A sumo stable

To Do

Mandarake

You don’t have to go all the way to Akihabara to see cosplay. Mandarake is the largest second-hand manga shop in Tokyo. Besides manga, anything to do with anime can be found at this shop, where the staff can often be spotted dressed up in wigs or sometimes even full costumes.

  • +81 3 3477 0777
  • Go to Website
  • B2F Shibuya Beam, 31-2 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
    Tokyo

Oedo Antiques Fair

One of the largest open-air markets in Japan, with over 250 dealers, is held on the first and third Sunday of every month between 9AM and 4PM. This place is great for picking up things like kimonos, which can be extortionate first-hand. The women in the stalls will let you know if you have gone for the wrong style − a man’s kimono or one meant for staff − and point you towards one with long drop sleeves meant for unmarried women. Another great thing to keep an eye out for are the soba bowls – Japanese sets traditionally have five bowls, so you can get a set of four for next to nothing.

  • +81 3 6407 6011
  • Tokyo International Forum, 3-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
    Tokyo

Tower Records

This is Tokyo’s largest record shop, catering to the younger generation’s enthusiasm for music particularly vintage records. Tower Records also has a fun novelty café, which is ‘Rilakkuma’ themed (a famous Japanese toy bear). Rice dishes come in the shape of a bear on a yellow pillow of omelette and even the teas and coffees have Rilakkuma on them.

T-Site

Bookshops are booming in Tokyo. Tsutaya has branches all around Japan but the mothership, T-Site, is located in Daikanyama. Incorporating a packed restaurant (Ivy Place), a music library within three beautifully designed buildings and a mini park, you could and should spend hours at T-Site. There are magazines from all over the world available to read with your coffee, music of every genre can be listened to in Italian leather armchairs and the restaurant has an amazing flatbread selection. The only minor setback is that you have to book if you want to eat.

  • +81 3 6415 3232
  • Go to Website
  • Ivy Place, 16-15, Sarugaku-cho, Daikanyama T-Site Garden, Shibuya-ku
    Tokyo

Visit a Sumo Stable

Visiting a sumo stable provides an insight into the sumo wrestling culture without spending a day at a tournament. The tournaments are beautiful events bound by tradition, but it can be very easy to lose interest there. By contrast, the sumo stables can quickly provide a good understanding of the sport. The wrestlers start as early as 6am and the training session is usually over by 8am. Inside the stable you sit behind the trainer, who tends to be smoking and shouting at the wrestlers, and is often just as interesting as the athletes. You are expected to bring a small gift from your home country as a thank you for being allowed to spectate, so come prepared.

Maid Café

Maid cafés are the perfect way to get some exposure of the Kawaii, or ‘cute’ culture in Tokyo. The girls are dressed as maids and sing to your food to make it taste better. If it is especially busy then they will sing and dance as well. Do not go on an empty stomach as the food is usually fairly disgusting, as are the drinks, but no one goes for the food – it is all about the experience. Inside, time is limited to an hour and the seating charge costs around £3, but one hour is usually more than enough!

  • +81 3 5846 1616
  • Go to Website
  • Mitsuwa Building 4F-7F, Soto-Kanda 1-11-4, Chiyoda-ku
    Tokyo

Mandarake

Oedo Antiques Fair

Tower Records

T-Site

Maid Café

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