5 Favorites - Jean Snow's Tokyo
by the editors / August 16, 2007

(unfortunately no map available)

DESIGN
Ginza Graphic Gallery | Tel. 03.3571.5206 | dnp.co.jp | DNP Ginza Bldg. 7-7-2 Ginza


In terms of design galleries Ginza is pretty much the area of Tokyo you'll want to visit, especially when it comes to graphics and art direction, and my favorite is the Ginza Graphic Gallery. Their monthly shows are usually comprehensive retrospectives of a designer or unit, with the occasional group and award exhibitions to give some perspective on the direction the scene is heading. The gallery's series of affordable GGG Books (only 1000 yen) is also great, with a new volume accompanying most shows.

FOOD
Ootoya | Tel. 03.5954.0218 | ootoya.com | MASHITA5 2F 3-13-17 Minami-Ikebukuro


Of all the food choices in this city, why do I include a fast food chain? Ootoya is more than just your average food chain; the food -- typical Japanese fare, in the form of a teishoku, which means served with rice, miso soup, and the like -- tastes great, it's quite affordable, and the atmosphere is nice, especially at the branch I always visit on Azuma street in Ikebukuro (they renovated the space 2 years ago, giving it a simple wooden interior). You'll find Ootoya shops throughout the city, and I highly recommend you stop for a decent meal on a budget. Also, the menu includes pictures of every plate, so no need to worry about any language issues.

CAFE
Cafe Pause | Tel. 03.5950.6117 | jeansnow.net/cafepause | 1F-2-14-12 Minami-Ikebukuro


I couldn't really have a top 5 without including a cafe -- one of my main obsessions in this city -- and even though I could have done a top 5 just on cafes, I'll instead focus on Cafe Pause in Ikebukuro. Located a couple of minutes from my apartment, I was lucky to get involved early on, when they opened 3 years ago -- I went so often that I got to know the staff and the owner. It's now the main place where I write, produce the occasional event (usually during Tokyo Design Week), as well as manage the gallery space. My daily chai there is a must.

SHOP
MUJI Yurakucho | Tel. 03.5208.8241 | mujiyurakucho.com | Infos Yurakucho 2 2F 3-8-3 Marunouchi


If you love MUJI as much as I do, then it doesn't get better than their flagship store in Yurakucho (walking distance from Ginza and Marunouchi). The only store to feature every single MUJI item, it also has their pre-fab house on display (currently the "Mado no Ie" model), the MEAL MUJI cafeteria, and the ATELIER MUJI gallery space. An absolute must-see for anyone who considers themselves part of the cult of MUJI (of which I am a card-carrying, and quite vocal, member).

BOOKS
Junkudo | Tel. 03.5956.6111 | junkudo.co.jp | 2-15-5 Minami-Ikebukuro


I'm the fist to admit that I'm quite the magazine addict, and luckily I live just a couple of minutes away from the Ikebukuro branch of the Junkudo bookstore chain, which just so happens to be one of the largest bookstores in the world. With 10 floors of books on offer, there's plenty for everyone, but for me it's mostly about the magazines. My routine? Grab the latest Japanese design/culture magazines on the first floor, and then head to the 9th floor where I grab some of the international ones, and then find a seat by a table and dig in. I do buy some though -- really!


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