Reflecting Back the Trends of 2020 in Japan


2021.01.03

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

As the year 2020 comes to an end, when looked back in January, the year began with so much promise from the Olympics in Tokyo that was expected to boost the economics of Japan flooding with many tourists. However, things changed dramatically with the spread of the pandemic. New lifestyle, new working conditions, everything so new that caused so much chaos and sadness to many. Putting aside those negative issues, on the bright side, there were still hybrid and virtual events which brought excitement while staying home and new openings of hotels, restaurants, complexes with latest gourmets, shopping etc. People came together to find ways to face these unnerving odds in many ways and this article will reflect back some of the trends of year 2020 in Japan.

  • 01

    Redevelopment of Shibuya

    Tokyo in 2020 has seen a rush of commercial facility openings. Shibuya, in particular, is a redevelopment area that has seen the opening of a number of high-profile facilities in 2020, following the opening of Shibuya Scramble Square and Shibuya Parco in 2019.
    Miyashita Park, which opened in July 2020, integrates commercial facilities and a hotel and it is no exaggeration to say that it is the most notable new landmark in Shibuya this year.
    Miyashita Park on the rooftop, together with Shibuya Sky, which opened last year, has become a trendy "Instagrammable" spot.
    Other large-scale facilities have also opened in the neighboring area of Shibuya, such as "With Harajuku" in front of Harajuku Station and the food complex "Jingumae Comichi". In addition, public restrooms designed by famous architects and artists have gone viral on social media, especially the transparent toilet installed at Haru-No-Ogawa Community Park and at Yoyogi Fukamachi Mini Park.

    Miyashita Park

    Miyashita Park

    With Harajuku

    With Harajuku

    Transparent toilet as part of Tokyo Toilet Project

    Transparent toilet as part of Tokyo Toilet Project

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    Shibuya: New Miyashita Park
    Parks
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    THE TOKYO TOILET Project
    Parks
    RAYARD MIYASHITA PARK
    place
    Tokyo Shibuya-ku Jingu-mae 6-20-10
    WITH HARAJUKU(ウィズ ハラジュク)
    place
    東京都渋谷区神宮前1-14-30
    phone
    0354118835
    Haru no Ogawa Community Park
    place
    Tokyo Shibuya-ku Yoyogi 5-68-1
  • 02

    Kabutocho: One of 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world

    Kabutocho in Nihonbashi district has been selected as one of 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world. Although a major business district, over the last few years, Nihonbashi district has developed with the opening of unique cafes, patisseries, and bars starting with the opening of a boutique hotel "K5". The area has become known for its mixture of old and new culture and among them, the overly fashionable food court "COMMISSARY" became a hot topic on social media in 2020 even though it had no official website. This food court which got famous through social media has attracted a number of youths who have never visited Nihonbashi before. Since the area was relatively considered a town for business people and the older generation, this new attempt to bring the younger generation was a major game changing.

    COMMISSARY

    COMMISSARY

    K5

    K5

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    COMMISSARY NIHONBASHI
    place
    Tokyo Chuo-ku Nihonbashihoncho 3-11-5
    HOTELK5
    rating

    5.0

    17 Reviews
    place
    Tokyo Chuo-ku Nihonbashi Kabutocho 3-5
    phone
    0359623485
  • 03

    Contactless Payment/Service

    With the spread of the pandemic, the demand for contactless payment has quickly spread among restaurants, hotels, cafes, shopping malls to more offering cashless methods. The TOUCH-AND-GO COFFEE Nihonbashi, an unmanned coffee stand for take out only, "Sushiro," a conveyor-belt sushi chain installed lockers to pick up sushi, "TOUCH TO GO," an unmanned AI payment kiosk at Takanawa Gateway Station, a new station on the Yamanote Line, and Blue Star Burger, which opened in Nakameguro all installed contactless payment. These are not limited to restaurants but are expanding to hotels and movie theaters as well. It is expected that such contactless payment and even services will be installed at many more places in 2021, and may become the new normal.

    TOUCH TO GO (unmanned AI payment kiosk) at Takanawa Gateway Station

    TOUCH TO GO (unmanned AI payment kiosk) at Takanawa Gateway Station

    ブルースターバーガー 中目黒店
    place
    東京都目黒区上目黒3-1-4 グリーンプラザビル 1F
    phone
    0367122529
  • 04

    Sustainable Food

    After experiencing the pandemic, the trend of thinking about sustainability as a personal matter has increased in the year 2020. Not only in the fashion world, but also in the culinary world, the word "sustainability" has been heard more and more.
    This trend has been supported by IKEA, which has opened a series of urban stores in 2020. IKEA, a company that promotes sustainable living, offers "veggie dogs" that uses no meat at IKEA Harajuku and IKEA Shibuya to help both people and the planet. Since Japan had fallen behind in knowing about SDG’s, having such a major brand to introduce plant-based gourmet products has raised awareness. Now that the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are being taught in elementary and junior high schools, it is likely that interest in sustainable food will increase even more in 2021.

    Veggie dogs offered at IKEA Shibuya

    Veggie dogs offered at IKEA Shibuya

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  • 05

    Staycation

    Micro-tourism, a new form of travelling that allows people to enjoy the unusual in their immediate vicinity, has become mainstream. And thus, the coined word "staycation," a combination of "stay" and "vacation," was born. This is something new to 2020 and in particular, the “GoTo Travel”, a Japanese government subsidy encouraging domestic travel to help boost the economy has been very popular as it gave travellers a chance to make reservations at luxury hotels, where it is usually difficult to stay with a reasonable and relatively affordable price. As of December 2020, this campaign is on hold till the pandemic settles.

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  • 06

    Drive-in Festival, Theater etc.

    Automobiles as a means of transportation have increased in 2020 instead of the use of public transportation. Against this backdrop, "drive-in theaters," where people can watch movies in their own personal space have become popular as a rekindling of good old-fashioned culture. CINEMA CARAVAN DRIVE-IN-THEATER with KEIKYU, a drive-in theater facility in Miura City, Kanagawa Prefecture, decided to make it a permanent fixture with monthly screenings, attracting much attention.
    In addition to drive-in theaters, there is a trend in having more drive-in festivals and even, drive-in grocery stores. In the future, it may be a new normal to start something new in the form of “drive-in”.

  • 07

    Glamping and Solo Camping

    Getaways to the wilderness for glamping as a way to experience the best of nature without the hassle of setting up tents or preparing meals are gaining rapid popularity. Because of this trend, new glamping facilities kept opening in 2020. In 2021, "town camping," a new style of camping where small campgrounds are set in the middle of the city, is expected to become a trend in Japan as it doesn’t require travelling outside but visitors will still be able to enjoy staying in the tent. The accelerating demand for camping is something to keep an eye on in 2021.

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  • 08

    Instagrammable Worthy Yokocho

    A new style yokocho, called the “Neo Yokocho” has been on the rise in 2020. Compared to the more traditional downtown vibe yokocho usually set outside or under the brick arches beneath the elevated train tracks, these “Neo Yokocho” are set indoor in a more instagrammable stylish clean atmosphere but retained the retro vibe from its interior designs. As it's usually set in a proximity to shopping malls, visitors and locals alike drop by for a casual lunch or dinner at these “Neo Yokocho” and are easier and safer for young generations to casually drop by compared to the traditional yokocho which are usually set in a more sketchy areas.

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    Izakaya Alleys
  • 09

    Antenna Shops/International Food Market

    Travelling has been limited in 2020 and instead, antenna shops or satellite shops which people can experience a kind of virtual tour of Japan without the hassle of travelling or even be short on time and money became a hot spot. As the number of people to work remotely and have more time to stay home to cook, not just visiting such antenna shops but also, going to an international food markets gave people the opportunity to still feel like travelling abroad in the midst of such a pandemic and purchase something that is not Japanese.

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  • 10

    Shopping Malls in the Suburb

    With more and more people choosing to travel by car this year, there has been an increase in demand for shopping malls in the "moderately close" suburban areas that can be accessed in about one to two hours from Tokyo.
    In 2020, new shopping malls and large-scale commercial facilities opened one after another in the suburbs of Tokyo. Not only are many of them free of parking fees, making it easy to stop by while driving around the suburbs or even just shopping or getaway from the crowded city center made these malls an ideal place to go.

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    Edo Style Shopping Mall: Minaka Odawara
    New Open
    Gotemba Premium Outlets
    place
    Shizuoka Pref. Gotembashi Fukasawa 1312
    phone
    0550813122
    opening-hour
    [Mar.-Nov.]10:00-20:00[Dec.-…
    Minaka Odawara
    place
    Kanagawa Odawara-shi Sakaecho 1-1-15
    phone
    0465221000

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