Posted by: Tomoyuki (January 28, 2012 6:00 AM) | Permalink

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Weekly series: "Pssst. Now our guests are speaking!" This week: Questions for you! :)

Posted by: Vanessa

Hello together,

today it's Friday and this is a special of our special series! :D

So this week, I've questions for you!

Because I thought, that it might be interesting for you, to know, what our guests from so many different nations have experienced while their stay in Tokyo and what they would recommend to you, this series was born.

And to make it much more interesting and as best as possible for you, I want to ask YOU this time...


What do you want to know from our guests and their stay in Tokyo?

Do you miss some questions or is it great the way, it is? ^^

Want to know more about some special impressions, about how they experienced some certain aspects of Tokyo or the people living here?

Let me know to do the best for you! :)

So please write me - here with your comments or on our facebook page or twitter! ^^

Ahh, and of course...if you will stay here in the future and want to be interviewed for our blog - don't hesitate to ask me and my colleagues and we'll make a great interview together! ^^

Here you can read from some of our former guests....

Tony from Brazil!


Michael from Australia!


Thomas from the USA!


Reginald from Canada!


Toufik and El Hadi from Algeria!
On the picture, they are the nice guys in the second row from the left (Toufik) and in the middle of second row (El Hadi). ^^


Gema from Mexico!


Doesn't they look all really nice and friendly! :)

You really can make friends easy here and discover Tokyo together!
Even if you travel alone, you wont be alone! ^^

And all our nice guests from all over the world, could be your friend, could be helpful and share their experience and recommendations with you! ^^

I really like that..and every time it gives me a big smile behind the front desk, to watch how formerly strangers in so short time could be friends.


Sakura Hostel Asakusa

Address: 2-24-2 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
tel +81-3-3847-8111
fax +81-3-3847-8112

e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Vanessa (January 27, 2012 2:19 PM) | Permalink

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A really real otaku shopping day with Tokyo Metro One-Day Open Ticket! ^^

Posted by: Vanessa

Hello together,

today I want to show how you can have a perfect day for
otaku shopping! :D

First, you need a
Tokyo Metro One-Day Open Ticket!

It's only 710 Yen and you can use all Tokyo Metro Lines with it for one whole day (starting with the first train in the morning and ending with the last train at night ^^).


You can buy this ticket on the vending machines at all Tokyo Metro stations.

And here you have the Tokyo Subway Route Map to be perfectly prepared! ^^
Subway map.pdf

So let's start here in Asakusa. ^^

1. aim: Akihabara - of course! ^^


Akihabara is one of the most famous otaku scenery in Tokyo and popular for that. Akihabara is a major shopping area for electronic, computer, anime, and otaku goods, including new and used items. So you can find many shops, offering video games, sometimes even for all systems (even the older one like NES, Neo Geo, Dreamcast etc. etc.). There're many figurines stores, too. So if you're into video games, merchandising stuff of this and UFO Catchers, shopping in Akihabara will be your paradise! Ah..and before I forgot: many Maid Cafes are available there, too. ^^

How to get there:

Asakusa Station --> Ginza Line --> Suehirocho Station (5 min walk to Akihabara Electric Town)




2. aim: Nakano Broadway (Nakano)


Nakano Broadway is a huge shopping mall and has 4 floors. The second and third are filled with Audio, darts, adult dvd, army wear, idol posters, figurines and a ton of other otaku gear. Nakano Broadway is really otaku heaven, if you're in love with figurines and cosplay costumes. If you're a collector of figurines, then it's really perfect, because there you can find really old and rare figurines. There are so many of these shops, you couldn't imagine. It's crazy (and I love it, of course ^^).

How to get there:

Suehirocho Station --> Ginza Line --> Nihombashi Staion (change here!) --> Tozai Line --> Nakano Station




3. aim: Otome Road (Ikebukuro)


Otome Road (Maiden Road) is the nickname of the small areas next to the Sunshine 60 building of ikebukuro. Here's the best place, if you're into mangas, into doujinshi and of course anime. So on Otome Road you'll find many K-Book stores, Animate (much floors), Mandarake store and much much more. But I've to warn's called as Akihabara is Otaku Heaven for boys, Otome Road is the same for girls (that means, there you can find the more special anime and mangas, where often two boys are know, what I mean :D).

How to get there:

Nakano Station --> Tozai Line --> Iidabashi Station (change here!) --> Yurakucho Line --> Ikebukuro Station




4. aim: Shibuya


In the 90s, Shibuya was a really big thing for otaku scene, which is nowadays Akihabara. But still you can find valuable to visit remnants of Shibuya's otaku era. ^^ For example the big Mandarake store on Inokashira Dori. Two floors down you can buy many of used figures, manga, CDs, cosplay outfits and more. Other well-respected figure and hobby stores in the area include Project 1/6 and Bingo. Cospa and Cospatio are there too - store specializing in professionally produced cosplay- and anime-related clothing. Similarly, Animate is a department store for anime-related goods with two locations tucked away to the west of the station. There are some gaming halls, too. ^^

How to get there:

Ikebukuro Station --> Fukutoshin Line --> Shibuya Station




5. aim: back home again in your lovely Hostel Asakusa

Shibuya Station --> Ginza Line --> Asakusa Station

What a great otaku day, right! ^^

I swear, if you aren't an otaku...after that day you will be! :D

Enjoy this trip and a deep sight in another aspect of Japanese culture! :)

And wear comfortable shoes, please :D


Sakura Hostel Asakusa

Address: 2-24-2 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
tel +81-3-3847-8111
fax +81-3-3847-8112

e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Vanessa (January 26, 2012 2:04 PM) | Permalink

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Have a great day in Tokyo with the Toei One-Day Economy Pass! ^^

Posted by: Vanessa

Hello together,

because we're often asked, how expensive it would be, to go to this and that and those places here in Tokyo, I want to recommend you a really magical great ticket and want to show you, what you could do with that in one day! ^^

The Toei One-Day Economy Pass!

It's only 700 Yen! ^^

This Toei One-Day Economy Passes allows you the unlimited use of Toei subways, Toei buses, the Toei Streetcar (Toden) Arakawa Line, and the Nippori-Toneri Liner for one day (so in Japanese please ask it with "Toei Marugoto Kippu" in the case of an inquiry).


One-Day Economy Passes are available at Toei subway station ticket counters; Toei bus offices/branches; Toei streetcar offices; and vending locations for commuter passes for Toei subways, Toei buses, Toei streetcars, and the Nippori-Toneri Liner.
On the day of use, passes are available at ticket machines in all Toei subway stations and Nippori-Toneri Liner stations and on Toei buses and streetcars.

Following Toei Metro Lines you can use unlimited with this pass:

Asakusa Line

Mita Line

Shinjuku Line

Oedo Line

Here's a plan of the Tokyo Metro, where you have everything on it! ^^

Subway map.pdf

So let's start our big 700 Yen transportation costs day! ^^

1. aim: Tsukiji Fish Market


Tsukiji Market is a large wholesale market for fish, fruits and vegetables in central Tokyo and one of the world's largest fish markets, handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day! And it is the most famous of over ten wholesale markets that handle the distribution of fish, meat, produce and flowers in metropolitan Tokyo. So you have the chance, to walk around the huge wholesale area, enjoying the atmosphere and watching the big big tunas. ^^

How to get there:

Asakusa --> Toei Asakusa Line --> Daimon (change here!) --> Toei Oedo Line --> Tsukijishijo



2. aim: Imperial Palace


After the Meiji Restoration, the Emperor moved from Kyoto to Tokyo and so this Edo Castle became the Imperial Palace. A part of the site is opened to the public as the Imperial Palace East Park. The Nijubashi Bridge in front of the main entrance is really popular and perfect for pictures to remember.

How to get there:

Take a short walk from Tsukiji Fish Market to Higashi Ginza Station
Tsukiji-Honganji Temple on the way
Kabuki-za Theater on the way
Higashi Ginza --> Toei Asakusa Line --> Mita (change here!) --> Toei Mita Line --> Otemachi



3. aim: Yasukuni Shrine


Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine in central Tokyo that commemorates Japan's war dead. The shrine was founded in 1869 with the purpose of enshrining those who have died in war for their country and sacrificed their lives to help build the foundation for a peaceful Japan. A political controversy surrounds Yasukuni Shrine because since 1978, fourteen class A war criminals are among the 2.5 million people enshrined at Yasukuni. As you can see, with visiting Yasukuni Shrine, you are visiting a big part of history, too.

How to get there:

Just take a short walk, it's on the way :)



3. aim: Shinjuku


Time for shopping and entertainment now! ^^
Here are so many things to see and visit: the Electric Street with the big electronic stores, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (really totally beautiful), Shinjuku Southern Terrace (a large promenade with many shops) and Kabukicho, the major entertainment area with many restaurants, theaters, movie theaters and game arcades. Just enjoy to watch the busy life and atmosphere around you! ^^

How to get there:

Just take a short walk to Kudanshita --> Toei Shinjuku Line --> Shinjuku



4. aim: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building


This big, important building has an observatory on the 45th floor and on the 1st floor, volunteers of the Tokyo Tourist Information, offers a tour through the building. As the observatory is open until 23:30, you can have an unforgettable view over Tokyo at night. ^^

How to get there:

You can just take a walk, it shouldn't take too much time...but after full program, if you're tired, you can take:

Shinjuku --> Toei Oedo Line --> Tochomae




5. aim: Back home! ^^


Your lovely Hostel Asakusa with your comfortable bed and a soft blanket and pillow is waiting for you! ^^

How to get there:

Tochomae --> Toei Oedo Line --> Kuramae (change here!) --> Toei Asakusa Line --> Asakusa



I hope, you will enjoy your Tour! ^^

Will be a full day of culture and fun for sure!


Sakura Hostel Asakusa

Address: 2-24-2 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
tel +81-3-3847-8111
fax +81-3-3847-8112

e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Vanessa (January 25, 2012 2:04 PM) | Permalink

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Wah, what's that...SNOW! ^^

Posted by: Vanessa

Hello together,

this morning was really crazy.

I woke up much more earlier, than I'm used to...because of a loud and strange noise outside.

Thought to myself "What's that? I know that noise...but couldn't be.".

When I lived with my parents as a child, I was used to that sound in winter.
So many winterdays, my father had to stand up earlier, to go out and do snow shovelling in front of our house.

And this morning, I heared the same noise!

"I'm in Tokyo, that can't be." I thought, but was too curious, to sleep longer.

So I opened the window...
"Oh my god.", I said to me. ^^

Snow and much ice was on the street and my neighbour was snow shovelling and ice scratching in front of his house. ^^


For some of our guests - they are from Australia - it was the first time, to see snow in their life.

Tomoyuki-san made some pictures around the area last night...just look. Crazy, right! ^^





For me, it was not much snow, but a big surprise, to have snow here.
And I think, it was a big surprise for many Japanese here in Tokyo, too, because snow is seldom here in Tokyo (one or two times a year maximum). ^^

Where my parents live and I've lived (in Bavaria, South Germany), until I moved to Berlin, snow in the winter is a totally normal thing.
There's so much snow in the winter, that we often do cross-country skiing in the area around the house. ^^
As a child, I've always enjoyed to go sledding around some small hills.
And we did ice skating on the ponds, as you can see on the following picture (yes, that's in front of my families house). ^^


But here in Japan, it's really somehow strange for me...because this winter was so mild, sun was always shining and the temperature was the most time around 5 to 10 degrees. ^^

This morning, I had to watch on my steps, not to slip away on the street. That was somehow funny, made some crazy stepdance two times :D

At the moment, the sun is shining and almost all the snow and ice is melted away. ^^
So, I don't think, that we could end like that. ^^

snow ending.jpg

That's between Nagano and Toyama. It's called Tateyama. Really fascinating, right...and so much snow! ^^


Only on the rooftops you can see the evidence - we had snow here in Tokyo! ^^

That's really cool, as you can say! ^^



Sakura Hostel Asakusa

Address: 2-24-2 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
tel +81-3-3847-8111
fax +81-3-3847-8112

e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Vanessa (January 24, 2012 2:16 PM) | Permalink

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A Happy New Year in China !!

Posted by: Tomoyuki

Do you know what day it is today (January 23rd) ?? It's Lunar New Year in China !!

It's for 1st of January in the Lunar calendar.
From 23rd to 25th, they celebrate it by shooting fireworks, beating drums, exploding firecrackers and so on.
They also have so many performances on streets wearing Chinese dress, dancing with Dragon shaped something.
Especially the fireworks are held on a much larger scales than those of Japan.


竜舞2.jpg hanabi 2.jpg 水中竜舞.jpg

People go back to their houses and spend these days with their families.
That's the same as Japanese New Year days.

But, look at these pictures !! These are the situation people are waiting for buying train tickets.
And inside the train, people are sitting on the aisle.
Japanese rush on the platforms is also crazy, but this is more.



And even in Japan, at Yokohama Chinese town, people celebrate it, too.
Many events are held there as if there was real China !!

They will have special dishes on these days.
As we Japanese have Osechi Ryori, they have their own Osechi Ryori.
It depends on their home and where they live.
One of the important things is, rice cake, there are some kinds, triangle, stick type and etc・・・
But the common meanings they have are to be rich and to have good luck in the year.


金餅 2.jpg

These celebrations last at least for 3 days.
When you have a chance, why don't you go to China and experience their most important day ?


Sakura Hostel Asakusa

Address: 2-24-2 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
tel +81-3-3847-8111
fax +81-3-3847-8112
e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Tomoyuki (January 23, 2012 2:14 PM) | Permalink

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I'm not afraid of rain - I have a transparent umbrella! ^^

Posted by: Vanessa

Hello together,

because it's raining today, I want to write about an useful thing, totally common in Japan, but really nowhere to find in my homecountry Germany!

The transparent umbrella! :D


They are called biniiru-gasa (ビニール傘/ plastic umbrella).

These transparent umbrellas you can see everywhere, when it's raining.

umbrella paint.jpg


umbrellas transp many.jpg

You can buy them almost everywhere, too. ^^


They are really cheap - you can get them for a price around 100 to 500 Yen, depending at where you'll buy one (for example, many 100 Yen stores offer these umbrellas, but not everyone), which size the umbrella has (there are bigger and a little bit more stable ones) and how the weather is (yes, right...the base of and demand ^^).

I think, I've found out, that the transparent umbrellas with the white grips are often the cheapest sort of these umbrellas and the ones with the black grip seems often a little bit larger and more stable (but maybe that's only my theory and can't be used in general). ^^

transparent black white.jpg

The transparent umbrellas are somehow funny. ^^ When entering some stores or a restaurant and you put your transparent umbrella in an umbrella stand there...later you found your transparent umbrella between twenty other the same looking umbrellas (the picture below is really totally harmless ^^). You have really to remember, on which corner of the stand you had put your umbrella. ^^ Maybe my umbrella had belong to many different owners while my using time and I don't know. :D


Because the transparent umbrellas are really cheap, they can go easy broken. So after a windy day or really heavy rain, you can see many broken, transparent umbrellas around the area.


After the typhoon at the end of last year, on the sides of the streets there were so many broken ones lying on the ground, forming little umbrella hills. On this day, two umbrellas were broken in my hands. The first one 50 meters / 1 minute away from the store, where I've bought it.

typhoon 2.jpg

Of course, the sorts of umbrellas, all of us know, are available here, too.

The big black, brown, dark grey or marine blue umbrellas - used by serious looking businessmen in dark suits (I've never seen a woman with such an umbrella...only me). ^^ My huge, black umbrella with a wooden grip has cost 500 Yen and is my umbrella for the bad days, when it's really windy...because it's much more stable than the transparent ones...a really manly umbrella! :D

The foldable mini umbrellas. They are a bit more expensive (think around 700 Yen to 1500 Yen) and I've only seen them in use while the rainy season in Japan, which takes place from the beginning of June until the beginning of July. At this time, you'd be lost without an umbrella, so you have to have one with you whenever you leave the house. But out of this rainy season, you can't see this type of umbrella very often. They get used by man and woman and are available in many colours.

Or the cute mixture of transparent umbrellas printed with little patterns, like dots, flowers, stars or butterflies etc.. ^^


I like the transparent ones. To see them on the streets or standing in huge amounts (from other housemates, too) in a corner in the Sakura House, where I'm living, belongs to my daily life now.

But in Germany, you can't find transparent umbrellas. Really. Nowhere.

When I lived in Germany, I always tried, to get one...but no chance. Even in the capital Berlin, where I've lived, you can't find one of these umbrellas. And I don't know why. They are convenient, good to use and of course better for safety, because you have a much better field of view. ^^

transparent man.jpg

So when you visit Japan (and of course I hope, you will have superb weather with much friendly sunshine) on rainy days you will see so much of these transparent umbrellas! ^^

And of course, if you stay here at Sakura Hostel, we have a lot of them you can use for free, when it's raining! ^^

So I'm not afraid of the rain! :D

rain end.jpg


Sakura Hostel Asakusa

Address: 2-24-2 Asakusa Taito-ku, Tokyo
tel +81-3-3847-8111
fax +81-3-3847-8112

e-mail: [email protected]

Posted by: Vanessa (January 22, 2012 10:47 AM) | Permalink

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