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The Japan Centre

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by Mike Whyte (subscribe)
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Published November 3rd 2011

The Japan Centre is basically a one-stop shop for all things Japanese, located right in the heart of London. Whether you are a full-on Japanophile, or simply curious as to what the store has to offer, it is well worth your attention.

The store is located inside the Mitsukoshi building (one of Japan's most famous department stores), and as soon as you make your entrance you are transported to downtown Shinjuku (a comparison could be made of this area to Piccadilly Circus in London). There is an open food counter, on the right-hand side, and rows of refrigerated units stocked with sushi, sashimi and bento boxes (a lunchtime box popular in Japan) on the left.

As you keep walking through the store you will find the best of Japanese department store goods, from sweets (the famous Pocky chocolate and biscuit sticks are available here in a variety of different types), there are various cooking goods, including Miso soup and tempura mixes - even down to, at the back of the store, recent editions of popular Japanese magazines and of course, the ever popular manga books. There is also a bookshelf of Japanese language books, with a small selection of Japanese language learning books for those who are interested enough to try to pick up the lingo.

Apart from the goods themselves, there are many activities happening in and around the store, with popular choices being cooking lessons, sake tasting and other various product samplings - a great way for those keen to delve into the world of Japanese food, but feel unsure about where to start.

So should you be a native of Japan, and are missing some home comforts - or simply a curious Londoner keen to see what all the fuss is about, there is no better place to start off your love affair with all things Japanese than this one-stop shop.
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Why? To experience some of what Japan has to offer, in Piccadilly Circus
When: Monday-Friday 10:00~21:00 Saturday 10:00~21:00 Sunday/Bank holiday 11:00 - 19:00
Where: Japan Centre 14 - 16 Regent St. London SW1Y 4PH
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