Japan in London: Sushi, Manga, Cosplay and Camden

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Japan is about to become big in London. While Londoners have long enjoyed the taste of Japan at numerous restaurants and sushi bars, we’ve been mostly missing out on the kooky-cool of Japanese pop culture. But that’s all about to change, according to Yukiko Takahashi, general manager of the upcoming Hyper Japan event.

“Sushi is so widespread and well-known in London now”, she says, “But Japanese pop culture is the new star. British people like new stuff and they’re really curious about Japan.

“While Japanese [computer] games do really well in the UK, other things such as anime and cosplay haven’t been as big here as they are in France and Germany, for example. But it’s time for London to embrace Japanese culture, big time!”

Hyper Japan is a two-day event in October that’s bringing Manga, cosplay, technology and Japanese street fashion to the heart of happening Shoreditch. The Barbican is also turning Japanese this October, with an exhibition, Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion and a season of Japanese cinema.

Outside work, when she’s homesick Takahashi says she personally enjoys Tomoe restaurant in Marylebone, and visiting Japanese food shops – “they’re a sacred place for us” – such as Atari-ya for fresh sashimi and the Japan Centre on Regent Street. A favourite hidden gem is Adanami Shobo, a second-hand book shop with a karaoke-box behind it.

Takahashi also mentions Camden as a good spot to find touches of Japan in London.  “Lolita gothic fashion I find really interesting, and it’s got a real connection to the London street fashion of the 1970s – what Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren were doing. “I think London and Japan definitely have a connection when it comes to fashion.”

What are your top tips for Japanese stuff in London? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. Boo says:

    Japanese hairdressers are the best. Try http://www.jmoriyama.com.

  2. KT says:

    Sounds great.. about time, London!

  3. I think there is a reason that it hasn’t caught on in a big way in London before and that is because Japanese pop culture just isn’t cool enough!

  4. Zoe J. Griffiths says:

    There are a couple of interesting art exhibitions coming up if you’re interested in Japanese design:

    Phillips de Pury & Company presents the first UK solo exhibition of Japanese design studio, Nendo. The exhibition is presented simultaneously in two parts and in two spaces — at Phillips de Pury on Howick Place and at the Saatchi Gallery.

    Find out more here

  5. Tommo says:

    Great-sounding Japanaese chocolate-making masterclass here at William Curley: http://londonist.com/2010/09/review_japanese_week_william_curley.php

  6. Vanessa says:

    Great overview of Japanese London! If you are interested in finding out even more, check out the latest on http://www.japaneselondon.com/. Yoroshiku!

  7. Jenny says:

    Check out the Japanese teahouse inspired reading room at Spitalfields Market 15-18 March 2011.

  8. narutofan says:

    I’ll post this on my facebook wall high five dude thank you for this awsome topic

  9. Alex C. says:


    I love learning the cookery classes and Japanese cooking lessons offered by Yuki at Yukis Kitchen. She is based in London but I have attended her classes and special workshops in the countryside too. Such delicious food and very accessible even for someone like myself who does not know a huge amount about Japanese ingredients.



  10. DF says:

    There are three Japanese exhibitions on at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London until 24th March 2012. Tonight (15 March) it’s late opening and a “Night at the Brunei” until 8pm with live music, a bar and koi decorating.