Spring is a busy period in Japan; a revolving-door time of year with employees jumping between company departments, students graduating and others enrolling, and the cherry blossoms capturing the hearts of the nation before almost instantly disappearing.
The Tokyo Station area has seen a frenzy of activity too this spring, with new shops popping up all across Marunouchi showcasing the best of Japanese cuisine, fashion and cosmetics. Meanwhile, the urban development of Nihonbashi is continuing in style, with the introduction of Tokyo American Club’s first satellite location and a creative art hotel unlike any other in the city.
Here’s what’s new around Tokyo Station in April 2021:
BnA Wall, a new art hotel and multipurpose venue for creatives, has opened in the increasingly gentrifying and rapidly modernizing Nihonbashi neighborhood. The BnA Art Hotel features 26 artistic guest rooms – expressing a range of styles from minimalism to pop art, psychedelia to art deco – created by a cohort of Tokyo-based artists. The hotel also operates on a patronage concept, whereby a portion of proceeds from each booking goes to the creative behind the interior design.
In the lobby, guests can admire the eponymous “Wall”, a huge and ongoing artistic centerpiece where new artists are commissioned to repaint it in their own style every three months. There’s also a chic bar and lounge upstairs set within an open and collaborative space, which provides a vantage point to watch artists at work on the mural below.
Marunouchi Urban Terrace
Since the pandemic hit there’s been an increased demand for outdoor seating and dining – an area of city design in which Tokyo could do much better – and certain segments of the capital are looking to rectify the issue. One such example is the Marunouchi Nakadori Urban Terrace, a temporary project which prohibits automobile traffic along the tree-lined thoroughfare in favor of an intermittent pedestrian-only model. This takes effect from 11am to 3pm on weekdays and from 11am to 5pm on weekends and holidays.
During these hours, the cars driving along Nakadori are replaced with tables and chairs, while the Urban Terrace program has also introduced takeout food trucks to encourage passers-by to enjoy their lunch outdoors. Three food trucks are currently in operation: Bistro Wagon, which offers European-style curry; D-Kitchen, whose specialty is a tender grilled beef and quinoa salad set; and OmtRak, the king of fluffy roadside omelets.
The spring 2021 edition of Marunouchi Nakadori Urban Terrace will run from April 24 to May 9.
Tokyo American Club Unveils New Satellite Club
On the final day of March 2021, the Tokyo American Club, an expat community in Japan with a nearly 100-year history, opened its first satellite location in Nihonbashi, just a 10-minute stroll from Tokyo Station. The project was carried out in coordination with real estate giants Mitsui Fudosan who are spearheading the Nihonbashi Revitalization Plan to promote the district as the capital’s new cosmopolitan hub.
The satellite club intends to explore new frontiers of cuisine through bespoke lunch and dinner menus and provides an after-dark enclave for stiff spirits or vintage cocktails at the in-house bar. The club also features a curated collection of artworks reflecting the bridging of eastern and western cultures, and a state-of-the-art gym for its members.
New Cheesecakes from Now On Cheese at Tokyo Station
Japan has become a fan of cheesy desserts, which is why quirky confectionery chains like Now On Cheese have gained such popular acclaim. At the Tokyo Station branch, located on the station’s Marunouchi side, a range of new seasonal cheese sweets began selling on April 1, and will remain on the shelves until September 30.
The limited-edition desserts include a blueberry cheesecake biscuit sandwich; a Hokkaido dairy cheesecake sandwich; and cookies featuring smoked cheese, camembert, and Alpine rock salt. The cream cheese sandwiches are under 400 yen apiece; the cookies are 972 yen per box.
Courtyard by Marriot Unveils Elegant Spring Menus
The Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station, a sophisticated business hotel in the heart of the capital, will hold a spring cuisine promotion between April 1 and May 31. The theme, Breath of Spring, celebrates seasonal produce and aims to usher in positive vibes for a city still quietly embattled by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the Courtyard’s main dining room, Lavarock, a spring-only dinner course is the recommended option. The chef’s oeuvre includes a fresh seafood salad, featuring whelk, clam, and sea bream decorated with violets and bell roses, and fall-apart-in-your-mouth prime beef with cherry blossom salt. When the weather is nice, guests are encouraged to dine on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace. There’s also a limited-time-only accommodation plan (also from April 1 to May 30) which includes dinner at Lavarock along with some seasonal gifts, including a cherry blossom rosé champagne and artisanal Japanese sweets.
Ichigo Shop by FRANCAIS at Tokyo Station
On April 9, a new store is also set to open in Tokyo Station. It will be the first permanent store of the new confectionary brand “Strawberry Shop by Francais”, an offshoot of the renowned Francais bakery chain. The new brand is an homage to the strawberry – one of Japan’s most decadent and popular spring fruits – specializing in strawberry cookies, strawberries smothered in chocolate, and strawberry cheesecakes with sour strawberry filling. You’ll find the new store in Tokyo Gift Palette, a collection of sweets and omiyage counters located by the Yaesu North Exit of Tokyo Station.
Other New Stores Opening in Marunouchi
According to Mitsubishi Estate Co., at least 11 new stores will be opening in the Marunouchi area this spring, mainly in the apparel, cosmetics, and general merch categories. The stores are outlined below:
- Hitotema Deli & Café (bento delicatessen) – opened on March 15
- CosmeKitchen (cosmetics) – opened on March 26
- Gelato Pique (home and casual wear) – coming soon
- Mila Owen (fashion and apparel) – coming soon
- Kapuwa (fashion and apparel) – opened on February 8
- Charcoal Tokyo (fashion and apparel) – opened on March 19
- Hanway (quirky miscellaneous goods) – opening set for April 28
- Le Jardin Ouvert (European classical lifestyle) – opened on March 1
- Ecco (fashion and apparel) – opening set for April 15
- Plasnido Marunouchi (miscellaneous goods) – opened on March 1
- Bois de gui (flower shop) – opened on February 16
Know of anything exciting coming up in this area soon? Anything new around Tokyo station to add to the list? Send us tips at [email protected]
See what else is new around Tokyo station and other areas of Tokyo and Kanagawa: