IASIL 2024 Tokyo


The 2024 Conference of
the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures

5-9 August 2024, Gakushuin University

Travel & Local Information

Gakushuin University & Mejiro Area

Gakushuin University

Gakushūin University (学習院大学 Gakushūin Daigaku) is a private university in Mejiro, Tokyo. It was established during the Meiji period to educate the children of the Japanese nobility. It is still one of the most prestigious universities in Japan, counting most of the members of the present Imperial Family among its former or present students. As well as imperial family members, other notable alumni include Tarō Asō, the former Prime Minister of Japan, Hayao Miyazaki, (founder of Studio Ghibli and the director of such films as Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro), Yoko Ono, and the novelist, Yukio Mishima.

The campus is the site of a number of Registered Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan, among them the Main Gate, Higashi Bekkan (the East Building Annex; the Old Imperial Family Dormitory), the Stables, and the Nogi Kan (Residence of Count Nogi Maresuke, Commander of the Japanese forces in the Russo-Japanese War, and a former President of Gakushuin).

The university is about a two-minute walk from Mejiro Station, which is located in central Tokyo, a few stops on the Yamanote Line from the major hubs Shinjuku and Shibuya, and one stop from Ikebukuro.

More information about Gakushuin University: Gakushuin Guide.

Mejiro Area

Situated between Shinjuku and Ikebukuro along the Yamanote Line, Mejiro is a laid-back and easygoing spot for strolling around. Here are a few places of interest in Mejiro.

Mejiro Garden 目白庭園 https://mejiro-garden.com/

Open 9:00-19:00 in August, free entry. Mejiro Garden, a traditional circular sanctuary, features a hill, pond, and waterfalls. The garden’s allure is enhanced by ‘Akatori-an (赤鳥庵)’, an inaccessible but charming ‘tea house-inspired’ teahouse.

Kishimojin / Hariti 鬼子母神 https://www.kishimojin.jp/#

Originating from the Edo period, this site honours a Buddhist deity safeguarding children and promoting safe childbirth. It’s accessible from ‘Kishimojin Station (鬼子母神駅),’ near which the Tokyo Sakura Tram (東京サクラトラム) operates, one of Tokyo’s two remaining tram lines, also connecting to ‘Gakushuinshita Station (学習院下駅).’

  • Tokyo Sakura Tram / Toden Arakawa Line route map

Traditional ‘wagashi’(Japanese sweets) shops

Shimura 志むら https://shimurakashi.base.shop/

Since 1939, the café has been famous for ‘tsukumomochi (「九十九餅」),’ with honey-soaked azuki beans kneaded into ‘gyuhi (求肥)’ and dusted with soybean flour. Summer’s highlight is the ‘cliff’ style ‘kakigoori (かき氷; shaved ice)’, a dramatic presentation with syrup-drenched ice.

Kaneido 寛永堂 https://www.kaneido.com/

The Tokyo flagship of a wagashi shop from Kyoto, 1630, exclusively serves ‘Uji Kintoki (宇治金時)’ shaved ice, a blend of matcha tea, red bean paste, and ‘shiratama (白玉; white rice balls)’.

Vegan-friendly restaurants in Mejiro

Sometimes it is difficult to find vegan-friendly restraunts in Japan. Here are a few restaurants that offers vegan-friendly menu:

Vegetarian Beast  https://vegebeast.shopinfo.jp/

2 minutes away from Mejiro Station, the restaurant offers vegetarian and vegan menu using wholesome organic ingredients. Open 17:00-22:00 Wednesday through Friday, 15:00-22:00 on Saturday, and 11:30-14:30 on Sunday. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Racines Organic Mejiro  https://racines-organic.com/

The Italian restaurant is situated in the shopping mall Trad Mejiro just across Gakushuin University. Consult the staff for vegetarian and vegan options. Open 11:00-21:00.

Srijana Mejiro  https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1305/A130502/13204099/

A few minutes walk from Gakushuin University along the main street, the Indian restaurant has a variation of vegetable curries. Open 11:00-23:00 everyday.

For more places of interest in and around Mejiro, you might like to visit the following sites: