Browsing articles tagged with " Tokyo"
Nov 1, 2012

International Supermarkets in Tokyo

Japanese supermarkets are some of the best in the world in terms of quality. From the fresh fish, to the great vegetables, and all the ready to eat treats there’s not much more that could be asked. That is unless you’re looking to bake a birthday cake, getting ready for a traditional western Sunday dinner, or just something as simple as cold cuts aka sandwich meats.

Whatever the taste that is being looked for here is a list of 5 of some popular international stores or chains in Tokyo offering international ingredients and treats.

Kinokuniya Supermarkets

Now one of the larger chains in Japan Kinokuniya was founded over 100 years ago. They also have a long history of bringing international tastes to Tokyo, being the first to internationally fly French cheese to Japan by air freight.
Download a full English listing at their website

Nissin World Delicatessen

Renowned for what they call their “Meat Rush” and returned to for a floor full of worldwide wines, Nissin is a great choice for a weekend excursion to restock a freezer full of prime cuts.
Visit Nissin’s site for more info

Kaldi Coffee Farm

While the name says coffee there’s a lot more to be had at this countrywide chain. From international candy to taco shells and salsa, Don’t expect a full grocery experience, but do stop in for a quick snack from back home!
Visit Kaldi’s site for more info

Seijo Ishii

Another of the larger chains within Japan Seijoishii has great locations including one right at the base of Roppongi hills. While there site is all in Japanese if you ask a local friend for a Seijoishii they’ll surely be able to send you in the right direction.
View Seijoishii’s Store Directory Using Google Translate

National Azabu

With 70% of shoppers coming from overseas you know they’ve got to be good. Make sure to check out either of their great locations in Denenchofu or Hiroo.
See their access map on to their two branches

Oct 26, 2012

Doorstep Delights: Get what you want from Tokyo’s delivery spots

Amenro La Fiesta

Amid Roppongi’s international kaleidoscope is a haven of home-cooked Mexican cuisine—with a free-flowing party vibe to boot—in the form of Amenro La Fiesta.

All the dishes at La Fiesta are made with natural ingredients and no chemical seasonings. Classics like nachos (¥880-¥1,080), quesadillas (¥660-¥880), tacos (hard or soft, ¥800-¥1,180), or fajitas (¥1,760-¥2,280) are on the menu alongside cheeky curiosities like the queso fundido (¥790), a rare-in-Tokyo dish of melted cheese with chorizo (a cauliflower-and-broccoli option is available for veggies).

The margarita (¥780) is made with fresh lemons, and Mexican beer and tequila are on hand, too, to lubricate your adventure. And the drinks are reasonably priced—Negra Modelo, Tecate, Dos Equis, Sol and Corona all cost ¥700. The drinks list also features sangria (¥500) and a half-dozen varieties of piña coladas (¥1,180).

But it’s not just about Tex. The menu also includes authentic Mexican meals such as mole poblano (¥1,980) and beef a la tampiqueña (¥2,480), plus appetizers like camarones al ajillo (garlic grilled shrimp, ¥1,230). So, whether you’re looking for the US take or real South-of-the-Border cooking, this friendly and colorful restaurant has the meal for you. And if you fancy opening up a La Fiesta taste sensation in your own office or home, they’re happy to deliver their delicious dishes to your door.

2F 3-15-23 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3475-4412. Email: Open daily 11:30am-2pm (LO) & 5-11:30pm (LO). Nearest stn: Roppongi.

Burger Mania Shirokane / Hiroo

Imagine you’re stepping into a New York City hamburger café in downtown Tokyo, at one of two branches of Burger Mania. Their woody, open-plan design marks them out from your typical Japanese burger house, as does the tasty, wide-ranging menu.
The burgers have become a favorite with Japanese and foreigner alike—a common phrase heard when walking past their front windows, open during warmer months, is a declaration that these are the best burgers in the city. And the gushes of praise are often accompanied by punters buying their kawaii burger keyrings.

So what’s the fuss about? Well, the Ultimate Blue Cheese Burger (¥1,300) and the Bacon Cheese Burger (¥1,250) are the most popular orders on the slate. Sides include French fries with sour cream and sweet chili (¥600). Customers can select toppings to give sandwiches a personal touch, too.

In a sumptuous twist, you can enjoy the fine sandwiches of Burger Mania without even leaving your home or office, via a delivery service operated by FineDine. To keep the delicious dishes piping hot, insulation packs are used on all deliveries. Please note that delivery prices can differ from the restaurant menu.

Look out for Burger Mania’s revamped menu coming out in November, with many more elegant varieties to choose from.

Shirokane: 6-5-7 Shirokane, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3442-2200. Delivery: Tel: 03-5791-3130 (FineDine Azabu).
Hiroo: 2F Hiroo Rokkoukan 5-15-25 Azabu, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5422-7899. Delivery: Tel: 03-5775-1860 (FineDine Aoyama).

Domino’s Pizza Japan

Foreigners in Japan rarely get used to Japanese pizzas with mayonnaise, corn, and other strange toppings. Fortunately they don’t have to. Domino’s Pizza Japan offers authentic US-style pizzas with all the right ingredients. And they get it to your door with no hassle.
Ordering stuff in Japan can be tricky without the lingo. That’s why the kindly folks at Domino’s have set up an easy-to-use, all-in-English website. All you have to do is browse the pictorial menu, punch in your choices, and sit back. Your food is freshly prepared and delivered hot and steaming half an hour later. Choose from specialty pizzas, build-your-own where you choose the toppings (they even offer mayonnaise—just in case), and gain access to succulent special offers.

One such bargain is valid until September 30. Order up a Brooklyn Pizza and get a whole other one absolutely free. There are four delicious varieties, including the Brooklyn Kings, with ground sausage, fresh, juicy tomato, and a tasty range of other toppings. To claim the deal, just sign up to the English website of Domino’s Pizza Japan (registration is free, quick, and easy), and go to “Special Offers.”
If you’re not keen for pizza—or fancy branching out—Domino’s also offers tasty subs, fried chicken, pasta dishes and a whole menu more. And with over 200 stores around Japan, you won’t have any trouble getting your meal, wherever you live.

Open daily 11am-midnight (can vary by store). Email:

Munchies Catering

In the context of growing fast-food consumption in Japan, Munchies Deli Tokyo was born out of a desire to promote a healthy eating lifestyle for today’s busy urban folk. Putting this philosophy into action, this versatile catering business is highly selective in its sourcing, using only the safest additive-free ingredients.

Chefs use these raw materials to create a variety of healthy dishes to cater for the most extravagant of events. Munchies aims to please a full range of customers, whether they be large corporate groups, bands of old friends coming together, or teenagers at a birthday party. The folk at this friendly, family-style company believe parties needn’t be the realm of greasy snacks, but can be a place where the best features of fresh food can be enjoyed.

Munchies is happy to deliver the fodder to the venue at a time of your choosing. For hot food, special heat packets are included, so that the dishes can be reheated and served steaming to guests whenever you wish. The menu is awash with delicious original recipes, but some of the most popular are the finger foods and pinchos.

For orders exceeding ¥30,000 Munchies will even throw in a free bottle of wine to help boost the party spirit. Get in touch with any questions you might have, or peruse the website to see what’s on offer.

2F Loop-X Bldg, 3-9-15 Kaigan, Minato- ku. Tel: 0120-875-191. Email: Open daily 10am-8pm, closed New Year season.

Tired of spending your precious time off driving hours in traffic to Costco or IKEA? Never bothered going because you don’t have a car? Trips to those far-flung outlets are a thing of the past thanks to Tokyo’s sprightly foreigner-friendly delivery service, Yoyo Market. Hit them up online and get deliveries of the best of Costco and IKEA as well as a host of other imported and organic goodies.

Yoyo Market offers the fastest shipping in the business. Order before noon on a weekday to get the package on your doorstep before noon the next day—and that’s for almost all of Japan. The easy-to-read English-language info on the website clearly explains all relevant details, such as the ¥950 shipping fee per box up to 25kg (no matter what’s in it), how to access their friendly, accessible support and other features likely to make the Western consumer weep with joy. There are no hidden charges like extra shipping for chilled or frozen foods. And aside from foodstuffs (real baking powder, anyone?), Yoyo Market has a wide variety of fabric softeners, detergents, and even deodorants. Have a browse and see what you find.

If you spend over ¥30,000, you can get shipping for free. And for every ¥100 yen you spend, you’ll earn ¥1 in Yoyo Reward Points. Enter METRO-1 into the coupon code field when you check out, and receive ¥500 off orders over ¥15,000.

Sep 28, 2012

10 Early Years Tokyo Schools For Kids & Tots

If you’re planning to move and have children, especially young ones, finding a home within distance of the school you’d like them to attend is always a high priority.

In order to help you make your decision easier we’ve brought together 10 English speaking schools. So without further ado, and in no particular order here are the schools, there websites, and a little about them:

International School of the Sacred Heart • Hiroo

Following kindergarten this is an all girl’s school, but prior to that they offer a great system that also emphasizes computer literacy at a young age.

In talking about their program the school’s Principal emphasized their extended classrooms:

We have an extensive Open Area which extends the classroom experiences allowing the children to experience dramatic play, painting, handcrafts, water and sand exploration and practical life activities…

Visit ISSH’s website

J’s International School • Azabu-Juban

A great early years school for “Little Lambs, Busy Bees, Ready Rabbits, & Clever Cats!”

If their fun naming style doesn’t tell you about them then hopefully one of their student’s parents can:

…You all made me feel so comfortable because I knew that Kai was enjoying his days. Sometimes he would even complain, “How come I never get to stay late!” When your child doesn’t want to return home at end of an already long day, then you know he’s had a great day!

Visit J’s website

Joy to the World American International School • Bunkyo-ku

A great international school that even offers a Summer in Hawaii program!

About their pre-kindergarten program they had this to say:

Pre-Kindergarten has two main goals: first, to guide students in their transition from home life to school life, and second, to provide students with the social and academic skills needed for Kindergarten. These goals are achieved with careful consideration of each students needs and abilities

Visit Joy to the World’s website

Sesame International Preschool • Hiroo

Sesame stands for: Smile Esteem Spirit Appreciation Manners Equality

In writing about what makes them different they said:

…what sets Sesame apart are our kind hearted teachers. Almost all of our student’s parents comment on the home-like feeling… We believe that children are only limited by a lack of experiences and benefit most from an increase in opportunities…

Visit Sesame’s website

Alpha Kids Square, Club, & Academy • Tokyo, Kansai, & Kyushu

Alpha is a large children’s pre-school that also leans towards being a day care provider.

In their Mission Statement they say:

We provide the following that help “healthy growth of children”, “social prosperity”, and “prosperity of employees and families”.
●The substantial childcare and early educational programs
●Esteem of child’s individuality and promotion of creativity with help from our staff members…

Visit Alpha’s website

Bilingual Kids International Preschool • Sakurazutsumi & Sakai

BKI is very proud of their Reggio Emilia approach to education and development of children.

In regards to what sets them apart they had this to say:

…we do not assume what your child may like to learn about, we simply uncover their interests and then follow them to wherever they may lead us! Our school truly believes that “The mind forgets, but the heart always remembers!”

…with our Head Office/School located inside a beautiful, green, leafy park

Visit BKI’s website

ASIJ Early Learning Center • Roppongi

ASIJ is one of the most well known international schools in Japan with their main campus located in Chofu, but their “Early Learning Center” being located in the very accessible Roppongi.

In a message from their director she described their approach as follows:

…Children are encouraged to explore, manipulate, create, and construct things in their environment. The cognitive and social development of children is best encouraged through collaboration with others, discussion, discovery of the “how” and “why” of actions, and developing personal meaning through the application of what is learned…

Visit ASIJ’s website

The British (Primary) School in Tokyo • Shibuya

This great school offering a curriculum from 3 years of age all the way to graduation all using the British method of education.

The head of the primary school had this to say about their curriculum:

…with the wealth of extra-curricular activities, we strive to develop potential from within, encouraging each student to grow in confidence, flourish academically and develop a life-long love of learning

Visit BST’s website

The Montessori School of Tokyo • Azabu-Juban

This is one of the premiere schools in Tokyo offering an education in the Montessori method.

In describing their method and classrooms they had this to say:

When you walk into a Montessori classroom, the first thing you will notice is that everyone is busy and interested in what they are doing. One child is counting beads, others are working together on a puzzle map, and in the corner of the room a teacher is introducing a small group of children to a new language activity.

Visit MST’s website

Komozawa Park International School • Todoroki

A preschool and kindergarten located next to one of Japan’s biggest parks.

In talking about the benefits of being so close to the Olympic park KPIS had wrote this:

We strongly believe in the value of free play, and Komazawa Olympic Park serves as a large open classroom where our students enjoy the freedom of running, tumbling, and playing around as well as climbing trees. The fallen leaves, twigs, and rocks provide natural materials for our students to stimulate their creativity,

Visit KPIPK’s website

Sep 14, 2012

“Please Do It” Public Transportation Guide

If you’ve lived in Japan for sometime you’ve doubtless seen these PSA posters, but f you’re new to Japanese public transportation they provide a great crash course on what to do and what not to do, with some being a little too much and others being too obvious.

This is probably the golden rule and one to not be broken, absolutely do not talk on your cell phone in a train or subway. Keep it on the platform or of course at home.

This is a growing problem, and unless you have the greatest taste in music one that you’ll want to be aware of. You might even want to do some tests at home with your headphones to see what’s the loudest you should go on the train.

The meaning on this one is likely “No diving into the train,” but maybe this one would be better suited for those that dive into a rush hour train after getting a running start. Still don’t delay the train by running through closing doors.

The eating is a clear no go area in public transportation in Japan, but the main one in this is the backpack, which you’ll find far less common in Japan, and maybe for this exact reason. The solution to this problem comes later…

Even if you’re sick with love priority seats are for the elderly, injured, parents, and people who look like they just need them. If you sit down when no one is around and they’re empty just make sure to remain aware of just where you’re sitting. In fact no matter where you’re sitting it’s not uncommon for people to offer their seats to the elderly and those in need.

This one was touched on in the last three, but seriously no eating on the train. No elbowing people in the face while doing, and most definitely absolutely no ramen.

And now for a master poster with nearly every “bad” action on it, including sitting on the ground, especially near the doors. Doing makeup (not completely sure about this one but it’s one that’s being really stressed lately. Eating and messiness. Lastly one that smartphones have helped solve a lot, the dreaded large format newspaper reading rider.

And now we take a turn for the positive, starting with a sequel to the backpack problem before, and showing the proper method for carrying a bulky bag on the train.

Also despite it possibly being less common to see in Japan, due to the more reserved culture, please don’t hesitate to offer help to those who may need it.

This one may be easy to brake on accident and take some practice, but make sure not to sit wide, not to place anything on the seats, and the part that takes practice is being able to spot the mostly invisible grid of seats.

There's many more of these posters, in fact 36 total on Gakuranman’s blog,so whether you’re interested in seeing the pictures, reading the text, or learning more about Japanese public transportation manners make sure to head over there.

Sep 7, 2012

Family Table: Several kid-friendly eateries that are adult-friendly, too

Pierette Near Futako-Tamagawa station, kids will want to pirouette with joy at Pierette (4-15-30, Seta, Setagaya-ku;, a massive indoor play complex produced by educational toy importer and retailer BorneLund Ltd. Multiple zones—the cyberwheel, air castle, circuit and baby gym, among others—are designed to amuse and captivate kids up to age 12, while the Garden Café provides sustenance and refreshment before and after energetic bouts of play. Adults can rest assured that all menu items have been tested for potential allergens, and choose from either a Japanese or Western set (¥980) as the kids tuck into their own curry (¥530), or a special basket of goodies (¥630). Various admission charges apply.



Courtesy of Baby King Kitchen

At first glance, the wooden toys, miniature slide, “library” books and indoor swing suggest kids rule the roost at Baby King Kitchen (2F, 3-2-15 Koenji-Kita, Suginami-ku;, but a stylish interior comprised of leather sofas, burnished wood and chalky walls ensures visiting adults will also feel right at home. At ¥1,100, the children’s lunch plate is pricier than many items on the grown ups’ menu, but when a hamburger, fried egg, cocktail wiener sausage, battered shrimp, rice, salad and dessert are up for grabs, even the fussiest of eaters will be placated.



© Yoshitaka Matsumoto

Kids’ meals are all grown up at Aussie chef Bill Granger’s Odaiba outpost (Seaside Mall 3F, 1-6-1 Daiba, Minato-ku;, where worldly whippersnappers feast on adaptations from the adults’ menu. If the grilled salmon with beans and mash doesn’t appeal, wean your child on sophisticated versions of kid-friendly staples such as the wagyu burger, chicken schnitzel with garlic mashed potatoes and for budding vegetarians, spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, ricotta, spinach and Pecorino. All are available with a choice of four desserts for ¥1,100.


It’s not your everyday café restaurant that boasts its own playground, but such is the case with Dear Kids Café (1-25-3 Kamishakujii, Nerima-ku;, a cavernous and brightly colored tot-friendly space where children can amuse themselves with rubber balls, climbing equipment and a slide while parents tuck into pizza, pasta or a salad, and a beverage or two. A small surcharge of ¥350 is levied on children aged between 1-6 years for the first hour of playground use, but if one of the special kids’ meals (¥580) or pizza, pasta and sandwich are ordered, the hour becomes free.



Don’t let the name fool you—the Tokyo Baby Café (B1F, 4-5-12 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; is as much for parents as it is for kids. Apart from luxe amenities such as spacious changing areas and nursing rooms, the café is stocked with picture books and toys galore, allowing parents to relax because their children are playing safely and not causing mayhem. The menu caters for customers of all ages, and a limited number of Oisix-sourced organic lunch sets are available daily. Exclusively for the under-seven set (accompanied by parents or guardians) and pregnant women, the Tokyo Baby Café charges ¥500 per half hour for use of its facilities on top of any food and beverages ordered.



Courtesy of Sun2Diner

A relaxed and easy vibe, stroller-friendly interior, non-smoking area and BBQ goodies galore have all helped make Nakameguro burger and grill restaurant Sun2Diner (Ogawa Building 1F, 2-43-11, Kamimeguro Meguro-ku; a finger-licking family favorite. Children are also in for a special treat with their very own Kids’ Plate (¥650) including mashed potato, pancakes, scrambled eggs, drinks and vanilla ice cream. Time your visit right and you might also get to see some old school animation along the lines of Tom and Jerry on the venue’s TV.



Daikanyama is home to numerous baby and children’s shopping outlets, and after an energetic morning (or afternoon) of retail therapy, mamas and papas are advised to take a relaxing break at Chano-ma, housed in the same building as the Unit nightclub (2F Za House Bldg, 1-34-17 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku; From11:30 am until 5pm the venue runs an extended “Chano-mama lunchtime,” a space in which parents can enjoy eating organic food from Hokkaido while their babies lounge, play and nap on the spacious canvas-covered tatami seating area. Changing facilities are top notch and Chano-ma also organizes “Happy Birthday photo sessions” for the junior set.

Aug 31, 2012

Juice: Your Recovery Stop After a Work Out or All Nighter

Squeezing the good stuff out of the superfood boom that rattled the West a few years back is Sky High Juice Bar (TN Aoyama Bldg, 2-3-4 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku;, where you can sip on concoctions of chemical-free liquids squeezed from all manner of mostly organic pods, husks and berries. To get over your night doing something more damaging in Shibuya, try the detox sweet green (¥1,000) with kale, celery, cucumber, cabbage, apple or pear, plus lemon and ginger for a little added zing and color. Other blends are offered to target whatever your problem might be, be it skin, blood, or an inability to sing in tune.

source: Metropolis

Aug 17, 2012

Four Beaches Not Far From Tokyo

When most people think of Tokyo they don’t think of beaches, but with hot summers they’ll soon end up in one’s dreams. Luckily living on an island a beach is never too far away, and only a short drive or train ride away.

Since the weekend is nearly here though this guide will be short highlighting only four beaches. All of these great weekend spots are within an hour or two of Tokyo and make for a great one day vacation.

photo: Peter Lidell

Just south of Tokyo is Kamakura, a great historical town that also has a few beaches. Along with the beaches are the beach front bars that have a reputation as both great day and nightspots… read more about Kamakura


photo: Catherine Hagar

Just a little further south of Kamakura is Chigasaki, a small beach town famous for opening Japan’s first surf shop. All the beaches aren’t just for surfing though with some great spots for families and swimmers alike… read more about Chigasaki


photo: Franki Webb

If it’s Cancun, or a Latin American vibe, that’s being sought then Onjuku in Chiba is just the beach! With lobsters in sombreros, Mexican restaurants, and more this is as close as you’ll get to Mexico in Japan… read more about Mexico Japan aka Onjuku


photo: Bryan Baier

Sometimes in Japan white sand and blue water can be hard to find, but only 2.5 hours south of Tokyo is Tatadohama beach. With its beautiful water its sure to remind of Okinawa and Hawaii…  read more about Tatadohama


Those are just 4 of the many great and convenient beaches surrounding Tokyo. Make sure to not just read about them but also plan a getaway this weekend!

May 27, 2012
Francesco Agresti

Resident Interview: Milana

Two years ago Milana and her family left their hometown in Indonesia to start a new and exciting life in the heart of Tokyo. Now two years later, Milana shares her family’s experiences in their new home located in Yoyogi.

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May 18, 2012
Francesco Agresti

Finding English Speaking Doctors

One of the biggest concerns for expats living in Japan is locating a good, English speaking doctor. Hopefully, this list of recommended clinics will put all your concerns to rest and keep you from feeling under the weather.

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