The festive spirit was alive and well in the Tokyo Station area last month, and as the year comes to a close, the Christmas themes are multiplying in a true commercial fashion. However, it’s not only a time for cakes, sweets, decorations and illuminations. Joining the party is an art exhibition, all-you-can-eat osechi ryori lunchboxes, and a bespoke children’s playroom at the Palace Hotel Tokyo.
Here’s what’s new around Tokyo Station in December 2020:
Pick up quirky Xmas cakes at Tokyo Station
‘Tis the season to be eating, and at Tokyo Station you can indulge in a selection of masterful Christmas cakes this December. At the Gransta Christmas Fare, which runs until Christmas day, you can sample cakes shaped like Shinkansen and Japanese mascots, yule logs and fruit cakes, chocolate puddings and berry pies, and a whole lot more.
For those who want to avoid the crowds, cakes can be ordered online for collection or delivery from Tokyo Station’s Ecute Tokyo and Keiyo Street malls.
White Kitte Christmas Tree Musical Game
In last month’s What’s New Around Tokyo Station installment, we introduced the White Kitte digital Christmas tree erected in Marunouchi’s classy Kitte commercial building. Running through Christmas Day, the event is also focusing on a musical game which guests can play while maintaining some semblance of social distance.
The tree made from mizuhiki, an old modeling craft that utilizes rice paper chords, has 16 circles placed under it at intervals of about 1.5 meters. The tree will illuminate in tandem when visitors step on the individual circles. The fun is accompanied by a Christmas soundtrack from the popular MUSIC ON! TV channel.
Palace Hotel Tokyo & Bonpoint Children’s Playroom
The Palace Hotel Tokyo and Bonpoint, a French couture embroidery and children’s clothing brand, may not seem like obvious bedfellows. But they have teamed up to present the Maison de Bonpoint children’s playroom at the Palace Hotel located along Marunouchi’s 1-Chome, less than 10 minutes from Tokyo Station on foot.
The room has also been dubbed Ichikun no heya (“Ichikun’s room”), after the stuffed dog Ichikun who resides inside. While the kids are let loose on the toys dotting the room, parents can enjoy lovely views through a large window overlooking the Imperial Palace gardens. The room, which is available until June 2021, is included as part of the hotel’s accommodation plans which can be booked using the Go to Travel campaign. Souvenirs are also available.
All-you-can-eat Osechi Ryori at Hotel Ryumeikan
Osechi ryori, a traditional Japanese meal eaten on New Year’s Day, is on offer at Hotel Ryumeikan near Tokyo Station this December. Containing up to 20 different dishes, the fare (served in traditional square wooden boxes) is a true taste of the various flavors of Japan in one condensed meal. The 90-minute all-you-can-eat option runs until December 31 from 8am to 6pm daily. Price is ¥5,500 for adults, ¥3,000 for kids under 12, and free for preschoolers.
1894 Visions at MIMT
As the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum Tokyo (MIMT) celebrates its 10th anniversary, an exhibition called ‘1894 Visions’ has been rolled out, featuring works from the year in which the historic building first opened its doors. The building that sports the same red-brick façade as near Tokyo Station hosts over 140 artworks from world-renowned artists, including symbolist painter Odilon Redon, caricaturist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and the photo-realistic oil paintings of Yamamoto Hosui.
KIBO Illumination Nihombashi
Nihombashi is a district in the throes of rejuvenation — deconstruction has finally begun on the ghastly highway that covers the landmark Nihombashi bridge, aiming to tear the structure down in its entirety by 2040.
Coredo Muromachi commercial complexes are prime examples of this rejuvenation, having sprung froth in numbers to breathe new life into one of the capital’s most historic areas. At Coredo Muromachi, seasonal illuminations mark important dates on the calendar, and the Christmas theme for 2020 is, rather aptly, kibo, or “hope.” The illumination kicked off at the end of November and will run through January 17 next year.
The main attraction is the Meteoroid Cupola, an art installation on the roof plaza of Coredo Muromachi Terrace using state-of-the-art tech which causes it to illuminate upon detecting meteors flying over Japan. Using an on-site QR code, the installation can also send your wishes into the sky. Plus, 200,000 LEDs will line the nearby streets Edokazura-dori and Honmachi-dori.
Character Street Illuminations
In the basement of Tokyo Station, Ichibangai (sometimes called “First Avenue”) is famous for its Character Street, a hallway of anime and pop culture merchandise stores flooded with commuters traveling through the capital’s flagship transport hub.
Character Street is also a treasure trove for Christmas gifts, so it’s no surprise they’ve got their own entry in Tokyo’s packed winter illumination roster. Icicle-shaped LEDs hang from the ceiling, intended to represent the cosmos above, particularly our own quiet little corner of the universe, the Milky Way. The light show will run throughout the entire month of December.
You can also expect some new pop-ups as Christmas looms on the horizon, including a merch store revolving around the popular manga and anime series Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon.
Know of anything exciting coming up in and near Tokyo Station soon? Anything to add to the list? Send us tips at e[email protected]