Spring is here, plum blossoms have already begun paving the way for the ephemeral sakura, the state of emergency is slated to end sooner or later, and to celebrate this season of new beginnings the Tokyo Station area is packed full of activities and experiences over the next month. You can expect elegant seasonal cuisine and spring sweets, cherry blossom illuminations, more virtual experiences, and the release of a brand new “teleworkspace” finding platform on the upcoming calendar.
Here’s what’s new around Tokyo Station for March 2021:
Sakura Fes Nihonbashi 2021
Not far from Tokyo Station, the 8th Sakura Fes Nihonbashi will be offering a takeout experience this year under the theme “Let’s take spring home.” Featuring around 170 restaurants and cafés in Nihonbashi, the festival is set to deliver a hanami experience more in line with a post-Covid-19 world.
This socially distanced event will include seasonal food and cherry blossom flavored wagashi (sweets) from eateries all across the Nihonbashi area. Benches will line the plaza of the Coredo Muromachi Terrace complex where you can tuck into the fare under a wave of cherry blossom-inspired parasols. Some of the most imposing buildings along the Chuo-dori and Edo Sakura-dori thoroughfares will also be lit up in a glowing sakura pink come nightfall for a limited time only. The event runs from March 19 – April 11.
Gransta White Day and Spring Fairs 2021
At the Gransta Marunouchi and Gransta Tokyo Station shopping malls, the White Day Fair is running from March 1 to March 14. The eponymous fair culminates on White Day, a kind of Valentine’s Day 2.0 in Japan where partners who received gifts on February 14 reciprocate by giving gifts of their own.
During the two-week period, Gransta is offering a variety of special White Day sweets – often featuring decadent white chocolate – on top of a slew of special cosmetic sets and fresh flowers.
From March 8 – 31, both Gransta malls will also hold Spring Fairs with a range of seasonal pink sweets inspired by cherry blossoms and strawberries, and green sweets made with green tea and pistachio symbolizing budding spring flora.
Sustainable Cuisine at Palace Hotel Tokyo
Esterre, a Michelin-recognised French restaurant that peers over the Imperial Palace grounds from the Palace Hotel Tokyo, has entered into an exclusive contract with an organic vegetable farm in Hakushu, Yamanashi Prefecture, to provide a sustainable farm-to-table dining experience.
Esterre, which opened in November 2019 in coordination with French chef Alain Ducasse, will continue to offer an elegant dining experience utilizing the terroir of Japan’s Southern Alps and classic French culinary techniques to maximize the flavor of each homegrown ingredient. Esterre was awarded one star in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2021 and combines culinary sustainability with a storyboard menu which explores the encounter between earth and sea through food. Esterre’s Taste of Spring course menu starts from March 1 and runs through May 31 – lunch and dinner options both available.
Tokyo Station Hotel Spring Menus
Throughout spring (March 1 – May 10) Tokyo Station Hotel will be offering exclusive fine dining course menus and lunch sets featuring seasonal ingredients at Restaurant Blanc Rouge. To accompany the elegant French-inspired repasts, seasonal cocktails fusing cherry blossom liqueur and fresh fruits will be available at various Tokyo Station Hotel restaurants and lounges.
At Blanc Rouge the special spring course, created by Executive Chef Masahiro Ishihara who is renowned for his diversified use of traditional Japanese ingredients, features extravagant elements such as caviar, a kombu broth jelly, an Iwate sirloin steak in a red wine and black pepper sauce, and from April, steamed abalone served with green asparagus.
Mandarin Oriental Restaurants Reopening for Spring 2021
One of Nihonbashi’s grandest hotels, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, has announced the re-opening of its restaurants, lounges, bars, and gourmet shops on March 8, including Sense, the classy 37th-floor boutique restaurant specializing in Cantonese cuisine.
Each establishment will offer promotions based on the theme of cherry blossoms to celebrate the arrival of spring. Sense, which has been awarded a star by the Michelin Guide Tokyo for eight consecutive years, is serving a special eight-course tasting menu including sakura dim sum and a popular cake infused with the essence of Japan’s iconic spring flowers.
The spring menu ends on April 11, but the hotel will also take part in the Sakura Fes Nihonbashi 2021 event from Friday, March 19.
Marunouchi 15-Chome Rugby Project
The Marunouchi 15-Chome website, which provides information on the fictional rugby town of the same name (Marunouchi 15-Chome) and holds virtual networking events, was reopened in February 2021, coinciding with the beginning of the new Top League rugby season. The site was initially designed to bolster interest in rugby, to educate visitors on the history of the sport, and to connect like-minded fans in Japan. It has reset its sights on those targets once again.
A new posting and info board function has been added to the site, allowing registered users to better interact with each other virtually. Marunouchi 15-Chome will continue to develop its internet town, combining the digital space with real-world elements and encouraging new forms of communication.
Epson Square Marunouchi Virtual Showroom
The Epson Square Marunouchi showroom near Tokyo Station serves as a platform to unveil the latest Epson products and solutions – most people will know the company from its popular office equipment, including printers, scanners, and projectors. With the number of customers to the flagship store dropping over the past year, Epson has opened an online showroom to allow them to visit virtually.
The new online showroom is a fully rendered 360° reproduction of the “Business Zone” and “Personal Zone” located on the first floor of Epson Square Marunouchi. Using your computer or tablet, you can view a wide range of Epson products, or you can make an appointment for online demonstrations to see the products in action and to request print samples.
Mitsubishi Estate Ninja Space for Teleworkers
Mitsubishi Estate, the real estate branch of the Mitsubishi conglomerate, announced the pre-launch of Ninja Space at the end of last month, a workspace support service that matches teleworkers with potential out-of-office work environments: restaurants, cafés, meeting rooms, hotels, and satellite offices.
Mitsubishi is currently recruiting space providers and participants mainly in the Otemachi, Marunouchi and Yurakucho areas – all within touching distance of Tokyo Station – aiming to have a 1,000-seat lineup in place as soon as possible, with plans for full-scale expansion not only in the Tokyo Station area but elsewhere in major economic hubs across the capital.
Ninja Space – which comes a free-to-download app on smartphones – allows users to search and select a workspace, choose the number of people using the space and the hours of use, and offers full guidance on accessing the facility and payment details – the usage fee is determined by the space in question, some of which will be free. The IOS version of the app is currently available; the Android app is coming soon.
Know of anything exciting coming up around Tokyo Station soon? Anything to add to the list? Send us tips at [email protected]
Here’s what else is new: