【Tokyo Stroll】Step into the Showa area at Uenosakuragi Atari, Yanesen. Introducing Kabaya Bakery & Yanaka Beer Hall.

30.August.2017 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

The essence of the Showa era lingers in the district of Yanesen. In the nearby residential area called “Uenosakuragi”, a new tourist spot by the name of “Uenosakuragi Atari” has been born. Model Saki Shibata pays a visit and expresses her love for the area, as the real authentic essence of Japan can be felt here. Today, we’re joining Saki-chan as she takes a stroll around the elegant and old Japanese-style neighbourhood.

 

A living space you can share

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After a short walk from Yanesen, we stumbled upon the residential area “Uenosakuragi Atari”, where a residential complex that was built 80 years ago had been refurbished. Many institutions sit snug in the complex, including a beer hall, bakery, salt and olive stores, rental spaces and much more.

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Uenosakuragi Atari is only a 10-minute walk from JR Nippori station, JR Ueno station, Tokyo Metro Nezu station and Sendagi station. You can also get there quickly from Shibuya station and Harajuku station!

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These three buildings were once used as a place of residence and was built in the 13th year of the Showa era. Whilst the outside retains its authentic appearance from the past, the inside has been renovated. Looking at the outside of the building, you would see a building from long ago. As you inspect the shops, each step you take reveals the extent of its beauty.

 

When the council stumbled upon the old building, they pondered over whether it should be turned into a new car park, or whether it should serve as a new apartment complex. At that moment, the idea of renovating it came to mind. This is how the renovation came to be.

 

From children to the elderly, people join together here to enjoy the neighbourhood. Uenosakuragi was created as a place where one can live in harmony with others.

 

The bakery locals love

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The love for Kayaba Bakery spreads not just amongst the tourists, but also the locals. This is the bakery of the famous coffee shop Yanaka Coffee.

 

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The wheat used to make the bread is grown in Japan. Enjoy the soft and springy texture of this cutely-shaped bread – all of them look so delicious! The variety looked so good that Saki-chan took ages to decide which one to buy!

 

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Small breads and small prices – that’s why we recommend you to buy lots and try lots! Look at Saki-chan, sat on a bench outside, stuffing her cheeks with the store’s popular “Jyagapan” (potato bread). The scent of rosemary from the bread wafting through the air will definitely catch you off guard.

 

Breakfast, lunch or a quick snack – if you’re peckish and looking for a petit treat, this sweat bread is perfect!

 

 

▼ Store information

Kayaba Bakery

Address:Atari 2-1F, 2-15-6, Uenosakuragi, Taito, Tokyo

Opening hours: 9:00〜19:00

Closed: Mondays

Telephone number: 03-5809-0789

http://www.kayaba-bakery.com

 

 

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    Shoumen Genkan/Large Hall – Welcoming guests of honour

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    Sairan no Ma – Where treaties are signed

    The next most high-class room from Asahi no Ma is “Sairan no Ma” which is primarily used for signing ceremonies of treaties. When Asahi no Ma was undergoing renovations, this room was used for informal talks carried out by the emperor and prime minister with foreign rulers.

    The entire room takes on the Empire style which was popular during the rule of Napoleon I. Scattered throughout the room are gold leaf designs of armour, helmets, swords and so on.

     

    Kacho no Ma – Dinner parties with guests of honour

    Kacho no Ma is used for dinner banquets with important official from countries around the world. The room has a more relaxed feeling from the others due to its interior wooden design. It’s also often used for press conferences so those who watch Japanese news may recognise it.

    The room, with its mellow deep wooden design, houses 30 oval cloisonné medallions, depicting four seasons’ flowers and birds. The ceiling art, too, depicts images of birds and wildlife killed by hunting.

    It also has the heaviest chandelier in the palace inside which is a globular speaker.

     

    Yushintei – Japanese-style hospitality in the Japanese Style Annex

    The Yushintei is located in the Japanese Style Annex on the west side of Akasaka Palace. It was built in 1974. Akasaka Palace carries out events and receptions in a western style but the Yushintei welcomes international guests of honour with Japanese-style hospitality. Those who wish to enter must book in advance. The booking comes with a tour.

    As you step through the entrance and into the inner garden through the passage, you will see moso bamboo. This area has a garden with shirakawa gravel and kibune stone from Kyoto.

    In the main Japanese-style room where guests are served Japanese food one can observe the pond from the window. You might recognise it as the place where Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump fed the fish.

    The tea room comes with chairs for foreign visitors who are unable to sit in the traditional Japanese seiza position. Tea is prepared on the upper step which is inspired by Noh theatre.

     

    Afternoon tea in the extraordinary front garden

    20 afternoon tea sets are prepared each day to be enjoyed in the front garden of Akasaka Palace. These cannot be reserved in advance so be sure to arrive early if you’d like to order one. As you enjoy your afternoon tea while gazing around you are filled with a gorgeous feeling you can’t experience anywhere else.

    The general public viewing offers a chance to see numerous parts of the palace. We asked Rinko Murata, who’s pictured in the photos on the viewing, for her thoughts.

     

    “With the first step you take in a gorgeous space unfolds before you. Its grand design made me feel as if I had been summoned to the palace. It was like visiting a foreign country. When you look closely there are lots of decorations that symbolize Japan. It was a fresh experience where you can feel both the Japanese spirit and culture of another country. I feel moved that Japan has such a place as beautiful as this. You all need to visit too.”

     

    There is no requirement to book this viewing in advance, but during busy times (20+ people) those who do book online prior to visiting will be prioritized. Foreign visitors won’t miss out on anything either as they can purchase a voice guide machine for ¥200. These guides come in Japanese, English, Chinese, French and Spanish. A visit to the Japanese Style Annex Yushintei however requires booking prior to your visit. When doing so you can choose between either a Japanese or English-speaking guide. In the case of a sudden official reception, all scheduled public viewings for that day are cancelled, so be sure to check the calendar on the official website before heading there.

     

    Model:Rinko Murata

    Writer:Sayoko Ishi

    Photographer:Kayo Sekiguchi

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

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    Rinko Murata works in fashion and is active on radio and TV. Sales of her first style book were so successful that it required extra printing during its first week. She also has a rapidly growing following on her social media. As well as modelling at big fashion events, she has her own column online at “She magazine,” and receives much attention for her work in the areas of culture and lifestyle.

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    Shopping centre ecute Ueno has announced that it is holding a campaign entitled “Pandaful Party” from June 3 to June 30 to celebrate the 2nd birthday of Ueno Zoo’s popular panda Xiang Xiang. Panda themed desserts, food and merchandise will be sold at various stores throughout ecute Ueno.

    Panda Rolled Sushi Set – ¥648 (Tax Included) @ Wakahiro (ecute Ueno)

    Sushi-lovers won’t want to miss this set of rolled sushi. The three cute pandas all come with three different flavours: fried salmon, minced chicken and egg. Available at the ecute Ueno branch of Wakahiro only.

    Panda Baked Sweet Potato (100g) – ¥324 (Tax Included) @ Rapoppo (ecute Ueno)

    Aged potatoes are used to make this popular baked sweet potato treat, and these ones have a cute panda design♡

    Parent & Child Panda Eclair (1 Eclair) – ¥380 (Tax Included) @ Dolce Felice (ecute Ueno)

    These adorable eclairs feature a panda parent and cub on them. They are filled with chocolate custard and a crunchy biscuit.

    Panda Case Beans – ¥972 (Tax Included) – Mameya Bankyu (ecute Ueno) *Serving June 3 – June 16 only

    Inside these panda cases are black soybeans covered in chocolate and houjicha tea chocolate.

    Ueno Assorted Cookies (1 Tin) – ¥1,296 (Tax Included) @ Juchheim (ecute Ueno)

    Grab a cup of tea and tuck into these tin of cute assorted cookies with panda motifs on them.

    Panda Cocoa (Hot/Iced) – ¥400 (Tax Included) @ UP CAFE (ecute Ueno)

    This cup of hot panda cocoa can be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

    Merchandise includes cute panda salt, fortunes, a squishy and more.

    People can also get their hands on this exclusive Pandaful Party shopping bag on June 12, the day of Xiang Xiang’s birthday. These are limited in stock so you’ll want to start your shop nice and early!

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #10 – ‘Donguriya’ in Nishi-Ogikubo

    10.May.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Donguriya.

     

    To get there I plodded along from the North Exit of JR Nishi-Ogikubo Station, and after about 3-minutes I saw it!

     

    Various shops lined the street, but nature had almost reclaimed this single building which was wrapped in foliage. There’s no doubt that the people who pass by this way stop to take a look. Its inviting appearance elicits a peek as you’re left wondering what kind of place it is. I feel like a wonderful story is about to unfold!

    A sign sits at the front of the cafe with its mascot character waiting to greet you.


    He’s cute in a way that I can’t describe♬

    Time to head inside.

     

    Most of the interior is made of wood, a perfect accompaniment to the cafe’s name Donguriya (“Acorn Hut”).


    All of the signs as well as the menu on the wall are handwritten by the owner himself. It’s heartwarming just to look at♬

     

    Sipping coffee while enjoying the jazz music coming from the record player is nothing short of a luxury!

    I ordered pizza toast (drink + pizza toast set is ¥800), a Donguri cookie and coffee (drink + Donguri cookie set is ¥650).

    The toast is sliced thickly; the crusts are crunchy and the middle is soft. It was really tasty and had an old-fashioned taste to it.
    Donguri’s cookies are made by someone who has been a fan of the cafe  since long ago. They have a simple sweetness and go perfectly with the coffee!

     

    Since the cookies are made by a regular who has always loved Donguri they are the perfect cookies for Donguriya! If you pay a visit then you should definitely order one.

    The blend coffee is full-bodied and has a rich aroma. There is a slightly bitter aftertaste too. The coffee beans are also roasted in-house! It was really tasty and easy to drink even for someone like me who doesn’t know a lot about coffee.

     

    The owner and his older brother went to numerous cafes with their friends to try various different coffees before coming up with their own blend. It’s the real deal.

     

    It really felt as if I had been sucked into the world of a story with the warm light filtering through the windows and illuminating the tableware and furniture.

    Finally, a photo with the owner himself!

     

    He told me wonderful stories about the coffee and food at Donguriya which made me fall in love with the cafe even more.

     

    I want to bring my friends here next time♬

     

    Writer: Ema Tanioku
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
    Design: Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

    TALENT PROFILE

    Ema Tanioku

    “Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.

  • Learn About Shimane Prefecture’s Oki Islands with Japanese Model Saki Shibata

    15.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    On March 2, 2019 Japanese model Saki Shibata, along with nine others, carried out a research project entitled “Research Lab on the Charms of Oki” (隠岐のお気に入り研究所) to come up with a travel plan for the Oki Islands.

    The Oki Islands are part of Shimane Prefecture. There are over 180 islands in total, sixteen of which are named, but only four of which are inhabited by humans. These can be visited via a ferry or high-speed boat.

     

    The islands were formed almost 6 million years ago from volcanic activity. In September 2014, the islands were designated a UNESCO Global Geopark for their rich land and unique flora and fauna, history and culture. Visiting the islands offers the opportunity to experience unique nature you can’t anywhere else in Japan. It is a place to enjoy characteristic culture of a different locale.

     

    If you flip over a map of Japan you will also see that the Sea of Japan side of the islands are in the centre of the country. The Oki Islands also used to bustle with people as the doorstep to Japanese trade.

    Saki Shibata visited the Oki Islands for the first time last year. She saw the bright red and immense Matengai Cliffs formed by the volcanoes’ magma, the sea waves, felt the breeze in her hair and more. See her full nature-packed trip here.

     

    An island local proposed her desire to show the wonder of the Oki Islands to the people of the world, and so the “Research Lab on the Charms of Oki” was formed. Saki, having already experienced those charms, was appointed Research Leader, and recruited other fellow members to join. She would convey her experiences and time spent on the islands for everybody to learn more about them so they could think up a travel plan together.

    The event began with project leader Saki Shibata greeting everybody. She spoke about her memories of the Oki Islands and expressed enthusiasm to create a wonderful travel plan to the participants. Her talk was accompanied by slideshows with which she presented photos taken during her trip last year.

    Saki played back through her mind how overwhelmed she was by the islands’ nature and how warm and welcoming the locals were. All the other research members were absorbed in her talk and listened intently.

    After Saki said her piece, a member of the Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark Association―which seeks to promote the charms of Oki Islands―spoke about Oki.

     

    A “geopark” is a location with valuable geological features and forms and promotes the well-being of people living there through education and tourism.

     

    Japan has nine officially-designated UNESCO Global Geoparks, one of them being the Oki Islands. Check out the video above which includes drone footage showcasing the expanse of nature there. It makes you want to see it with your very own eyes.

    The group subsequently went on to creating a travel plan for the Oki Islands. Each member wrote down where they wanted to visit in Oki amongst other things.

    They asked questions to the Geopark associate such as whether you can fish squid there, do skydiving and so on. When the group were asked what they had written down, all 9 of them had said they wanted to try eating Okigyu, or “Oki Beef.” Local food is an absolute must to include on any travel plan.

    Saki and her fellow research members’ original plan is complete, full of ways to feel the full power of Oki’s nature.

    After learning about Oki, everybody got to try specialty products from the island. They lapped up the flavours of Oki while listening to Saki speak more about her time there.

    Oki is famous for “Haruka,” a type of Iwagaki oyster. They are a brand of oyster raised in the beautiful waters of Nakanoshima in the town of Ama. They also tried other local delights such as turbo sazae rice balls, seaweed miso soup, sake lees crackers and kojouyu miso, fukugi tea and more.

    Obsidian

    Salted Polvorón Cookies (Oki Kisen Shoji) / Sake Lees Crackers (Oki Brewery) / Sake Lees Soap (jimono) / Fukugi Mist (jimono) / Fukugi Tea (Amacho Sakura no Ie)

    At the end of the event, Saki and the members were given an obsidian key ring and batch of Oki souvenirs from the associate. Though the event took place in Tokyo, everybody was able to get their fill of Oki.

    If you read this article and are interested in the Oki Islands, then we have some good news. All of the specialty products and souvenirs shown can be bought at Rito Kitchen Nihombashi who carried out this event. These aren’t easy to get your hands on unless you visit the islands, so if you’re in Tokyo, be sure to visit and enjoy the flavours of the Oki Islands.

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #9 – ‘Cafe Ace’ in Kanda

    27.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Cafe Ace in Kanda.

     

    Being a cafe specialising in coffee it’s no surprise they have 40 different varieties of coffee! They even have 15 kinds of tea. Being able to pick out your favourite coffee before the morning rush every morning is really wonderful.

    Cafe Ace is one of the places I’ve wanted to cover for a long time in this series. I was excited to get inside!

     

    Its striped roof gives it quite a retro atmosphere. The warm colour scheme of the decor inside is that from old times – it’s very relaxed. It hasn’t changed since it opened way back when. It has continued to maintain its ways in spite of times changing. I think that’s wonderful.

     

    The cafe carries all kinds of magazines that have been published over the years. They range from 3 to 40 years old. The owner showed me his collection as we spoke about the cafe and conveyed his sentiment for Ace. I feel I have learnt much about its history!

    The menu plaques attached to the wall are all handwritten by the owner (he even wrote on the camel artwork above!)

     

    Simply amazing. His handwritten work spreads across the entire wall of Ace.

    I have come here on my before but I had no idea he had written all of this out so in learning more about it I have come to love Cafe Ace even more.


    His love and warmth can be felt throughout the whole room.

    And this―this is Cafe Ace’s famous seaweed toast! It’s made with seaweed, butter and soy sauce.


    The ingredients are simple but the flavour of the seaweed complements the butter perfectly. It’s super delicious, I want to eat it everyday! And it only costs ¥170.

     

    In the morning you can have it with blend coffee for ¥500 (+¥20 for iced coffee). You even get free refills on the blend coffee up until noon!

    American doughnuts, too. You can enjoy these at the small price of ¥230. They are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and serve with a knob of butter in the ring. The heat of the doughnuts helps the butter to melt so you can lather it all over.

    Finally, a photo of the owner himself. Even in the photo I feel like his smile gives his customers strength. Seeing his lively energy gave me energy too.

     

    He holds his valuable feelings close, doing what he loves in the place he loves. I want to keep on seeing his radiating smile.

  • Tokyo Stroll: An izakaya date with Yutaro at Sai in Shibuya

    22.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Shibuya―Tokyo’s central hub for youth culture and fashion trends. This commercial and business centre is one that never sleeps: it is always bustling with people enjoying themselves whether that be shopping with friends, going on dates with their special someone, and pretty much anything you can think of a young person doing in one of the most popular parts of a city like Tokyo.

     

    This is where Yutaro-kun is taking me on our next long-awaited next date. It’s little more of a grown-up date than usual this time as we’re going to an izakaya. Yutaro-kun is crazy about umeshu, or “plum wine,” so he’s taking me to a place that stocks a wide variety of tasty drinks. This is our first time drinking together. My heart is pounding.

    Our destination is Sai, an izakaya with private booths and charcoal fires for cooking yakitori. It’s a 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit. It’s on the third floor of the building directly in front of the Udagawa Kōban police station. The bar has around 100 varieties of umeshu as well as food and meals made using them. The wall is lined with wine bottles as far as the eye can see. I’m already getting excited.

    The menu lists where each wine is produced by prefecture along with descriptions of each drink. I’m interested in trying the umeshu from the region I was born in, but there’s lots of other delicious sound ones too so I’m spoiled for choice.

    “What shall we do? Want to compare different drinks?”

    Yutaro-kun is quick to jump on board the idea. He’s so manly!

    Umeshu Taste-Comparing Set (3 Drinks): ¥1,000

    This taste-comparing set comes with three types of umeshu. It’s an ‘introductory-level’ set that rings true as all three varieties are very easy to drink and each of their flavours are completely different. The Akatan Umeshu produced in Nara Prefecture is made with unripened plums farmed from Nara. It has a refreshing taste and the flavour of the plums is very rich. The Kishu no Yuzu Umeshu from Wakayama is made with plums from Wakayama Prefecture and the fresh juice of yuzu fruits from Tokushima Prefecture. It’s sweet and sour with a refreshing flavour complemented by the citrus fruits. The Hotei Fuku Ume Nigori Umeshu from Osaka is made from highly valuable plum wine that has been aged over a long period of time. It’s mixed with plum jam and pieces of fresh plum to give it a sweet and thick texture.

    As well as this introductory-level set there’s the mid-level set that focuses on shochu, an upper-level set with a wide variety of drinks, and an extra set that features fruit sake.

    “Mm, this one’s delicious! It has a real citrus-y feel. Ah, but the Hotei Fuku is good too.”

    Yutaro-kun looks like he’s really enjoying drinking and comparing the different varieties of umeshu.

    My heart beats fast seeing his adult side drinking sake. Huh, am I drunk already?

     

    Zeppin Caesar Salad: ¥780

    The Caesar salad comes with a specially-made egg salad dressing made from soft-boiled eggs. It’s fun mixing the dressing. After mixing it enough we pour it over and tuck in!

    “Do you eat tomatoes?”

    I’m happy how considerate he is in portioning out the salad.

    Seafood Carpaccio: ¥720

    We both enjoy a carpaccio together made with fresh fish bought on the day and a jelly made with Kishu Akai Umeshu. Today’s fish ingredient was fatty salmon!

    The amazing flavour of the salmon comes through the centre of the refreshing umeshu jelly.

    Pork Spare Ribs: ¥820

    Kishu Umeshu is this izakaya’s No. 1 recommendation. These spare ribs are cooked slowly in it, giving them a rich and intense flavour as well as a subtle sweetness.

    They’re too delicious I could eat as many as they’d give me!

    “So tender! So delicious! This is true happiness!”

     

    Yutaro-kun never changes, he’s always so energetic when eating something tasty.

    “Thank you for the meal.”

     

    The umeshu and umeshu food was amazing, but what makes me happy more than anything is that I got to drink with Yutaro-kun. I wonder where our next date will take us?

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