From Ikea to Uniqlo, the list of things to do and places to go in Tokyo has just got longer for your next holiday
In a world without COVID-19, Tokyo would be bustling with life now and perhaps in a frenzy preparing for the final countdown for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Over the last couple of months, many new attractions, shops, and eateries have popped up around Tokyo and are slowly opening their doors after the lifting of local lockdown measures. Here are some of these new things to do that should go into your next Tokyo holiday plans -
- Ikea Harajuku
- Uniqlo Tokyo Global Flagship Store
- Small Worlds Tokyo
- Play Museum
- Gap Café
- Starbucks Hana Biyori
- Tokorozawa Sakura Town
P/S: Dr Noor Hisham recently announced that Malaysia is in early stages of discussion with 6 countries (including Japan!) to establish a "travel bubble" should the COVID-19 situation in Malaysia and these countries remain under control. Find out more here!
1. Ikea Harajuku
Ikea Harajuku is Ikea’s first city center-type store in Japan, and is part of the new With Harajuku Shopping Mall. It focuses on sustainable products and smaller furniture items perfect for the average Tokyo home.
Ikea Harajuku also comes complete with a Swedish Café and Combini. But those expecting the traditional Swedish meatballs or chicken wings will be disappointed. This Swedish Café only serves up a limited Harajuku-only menu of Swedish flatbreads (Tunnbröd) done 16 ways - savory, vegetarian, and sweet dessert options.
The Swedish Combini, which is a play on the Japanese word konbini that means convenience store, also offers numerous plant-based food options. You can pick up an Ikea Latte with soy, almond or oat milk, and even plant-based soft serve and instant ramen!
With the early success of Ikea Harajuku, Ikea recently announced that a second urban store will be opening at Shibuya in Winter 2020. Ikea Shibuya will occupy the 1st to 7th floors of the Takagi Building, overlooking the Shibuya Scramble Crossing.
- Address: Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Jingumae 1-14-30
- Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 9pm
- How to Get There: 1-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station
2. Uniqlo Tokyo Global Flagship Store
Attention Uniqlo fans, this will be a dream come true for you! Uniqlo Tokyo, a new global flagship store, has just opened on 19 June at Marronnier Gate Ginza 2. This gigantic four-floor store will focus on Uniqlo’s LifeWear range.
Uniqlo Tokyo will also feature an area where fresh flowers are sold near the doorway along Marronnier Street, and permanent exhibition areas on each floor that highlight Uniqlo’s sustainability efforts.
- Address: Chuo-ku, Tokyo Ginza 3-chome, 2-1
- Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 9pm
- How to Get There: 4-minute walk from JR Yurakucho Station
3. Small Worlds Tokyo Miniature Theme Park
Small Worlds Tokyo is a miniature universe that comes with six unique zones - Space Centre, Global Village, Sailor Moon, Kansai International Airport, Evangelion: Cage, and Evangelion: Tokyo III. They utilized sophisticated techniques and advanced Japanese technologies to recreate a realistic world in scale like never envisioned before.
Want to live on in this miniature world? You can now “rent” a space for yourself under their Residency Rights programme. For a whopping ¥12,630 (~S$165) you can have a 1/80 scaled-figure of yourself, which is produced using 3D scanning technology, live in selected zones for an entire year.
Small Worlds Tokyo
- Address: Ariake Butsuryu Center, 1-3-33, Ariake, Koto-ku
- Opening Hours: Daily 9am to 9:30pm
- How to Get There: 3-minute walk from Ariake-Tennis-no-mori Station
4. Play! Museum
Play! Museum is an art museum unlike any other. Here, you are encouraged to freely feel, discover, and interact with the various exhibits. There are two featured exhibits, a permanent one that introduces famous picture book artists and a special area that features different artists regularly. The first permanent exhibition currently features Eric Carle’s “Very Hungry Caterpillar” series.
Kids can also look forward to a full day of fun at the Play! Park indoor playground that has seven play zones. One of the key features is the Balloon Monster that is a gigantic art piece that children are encouraged to climb all over!
- Address: GREEN SPRINGS W3 3-1 Midoricho, Tachikawa
- Price: Adult ¥1,500, Children (6 to 16) ¥500, Free for Preschoolers
- Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 6pm
- How to Get There: 5-minute walk from JR Tachikawa Station
5. Gap Café
Tired from all the nonstop shopping in Tokyo? Gap has the perfect spot for you to recharge with a cuppa and a limited-edition Krispy Kreme. This Gap Café at Gap Shinjuku Flags is the only place in the world where you can get the Gap Original Blend Coffee that boasts latte art with Gap original illustrations. This already sounds great for all those who are traveling with a shopaholic!
- Address: Shinjuku 3-chome 37-31-1 Shinjuku Flags 1F/B1F
- Opening Hours: Daily 11am to 10pm
- How to Get There: 2-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station
6. Starbucks Hana Biyori
This is Tokyo’s latest Starbucks outlet and it is set within a greenhouse of lush greenery and rainbow blooms - an Instagrammer’s dream come true! Located within Hana Biyori, which is a new greenhouse attraction within the popular Yomiuriland theme park.
Besides this stunning Starbucks, Hana Biyori features an immersive multimedia show with projections. Think TeamLab Borderless set in the heart of a botanical garden.
Starbucks Hana Biyori
- Address: 4015-1 Yanokuchi, Inagi
- Opening Hours: Daily 9:30am to 5pm
- How to Get There: 10-minute walk from Keio Yomiuri-land Station
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7. Tokorozawa Sakura Town
Anime fans, you do not want to miss the upcoming Tokorozawa Sakura Town, which is an hour’s train ride from central Tokyo. This new mall is designed based on pop culture and turns anime and manga into real-life experiences. It boasts the Kadokawa Musashino Museum, an anime hotel, a manga library, restaurants, and even a Shinto shrine.
Due to COVID-19, Sakura Town will officially open only in November, while Kadokawa Museum will open first between July and October.
Tokorozawa Sakura Town
- Address: 3-31-3 Higashidokorozawa Wada, Tokorozawa
- How to Get There: 10-minute walk from JR Higashi-Tokorozawa Station
Bonus: Harry Potter Theme Park Opening in 2023
A new magical Harry Potter Theme Park will be here to whisk you off to your wildest Hogwarts dreams in 2023!
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New Harry Potter Theme Park Set To Open In Tokyo, Japan In 2023
A new Harry Potter Theme Park will be here to whisk you off to your wildest Hogwarts dreams in 2023! This theme park will be the second of such facility in the world, and seems like it'll resemble the amazing Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London.
Japan Soon, Maybe?
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Japan May Cover 50% Of Your Next Holiday's Expenses With Their $12.5 Billion Travel Subsidy Program
In a news conference on Wednesday this week, Hiroshi Tabata of the Japan Tourism Agency announced the Japanese government's plan to allocate $USD12.5 billion (RM5.48 trillion) to a new reimbursement program aimed to boost domestic travel within Japan. The plan is an attempt to attract travellers back to Japan and reignite tourism by providing subsidized holidays.