Issue 4

Spots Japan must see

Words by Veronika Kinczli

KONNICHIWA

今日は

 

NOMAD RECOMMENDS LOCATIONS AND SPOTS FOR
YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN.

COFFEE SHOPS

 

 

TORANOMON KOFFEE

Tokyo

 

After the success of Omotesando Koffee, barista Eiichi
Kunitomo
opened Toranomon Koffee in 2014. The problem of long
waiting times at Omotesando is now a thing of the past in Toranomon,
where two counters each equipped
with a La Marzocco machine face
each other. The cafe is located in the striking Toranomon Hills complex.

 

www.ooo-koffee.com

 

 

CAFÉ INDÉPENDANTS

Kyoto

 

Café Indépendants is perhaps the bohemian epicentre of Kyoto. Be sure to head upstairs and admire the contemporary Japanese art displayed in the Dohjidai Gallery of Art.

 

www.cafe-independants.com

 

 

 

MUSEUMS

 

 

ROPPONGI ART NIGHT

Tokyo

 

Each year, galleries and museums
in Roppongi turn night into day at the Roppongi Art Night. On two
con­secutive evenings at the end of September, the festival puts
art at the heart of this popular quarter and draws in a truly creative
audience.

 

www.roppongiartnight.com

 

 

TOKYO NATIONAL MUSEUM

Tokyo

 

The oldest museum in Japan comprises an assembly of different buildings.

It is home to around 116,000 ­artefacts, which tell the history of the country and
make this collection one of the most important of its kind in Japan.

Special attractions in­clude the historical kimonos and Horyuji Treasures.

 

www.tnm.jp

 

 

SCAI THE BATHHOUSE

Tokyo

 

Not far from the Tokyo National Museum is Scai the
Bathhouse—
a Sento bathhouse that has been converted into a
gallery. It displays pieces by a host
of contemporary artists including
Anish Kapoor.

 

www.scaithebathhouse.com

 

 

NEZU MUSEUM 

Tokyo

 

Adjacent to the museum of Chinese, Japanese and Korean antiques,
there is a particularly beautiful garden—
an oasis of tranquillity in the centre of Tokyo. Many of the visitors are clad in traditional Japanese clothing.

 

www.nezu-museum.or.jp

 

 

21_21 DESIGN SIGHT

Tokyo

 

21_21 Design Sight is one of Japan’s top design locations.
The building, created by Tadao Ando, uses new approaches, performances and talks to explore the limits
of the conventional museum format.

 

www.2121designsight.jp

 

 

MORI ART MUSEUM

Tokyo

 

On the 52nd and 53rd floors of the Mori Tower, a characteristic
feature of the city’s skyline which can be seen from far away, is the Mori Art Museum
a hub of contemporary art and architecture dedicated to Japan and East Asia. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views over Tokyo.

 

www.mori.art.museum

 

 

ANDO MUSEUM

Naoshima

 

The museum tells the story of ­Naoshima as well as providing an insight into the work of Tadao Ando. The Ando Museum is located in a 100-year-old traditional wooden house in Honmura, in which Ando created an inner space framed by unadorned concrete walls.

 

www.benesse-artiste.jp/en/art/ando-museum.html

 

NAOSHIMA ART ISLAND

Naoshima

 

Naoshima is a small island home to a number of truly unique museums, including the Benesse Art Site,
the Chichu Art Museum and the Lee Ufan Museum. All buildings were designed by Tadao Ando, which is reason enough to visit this amazing place. The artists on display in­clude Walter De Maria, James Turrell, Claude Monet and Lee Ufan. The museums are best explored by bike or on foot.

 

www.benesse-artsite.jp

 

 

21ST CENTURY MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Kanazawa

 

The museum, designed by architectural firm SANAA, is alone worth the trip to Kanazawa.
The architecture of this glass-walled space makes the building blend harmoniously into the landscape of the port city. The permanent exhibition displays significant works by artists including
Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor (“L’Origine du monde”).

 

www.kanazawa21.jp

 

 

 

SHOPS

 

 

SFERA SHOP

Kyoto

The fifth floor of the Sfera complex contains a bookshop, café, bar
and gallery as well as the Sfera Shop on the ground floor, which is
de­dicated to Japanese designers.

 

www.ricordi-sfera.com

 

 

KYOTO DESIGN HOUSE

Kyoto

 

The Kyoto Design House can be found on the ground floor of the NIWAKA building, which was designed by architect Tadao Ando using traditional elements. Around 1,500 carefully selected pieces are on display and
provide a modern interpretation of items that have been around for many centuries.

 

www.kyoto-dh.com

 

 

KAPPABASHI STREET

Tokyo

 

In addition to sampuru, the plastic “fake” food and drink replicas
that are commonly displayed outside restaurants throughout Japan,
Kappabashi Street offers an unbelievable selection of restaurant and kitchen equipment.

 

Kappabashi Street

 

 

OMOTESANDO AVENUE

Tokyo

 

The allure of this avenue is first and foremost in the buildings designed by great post-modern architects, which are now home to flagship stores of luxury fashion brands. This exterior architecture can be said to reflect the exceptional quality of the products that are on display within.

 

Omotesando Avenue

 

 

 

BOOKSHOP

 

DAIKANYAMA TSUTAYA BOOKS

Tokyo

 

Tsutaya Books is open until
midnight and offers an extraordinarily broad selection of books and
magazines. Restaurants and shops can be found next door.
An evening visit to this special bookshop has a special charm.

 

real.tsite.jp/daikanyama/english/

 

 

 

BARS

 

 

TWO ROOMS GRILL BAR

Tokyo

 

Here, you can become part of Tokyo’s gilded youth for a drink and
enjoy glorious views over the rooftops of the city. The rooftop bar is in
the trendy Aoyama quarter.

 

www.tworooms.jp

 

 

GION NITI

Kyoto

 

This historic tea room, once frequented by geishas, is now a wonderful, stylishly decorated bar. Those lucky enough to get a seat at the counter will be able to watch the skilled staff at work.

 

www.gion-niti.com

 

 

SFERA BAR SATONAKA

Kyoto

 

In the Gion quarter, the top floor of the Sfera Building designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune is one of the best bars in the city. Special attention was devoted to lighting in the design.

 

www.bar-satonaka.com

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS

 

 

SCORPIONE GION

Kyoto

 

A charming restaurant with
exceptional
Italian cuisine. The contrast between the character
and the surroundings of the restaurant enhances the allure.

 

kiwa-group.co.jp/restaurant/365/

 

 

WABIYA KOREKIDO

Kyoto

 

Located in the famous geisha district of Gion, Wabiya Korekido is
the most popular Yakitori restaurant in Kyoto.

 

www.wabiya.com

 

 

TSURUMARU

Takamatsu

 

The city of Takamatsu is famous for its udon. In Tsurumaru, these amazing hand-made noodles are produced late into the night. Sit at the counter to watch the chefs at work. The restaurant’s hallmark is its door curtain depicting a crane.

 

teuchiudon-tsurumaru.com

 

 

TAMAZUSHI

Kanazawa

 

One of the best sushi restaurants in Kanazawa is a little off the beaten track.

Coming from the main road, look for a brown-and-white building with a Japanese sign on

the door.

 

www.kanazawa-tamazushi.com

 

 

CICADA

Tokyo

 

In Cicada, solid wooden tables and the warm glow of candlelight create the perfect ambience for enjoying outstanding Mediterranean cuisine. No compromises were made when it comes to details, including a list of 80 select wines from coastal regions in southern Europe. The restaurant was designed in the style of a resort hotel and is located  in a modernist colonial-style mansion built half a century ago.

 

www.tysons.jp/cicada

 

 

SASHA KANETANAKA

Tokyo

 

Located in Oak Omotesando, Sasha Kanetanaka has been popular with Tokyo’s bons vivants since opening. The restaurant consistently pursues a modern approach, offering haute cuisine with a contemporary experimental twist amidst impressive architecture.

 

www.kanetanaka.co.jp/restrant/sahsya

 

 

TSUKIJI FISH MARKET

Tokyo

 

The Tsukiji Fish Market is famous for its excellent sushi using only freshly caught fish. Arguably the best in Japan, it is served at the small counters until early afternoon.

 

www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/tukiji_e.htm

 

 

 

HOTELS

 

 

MIYAJIMA ARIMOTO

Miyajima

 

This hotel can be found on the island of Miyajima. It offers traditionally furnished rooms and imposes a kimono dress code for dinner, which is a very special experience. This
hotel is all about relaxation, with hot springs in the surrounding area feeding the onsen baths to create an atmosphere of pure tranquillity.

 

www.miyajima-arimoto.co.jp

 

THE SCREEN

Kyoto

 

Opened in 2007, the 13 rooms were created by different designers, with no two rooms the same. The hotel is in a great location for exploring the historical city of Kyoto.

 

www.screen-hotel.jp

 

HOTEL ANTEROOM

Kyoto

 

The concept of Hotel Anteroom brings together hotel rooms, apartments and a gallery. It strives to open up the creative scene of Kyoto to inter­national travellers.

 

www.hotel-anteroom.com

 

 

9H

Kyoto

 

9h is a capsule hotel, and a favourite with Japanese workers who have missed their last train. 9h is undoubtedly one of the best hotels of this kind and offers a truly interesting experience.

 

www.9hours.jp

 

 

HOTEL MUME

Kyoto

 

Beautifully situated in Gion, the small Mume Boutique Hotel is famous for its especially friendly and approachable service. From here, the inner city and the sights of Higashiyama are easily reached.

 

www.hotelmume.com/main.html

 

 

CLASKA

Tokyo

 

Claska is among the most tasteful hotels in Tokyo. It has only a few rooms, with each lovingly crafted by local designers. Some feature tatamis and floor cushions, while others have terraces.

 

www.claska.jp

 

 

HOTEL OKURA

Tokyo

 

This hotel was built in 1962 and boasts modern Japanese design. It is a classic option, with an extremely stylish interior.

 

www.hotelokura.co.jp

 

AMANEMU

Ise-Shima

 

In Japan, bathing in the traditional onsen is an integral part of life. At the Amanemu hot spring resort in the Honshu Mi prefecture, Kerry Hill Architects have brought Japanese architecture and design traditions into the present.

 

www.aman.com/resorts/amanemu

 

 

HOTEL CYCLE

Onomichi

 

Hotel Cycle is located in an old warehouse on the Onomichi Canal. It is the perfect starting-point for a bike ride over the island of Setouchi.

 

www.onomichi-u2.com

 

 

 

GARDENS AND TEMPLES

 

 

KENROKU-EN

Kanazawa

 

Perhaps one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan. Designed in the Edo period and named after a famous Chinese garden in the Song dynasty, it was given this name because it incorporates all six features of a perfect landscape.

 

www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/gardens/kenrokuen.html

 

 

RITSUIN-KOEN

Takamatsu

 

This garden was constructed incthe middle of the 16th century and is said to have taken 100 years to complete. The entrance fee includes a guided tour, which is often given by a friendly pensioner.

 

www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spot/gardens/ritsurinkoen.html

 

 

ARASHYAMA BAMBOO GROVE
Kyoto

 

Arashiyama’s famous bamboo grove opens up a mystical world to visitors. After a walk from the Nonomiya Jinja Shrine to the Torokko Arashiyama Station, visitors can cross the bridge over the Hozugawa river aboard the historical Sagano Scenic Railway and enjoy the glorious panorama.

 

www.insidekyoto.com/arashiyama-bamboo-grove

 

 

RYOAN-JI TEMPLE

Kyoto

 

This temple from the Muromachi period spans an area of 25 x 10 metres and contains 15 stones, only 14 of which are visible. Legend has it that the 15th stone can only be seen once one has attained enlightenment. Shojin-ryori (Buddhist vegetarian) dishes are served in the Ryoanji Yudofuya restaurant.

 

www.ryoanji.jp

 

 

THE TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN PAVILION

Kyoto

 

The Golden Pavilion is the most famous temple in Japan and a ­UNESCO World Heritage Site. The original building dates back to 1397, but was burned down by a monk in 1950 and subsequently rebuilt.

 

www.shokoku-ji.jp/k_access.html

 

 

SANJUSANGEN-DO TEMPLE

Kyoto

 

The 120-metre-long wooden building contains 1,001 life-size statues of the thousand armed Buddhist goddess, Kannon.

 

www.sanjusangendo.jp

 

 

 

PLACES

 

 

KOYA-SAN

Wakayama

 

As one of the most important Budd­hist centres in the country, Koyasan is located in the wooded highlands in the north of the Wakayama prefecture. It comprises different temple complexes and monasteries, which virtually everyone living in Japan wants to visit at least once in their lives. A pilgrim’s trail leads through the enchanted forest from the grave of Kobo Daishi and it is also possible to stay overnight in some of the 50 temples—a great way to gain an insight into the lives of the monks here.

 

eng.shukubo.net

 

 

MIYAJIMA

 

Not far from Hiroshima, the small holy island of Miyajima can be reached by boat, passing through the Itsukushima Shrine, which floats on the sea just off the island. The island has a number of spiritual sites and temples, including Mount Misen, whose great hiking routes offer spectacular vistas.

 

www.visit-miyajima-japan.com

 

MOTOSUKO

Fuji

 

This lake is famous for its depiction on the reverse of the 1,000-yen note, which shows Mount Fuji from its northern shore.

 

www.japan-guide.com/e/e6910.html