It is not the brightest and the most romantic moment right now in 2020, the corona virus is still spreading and it hasn’t been decreased. You might probably know a lot of entertainment facilities are closed and a lot of events are canceled. End of March is almost coming, which means the cherry blossoms will full bloom soon. The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike warns people, hanami (picnic under the cherry blossoms) is still a risky activity in this situation. She asks people to refrain doing picnic and having parties in parks. Although, she doesn’t want to stop people enjoying cherry blossoms, she said on March 12th: “We discussed what to do with hanami. It is open-air, therefore we still want people to admire flowers.”
Even though, hanami is very fun and it is a tradition in Japan, it is better to listen to the governor of Japan. But how and where can we enjoy sakura (cherry blossom) this year? It is better to go to small local parks in the residential areas instead of the popular big public parks, where a lot of people (locals and tourists) come. Before going to the list of suggestions. Here is the list of sakura festivals which are canceled:
Ueno Sakura festival 2020
Chiyoda Sakura festival 2020
Nakameguro Sakura festival 2020 (along the river)
Shibuya Sakuragaoka Sakura festival 2020
Bunkyo Sakura festival 2020
Jiyugaoka Sakura festival 2020
Sa*kaso Sakura festival 2020 in Asukayama park
Koganei Sakura festival 2020
Sumida Koen Sakura festival 2020
In other small places, there are no festivals hold, but they are still nice to walk around or sit there. According to the cherry blossom forecast, the blossoms have started blooming in Tokyo on March 14th. The best moment is around March 27th. Probably in the weekend of March 28th and 29th you can enjoy the beautiful scenario.
For Happy House Mint and Witt-Style Clover
Two big parks in Nerima ward with a lot of cherry blossoms. Hikarigaoka Park and Toshimaen Park in Nerima ward.
For Witt-Style Nakameguro and Witt-Style Mishuku
One of the most popular spot to see sakura is in Nakameguro, along the Nakameguro river. It might be less busy compare to the previous years, but probably it is better to skip to go there for this year. In Setagaya ward, there is a park called Kinuta Park, which has about 930 cherry blossoms blooming.
For Happy House Kagurazaka & Chilli Pepper and Cream Personally，I went to Iidabashi area for hanami last year, it was not super crowded along the Kanda river, so probably there won’t be many people walking this year. It is beautiful though.
Hi, this is Yuka and I have worked at Tulip for more than half a year, but I hadn’t introduced myself yet. This blog is about me, my home country the Netherlands and my experience in Tokyo.
I was born and raised in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. My parents decided to live in the Netherlands a long time ago, because they really fell in love for this country when they were in their twenties. Even though they like to live there, I decided to move to Japan. In 2010 I had the opportunity to do an exchange program in Tokyo and since then I have liked Japan a lot. I haven’t always lived in the Netherlands since I had started my bachelor study, I was going somewhere else to get more experience in architecture. Because of my nomadic lifestyle, I have started to see how great the Netherlands is. I didn’t understand why people like to visit the Netherlands, but now I do understand!
Windmills and tulips in the country side of the Netherlands (Photo Credit)
The Netherlands is a very small country in Europe, close to Germany and Belgium. The size is about the size of the island Kyushu in Japan. Probably, people know this country as the country of tulips, and windmills. We indeed have windmills and tulips, but generally speaking you won’t see them in the main cities of the Netherlands. So, what is the Netherlands beside of the suburban iconic elements? You might know, it is the country of the tallest people on earth, the LGBT rights are the most progressive in the world, a flat landscape which is 70% below the sea level and the country of legalized soft drug law.
The Netherlands is well known of the brick Canal houses along the canals. Normally, they are about six-stories high, have quite big windows and steep stairs, and lean a bit to the front. The relationship between the buildings and the canals are potential urban elements what I miss a lot. A lot of Dutch cities have chill public spots between the buildings, for example big plazas with terraces around (good places to have a cold orange juice or beer in the sun) and canals to sit on the side and stare to the boats. There are even cafes and restaurants along the canals; Beautiful, cozy and enjoyable. The country of water!
Since a big part of the country is below sea level, water is the weakest and the strongest element in this country. Since ages ago, Dutch people have fought against water; high dunes, dikes and other water systems were created. Even the wind mills are water systems, you will notice that the most of wind wills are next to the water. They also appreciate water by creating a lot of canals, lakes and water leisure parks. Also, the Dutch team during Olympic Games is strong at water related sports, for example Swimming, Ice skating, Beach volleyball and Sailing. But probably the Dutch people are mostly proud of their high-skilled water technology and innovative water ideas. Dutch companies are often been asked by other countries for tsunami disasters, rising water level and drink water.
There are so many other Dutch characteristics, cheese, cows and milk, the direct and open communication, an orange colored festival, famous painters etc.
Beside of explaining about the Netherlands, I would like to tell a bit about my experience in Tokyo. In Tokyo, I like Aoyama, Yanaka and Kagurazaka. Since, we have two houses around Kagurazaka, which are Happy House Kagurazaka and Chilli Pepper & Cream, I will tell a bit more about Kagurazaka.
When I am planning to visit this area, it is mostly because I am going to meet someone to eat in one of its restaurants or cafes, to visit the Akagi shrine or to visit my friend’s contemporary art gallery when there is a new exhibition. The restaurants are very nice, I enjoy eating Japanese food and French food in this area. I recommend Rito Kitchen, a beach house restaurant where they serve meals cooked with products of the small islands of Japan. For French, I really enjoyed the food in the very popular restaurant Maison de la Bourgogne. If you go to the canal side, there is Canal café, maybe because I come from a canal country、I like to sit there with a cup of tea staring to the big canal. During spring sakura time, along the canal it is a popular spot to enjoy Hanami (picnic under the cherry blossom trees). Along the canal you have big cherry blossom trees.
I like architecture and Akagi Shrine in Kagurazaka is renovated by a current famous Japanese architect, therefore I like to go there for my prayers. The same architect also renovated an old book warehouse in Kagurazaka. It called La Kagu and it is currently an event space with shops and a restaurant.
La Kagu, an old book warehouse to an event space with shops, exhibitions and restaurant (Photo Credit)
Still many things to explore in this area and other places in Tokyo. Even though I have come to Tokyo so many times and have lived here for 2 years now. For more information about our two houses in Kagurazaka area, check our website.
Our sharehouse Apricot Terrace is in Sugamo. Sugamo is a slice of pure, classic Tokyo, served up at your grandparents’ house because you told them your mum hasn’t fed you yet.
Sugamo is known locally as ‘Granny’s Harajuku’ and it’s easy to see why. Geriatrics visit Jizo Dori in their hordes to get the best picks of traditional Japanese sweets, premium matcha tea and old-timey fashions.
But this grandma’s paradise holds plenty of attractions for any ages. Especially visitors who want to see a more old fashioned side of Tokyo. These are our favourites.
The mascot of Sugamo is a very round, white duck called Sugamon and he is adorable. A replica of his butt is stationed at the entrance to Jizo Dori, which can be stroked for a boost of luck in love. His schedule is written only in Japanese, but you can be sure he’ll make an appearance at all Sugamo’s festivals and events. His bum also looks like the shio daifuku that Sugamo is famous for. Mochi filled with red bean paste and flavoured with salt to counteract the sweetness. http://sugamon.jp/
Maruji Red Pants
You may notice an abundance of bright red panties. Not so much Sugamo’s saucy underbelly, rather these underwear are believed to grant you good health if you wear them. Judging by the average age of their patrons, there may be something in it…
This temple is more commonly known by its nickname of Togenuki Jizo, meaning ‘Jizo that draws out the thorn’ in reference to a story about the Jizo deity that is enshrined there. A samurai drew 10,000 pictures of the deity in order to cure his wife’s disease and after that the pictures were also used to cure a woman who had swallowed a thorn. Even now, this temple is very popular with people who want to cure their ailments.
Purveyors of traditional Japanese sweets, you can watch fresh dorayaki being made in front of your very eyes. They also offer cute, colourful monaka for only 100 yen each. A sweet traditionally served with tea, consisting of a jam filling (there’s a choice of flavours such as red bean paste or plum) sandwiched between crisp mochi wafers. A perfect souvenir of your time in Sugamo!
Traditional Japanese Clothing
Although the vast majority of the clothes in Sugamo are geared towards a more mature market, if you want to buy some traditional Japanese wear there are bargains to be had. Old ladies know where to get value for their money. Yukata, which are light, summer kimonos can be found for unbelievably low prices.
If you want to know even more about Sugamo, read our previous blog about the market that takes place there!
Tokyo’s one of the coolest hipster area, Koenji. It is already popular among the local Japanese and step by step the tourists discover this area too. Koenji has a young and energetic vibe in an area with low-rise buildings, which makes it cozy and cute as well. Why is Koenji an awesome place to live and to be in?
Since, we have one share house called Happy House Koenji, close to Koenji station, we would like to share some cool or convenient spots in this area. This time, we have listed up some of Koenji’s characteristic popular spots! Go there, if you have time.
Koenji is well-known of the various vintage second hand stores, like second hand book stores, music record stores and especially second hand clothes stores. The most of these stores are in the south of Koenji station in the famous street called “Look Street” and in the north of the station in the street “Azuma Street”. Here are some examples of second hand stores.
CLOTHES There are a lot of different clothes which you cannot find anywhere else and they are still in good condition! For Vintage clothes, Loversoul, Re’all, Chart and Small change are interesting. These are the most popular ones where they sell clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories.
Small Change credit: https://media.timeout.com/images/102566928/750/422/image.jpg
BOOKS For interesting and unique books, you might like Ehonya Rusuban Bansuru Kaisha, Cocktail, Tomaru and SUB-store. Enhonya Rusuban has a lot of children books from all over the world. Cocktail is transformed from a full bookstore to a bar with some books. Tomaru is more for people who can read Japanese and the last one, SUB-store is a place where you can eat, drink, listen music and read books.
MUSIC RECORDS Beside of that, Koenji has some music live bars and music lovers come to Koenji for music. Beside of live band performances, you can find second hand music records in small shops between the streets. EAD records focuses on New Waves, Jazz Funky and Dance & House Classics. For Punk and Metal, Record Shop Base is the place to be. Be-in-records has vinyl records of the most famous international musicians like the Beatles. This store actually has a lot of different kind of music genres. If you are curious about Japanese indie music, you will like Enban. Enban sells CD and DVD of Japanese artists.
The Fukugawa Festival is a highlight of every August. One of the biggest Shinto festivals of the year, is not something you want to miss. Everyone enjoys throwing and splashing water, this huge water fight is a refreshing way to enjoy your afternoon. Venue: Tomioka Hachiman Shrine (Fukagawa Shrine) Closest Train station: Monzennakacho Station
Kanazawa Fireworks 2019 – August 24th, 2019 7:00pm ~ 8:00pm
In the event of rain, the festival will be cancelled.
This one is a little farther out of the city, but totally worth it. The last Saturday of every August, thousands of people make their way down to the coast to watch this Annual show. Sit under a beautiful evening sky, catch the salty ocean air in the breeze and enjoy one of the last Summer Firework Festivals in Japan as the perfect finale to your summer. Make the trip worth it and stop off in Yokohama to enjoy some sights, Kanazawa also has a Costco. Venue: Marine Park, Yokohama Closest Station: Uminokoen-shibaguchi Station
Whether you like dancing, eating, or people watching, this festival has a little something for everyone. It is especially convenient if you are a resident at our sharehouse, Witt-Style Roppongi. There are many types of Traditional Japanese Dance on display and beautifully colored Kimono’s and cultural garb. This show goes perfect with our favorite festival foods like yakitori, which is a type of chicken on a stick, takoyaki which is octopus dough balls or the classic shaved ice, Kakigori. Venue: Roppongi Hills Arena Closest Station: Roppongi Station
Beat the heat and join this festival in the evening. It is a perfect day to walk around this hip neighborhood and enjoy a day of thrift shopping. When the sun starts to go down and you hear drums in the distance, you can walk over and enjoy the sounds, colors, and extravagance of Koenji Awa Odori. You can’t miss this if you are a resident of our popular sharehouse, Happy House Koenji. Thousands of costumed dancers, performers and musicians make for an unforgettable night. Venue: Koenji Closest Station: Koenji Station
For a picturesque evening, kick off this summer at the annual Lantern Festival. A spiritual festival that started as a memorial to honor those lost during World War II, this has turned into one of the largest summer festivals in all of Japan. The sky, and the background of your unforgettable photos will be lit up by 30,000 lanterns. People enjoy eating Japanese street food, drinking and watching performances and of course seeing the lanterns. Venue: Yasukuni Shrine Closest Station: Kudanshita Station and Ichigaya Station
Sumida River Fireworks Festival –July 27th, 2019 7:00pm ~ 8:30pm
This is a 90-minute long show that takes place annually, and has been going on since 1732! Back in the Edo Era, it was named Ryogoku River Fireworks festival. Enjoy hanabi to the tune of more than 22,000 fireworks being set off. This historical show, is sure to not disappoint. Recommended for a date night. Venue: Along Sumida River Closest Station: Asakusa Station & Kuramae station
Did we miss anything? Let us know if we overlooked your favorite festivals, or if you decide to visit one of our suggestions, let us know in the comments! If you don’t live in Japan, but want to, check out our selection of women’s-only sharehouses in Tokyo!
Omotesando’s more down-to-earth neighbor and Harajuku’s more sophisticated older sister; Aoyama is a place to refresh, get inspired and feel fancy. So it only makes sense that our staff decided to make it our go-to destination for a girls night out – Tulip style!
There is a certain air to Aoyama that gives it an exclusive feel, perhaps because it is tucked away in the hilly slopes of Tokyo, but the small streets do not feel too narrow. Or maybe it’s the effortlessly fashionable artists and designers that can be overheard talking about their up and coming projects in passing. The tiny, boutique shops and local bars’ dedication to their craft to produce top-notch quality and protect the artisan culture, or maybe it is the eclectic architecture that somehow the groups of tourists have not yet discovered.
Heading over to dinner, we passed by Sunny Hills, designed by one of Tokyo’s most beloved modern architects, Kengo Kuma. Fans of Kuma’s work should definitely check out his many projects scattered around Kagurazaka, where we also happen to have two lovely share houses, Chilli Pepper & Cream and Happy House Kagurazaka.
As we approached the restaurant, we were taken aback at the gorgeous exterior and atmosphere. Walking through the bar area (and slightly regretting our outfit choices), we were shown to a table seated by a lit-up terrace.
Cicada is located just a minute’s walk from Omotesando Station and specializes in modern Mediterranean cuisine. The space itself has a Euro-chic atmosphere but the flavor of the dishes were deliciously authentic. We started with some toasted pita accompanied by various dips of your choice – we went with the classic hummus and a carrot, yogurt, & mint spread.
The cocktail menu was very impressive, which is expected as the restaurant is owned by Tysons & Company, the founders of T.Y. Harbor Brewery.
After our lots of chatting, laughs and “kanpais!” we scoped around the area for a place to grab some cocktails. We stumbled upon Radio Bar and were intrigued by its retro atmosphere, like something out of an old Japanese movie. It turned out that Radio Bar has been around since the 1970s, and THE place to go for cocktail connoisseurs and aspiring mixologists to enjoy a proper pour (which is hard to come across in Tokyo nowadays amongst all the Lemon Sours and Whiskey High Balls).
Accompanied with an incredibly delicious spread of fresh fruits and cheese came Bar Radio’s original cocktails served with impeccable presentation. Each cocktail has been meticulously crafted and perfected over the decades and we appreciated the attention to detail until the last very last drop. Because of the high standards of the establishment, the cocktails are not at all cheap and be prepared to be on your best behavior, that also means to dress accordingly!
Satisfied and slightly emotional over how exquisite our night has been so far, we were not ready for it to end. We decided to check out the nearby Commune 2nd, suggested by our staff Jan who is in the know about many Tokyo’s hidden gems.
At Commune 2nd, you will be greeted with hip, neon clad signs, beer and food stands with a modern-style food truck-like layout, and groups of merry making locals and foreigners alike enjoying themselves over drinks and food.
Commune 2nd closes at 10 PM, let’s clarify that all the shops and eating spaces close at 10 PM sharp! We had too much fun in the lively atmosphere and did not want to leave, but had to take a team pic while we were getting kicked out.
Although at first a bit intimidated and unfamiliar with the Aoyama area, it has become one of our favorite places to explore. Stay tuned for hopefully an Aoyama Part 2 Guide by the Tulip Team and also a possible share house that will be newly opening up in Aoyama some time in the future 😉
Thanks for reading and enjoy Tokyo to the fullest! Tulip Real Estate specializes in female-only share houses in Tokyo. Send us a message to ask about our share houses and we are more than happy to recommended our favorite places to check out nearby.
Summer is the season of festivals in Japan, every year thousands of Japanese people and foreigners alike gather around to have a culturally-rich experience with dancing, fireworks and tasty treats!
Local temples and shrines usually hold at least one festival, which is their opportunity to spread blessings and good fortunes to their towns and the people who live in them. When you live in a share house in Tokyo it can be a great opportunity to experience these events for the first time with your housemates.
So, with Japanese Festival (matsuri) season upon us, let`s have a look at the Must-see Matsuri this August:
Fukagawa FestivalAugust 11th – 15th
Considering this festival is one of the biggest Shinto festivals of the year, it can be one of the most memorable experiences you can have in Tokyo in August. Being described as fun and energetic, it`s a festival that cannot be missed.
In the gorgeous area of Minato-Mirai, there is a dance festival led by hundreds of women in yukata (a summer-time kimono). Foreigners and Japanese people are encouraged to join in and even come to the event dressed in yukata too!
Venue: Rinko Park, Yokohama Closest Train Station: Takashimacho Station or Yokohama Station
Roppongi Dance Bon Dance – August 24th – August 26th
If you are a resident at Witt-Style Roppongi, there is a perfect opportunity to attend this dance festival. If you are not the type to enjoy dancing with the locals, we recommend you sit-back, relax and enjoy watching the kimono-clad festivities with some tasty festival food such as yakitori, which is a type of chicken on a stick, takoyaki which is octopus dough balls or the classic ice-shavings Summer treat, Kakigori.
Koenji Awa Odori – August 25th – August 26th
If you want to attend a festival but find it hard to cope with the scorching Summer heat, one of the best options is the evening-held matsuri event – Koenji Awa Odori. Especially a great spot if you are a resident of one of our newest share houses; Happy House Koenji.
Venue: Koenji Closest Station: Koenji Station
Kanazawa Fireworks 2018 – August 25th
Finally, if watching fireworks is on your Summer Bucket-List make sure that the 44th Annual Kanazawa Fireworks Display gets a spot on your list. If you are willing to travel a little further for a spectacular evening with an incredible beachy-style atmosphere under a sky of fireworks, this festival will be perfect for you. As it is one of the last Summer Firework Festivals in Japan it can get busier than most, but if wearing yukata and enjoying Yokohama`s sights and attractions under a night-sky of fireworks sounds good to you, this event is definitely for you.
Venue: Marine Park, Yokohama Closest Station: Uminokoen-shibaguchi Station
Let us know what Japanese festival is your favourite in the comments and be sure to check out our website for our huge and varied selection of female-only sharehouses in Tokyo!
Summer is approaching its peak and we all know what that means…its traveling season! If you live in Japan, you might have noticed that Taiwan has been a trendy go-to destination for Japanese people for quite some time. People of all ages flock to Taiwan for vacation for many reasons whether it be because it’s just a quick flight away, for the bustling night markets, instagrammable foods (mango shaved ice, boba, and dumplings, oh my!), traditional temples, or Studio Ghibli lovers yearning to walk through the small town that was used as an inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” – Taiwan is a place for one and all to enjoy.
九份 – Jiufen
We decided to head out to Taiwan to catch up on the excitement for ourselves! If you are planning on taking a Taiwan trip soon, here is your guide to delicious local eats and must-see spots.
First up is Huashan 1914 Creative Park located in Taipei’s center. Originally a winery, Huashan 1914 Creative Park has been transformed into a spacious park and marketplace with an artsy twist that is free and open to the public. Here you will find galleries, rotating exhibitions, design shops, trendy cafes, and even an independent movie theater.
The space has a mysterious and historic feel as most of the buildings are covered in plants or have been left untouched with the faded exterior. The structures throughout the space have an industrial feeling and house high-end, hip fashion shops and local artists alike.
Taipei is a bustling city with crowds, restaurants and street markets, but there are also many pockets within the city where you can enjoy parks, temples, and traditional constructs like Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Taiwan’s ministry of culture transformed the hall to become a national landmark for “facing history, recognizing agony, and respecting human rights.” In the large park and plaza surrounding the monuments, you can find groups of people meditating, practicing Tai Chi or dancing in various styles in the early mornings.
If you have time for a day-trip while in Taiwan, try going down South to Kaohsiung City where you can see the Tiger and Dragon Pagodas. Enter through the mouth of the beasts and climb up the spiraling staircases in the seven-story towers.
Also a famous attraction in Kaohsiung is 85 Sky Tower, the tallest building in the city where you can check out the observation deck on the 74th floor that overlooks a stunning view of Kaohsiung and its main harbor. The elevator ride to the observation deck goes dark and projects a star-light show on the ceiling!
Hop on a ferry and in 5 minutes to Cijin Island where you can stock up on fresh fruit and seafood at the street market leading up the beach and enjoy the local island feeling. I have had my share of mango shaved ice in Taiwan but the Cijin Island shaved ice was hands down the best!
Next up is probably #1 on a lot of our Taiwan bucket lists is Jiufen – a small village tucked away in the mountains that is now one of the top attractions in the world for anime lovers. Known to be used as the model for the ghostly street market in Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away,” you can explore the shops serving delicious street food, local handmade goods, and of course some Ghibli souvenirs to take home.
Taipei Gourmet Guide:
Kao Chi – A dumpling house right next door to the original Din Tai Fung dumpling house that started it all. Despite being near the now world renown dumpling house chain, Kao Chi stands their ground offering delicious freshly steamed dumplings and packaged to-go bites for the road. The crab and miso dumplings are a must!
Eastern Ice Store – Located in the hip and international area of Daan, Taipei serves cold or hot dessert bowls with your choice of rice cakes, red beans, grass jelly, etc inside. A perfect dessert for any season.
Wang Ji Fu Cheng Rou Zong – With less than 10 items on the menu, this local shop is sure to give you a true taste of Taiwan. Try their signature pork rice dumplings, noodle dish, and fish ball soup.
Tiger Sugar – A shop you won’t miss because of the enormous line, this boba shop has taken the popular milk tea tapioca drink and uses their own brown sugar concoction to take it to another level of milky heaven. Totally worth the wait!
We visited Alex at Witt – style Roppongi shortly before Christmas and then took a short walk with her before we stopped at Starbucks for a chat. Alex has been living in Japan for 7 years, and is now working near Tokyo Tower. For 3 months, she had been walking pass the house that would become Wit t – style Roppongi everyday. When we turned the building into a share house in June 2017, she became one of our first residents.
Tulip: Hi Alex, what interested you in our share house, and how was your experiences with shared houses before Witt – style Roppongi?
Alex: I lived almost door-to-door an hour away from where I work. And though I loved where I used to be, I was looking for a place closer to work because I did not like riding the train during rush hour. While I was looking for an apartment on Craigslist I came across an ad for this share house. I emailed your company, viewed the house and then moved in by the end of that month. As I’ve lived in shared apartments in Japan in the past I was looking forward to moving and being closer to work and friends.
Tulip: What is your favorite thing about living in Witt – style Roppongi?
Alex: I’m most happy about the convenience of living here. It’s really close to my work so I don’t need to take the rush – hour trains. And I hang out with my friends around here too because they all live near the area. About the house itself, I wish there were more common space s that would allow more socializing, like a proper living room. But I like the set up of the kitchen, with the common dining table and TV. It’s good for the size of the house.
Tulip: How would you describe the surrounding area you live in? Do you have any favorite spots?
Alex: The surrounding area is surprisingly quiet though it’s just right off the main Roppongi Crossing. You only hear people walk up and down Roppongi and the Izumi Garden area. It’s such a nice area and again, it’s so convenient if you want to go shopping or go out for food. I eat out a lot so I can name a few favorite places. Down the street, there’s this place called Downtown B’s Indian Kitchen. Right across from there, in Izumi Garden, there is a Thai restaurant and a salad restaurant I enjoy going to. Right next to the share house is another Thai restaurant. If you go further down to Roppongi Hills there is a soup dumpling place that’s really good [Nansho Mantoten] and a French place called Brassaerie Va-tout. They serve really good lasagna. Everything is just within a fifteen-minutes’ walk from the share house, including my favorite sushi bar, Uramakiya.
[Downtown B’s Indian Kitchen (left) and a cute, little bar down the street (right)]
Tulip: Thanks so much for the recommendations! Do you have other favorite things to do in Tokyo?
Alex: I run, so I really like to go running around the Imperial Palace and seeing what’s around there. That’s my favorite place to run in Tokyo.
Tulip: Do you discover new places while you run?
Alex: I don’t technically go and explore. I figure out where things are while I run. For example, I didn’t realize how close we are to Hibiya Park. One day while I was lost I ran by Hibiya park and it was a nice discovery. I like exploring, but I especially like going outside of Tokyo. I don’t like being around a lot of crowds so I tend not to go to places that are crowded on the weekends, like Yoyogi Park, Harajuku or Shibuya. I try to leave Tokyo on the weekends. Whenever I can, I go snowboarding or go visit friends where I used to live in the West Coast of Japan. One of my favorite hiking spots around Tokyo is Mount Takao, and I really enjoy going on trips with the Tokyo Snow Club. I go snowboarding with them in winter and on fun trips in the summer.
[HoneyBaked Ham sandwich shop (left) and the small park nearby (right) are some of Alex’s favorite lunch spots.]
Alex: I’m used t o sharing space. Every year from when I was nine, I used to go to sleep – away camps and at one time we had 21 girls in one cabin. At a sleep – away camp you learn to share your space. In college , I was living with roommates too. I had my own room but we shared a common space just like in the share house.
Tulip: How would you compare your living experience in Japan, between living in a share house and living in your own apartment?
Alex: I miss having my own apartment where I can decorate and call everything my own. I had my own apartment when I was living in Toyama. But at the same time, I work all day and I go and see friends, so it’s also enough just to have my own room to come ho me to. It’s a nice space and we rarely get in anybody’s way in the share house.
Tulip: Have you had any challenges in the house? And what did you do to overcome or resolve those problems?
Alex: I sometimes have to remind people to remove their hair from the bathtub, but there aren’t so many challenges. I think we’re doing okay in this share house. There’re bound to be issues that come up when eleven people live in the same house, but when something comes up , you can contact the management to help you communicate with your housemates in a polite and understanding way.
[A view of Tokyo Tower from Sengokuyama Mori Tower]
Tulip: Do you hang out with your housemates sometimes?
Alex: Occasionally . Most everyone in the house ha s different schedules. Mostly we just hang out in the kitchen if we see each other .
Tulip: Do you have any other plan in the future while you are in Tokyo?
Alex: For now, I’m really enjoying my work and I don’t plan to leave Tokyo anytime soon. I have some personal 2018 goals such as running a half marathon and doing the 2018 Spartan Races . But for my living situation and my professional situation, they aren’t going to change anytime soon.
[Izumi Garden (left) and Shiroyama Garden (right)]
Tulip: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience in your share house?
Alex: I’ve had a good experience in the house so far. I’m really happy with my living situation . The funny thing about this house is that I passed it every day for about three months on my way to my friend’s place to train for the Spartan Race. I remember that 2 or 3 weeks before I found your advertisement, I was jokingly wondering if one of the houses in the area ha d a room for rent. I really wanted to move closer to the area and when I came to the house for a viewing, I was like, I know this house! And now I’m here . Overall, I think it has been a good experience and I am glad I was able to move here.
Tulip: Thank you so much, Alex. We’re glad to hear that you’re enjoying your time in Japan and in Witt-style Roppongi. We wish you a lovely holiday!
Spring is now upon us and cherry blossoms are in bloom! The Tulip Team have put our heads together to present you with the best sakura viewing spots next to each and every of our share houses. Below is a list of 14 parks and places with which you wonderful ladies and gents can refer to next time you’re in town for the traditional Japanese cherry blossom viewing custom also known as hanami (花見). From lively, popular viewing spots such as Yoyogi Park in Shibuya, to serene hidden gems in the likes of Araiyakushi Park in Nakano, we’re sure you’ll find one that suits your fancy to admire the fleeting yet sensational wonder that is Japan’s sakura!
A brisk 12-min walk from Happy House Asianand an 18-min walk from Happy House Orange is Nakano Central Park, a dog-friendly open space lined with sakura trees, plenty of eateries (think cafes and shops), convenience stores, and, depending on the time of visit, an impressive, ever-changing collection of food trucks. Nakano Central Park is also the venue of the Cozy Culture Club’s debut hanami picnic event! Bring your own bento and join us for a FREE afternoon of language and culture exchange fun. We’ll be also grabbing freshly brewed Kirin beer at the foodtrucks nearby, so be sure to bring some change.
Interested? Sign up on Facebook or Meetup, we’d love to see you there!
Nakano Central Park 中野セントラルパーク
4 Chome 10-2 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0001
Nakano Station | FREE Admission
2. Araiyakushi Park 新井薬師公園 | Nakano
For a quiet, pleasant hanami party, take a 3-min stroll down from our Happy House Vitamin Color, Araiyakushi Park is home to 24 beautiful cherry blossom trees. The park is teeming with greenery and features a relaxing Japanese-style koi pond swimming with goldfish and carp, the Arai Yakushi Otera Temple, and a brilliant spectacle of cherry blossom illuminations during hanami season.
Araiyakushi Park 新井薬師公園
5-4 Arai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 165-0026
Araiyakushi-mae Station | FREE Admission
3. Tetsugakudo Park or Temple Garden of Philosophy 哲学堂公園 | Nakano
Walk 2-min from Cozy Village Jasmine or hop on the 中41 bus heading towards Nakano Station from Happy House Herb for a 10-min ride to a beautiful part forest and part park scenery of ponds, river, and tall trees. Testsugakudo Park, while small-scale compared to the likes of Shinjuku Gyoen and Yoyogi, the park’s 77 philosophy-inspired buildings, stonework, and pathways make for a lovely, serene afternoon stroll. Cherry blossom trees line the riverside leading to a cherry blossom circle perfect for hanami picnics. PS. Happy House Vitamin Colorresidents, you’re in luck with options, the park is an 18-min walk from the sharehouse!
Tetsugakudo Park 哲学堂公園
1-34-34 Matsugaoka, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 165-0024
While Yoyogi Park isn’t the most picturesque of parks in terms of landscape design, its wide open space ensures you won’t be fighting for inches of grass on which to layout your picnic blanket. Plus it ensures you a view of the cherry blossoms no matter where you’re seated! Psst, Witt-style Yoyogiand Witt-style Jinguresidents, the park is a mere 5-10min walk from the sharehouse – leaving you ladies with no excuse NOT to go out on a hanami excursion.
Yoyogi Park 代々木公園
2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0052
Harajuku / Yoyogi-Koen / Yoyogi-Hachiman / Sangubashi / Meiji-Jingumae Station Station | FREE Admission
5. Setagaya Park 世田谷公園 | Setagaya
Despite mainly catering to horse-riding children (yes, there are actual horses meandering on site!), Setagaya Park is home to several beautiful gardens, lovely grassy knolls, a center piece water fountain, and, of course, plenty of cherry blossom trees for hanami. If you are lucky, you might even stumble on an occassional flea market. Psst, this gem of a park is lcoated only a mere 10-min walk from our Witt-style Mishuku sharehouse!
Setagaya Park 世田谷公園
15-27 Ikejiri, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 154-0001
Sangen-jaya / Ikejiri-ohashi Station | FREE Admission
Slightly off the beaten path is the quiet, lush greenery of Wadabori Park, a natural enclave from the city’s hustle and bustle. Happy House Kamikitazawaresidents, take a perfectly doable 15-20min breezy afternoon bike ride from the share house and lose yourself in the leafy shades, and unwind with a stress-free spring stroll down the path lined with cherry blossom trees along the Zenpukuji River. Best of all, the park features 10 BBQ facilities (reservation with the Suginami Ward Office required) and the athletic fields are free for all on the 1st Sunday and 3rd Saturday of the month!
Wadabori Park 和田堀公園
2-23 Omiya, Suginami-ku, Tokyo 168-0061
Nishi-Eifuku Station | FREE Admission
7. Toshimaen Amusement Park
10-min by foot from our Witt-style CloveR is Toshimaen. A lively amuseument and water park throughout the year, the charming old-fashioned park is magically lit up after dark during sakura season. The park’s special “Sakura Nights” entry program provides unlimited access to designated rides and attractions while admiring the illluminations on over 500 cherry blossom trees!
For more sakura illuminations, head over to the exquisite Japanese-style Rikugien Gardens at Sugamo Station near our Witt-style Apricot Terrace. After sunset, the gorgeous Waka poetry-themed park is transformed into a brilliant fairlyland of dazzling cherry blossom illuminations that are well-worth the entrance fee. PS. Word of advise, book online and get there early to make it in ahead of the line of lovebirds! Oh, and don’t forget to bring your camera!
Formed in the Edo era, the Kanda River runs from Inkoashira Park in Mitaka Ward, joining the Sumida River underneath the Ryogoku Bridge. Numerous cherry blossom trees bloom along the riverside, however, one of the best spots to view it is at this particular point inside Edogawa Park, titled 神田川桜並木 on Google Maps, which is a 9-min walk from Happy House Kagurazakaand a 18-min walk from Happy House Stella. The river itself is only a 10-min walk from Happy House Stella, and nearby parks include as Kansen-en Park, Higo-Hosokawa Garden, and the Chinzanso Garden.
2-1 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo, Tokyo 112-0014
Edogawa Park 江戸川公園
2-2-1 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8555
For yet another river-side hanami picnic option, why not check out Sotobori Park, with a promenade that connects Ichigaya and Iidabashi Station. Chilli Pepper and Cream residents! Make a 5-min walk down to the park to enjoy a relaxing morning or afternoon stroll (whichever suits your fancy!) underneath a canopy of white cherry blossom petals while listening to soft river sounds!
Sotobori Park 外濠公園
2-9 Gobancho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-0071
Iidabashi Station | FREE Admission
11. Meguro River Park 目黒川船入場 | Meguro
Constantly featuring in Tokyo’s top 10 hanami viewing lists, Meguro River Park is THE place to go for a feel of the much-talked about cherry blossom rain and all-around hanami atmosphere. Numerous small, delectable eateries lining both riversides present the perfect opportunity for a quick bite (or two!). We highly recommend getting there around dusk, grabbing something nice to drink (ala our staff did in the pic above!), and enjoying the changing view from light to night. Our Witt-style Nakameguro residents are in luck, the hanami hot spot is just a 17-min bus trip or a 15-min bike ride from the house!
Meguro River Park 目黒川船入場
1-11-18 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0061
The hanami scene at Roka Koshun-en Park is hands down the most floral site on our list, with a fusion of colors from both pink sakura and yellow rapeseed blossoms! Former residence of famed writer and philosopher Roka Tokutomi, actual name Kenjiro Tokutomi, the historic park grounds contain the author’s prior place of abode, a garden and bamboo forest, a shrine, and an abundance of forest-like flora. OKURA HOUSE ladies, we promise you it’s absolutely worth the 15-min bike ride!
Roka Koshun-en Park 蘆花恒春園
1-20-1 Kasuya, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 157-0063
Take a break from Roppongi and enjoy the cherry blossoms with a view of the city’s signature Tokyo Tower at Shiba Park. While not the most aesthetic of parks, its spacious grass fields is excellent for a spot of afternoon napping or for unrolling a substantial picnic spread. The park is also adjacent to the impressive Zojoji Temple, making it a perfect blend of modern, history, and nature sights – all this just a 15 to 20-min walk from our Witt-style Roppongi!
Shiba Park 芝公園
4-8 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011
Measuring 260,000 square meters, Johoku Central Park is one of the city’s largest with plenty of green, open space for spreading out picnic baskets and blankets. With its vast grassy fields, a huge athletic field, and plenty of tall trees, our Happy House mint residents only need make a 11-min walk to reach the perfect spot to do a bit of jogging or an early morning outdoor yoga session! PS. The park also has a special area designated for housing Moro relics dating back to the stone ages to satisfy your inner history buff.
Johoku Chuo Park 都立城北中央公園
1-3-1 Hikawadai, Nerima-ku, Tokyo 179-0084