What with the heat and the Obon holidays, August has traditionally been the “get out of Tokyo” month. Tokyoites love going to the coasts of Kanagawa and Chiba for beach day trips, or escaping to the cooler mountains of Yamanashi and Nagano. Japan’s capital, however, still has a lot going on.
Here’s the bad news first. We’re temporarily saying goodbye to teamLab Borderless museum in Venus Fort, which is closing this month. Shoppers should know that the big Bershka store in Shibuya already closed down and H&M in Harajuku is shutting up shop in August. Street art fans are still getting over the fact that Astro Boy was recently removed from the Shibuya Bridge. And now, here’s the good news about all the new openings in Tokyo.
1. Train Fans All Aboard the Odakyu Train Hotel Room
Japan’s trains are so sleek and superior that they can pretty much make a densha otaku (train geek) out of anyone. Odakyu Railway this summer offers train-themed fun and comfort for a limited time in the Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower in Shinjuku. The hotel occupies the higher floors of the complex thus offering a great view of the countless trains passing through Shinjuku Station daily.
The train-themed rooms feature train seats and handles, a train simulator and even station master uniforms. You can of course stay overnight, but there are also 2-hour stays with a meal recommended for families with children. This room is only available until August 31, 2022.
2. First IRL Gallery Dedicated to NFTs Opens in Shibuya
Primarily and proudly digital, NFT (non-fungible token) art has been putting out some feelers into the IRL (the online slang for ” in real life” or “physical non-digital space”) via various exhibitions. NOX however, opening in Tomigaya, Shibuya this month, will be Japan’s first physical space gallery solely dedicated to NFTs. The gallery will have a free entry pre-opening exhibition on August 19 of a collection of works by NFT creators who are active in Japan.
Similar to previous exhibitions of NFTs in Tokyo, the new gallery bridges digital and physical spaces by exhibiting NFTs on screens. This allows for a dynamic exhibition combining 2D and 3D, stills and video, as well as different artworks circulating on the same screen.
3. Alishan Park Organic Veggie Café and Store Opens in Yoyogi Park
You might have seen Alishan’s organic produce on the shelves of your supermarket. The Saitama company specializes in organic sustainable food. It has been mainly operating as an importer and a wholesaler for almost 35 years now. Since July 15, Alishan Park has brought its food closer to Tokyoites in the shape of an organic vegetarian shop and a café in Yoyogi Park. It offers delicious vegetarian and vegan sweets, burgers, curries and more. The company also has plans to hold occasional wellness events such as rooftop yoga sessions. Check the website for any upcoming events.
4. Shibuya Parco Rooftop and Corona Beer Green Collab
Shibuya Parco’s first summer rooftop beer garden is green in many ways. The rooftop has been through several redesigns depending on the collaboration and this time it is decorated with greenery. The two brands have also made steps to be more environmentally conscious. During this beer garden collaboration until August 25, they run the “Pay with plastic” initiative. If you bring a designated collection bag filled with garbage in the city of Shibuya to Shibuya Parco, you can get beer tickets that can be used at the beer terrace. There are more details on Shibuya Parco’s official website.
5. Matsuri (Summer Festival) Themed Afternoon Tea at the Park Hyatt
The Peak Lounge, located on the 41st floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo, has an exquisite summer season afternoon tea inspired by traditional Japanese summer festivals. The food had been crafted to resemble traditional summer snacks or include mini versions of them such as dango (Japanese dumplings) and kakigori (shaved ice). Many of the sweets are a fun twist on Japanese savories, such the ‘karaage chicken’ actually being a vanilla cream-filled choux pastry. Conversely, the usually sweet taiyaki (fish-shaped) pastry is the inspiration behind a savory taiyaki filled with foie gras mousse.
Guests are encouraged and welcome to attend wearing a yukata.
Note: The number of seats per day is limited and a reservation three days in advance is required. This afternoon tea is available throughout August and until September 4, 2022.
Featured image by julianne.hide / Shutterstock.com