Presumably you have your tickets in hand and your hotel and transportation all confirmed. If you are, by chance, a last-minute starter, there are still hotel rooms and airline space available through American travel agents who booked blocks of both well in advance (SI, Dec. 23, 1963), but tickets to the Games will be a problem. All foreign allotments, including those that American Express did not sell in the U.S., were returned to Tokyo on July 1. They will quickly find takers—when tickets went on sale last October there were 15 applicants for every seat earmarked for Japanese buyers.
GETTING TO THE GAMES
There are more than 30 venues for the Olympic programs and, while most are located in Tokyo, many are outside—yacht racing at Enoshima is 37 miles to the south, and the three-day equestrian events are 90 miles to the north in Karuizawa. Some 300 buses will shuttle from the principal Tokyo hotels to all the Olympic events, and another 115 will take passengers from the ships that will anchor in Yokohama, serving as floating hotels for their passengers during the Games: the Oriana, the Empress of England, the Kuala Lumpur and the Brazil Maru. For visitors staying in the fine resort hotels and inns of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, an hour from Tokyo, blocks of seats will be reserved on express trains into town.
In Tokyo the whizzing little taxis are generally the preferred transportation for foreigners—they are cheap and, under most circumstances, plentiful. Drivers can pick up and discharge passengers anywhere except on the Ginza, where stands are allotted to them. The driver almost assuredly will neither speak nor read English. The way to handle that situation is to obtain from your hotel desk cards with all of your day's destinations written in Japanese—including the card of the hotel, to get you back home.
July 5, 1964
Street names have been introduced in Tokyo only within the last year and at the moment only 150 of the thousands of streets have been named. The average Japanese, even the one who lives or keeps shop on a particular street, has probably not heard that it has been honored with a name, so any foray into Tokyo has an air of adventure. And the street names will probably fade into oblivion after the Olympics. A Tokyo address is a very strange affair. Houses are numbered by age, not by consecutive number, for example. Then comes the number of the block, then the district or ward, then the city.
When the traffic gets tough, as it undoubtedly will during the Olympics, the fastest way of getting around is by elevated railway or by subway. There are two railway lines of particular convenience to Olympic visitors. The Yamate line, as the map on the previous pages indicates—you can spot the train by its yellow coaches—loops around the entire city, stopping at all the main stations along the way. The stations are not only in the heart of the districts of Tokyo but bear the same names: Shinjuku, Shibuya, Yurakucho and the like. The Chuo line, with orange coaches, runs from Tokyo Station, across from the Imperial Palace, to the western suburbs. All transportation moves, in fact, either in concentric circles or radially, out from the palace area. Both railway lines operate from 4:30 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. or so, and the subways from 6 a.m. until midnight. When you buy your ticket, ask for a subway map—chizu kudasai.
The Meiji Olympic Park, the main Olympic site—containing the National Stadium (track & field, opening ceremonies), Metropolitan Indoor Pool (water polo), the Metropolitan Gymnasium (gymnastics), the press center and Olympic headquarters—is on the Chuo line, 15 minutes from Tokyo Station.
Yoyogi Park is the site of the Olympic Village, Kenzo Tange's superb new National Gymnasium (swimming and diving) and Annex (basketball), and the Shibuya Public Hall (weight lifting). It is best reached by the Yamate loop railway; get off at Harajuku Station.
The third major complex, in Komazawa Sports Park, is the site of the soccer stadium and wrestling gym (see color photographs on preceding pages), the hockey field and the volleyball courts. Take the Yamate line to Shibuya Station and change to special buses that will shuttle between it and Komazawa, about half an hour's journey in all from Tokyo Station.
For all of the events that take place outside Tokyo special reserved-seat buses will depart from the main hotels. The general locations and distances of these venues from the Olympic Village are given on the map. There are subway or railway connections to all of them as well; see your hotel desk. The easiest way to watch the yacht races in Enoshima Harbor is from one of the five spectator boats—they take 100 passengers each but are already sold out.
Many special entertainments are scheduled during the Olympics. Topping the list is Kabuki, one hour of which will do more to explain the Japanese character than a week of discussion with your Japanese friends. During October, Tokyo's famed Kabukiza will present several of the more spectacular items in its repertoire, including The Tale of the 47 Ronin. A combination of drama, dance and opera, Kabuki represents the epitome of Japanese theater. First-class seats, reserved for foreigners, will be equipped with earphones with simultaneous translations in English, French and Spanish. There are also programs in English containing explanations of the plots. If you study up in advance, you will not miss a trick.
From Oct. 9 to Oct. 19, in addition to the regular matinee and evening performances, at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., the Kabukiza will have late-night performances, each show consisting of two typical dance numbers and a performance of a representative Bunraku puppet show. In addition to seeing the 10 p.m. show, patrons can visit the backstage dressing rooms to watch the Kabuki performers apply their makeup. Kabuki tickets cost from $1 to $5.
More perplexing to the American visitor, perhaps, but nearly as colorful, is No, a classical-style dance-drama performed in a manner completely unchanged for 600 years. Wearing stylized masks, some of which are centuries old, the performers move at an agonizingly slow pace through the dramas, most of which have Buddhist themes. Every little movement has a meaning of its own in No, so watch for that symbolic twig of bamboo grass, which shows that the holder is in a frenzy, or the folding fan, which can mean either a writing brush, a wine bottle, a cup, a dipper or a sword. You figure it out. There will be special performances of No in October at the Hoshokai Theater and the Kanze Kaikan.
Special performances of the Bugaku (Imperial Court dances) and Gagaku (Imperial Court music) will be given at the Tokyo Metropolitan Festival Hall in Ueno Park, along with demonstrations of classical and folk dances. Bugaku and Gagaku can rarely be seen. Bugaku is given only twice a year at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, and Gagaku performances by the Imperial Court Orchestra are open to the public only twice a year, so these Olympic performances represent an extraordinary opportunity. Both the dances and music are virtually unchanged from the form in which they originated in northern China and Mongolia some 1,500 years ago.
At the Kokusai, on the other hand, there is a faithful reproduction of Radio City Music Hall circa 1935, with a line of Rockettelike dancers called the Atomic Girls. Kokusai is a training school for one of the large motion picture companies. It has music and dancing, very little dialogue, and elaborate and gimmicky stage devices. Its Autumn Dance, which will be playing in October, features a fire scene the equal of the most elaborate spectacles of the Paris Opera. Tickets cost $2 or $3.
In addition to the events at the Games themselves, there will be a series of demonstrations of traditional Japanese sports, most of which derive from martial exercises. Kendo, or Japanese fencing, and kyudo, a stylized form of archery, will be performed at the new Nippon Budokan Hall, built opposite the Imperial Palace grounds for judo competitions during the Games.
In kendo the opponents use bamboo swords. Everything is slash and batter, the finer points of Western fencing having gone by the board. Banned by the U.S. Occupation as too militaristic, it is making a big comeback now among college youth and is even getting a few adherents among the coeds. In addition to the Olympic demonstrations, you can see teams from the universities in their own fencing halls—call the All-Japan Kendo Association for information.
Judo will be an official Olympic sport for the first time in Tokyo and can be seen during the competitions. It is a derivative of jujitsu, which has been popular since the 17th century in Japan, but is basically a martial art. The present style of sporting judo was developed in the late 19th century. It is both a means of defense and a form of exercise, and is considered an excellent way to cultivate mental discipline. In addition to the official Olympic judo competitions in the new Budokan there will be other demonstrations at the Mecca of judo, the Kodokan, near Suidobashi Station. Here American visitors can take judo lessons from English-speaking teachers—the ladies are just as welcome as the men. Foreigners' practice hours are from 5:30 to 7:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and from 3:30 to 4:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Sumo, the Japanese form of wrestling, descended from Mongolian wrestling, is not ordinarily held in October in Tokyo, but there will be demonstrations during the Olympics. Site of the matches is not yet set. Tickets are hard to get for sumo; ask your hotel to get them for you.
Western-style sports are more popular today among young Japanese than the traditional ones described above. Baseball leads in number of fans. Tokyo alone has four professional teams, the most outstanding of which are the Giants and the Flyers. The season will end early this year, just before the Olympics begin on Oct. 10. The five daily English-language newspapers carry complete schedules, and tickets may be obtained at the baseball parks on arrival. The biggest stadiums are Korakuen, near Suidobashi Station on the elevated Chuo line, and the Tokyo Baseball Stadium in Minami Senju.
As a part of the Olympics festivities, on Oct. 11 there will be an exhibition game of baseball at Meiji Olympic Park baseball stadium between all-star Japanese and American amateur teams.
Horse races are run daily except Wednesday at the Oi Race Course in Samezu-machi, about 10 miles south of the city center. At two other courses, Fuchu and Nakayama, there are races Saturday, Sunday and on most national holidays. The government-controlled betting system is a complicated one, somewhat resembling the multiple bets in a daily double. No one at the courses speaks English, so go with a Japanese friend or interpreter. You will not even be able to find the right windows without assistance.
For the participant, Tokyo has many sports facilities, some of them very expensive, others as cheap as they are crowded. You can play lawn tennis at the Tamagawa public courts, way out on the Tama River. It is more convenient to arrange through your hotel to take out a temporary membership in the Tokyo Lawn Tennis Club or get guest privileges at the Palace Tennis Club on the Imperial Palace grounds.
Bowling is the hottest new sports fad in Japan, and Tokyo has the biggest bowling center in the world, with 120 lanes. This monster, the Shinagawa Bowling Center, is open until 3 in the morning. It attracts, in addition to serious bowlers, a good many beatniks and nightclub hostesses after the clubs have closed. Other bowling lanes where a little English is spoken include the Tokyo Bowling Center, right next to Meiji Olympic Park, Tokyo Bowl at Tokyo Tower and the Korakuen Bowling Arena in Korakuen Park. Reservations are necessary, especially at night. All of these places have restaurants and bars, but the food is not recommended. Bowling costs a steep 60¢ to $1 a line.
Public golf courses are scarce and are located far from downtown Tokyo's expensive real estate, but driving ranges are scattered throughout the city. Most convenient is the Shiba Park range in front of the Tokyo Prince Hotel. A box of balls will cost about 75¢. The nearest public courses are in Yomiuriland and in Enoshima, a 90-minute train ride south of town. The best way to play golf is to take a weekend away from Tokyo at one of the excellent resort hotels in the mountains near Lake Hakone. The best hotel in the area is the Fujiya in Miyanoshita, the oldest Western-style hotel in all Japan. Guests there play golf at the Sengoku course, about a 20-minute drive from the hotel. The hotel also has an annex across from the course.
The Japanese ofuro, or honorable bath, is as misunderstood by the foreigners as the geisha. If you are expecting to find coeducational dipping, you will have to travel into the backwoods, where 20th century mores have not caught up with this ancient Japanese custom as they have in the sophisticated environment of the capital.
In preparation for the Olympics, the lady members of the Diet have demanded that Tokyo's Turkish baths, famous during the Occupation, be purified. The bathhouse owners interpret this to mean they must eliminate the small cubicles in which the weary visitor could have his back scrubbed, bake in a steam box and be massaged by a personable young lady attendant. Now all one can do in a bathhouse is take a bath. More respectable institutions, which have everything from Finnish sauna rooms to electric massage tables, include the Tokyo Onsen in Higashi-Ginza and the Grand Sante in Shinjuku. Prices range from 40¢ for the large public bath to $2.80 for a massage and private room.
Sightseeing highlights of Tokyo include some of the old standbys, but many of them should be ignored. High on the list to be avoided is the Imperial Palace—you cannot see it anyway, and you will pass its gates, the only part of the palace worth seeing, almost daily. The National Diet Building is an ugly chunk of concrete, and Tokyo Tower, a copy of the Eiffel Tower, is really only useful as a landmark to give you some idea of what section of town you are in—and you can ascend only one-fifth of its 1,110 feet.
Worth seeing are the Asakusa Kannon Temple, with rows of tiny shops lining its approaches; the Meiji Shrine, which is newly rebuilt since the war, but in faithful Shinto style; and Ueno Park, with its many fine museums, its zoo, a monorail ride and crowds of rustic, transplanted country boys and girls, seeking a bit of green in the bewilderment of Tokyo.
A visit to the Tsukiji fish and vegetable market is a Tokyo experience as fascinating as is Les Halles in Paris. You can go as early as 5 a.m. or as late as 10 a.m., but the earlier the better. With some of Tokyo's nightspots open until 4 a.m., you can wind up a heavy night on the town at the fish market, where you will find cleanliness to the point of fetishism and little if any smell. The Japanese respect for quality ingredients will make some hard-to-take ideas about Japanese food more appealing. Agents of the better Tokyo restaurants come daily to bid for the finest fish and vegetables, and they examine every single item before it goes to the auction block.
EATING IN TOKYO
The cuisine of Japan is a great deal more varied than the average Westerner thinks. You may overcome your notion that sukiyaki and tempura are palatable foods and raw fish is not. One of the pleasures of a visit to Tokyo is discovering how much variety and subtlety exists in the Japanese cuisine. Sukiyaki is a dish of choice, thinly sliced beef, onions, vegetables and bean curd, the whole sautéed in an iron skillet at your table in a mixture of soy sauce, sake, water and sugar. It is best if eaten with chopsticks, each mouthful dipped in raw egg, and accompanied by one of the excellent Japanese beers, such as Kirin, Asahi or Sapporo. The best sukiyaki restaurants are Yugiri and Okahan in the Ginza area.
Tempura is fish, shrimp or vegetables—the freshest of the season—dipped piece by piece into a light batter made with wheat flour and then fried quickly in hot oil by a chef seated behind a counter facing the guests.
Tempura goes best with sake, which is generally served hot. One of the best tempura restaurants is Ten-Ichi, but you will find others all over town.
Grilled chicken and game are also popular. Yakitori, which means grilled poultry, is found in small restaurants and street stalls all over the city. It consists of small pieces of chicken grilled over charcoal on a bamboo twig. One notable yakitori restaurant is Isehiro in the Kyobashi area.
In October, Tokyo's game-food restaurants will be specializing in pheasant and venison grilled over charcoal braziers. Game food is called okaribayaki, a word that means "roasting in the hunting field," and the best-known game restaurant is Akahane. Beer goes well with both the grilled chicken and game.
A good one-dish meal—particularly good late in the evening—is mizutaki, which consists of a big pot of fish-base broth in which are steamed chicken, noodles, fish, potatoes and vegetables, all eaten directly from the pot with chopsticks. Jisaku is the place for mizutaki.
A unique restaurant in Tokyo, the Rakuman in Roppongi, specializes in ishiyaki, or cooking on hot, thin stones. Steaks, chops, game and vegetables have an entirely different flavor cooked this way in this charming place.
The best steaks in Tokyo are found at one of the several steel-plate restaurants that have developed in the last 10 years. Kobe beef—probably the world's best—is grilled, along with bean sprouts and chopped onions, on a steel grill in front of you. Misono in Akasaka is a steel-plate restaurant very popular with Americans in Tokyo. It also is capable of a creditable martini.
In October many foods prized by the Japanese are in season. The gingko nut and the pine mushroom will show up in various restaurants, cooked in different ways as perfect accompaniments to one of the loveliest of Japanese seasons. But only specialized restaurants serve one food that October brings: the fugu, or poisonous blowfish. The cooks who prepare this highly prized seafood have to go to special schools to insure the safety of their customers. The trick is in the removal of the poison glands. Sakuma is the oldest established fugu house.
Most Americans would rather take their risks with a cooked blowfish than eat any fish raw, but raw fish, or sashimi—fresh from the sea, sliced paper-thin and dipped in soy and a bit of horseradish—is a true delicacy. Lean tuna and whitefish are good choices for sashimi initiates; there is no hint of fishiness about them, just the clean taste of the sea. Sushi is another and perhaps easier way to start out on raw fish. Sushi is a ball of lightly vinegared cold rice, often wrapped in thin leaves of dried seaweed, topped by a thin slice of tuna or other fish (or with cucumber or a pickled vegetable). There are sushi bars everywhere. Either sake or beer completes the snack.
In addition to the restaurants that specialize in one branch or another of Japanese cuisine, there are also restaurants where you can get the whole variety—or at least a good part of it—at a sitting. These are the leading restaurants of Tokyo—and the most expensive. They are like private clubs, and most of them do not cater to foreigners. It is necessary to have a Japanese friend arrange an evening for you in one of these establishments. The cost will be as much as $30 per person and will include a dozen courses of exquisitely served food plus entertainment by geisha. Three restaurants in this category which have had at least limited experience in dealing with foreigners are Mita, near Yanagibashi, and Nakagawa and Kazuo, both in Akasaka. Ask your hotel management to help with arrangements if you do not have a Japanese friend to do so.
Naturally, in the world's largest city you can also eat in many languages. France-ya is the best French restaurant, but it is tiny and hard to get into. The Crescent is also good. The Italian Garden and Chianti serve reasonable approximations of Italian food, and there are many good Chinese restaurants. The best Americanized or Continental food is in the better hotels. The Keyaki Grill of the Hilton has excellent service and food. At the Imperial, Prunier is a close approximation of the great Prunier fish restaurants of London and Paris, and the handsome Grill is one of the most popular dining places for the American and European colony. Even mediocre French wines cost upward of $10 per bottle and most Japanese wine is un-drinkable. Two exceptions are the Sadoya Company's Ch√¢teau Brillant—a kind of Bordeaux—and a good Bordeaux made by Mercian. They will cost about $3.50 to $4.50 per bottle in a restaurant—if you can find them. The best restaurants would much rather sell you imported wine.
Tokyo is one of the five or six places in the world where you can spend endless amusing evenings on the town without repeating yourself. Forget about such serious Western entertainments as opera and ballet—the local products arc not worth seeing—but if you like gimmicks, gaudy shows and organized jollity, you will love Tokyo. Night life in Tokyo, keyed to a spendthrift Japanese expense-account philosophy and to the Oriental custom of the hostess, is expensive. The hostesses are often the most beautiful and charming Japanese women you will see, and if one should join you to keep you company, like a modern-day geisha, you pay for her drinks and often for her time as well. The fact that there arc hostesses in a place—as there are in most clubs and many bars—should not keep you from taking your wife there. She is welcome in all respectable places.
The Mikado is the most famous of all of Tokyo's nightclubs, a wild Oriental copy of the Lido in Paris. There are no hostesses there, but a 90-minute show with dancing fountains, 3-D movies combined with a stage show consisting of dozens of dancing seminudes and Madame Butterfly throwing balloons from an aerial birdcage. Resist the waiter's attempt to force a menu on you. The food is about the worst in Tokyo. Use up your $7.50-per-person minimum on drinks or dessert and coffee. Shows are at 6:30 and 8:30.
There are many more intimate nightclubs, with dancing, small floor shows and hostesses. The best of these is the Copacabana, which has an excellent restaurant upstairs, The Little Club, handily open until 3 a.m. Getsusekai (sounds like guess a sky) is a new place abounding in vulgarity but boasting a lot of pretty girls and an unusual price system: everything, from the cover charge to the best Scotch to a boiled egg, is 700 yen—about $2. Crown, on the Ginza, is a favorite with well-heeled Japanese businessmen, and there are two or three American girls as exotic hostesses. Club Marunouchi is an after-hours place (legal closing time is 2 a.m.), and it may be raided when you are there—it often is, but customers are never booked or questioned. Enter by the front door before midnight and leave by the back any time before 4 a.m. It has a passable strip show, intelligent hostesses and good late suppers. Show Boat, near Shimbashi, is strictly cornball. You are piped aboard this gigantic replica of a Mississippi riverboat, your empty glasses arc picked up by a girl driving a miniature train and the bandstand goes up and down an elevator shaft.
There are more bars in Tokyo than in any other city in the world—8,000 is the latest estimate. The top hostess bars are Le Rat Mort, the Vogue, the Gordon on the Ginza and the Club Douce in Akasaka. All are expensive and elegant. More earthy are the Club Bohemian—which considers itself a Left Bank bo√Æte—the Lady Fair and the New Yorker.
More fun, perhaps, are the little bars where the bar girls play guitars and sing in English, Spanish or Japanese. Try Pocota on the Ginza or Pokan in Akasaka. Miyoshi, near Shinjuku Station, features Japanese folk-music sing-alongs. Kikyo is a bar that fascinated Robert Kennedy on his 1962 trip to Tokyo. It features sake in barrels, waiters dressed like laborers and a headwaiter who speaks no English but loves Americans. If you like the bizarre, try to see one of the bars with military themes, but they do not usually welcome single foreign tourists. If you do get in, you will be pronounced a POW and escorted by a "soldier" past a sand-bagged bandstand to your table and introduced to your "nurse" or hostess. Typical of these is the Rendezvous in Shimbashi.
Up the ladder considerably is the Starlight Lounge on top of the Hotel Okura, with a panoramic view of Tokyo—much better by night than day—and a small combo.
As everywhere, the best entertainment in town is likely to be the people themselves, and the place to find them is in Tokyo's equivalent of London's pub—a Suntory bar. All Suntory bars are independently owned and must meet very high standards of price, honesty and cleanliness to carry the franchise of the giant Suntory Ltd. distillery. You can always be sure of good inexpensive drinks and good company in a Suntory bar. If you are alone, the chances are that the fellow on the next stool will try to practice his English on you, and this chumminess frequently leads to the foreigner's being taken around town to places he would never find on his own. If you have any doubts about teaming up with a stranger, ask the bartender, who will give you a straight answer. Suntory whisky resembles American blended whisky—best is Old Suntory at 70¢ a shot. Imported liquor is very expensive—Johnny Walker Black Label costs $20 at the corner market, $2.50 a drink.
The musical coffee bar is a booming Tokyo institution, at its best in the early morning hours. From the fabulous to the simple, all the coffee shops feature music and serve alcoholic and soft drinks in addition to coffee. There are many coffee shops that play only classical music on hi-fi systems and a large number of others devoted to jazz. Most fun are the ones with live bands. At Yie Lai Shan in Shimbashi, for instance, the orchestra travels up and down the four stories on two giant screws. Tennessee is peopled with teen-agers listening to twist music. The bands change constantly, and you will find several imitations of Elvis, still the most popular foreign singer in Japan. The world's noisiest coffee shop is the Albion—it features girls who twist to the music but never sit down with the customers. When they light your cigarette, they keep on twisting.
At the end of a late night, the best place to find a Western-style snack is on Higashigaiendori—a street called 15th Street by the foreign colony. Best places are Rosier, Hamburger Inn, Tom's and Leo's. Or try the Japanese-style snacks at a number of friendly spots around town which specialize in sake, seafood and camaraderie. Tsuta in Yotsuya has delicious sazae, or shellfish, and Naruyama, near Yasukuni shrine, operated by a former sumo champion, specializes in uni—sea urchin, oysters and sake.
A good place for scrambled eggs and coffee—or a nightcap—is Tokyo's only sidewalk cafe, the Champs Elysées. It is almost always glassed in because of the weather or the dust from the busy street. Young actors and actresses come here to attract the attention of visiting producers from Asia's largest TV studio, which is situated nearby. The Champs Elysées, next to the Hotel New Japan, is open until 3 a.m. Sayonara.
The buildings on this vastly simplified map of central Tokyo are landmarks for an American visitor this October. The venues are spread throughout the world's largest city—some even far beyond its limits. The principal centers, however, are in three parks, Meiji, Yoyogi and Komazawa, all within half an hour of Tokyo Station. An excellent elevated railway (crossed lines on map), a new subway (dotted lines) and improved highways (white lines) should make getting about in the confusion of Tokyo less of an ordeal than it was in Rome in 1960. For Travel Facts, turn the page.
Seibu Ikebukuro Line
HACHIOJI (25 miles)
ASAKA (14 miles)
Pistol and Rifle Shooting
Clay Pigeon Shooting
TODA (11 miles)
KARUIZAWA (90 miles)
Equestrian Three-day Event
Kaneiji Temple Pagoda
LAKE SAGAMI (37 miles)
Waseda Memorial Hall
National Highway 17
Tokyo University Gate
National Highway 20
Shinjuko Gyoen Garden
Grand Prix Jumping
Track & Field Soccer
Opening and Closing Ceremonies
YOYOGI SPORTS CENTER
MEIJI OLYMPIC PARK
National Diet Building
Metropolitan Indoor Pool
Shibuya Public Hall
National Highway 15
KOMAZAWA SPORTS PARK
Fujiyama (55 miles)
Express Highway 1
Tokyo International Airport
ENOSHIMA (37 miles)
Yokohama (20 miles)
Hakone (56 miles)
Kamakura (17 miles) Great Buddha