TF Top 10……Sights Along The Keio Lines In Tokyo

The Keio Line principally connects Shinjuku to the western side of Tokyo with seven different lines running through to the likes of suburban city Hachiōji and the mountainous area at Takaosanguchi. All of it’s stations actually lie within the boundaries of Tokyo and Tokyo Fox has dug deep to come up with a list, in no particular order, that features some hidden gems mixed in with a few perennial favourites. Places alone such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, Kichijoji or even Shimo Kitazawa do not qualify.

1. Nakayasu Hotel @ Keiō-Hachiōji (KO34) – The origins of this building can be traced all the way back to 1950 when the owner set up a store which got developed 15-16 years later into a two storey hotel and inn. The expansion continued and was fully completed in 1972 when the Nakagin Capsule Tower was also finished. Both buildings are similar in appearance and style due to the individualistic lego block-like nature of each room. For me, the intense golden sandy colour is very Star Wars-like. More details here

2. Tokyo Racecourse (Tōkyō Keiba-jō)) @Fuchūkeiba-seimommae – The capital’s number one race track is home to the Continue reading

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On The Fox Trail……At The Babymetal Shrine From The ‘Megitsune’ Video (Tokyo)

Whilst watching some of the Glastonbury coverage last year I came across a Japanese band called Babymetal whose name I’d known for many years due to their popularity abroad. However, I’d never heard a single thing by them so out of curiosity I jumped in and watched the live video of a song called ‘Megitsune‘. I was quite surprised to find myself entranced by the mix of heavy metal music and other music influences, highly choreographed dance routines, the energy and a lot of fox references.

Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox but I was totally unaware at that time that ‘Megitsune‘ means vixen (female fox). The story goes that the three original members – Su-metal, Moametal and Yuimetal – were chosen by a mysterious deity called the Fox God to be Continue reading

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Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #27

Many of the parks and children’s playgrounds in Japan, particularly in Tokyo, are quite poor compared to other countries in terms of space, surroundings and a lack of grass. However, a handful of them do tend to possess extremely creative structures and they will be explored in this series.

Nickname: Fire Engine Slide

Location: Continue reading

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What Watching Football In Japan Is Like Now

Between late February and 4th July 2020 there was no football in Japan. The authorities were actually very quick to shut down the leagues after the Covid_19 outbreak but maybe a bit slow to get things restarted as other leagues around the world (Korea, Germany) got back up and running with extra interest from football-starved fans.

The first couple of rounds were played totally behind closed doors but two weeks ago fans were allowed back into grounds with a new set of measures and protocols such as Continue reading

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TF Top 10……Alternative Sights In Saitama Prefecture

Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Saitama Sights‘ in 2013 included some of the more impressive sights (Kawagoe, Chichibu etc) of the often maligned prefecture plus a few less-famous inclusions so this is kind of an expansion of those alternative places which could be worth your time. Here, in no particular order, is the TF Top 10……alternative Saitama sights…

1. Johnson Town, Irumashi – Under American occupation in 1945 and the Korean War five years later, U.S. forces gave birth to “Johnson Air Base” which became known as Johnson Town. American-style homes were built up until the late 1970’s but when the U.S. military evacuated the area Japanese people moved in and that’s basically why there’s the slightly bizarre situation today of an American town existing without any Americans in it! More details here

2. Seitenkyū, Sakado-shi – The largest Taoist temple in Japan is seemingly located in Continue reading

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Review: Films Set In Japan – Joe Butterfly (1957)

War settings for comedies have been aplenty over the years, especially for British TV audiences, with the likes of ‘Dad’s Army‘ (1968-1977), ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum‘ (1974-1981), ‘Allo Allo‘ (1982–1992), ‘Blackadder Goes Forth‘ (1989) and ‘Goodnight Sweetheart‘ (1993-1999) all taking place amidst the backdrop of a war.

With nostalgic memories of those classic comedies in mind, I was quite optimistic about this big screen Hollywood effort. The reality though is that it’s not exactly a laugh-out-loud 90 minutes but that’s not to say that it doesn’t have a charm of sorts. It came out just eight years after another film set in Japan with the word Joe in the title was released by way of ‘Tokyo Joe‘ (1949). However, the more common comparison would be the similarly-themed ‘Teahouse Of The August Moon‘ (1957) which was released about half a year before it.


Joe Butterfly‘ is a service comedy from an unproduced play that hasn’t aged well at all due to a Continue reading

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Foxed In The Head: Cycling To All Inari Shrines In Tokyo’s 23 Wards – #2 Toshima

#2. Toshima

Cycling may be something that I love to do but I’m not really one who goes for a ride without some kind of aim whether it be to a restaurant, a sight or just my workplace. With that in mind, and desperate to get out on my new bike, I decided to cycle round ALL the Inari Shrines in Tokyo taking each of the 23 wards one at a time.

Inspired by recent interest in tiny shrines, this idea seemed like a good way of Continue reading

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TF Flashback – River Rafting In Saitama (2005)

“Do you want to go rafting?” is a question form used in one of the books I regularly teach higher elementary kids from with the word rafting being interchangeable with other exciting activities like snorkelling, climbing, surfing, rollerblading and so on. It’s one of my most preferable units in the book as such guessing game activities always seem to go down well with the kids.

The very same question was posed to me way back in the middle of July 2005 by my girlfriend of the time and I was keen so we drove on up into Saitama Prefecture one morning to experience a spot of rafting on the Arakawa River amidst the heat and humidity of a Japanese Summer. A 90 minute car-ride north-west of Ikebukuro takes you to the vast Chichibu-Tama Kai National Park area which is the fifth largest of its kind in Japan. It is famed for it’s mountains and waterfalls but you can also go out on a large, sturdy inflatable boat.

Check out the whacky guy on top of the raft!

There was some sort of safety preparation and dry paddle practice with the training crew (a fun bunch of people from my memory!) before we could hit the water. I really wanted to Continue reading

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The Sea Cave In Shizuoka That Sprays Seawater Several Metres Into The Air

After countless trips to Ito on the Izu Peninsula there really aren’t that many local places which I haven’t been to but this time my father-in-law, on a whim, took us to a new location. The original plan at first though was just to head down to Kawana Dolphin Beach before breakfast to get the dogs out of the house. Admittedly, it’s not the best of beaches but it is always a nice tranquil place to spend some quiet moments.


Expecting to go home after that, my father-in-law then chose to take us all a couple of kilomeres further up the Izu coastline to Continue reading

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Puppy Love Pt II: When Maron (Finally) Met Cocoa

When our beloved family dog “Momiji” (a chihuahua-poodle mix known in Japanese as a chipoo) went to heaven last year it left a huge void in our lives. Time does move on though and seven months later my wife and I had got our very own dog, and then in late March my parents-in-law got a brown poodle and called him Cocoa. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, between us, we were trying to create a new chipoo but that is not the case as they’re both male dogs!

We had been planning to go to Izu in Golden Week but the State of Emergency (the “soft” lockdown which Japan employed for most of April and May) put paid to that idea. Once it was over though we were able to finally get over that way in June so Continue reading

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