Aromatherapy Facility Opens in Harajuku

The Aroma Environment Association of Japan (abbreviated as AEAJ) is the world’s largest aromatherapy organization based on the number of members. This February, it opened the AEAJ Green Terrace store in Harajuku, designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates. The building has the signature Kuma style of wood and natural elements. Inside, a world of fragrances awaits. In the “Aroma Laboratory” corner you can try about 300 types of essential oil scents from around the world, many of which are extremely rare. The “Aroma Library” is a section with books on aromas, plants and nature. “Aroma Lounge” is a space where you can relax surrounded by the scent of cypress and sip on original botanical tea creations.

Outside the building, there is a space where 43 different plants are planted to help with biodiversity.

Check out all the new buildings by Kengo Kuma and Associates built between 2020 and 2022.

Kawaii Monster Café Events

The popular Harajuku haunt for all things kawaii was one of the many businesses that permanently closed in the pandemic. However, it’s getting a revival as a series of events featuring Kawaii Monster Café performances. The first event in February 2023 featured DJs, drag queens and various artists. It took place at Aisotope Lounge in Shinjuku Ni-chome. Although the location has moved from the iconic Harajuku area, the new Ni-chome location is a fitting replacement. This queer-friendly, colorful region is famed for its alternative culture scene and hosts many iconic events.

When in Ni-chome, catch other drag shows such as Haus von Schwarz.

Sauna Tents and Rooftop Swimming Pool at Tokyo Dome Hotel

Open only for the duration of spring, this new relaxation concept at Tokyo Dome Hotel named “Poona” (a mix of pool and sauna) uses special tents as saunas placed outdoors. The tents come in various sizes, so you can book one as a group. They even have wooden benches inside to replicate as much of the sauna atmosphere as possible. Customers who have a sauna tent booked can also swim in the pool to cool their bodies in between sauna sessions. For prices and other details, check the official website.

Saunas are becoming increasingly popular in Japan. Read more about it here.

Bandai Arcades in Akihabara

The closing of the iconic Sega arcades in Akihabara worried fans about the future of this pop culture hub. There is some good news, though. The same building, Bandai Namco, became a gaming center again when it opened on March 1, 2023. One of the biggest arcades in Akihabara, it features hundreds of games, capsule toy machines, UFO catchers and much more. Expect a lot of original games with the IPs belonging to Bandai, such as the Gundam series.

For more Akihabara recommendations, check out our guide.

new in tokyo in 2023 anime

Animate Ikebukuro Flagship Store

Animate’s flagship store in Ikebukuro will be the biggest anime store in the whole world and one of the certified 88 Anime Pilgrimage spots for 2023. The new flagship store will encompass the old Animate store that was there for 40 years and expand to contain a café, an exhibition space, a theater in the basement and an event space on the ninth floor for various performances. Of course, it will have multiple floors of anime merchandise, media, manga volumes and even manga drawing art supplies. The Animate Ikebukuro official website has already listed events such as autograph signing sessions and special screenings in March.

Anime fans should check out the real-life Tokyo locations that have appeared in popular anime.

A Camping Practice Area in Akihabara

A collaboration between JR East Urban Development, Newell Brands and Itochu Techno-Solutions, Campass (meant to be a blend of “camping” and “campus”) is an unusual take on camping in the city. The idea is for people to practice camping before actually going. It offers would-be customers some outdoor experience (albeit in the middle of central Tokyo, under the elevated train tracks in Akihabara). Staff help you practice how to pitch a tent. You can also rent some gear such as gas burners, so you can practice campsite cooking. Major camping gear such as tents, chairs, tables, lamps, cooking pots and the like are provided in the rental plan. However, other items like sleeping bags, cutlery and insect repellent must be brought by prospective campers. You can stay overnight, camp during the day or only a few hours to cook and eat a campsite meal.

This camping practice comes with some restrictions, such as no pets, no musical instruments and no livestreaming on social media. The official website even says that “this is no glamping experience,” so you’ve been warned.

Campass opens on March 19, but reservations began on February 20.

For more new things to open in Tokyo in 2023, check out our roundup.