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March 6, 2019

I Love Tokyo! A Nihonga Painter in Yanaka

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Allan West, who specializes in the Japanese style of painting called "Nihonga," has been based in Yanaka for 20 years. The neighborhood, with its classic Tokyo charm, is not just his home, it's his inspiration. This time, Allan takes us to some of his favorite places in Yanaka.

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Edokoro Allan West The studio and gallery of Allan West, an artist born in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon and the Tokyo University of the Arts, he paints Nihonga works like folding screens and hanging scrolls. Studio can be visited freely. Pieces also available for sale.

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Kinkaido A shop selling Nihonga art materials. Stocks about 1,700 kinds of iwa-enogu, including valuable varieties made from natural ore. Also stocks materials like nikawa glue, washi paper, brushes and more. Iwa-enogu sold by weight.

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Tokyo National Museum Tokyo's oldest museum, which opened in 1872. Houses over 117,000 paintings. Among those, 89 are National Treasures, and 643 are Important Cultural Properties. That makes it number one in Japan both in quantity and quality. Its main building is registered as an Important Cultural Property.

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Kohgen This aroma and intense shop has been in business for 82 years at its main store in Nagoya. With over 5,000 products, it has one of Japan's largest selections. Aroma experts are on hand to give advice. With reservations, you can take an aroma and incense-making class.

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Expo Features an eclectic variety of goods from the Edo period to the present, largely centered around the 1970s. Its name comes from the concept of showing the goods like in an exhibition. Also purchases items.

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Nihonbashi Asada A ryotei, or high-end Japanese restaurant, that opened in Mitsui Garden Hotel Nihonbashi Premier in September 2018. Centered around cuisine from Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture. Hotel breakfast features its ryotei cuisine. Most of its ingredients, including fish, come directly from the Hokuriku region.

Further Info

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1) Edokoro Allan West
Address: 1-6-17 Yanaka, Taito-ku
2) Kinkaido
Address: 1-5-10 Yanaka, Taito-ku
3) Tokyo National Museum
Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito-ku
4) Kohgen
Address: 1-10-16 Uenosakuragi
5) Expo
Address: 4-26-30 Ikenohata, Taito-ku
6) Nihonbashi Asada
Address: Mitsui Garden Hotel Nihonbashi Premier 9F, 3-4-4 Nihonbashi Muromachi

Others

Zuirinji Temple
Address: 4-2-5 Yanaka, Taito-ku