Japan is a consumer market, people love to spend, buy, they love brands, but they also love details, nice things, brands, luxury, quality. Along with that, for over a century, there have been a lot of department stores (Takashimaya, Matsuzakaya, Isetan, Mitsukoshi, etc)
If you ever read The Ginger Tree, wonderful book written by Oswald Wynd, you will read part of the development of these stores in the early 1900’s
There is a way when you move office apparently. You have to offer an orchid to the mover, he ends up floaded with orchids of all sorts and cannot make the difference, cannot remember all of them I suppose.
I tried hard to change this as its very expensive, one bunch of flower or one orchid costs around JPY 27000 to 35000 average!! but there is no way so I respect and stick to the way “it should be”. So, flower shops prepare in numbers and deliver in numbers too.
Japan has so much to offer when it comes to food. I have 2 friends visiting currently for 2 weeks and both of them never eat raw food nor seafood. I thought this might be a challenge but we are reaching the end of the 2 weeks and we have not finished yet our wishlist. this is endless and always so delicious, oisshiii!!
I took them for lunch on a couple of occasions, restaurants are a commodity here and you can get a set lunch for JPY750 to JPY900 easily and that will always include a bowl of rice, pickles, a bowl of miso soup and the main dish, sometimes a fruit portion, it is excellent value, almost always good and healthy at all times
There is one place I love when going to Takao san, it is their restaurant Ukai! This is a beautiful way to finish the day in style, you can either hike in the morning and have a lunch or hike at leisure and get an early dinner, the last order is at 19h00 so dont miss out,
the restaurant is composed of old traditional houses they brought to create a village, each house is a “table” and there are houses for kitchen, service, etc. it is set in the woods with lovely gardens, it is a moment in time
Food is about traditional cuisine, tofu, grilled chicken, river fish grilled in the park, tatami room, waiter in traditional attires, count between 7500 and JPY 10000 all included depending on your menu choice, it is a real experience, good food, good service, but extraordinary day!
50mn train away from Shinjuku Station is Takao San, a mountain in Tokyo’s doorsteps. it is an easy hike, about 2 hours up, a lot of nature and peaceful moment. so it can end up being crowded but it remains a nice place.
Spring is nice, you avoid the heat in town, if you go in the morning, it is not that packed and the square close to the cable car has shops and cafes for a break
Taking the cable car also take you to a panorama, there is a cafe with terrace there that has barbecue in the late spring as well as beer garden
in the autumn, it is a scenic place to admire the autumn leaves so get ready for long queues, lots of people, packed trains. this is 95% Japanese tourism and not very known by foreigners (yet), I hope it stays like that