4 Best Things to Do in Tokyo

21 Feb

Have you ever wondered what locals do when visiting a new place? My hometown is Tokyo, and I’m often asked that question. Today I’ll share with you the four best things to do in Tokyo.

1. Harmonica yokocho(ハーモニカ横丁)

Kichijouji (吉祥寺) is my home, and Harmonica Yokocho lies at the heart of it. It was originally built as a black market called yamiichi(闇市) after WWII when there was a shortage of food supply. Today about 100 restaurants, bars, and stores line up in small alleys. It’s popular among locals and tourists alike.

My favorite place in Harmonica Yokocho is a Chinese restaurant called Minmin. They have the best gyoza (餃子) in the city!

Harmonica Yokocho

Minmin (みんみん)

2. Tocho: The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁)

Sometimes I feel the urge to see the city from above. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is a perfect place to do that. It’s in Shinjuku, the city center, and easy to get there from the station. You can go to the observation deck and see great views of Tokyo for free.

Views from the observation deck

3. Hiking in Mount Mitake (御岳山)

You may be surprised to learn that there are many mountains in Tokyo. After being in a crowded and busy city, it’s nice to get away and do some hiking.  A few weeks ago I went to Mount Mitake that is less than 2 hours from the city center. While hiking the mountain, I saw a Musasabi (ムササビ), a Japanese giant flying squirrel! It’s rare to see them, especially because they’re nocturnal animals.

View from the top of Mt. Mitake


4. Onsen in Ome City (青梅市)

Take a Chuo Line from the city center and you’ll arrive in Ome in about an hour and a half. You’ll find an onsen, an old Japanese style home, and museums. As I strolled down the Tamagawa river, I happened to see an old house built at the end of Edo period. A man was tending the fire and showing the house to visitors. He explained the history of the house and how people used to live. After that I went to an onsen and saw a beautiful sunset.

Sunset in Ome, Tokyo


Happy New Year!

11 Jan

Have you had a restful holiday season? I’ve spent much of the holiday at home, following the Japanese new year tradition: cleaning, cooking, and reflection. I hope you’re staying warm.

My goal for this year is to start my podcast, Bliss. The show will be in Japanese, but I’ll write a summary of each show and share it with you. My hope is to give you an idea about what is happening in the field of healthcare and music therapy as well as social issues in Japan.

Wishing you a new year filled with peace, happiness, and health.

BLISS: New Podcast

15 Dec

I’m starting a podcast called Bliss. On this show I’ll invite guests from healthcare and social welfare communities in Japan to discuss various topics ranging from music therapy to spirituality.

Last month I’ve started a crowdfunding campaign to fund the project. The site doesn’t have language support, but if you’re interested in supporting the project, please let me know.

▼ Learn more

▼ Guests

♢ Jun Chiba (Doctor)
♢ Kei Okada (chaplain)
♢ Noriko Nakamura (Music Therapist)
♢ Kana Okazaki (Music Therapist)
♢ Noriyuki Katsumata (Doctor)
♢ Tetsuya Hirasawa (speech therapist)
♢ Yuki Arai (Researcher)
♢ Kuninori Chida (Music Therapist)
♢ Kazuko Mii (Music Therapist)
♢ Junichi Koeda (doctor)
♢ Ren Ohnishi (NPO Moyai Director)
♢ Jun Kawauchi (Social Worker)
♢ Yuki Masuyama (Music Therapist)
♢ Hisako Nakayama (Music Therapist)
♢ Taketoshi Ozawa (Doctor)
♢ Shinichi Nakamura (Doctor)
♢ Kiyoe Sato (Nurse)
♢ Yuji Igari (Music Therapist)
♢ Koichiro Shougaki (Validation Teacher)
♢ Rika Ikuno (Music Therapist)
♢ Haruyuki Kasuda (Doctor)
♢ Hirotaka Isse (Dentist)
♢ Yoshimasa Takase (Doctor)
♢ Yuri Iwamoto (Nurse)
♢ Takaharu Azekawa (Doctor)
♢ Kayo Ikeda (Clinical Psychologist)
♢ Keiko Chida (Director of End of Life care Association of Japan)
♢ Seiji Kokawa (Doctor)

The name of the show comes from one of my favorite sayings:

“Follow your bliss.
If you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting for you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn’t know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

― Joseph Campbell

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