It's no secret Boston is a tough town to beat when it comes to delicious seafood and a "wicked" art scene. But Beantown also contains a number of Japanese-influenced destinations worth seeking out on any visit. So to celebrate the opening of Uniqlo's newest location at Faneuil Hall Marketplace inside Quincy Market, we're sharing some of our favorite places you can eat, shop and immerse yourself in the culture of Japan in Boston.
Though you'll find the requisite sake and sushi here, there's much more to this city guide. Check out our round-up of great art exhibits, local street style, and places to do a little shopping for others and — of course — treat yourself.
One of the best parts of walking through the doors at O Ya is being greeted with a resounding "Irasshaimase!" A Boston favorite, this sushi house is renown for an unbeatable selection of fresh ingredients combined in daring and unusual ways. The Omakase chef's tasting menu is the best way to experience the unique fusion style this restaurant has to offer, but if you like to eat traditional sashimi and sushi, the chefs have no problem preparing it even though it's not on the menu. World-class dining without the pretentiousness: Check, check.
This store might be tiny, but it’s chock-full of rare gifts. It's a supreme spot to find an unusual gift for the student, writer or artist in your life. Reminiscent of a Japanese stationery store, Black Ink has everything from rubber stamps, notepads, candles and books to cute chopstick rests and other oddities you won’t find in any other souvenir shop. And if you're a Boston local, the carefully rotated small selection means you'll always find something different when you stop in.
Opening on Oct. 9, 2015, Uniqlo’s newest Boston location inside Faneuil Hall Marketplace will expand the presence of Uniqlo's parent company, Fast Retailing, as the fourth largest retailer in the world. Founded in 1984, Uniqlo is best known for affordable, high quality, casual clothes that champion the Japanese design aesthetic of grace in simplicity. Uniqlo's popular Ultra Light Down Jackets are the perfect example: lightweight, affordable pieces you can wear from fall through winter.
One of the oldest hubs in Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market are known today for dozens of street performers and many shops. Stop by the food court for tasty bites from all over the world, including American Japanese favorites like Udon noodles and Katsu.
Boasting the largest Manga selection in all of New England, with genres from romance to science fiction, Comicopia is a Manga lovers dream. Manga is a vastly popular graphic novel style that originated in Japan and quickly became one of the country's biggest publishing industries and exports, spanning a variety of graphic styles with long-running, popular story lines.
There's always a worthwhile exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, but if you make it before Feb. 16, 2016, you have the chance to experience some of the rarest works of one of the finest Japanese masters of the Edo period: Katsushika Hokusai. Don't leave without taking a pass through the Japanese gardens outside.
This Japanese culture center in Boston also houses the city's first Japanese tea house. On Sundays from 4-6 p.m. in the garden, visitors can participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The ritual preparation of tea by one of the Studio's tea masters followed by a time to reflect on art and enjoy company among the beauty of the gardens is meant to bring peace, enjoyment and clarity of mind.
Local Street Style
When it comes to dressing (and packing) for Boston, remember that here, there’s nothing more fashionable than practicality. Casual cool reigns and gives the style in Boston a distinct feel unlike other east coast cities. Like Japan, heat waves in summer and brutal winters require dressing for the climate. Come fall, sturdy boots and a warm down coat will keep you insulated and dry. Influenced by the plethora of surrounding universities and colleges, it’s a great place to trot out a sports-influenced aesthetic. If someone you know owns a Red Sox cap, this is the time to swipe it.