We all go through it when you are new to a country or city and you don’t know the best places to visit or what to do during your spare time. Now it is Friday night, you just got home after a long day of work, school, sightseeing or doing the bare minimum, and you want to do something fun alone or with friends but you can’t figure out what. Luckily, as I have been living in Tokyo for over 5 months I have a fair share of ideas that might be of interest for you. A nice side note is that all Come on Up share houses are located relatively close to the city centre, meaning that you can easily work down this list in your spare time.
1. Japanese Izakaya
New to Japan or not, you most likely will hear the term ‘’izakaya’’ quite often. This term simply means ‘’a place where they sell alcohol and serve food’’. However, most foreigners would refer to izakaya as a Japanese style hub. There are thousands of izakaya spread throughout Tokyo and some even offer an all you can eat or all you can drink menu for a bargain price. These are some of the most popular izakaya around Tokyo.
- Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho (also known as the Piss Ally or Memory Lane) this is a small alley with several small izayaka where you can enjoy a cosy atmosphere and escape Shinjuku’s modern fast life.
- Gonpachi (also known as the Kill Bill restaurant) there are several locations such as Ginza, Shibuya and Asakusa.
- Robata Izakaya Jomon in Roppongi is one of the best Robota (grilled food) izakaya in town, definitely worth a visit.
Tokyo has the highest number of Michelin star restaurants worldwide (234 restaurants). In these high quality (but also relatively pricey) restaurants you can enjoy foods such as: Teppanyaki, Shabu-Shabu, Tempura, Sukiyaki and Sushi. However, Tokyo isn’t only full of fancy restaurants it has more than enough smaller more local restaurants with just as high quality but for a lower price. Either way you are sure to have a great meal while enjoying great atmospheres.
- Joël Robuchon ジョエル・ロブション – ¥¥¥¥ A French-styled 3 Michelin star restaurant located in Ebisu. It has a frequently changing menu and provides a classic and comfortable atmosphere. If you feel like having a French-style fancy dinner than this is the place to go.
- Haciendo del Cielo – ¥¥-¥¥¥ A Spanish-styled restaurant located in Daikanyama. The restaurant is located on the 9th floor providing its guests with a beautiful view of the skyline in Tokyo. You can both choose to sit outside and enjoy the weather or sit inside and enjoy the warm atmosphere combined with Latin music.
- Sushiro スシロ – ¥ A sushi chain restaurant with multiple locations in Tokyo with Ikebukuro being my favourite. Each table works with a tablet on which you can order your items followed by your food being delivered to you on a conveyer belt. It is the right place to go whether you eat alone or with friends.
3. Bar and Cafe’s
After enjoying a meal or 3 its a nice feeling to relax while having a drink in your hand whether its apple juice or fine wine. Luckily just like izakaya there are hundreds of nice bars and cafes in Tokyo. These are my top 3 recommendations for bars
- Rigoletto Roppongi Hills ¥¥-¥¥¥ A beautiful semi casual bar / restaurant with a calming and romantic atmosphere. There is pleasant music and an amazing view on the skyline of Tokyo where you can see you Tokyo tower. I definitely recommend to enjoy this view at night.
- Hub ¥-¥¥ A chain of pubs spread throughout Tokyo. The hub is know for its national vibes. It is the perfect place to meet new people and make great friends. They have a very nice menu of drinks but also several small dishes that you can enjoy.
- Shinjuku Golden Gai ¥-¥¥¥ The Golden Gai is a small alley with tons of small bars, which seem to be built into small houses. It is very touristic place and there are bars for all prices and atmospheres.
Who doesn’t like a good night of karaoke? Tokyo is overflowing of random karaoke bars here and there. The karaoke culture within Japan is huge. It is great as night out with your friends but if you don’t have friends don’t fear! Some bars offer company staff that will sing and clap along while you are having the time of your life. Usually karaoke bars also offer costumes making it an even more adventurous experience.
Last but not least clubs! The clubbing scene in Japan is completely different from what I am used to back home in the Netherlands. However this does not take away that its an entertaining night out in the nightclubs of Tokyo! Shibuya and Roppongi are the most popular locations to go clubbing during the weekend. These are the top 3 clubs in these areas according to us.
- Alife Roppongi A huge and international club . It has 3 floors with each a different genre of music. You can enjoy edm, urban and pop music throughout the whole club. Compared to other clubs it is reasonably priced for the entertainment and service that is provided.
- Camelot Shibuya This club is similar to Alife with music and service. However Camelot is fairly smaller and only has 2 floors but 3 dance floors. Usually ladies get in for free!
- Club Womb Shibuya A world famous club where lots of big DJ’s play. According to locals the usual genre of music is tech-house and drum and base, however this differs per event. There are 4 floors to party on and reasonable prices for drinks.
Go and try these out and let us know in the comments what you think of these tips or if you have any recommendations we would love to hear about them!
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My name is Rochelle Reijme, living in the Kita-Ikebukuro share house, and I have been an intern at Come on Up Tokyo since August 2018!
To get to know me a bit more I will explain a little bit about me and where I’m from. I am a 22-year-old exchange student from the Netherlands, Rotterdam. I was born in a small village called Dordrecht, the Netherlands, but moved to Paramaribo, Suriname (South-America), as soon as I turned four. I lived and went to school there for 1 year before returning to the Netherlands, Rotterdam. As I grew up being multilingual and could understand English better than Dutch, I wanted my university study to be completely in English. This brought me to the study course I am currently following at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences called ‘’Trade Management Asia’’. Here I got the choice of going abroad for a whole year to Indonesia, China or Japan and being a city girl I chose Japan, Tokyo the most innovative country of the world over everything else.
I came to Japan, enrolled as an exchange student at the J.F. Obirin University in Machida, Sagamihara, at the end of March this year. It was the first time for me going to Asia, traveling alone and being all by myself. Going to a Japanese University for 5 months was a new and interesting experience. During this time, I learned more about Japanese culture, the language, youth culture and got a taste of what the Tokyo city life was about. I met various people and made great long-time friends during this time and I hope to continue doing so for the rest of my stay in Japan.
To complete my study abroad I started my internship at Come on Up. The company placed me in their Kita-Ikebukuro share-house, which is an amazing location for me as I have been yearning to live closer to the city. Getting up and close with the city life of Tokyo made me fall in love with Japan even more. This share-house life style has already given me more friends and new and fun experiences.
I like exploring cities, bars, restaurants, museum etc! Therefore, I do have various places that I can recommend, from a foreigner’s perspective, for those who want to explore and experience new places and events. During my time here at Come on Up I will try my best to provide you with as many interesting and exciting locations and events as possible.
I hope you will enjoy these stories about Tokyo and my share-house experience! Also make sure to follow our Instagram and Facebook for fun and interesting posts.
Each year on the third Monday of September Japan celebrates a national public holiday called Respect of the Aged day (Keirō no Hi – 敬老の日). This year it falls on September 17th, on the date that I am writing this blog post, today’s date. This holiday was created to honor and respect Japan’s elderly people, since Japan has a lot of citizens aged 65 and above. After all, Japanese culture is all about treating their elders right and respectfully.
This holiday became a national holiday in 1966 after the holiday spread around the country. The Hyōgo prefecture were the first ones to introduce this holiday in 1947 because they wanted to have a special day to celebrate the honor and their respect towards elderly citizens, as children’s day and coming-of-age day were already a national holiday. At first this holiday was celebrated on September 15th but it later changed into a happy Monday system so the citizens could have a 3-day-weekend. In 2003 the date of the holiday changed to the third Monday of September.
So how do the Japanese celebrate this holiday?
Well the most common thing that Japanese people do is to celebrate the holiday with their family. They usually spend the day together with their grandparents or their elderly parents or have dinner together. It is a day where adults can visit their parents with their kids, because they are usually too busy to that. In case families can not celebrate the holiday together, a lot of families still send gifts to their elderly family members to show them that they are still thinking about them.
On Respect of the Aged day it is also common for people to do volunteer work. People can help with organising public events for the elderly people and schools can organise performances in retirement or nursing houses. There are also a lot of events to honor and admire the healthy lives of Japanese elderly citizens.
Annually, the Japanese media companies publish a lot of programs and content about their elderly communities. Educating the citizens about ageing and highlighting the oldest citizens of the country.
Let’s be extra nice to the senior citizens today, especially to our own senior family members. Always remember that family is always important and we should show our appreciate and love to those who have done the same to us. Showing your appreciation for the elderly people is the best way that you can celebrate this holiday!
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What should you do when it is a beautiful day outside in Osaka and you want to spend your time with your friends and housemates? Well, the best thing you can do is to eat Osaka’s soul food, takoyaki! On September 8th 2018 we had a takoyaki party at Miyakojima share house. As part of Come on Up’s monthly event, we came up with the idea to have an Osaka soul food party! As a new intern it was a very nice experience because this was the first event I took part in!
Everybody helped with the preparation and making of the takoyaki. However, these takoyaki were not just the normal takoyaki with octopus inside. We also used a lot of other ingredients to make the takoyaki even more delicious and fun to make. We used sausages, fish cake, cheese and even tuna salad! We used these ingredients to make weird combinations in the takoyaki but nonetheless, it was still very delicious!
So how do you make takoyaki? It is very simple:
1. You make the batter using dashi, eggs, soy sauce and flour.
2. Heat up the takoyaki pan and coat the pan with cooking oil.
3. Put your preferred ingredients in the holes and fill up the pan with batter.
4. Sprinkle the pan with ginger and green onions. (optional)
5. Keep turning the batter using a takoyaki turner or chopstick until it becomes a ball.
6. After it’s cooked you can add mayonnaise, katsuobushi and green dried seaweed for extra taste and decoration.
But the party did not end yet after all the takoyaki we ate! One of our share mates from Korea, Shinobi, made Korean pancakes with all the leftover ingredients! It was delicious!
All in all, this party was amazing and I can’t wait for the next one!
Hello! My name is Thien Kim and I am a 21-year-old student from the Netherlands! I just started working at Come on Up Kansai office and I will be staying at Midoribashi Share House.
I am from a very small village called Nieuw Vennep. It is a very peaceful and quiet village that is surrounded by farm land and nature. Although it was very nice to grow up in this kind of environment, I still felt like something was missing. I longed for a busy city life. I wanted to be part of a concrete jungle, as I was always amazed by the tall and modern buildings of cities that I had seen on TV. This is the reason why I decided to move out of home and started to live by myself in 2015. This was also the year that I started my freshman year at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Living alone was lonely at first, but as I got to know new people from college and I was able to have a great time living in the city.
In 2018, before starting my internship at the Osaka Come on Up office, I got the opportunity to take part in a 5 month exchange program at Toyo University in Tokyo. Therefor, I have learned a bit about the Japanese culture and language. I got to meet local Japanese people and international students from all around the globe. Learning about their different values, goals and cultures got me very inspired to learn more about the world and I was set on the decision to work in an international environment where I could create a network with different people from around the world. As an intern living in a share house and working at a share house company, I hope I will be able to meet new people from all around the world and learn more about their culture.
After spending 5 months in Tokyo, I felt it was time to change. Although I really love the city and its people, I wanted to leave and discover a new place with new people. This is why I started looking for an internship opportunity in Osaka. Before starting this internship I have never visited Osaka before, so this was a totally different experience for me. I must say, the people in Osaka are very nice and although it is also a very big city, the vibe is different from the one in Tokyo. I cannot wait to discover this beautiful city and its surrounding cities!
Although I am not a very creative person, I do like to watch and enjoy all kinds of creative things. Take for example modern and traditional art, movies, music, fashion and cosmetics. I will take my time in Osaka and discover all the creative aspects of the city and write about it in my future stories. I might even try to make videos and give you a more visually detailed journey!
It would be fun if you, the reader, are able to follow me on this journey! Please look forward to my future stories!