Free tour I : Earthquake disaster center

Earthquake Disaster center in Tokyo


Did you know this Earthquake center in Odaiba? Experience the Tokyo earthquake in a remake Tokyo city with after shocks and learn at the evacuation center. It called: Sona Area Tokyo – Disaster Prevention Experience Learning Facility.

And it is free!

On the 1st floor of the center, there is the Disaster Prevention Zone. You will experience the earthquake of an magnitude of 7.3 and the visitor needs to survive by her/himself while answering questions. What to do during a big earthquake?

Sona Disaster Center in Odaiba


On the 2nd floor, it is the Learning Zone. Like a museum, you will be informed by display- items, Project mapping and panels. How to prepare for a big earthquake and how to survive a big earthquake?

Sona Disaster Center in Odaiba 2nd floor


Beside of these two facilities for free, everybody is also welcome to their roof garden and also to their BBQ garden. Although the BBQ garden cost 1,000 yen per person to rent the table-chair set and the BBQ equipment.

Sona Disaster Center in Odaiba <credit>

Disaster Prevention Experience Learning Facility

Address: 3-8-35 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Phone number: 03 3529 2180
Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 ~ 17:00
Admission fee: Free

Eartquake disaster center in Tokyo

Bbq garden

Address: 3-8-35 Ariake, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Phone number: 050 3816 6374
Opening hours: Weekdays: 11:00 ~ 15:00 and Weekends, holidays, July and August 11:00 ~ 15:00 & 14:00 ~ 17:00
Admission fee: 1,000 yen per person

Extra information: table, chairs and BBQ equipment set are prepared. Bring own charcoal, food and drinks. Or order food, drinks, charcoal, tents and extra items with an extra charge fee.

BBQ in Odaiba

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Tulip Self Quarantine Service

Great news, the Japanese government has allowed more foreign students to enter Japan since the beginning of November.
However, these students need to quarantine for 10 days in Japan before they are really allowed to go out in Japan. Not only for international new students, but any female foreigner who is searching for an accommodation which is also allowed to quarantine the first 10 days, we provide the self quarantine service in our share houses!

Self Quarantine Tulip Service

Arriving at Narita Airport:

Book a seat for a Keisei train ride from Narita airport to Ueno station in Tokyo beforehand.  Currently, it is 4,500 yen per person to book a seat in this train and a parking spot in Ueno.

Please check for more information in Keisei Travel website:

If you are planning to stay in our Tulip share house, we will pick you up by car at your booked parking spot in Ueno. It is demanded from the Japanese government to be transported by private car or corona taxi. Our car service is
just 4,000 yen.

Tulip will prepare garbage bags, masks and sanitizer in the room of the new international resident. If the resident requests for more, it is negotiable.

Tulip is able to buy the grocery from the new resident twice in 10 days and the first and the second time of grocery deliveries cost 1,500 yen per time. The grocery list needs to be emailed to Tulip and the cost of the grocery shopping items needs to be paid back by the resident.
The third time of grocery delivery will be 5,000 yen.

Tulip will guide you about the quarantine rules in the share house, like the usage of the common bathrooms which need to be used by current residents as well.

For more information about this service, please contact us

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Convenient Stores November 2021, week 2

A lot of Japanese Chain stores have a lot of different campaigns. The changes happen quite often and all those advertisements online and at stores can be overwhelming.

This time it is about the 24hours convenient stores. There are moments when you are super busy and don’t have time or aren’t in the mood to cook, convenient stores are quite convenient, aren’t they?

Campaign Convenient stores 2021 November

If you are a regular customer, probably you would be bored if they always had the same items. Actually these stores provide new food items each week. So you are able to try different items. Surprisingly, the list is long! Although, not each store orders each time a new collection, so depending on the store which new items are available.

This week, the second week of November 2021, here is an example, but if you are curious weekly, these are the pages of the 3 main convenient stores in Kanto:


Lawson new product<credit>

Beside of themes and new items, they also have discount campaign, buy 1 and get another 1 for free campaign, get a gift campaign etc. Although, some of the campaigns you will get a voucher with your normal receipt, so you need to keep those vouchers with you. A bit of hard work reading Japanese is necessary.

For people who love those campaigns, check these pages of their websites:


<credit> <credit>

The fun part is the theme campaigns. For a certain period, the most of the time, it is about 1 month, there are certain items which are related to a theme. This month Familymart has a Cheese theme “Super Cheese Festival”. More target products with cheese are available and you are able to win 50 yen discount for each cheese item. Beside of this theme, Familmart has another theme campaign going on: “Movie Sumikko Gurashi”.
They are sweets available of this theme and you are able to collect stamps. When having enough Movie Sumikko Gurashi stamps, you can get a bag, plates, and other gifts.
Check the Theme Campaigns of this month:





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Difference between Japan & others: Child Custody

In the country where I was been raised, there is a choice of joint child custody and sole child custody, when there is divorcement and children involved. But did you know in Japan, there is no joint child custody?!

Joint child custody means both parents have the legal authority to raise the child, while being divorced.

Sole child custody means one parent has the right to raise the child alone.

Discussion Board Sole Child Custody

So basically, after divorcement in Japan, one parent has the full child custody. If that parent is flexible, the parent can negotiate with the other partner about raising the children together. Mostly, it is about financial support. Since, in Japan there is sole child custody and child abduction is not a crime, child abduction happens quite often. For example, the story of the Frenchman, who is not able to contact his own children anymore, since the Japanese ex-wife got the full custody and left suddenly with the children. Therefore he did a hunger strike in July, 2021. This raises some questions. Of course there are pros and cons for the divorced couple and the child. One example of pro joint child custody, the child gets love and care from both of its parents and vice versa. But one of the cons is if the parents don’t get along with each other, there will be a lot of frustration and hate around the child, which has negative impact on everybody.

Children abduction Japanese ruules

To have at least a choice between joint child custody and sole child custody in Japan, would be nicer. But what do you think about sole child custody (in Japan)? And do you understand about parents abducting their children, in the sake of own will, her and children’s safety, avoiding more fights etc.?

Protest Child abduction

Women children abduction


Japanese fathers demonstration


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Back in time in Yoyogi Park & Halloween in Tokyo

Yoyogi Park time line1.) The start (1946 ~ 1960)

The purpose was actually to focus on the history of Halloween in Japan, but apparently there is a connection between Halloween and Yoyogi park area. So I will tell the history of these two in one story.

It is amazing to see how an area we know now, wasn’t there a couple years before. After the World War II, GHQ, General Head Quarters, the American commander of allied occupation changed Japan to a Democratic country, took over the area of Yoyogi Park.  Yoyogi Park called at that time Washington Heights and the construction started in 1946. It was a huge village with 827 Western looking houses for American Air force and their families and other facilities like churches, theaters and schools. It felt like you were in the US instead of Japan. Japanese people were not allowed to enter except like maids, post-delivery servants and other supported staff. Because of the American Village next to Harajuku station, it is imaginable that there were some shops in Harajuku which focus more on American customers. In 1950 the first Kiddyland selling toys and foreign books, opened in Omotesando dori (Harajuku) and this store focused on American families in Washington Heights.

Washington Heights Harajuku<credit>

Washington Heights Harajuku

Kiddyland in Harajuku


2.) The change (1962 ~ 1983)

In 1962 Japan got its country back and American bases were disappearing, which means Washington Heights was also not a closed American community village anymore. Japan and America agreed to keep Washington Heights and used it for the Olympic Games 1964. Partially it had been demolished to create stadiums and other Olympic Games facilities. The part which was kept, it was used as accommodation place for athletes. Finally after the Olympic Games, there was not much choice than changing Washington Heights to a certain area which fits next to the stadiums and Meiji shrine. In 1964 the first trees were planted in the new plan of Yoyogi Park. Except one house of Washington Heights, as a memory, all the parts of Washington Heights were swiped away. Yoyogi Park was completed in 1971.

Before that, Harajuku has still been attracted to foreigners. A lot of Americans wished to have some Halloween items during Halloween. The toy store Kiddyland provided Halloween toys and decorations for foreign customers and it was such a success, the store has organized Halloween parades from 1983. Yearly more and more families in costumes have joined the Kiddyland Halloween parades.

Olympic games 1964 Dormitories


Olympic Village 1964


Halloween Kiddyland Harajuku Tokyo


3.) The booming tradition (1997 ~ now)      

The international influence around Yoyogi Park, years before, has spread the costume love further more. Until now, there are some Elvis Presley look-a-likes at the entrance of Yoyogi Park and the cosplay stores around Harajuku station. Wearing costumes in Japan has been seen as something awesome, and the American theme-park Disneyland came with a huge Halloween theme in 1997. This is actually the beginning of acknowledging Halloween in the Japanese society. It became a big trend and more foreigners have attracted Japanese to celebrate Halloween. Although not everybody in Japan appreciates that, since the Halloween party peeps have been making trouble in the society during Halloween. Beside of a couple of Elvis Presleys in front of Yoyogi Park, the park itself is nothing related to the Americans anymore. It is a popular park for strolls, picnics, seasonal vibes and international events.

yoyogi park
<credit> Elvis Presley Yoyogi Park

Want to know what is around Yoyogi right now, please check our other blog To-Do-List in Yoyogi, click here.

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Back in Time in Roppongi

roppongi timeline

1.) The start (1600~1700)
In 1626 Roppongi wasn’t so called Roppongi, but it was known as the site of the cremation of the wife of the important Shogunate Tokugawa. Tokugawa was a strong and powerful feudal military government between 1600 and 1868. Around 1660, the area got the name Roppongi and according to the kanji, it literally means

六 = 6 (ro)

本 = cylinder counting (pon)

木 = trees (gi)

Why this area got this name, it is not fully proven. So many clarifications are listed, but the most convincing one, is the story about the six daimyo’s residences located in Roppongi. Daimyo is a feudal landlord under the main government Tokugawa. They are like governors from nowadays. Each daimyo in Japan had to gather in Edo (Tokyo), therefore they had lovely second houses in Edo. Six daimyo who had residence in Roppongi, had coincidentally “tree” family names, like Aoki means Green/Blue trees and Takagi means Tall trees. So 6 pieces of tree families: “Roppongi”!

Daimyo residence in Roppongi

<credit>Military base Roppongi<credit>

2.) The growth (1935~1952)
In the beginning, it was just a quiet residential area, outside of the city center of Edo (Tokyo). Roppongi has changed a lot from the beginning of 1900. The World Wars were happening around that time. And after the First World War, Japan created a military base in Roppongi, which had a lot of land to locate a huge base camp. When Japan lost the Second World War in 1945, the American army occupied Roppongi and the Japanese military base changed to American military base. This period is an important turning point! Why Roppongi is well known of international character and bars and clubs? It is because of the American military base! The Americans wanted to enjoy in bars, clubs and restaurants which they are use to in the US, so they had started opening more and more bars, international restaurants, clubs, theater shows and prostitution facilities in Roppongi. These were only accessible from the American base.

Military army base Roppongi


Barrack Roppongi concrete


3.) Opening to the society (1956~now)  
In 1952, there was the Peace agreement established, which made an end on the American occupation in Roppongi. And slowly, Japanese customers were allowed to enter those facilities. Especially Japanese musicians, tv related workers and young rich kids hang out in Roppongi. When Roppongi station was opened with Hibiya line and the Olympic Games on the way, oowee! It was of course more accessible to other Japanese people staying in Ginza, Shibuya etc. Since then, it was welcome and attractive to many youngsters in Tokyo.

highway and tram in Roppongi


Nicola Pizza Roppongi

<credit>Roppongi 6 chome


Nowadays, we still know Roppongi as an entertainment base with shows, bars, clubs, Modern art, international restaurants, and international embassies, enjoyed by Japanese and foreigners!

In the recent years Roppongi has changed a lot as well, can you imagine in 2000 Roppongi Hills (2003) and Roppongi Midtown (2007) were not even there?

Roppongi now Modern


To know more about local places to visit in Roppongi, check our other blog about Roppongi:
To do list & map of Roppongi

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To-do-list in Nakano

Akihabara will always be the Mecca for converts to otaku-ism, but if you’re really serious, I mean really serious about picking up those collectibles during your stay in Japan, Nakano Broadway is the place to do it. Akihabara is crowded and touristy, once you do find the collectible you’re interested in there’s a chance it could actually be fake.

Nakano Broadway’s shop owners generally know what’s what. Which brings us to the most prolific pop culture goods shop housed there.

To-do-list Map Nakano

Nakano has a mix of everything, which is great for many people. Otakus are chilling there, but next to Nakano Broadway, there is a Showa-style izakaya district. Normally, it is crowded with many different kind of people who like to enjoy a pint in small restaurants, bars and cafes.

Close to South exit of Nakano station, there is a romantic street Renaga Zaka. Little lights along the streets, which remind me of Christmas lights. Stroll up the lit-up brick road and go for some wine at one of the Spanish eateries, or just a good old fashion nama beer at one of the fancy bars.
It has a totally different night life vibe than the Showa Izakaya area of Nakano. Are you searching for cocktail bars and more fancy French food, then this is your place.


Nakano station is in 13 minutes reachable from Shinjuku station by train:

  • Chuo line
  • Chuo Sobu line
  • Tozai line


Some historical facts about Nakano:

  • Nakano was an agricultural place, but after the Kanto earthquake (1923) in the metropolitan area in Tokyo, a lot of people had moved to Nakano and Nakano has become a popular residential area.
  • Between 1915 and 1983 Nakano had a big prison, called Former Nakano Prison. As visitors it would be interesting to see the remaining gate of the former prison.
  • In front of Nakano ward office there are 5 dogs statues. They represent the day the 5th ruler of Tokugawa family instituted animal protection laws, specifically for dogs.
    The memorial statues called Dog Shogun.


Interesting points about Nakano:

  • Day-time-people are able to join the food trucks, picnic, barbeque and restaurant terraces along the open green field.
  • The official Manga source for the die-hard anime and manga fans. But you are also able to find more than just manga and anime. Items of the 20th century American popular music and movies, movie figures, Barbie’s, trains and Gatcha Gatcha veding machines.
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Police Hospital in Nakano is one of the largest hospitals in Tokyo. If you have a problem that can’t be assessed in a small clinic, a hospital like this is where most go to get an in-depth check-up.
  • There are so many restaurants and bars to choose from.


For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Nakano Central Park

Mangan and Anime

Gatcha gatcha anime NakanoOthers nakanoLife map Nakano


To know more local places to visit in Nakano, our reviews are interesting to read too. Bozhana tells her story of the neighborhood:
Resident Interview Happy House Orange with Bozhana


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To-do-list in Zoshigaya

Zoshigaya, a humble hidden area, between the outspoken siblings Ikebukuro and Mejiro. It’s humble, but special, especially for people who are interested in Japanese culture and history. Probably, having a daytrip in Tokyo in a quiet spot it is more recommended during the pandemic period too.

The most famous icon in Zoshigaya is the Kishimonji temple. It is known for worshipping a god of children, pregnancy and birth and surrounded with monumental Ginkgo trees which are about 700 years old. The second oldest ginkgo trees in Tokyo. They are impressively big! Recently, there is an anime called Saekano, how to raise a boring girlfriend. The story is in Zoshigaya area, and also one of the steepest slope in that area is showing on the background of this anime poster. It might be, Zoshigaya will be a more popular spot to visit, it is a potential spot with hidden gems and it is very convenient to live, since it is so close to Mejiro, Ikebukuro and Takadanobaba.

Zoshigaya map

Zoshigaya station is just 16 minutes walking to Ikebukuro station, 10 minutes walking to Mejiro station and 17 minutes to Takadanobaba station.
Zoshigaya station:
–  Fukutoshin line

Kishibojimae station:
– Toden-Arakawa line

Mejiro station:
– JR Yamanote line


Some historical facts about Zoshigaya:

  • Tokyo government created 6 cemeteries in Tokyo and Zoshigaya cemetery is one of the six cemeteries, opened in 1874. A lot of famous novelists and artists have their grave stones in Zoshigaya. Including the novelist Natsume Soseki. Tokyo cemeteries are not that creepy, people stroll, jog, and picnic in those areas.
  • Kamikawaguchiya is the oldest candy store in Japan. It was established in 1781, and still children and adults like to buy some traditional and modern candies.
  • In Japan, there are certain pilgrim routes and Zoshigaya has one of the famous pilgrim routes. Basically you visit 7 different temples and shrines to worship 7 lucky gods with different purpose. Homyoji temple is established in 810 and is one of the seven religious spotsin Zoshigaya. During New Year, some of the locals like to visit all the seven, to collect 7 stamps, which give luck if you have all of them.


Interesting points about Zoshigaya:

  • Close to Kishimonji temple, there is a small street with large Zelkova trees and along the street there is an old style Japanese coffee shop, Kiazuma Coffee, with a bit of modern hipster twist. It is quite popular to have a good coffee there with a piece of cake or a small hotdog. Beside of this café, there are some crafts shops and some ateliers of young designers.
  • McCaled old Missionary House is an American style house lived by an American missionary John McCaleb. Currently it is a museum (free entry) and it is unique, since it has Western and Japanese architecture techniques.
  • Beside of Kiazuma Coffee, other cafes and bread store are recommended too. Zoshigaya is a good spot for daytime.


For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Zoshigaya CemeteryTemple and ginkgo tree Store: Candy and Melon panAubergine shrine Dango store and Missionary house Stores:ife map Zoshigaya Facilities


To know more local places to visit in Zoshigaya, our reviews are interesting to read too. Ms. R. tells her story of the neighborhood:
Resident Interview Happy House Stella with Ms. R.

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To-do-list in Nakameguro

Is Nakameguro a residential area? Especially in weekends and in March and April, you probably think Nakameguro is part of Tokyo’s center. But! Nakameguro is officially a residential district. It is noticeable when you arrive at the main road next to Nakameguro station, there are all apartments along this road. Despite being a place to live peacefully, there are many unique shops, restaurants, art galleries, green strolling areas and other facilities.

Not far from Nakameguro, there are some iconic spots for visitors, like Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Meguro Sky garden (a roof top park), Tokyo Metropolitan Teien art Museum, Hotel Gajoen and it is extremely close by Shibuya, Ebisu and Sangenjaya! It is a great place to visit several spots in 1 day. Going from one spot to another, the famous river is a good place to walk along. When all the cherry blossoms are blooming, it is the best moment to stroll along Meguro River, since this place is one of the most famous cherry blossom spot in Tokyo. Beautiful during daytime and nighttime. Although, during the blooming season, don’t expect a smooth stroll. It can be so crowded, that there are moments that you are trying to dive in a bath of people and pink flowers.

Nakameguro to do lmap

Nakameguro station is in 12 minutes reachable from Ebisu station on foot and 25 minutes reachable from Shibuya on foot. The trains and undergrounds which are coming to Nakameguro station:

  • Hibiya line
  • Toyoko line


Some historical facts about Nakameguro:

  • The name Nakameguro seems to come from an important guard of Edo period. “Naka” means “Inside”, “Me” means “Eye” and “Guro” came from “Kuro”, which means “Black”. Meguro, so Black eyes can from the guard statue with black eyes. That statue is to protect at the Edo borders.
  • Not so far from Nakameguro, closer to Meguro station, there is a temple called Meguro Fudoson temple. Around that temple there are at least 2 main points known of that area, the iconic Meguro-ame, in English Meguro candy. And the second iconic food was the bamboo shoot rice.
  • Apparently around Meguro there was a lot of bamboos. Nowadays the bamboo farmers have been disappearing.


Interesting points about Nakameguro:

  • Nakameguro is still changing, and more interesting shops, restaurants and galleries are coming. Especially Nakame Gallery Street under the railways, is becoming more elegant hipster style.
  • Interior Design of different cafes and shops are also interesting to check!
  • The cherry blossoms are a must-see

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Nakameguro restaurants

Nakameguro Temple and BookstoreNakameguro Coffee + Hawaii + Notebook store

Nakameguro Hotel Chocolat

Nakame gallery street

Nakameguro Aesop + Sri Lanka restaurant

Nakameguro others

Facilities map Nakameguro

Special thanks to Elena Calderon Alaez to guide us in Nakameguro.

This is about Nakameguro in Setagaya-ku, but in walking distance, you can easily walk to Yutenji. To know more about Yutenji, see our guide map:
To-do-list in Yutenji

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To-do-list in Yutenji

Tuuu-tuu-tuuu, for train geeks, Yutenji is probably an interesting area. A train geek opened a train curry restaurant and actually bought an original wheel of the last locomotive C57117. The original wheel is seen in public, not far from Yutenji station. The train restaurant has moved to the north part of Yutenji, but it basically has the same train theme as before.
Funny thing is, you will get your curry meal by a train toy, which goes through the restaurant.

Yutenji is a bit similar as Mishuku and Ikejiri area, since they are all three quiet residential areas, conveniently close to main areas, like Shibuya, Sangenjaya and Nakemeguro. Yutenji is just one train stop further from Nakameguro and is not far from Sangenjaya. So basically these main areas are in walking distance from Yutenji.

to do map yutenjeTrain to Yutenji

Yutenji station is in 2 minutes reachable from Nakanmeguro station by train and 14 minutes on foot, and 18 minutes reachable from Sangenjaya station by bus or 28 minutes on foot. The train which is coming to Yutenji station:

  • Toyoko line

Some historical facts about Yutenji:

  • The name Yutenji is derived from the famous temple, Yutenji temple. In 1723 a Buddhist monk opened this temple dedicated to his master Buddhist monk Yuten.
  • The kept wheel of the locomotive C57117 is made by Mitsubishi in 1939. In 1973 the locomotive went through Japan.

Interesting points about Yutenji

  • There are small good shops spread all over the place. A popular lunch café Torse, is in the middle of a residential area close to Yutenji station, but there is always a line of people waiting before it opens.
  • Yutenji was not a place of trains or locomotives, just the owner of the train curry restaurant is am extreme train fan and made Yutenji a locomotive area.
  • In the end of April, there is the ceremony for firemen at the Yutenji temple, Edo Firemen’s Annual Memorial. This event is a memorial ceremony for fire fighters who sacrificed their life.
  • In mid-July there is the summer children Obon dori festival. Normally people with their Japanese yukata wear, will come and join the obon dance.

For knowing the area a bit better, a map with images:

Train curry restaurant and Art galleryJam pack Sawing store

Coffee and Cookies

Mexican restaurant

Sweets and spicy curry


Facilities Yutenji

This is about Yutenji in Setagaya-ku, but in walking distance, you can easily continue to Mishuku and Ikejiri. To know more about Mishuku, see our guide map:
To-do-list in Mishuku & Ikejiri

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