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A Japanese Day Out in London

The Malt Lounge & Bar at Prince Akatoki Hotel

The sun is shining again which means the season for day trips and outdoor explorations is officially open. Japanese gardens in the UK can make for a beautiful day but let’s not forget how fickle the sun can be. One minute you’re sweltering in the spring heat and then out of the blue, little drops of rain speckle the hot tarmac as you run to find shelter. Well, visitors to London can rest assured, the weather might be unpredictable, but we have plenty of indoor Japanese entertainment options in the city.

Time to find out where to hit up in London for a Japan-themed day out!

Where to go first

Starting with places where you can enjoy well-rounded Japanese cultural experiences in London, there are a few spaces that need to make it onto your list.

Japan House

Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan: Courtesy of Japan House London

In the heart of Kensington High Street, you can find Japan House, an exhibition space where you can enjoy Japanese art and design from different perspectives. The current exhibition is called ‘Windowology’ and is scheduled to run until the 24th of April, but there is something new on display all the time. Get some souvenirs from Japan House’s sleek shop and get a taste of Japanese food in their restaurant, Akira. We especially recommend ordering their afternoon tea or booking in for their beautiful bento box during lunch with a 50% discount if you book in advance via here

Bento Box at Akira, Japan House London


Pantechnicon from the outside

Another must-visit space is Pantechnicon located in Belgravia. It’s a space which combines two cultures separated by land and sea but which, surprisingly, complement each other very well - Japan and the Nordics. You can spend some time browsing through Pantechnicon’s downstairs and upstairs shops, the Edit and Studio, which are real treasure troves for interesting gifts and useful goods. If you don’t have a lot of time, make sure to grab a Japantastic pastry and a drink from Cafe Kitsune. Ask for their seasonal pastries because they will blow your socks off. Pantechnicon has a Japanese restaurant ‘Sachi’ and a drink bar ‘Sakaya’ where they offer many experiences and masterclasses so check out their website when planning your visit - there might be something going on! Setting an hour or two aside to learn about the secrets of Japanese sake or whiskey sounds like the beginning of a great day.

Sushi Counter at Pantechnicon


A great spot to browse if you’re on a day out shopping or want to try different types of Japanese food with your family, is Ichiba in White City’s Westfield. It’s Europe’s largest Japanese food court with counters devoted to all-time favourites such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki, yakitori, and more. They offer an extensive dining space in and outdoors and you can even sample a variety of authentic Japanese baked goods! We love a cheeky melon pan*.

*One of Japanese people’s favourites, melon pan is a sweet bread which visually resembles a melon but the flavour has no connection to it!

Ichiba in Westfield

Speaking of food, London offers a wide range of Japanese restaurants. You can find delicious ramen and sushi on almost every corner but two specialty restaurants have actually come all the way to the UK from Japan in recent years. The first one is Curry House Coco Ichibanya which offers Japanese style curry in many different combinations. You can pick your level of spice and what toppings you’d like to build your own katsu curry. There are two branches in central London so it’s not difficult to find them
A second pick is the recently opened Marugame Udon which serves Japan’s delicious, thick noodles served with broth and toppings or fried. The food here is both delicious and very affordable - you can even grab something substantial for as low as 6 pounds! They currently have four shops but are planning to open three more in the summer of 2022.

Make memories

Visiting Japan creates unforgettable memories and while we can’t do that just yet, we can enjoy some unique Japanese cultural experiences in London. 

 Kanpai Sake's Taproom

Are you a fan of sake? Because London’s first sake brewery ‘Kanpai Sake offers exciting tours on Saturdays including a tasting session featuring three of their premium sakes! If you want to go the extra mile, you can even sign up for a whole day sake brewing experience.

Sing your heart out

Nothing compares to a quick session of singing your favourite tunes whatever they might be: anime openings, retro Japanese hits, Adele; we’re not here to judge! Spending an afternoon in a private karaoke booth is definitely a highlight of a trip to Japan so why not practice now in one of London’s karaoke spots? You can book them for an hour or more at places like the affordable Lucky Voice, Karaoke Box in Soho, or Karaoke Epoc where you can use the same karaoke system as you would in Japan!

London for otaku and pop culture fans

Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro) © 2004 Studio Ghibli - NDDMT

The streets around Soho are a goldmine for fans of anime and Japanese pop culture. You can find smaller shops selling an odd item here and there but also places like the Forbidden Planet Megastore, Japan Craft, or Gosh! Comics. Once you’ve stocked up on merch, you can end your afternoon with a cinema screening of a Japanese classic film or new releases. A good place to look out for is The Prince Charles Cinema on Leicester Square which often shows Japanese films and organises anime marathons (their most recent one was a Ghibli marathon!). The BFI on the Southbank also organises Japan-themed screenings or events so make sure to watch out for them, too. In April 2022, they have planned a whole month of Anime-themed entertainment and you can find more information here.

Gaming season

If games are more up your alley, we have two thrilling options for you. Head to Las Vegas Arcade Soho to enjoy Japanese arcade games including some older classics. We recommend coming here during the week when you can visit outside of the weekend crowds.
For board game and consoles with a sprinkle of arcade options, spend an evening at one of the Loading Bars which you can find on the trendy streets of Stoke Newington and Peckham. Our favourite thing about this place is their game-themed cocktails like the Pokemon Sloe! Don’t forget to book in advance if you’re planning a weekend outing. Another great place for Japan-themed board games is the Library Pot in Richmond where you can play hits like 'Tokaido' while listening to the original soundtrack! It's really close to Kew Gardens so you can head to the Library Pot after enjoying a spot of Japanese architecture amongst the nature at Kew.

Culture with a big C

Inside Sway Gallery

There are new exhibitions happening in London every month, and you can see some big names like the instantly sold-out Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition ‘Infinity Mirrors’ in Tate Modern. There are some equally enthralling free Japanese exhibitions which you can enjoy without the hassle of booking. 
One of them is The Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries at the British Museum where you can explore Japanese art and crafts through time. The British Museum also offers seasonal Japan-themed exhibitions so make sure to watch out for them and book in advance! 

Sway Gallery from the outside

For art and design enthusiasts a trip to The Toshiba Gallery at the V&A is a must. V&A also hosts fascinating seasonal exhibitions such as the past ‘Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk’.
The Sway Gallery is another spot for getting a glance of quirky Japanese crafts and while their exhibition space is smaller in comparison to the previous options, they do host a plethora of smaller exhibitions which means that you can see something different every time you visit!

In 2022 there are some additional exhibitions such as ‘JAPAN: COURTS AND CULTURE’ at the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace which is running from the 8th of April until the 26th of February 2023. For fans of impactful Japanese painting, the Royal Academy of Arts is running an exhibition on Kyosai, a popular painter from the 19th century. This exhibition is on between the 19th of March and the 19th of June 2022. 

Sleep over with style

Suite room at Prince Akatoki Hotel

After a long day of exploring what Japanese cultural experiences London has to offer, you can end your day with a stay at a luxurious five-star Japanese hotel, Prince Akatoki Hotel, and get a true taste of Japanese hospitality with a night surrounded by minimalist luxury.  Prince Akatoki houses TOKii restaurant where you can try many Japanese delicacies, and The Malt Lounge & Bar which offers a wide range of Japanese spirits with a focus on whiskey and sake. 

What a weekend! We hope you found something unique to create your perfect Japanese getaway in London. One last thing before you get planning, watch out for Japanese trains on your way home. Taking the high speed train line into Kent, or an Azuma train out of Euston you’ll be travelling at speeds made possible thanks to the use of Japanese bullet train technology! 

Who would say no to a day out in London filled with Japanese entertainment?


When you've had your fill of iconic experiences in London, check out our guide to authentic and iconic Japanese experiences and where you can find them off the beaten track in Japan.

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