed as a multipurpose convention and event space by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. It was completed in 1996 on the site of the former Tokyo...
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9 Chome-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0052, Japan
Here I captured reflections of surrounding buildings off of a plate-glass ceiling of the basement of the Tokyo Midtown shopping and office complex in Roppongi, Tokyo. At 6.1 million square feet, the complex was completed in March 2007. It includes...
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Japan, 〒150-0032 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Uguisudanichō, 7−9
Japanese architects clearly have a thing for spaceships; perhaps it’s the heavy anime/manga influence they’ve been inundated with since childhood, but whatever the reason many buildings in Tokyo abound with sci-fi accents and flair. A neat example...
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Japan, 〒135-0091 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Daiba, 2丁目4−8
Tokyo’s modern design and architecture embraces originality. Odaiba houses many of Tokyo’s ultramodern structures most notably Fuji TV Building, resembling an erector set with its steel geometric design and Tokyo Big Sight, reminiscent of an alien...
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Japan, 〒105-0011 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Shibakōen, 4 Chome−4−2-8
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The orange and white Eiffel Tower replica stands nine meters taller than its Parisian counterpart and has been the central focus of Tokyo's skyline since 1958. A visit to the tower is a bit underwhelming, but my favorite ways to take in the tower...
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Japan, 〒106-6108 Tōkyō-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi, 6 Chome−11−1
Tokyo just can’t catch a break—it’s been flattened, firebombed, attacked by Godzilla, and now it’s been invaded by a giant spider. A spider sculpture, that is—Maman, as the series of art installations by the late American artist Louis Bourgeois...
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Japan, 〒556-0011 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Naniwa-ku, Nanbanaka, 2 Chome−10, 大阪市 浪速区 難波中 2 10 70 なんばパークス 6F
Namba Parks is a sprawling shopping mall and office complex designed by American Jon Jerde. It's a unique design that feels less claustrophobic and contained than most ordinary shopping malls. You can see the garden spaces that jut our of the...
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Japan, 〒542-8510 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Nanba, 5 Chome−51−5 高島屋大阪店 2F
I made several meals of just wandering the aisles of the Takashimaya department store basement, grazing on a variety of bite-sized foods. The Japanese really know how to snack. See all of our ideas for where to go in 2015.
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Dotonbori, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 542-0071, Japan
Dotonbori, considered by some to be the heart of Osaka’s gastronomic offerings and slapstick sense of humor, is located in the downtown area of the Namba district along the canal. This festive series of restaurants, bars, entertainment areas, and...
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Japan, 〒531-6023 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita, 大淀中1−1−88 梅田スカイビル
Umeda Sky Building, Floating Garden Observatory has a glass lift that takes you to the top of a twin tower but connects to the other tower via an escalator.
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Japan, 〒542-0083 Ōsaka-fu, Ōsaka-shi, Chūō-ku, Higashishinsaibashi, 2 Chome−8−28 タコタコキング
All of the fried octopus delights you crave, including takoyaki. A fantastically friendly staff. Japanese businessmen drinking Zima. Classic rock soundtrack. What more could you ask for?
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Japan, 〒150-0033 Tokyo, 渋谷区Sarugakucho, 17−5
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A short walk from Daikanyama Station is one of the metropolis's iconic bookstores, Tsutaya at T-Site. Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, the Tsutaya bookstore is celebrated not only for the beauty of its three buildings but also for the...
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Malkorbe Kalea, 5, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Arriving to Getaria can be done by bus, but one of the most unforgettable parts of visiting this village is approaching (or exiting) it by the sidewalk that winds along the sea. Depending on the time of year, you will have endless views of a calm...