TRIPals

Experience Japan like a local

Category Culture

Neighborhood Guide: Ueno

Ueno, found in the Taito ward of Tokyo is famous for having many attractions. The large park, Ueno-onshi-koen, is made up of the area adjacent to Ueno station which has several museums, a small amusement park, and a concert hall. The park is also known for having the famous Ueno zoo. The area below the station is home to a famous flea market named “Ameyokocho”, full of street food and old-style shopping and culture. Ueno is a part of the Shintamachi, or low city district, providing an old town Hatmosphere free from large buildings, and considered to be a more affordable area in Tokyo with food and shopping being relatively

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Viewing Meiji Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Trees in Tokyo

When you think of autumn, what do you think of? I think of boots, scarves, cool breeze, and of course the beautiful foliage. In Japan the Japanese Maple and the ginkgo trees turning shades of yellows and reds are a sight not to be missed. There’s something magical and absolutely stunning about these trees. Maybe it’s the uniqueness of the trees and shape of the leaves but it’s a sight that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. One of the best spots to enjoy the ginkgo trees changing colors and shedding their leaves is at Meiji Jingu Gaien (明治神宮外苑). Meiji Jingu Gaien means the Meiji era Shinto outer gardens and

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Japanese Tea Ceremony 101

Depending on where you’re from, tea may not be something that takes a lot of importance in your daily life. In Japan, tea is a big part of daily life. There are dozens of different types of bottled tea and it goes well with any kind of Japanese meals. Not only does it have such a precedent in everyday life, but it also has a deep history in Japanese culture. History and Spiritual Aspects One of the most elegant and cultural aspect of tea in Japan is the tea ceremony (cha no yu) or the way of tea (sado). The ceremony and tea itself was first introduced to Japan from China. From

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Like 1,000 mirrors: Cafe Culture in Tokyo

In their transformation of Edo into a metropolis, incorporating cafe culture was the Tokyo masters coup de grâce. It gave creatives and bohemians somewhere to hang out, and led to the budding of new social norms. Right from the start, they had the impulse that it would not be enough to mimic what they were doing in Europe: no, better to take the idea and make it Tokyo. Whilst a thousand cafes filled with iron and white tablecloths is charming in a city of cathedrals, this city is made of visions of the future. Tokyo inspiration Proprietors exploit space, natural light, furnishings and music merely to reflect the character of

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Hakkeyoi Nokotta! All About Japanese Sumo Wrestling

If I asked, “Give me 5 things that you think symbolizes Japan.” what would you say? I guarantee that most people will include Sumo as one of the five. And why not? It’s very unique to have big overweight men in fundoshi (the funny little underwear they wear) and gelled chonmage (a samuri buns) wrestling each other in a little ring isn’t it? So don’t wait any longer! Go out there and see it for yourself! Rules As an ex-wrestler myself, I can tell you that the rules of sumo wrestling are significantly different and also a lot simpler than freestyle wrestling. First, sumo wrestling has absolutely no weight classes.

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5 Unique Buys from Tokyu Hands That Will Up Your Souvenir Game

Ever heard of Tokyu Hands? Describing itself as the Japanese “one stop shop”, these megastores carry almost anything from kitchen appliances to DIY crafting supplies. Whether it be famous Tokyo districts like Shibuya, Shinjuku, or Ginza that you are exploring, make a stop at ‘Hands’ to pick up these creative Japanese souvenirs for friends and family–that is, if you can resist keeping them all for yourself!

Take a Dip in an Japanese Hot Spring, Onsen!

Growing up in Japan, I’ve had my fair shares of dipping in an onsen, a public bath. We would have a family outing where after dinner we’d all ride our bikes out to a neighborhood onsen and enjoy a few hours soaking. My two sisters and I would take turns scrubbing each others’ backs before dipping into the baths. We’d extend this onsen ritual home, and we would scrub each others back while sitting on little footstools outside the bathtub before soaking in. Never once did I consider this strange. After moving to the U.S. at the age of 7, that ritual died down only because the bathrooms in the

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Tokyo Art: The Kind that Sticks in Your Head

Let’s face it, sometimes art can be a waste of your time. I mean, who remembers the fruit bowl your teacher made you paint in 2nd grade? Some art simply doesn’t have a meaning that connects to your inner being. Sometimes, we are just in too much of a hurry to even notice that there is art around us. Want to experience art that will appeal to your senses? Come and see the best art that Tokyo has to offer you this summer. Simple Forms: Where Does Beauty Come From? In 19th and 20th century Europe, mathematics, mechanical engineering, biology, geology, and archeology all started to re-recognize one thing. Simplicity

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4 Mouthwatering Tokyo Eats You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

In case you didn’t know already, Tokyo is a heaven for food lovers—however, you may be robbing yourself of the complete foodie experience if you’re only sticking to trying the textbook examples of the Japanese cuisine known to the world. Sure, sushi and ramen are great, but you must know that Tokyo has so much more to offer to satisfy your taste buds. Here is a list of four delicious Japanese eats you must try in Tokyo which you may have never heard of—but they are sure to become the newest additions to your all-time favorite dishes.

Not Just for Anime Lovers: Here’s What Japan has to Offer

Whenever someone thinks about Japan, there are always certain ideas, thoughts, stereotypes, and images that can’t help but come to mind. A big one for me personally was Anime. After all, its history dates back almost 100 years and it is a distinct characteristic of Japanese culture. If you are looking to explore, learn about, or even dress up as an Anime character, Japan is absolutely where you need to be. But Japan isn’t just for Anime lovers! There is much more to this country than what might typically come to mind. For the Foodies Japan is stacked with some of the world’s most amazing restaurants and eateries. As of

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