This Week in Tokyo and Karasuyama – 28 June 2022
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: Sake Cave; More Shibuya Mewtwo; 2022 Tiger; Aiko Nakamura and AO Travel and Nyanda Bar.
Featured image – Sake Cave: This week I headed to Karasuyama, a small town 50 minutes by local train from Utsunomiya in Tochigi, and experienced a fabulous sake and culture tour organised by my industry colleagues at Sake Voyage and Nearby Tokyo.
One of the highlights of the day was visiting a man-made cave, originally developed as a site for the an underground factory manufacturing parts for tanks during World War II, where local brewery Shimazaki Shuzo age some of their sake. 600m of tunnels house 130,000 bottles, including their famous Uroko brand, some special New Year’s celebratory sake and bottles for those who have are part of their owners’ programs.
I highly recommend a visit, which you should absolutely combine with a trip to Shimazaki’s main brewery building to enjoy some sake tasting.
Thanks to Cindy Bissig for grabbing this great shot of me, President Kenichi Shimazaki and Cave Manager Tetsuya Kasai, and thanks to Sake Voyage and Nearby Tokyo for arranging an edutaining day.
More Shibuya Mewtwo: A lifesized statue of Mewtwo was on display outside Shibuya PARCO from 16 to 26 June to promote POKECA – the collaboration between Pokemon Go and the Pokemon Trading Card Game. Mewtwo is the “signature Legendary Pokemon” of the Pokemon Center located in PARCO, which means there is a statue of Mewtwo in a cloning vat and exclusive merchandise available. You can never get too much Mewtwo in Shibuya.
2022 Tiger: One of my favourite murals in Tokyo is this 2022 Tiger by artist Aotanshi, tucked away in the backstreets of Dogenzaka in Shibuya. Always inspiring as I walk past it.
Aiko Nakarmura and AO Travel: I was honoured to be invited to the launch event for Australian Open travel packages (AO Travel) by STH Japan.
I have indirectly worked with STH before! Guests who they were hosting for the 2019 Rugby World Cup would often book me to guide them around Tokyo and Yokohama before, during and after their hospitality packages.
One of the highlights of the event was the chance to meet one of my tennis heroes – Aiko Nakamura. Nakamura-san reached a career-high singles ranking of 47 and was a highly entertaining player to watch. I loved hearing her stories of her time playing at the highest level and her current role working with Dunlop Sports to coach and inspire the next generation of players.
Thanks to all involved for a great evening. We continue…
Nyanda Bar: Last night saw the take over of the ever-fun Panda Bar, run by the inimitable Izumi, by cat-loving Saori – leading to the birth of Nyanda Bar (nyan means meow in Japanese)! I kicked off a fantastic evening there with this incredibly refreshing homemade brandy umeshu. Kanpai!