This Week in Tokyo – 21 February 2023
Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, you can check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week: Sak once again; Sayonara Star Kebab; Chichibu Whisky Matsuri 2023; Tokyo to ourselves and We are 6.
Sak once again: It’s that time of the year again! Starbucks Japan have released their Sakura limited edition drinks, and they’re as pink as ever. This year’s lineup includes a sakura frappuccino and latte. The Sakura Saku Saku Frappuccino can be purchased in tall size for ¥690 (¥678 for takeaway – thanks on-premise tax difference) and topped with crushed strawberry-flavoured macarons.
The Sakura Soy Latte, starting at ¥550 for a short size (¥540 for takeaway), comes in all sizes and contains a combination of sakura strawberry sauce and steamed soy milk, topped with pink silver sugar.
Sakura has a deep cultural significance in Japan. These beautiful flowers are not only a symbol of spring and renewal but also of the impermanence and transience of life. Hanami is a beloved pastime in Japan, with people flocking to parks and gardens to enjoy the fleeting beauty of the cherry trees.
And what better way (?) to celebrate than with a cup of Sakura-themed coffee! I’m sure many of our tour guests will want to try these limited-edition drinks, while stocks last!
And speaking of hanami… If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, look no further than the Kanpai Planet x Japan Distilled Cherry Blossom Party!
Join us in Yoyogi Park on Sunday 26 March for a celebration of the beautiful blossoms, Japanese drinks, and amazing vibes! It’s a one-of-a-kind party bringing you a real taste (pun intended) of Japanese culture and tradition – the perfect opportunity to be edutained while having an devastatingly good time with friends, new and old. We can’t wait to see you there! Buy your tickets here.
Sayonara Star Kebab: Star Kebab, a well-known food fixture in Akihabara, is no more.
Mustafa, the owner of Star Kebab, arrived in Japan from Turkey in 1995 and opened the first Star Kebab food truck in 1999. The permanent stand was established in Akihabara in 2005 and became an integral part of the local food culture.
Sadly, earlier this year Mustafa announced his decision to permanently close on 20 February 2023… leading to an outpouring of support on social media. Sadly, it was not enough to persuade him to change his mind.
I enjoyed a couple of meals at Star Kebab in its final weeks of operation. That Double Plate *chef’s kiss*…
Star Kebab, you will be missed!
Chichibu Whisky Matsuri 2023: Kanpai to an unforgettable experience at the Chichibu Whisky Matsuri, held on 19 February in Chichibu City!
This festival is a true celebration of whisky, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. The atmosphere was electric, but it wasn’t just about the liquid – the festival was a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow dram fans from around the world, coming together 90 minutes north of Tokyo.
From the stunning scenery to the delicious food and drink, it was an experience that I’ll never forget.
If you’re a whisky enthusiast, I highly recommend adding the Chichibu Whisky Matsuri to your bucket list. Trust me, it’s worth it!
Here’s one of the final shots I took – myself, Chichibu Whisky distillery founder Ichiro Akuto, and Stefan Van Eycken, author of Whisky Rising… together again for the first time!
Tokyo to ourselves: It was an honour to show Jonathan and Dianne the city I love. Their smart decision to come to Tokyo in off-peak February means we could enjoy many parts of the city without the crowds that visitors in March and April will have to contend with.
I have previously shared my thoughts about the best time to visit Tokyo. The answer may surprise you!
We Are 6: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US! On 20 February 2017, we launched the Maction Planet website, beginning our journey to reinvent bespoke travel in Tokyo and beyond.
Six years on and I’m very proud of how far we’ve come. And, with Japan’s borders finally open again for independent travel, we’re just getting (re)started…Check out our anniversary blog post for more information.
For variety, here’s a different photo from the same ‘photoshoot’ as the featured image of the anniversary blog post!
Kanpai, and we continue…