MangoVine
Adventures in East Asia

Entries in Japan

City Views, Restaurants and Shopping at Takashimaya Times Square in Shinjuku
The neon sign for Times Square was one of the first things we saw when we first arrived at and exited Shinjuku station and it ended up being one of the last things we checked out. The name just conjured up the image of a major destination (having known the respective Times Squares in New York and Hong Kong) and we spent our final afternoon there before making our way to the airport.

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The sixteen floored Takashimaya Times Square complex has been around since 1996 and is supposed to be packed on weekends although it seemed pretty quiet judging by Japan shopping standards. It might have something to do with a more spacious layout or that the first few floors contain high-end stores aimed at the affluent elderly.

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A Shrine and a Ferrari at Isetan - the Trendy Shopping Mecca in Shinjuku
On our last morning in Tokyo, we popped back to the trendy shopping mecca, the Isetan Building in East Shinjuku. Linh wanted to check out the Sanrio shop in one of the upper floors, since it might have contained some higher-end Hello Kitty products (sigh - it does). She doesn't buy anything, but as we left by the side of the building, we notice preparations going on for something traditional-looking.

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There were a number of stalls being set up and a shrine had been installed a short distance away from them. I'm not sure what was going on, or whether there was a connection to the Sanja Matsuri festival we experienced in Asakusa, but a ferrari was parked in between which seemed to garner as much interest.

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Design Festa’s Permanent Site for Personal Art at Harujuku
Visiting the permanent Design Festa Gallery at Harujuku was almost like a pilgrimage since I loved our day at the huge bi-annual Design Festa event at Tokyo Big Sight.

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We'd already seen photos of the place via all the marketing literature but still kept an eye out for the western entrance of the gallery which had a manic composition of red scaffolding bars all over it.

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Top Japanese Treasures at the Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum is billed as the place to go if visiting only one museum in Tokyo. It's akin to the British Museum in London and is made up of several grand buildings that contain the five galleries of historic pieces.

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We originally planned on spending a day for our visit here but could only manage an afternoon, from which we were able to cover three galleries.

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Superb Shitamachi Museum in Ueno Park Recreates Historic Japan
One of our best museum visits happened with the Shitamachi Museum, which, although small, kept things perfectly formed with a re-creation of typical Shitamachi life in the Meiji and Taisho periods of Japan.

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We could have whizzed around the place quickly because of the size, but we took our time as the authentic displays really captured our attention.

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