Few New Year’s in the past have felt as symbolic – or at least as necessary – as this one. Even though Japan is still battling Covid-19, there’s plenty to put a smile on your face in the Tokyo Station area this January. In the opening weeks of 2021, we’ll see the introduction of a new space-related business center, a feelgood shopping campaign from the folks at Isetan Mitsukoshi, the usual helping of seasonal sweets and treats from various cafés and confectionaries in the Tokyo Station area, and a very special art exhibition in Nihonbashi’s Takashimaya department store.

Welcoming the X-Nihonbashi Space Base

In the past few years, Nihonbashi has been reclaiming its place as one of Tokyo’s primary centers of business, commerce, retail and entertainment. Entering the fray is X-Nihonbashi, which officially opened its doors in December, and is now operating co-working spaces for organizations and startups in space-related fields, including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). 

On the 7th floor of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, X-Nihonbashi’s sleek lobby and interior décor of glass walls, illuminated white panels and paper-thin screens are evocative of a sci-fi future befitting the businesses it caters for. Several promotional events were held in the run up to the workspace’s inauguration, and according to a recent press release from real estate giant Mitsui Fudosan (which owns the building), it “will continue to promote activities through participation in the Space Business Co-creation Committee newly established by the Japan Society for Aeronautics and Astronautics.” (Future events may also be held online.)

Adult Valentine at Tokyo Station Hotel

We might be a month out from Valentine’s Day, but you can start planning for a romantic one at Tokyo Station. Camelia, a bar and café inside the iconic red-brick Tokyo Station Hotel, is serving a new Valentine’s cocktail made with Japanese tea, available for a limited time only. 

These liquid aphrodisiacs combine Japanese whiskey and homemade tea syrup with cacao liqueur, vanilla ice and chocolate. Two flavors are available – hojicha (roasted green tea) and matcha – and if you can’t make it on February 14, don’t worry, the drinks are on offer from now until February 28.   

Pokémon Meets Tokyo Banana

Marrying two of Japan’s modern icons together, Tokyo Banana re-presents its Pikachu-themed omiyage, now on sale at Tokyo Station. Previously unveiled in a staggered testing-of-the-waters format at 7-Elevens across Japan late last year, the treats are available year-round at the Hanagataya Tokyo store in JR Tokyo Station’s south passage.

Boxes of eight pieces are available, as are more bite-sized packs of two for only ¥270. Each Pikachu cake also bears a specific facial expression, from five possible prints, or alternatively, a depiction of the character’s electrified tail. In true Pokémon fashion, you’re encouraged to try catch ‘em all.

Isetan Mitsukoshi #feel Campaign

Isetan Mitsukoshi, which has glamorous department stores dotted around central Tokyo, is rolling out its #feel shopping campaign to kick off 2021. The campaign focuses on “feeling” the present moment in a year of (hopefully) new beginnings and fresh starts. In light of that, #feel part one, running from January 2 through January 19, will promote selected products relating to the Japanese word hajime (to start or begin). 

Said products include equipment for new hobbies to take up, from bespoke tea utensils to bonsai trees, or brand-new futons from Nishikawa which also includes a trade-in service for your used mattresses.   

Start the New Year with Joel Robuchon’s Galette des Rois

A galette de rois, or king cake, made from sweet glazed bread, is served in many European countries – most notably France – to mark the Epiphany holiday where God incarnate was revealed to be Jesus Christ. More recently, it has become a common fixture in patisseries around the New Year. In Tokyo, where French desserts are ever in vogue, there’s no shortage of places to sample one this January.

In the Tokyo Station area, your best bet is to head for Le Café de Joel Robuchon at the Nihonbashi Takashimaya department store. Joel Robuchon’s galette des rois features almond cream and a rare Tahitian vanilla, topped with a crispy pie crust. These classic sweets are available at Joel Robuchon cafés throughout Tokyo until January 31 (reservations can be made online). 

Nomiyama Gyoji Celebration at Nihonbashi Takashimaya

Also at Nihonbashi Takashimaya this month, you’ll find an art exhibition focusing on the works of centenarian painter Gyoji Nomiyama. Born in Honami village, Fukuoka, in 1920, Nomiyama celebrated his 100th birthday last year, and to honor his life’s work the exhibition will showcase 40 of his oil paintings (both old and new), many of which were inspired by European landscapes and the inspiration he drew on from his time living in France. The event will run between January 9–18. Advanced reservations are required. 

For the latest trends and news from Shibuya, Shinjuku, Yokohama and Ginza, see: 

Know of anything exciting coming up around Tokyo Station soon? Anything to add to the list? Send us tips at [email protected]