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Sanrio Cafe Ikebukuro Opens in Tokyo! We're In Love With the Sweets & Original Merch

Ikebukuro

On June 5, Sanrio opened the doors to SANRIO CAFE Ikebukuro. A directly-operated and permanent cafe on the first basement floor of Sunshine City Alpa in Ikebukuro, it's sure to put a smile on all Sanrio fans' faces. SANRIO CAFE Ikebukuro is composed of two areas: a standard cafe space and a cafe wagon corner dedicated to takeaway. Here you can enjoy eating and drinking in the cafe space surrounded by your favorite Sanrio characters, or get some of the delightful drinks and sweets to go.

Japanese Drugstores Are So Different to Back Home! A Deeper Look Into the Success of Pharmacies

It's interesting how drugstores have become an indispensable part of modern Japanese life, much like the ubiquitous convenience stores. As the name suggests, these shops are fully stocked with essential pharmaceutical products. On top of that, they also allocate shelf space for daily necessities like toiletries and foodstuff, so it's not just medicines and ointments here. This wide selection of goods is why Japan's drugstores have such a strong following among visitors from other Asian countries. In fact, it's not unusual to hear of people coming to Japan with the main purpose of doing drugstore shopping! The popularity of these stores is growing among Western lands as well. Although relatively smaller in terms of size and product range compared to their counterparts in the United States, Japanese drugstores certainly hold their own when it comes to product quality, pricing, and of course, customer service. Prices can be driven even lower if you take advantage of the tax-free system for overseas visitors. Here's a deeper look at five reasons why you, too, should drop by a drugstore too if you visit Japan!

Purikura: Change Yourself Up with Photo Booth Fun!

Arcades

You simply cannot take a trip to Japan without trying one of the mega-popular sticker photo booths known as purikura! For just a few hundred yen and a few minutes, you can take home a souvenir that is as fun to make as it is to share. Purikura isn’t just about the final photos, but about the experience and fun of posing and decoration. This is not your average photo booth! LIVE JAPAN took a visit to the purikura area of the Taito Station game center in Shinjuku to try purikura for ourselves and to take you through the process step by step!

Shibamata: Snacking and Sightseeing in Tokyo’s Old Edo Neighborhood

Shibamata / Kita-Senju / Kameari Old Towns (Shitamachi)

Among Tokyoites, Shibamata is known as the city’s most nostalgic neighborhood, a place with a warm atmosphere that lets you forget the hustle and bustle of the metropolis for a while. It’s a “shitamachi,” one of Tokyo’s old towns that still bear a close resemblance to Edo, one that has a special place in the heart of many a Japanese person. The long-running TV film series “Otoko wa Tsurai Yo,” or it’s tough being a man, was filmed here as the main protagonist’s much-beloved home. The center of the neighborhood is dominated by the magnificent Shibamata Taishakuten, a Buddhist temple founded in 1629. Beautiful sculptures and a calm Japanese garden invite to a leisurely sightseeing stroll. The approach to the temple is a scenic street – a lot livelier than the tranquil temple - dotted with numerous shops, stalls, and restaurants, selling delicacies typical for the area such as una-ju (eel on rice in a lacquered box), kusa dango (mugwort dumplings), and senbei (rice crackers). Located in Tokyo’s northeast, Shibamata is a mere 30-minute train ride away from popular Asakusa, offering an entirely different taste of Tokyo’s old days.

Osaka Castle Guide: Inside Japan's Most Visited Castle (Access, Things to Do)

Osaka Castle, Tenmabashi, Kyobashi Castles

Osaka Castle is one of Japan's most famous and historic castles. Located in the center of Osaka City, Osaka Castle was said to have been built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who completed the unification of Japan. "When you come to Osaka, visit here first!" - This seems to be the thought of many tourists from abroad. With the help of our guide, we learned many interesting things about Osaka Castle!

20 Fun Things to Do for Free in Tokyo

Other Sightseeing

Tokyo is full of free and fun adventures letting you enjoy the bustling metropolis without spending a fortune. From fascinating exhibits, stunning parks, and even free beer, these 20 free things to do in Tokyo are carefully picked to ensure you’re getting the most out of your holiday! Start here to plan your next Tokyo adventure!

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