One of the best things about Tokyo is there’s always something new. There are creative seasonal menus and pop culture collaborations that you can find only here. This December there are new illuminations of course, but also new public art displays, Tokyo-only products and new unique shops.
Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama Art Installations
This fashion collection, to be released in January 2023, is the second collaboration between Louis Vuitton (LV) and Yayoi Kusama. To celebrate, they have a series of art installations and augmented reality art popping up all across Tokyo. You can find sculptures in front of Tokyo Tower and Zojoji Temple. In Shiba Park near Tokyo Tower, the LV and Kusama installation with chrome spheres will be there until December 29. Representing Kusama’s love of colors, there’s a sculpture in front of Tokyo Station that will be there until December 25. Also until Christmas Day, and in line with the season, there’s a Marunouchi skating rink that’s covered in Kusama’s signature polka dots and the LV logo. Catch the 3D billboard in Shinjuku quickly as it’s only there until December 7. There are more installations around Tokyo, see the LV official website for more details.
Daiso Releases Special Edition 47 Tote Bags for 47 Prefectures
On the occasion of Daiso’s 50th anniversary this year, it released special tote bags depicting something iconic from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures. The art is by Yutanpo Shirane and every illustration comes with a fun fact about the prefecture underneath. The Tokyo one features a drawing of a swimmer and the fact that Tokyo is the first prefecture to open up a beach for swimming season. It’s the one in the distant tropical Ogasawara Islands (which administratively are part of Tokyo Prefecture).
Each tote bag is only available in the Daiso stores of that prefecture, so if you are a fan of another prefecture and not the one you live in, it’s best to plan a little trip there. The ¥100 tote bags started selling in November.
Free Hot Pot for Depressed People
Yes, you read that right — it’s a hot pot to warm up both the body and soul. It’s an event organized by Mizkan, a food company that has been producing various sauces and broths for over 200 years. Noticing how a nice warm dinner instantly improves one’s mood even in the darkness of winter, Mizkan wants to conduct a survey on how the hot pot makes you feel. Therefore, it requires people who are not in the best mood (to put it super simply) to sign up via an app and then go to the store to eat one of the three different hot pot dishes. The meal is free in exchange for filling out a survey on how you felt before and after eating.
This free hot pot offer is only for a limited time between December 9 and December 18, from 5pm to 9pm, It takes place at Cafe 426 in Shibuya.
Wagashi Soso Shop Opens in Tokyu Shibuya
Wagashi Soso’s mission is to make delectable traditional Japanese sweets (wagashi) that are true to their original taste but have a modern flair. The shop’s interior design is minimalist black and white (as opposed to a traditional tearoom with tatami aesthetic) with stylish black and grey boxes that the sweets come in. The shop states that this matches the style of Shibuya.
The first Soso shop is located in Hibiya and this Shibuya store, that opens on December 3, is a second location. The new store offers brand new items too, such as the black cube castella cake that contains edible charcoal and organic honey from the Goto Islands. There are also matcha cookie dango, walnut miso dango and more.
Potato Super Specialty Store Opens in Shibuya
The company behind the Ikinari Steak franchise has ventured into Potato-land territory. The new shop is called “Golden Potatorado,” which opened on November 25 in Shibuya. The concept revolves around characters such as the Pote God that seem to draw inspiration from Mesoamerican and South American culture. Perhaps it’s a nod to the native land of the potato that the whole world knows and loves today.
Classics such as french fries and mashed potato are on offer at the store, accompanied by more unique dessert concoctions. One such menu item is the ice cream-like mashed potato covered in chocolate and sprinkled with M&M’s.
Wonderful Winter Illuminations
Tokyo is alight with gorgeous illuminations in December making the whole city a more magical place. The classic blue lights at Roppongi Hills Keyakizaka Street with the Tokyo Tower backdrop are back again. There’s also a Christmas Market in Roppongi Hills. Nearby, Tokyo Midtown dazzles with a new concept every year, this year around the theme of bubbles and party poppers. Omotesando Hills has also gone for a delicate balloon aesthetic, while Marunouchi is back in classic warm golden lights.
Outside of the central Tokyo areas, illumination has become an even bigger attraction such as the Yomiuri Land Jewel Illumination, the Sagamiko Illumillion in Kanagawa and the Tokyo German Village Illumination in Chiba.