Get a Taste of Japan Ahead of the Olympics

By Lynn Yen 2021-07-20 13:24:43

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics start next Friday July 23. Celebrate by visiting Shanghai’s very own Japanese cultural offerings.


The Japanese expat population is the largest in Shanghai measuring 29,500 in 2018, so there is a lot of representation. The densest concentration of Japanese establishments is arguably found in Gubei, the closest thing to a Japantown. But you can find Japanese bars and restaurants all over the city.


Here are a few places to visit for a domestic Japanese getaway.


Bar Crawl on Xianxia Road



There are a plethora of Japanese bars across the city. Your favorite is probably the one down the street that wins on convenience and walkability like neighborhood bar Mokkos Lamu (1245 West Wuding Road) or there are high-end places like Suzu Bar for classy cocktails (301 Huashan Road).



For a bar hopping feel visit the corner of Xianxia Road (仙霞路) and Anlong Road (安龙路) in Gubei. You’ll find hole in the wall type bars, restaurants, and the great Japanese convenience stores Lawson and Family Mart. 555 Bar anchors the intersection, and has live music.


Spa Day at Lian Quan Da Jiang Hu (涟泉大江户)


Photo: Dianping

Enjoy a whole day of rest and relaxation at this Japanese all-inclusive spa. There is a Japanese food street, starry night rest area, gaming room, movie room, book room, saunas, and of course baths to soak in. 


Address: 288 Xinfu Road


Shu Yamamoto’s CAT ART Exhibit



See the cat versions of famous paintings at “CAT ART”- Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earing as a cat, Mona Lisa cat, Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon of cats, the Sistine Cat-pel. Shu Yamamoto’s exhibit runs until October 7 at Bridge 8 Art Space (1908 Granary).


Address: 2F, 1247 South Suzhou Road


Manga at Foreign Language Bookstore


Photo: Dianping

We are fans of the Foreign Language Bookstore on Fuzhou Road near the Bund. If you’ve ventured up to the fourth floor, it’s a treasure trove of manga and anime merchandise.


Address: 390 Fuzhou Road


Tsutaya Bookstore


Photo: Dianping

The popular Japanese bookstore chain known for its aesthetic stores opened at Columbia Circle this past December. It’s a gorgeous place to visit, browse books, and gift shop. They even have an art gallery, coffee shop, and a restaurant so you can stay the whole day.


Address: Bldg. 9, Columbia Circle, 1262 West Yan’an Road



Conveyor Belt Sushi at Hama Sushi



Sushi served on a conveyor belt is dinner and entertainment in one. It's also very efficient. Grab what you want off the belt as it rolls by and the waitress will tally up the colored plates for the bill when you finish.


Address: 3F, Bingo Mall, 341 Tianshan Road


Grocery Shopping at Apita



While in Gubei, visit Apita for Japanese grocery shopping. They have a large selection of takeaway bento meals. Pair your bento with a craft beer from Kyoto or Okinawa, or my preferred Calpis soft drink and lunch is set.


Address: B2, Arch Walk Mall, 179 Maotai Road


Takashimaya Department Store


Photo: Dianping

Also in Gubei, right next to Yili Road subway station is the Takashimaya department store. Takashimaya is currently playing host to Hello Kitty and friends at a Sanrio character popup store running until end of August. Also in residence is an Evangelion series themed diner that is open until August 1st.


Address: 1438 Hongqiao Road


For a slice of Japan in Pudong, we visited the little Japan street on Jinyan Road.