Best Areas with International Schools in Central Tokyo

Most foreigners that are in the plans of moving to Tokyo want to be situated in the heart of the city.  Other than this, another plus factor is being in close proximity to international schools that are English speaking.  This will be more of an easy adjustment to those that are bringing their family to a new country.  The vibrant city of Tokyo is able to offer a variety of educational institutions that cater to international standards and are accessible to the children.

Children at play in an international school

A real estate company that specializes in expats, Plaza Homes, has a great list of international schools in Tokyo.  Below you can see some of our selections:

Nishimachi International School located in the Azabu neighborhood of the Minato-ku is one of the more popular schools in Tokyo.  The school offers kindergarten up to grade 9 to all students.  The curriculum is student centered where each student is encouraged to have the confidence to learn.

Another school found in Minato-ku at the Roponggi neighborhood is The American School In Japan for preschoolers.  K-12 campus is outside of central Tokyo specifically at Chofu-shi but still part of Tokyo.  The curriculum is patterned from the American standard and has taught students from various countries in their Tokyo school.

The British School in Tokyo is able to teach students from Nursery to Year 13.  The Shibuya campus houses the nursery to year 3 level students with ages from 3 to 7.  The Showa campus in Setagaya-Ku is where the year 4 to 13 classes are held.  This school is based on the British education and teaching style.

There are many other international schools found in the heart of Tokyo to satisfy the education of the non-Japanese children.  This is because of the rising demand for schools that are friendly to the foreigners moving in the country and preferring to be near the institutions.  If you live in the areas where most expats do, then schooling will not be difficult to find.  These schools offer the best education for non-Japanese children in the area.


Souvenir Items from Japan

After visiting all the tourist spots that Japan has to offer, the trip would not be completed until the tourist brings along with him or her some giveaways that that particular person could bring to his or her relatives back home. And along with the rich art and culture of Japan, the list of possible giveaways would really go on a very long line. But if that particular person would really like to bring home some giveaways, it would be such a great souvenir to bring home particular goodies that truly represent Japan. Perhaps a kimono, samurai sword, a kinchaku, or even a Japanese toilet because we know how much we love the heated seats! With that being said, it is essential to know what particular authentic Japanese giveaways tourists should bring home for whomever they would like to give the thing to.

Through the course of time, Japan has been known for their very unique and exquisite cuisines. And with these very unique and exquisite cuisines are the most renowned eating utensil of the Japanese which is the Hashi or most commonly known as the chopsticks. Although the chopsticks are also used in China, the Hashi of Japan is most known for its difference in the length and shape. The Japanese were the first to create and use shorter chopsticks. They have also developed chopsticks that are cylindrical shaped. To add more Japanese touch to the giveaway it would also be advisable to bring some Japanese foods as well.

Another known authentic Japanese item that tourists could bring home would be the world renowned Kimono. The Kimono is one of the most vividly artistic garments that Japan has to offer. The kimono is generally made of silk and has different styles of embroidery. Although the kimono might be quite pricey, it may still be worth the cash that tourists could pay since the materials used are top-class. Added to that, this particular garment is commonly used during special occasions such as weddings and other Japanese ceremonies.

Tourists could also bring home with them an ancient craft wherein its origins could be dated back sometime in the 14th century. This particular ancient craft is the Sensu or the folding pan. It is one of the most popular crafts that represent the rich Japanese heritage. There are several artwork shops and novelty shops in Japan and almost all of them sell custom made sensus. There are also several variations in the forms of custom-made sensus but the most common shape would be the half-circle. The sensus has different variations of designs as well which would range from paintings to simple use of foil to make it shiny. These custom made sensus are not necessarily just for cooling up people. The custom made sensus could also be used as decorations at home.


Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo

Ramen is one of the most popular food specialties in Japan. It is typically a noodle dish with varied soup flavors. The main components of the Ramen would be the broth or the soup and the Chukamen or the noodles. The chukamen is made of wheat flour and an alkaline solution known as kansui. Ramen comes in very many varieties. The varieties would differ from each other in a lot of aspects. The variety of the Ramen would depend on the differences between the flavors of the soup, the texture of the noodles, the toppings included, and other ingredients incorporated.

There are four known kinds of Ramen, which are categorized by their soups. One of the most popular kinds of Ramen in Japan is the shio ramen in which the soup is flavored by salt and common spices. There is also the shoyu ramen where in the soup that soy sauce and other spices flavor. As for the tonkotsu ramen, the juices from a thoroughly boiled pork bone flavor it. It also has a distinct texture and color in its soup, as it is creamy and white. Another known kind of ramen is the miso ramen and from its name itself, the soup is flavored by miso.

With those particular kinds of ramen being said, there are certain ramen restaurants in Japan that are popular for serving those kinds of ramen mentioned earlier and other variations in ramen recipes. The Kyushu Jangara Ramen in a town called Harjuku in the city of Tokyo is popular for its different tonkotsu recipes. The most inviting thing about this particular restaurant is that diners could choose from their different excellent toppings, which add more to the variation and taste of the tonkotsu. Meanwhile, the Akanoren is known for preparing their hakata style ramen within 3 minutes. And although people might think that their ramen is not good since they may think that the preparation was rushed, then they better think again since Akanoren serves the best hakata style ramen in the country. Suzuran in Shibuya is also popular for their miso ramen but they are most known for their variations of chukamen.


Minato Mirai

While at night you may rest your head on your pillow at your Yokohama guesthouse, during the day you should definitely be certain to check out Minato Mirai while visiting Yokohama. Minato Mirai is also sometimes called Minato Mirai 21. Minato Mirai is a very large urban development in Yokohama, Japan. The name Minato Mirai 21 translates to Harbor Future 21. Minato Mirai was built in the year 1993 on a very large area of reclaimed land. This land now features some of the greatest attractions in all of Yokohama. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Yokohama.

There are many attractions in Yokohama. Many of these attractions reside within Minato Mirai. Some of these attractions include the Yokohama Landmark Tower, Cosmo World, Kishamichi Promenade, Minato Mirai Hall, Pacifico Yokohama, Nippon Maru, and the Yokohama Museum of Art. Simply put there are a multitude of attractions that you will find. Among these attractions include several different restaurants for you to choose from. The restaurants around Minato Mirai vary as far as the style of cuisine available. It all depends on what you like and what you are looking for.

Even though you are staying in a Yokohama guesthouse, you may want to check out the hotels available within Minato Mirai. If for nothing else, to admire the structures. Some of the hotels are built in such unique ways. The hotels included in Minato Mirai are the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel, the Pan Pacific Yokohama, the Yokohama Bay Sheraton Hotel, the Yokohama Sakuragicho Washington Hotel, and the InterContinental Yokohama. As far as structure is concerned, the InterContinental Yokohama has a very unique shape. So, it is definitely one hotel you may want to admire the structural value of. It is quite appealing to the eye. While you check out the InterContinental Yokohama, you may be interested in checking out any of the six establishments that serve exquisite cuisine inside. There are three restaurants inside the InterContinental Yokohama. There is a French restaurant called Azur, a Chinese restaurant called Karyu, and an Italian restaurant called La Vela. However, if you’re more in the mood for an all you can eat buffet; you may want to check out Ocean Terrace. There are also two bistros as well. There’s Spicy J, which serves Asian cuisine. Pier 21 serves seafood. So, while you are checking out the attractions of Minato Mirai; it won’t hurt at all to check out the InterContinental Yokohama.

As you can see, there are many attractions within Minato Mirai. It doesn’t matter where you decide to go, you surely will not be the least bit disappointed. There are so many places for eating, shopping, and more. You really can’t go wrong. Minato Mirai will definitely keep you busy for a day, or even more if you have the time. There are also many different photo opportunities for you to find any capture as you explore Minato Mirai. Minato Mirai will definitely complete your visit to Yokohama.


Cheap Hotels in Tokyo

With Tokyo being a very expensive city, some may think short term vacation rentals in the Tokyo area would be impossible to find. However, this is not the case. There are some cheap hotels and also another kind of hotel called a capsule hotel that may be within your budget.

A great Tokyo travel website to check out is http://www.planettokyo.com. On that website you can find the cheapest hotels in Tokyo including the New Koyo and the Sakura Hotel. With the New Koyo, you are looking at spending anywhere from 2,500 to 4,800 yen. You can check out all the details on their website, which is http://www.newkoyo.com. The Sakura Hotel’s prices range from 3,150 to 8,400 yen. You can view more information about their hotel on their website, which is http://www.sakura-hotel.co.jp. Which hotel would be the better fit and what price you pay is completely dependent on what it is you’re looking for in a hotel.

Another option available to those looking for a cheap hotel is a capsule hotel. A capsule hotel offers a small sleeping space that measures 3 feet by 4 feet by 6 feet. In each capsule there is a tv, clock, and light. It is very restrictive as far as space goes, but it is a place to rest your head at night for a very low price. One thing you may find is many capsule hotels do not offer capsules to women for security reasons. The price for a capsule hotel can range anywhere from 2,500 to 4,500 yen per night.

capsule hotel in Tokyo

Capsule Hotel

One of the most popular capsule hotels available in Tokyo is the Business Inn Pillow Capsule and Sauna. Their capsules run from 3,000 to 3,300 yen. Their price depends on whether you want your capsule to come equipped with a television or not. For more details about the Business Inn Pillow Capsule and Sauna, visit their website at http://www.hotel-pillow.co.jp.

One of the cheaper capsule hotels in Tokyo is the Capsule Inn Akasaka. Their price ranges from 2,500 yen to 3,000 yen. The price depends on whether you would like internet with your reservation or not. However, this capsule hotel does not permit female guests. For information about the Capsule Inn Akasaka, you view their website at http://www.toto-motors.co.jp/marroad/capsule.

So, there are options available to those who aren’t looking to spend a lot on their hotel stay in Tokyo. It will just be a matter of what you’re looking for in your hotel and how much you are looking to spend. Choosing a cheaper option will make it so you can spend more money on your actual trip than on the hotel.

Image: Capsule Inn Akasaka


Shopping in Japan: The Shopping Paradise

Japan is ecstasy for shoppers. The choicest shopping ranges from high-tech electronic gadgets to underground markets.  The sidewalks are crowded with everything from faux designers to upscale boutiques. This paradise offers large department stores, fashion boutiques, cameras, traditional crafts and wood block prints.

You can shop at duty-free shops in the airports, and if you want tax-fee shopping, it’s available in urban areas. Tokyo is the best place to shop in Japan. Shopping in this place follows similar molds in cities while the villages and towns sell mainly authentic vases, crafts and jewelry.

The commencing of the Roppongi Hills complex saw 10 million visitors in two months. It consists of hotels, movie theaters, and four level shops. The place is known as the “Rodeo drive” of Tokyo. This is a shopping place for the upper-class people. Though it is a well-known place to shop, it is very expensive and considered a place to max out your gold card. You can see weekly Japanese block parties, vendors selling puppets, numerous art galleries in Ginza district.  In addition to that, Tsukiji market is famous for the morning seafood auction. The market sells wide varieties of seafood.

Ginza, Tokyo

Department stores open on all holidays. Each store closes one weekday each week. Shopping hours in Japan are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A 5% tax is charged as consumption tax in Japan. It is also fun to visit sales stores which are held in January, July, August, and December.

Kokeshi Dolls: These are popular dolls in north Japan. They are made of wood turners and have a tradition of 200 years.  Dogwood or Maple wood is used to make these dolls. They are made of cylinders to which a round head is attached and painted with non toxic vegetable dyes.

Some of the interesting shopping spots that you can enjoy shopping are the Ginza area, Shinjuku area, Harajuku or Aonama area, Shibuya area, Tokyo midtown, and Vinusports, Aqua City Odaiba, and Decks Tokyo beach.

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Workout in Japan for Cheap

So you are in the land of the rising Sun for a holiday, business trip or perhaps you live here but have never thought about going to a gym before. Well like every large city in the world, finding a gym is very easy. However they can be fairly expensive and if you prefer lifting free weights rather than machines, then most of the chain gyms probably won’t be for you. There are of course many small more “hardcore” gyms, though these might be difficult to find and use if you speak little to know Japanese, but certainly not impossible. However the option(s) I go for are to use the public gyms that are maintained by each of the Toyko city wards. If you have a look at the website for the ward you should be able to find details for the public gyms within the ward.

 

The only downside is that the equipment varies greatly from gym to gym, though you can just shop around and see which one suits your needs. Aside from the training rooms, there is often a swimming pool and an in door training area/running track.

Even if you don’t speak Japanese its easy enough to use the facilities, most if not all of the gymnasiums have a ticket machine where you buy a ticket for whichever service you want to use. Reading a bit of katakana will make this easier, though you can always just ask the staff to help you out. It won’t be too difficult for them to figure out what you need. Perhaps doing the universal sign language movement of an arm curl would help…or make you look like a crazy person, the risk is yours.

The other option that I have used on occasion is to use one of the small swing parks you will come across in residential neighborhoods. These provide various opportunities to train outdoors, doing chinups, pullsup and reverse rows. The layout of these parks is very hit and miss, some are amazingly well equipped others have nothing but a bench. Take a wander around your neighborhood and see what you can find.