Sunday, October 30, 2011

Prada’s Epicenter in Aoyama

The epicenter building is Tokyo Prada’s flagship store, located in Aoyama in the Minato ward. Designed by Herzong and de Meuron, the winners of the Pritzker prize, and completed in 1999, it has since become ‘a must see’ for lovers of modern architecture.

The freestanding glass and steel honeycomb building has 6 floors and 5 sides, in a diamond/kaleidoscope like shape, that skillfully uses natural lighting to highlight the store interiors.

The glass walls formed of diamond-shaped glass panes of flat, concave and convex shapes, giving the building a very dynamic structure. The shape of the panes provides a sence of a multidimensional space from the inside of the store.

View Prada Epicenter in a larger map

Monday, October 24, 2011

Little Edo town Kawagoe

Kawagoe city in the Saitama Prefecture is one of Tokyo Satellite cities. In the Edo period, this city located at the north of the great city of Edo (now Tokyo), was called little Edo, and was the location of the kawagoe castle, a close ally to the Tokunaga shogunate, most of the buildings were dismantled in 1870, but some of them remained and now allow appreciation of the period life.

The kurazukuri (old storehouse style) buildings zone. Kura buildings were originally used for storage of household tools, and then due to his fire resistance developed into residential buildings and stores in kawakoe. The zone is lined with 100-year-old culturally significant buildings.

The Toki no kane or time bell tower, used to announce the time since the early Edo period, Even today the bell rings four times a day. The current tower is the fourth version after the tower was rebuilt immediately after the great fire of Kawagoe in 1893.

Kashiya Yokocho or penny candy lane, a narrow street lined with traditional sweets, hard candy, and senbei rice cracker shops.

The Koedo loop bus is a retro-style bus made to match the streets of kurazukuri, provides a convenient way to travel from Kuruzukuri, to other city sightseeing spots.

Stores not only preserver the edo period building, but also the interior is arranged in harmony with the era.

Some of the buildings contrast with the area buildings, as they are from the Meiji period, as the resona bank building, built in 1878 has been designated by the country as culturally significant, other buildings nerby are from the same era.

View Kawagoe in a larger map

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

View from roof garden at Takashimaya Shinjuku

Takashimaya ‘Times Square’ in Shinjuku has a roof garden with an excellent view of Shinjuku and some of Tokyo landmarks. Skytree is visible on the background on this view.

South Tokyo Landmarks from left: Izumi garden Tower, Tokyo Tower, Shibaura Island, Midtown, and Roppongi hills.

A small shrine and the Cocoon tower on the background.

Meiji dori normally a very busy street, it is no so terrible before midday.
The large department store is a good reason to visit it, with the added bonus of the roof garden views.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Apple Store in Ginza

A large number of Apple fans have flock to the apple stores in Japan to pay the final respects to Steve Jobs. The Ginza store, the first Apple store outside the US and a popular spots for young people shopping in Ginza, has become a gathering place for Apple fans.

A large number of offerings of flowers, apples, letters and messages, lining up at the entrance the store.

A fan praying after laying flowers. The fan was genuinely distressed by the passing of Jobs.
A TV crew for a popular news program also showed up to cover the fans tribute.
RIP Steve Jobs.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunshine city rooftop aquarium

Sunshine Aquarium in sunshine city, Ikebukuro, the first rooftop aquarium in Japan, has just reopened in August 4th after closing for one year for renovations.

The aquarium is small compared to normal aquariums but the premium location gives a great advantage over other aquariums. As with most of the popular places in Tokyo, there are large crowds on weekends, but late in the afternoon and weekdays is no so bad.


The renovated marine garden area, has a large elevated see-through pool, where the seals swim under the open sky. The Sea lions perform at the same area several times per day.