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Kichijoji in Tokyo: great for fashion, relaxing and a lovely park

Kichijoji in Tokyo: great for fashion, relaxing and a lovely park

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kichijoji is a very desirable place to reside in Tokyo and just like Jiyugaoka, Shimo-Kitazawa and Nakano each place attracts many people because of the trendy feel to each area.  Fashion is more independent and you have smaller companies to search out and many places to relax for coffee, wine or a nice meal. 

These places are outside of the main central Tokyo hub and the more famous places like Ebisu, Ginza, Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ueno and other parts of Tokyo may hog the limelight; however, Kichijoji, Jiyugaoka, Nakano, and Shimo-Kitazawa have their own special feel and they add to the power of Tokyo which is awash with fashionable places to visit.

Therefore, when you visit places like Kichijoji and Shimo-Kitazawa you can walk around many shopping streets and alleyways and often you will find somewhere new which attracts your eye. 

The boutiques and other shopping stores have a more independent feel and this attracts the younger generation and this is the beauty of places like Kichijoji. After all, it is nice to have exquisite fashion, fancy restaurants, coffee shops and a lovely park to relax in.

Also, the pace of life is more soothing than the high octane nature of Shinjuku and other main areas in Tokyo which are all fantastic places to visit but in Kichijoji you can find that extra breathing space within minutes of leaving the main area.  Therefore, the younger generation and all generations can make the most of this ambient part of Tokyo and Kichijoji is a very desirable place to move to and relocate if you reside in Tokyo.  

Inokashira Koen (park) adds to the quaint alleyways and independent stores which sell unique products and trendy clothing.  This park is a lovely place to visit and unwind from the stresses of life and it adds to your visit to Kichijoji. 

Another appealing nature of this part of Tokyo is live house, blues bars, jazz kissa (jazz coffee shops) and many a young band began in this environment.  Therefore, the musical nature of Kichijoji appeals to the younger generation and avid music fan.

Therefore, if you want to experience another part of Tokyo then Kichijoji is a great place to visit and relax and the stunning park means that you can have a most enjoyable day.

All in all, Kichijoji is great for fashion because of department stores and more importantly, elegant and independent boutiques can be found in abundance.  The area is very busy in the central location but the streets and alleyways enable you to relax. Therefore, the environment changes quickly and the park and architecture comes together and expands the richness of this upmarket and trendy part of Tokyo.

The music scene is also vibrant and you can feel the energy of the next generation and this aspect means that it is a magnet for the younger generation.

Kichijoji is a lovely part of Tokyo!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/99514369@N00/sets/72057594127875514/ 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

http://flickr.com 

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Japan

 

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Shinjuku: vibrant architecture, exquisite department stores and lovely gardens

Shinjuku: vibrant architecture, exquisite department stores and lovely gardens

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The ultra-modern Skyscrapers in Shinjuku are a stark reminder of the economic power that emerged in Japan from the 1960s onwards until the bubble economy of the last twenty years.  However, in Tokyo it is hard to imagine that Japan’s economy keeps on going from small economic growth to stagnation and back to minor growth.

Therefore, when you arrive in Tokyo or if you are a Tokyoite it is abundantly clear that this city is dynamic and the environment is based on modernity, high octane shopping and despite the huge numbers of people the city keeps on ticking.

Amidst all the modernization are gems which remind you of the past and this is especially applicable to architecture, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.  Also, the stunning gardens are often linked to a rich history because each exquisite garden will have its own history and special factor behind the refined layout.

The huge skyscrapers in Shinjuku are amazing and the ultra-modern architecture is visually pleasing.  When I first visited Shinjuku I could imagine Blade Runner and this part of Tokyo made London and Manchester seem miniscule when it came to power and size.

Also, the shopping complexes are huge and you have many top notch fashion companies and department stores and the quality is exquisite in the upmarket part of Shinjuku.  Therefore, each different department store must compete and create its own image because the market is very competitive and the changing nature of fashion, thinking and lifestyles, means that department stores need to stay a few steps ahead.

Major department stores in Shinjuku and Nishi Shinjuku include Isetan, Keio, Lumine, Marui, Mitsukoshi ALCOTT, Odakyu, Takashimaya and Mylord.  Each department store provides quality of the highest and the service is second to none in the world and Japan is famous for this.  Therefore, you are certainly spoilt for choice in Shinjuku if you like exquisite shopping and of course you have so many different styles of shops and the area changes quickly and caters for a huge variety of goods.

It is unfair to pick any one individual company because they all have a wide selection of brands and I am more familiar with Lumine but also visit Odakyu and Keio often and my visit to Takashimaya was very pleasurable.  Also, I know that Isetan is widely liked throughout Japan and Mitsukoshi, despite setbacks in Ikebukuro after closing their store, is very different in places like Shinjuku, Nihonbashi and Ebisu. In truth, Ikebukuro clashed too much with the nature of Mitsukoshi and this department store is vibrant in Shinjuku. 

The Mylord complex is also a great place to relax and it is affiliated with Odakyu and during my early time in Tokyo it was my main place for hanging out in Shinjuku.

Marui One will appeal to fashion lovers because of the sheer diverse nature of this department store which caters for a whole spectrum of fashion.  This applies to catering for Tokyo fashion, fantasy fashion, modern kimono, princess fashion, casual styles, romantic designs, unique styles, Visual kei, Gothic, Lolita and dreamy fashion. 

Shinjuku train station is the busiest in the world and clearly you can imagine from this fact alone that central areas are awash with people.  Therefore, Shinjuku Gyoen is a welcome place to visit in order to escape the madding crowds, to take a welcome break from shopping or to visit only this part of Shinjuku. After all, the gardens are extremely beautiful and varied within Shinjuku Gyoen and I often just visit the gardens and have a quiet coffee and then return to more sedate parts of Tokyo.

Shinjuku Gyoen in history was an imperial garden but this changed after World War Two and it became a national garden with pre-eminence in Tokyo because of its prime location and the garden size is very large.

Within Shinjuku Gyoen you have three diverse styles and this applies to English landscape, French formal and traditional Japanese.  These distinct styles mix delightfully and the traditional Japanese tea house is an elegant feature within the gardens.

The whole park is a great place to relax and witness many stunning views and the ponds express the natural beauty in more detail.  Also, the three different garden styles mingle well within the whole complex and the pond areas are delightful and will lift up the spirits of all who view the natural beauty on display. 

The sheer size of Shinjuku Gyoen also means that you have many quiet areas and you can block out all the stresses of life.  Or if life is already going great then you will feel even better because you can spend hours by yourself or with friends and just enjoy your special day in such sublime and lovely surroundings. 

Overall, Shinjuku is full of energy and for tourists it is a must place to visit and the nightlife is very vibrant.

 

http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/index.html Shinjuku Gyoen

http://tokyofashion.com/photos/?location=Shinjuku Fashion photos 

http://maruione.jp/en/ Marui Online Shop

http://www.takashimaya.co.jp/shinjuku/store_information/ Takashimaya

http://info.keionet.com/foreign/index.html Keio Department Store

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/sightsee/shinjuku/index.html Odakyu Department Store and Tourist Information

http://www.lumine.ne.jp/shinjuku/ Lumine 

http://www.shinjuku-mylord.com/ Mylord

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3011.html   Information about Shinjuku

http://www.isetan.co.jp/icm2/jsp/store/shinjuku/info/iclub/index.jsp Isetan

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Tokyo fashion after the earthquake and a long hot summer

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The March 11 earthquake which unleashed the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Fukushima certainly hit the economy in northeast Japan, Kanto region, and other surrounding areas.  Companies in other parts of Japan were badly hit because many production lines were based in northeast Japan and blackouts and power shortages created untold problems.

Of course during the devastating events of March 11 and the following days all emphasis was on the tragic death toll and trying to find people who were covered by the mass of debris. 

The radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant also created panic and many foreign nationals, companies, embassies, and so forth; relocated or left temporarily because of the fear factor and mass uncertainty which was generated by the nuclear issue.

Several months later and the nuclear crisis is still ongoing in Fukushima but at a much lower level because of containment policies. Therefore, the fear factor in Tokyo appears to be over and embassies which were closed have re-opened and normality is returning to most sectors.

Obviously, the situation in northeast Japan remains problematic because while the economic recovery is starting to impact on areas hit the most it will still take a long time to readjust.  Also, certain sectors, like the fisheries, remain to be hit hard and the nuclear issue in Fukushima will continue to hinder this sector and the same applies to areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

However, turning back to Tokyo then it is clear that this city is in full swing and the fashion sector is starting to pick up again. 

In late 2010 the economy of Japan was starting to show signs of a recovery and this was maintained in the first few months of 2011.  Therefore, strong sales in December, 2010, were announced at many luxury retailers throughout Tokyo and the fashion sector on a whole was optimistic about a positive 2011.

This was all cut short by the devastating events of March 11 but now optimism is returning to Tokyo and with the long hot summer on its way then a new vibrancy is also picking up. 

Companies like 6%DOKIDOKI took their fashion designs to North America and acted with compassion and care and Sebastian Masuda was the brainchild behind the Mighty Harajuku Project.  Therefore, 6%DOKIDOKI, and other fashion companies which supported the Mighty Harajuku Project; were raising funds for northeast Japan alongside helping local clients and showing an image of positivity despite the despair which was being felt at the time.

Today if you visit buzzing places in Tokyo like Ebisu, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shinjuku, and other trendy areas, then it is clear that fashion companies are attracting shoppers.

In Lumine in Ikebukuro on the west side you have fantastic displays of elegant and exquisite fashion companies.  Smacky Glam (SmackyGlam) and many other fashion boutiques have an array of luxury products whereby you have high quality fabrics alongside fantastic color schemes and designs.

Department stores which have been in the doldrums for a long time apart from the odd period have also announced strong April sales compared to the slump in March following the events of the March 11 earthquake.  Hankyu-Hanshin announced very positive sales and Daimaru-Matsuzakaya also stated that sales were up by just less than 3 per cent. 

Mitsukoshi-Isetan also stated that sales were slightly up and given the events of March 11 then for Mitsukoshi-Isetan this was remarkable. After all, Mitsukoshi-Isetan is more focused on the Tokyo region than Hankyu-Hanshin which is Kansai based.

However, department stores are still down when compared with results from last year but it is hoped that the summer period will see an upturn and given the events of this year then the figures could have been a lot worse.

Therefore, with the long hot summer on its way the fashion sector in Tokyo may see a rebound of fresh optimism because the doom and gloom of March and early April seems a long time ago. 

It is also hoped that tourists will start to flock to Tokyo and Japan once more because Tokyo is a Mecca for fashion and Osaka is also very vibrant.

The long hot summer is on its way and the feeling of hope and the freshness of new styles will hopefully lead to an upturn in sales.

http://tokyofashion.com/

http://www.dokidoki6.com/  (6%DOKIDOKI)

http://www.smackyglam.com/ (SmackyGlam)

http://www.lumine.ne.jp/ikebukuro/  (Lumine)

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Japan

 

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