Even though I traveled to Japan in 2013 for a Gackt concert, I was most excited about all the Arashi-related things that awaited me! I couldn’t wait to see their advertisements on the streets, watch their variety shows live, and go to Aiba’s family restaurant. And when I returned a year later in 2014, I couldn’t help but get caught up in seeing Arashi everywhere again!
So here is my not-so-comprehensive experience of being an Arashi fan in Japan.
This is probably #1 on most Arashi fans’ list! Leaving from Shibuya station, it took about an hour and two train transfers, but once you arrive at Makuharihongou Station, the walk to the restaurant is easy!
When you come out of the station turn left and walk across the bridge. Here is a more detailed set of directions.
Once you get there, there may be a line of fans waiting to get in. We arrived around 11am, and made it into the restaurant around 12:30pm. Whether you’re going for lunch or dinner, it’s best to go early to make sure you can get in!
While you’re waiting in line, someone from the restaurant comes out with a couple of binders that have the menu inside, so you place your order while you’re waiting.
Once you’re inside, there’s a small waiting area, where you can find goods and snacks available for purchase. There’s even samples of the snacks that you can try before you buy them! Unfortunately, there is no longer the plethora of Arashi fan art and fan gifts that there used to be, but they did have an Arashi Kirin beer ad hanging up.
Moving on to the food! It was delicious. I ordered the fried rice while my friend ordered something similar to pepper steak. And of all things I forgot to order karage! It wasn’t until I saw a group of fans at another table with it that I remembered!
The highlight of the meal was when Aiba’s mother came over and served us complimentary jasmine tea! I wish I had bought a tin of it, because it was so good. And she was so nice and pretty! Aiba looks just like her!
The atmosphere of the restaurant is quiet and modest. Despite being hugely popular with fans, you never feel like you’re in the restaurant owned by the family of a celebrity. If you are an Arashi fan, you should definitely make the trip out to Keikarou!
2. Johnny’s Shop
Of course, the place that is usually on the top of any JE fan’s list is the official shop.
I went to the Harajuku shop both years I was in Japan, and always during the week, so I was able to walk right in. You go downstairs and grab a pencil and a sheet of paper with a list of numbers that correspond to the numbers next to the pictures on the walls. You mark down what photo you want and how many, on the paper, then go upstairs to check out and collect your photos. It’s pretty simple, but very easy to get carried away!
3. Variety Shows
Not only watching Arashi variety shows when they actually air rather than a day later, but also seeing places they filmed and eating things I saw on their shows was a lot of fun.
I wasn’t looking for anything Arashi-related while we were in Odaiba, but recognized this spot immediately! Remember that G no Arashi episode about a group of tone deaf people learning how to sing? This is where they sang at the end of the episode!
I still miss Arashi no Shukudaikun! When we stumbled on this restaurant that had a dish featured in one of the episodes, I had to take a picture! It’s located in Yokohama’s Chinatown. Apologies for not having the name or location…
D no Arashi’s “dekiru, dekinai” episodes with Jun and Ohno were the sole reason for us walking into Mos Burger! It doesn’t look like much, but it was delicious.
4. Ebisu Garden Place
Anyone who watched the Hana Yori Dango series would recognize this place! And of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see it for myself!
5. Advertisements everywhere.
And I mean everywhere.
Not only was Arashi seemingly everywhere, but both years I ran into fellow fans, who were really excited hearing that Arashi was known overseas!
What was your experience as an Arashi fan in Japan?