Ahh I remember my student days fondly. Lots of parties, lots of drinking and lots of sleeping. Unfortunately though, not a lot of money. This is why Japan Centre is here to help and support you! We know how daunting it can be thinking about how much you have left to spend on proper food instead of that 8p pack of instant noodles or yet another week’s worth of pasta… so we’ve introduced a student discount!
While spring has not quite yet sprung in the UK, we at Japan Centre find our thoughts once more turning to sakura mochi, sakura shochu and yards and yards of blue tarps; a sure sign that Hanami is just around the corner.
What is Hanami?
Hanami is a very ancient tradition, dating as far back as the 700s when people would have ‘flower parties’ and feast outside, composing odes about their beautiful surroundings. These days Hanami parties are almost exclusively cherry blossom viewing parties and can range from informal family picnics to massive outdoor raves.
March to May is prime Hanami time in Japan as the ‘sakura front’ of blooming cherry blossom crosses the country, starting in warm and sunny Okinawa ’till it eventually makes its way to the slightly cooler climbs of Hokkaido in the north. But you don’t have to go to all the way to Japan for a great Hanami. So get ready and grab your picnic basket, here are our top tips on where to go and how to make the most of your Hanami!

umai westfield anniversary

Well look at that, time’s flown by and umai by Japan Centre Westfield Stratford City is already celebrating its 6 month anniversary! Our Westfield branch is a beautiful little place, selling a fantastic selection of both umai deli take-out and all your favourite staple Japanese cooking ingredients! We’ve enjoyed meeting our East London customers and hope you’ve enjoyed your umai by Japan Centre shopping experience too!
Spring always heralds the start of something new, at Japan Centre we’ve been bitten by the spring bug and have what can only be described as a taste explosion under way! During March both Toku Restaurant and umai deli have introduced some awesome new dishes for you to grab on the go during your lunchbreak, or enjoy as you relax with friends and family in the afternoon and evening. Read on for more…
I remember being slightly disappointed when I first arrived in Japan and thinking “Huh, you mean Japanese people don’t eat sushi every day?” Of course I realised after that it would be the same as thinking British people only ever eat fish and chips and scones every day! Despite sushi being one of my main reasons for being interested in Japan, it took another week or two after arriving before I even had a chance to eat some. The reason was because Japanese cuisine is so much more than just raw fish… there is a huge variety of amazing Japanese food, including some of the world’s most super gourmet foods.
Continuing on from our Top 5: Weirdest Japanese Food, follow Japan Centre as we check out our Top 5: Super Gourmet Japanese Food.
On 11th March 2012 it will be exactly one year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami destroyed part of  Tohoku, north-east Japan. This event changed people’s lives in just one moment and resulted in large scale loss of lives, with many others displaced and made homeless. Last year Japan Centre and our generous customers donated over £26,000 to the relief effort helping those effected get back on their feet.