Another excellent site on Japan:
Name: ONE @ Tokyo
Address: 1 Chome-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-8634, Japan
Free Wifi: Yes
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭒
Worth it? Absolutely.
Last updated 6/27/2020
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The ONE @ Tokyo is an excellent hotel just 2 blocks to the northeast of Tokyo Sky Tree. We highly recommend it. Rates are a little steep at around $120-$210/night depending on room size + ammenities. Weeknights are probably less expensive than weekends. You want to avoid weekends @ Sky Tree anyway because the place is a mob scene of 1000’s of screaming kids everywhere. Lines for the observation deck tickets can be quite long on weekends – even into the 1000’s of people. So you shoud plan your Sky Tree trip on a weekday. 2-3 nights will be more than enough – you should be able to see everything in + around Sky Tree in 2 full days.
The hotel offers a convenient location, great restaurant + bar, excellent multi-lingual staff who are helpful, and a nice rooftop lounge with a spectacular view of Sky Tree. Walking distance to Sky Tree is just a few minutes.
Sky Tree is located in the small outlying town of Oshiagé to the east of central Tokyo. The easiest way to get to it is to take the Hanzomon Metro Subway line. You can also walk to it easily from the Asakusa and the Sumida River areas.
To get to ONE @ Tokyo, take the Hanzomon Metro Subway line to Oshiagé/SKYTREE Station, come up to street level, then head northeast up Rt. 465 for 2 blocks. The hotel is on your right. There is a great AEON Supermarket and good noodle shop right across the street. There also several conbini (convenience stores) in the area. As you turn left onto Rt. 465 there is also a MOS Burger restaurant right in front of you. There is also a Mr. Donut (Misado to Japanese) shop further to the south from the Life Supermarket (see below), which is across the street from Sky Tree on the southeast side of the complex.
If you are coming from the Tokyo Station area, walk to Otemachi Station and get the Hanzomon Line there – but be warned – the underground tunnels from Tokyo Station to Otemachi Station are quite a hike through endless underground corridors, shopping centers, and stairways – you may want to walk it on sidewalks on the surface instead – which is only a few long blocks.
Hanzomon Line Map. Oshiagé/SKYTREE station is on the far right (east), Shibuya, the western terminus is on the far left (west). Notable stops include Kinshicho, Suitengumae, Otemachi, Omotosando, and the western terminus, Shibuya. Shibuya, Nagatcho, Otemachi stations are major interchange points for other lines (indicated by the colored circles above stations on the above map). Tokyo Station is just 1 stop from Otemachi. At 5 of the stations you can change to the Ginza Line for Akihabara, Ginza, and Ueno stops.
There are 4 street-level Metro exits from Oshiagé/SKYTREE Station. This one is right across the street from Sky Tree on the east side. The TOBU Sky Tree Station is way on the other side of the complex, to the northwest (to the left out of frame in this photo).
ONE @ Tokyo‘s free limited bike locker for guests.
Across from the hotel is this fabulous 2-floor noodle place which belches awesome-smelling exhaust into the Oshiagé night sky.
Hotel roof lounge facing south. Sky Tree is just out of frame to the right.
View from hotel roof facing south. Sky Tree/Solamachi is to the upper-right. The bright white bldg. at the end of the street is the Star Dust Pachinko Palace. If you turn left there, you’ll find a local coin laundry where you can wash your clothes:
Inside, the lobby is very clean + open with a full glass front and a small bar + restaurant just next to the reception desk. Be aware Japan just passed a law in 2020 banning all smoking inside commercial buildings. If you smoke, you’ll have to go outside.
Just outside the hotel, right – facing north. There’s a Yoshinoya noodle just next door.
Just outside the hotel, left – facing south. Solamachi is the big bldg. on the right.
The restaurant is excellent – huge Lobby Burgers for $10-$12 (if you’re a meat-eater), lots of great seafood plates, salads, and desserts. Well worth a meal. The bar is excellent as well.
Just outside the lobby. Grab a Lobby Burger and chow down.
Head up to your floor at an elevator on the far left side of the lobby. There are large vending machines right at the elevator on each floor.
Go to your door + slap the electronic key the desk staff gave you on the door lock – and you’re in.
Be prepared for the robo-toilet.
Inside, the rooms are clean + ultra-modern with tall windows. There is a small desk, lamp, and cupboard with a coffee maker. There’s also a small cube fridge.
Inside, the rooms are elegant with a wood-concrete ultramodern feel. Tall windows open partly for air. The spotless bathrooms feature a deluxe clear shower, and an initially startling robot-toilet which dutifully flips its lid if you approach, and closes it when you walk away.
The deluxe beds are incredibly comfortable with thick covers which will ward off even the harshest Japanese winters. There are also device charging ports + AC plugs, as well as a small closet and huge HDTV.
Overall can we recommend ONE @ Tokyo? Absolutely. It’s a great hotel and you won’t be disappointed. Its close proximity to Sky Tree makes it a snap to jump down to the street and walk. Staff is sharp + helpful. The restaurant is out of sight. The roof garden provides a quiet escape from the city below and you can sit and marvel at the majestic colossus just a 1/4 mile away. All-in-all, ONE @ Tokyo is the best value in the Sky Tree area. If you’re looking for something far cheaper but still accessible, pop over to First Cabin Suitenguemae on the Hanzomon Line for around $42/night. The train ride to Sky Tree is under 20 minutes and the Metro station is close to the cabin.
But ONE @ Tokyo is not to be missed.
We highly recommend booking through agoda.com – easily the best hotel reservation site online.
As a footnote, at the Tokyo Solamachi Bldg. there’s more to do: 2 long food court hallways, a massive food/gift floor, Sumida Aquarium, an info desk, a rooftop terrace outside Sky Tree itself, coffee shops, and various other attractions – and tickets to the Sky Tree‘s 2 spectacular observatories (floors 350 + 450). Cost for the observatories is around $34 per adult as of 2019. Be sure to check out the glass floor in the 1st observation deck – for a dizzying view of the ground 340 floors below:
There are also lots of restaurants on floors 340-350 including the Sky Tree Cafe. You can have a nice meal 1/4 mile up in the sky + take in the breathtaking view as you eat. There are more restaurants on floors 30-31.
Lawson 100¥ conbini just south of the hotel. There is also a small coin-op laundry a few more streets down on the left.
Life Supermarket and Sizzler restaurant to the southeast of the Sky Tree complex. This is actually a really awesome organic supermarket in a big multi-use complex with lots of shops + eateries. There is also a Xerbio Sports store where you can buy camp stove fuel for cooking. Directly across from this complex is a huge UNIQLO and a free city bus stop which has small buses which you can take around the city for free.
More Area Footnotes/Photos
Solamachi area at night. A great Hawiian burger place is on the right. The main ticket lobby is straight ahead.
The Mr. Donut is just to the south of the the east side of the Sky Tree complex – about 2 streets to the south along Rt. 453 on the left (south) side.
Even Japan has grinning politicians – this view is near the hotel.
Also not to be missed inside the Solamachi complex in Sky Tree is Nana’s Green Tea. This restaurant has to be seen to be believed. The first one in America also just opened in Seattle, WA. At Nana’s Green Tea you can feast on a matcha green tea sundae like this one for around $7:
Forget Paris or Italy – Tokyo is the food capital of the world. But then again, you’re probably going to walk this off because you’re going to be walking 15 miles/day when you’re there. There is also a NGT in Tokyo Dome City.
Just a few blocks to the southwest of Sky Tree is the odd Tobacco and Salt Museum. Japan loves its weird museums – and this one is worth a stop:
Well, that’s it. Enjoy your trip to Sky Tree – it is not to be missed.
Floor Guide @ Tokyo Sky Tree
Name: Postal Museum Japan
Our Rating: ⭑⭑⭑⭑☆
Worth it? Yes.
Last updated 6/27/2020
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The museum is extremely well done + includes many artifacts going back as far as the late 1800’s. There are delivery vehicles, uniforms, advertisements, post boxes, and even the world’s only comprehensive collection of every stamp ever issued worldwide (the collection is so huge + valuable, you’re not allowed to photograph it).
To get there, take the Hanzomon Metro Subway line to Oshiagé/SKYTREE Station, go up through the TOKYO SKY TREE mezzanine station area, and then take the vast escalators up to the ground floor. Go to the 6th floor from the Tokyo Solomachi Bldg. entrance (there’s a side elevator in the lobby), take the elevator there, and then exit left to the Postal Museum. Tickets are at the front counter. There is also a huge Family Mart conbini (convenience store) on the lower escalator level.
Hanzomon Line Map. Oshiagé/SKYTREE station is on the far right (east), Shibuya, the western terminus is on the far left (west). Notable stops include Kinshicho, Suitengumae, Otemachi, Omotosando, and the western terminus, Shibuya. Shibuya, Nagatcho, Otemachi stations are major interchange points for other lines (indicated by the colored circles above stations on the above map). At 5 of the stations you can change to the Ginza Line for Akihabara and Ginza stops.
Head up out of the station to the TOKYO SKYTREE TOWN mezzanine, then hang a left here to get to the escalators up to the lobby. There are lots of stores and vending machines here. There is also a huge map. Note the color-coded Metro exit sign in yellow.
The massive escalators from the station mezzanine area up to the Solamachi Bldg. lobby. A Family Mart conbini is straight ahead. Note there are also a few coin lockers on the right where you can stash your stuff while @ Sky Tree if they are not all in use.
As a footnote, at the Tokyo Solamachi Bldg. there’s more to do: 2 long food court hallways, a massive food/gift floor, an aquarium, an info desk, a rooftop terrace outside Sky Tree itself, coffee shops, and various other attractions – and tickets to the Sky Tree’s 2 spectacular observation decks (floors 350 + 450). Cost for the observation decks is around $34 per adult as of 2019. Be sure to check out the glass floor in the 1st observation deck – for a dizzying view of the ground 350 floors below:
Glass floor in 1st Tokyo Sky Tree observatory.
You can also walk all the way around the Sky Tree/Solamachi complex on the sidewalks outside. On the north side of the complex is another subway line – the Tobu subway.
Within a block or two of Sky Tree are a Post Office, Life Supermarket, Mr. Donut, Sizzler restaurant, a MOS Burger, several conbini (convenience stores), and a great hotel called ONE @ Tokyo (about $100-$120/night). ONE @ Tokyo also has a limited small free bike parking rack for guests. Sky Tree also has one but it is very expensive – about $20/day – and it has a rolling shutter which closes @ midnight. There is also a small coin laundry on a side street near ONE @ Tokyo. ONE @ Tokyo also has a great rooftop patio and observation deck where you can get spectacular views of Sky Tree and the town of Oshiagé.
Also nearby on the Hanzomon Metro Subway Line is Sumiyoshi. The Hanzomon Line is interesting because it’s one of the most convenient lines in Tokyo – Oshiagé/SKYTREE is the eastern terminus of the line, but just a few minutes to the west and you’re at Tokyo Station which is a great area to explore + walk around in. The 2nd stop on the line from Sky Tree – Kinshicho – is also well worth a stop and look around. In fact you can walk from Sky Tree to Kinshicho to the south in about a 1/2 hour. Near Kinshicho is TOBU Hotel Levant – a Sky Tree Partner Hotel. There is all sorts of good shopping in Kinshicho – including 3 major depato (department stores) – OIOI (Marui), Termina, and PARCO/SEIYU. In the basement of OIOI there is an excellent Japan Meat stop with great midnight grocery sales, and there’s an inexpensive SEIYU in the basement of the PARCO, right next to the Metro exit. All of this is in Kinshicho about 1.5 miles to the south of Sky Tree. If you’re a meat-eater you can bring back a good haul from Japan Meat or SIEYU and cook it up in your hotel room. You can even find a whole tin of Danish butter cookies at midnight SEIYU sales for 100¥ (around $1). Well worth a few miles’ walk.
There is also a very nice First Cabin capsule-style hotel near Suitengumae Station on the Hanzomon Line (Z10) just two more stops to the west. The staff is more than friendly and speaks English – and the place is spotless. It’s tucked back off a side residential street in a quiet neighboorhood, just next to the Sumida River – but worth a stay if you don’t want to stay at a more expensive hotel near Sky Tree.
Once in the Solamachi/Sky Tree lobby, take the elevators to the 6th floor. There you can buy tickets @ the museum’s front desk for $6.
Inside the museum. The world’s largest collection of postage stamps is at the far end.
Late 1800’s postal advertisements.
The museum has all kinds of historical artifacts worth checking out:
Delivery scooter from the 1960’s.
Delivery worker uniforms spanning close to 200 years.
Mailbox from early 1900’s.
Early postal lanterns.
Early post box from late 1800’s.
That’s it for now. Enjoy your trip to the Postal Museum Japan and Sky Tree. Plan to spend around 2-3 days total in the area as there’s lots to do. The lines for the observatories are generally a mob scene – especially on weekends, so plan accordingly. Expect lots of screaming kids on weekends.
Floor Guide @ Tokyo Sky Tree
Last updated 6/21/2020
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The native word for post office in Japanese is the tounge-twister Yubinkyokyu (Pronounced You-bean-kyo–kyu).
There are post offices all throughout major cities in Japan. Some are larger and in major complexes, but some are smaller and are tucked away on side streets, or near train stations, and in smaller strip malls in neighborhoods. Most are indicated by a green + red-striped or white + red-striped sign on the outside of the building.
Most of the staff are helpful, but in the smaller or less central ones, some staff may not speak English, or may be nervous about speaking English. For this reason some staff may try to avoid you or refer you to other staff. This doesn’t mean they don’t want to be helpful – it’s more out of a worry that they won’t be able to speak English well, and thus be seen as not being able to do their jobs well – which is a no-no in service-oriented Japan. However, this is rare, and most will go out of their way to help you – especially in the bigger metro ones.
There are both domestic and international forms to fill out to mail or ship packages (see below).
The international JP service is called EMS – Express Mail Service. EMS has an excellent site in English. Luckily the forms are in both Japanese + English. You will need to fill them out in detail though – or the staff won’t mail your package. The most important items (other than name, address, phone, etc) are a list of each item, its weight, contents, and each item’s value. You have to be exact with the description for each item. If the clerk has doubts about an item – which might be dangerous or hazardous, they may ask you to clarify it – for example, if you buy a plastic model at an electronics store + ship it overseas, they may ask if it contains paint or glue.
As you enter the post office, get in line. Be polite + aware of others around you. Some offices have a numbered paper ticket machine from which you must take a ticket to get service. There is ususally an LED display with a number on it above the ticket machine. Many JP’s also have ATMs inside them – usually the affiliated JP Bank – and some have a bill pay machine, as shown in the photo below on the right side:
As a major bonus, there is both a Mr. Donut (Misa-Do in Japanese) and a small MOS Burger on either side of the PO. If you turn left here + head west, you will pass Sumiyoshi, and just to the north of that, Kinshicho.
Japan Post (red + white sign), left, MOS Burger (green sign) to the right of that, and Mr. Donut (yellow/orange sign), right. In Japan you can mail your stuff and pig out on all kinds of junk food at the same time – to make up for that 15 miles you just walked – all in one place. (As an even further added bonus, we’ve added a Mr. Donut Sidecar section at the end for your enjoyment).
Another Post Office – this one just southwest of the spectacular Tokyo Sky Tree.
Tokyo’s incredible Tokyo Sky Tree, in autumn.
Just across from the major Family Mart in Akasaka, on the left is a large JP Post Office, Akasaka SACAS is 2 blocks straight ahead (facing west). The PO entrance is right next to the red + blue Do Not Enter sign on the left, shown here. As a footnote, directly across from the PO on the other side of the street is the excellent curry beef restaurant, Marble. As a further footnote, just 1 block more down on the right is the capsule hotel First Cabin Akasaka.
Be sure to check out curry beef shop Marble, right across the street from the Akasaka Post Office.
You may want to bring your own mailing box + tape and box everything up yourself on a side counter before you get in line. Most JP’s also sell boxes and tape for a very reasonable price – under $5. One thing about Japanese mailing tape is it’s made of very thin cloth coated with a thick layer of latex – so you can tear it with your hands without the need for scissors or tools. Very clever. You can also buy the same kind of tape in most conbiini (conveniences stores) in Japan. The tape is usually tan-colored (although some brands sometimes have a very pungent toxic odor to them once you open the package). If you need help sealing your box, most JP staff will be happy to help.
JP mailboxes in Japan are usually large square metal boxes painted red with a 〒 symbol on the sides or front:
You’ll see these all over – on sidewalks, near train stations, at temples, everywhere.
There are other smaller sized boxes around Japan – some are tall narrow ones like the one above, but slender and taller. Old Japanese mailboxes from the early 1900’s were tall, slender, round-shaped, and about 5 ft. hight. You can see one in the Postal Museum Japan @ Sky Tree (see link below).
There are both domestic and international forms, as shown below. The international form is actually a little easier to understand and requires slightly less info. Be sure to fill each out meticulously.
Domestic Japan Post Shipping Label
Example international EMS label from EMS’s website.
LEGO even has a model one.
Well that’s it for now. Post Offices in Japan are easy to use – just be aware of the language issue – and if you have trouble, try to use one of the bigger offices in a major central area – it’s more likely the staff in these will speak fluent English and not be as nervous about helping foreigners.
An old Hibiki (“Echo”) brand household mailbox from a bygone era.
Notable PO locations in Tokyo
- Just a few blocks southwest of Tokyo Sky Tree.
- In the south end of the Tokyo Dome City complex (near Denny’s).
- At the Bunkyo Civic Center just a few blocks north of Tokyo Dome City.
- Nishi-Ikebukuro Post Office @ approx. 35°43’48.49″ N 139°42’23.58″ E
- Akasaka Dori Post Office (https://map.japanpost.jp/p/search/dtl/300101472000/)- just 2 blocks west of the Japan Central Gov’t and 2 blocks east of the Akasaka SACAS complex + TBS bldg (across from the large Family Mart).
- Akihabara UDX Post Office – right across from the northeast exit of Akihabara Station on the ground floor of the UDX bldg.
- List of Post Office in Tokyo/Around tourist attractions
For inquiries by phone on International Mail, please call the following numbers. (You cannot call from overseas.)
|Customer Service Center |
(Toll Free) Mobile Phone ： 0570-046-666 (Chargeable call) For English ： 0570-046-111
Weekdays 8:00 – 21:00
Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays 9:00 – 21:00
Mr. Donut Sidecar
Mr. Donut (Misad0 for short in Japan) was founded in 1956 in the US but went bankrupt in the 1980’s. There is only one left in the US today – in a small town in IL. Mr. Donut was actually the originator of the Caffe Latte Mocha decades before Starbuck’s stole the idea. The donut chain began as a single donut shop called Tommy’s Donuts (see photo) and later expanded into a franchise in the 1960’s + 70’s and was renamed Mr. Donut.
Sadly, Mr. Donut went bankrupt in the US in the 80’s – mainly due to the rise of Dunkin, Winchell’s, Krispy Kreme, and Starbucks. Oddly, they still have a US licnesing site.
Amazingly, today Mr Donut is the biggest donut chain in Japan.
And boy, do the Japanese love their Misad0. Around Halloween + Christmas, the franchise goes nuts – even holding special Halloween parties featuring all kinds of crazy Halloween-themed donut designs + specials in Japan.
It’s so OTT you could easily spend a couple $100 bucks in Misado in Japan and eat yourself sick (but of course that wouldn’t happen because in Japan you probably walked 10-15 miles that day and are so hungry at the end of the day you could easily eat a dozen and not even blink).
Even more incredible, in the popular Tokyo town of Ikebukuro, there are three Mr. Donuts – one larger, older one a few blocks to the east of JR Ikebukuro Station, and two just outside the west exit of JR Ikebukuro Station. One of those two just opened in 2019.
The original Tommy’s Donuts bldg. from 1960’s. The shape of the bldg. would become one of Mr Donut’s trademarks in the US.
Mr Donut franchise in the US in 1980’s. Note the pay phone booth.
Crazy Misado Halloween Party lineup in a store in Japan in 2019. You have use restraint in these places – or you can stuff yourself silly.
Decisions….. a Mr. Donut in Akabane in Northeast Tokyo.
Dunkin and Krispy Kreme have picked up on the idea – all 3 chains now battle it out around Halloween every year for donut-eaters’ ¥.
There are even new Matcha donuts from Mr Donut in Japan. There are also other campaigns such as Hello Kitty donuts, Mister Donut Pokemon Collection, and lots of other themes.
Mr. Donut also sometimes has special promos on ceramic coffee mug themes in their stores. You can even find them on eBay sometimes.
More Misado Historical Lore
Misado set circa 2002 – note the price – around 200¥ – about $2 US.
Misado set circa 2002 – They also served croissants, danish, and coffee.
Yes, she ate them all.
Location: 35°40’27.73″ N 139°45’45.92″ E
Hibiya is a small area of eastern Tokyo sandwhiched south of the Maronuchi/Imperial Palace area, but north of Shimbashi to the south. Ginza is just to the east.
The main street is called Hibiya Dori or Rt. 409. Hibiya is home to many very upscale hotels, restaurants, and shops. There is also a huge park – Hibiya Park – just on the west side of Hibiya Dori with dazzling gardens, lakes, an open-air concert hall, and several public tennis courts. There is also a Metro subway station – Hibiya Station – on the Hibiya Line and Chiyoda Line. If you’re looking for a good hostel, you can check out https://wiseowlhostels.com/tokyo/ just across from Hatchobori Station on the Hibiya Line just to the east.
WISE OWL HOSTELS TOKYO 3-22-9 Hatchobori, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5541-2960 Fax: 03-5541-2961
Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line・Keiyo Line「Hatchobori station」
30-sec walk from B1 or A1 Exit.
A great stroll or bike ride can be had from approx. 35°40’17.74″ N 139°45’23.26″ E all the way north to the Imperial Palace along Hibiya Dori Ave. There are epic hotels, glittering shops, and endless restaurants. In the evening in particular, this makes a great little diversion. At the very north end near the Imperial Palace is the upscale Tokyo Midtown Hibiya shopping + dining complex.
A quick turn to the right (east) a few blocks south of the Imperial Palace Moat takes you right into Yurakucho Station and Ginza on the JR and Yurakucho lines. There is also a jumbo-sized Tully’s Coffee with free charging ports right across from the moat at ground level on the street. The small stone sentry towers on the street corners around the moat date all the way back to the 1600’s and are popular spots for wedding photos.
Tokyo Midtown Hibiya doesn’t disappoint.
You can also also get here from Akasaka by heading west and then turning south near the old Ministry of Justice bldg.
The Old Ministry of Justice Bldg. just north of Hibiya.
From the Old Ministry of Justice Bldg. head south along the moat. The Imperial Palace is out of view on the left. Hibiya is straight ahead.
Turn left for an epic walk along Hibiya Dori.
If you go just a little further north, you can turn right into Tokyo Station 2 blocks to the east. Just to the north are more luxurious hotels, and another small park.
Hotels to the north of the Imperial Palace. A 17th century stone sentry post is on the left.
Imperial Palace just north of Hibiya.
A small park between Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station.
Well, that’s it. Enjoy exploring and walking around Hibiya. There’s lots of great stuff to see and do here. Here’s a Metro subway map: