ASOBUILD: The New Facility in Yokohama Offering Cutting-Edge Entertainment
ASOBUILD is a new entertainment facility connected directly to Yokohama Station that just recently opened on March 15, 2019. The complex offers new ways to enjoy entertainment. Prior to its opening, Chinese model Estuna attended its press conference to find out more.
ASOBUILD is a renovated building that was formerly an annex of the Yokohama Central Post Office. The entire complex from the basement floor up to the roof has been transformed into one giant play area. Each floor has its own theme which offers shopping, exciting interactive activities, workshops, the latest technology, a kid’s park and more. The various floors serve to entertain a whole range of different people.
MONOTORY – Japan’s biggest hands-on market (Floor 3F)
Floor 3F is home to MONOTORY, Japan’s largest hands-on market with over 150 artists officially signed up to it. It is here that workshops to create well over 200 different handicrafts in 20 different fields take place. Get involved and make leather crafts, ceramics, candles, flower arrangements and much more. Workshops can be signed up for over on the official website.
Location: ASOBUILD Floor 3F
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
ALE BOX – An Interactive Site Currently Home to the Poop Museum (Floor 2F)
ALE-BOX can be found on the 2nd floor. It is home to a range of permanent experience-based events and is also host to limited-time ones too, such as Unko Museum Yokohama―the world’s first amusement park themed on poop―which is running now until July 15. You really need to see it for yourself, but to give an example, there is a giant poop volcano in the center of the park which releases poop like lava.
In the interactive area there is a game where you can stand on poop, another where you can make poop by shouting, and other poop-related interactive games.
There is even cute pink and sparkly poop area made for taking Instagrammable photos.
During the press conference, an artist named 326 drew poop portraits of people. There’s plenty of things you can rest assured you’ve never experienced before happening at the Unko Museum, so don’t hold it in―get on over there.
Also on the same floor is an escape game and a VR picture book made by Akihiro Nishino of the stand-up comedy duo King Kong. The activities and events happening on this floor will continue to change so there will always be something new to enjoy whenever you visit.
Unko Museum Yokohama
Address: ALE-BOX, ASOBUILD Floor 2F, 2-14-9 Takashima, Nishi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
Running: March 15, 2019 – July 15, 2019
No Fixed Holidays.
Price: Junior High School Student and Older – ¥1,700 / Elementary School Student – ¥900 / Toddler – Free
[Monday-Thursday] 11:00-20:00 (Last Entry 19:30)
[Friday-Sunday & Holidays] 10:00-21:00 (Last Entry 20:30)
Official Website: https://ale-box.com/unkomuseum/
POST STREET – Enjoy Yokohama Cuisine & Entertainment (Floor 1F)
POST STREET is located on the 1st floor and is directly connected to the East Exit of Yokohama Station. This ‘gourmet street’ is lined with 18 restaurants serving up Yokohama-style food such as the popular Shi Umai BAR, the all-new Niboshi Soba created by the owner of HechiKan, popular donut chain DUMBO Doughnuts and Coffee, the cheese restaurant DAIGOMI which is always booked up, and so on.
The cheeseburgers served at DAIGOMI BURGER, a restaurant and branch of Minamiaoyama- and Ikebukuro-based cheese restaurant DAIGOMI, are different from regular cheeseburgers as cheese is made as the main ingredient.
Making the burger patty 100% beef is a key step to bringing out the full enjoyment of the cheese. The buns are made with Japanese brown rice flour. Etsuna was very satisfied with hers, saying: “The D.G.M Cheeseburger is loaded with cheese. Ir’s delicious with the BBQ sauce, it adds a little sweetness.”
Location: POST STREET, ASOBUILD Floor 1F
Menu: D.G.M Cheeseburger – Lunch ¥1,780 (Tax Included) / Grand ¥1,674 (Tax Included), and more
PITCH CLUB – An Amusement Bar, Lounge & Adult Play Area (Floor B1F)
PITCH CLUB is an amusement bar and lounge on the basement floor currently in its pre-opening period. Its grand opening is set for Friday April 5. Created as a ‘sophisticated play area for adults,’ the space is a fusion of art, technology and sophisticated décor styled in the image of a Brooklyn bar.
Games include billiards with pink tables and cues, table tennis, pinball, board games and more. Play a game while enjoying a cocktail made by some of Japan’s leading bartenders or a rich wine brewed in Yokohama.
There is even an in-house darts game called Flash Darts that makes use of projection mapping. There are various ways to play and the targets can be changed too.
As well as the open space there are individual rooms too with stylish artwork covering the walls. These make for a perfect place for a private party or get-together.
Location: ASOBUILD Floor B1F
Pre-Opening Period: March 15, 2019 – April 4, 2019
Grand Opening: April 5, 2019
Opening Hours: 6:00pm to Midnight (Until 4:00am on Fridays, Saturdays & Public Holidays(
Price: Men ¥3,000 / Women ¥1,000 (comes with 1 drink)
And there’s plenty more where that came from. The rooftop is home to a multisport court with basketball and football. The kid’s park will open on the 4th floor in May. The whole building is decked out with artwork from up-and-coming visionary artists.
Etsuna summed up her thoughts of her visit: “Each floor offers different atmospheres to enjoy. There’s art in various places so there are plenty of spots to snap photos for social media! Kids and adults alike can have fun here, so be sure to pay it a visit.”
See ASOBUILD yourself and experience cutting-edge entertainment you won’t find anywhere else!
Opened: March 15, 2019
Address: ASOBUILD, 2-14-9 Takashima, Nishi Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
Official Website: https://asobuild.com
Gundam Robot Facility with Giant Moving Gundam Robot Opens in Yokohama
GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA has successfully created a giant 18-metre-tall moving gundam robot which can be seen on the outside of the facility – a legendary dream made into reality. The facility opened on December 19, 2020 and will remain open for a limited time only.
The facility is split into two areas: The GUNDAM-DOCK and the GUNDAM-LAB. The GUNDAM-DOCK is for the storage and maintenance of the giant robot whereas the GUNDAM LAB is an exhibition space where you can learn about gundam robots and understand how they are built. Visitors can enter the GUNDAM-DOCK TOWER located on the GUNDAM-DOCK to witness the incredible moving body and head of the giant up close from a 15-18 metre height on the special viewing deck.
Gundam is a much-loved franchise by the Japanese and foreigners alike. This is a great chance to witness Japan’s latest breathtaking technology in person.
GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA
Location: Yamashitafuto, Yokohama,
Open: December 19, 2020 – March 31, 2022
Running: 10:00 – 21:00 (Last Entries: 20:00)
Adults: ¥1,650 (13 years and above)
Children: 7-12 years: ¥1,100
*For more information, please visit the official website.
Access: 7-minute walk from Motomachi-Chukagai Station (Minatomirai Line)
Yokohama BAYSIDE BLUE Bus: 3-minute walk from Yamashitafuto Bus Stop
GUNDAM FACTORY YOKOHAMA Official Website: https://gundam-factory.net/
Sailor Moon Eternal Anime Film Gets Special Event at Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden
Sky Garden, ab observation deck on the 69th floor of Yokohama Landmark Tower, is holding a special event in collaboration with the upcoming two-part anime film Sailor Moon Eternal from December 22, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
The event will commemorate the release of the first film, which is hitting Japanese theatres on January 8, 2021, with a range of exhibits, a VR experience called “VE DREAM FLIGHT” that puts visitors into scenes in the film, a line-up of original drinks inspired by the film, and more. And if you buy one of the special entry tickets you can get one of the original cards pictured above.
VR DREAM FLIGHT: Sailor Moon Eternal in 360°
See Super Sailor Moon and Super Sailor Chibi Moon transform and immerse yourself in scenes from Sailor Moon Eternal in a 360° virtual space.
Running: December 22, 2020 – December 27, 2020 / Weekends & Holidays in January
Time: 11:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:30) / (from 10:00-18:00 on January 1, 2021 only)
Super Sailor Chibi Moon Drink | ¥800 (Tax Included)
A strawberry latte inspired by Super Sailor Chibi Moon that’s topped with chocolate hearts and a chocolate ribbon.
Pegasus Drink | ¥800 (Tax Included)
A refreshing Calpis beverage made with ramune flavoured jelly and topped with a Pegasus chocolate.
Acrylic Key Rings | ¥935 (Tax Included)
Get your hands these limited-edition and exclusive acrylic key rings available at the Tower Shop to celebrate the release of Sailor Moon Eternal.
Sailor Moon Eternal Collaboration Event
Location: Yokohama Landmark Tower Sky Garden (Floor 69F)
Running: December 22, 2020 to January 31, 2021
*Open 10:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:30) on December 31, 2020
*Open 10:00-18:00 (Last Entries 17:30) on January 1, 2021
Official Website: http://www.yokohama-landmark.jp/skygarden
teamLab Borderless Shanghai Opens Museum Shop Selling Eco-Friendly Folding Rice Bag
14.December.2020 | SPOT
Art collective teamLab opened a shop at their Shanghai-based art museum teamLab Borderless Shanghai on Saturday (December 5). teamLab Borderless Shanghai opened its doors in Huangpu, Shanghai, in November 2019, displaying around 50 pieces of artwork by teamLab. The company’s Borderless project is a ‘world of artworks without boundaries, a museum without a map.’
The museum’s new shop sellings a variety of items, from stickers to postcards to the official teamLab Folding Rice Bag. More items are scheduled to be added to the stock in the future.
teamLab Folding Rice Bag
The eco bag can be folded up and stored when not in use. It’s a 30kg rice bag that was acquired directly from the farmer, originally used for storing rice before milling and would normally be discarded after use. It’s traditionally used to store and sell rice. Still present in the Japanese countryside today, these bags are made of strong, durable materials that protect the rice inside from moisture and damage. The bag is made of paper, and it can be folded up and stored in your pocket for use at any time.
teamLab Borderless Shanghai
Address: Unit C-2 No 100, Hua Yuan Gang Road, Huangpu, Shanghai
Museum hours are temporarily shortened as below:
Tuesday to Friday:
10:30 – 18:00 (last entry 17:00)
Saturday, Sunday and public holidays:
10:30 – 20:00 (last entry 19:00)
Official Website: https://borderless.teamlab.art/shanghai/
Sendai Stroll: Taking a Walk Around Japan’s City of Trees With Chinese Influencer Etsuna
Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in Japan’s Tohoku region, is a two-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. The city has earned the nickname Mori no Miyako, or ‘City of Trees,’ due to the abundant rows of zelkova trees lining many of its streets. It bustles with charm and is enjoyed by locals and tourists for its history, sights, and events, such as its associations with the Japanese regional ruler Date Masamune, the famous Sendai Tanabata Festival, and more. However, there are many other incredible locations that Sendai has to offer that aren’t as well known as the popular sites, so today we are joined by Etsuna who is giving us the latest in what can be found in the city.
Along The Coast
The coast of Sendai was struck by a tsunami when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck back on in March 2011. Today, the area is continuing its re-development efforts. New facilities have and are being built, including plenty of new spots the area never had before. Sendai is home to a memorial hall for remembering those affected during the disaster which is a must-visit if travelling to Sendai.
Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium
Feel the sea breeze and ocean water of Tohoku against your skin
Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium opened in 2015 as the larrgest aquarium in the Tohoku region. The first floor is themed on the waters of Tohoku where many rare aquatic species from the Sanriku Coast are housed. The second floor is centred on sea creatures found in the oceans around the world such as tropical fish, jellyfish, marine mammals, and other familiar faces.
Visitors can even meet ascidians there which are famous in the Sanriku Coast.
The large fish tanks let in a lot of natural light, recreating the beauty of the Sanriku sea.
There’s also a special spot where you can get up close to some of the fish!
The aquarium offers an optional program where visitors can feed the penguins.
“It’s a pretty big aquarium,” said Etsuna. “It was great to see all of the different things they have on display. I had a lot of fun feeding the penguins too!”
Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium
Address: 4-6 Nakano, Miyagino-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (May change depending ont he season)
No Fixed Holidays
Access: 10-minutes by shuttle bus (free ride) from JR Nakanosakae Station
Price: Adults ¥2,200 / Seniors, High School and Junior High School Children ¥1,600 / Elementary School Children ¥1,100 / Infants ¥600 (All Tax-Inclusive)
Official Website: http://www.uminomori.jp/umino/
Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market
Fresh fish at an affordable price
Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market is like the kitchen of Sendai. The food shops there were opened by locals. Visitors will find many different bites to eat when visiting. Etsuna visited Sushi Yoshi, a restaurant in the area so popular that there’s always a line.
The restaurant’s name, Sushi Yoshi, suggests that it’s a sushi restaurant, but they actually serve common delicacies like rice bowls and set meals.
Maguro Sanshudon | ¥1,500
This rice bowl contains three kinds of maguro tuna, so much in fact that you can’t even see the rice!
“You can enjoy delicious fresh fish at a reasonable price. You might have to wait in line, but it’s totally worth it!”
Address: 4-3-1 Oroshimachi, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 6:30-13:30
Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays
Access: 20-minutes by bus from Sendai Station
Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center
Learn the story of the disaster
Inside Arai Station, which is the last stop on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, you can find the Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center where visitors can learn all about how the Great East Japan Earthquake affected Sendai through the exhibition rooms and in the communal space.
The first floor features a panel with a 3D map of how the tsunami inundated the region as a result of the earthquake.
Up on the second floor is a permanent exhibition showcasing the restoration and restoration efforts of the community as well as real photos from around the time of the disaster.
There are also staff members there who survived the disaster and can describe their experiences as well as current issues facing Sendai.
“I got teary when the speaker told me about the hardships they faced at that time,” explains Etsuna. “The people of Sendai are living their lives looking forward, and I have a lot of respect for them.”
Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center
Address: Kutsugata-85 Arai, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / Day after public holiday / New Year Holidays
Access: Arai Station
Official Website: http://sendai311-memorial.jp
Sendai Arahama Elementary School
The school that still stands after the earthquake disaster
On the day of the Tohoku earthquake, many local residents fled to Sendai Arahama Elementary School where 320 people were trapped including the evacuees, children, and teachers, before managing to escape safely to the roof. The school is now open as a memorial to preserve the memories of those who survived.
The tsunami that struck after the earthquake made it to the second floor of the school. These first two floors have been kept untouched and are as they were on the day.
There are photos as well as video footage exhibited on the fourth floor where the tsunami didn’t reach.
From the school building’s roof you can gaze at the peaceful coastline.
“Seeing the place that was hit by the tsunami up close has really changed my outlook on life. There is green in the surrounding area. I felt life budding all around.”
Sendai Arahama Elementary School
Address: Shinborihata-32-1 Arahama, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 9:30-16:00
Closed: Mondays / Every 4th Thursday of the month / New Year Holidays
Access: 15-minutes by bus from Arai Station
Akiu Onsen is a spa town known to locals as the ‘living room’ of Sendai. It’s a 30-50 minute bus ride from Sendai Station. It has been nicknamed one of Japan’s Three Baths alongside Bessho Onsen and Nozawa Onsen, both in Nagano Prefecture. It’s another place that Date Masamune frequented many times.
A stroll along the gorge path
Rairaikyo Gorge gets its name from the abundance of enormous rocks that have been eroded by the Natori River and given them strange shapes. The Kanji ‘rai’ used in the gorge’s name literally means ‘many rocks.’ The gorge is home to a 1-km path that people can walk along and soak up the incredible natural environment that offers sights to behold throughout the year. From late October to mid November, when the autumn leaves are in bloom, the area is also lit up in the evenings.
The heart-shaped hollow in the rocks as pictured above is considered a sacred place for couples.
Taking a stroll along the path one sees maple trees aplenty. Visiting during the height of autumn graces you with a colourful scene you wouldn’t want to miss.
“I feel healed having gotten to take a leisurely stroll through nature,” explained Etsuna. “The rocks of Akiu have some interesting shapes.”
Address: Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
Access: Approx. 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station
A stylish, old fashioned cafe in the hot spring town
When taking a trip to Akiu Onsen, one hot spot that’s a must-visit is Akiu-sha, a restaurant that was renovated from an old private farm house from the Edo Period. During the day it serves lunch food and drinks while in the evenings it’s used for events like private parties.
There’s an open garden at the site which is sometimes used for weddings. At the back are vegetable plots tended to by the restaurant.
Akiu-sha Lunch | ¥1,280 (Before Tax)
The Akiu-sha Lunch is made with fresh vegetables grown in both their own plot as well as from around Akiu.
Akiu Saiseki Chocolate | ¥850 (Before Tax)
A white chocolate dessert inspired by the unique rocks of Akiu. Customers can use the little wooden hammer to break apart the dessert to create a rubble of chocolate.
The inside of the restaurant is spacious with towering beams holding it up.
“The vegetables are so fresh, I couldn’t believe how tasty they were! This flavour is unique to this place.”
Address: Nozoki-9-4 Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00 (Last Food Orders 14:30 / Cafe Last Orders 16:00)
TEL: 022-724-7767 (Bookings not possible)
Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station
Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp
Taste and compare different original wines
Akiu Winery in Akiu Onsen was the first winery to open in Sendai. It’s home to an enormous grape field, and inside is the brewery itself as well as a dining area and shop. They serve an array of original wines.
As well as originals, Akiu Winery also stocks famous wines from Sendai.
Merlot Red Wine 2018 (Sample) | Koshu Sur Lie 2019 (750ml) ¥2,300 | Steuben Rosé 2019 (750ml) ¥2,000 (All Before Tax)
Akiu Winery’s line-up of wines are famous in Sendai.
At the back of the winery is the expansive grape field.
Craft Grill | ¥1,330
At the outdoor terrace you can enjoy a BBQ grill together with a glass of wine.
“The sight of the grape field made me feel like I was in France. You can enjoy a BBQ too so I definitely want people to come here!”
Address: Biwaharanishi-6, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp
Akiu Great Falls
The Three Great Waterfalls of Japan
Akiu Great Falls is considered one of Japan’s three most famous waterfalls alongside Kegon Falls in Tochigi Prefecture and Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture. It’s about 15-minutes by car downstream from Akiu Onsen and is also accessible by bus.
They have a retro shop at the entrance of the waterfall.
Also located next to the waterfall is Akiu-Otaki Fudoson, a temple surrounded by dense green foliage and enormous gingko trees.
“Being in nature really relaxed me and took away the day’s stress! It’s quite a walk to the waterfall basin so you get plenty of exercise too.”
Akiu Great Falls
Address: Otaki Akiumachi Baba, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
TEL: 022-398-2323 (Akiu Onsen Tourist Information Center)
Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station (Running on weekends and public holidays only)
Around Sendai Station
Sendai Station can be considered as the doorstep of Japan’s Tohoku region. It of course runs JR East’s Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains as well as operates Sendai Subway services and buses. The area around the station is great for finding tasty local delicacies, shopping, and souvenir-buying.
Seri-nabe is Sendai’s new specialty food
If you’re asked to give an example of a famous speciality food product from Sendai, chances are people will jump straight to the city’s gyutan beef tongue, but what has been the talk of the town recently is seri-nabe. Seri-nabe is a type of hotpot cooked with Japanese parsley (‘seri’) – one of Japan’s seven spring flowers. Miyagi Prefecture boasts as a top class producer of Japanese parsley. The hotpot is served in a simple duck broth which allows the fragrance of the parsley to come through.
“I can’t get enough of the crunchy texture of the [parsley] roots! It was delicious, I had a refreshing soy sauce soup finished with ramen.”
Address: 2-5-15 Ichibanchō, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 17:00-Midnight
No Fixed Holidays
Bar crawl deep into the back streets
The side streets of the Sunmall Ichibancho arcade have a retro Japanese vibe to them, packed full of shops that make one feel nostalgic.
The long, winding alleys feature plenty of Instagram-worthy spots.
“This is a great spot for enjoying a bar crawl, just having a light drink and then moving onto the next place. Even if you don’t drink there’s tasty food to enjoy too!”
Address: 2-3-28 Ichibancho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
A fashion mall connected to the station
S-PAL is a fashion mall directly connected to Sendai Station, home to apparel stores, restaurants, souvenir shops, sundry sellers, and more. Here are some sundry stores selling a variety of miscellaneous items perfect as souvenir purchases.
This is an old-time chain that has been around for 300 years. Specialising in lifestyle goods, this S-PAL branch is the only one in all of Tohoku.
Its interior design has a retro feel to it with shelves and tables piled with cute bits and bobs.
Kaya-ori Tea Towel | ¥440 (Tax Included)
A specialty product of Tohoku, this tea towel is made using the traditional weaving technique of kaya-ori. Exclusive to Tohoku.
IORI is another shop you’ll only find in the Tohoku area. They sell imabari towels which are perfect as gifts to yourself or another.
Handkerchiefs | ¥600 Each (Tax Included)〜
These handkerchiefs are only sold in Sendai and feature a variety of embroidered motifs like the windsocks of the Sendai Tanabata Festival, kokeshi dolls, the helmet of Date Masamune, and more.
KANEIRI STANDARD STORE
A select shop stocking stationery and other trinkets that promote the culture and craftsmanship of Tohoku. This store is right next to Sendai Station and has plenty of souvenir-worthy items, so it’s absolutely worth a visit.
As well as lifestyle goods, the store also sells items made in Miyagi, like kokeshi dolls.
Matsukawa Daruma | ¥1,300 (Before Tax)
These Matsukawa Daruma are super cute, especially the blue one which is inspired by the Sendai Domain, also known as the Date Domain.
Dagashiya Zousan sells old-time Japanese sweets and confections, stocked with many popular treats from Tohoku adored by both kids and adults alike.
The traditional sweets are all packed together along the shelves and up the walls.
The popular souvenir shops of Sendai
You can’t go home after a fun trip without picking up a souvenir, so here’s s line-up of shops that have been surging in popularity recently in Sendai, all of which sell Sendai-specific items.
Drinkable zunda at Agurienomori Mitte
Drinkable Zunda | ¥370 (Before Tax)
Zunda are mashed green soybeans boiled and turned into a sweet paste. They are also a local delicacy. Zunda mochi are very famous, but zunda beverages are popular too. This shop sells a variety of zunda treats to pick from.
Bamboo grass kamaboko at Kanezaki-ya
There are many makers of sasa-kamaboko, or bamboo grass fish paste, but what makes Kanezaki-ya’s so great is how it retains the original umami flavour and plump texture of the fish.
Zaou cheese at Tohoku Meguri Irotoiro
Zaou Cream Cheese, Vanilla Cream Spread | ¥557 Each (Before Tax)
A food select shop selling a range of different ingredients. Their kaou cheese with sweet vanilla is their most popular item.
“It’s a fashion mall so of course they sell clothes, but they had a bunch of other stuff too, everything from traditional Japanese daruma to food. I really recommend S-PAL Sendai if you’re searching for souvenirs!”
Address: 1-1-1 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Restaurant wing open 11:00-22:00)
No Fixed Holidays
Access: Connected directly to Sendai Station
Official Website: https://www.s-pal.jp/sendai/
“Sendai looking and progressing into the future as it overcomes the effects of the disaster. It’s a place with amazing food, fun shops, and is teeming with nature. If you’ve never been to Sendai before, then be sure to visit and have fun!”
TOHOKU PASIFIC COAST：http://tohoku-pacific-coast.com/
“TOHOKU Pacific Coast” refers to the eastern coastal area of Tohoku, Japan. The area was extensively damaged due to the tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. However, it has overcome this adversity and is once again gaining attention as a sightseeing spot that once attracted tourists from all over due to its flourishing wildlife and delicious seafood.
Japan’s Tom and Jerry Exhibition Celebrates 80 Years of the Animated Series
23.November.2020 | SPOT
Tom and Jerry is an animated franchise created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Adored worldwide for its titular rival characters, the hit series has won Academy Awards for Animated Short Film.
The series is now getting its first ever exhibition, and it will take place in Japan, celebrating 80 years of the beloved franchise. Fans can look forward to seeing 250 original illustrations, animation cels from the debut animation short in the series Puss Gets the Boot, rough sketches, storyboards, and more. There will also be exhibits of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons loved by Japanese children.
The Exhibition Break-Down
Chapter One: The Birth of the Legendary Duo
Chapter One of the exhibition will look at the history behind the birth of Tom and Jerry in 1940, and visitors will be able to watch the episodes that received Academy Awards.
Chapter Two: The Charm of the Tom and Jerry Series
The episodes, layout, secondary characters, title backgrounds, and more will be explored in detail. There will also be 3D recreations of Tom being out-done by Jerry.
Chapter Three: Passing Onto Future Generations
This chapter will explore Tom and Jerry from 1986 onwards. Visitors will also be able to see a recreation of the desk of American animator Spike Brandt who worked on numerous Tom and Jerry films.
Chapter Four: Onto Television
Chapter Four will explore the limits of what Hanna-Barbera were able to do in the early days on a low budget. Episodes and sounds nostalgic to Japanese people who grew up with their animations will also be played.
Chapter Five: Tom and Jerry’s Eternal Chase
Exhibits of the Tom and Jerry Show, as well as an exclusive animation made for this exhibition, will be showcased. Visitors can also get their hands on a selection of 200 pieces of exclusive merchandise and pre-sales on original items.
TOM AND JERRY and related characters and elements ⓒ ＆ ™ Tuｒner Entertainment Co. (s20)
Tom and Jerry Exhibition
Running: December 18, 2020 – January 13, 2021 (Except January 1, 2021)
Location: Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 1 Floor 2F, 1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Opening Hours: [Weekdays] 10:30-17:00 / [Weekends] 10:00-18:00
Official Website: https://akarenga.yafjp.org/event/tomandjerry/
Tokyo’s New Art Cafe WHAT CAFE Opens in Tennozu
Warehouse TERRADA opened up the new art cafe ‘WHAT CAFE’ in Tennozu, Tokyo, on October 15, 2020.
Left: Overlap of paint (dot3) by Soichi Yamaguchi | Right: Ichijiteki ni Inu, Ichijiteki ni Hito, Ichijiteki ni E by Dan Isomura
WHAT CAFE will serve as a hub to support artists in Japan’s art industry by functioning as both a gallery and cafe in a 800㎡ space. The gallery will change out the artwork from time to time to allow for more artists to showcase their works to visitors throughout the year. There will be hundreds of pieces shown in an entire year.
Left: Peel off the paint “No.125” by Haruna Shinagawa | void #35 by KIKUCHI Ryo
Tokyo’s Tennozu area is looking to become a major stop for art in Japan and is currently home to various art facilities like the pigment lab PIGMENT TOKYO and Japan’s biggest gallery complex TERRADA ART COMPLEX.
If you’re interested in contemporary art in Japan, and are visiting Tokyo, then you won’t want to miss a stop to Tennozu. Be sure to stop by WHAT CAFE.
Address: 2-1-11 Higashishinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11:00-18:00
*No fixed holidays but the facility may be closed for certain events
Official Website: https://cafe.warehouseofart.org
New Studio Ghibli Book Focuses On the Main Characters’ Daily Lives
14.October.2020 | FASHION
Tokuma Shoten Publishing released a new picture book entitled Studio Ghibli no Ironna Kurashi in Japan on October 9, 2020 which is centred on the everyday lives of the protagonists from 13 of Studio Ghibli’s animated feature films.
The book looks at where the characters of these films reside and what kinds of lives they live, whether it be in the Toxic Jungle of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, or Sophie taking up the role of the cleaning lady in Howl’s Moving Castle, or Sosuke and Lisa who live upon the cliff in Ponyo.
Life in the castle in Howl’s Moving Castle ©2004 Studio Ghibli・NDDMT
Who’s who in the family? What kind of house do they live in? What job do they work? These are the questions that the book will answer as it delves deep into the livelihoods of the globally-beloved characters conceived by the incredible minds of Studio Ghibli.
The town of Koriko in Kiki’s Delivery Service ©1989 Eiko Kadono・Studio Ghibli・N
Arrietty’s house in The Secret World of Arrietty ©2010 Studio Ghibli・NDHDMTW
Noboru Yoshida (Art Supervisor for The Secret World of Arrietty)
The house that Satsuki and Mei move to in My Neighbor Totoro, the dwelling of Totoro, the wartime life of Seita and Setsuko living in Kobe in Grave of the Fireflies, the town where Kiki begins her life living alone at the age of 13, and so on.
The book is a must-have in the collection of any fans of Studio Ghibli, and is sure to make you want to step into those magical worlds once again.
Studio Ghibli no Ironna Kurashi (Japanese Title: スタジオジブリのいろんなくらし)
Films Featured: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Grave of the Fireflies, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbors the Yamadas, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty, From Up on Poppy Hill, The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Release Date: October 9, 2020
Price: ¥1,800 (Before Tax)
Size: B5 Hardback
Pages: 96 full colour
Publisher: Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd.
Product Page: https://www.tokuma.jp/book/b535734.html
Tokyo’s Mickey Mouse Exhibition ‘THE TRUE ORIGINAL & BEYOND’ Previews 5 Japanese Artworks
The Asahi Shimbun and Nippon TV are set to host an exhibition centred on Mickey Mouse at the MORI ARTS CENTER GALLERY in Roppongi, Tokyo, from October 30, 2020 to January 11, 2021, in celebration of 90 years since Mickey Mouse’s screen debut. The exhibition will showcase works shown at the Mickey: The True Original Exhibition held in New York in 2018-2019.
Before the exhibition opens, five participating Japanese artists have each revealed their never-before-seen artworks which will be on display.
The Tokyo exhibition will be a travel back through time, looking at Mickey Mouse from the past to the present. It will be split into three zones: “The Origin,” “The True Original,” and “Beyond.” The five artists showcasing their work early will be featured in the “Beyond” zone and include Tomoko Oshima, Kosuke Kawamura, Nana Soeda, Calligrapher MAMI, and WAKU. Below are their featured pieces along with their comments.
Tomoko Oshima | Comment
“What’s fascinating about Mickey Mouse is, for reasons I can’t begin to work out, how he became a part of each person’s life. I was raised in a household that banned cartoon characters, so it always felt like something unobtainable. Mickey Mouse is like a hero to all of us. He’s dazzling and radiant, a kind of being I can’t look directly in the face of. When working on my Mickey Mouse art [for the exhibition], my concept was to create a Mickey that’s special only to me, so I challenged myself to turning that Mickey Mouse that everyone feels happy looking at and loves into my usual art style.”
Oheya (Bedroom), Tomoko Oshima
Kosuke Kawamura | Comment
“What I find fascinating about Mickey Mouse is that no matter how old I get, he always transports me away from the real world to a world of dreams. He’s an idol of mine. I even have my own collection of merchandise I’ve been collecting over the years. For the exhibition, I needed to creating something for the Beyond [zone], so I tried shaping Mickey Mouse from how I see him in my head. I’ve always made sure to balance my artwork in such a way that it can be seen in two ways. When you stand close, you can see the detailed composition, but when you step away, it looks different. This time around I gave myself a little challenge and made the silhouette of his face and hands using flowers. If you get close to it you’ll see that it’s made up of lots of flowers, but stand from afar and you’ll be able to see the facial expressions and his pointing figure. I’d like people to give both a go, so when you’ve looked at it up close then take a step back.”
Untitled, Kosuke Kawamura
Nana Soeda | Comment
“I feel Mickey Mouse’s appeal from his long history and how he has changed overtime, so I tried to express these aspects in the piece I made. The theme for it is centred on Mickey Mouse in the future, so when I was thinking about what he might look like in the future, I looked to past [designs] and tried fixing them up. So in my piece there’s a trace of looking back at past Mickey Mouse while giving him an update. Creating those ‘futures’ made me feel like I was walking through my own past and processes. You can’t know exactly what’s to come in the future even for someone as internationally popular as Mickey Mouse. But by learning from past memories and mistakes, you can draw on those to create a future, don’t you think? That’s something I wanted to convey in this piece, and I did so by creating something that’s close to the Mickey Mouse of the past with both 2D and 3D surfaces. The Mickey Mouse I drew is the one of ages past that looks completely different to his appearance today. But those look at it might feel something newer about it than older. That, or they might feel uncomfortable seeing him in a way they’re not used to. I want people to take their time looking at both and feeling whatever they feel when they do.”
LOVE, Nana Soeda
Calligrapher MAMI | Comment
“I’ve captured Mickey Mouse’s silhouette as its own kanji by using calligraphy. His appearance is iconic worldwide, and by making him recognisable through this common language, I’ve tried to create a new kanji, effectively breaking the language barrier of calligraphy, something which is difficult in itself to overcome for people. Another thing with calligraphy is that you can write the same piece hundreds of times which means it can be fine tuned over and over. I believe that overlaps with Mickey Mouse’s design as he has too has evolved for a hundred years. But by no means have his designs he just spring out of existence immediately. He has undergone trial and error through the times, and always shines bright. It’s because of everyone who will see my piece as this exhibition that I’ve been able to create something I can feel from the heart.”
ZEN Mickey, Calligrapher MAMI
WAKU | Comment
“I think the appeal of Mickey Mouse lies in the fact that people around the world all remember him from their childhoods. We form memories during our childhoods, and ever I’ve been able to recognise those memories inside of me, Mickey Mouse was something that was always close to me. When I see three circles together, Mickey Mouse’s face comes into my mind. He might be the first internationally recognisable symbol. I felt that the affinity between symbolism and neon signs is very high. So for my piece, I incorporated the techniques used for traditional Japanese neon signboards, something which I see less of these days. I took that and created the three Mickey Mouse circles using light.”
Untitled (Still Being Worked On), WAKU
MICKEY THE TRUE ORIGINAL & BEYOND
Running: October 30, 2020 – January 11, 2021
Venue: MORI ARTS CENTER GALLERY (Roppongi Hills Mori Tower Floor 52F)
Entry Price: General ¥2,800 / Junior & High School Students ¥2,000 / Elementary School Students ¥1,200 / Preschoolers – Free
Official Website: mtob.exhibit.jp
Review | ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM: A Magical Place Swimming With Life
ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM officially opened permanently in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, on August 28, 2020. Before that, it was simply an exhibition that was held around Tokyo which brought together over 10 million visitors throughout its run, exhibiting goldfish in a variety of breathtaking ways.
We visited ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM together with Japanese model Yuna Yabe to take a deeper dive into what lies within those doors.
ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM can be found in Nihonbashi, an area of which served as one of many places where ART AQUARIUM previously held its exhibitions. Nihonbashi is steeped in tradition and is actually the place where Japan’s goldfish culture spawned from during the Edo Period.
ART AQUARIUM was conceived and is managed by Hidetomo Kimura, an author and general producer. It’s a collaboration between art, design, and entertainment, all fused into an aquarium to create a completely unique experience. The museum has taken what was once a pop-up exhibition and expanded it many-fold, housing close around 30,000 goldfish.
The aquarium is divided into different areas each with its own unique theme that plunges visitors into a multitude of fantastical worlds. One of the must-sees when visiting ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM is the masterful Oiran works—giant goldfish bowls as pictured above—which are inspired by the red light district of the Edo Period.
Perhaps the most striking and gorgeous part of the Edo Period was Hanamachi, the districts where geisha worked. The high-ranking courtesans, known as Oiran, engaged in what was known as the Oiran Dochu, or procession of the courtesans, and this too has been captured at the museum in the designs of the beautiful fish tanks in this area.
Another unmissable part when visiting the aquarium are the Goldfish Shrines, towering fish tanks lined up like a column of water trees which make for an incredible viewing experience.
The lighting and music is ever-changing, and so transports visitors into a completely different realm every time. It can be one way one moment, and in the next instant it changes entirely.
From the second floor you can overlook the fish shrines with dynamic 3D visuals in the background. These visuals change depending on the season, so you’ll be in for a treat however many times you visit.
There are countless works of goldfish art scattered throughout the aquarium—too many to count, so your eyes will never grow tired.
Suigian Lounge – Old Pine Tree Area
ART AQUARMIUM MUSEUM even has its own dining lounge where guests can enjoy a meal while gazing at a painting of old pine trees, a cultural property of the Edo Period said to have been painted by those of the Kano school of Japanese painting. Traditional performances are also carried out on the stage for diners.
These drinks are ¥1,200 each (before tax)
Every five days, a new line-up of cocktails is served at Suigian Lounge. Japan used to be divided into 24 sekki rather than the now-used four seasons of springs, summer, autumn, and winter. These were further divided into 72 Kō, which are five days apart each. That’s where the lounge gets its idea for changing its cocktails every five days. So you’re sure to find an interesting flavour on every visit.
Kagyo Ryoran – Joy Area
Kagyo Ryoran is a separate cafe lounge at the aquarium where they serve authentic Japanese sweets in collaboration with famous confectionery shops.
From Left Clockwise: Goldfish Sarasa ¥750 / Palet D’or Cacao Soda ¥900 / Echire Butter & Cream Castella ¥800 / lohasbeans coffee Matcha Tiramisu ¥850 / Goldfish Jelly ¥750 (All Before Tax)
The cafe serves up range of tasty Japanese desserts, from traditional ones to others inspired by goldfish and some made in collaboration with other shops.
Large Plush Toys: ¥3,200 Each (Before Tax)
The aquarium event sells its own souvenirs, such as goldfish plushies in various sizes, original confections, collaborative products, and more.
“Everything was magical—the goldfish, the sounds, the lights, the atmosphere!” explains Yuna. “They have a lot of different varieties of goldfish, and the fish tanks come in all shapes and sizes, which makes for plenty of Instagram-worthy moments. And since it’s inspired by Edo culture, it has a Japanese vibe to it too. The fish are always swimming around, so no two moments are ever the same, meaning you’re offered something fresh every time you visit.”
If you’re visiting Tokyo, be sure to pay a visit to ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM.
ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM
Address: 1-3 Nihonbashihoncho, Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00 (subject to change)
No Fixed Holidays
General Admission: Adults (13 and over) ¥2,300 (Tax Included) / After Dark Ticket: Adults (13 and over) ¥2,000 (Tax Included)
*Free for 12 and under
Official Website: https://artaquarium.jp/en/
*ART AQUARIUM MUSEUM is currently operating with social distancing and COVID-19 preventative measures. Special permission was granted to take these photos safely without a mask.
Tokyo National Museum Announces VR Experience of the Famous Pine Trees Screen
05.October.2020 | SPOT
Tokyo National Museum has announced that it is set to showcase the Shōrin-zu byōbu, or Pine Trees Screen, in VR at its TNM & TOPPAN Museum Theatre from October 7, 2020.
Japanese artist Hasegawa Tōhaku’s Pine Trees Screen has been digitally rendered in 25,376,150,000 images so that visitors can appreciate the details of this ink-on-paper work of this officially-recognised National Treasure of Japan.
Additionally, another one of Tōhaku’s works, Kaedezu Kabeharitsuke (Maple Trees) will also be available to view in VR from October 6 to November 29.
About the Pine Tree Screens
Of the many National Treasures kept at Tokyo National Musuem, Hasegawa Tōhaku’s Shōrin-zu byōbu is one of the most popular. It’s a piece that has much mystery surrounding it, with people not knowing the pine tree location that he painted, or why he painted it. The VR experience will look into how the painting may have come about as well as take a stroll through Tōhaku’s other works, his life, and more.
The VR experience is an incredible opportunity for people unable to visit Tokyo National Museum to see a masterful and respected piece of Japanese art.
National Treasure Shōrin-zu byōbu in VR (Japanese Title: 国宝 松林図屛風―乱世を生きた絵師・等伯―)
Running: October 7, 2020 – January 17, 2020
Closed: December 21, 2020 – January 1, 2021
Showing Times: Wednesday-Sunday and Public Holidays at 11:00, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:00
Location: TNM & TOPPAN Museum Theatre
Official Website: http://www.toppan-vr.jp/mt/en/
Tokyo’s TERRADA ART COMPLEX Ⅱ Welcomes 3 Modern Art Galleries
TERRADA ART COMPLEX Ⅱ, an art complex facility in Tokyo managed by Terrada, has announced the opening of three new galleries: Contemporary Tokyo, Tokyo International Gallery, and UG Gallery.
gallery UG Tennoz
gallery UG is not only celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, but opening its second-ever gallery at TERRADA ART COMPLEX Ⅱ. The gallery, like the Galerie Maeght in Paris, helps support the creation of artists’ work as well as carries out various promotions and creates opportunities for the growth of young, up-and-coming artists. It aims to help expand the space of contemporary art, which it will do throughout the year at its new gallery with various exhibitions, such as solo exhibitions including one that showcases the amusement of 3D art, to more specialised exhibitions.
Contemporary Tokyo takes on a more international approach by helping support Japanese artists based in Tokyo and various cities throughout China. The gallery will participate in numerous annual art fairs as well display the artworks of many contemporary Japanese artists. Looking towards the future, Contemporary Tokyo will eventually welcome artwork from Chinese artists, becoming a bridge between the art worlds of Japan and China.
Tokyo International Gallery
Tokyo International Gallery (TIG) was founded in 2019 with a mission to introduce global artists and global methods to the insular Japanese art scene. TIG wishes to to rethink the position of art in society, including environmental issues, urban planning, historical traditions, freedom of expression, and the questions and expressions that arise in the relationship between individuals and groups, subjectivity and objectivity, as well as dealing with subjects that are not framed or not actively discussed in a “borderless” manner. Its aim is to exhibit experimental works by a variety of unique artists.
TERRADA ART COMPLEX Ⅱ plans to open around 10 galleries by spring 2021 as well as a cafe and garden. TERRADA ART COMPLEX Ⅰ, which opened in September 2016, currently has 6 galleries which are also a must-see together with the upcoming new ones.
TERRADA ART COMPLEX
TERRADA ART COMPLEX Ⅰ, 1-33-10 Higashishinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
TERRADA ART COMPLEX Ⅱ, 1-32-8 Higashishinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Access: 8-minutes on foot from Exit B of Tennōzu Isle Station via the Rinkai Line / 11-minutes on foot from the Central Exit of Tennōzu Isle Station via the Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport Line
Official Website: https://terrada-art-complex.com/ja/
Creamy Mami and Kimagure Orange Road Manga Artist Akemi Takada Gets Exhibition in Okayama
Kurashiki City Art Museum is now holding an exhibition dedicated to Japanese manga artist and character designer Akemi Takada. Titled TAKADA Akemi Exhibition: Angel Touch, the exhibition is set to run until November 8, 2020.
Akemi Takada majored in graphic design at Tama Art University. After graduating, she entered the world of animation where she learned character design working for the Japanese animation company Tatsunoko Production. She went on to design characters for a range of popular anime series such as Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel, Kimagure Orange Road, Patlabor, and more. Today, she works as an illustrator as well as a designer for book covers.
Angel Touch ©TAKADA Akemi
Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel ©Pierrot
The exhibition introduces original pictures of famous anime characters and Takada’s illustration work. Though solo exhibitions have been held many times for her in both Japan and abroad, this hails as one of the largest exhibitions ever with 200 drawings. Fans will also get to see new works as well which were drawn for the exhibition.
Kimagure Orange Road ©Izumi Matsumoto / Shueisha・Nippon TV・Toho
Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel 2
TAKADA Akemi Exhibition: Angel Touch
Running: Until November 8, 2020
Location: Kurashiki City Art Museum, 2-6-1 Central, Kurashiki, Okayama
Official Website: https://www.city.kurashiki.okayama.jp/kcam/