Tokyo City Guide

tokyo mount fuji

TOKYO is a futuristic city filled with eccentricities and traditions that at first glance can be intimidating and offer a bit of a culture shock, but upon arrival in this vibrant metropolis you’ll be graciously welcomed allaying any fears. In Japan’s capital city there’s much to see and do — from centuries-old shrines to skyscrapers to cruises on the Sumida River. Tokyo is home to 13 million people, so prepare for a hurried bustle, just don’t forget your manners. Proper etiquette is a vital element of Tokyo society, so practice good manners on subways, at restaurants, temples and shrines.

For unique shopping experiences, don’t miss department stores like Isetan and Takashimaya, or Ito-Ya and Winged Wheel for stationary, or Axis, Bloom + Branch, Dover Street Market, Michael Kors, Muji, Prada, Sadaharu AokiSembikiya, Sugahara and Tokyo Hands for the best of fashion + food + design.

Sightseeing Tip: The subway system is clean and efficient, but many street addresses are not marked, so look for landmarks and don’t be ashamed to ask for help, Tokyo residents are friendly and will go out of there way even with the language barrier.

21 21 Design Sight
9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato

With architecture by ZR favorite Tadao Ando, this museum features design exhibitions and workshops.

2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito

Japan’s oldest and most sacred Senso-ji temple. Rub the Botokesan Buddha for good luck, snap the Kaminarimon red lantern for Instagram, and breathe in the Incense Burner to encourage great health.

Harajuku District

THE fashion center for Tokyo’s young and hip with a mix of high-end and bargain shopping, street performers and Harajuku girls.

Happo En
1-1-1 Shirokanedai, Minato

For a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience book a tea ceremony in this garden.

Imperial Palace
1 Chiyoda, Chiyoda

Japan’s emperor still lives on the grounds, so the palace is only open twice a year, but the East Gardens are open to the public daily.

Meiji Shrine
1-1 Yoyogi Kamizonocho, Shibuya

This Shinto Shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji has lots to see especially on Sundays.

Mori Art Museum
52F Mori Tower
6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato

A contemporary art museum with a 52nd floor observation deck.

Nihonga Art
4B Maruoka Building
5-49-7 Jingumae

Learn the art of Japanese painting during semi-private lessons with Maria Tanikawa.

Origami Kaikan
1-7-14 Yushima, Bunkyo

Discover the fine art of paper folding and try your hand at the ancient tradition.

Sumo Wrestling
National Sumo Stadium

In January, May and September sumo tournaments are the hot ticket. Book through your hotel concierge.

Tokyo National Museum
13-9 Uenokoen, Taito

Learn about the culture and history of Japan. A great rainy day option.

Tokyo Opera City
3-20-2 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku

Another good rainy day option offering excellent concerts and art exhibits.

Tokyo Sky Tree
1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida

The second tallest tower in the world with two observation decks. Afterwards, grab a bowl of ramen at Rokurinsha.

Tsukiji Fish Market
5-2-1 Tsukui, Chuo

The world’s largest seafood market. Read my review here.

jiro tokyo

Foodies Note: A majority of Tokyo’s restaurants are “introduction only”, so securing a table without assistance from a previous guest or hotel concierge can be challenging, so book in advance. Many restaurants are cash only, but service and gratuity are always included.

3-63-1 Sendagaya, Shibuya

A popular chain with delicious yuzu shio ramen.

Artistree Cafe
3-6-10 Nishi Shimbashi, Minato

Chic coffee shop with delicious pastries and free wifi.

BLT Steak
5F Izumi Garden
1-6-1 Roppongi, Minato

American bistro with delicious steaks, seafood, and salads for a taste of home.

Gen Yamamoto
1F Anniversary Building
1-6-4 Azabu-Juban, Minato

For a unique cocktail tasting experience. Only 8 seats, reserve in advance.

3F Kawabata Building
8-5-8 Ginza, Chuo

Serving Jiro-esque high quality sushi. A favorite with local chefs.

Ivan Ramen
3-24-7 Minamikarasuyama, Setagaya

A bit out from central Tokyo, for delicious shio ramen created by an American chef.

JG Tokyo
6-12-4 Keyankizaka Dori, Roppongi

French-Asian cuisine a la carte or served omakase-style at a counter in the open kitchen.

Jimbocho Den
2-2-32 Kandajinbocho, Chiyoda

So hip and popular is Zaiyu Hasegawa’s Michelin two-star kaiseki restaurant that securing a reservation can be challenging, but if you’re lucky, the experience will be one you won’t soon forget.

Barneys, 4F Kojun Bldg
6-8-7 Ginza, Chuo

Specializing in tonkatsu. Read my review here.

4F Carioco Bldg
5-4-8 Ginza, Chuo

Offering a Michelin three-star kaiseki dinner that’s well balanced and well executed.

9F Sakaguchi Bldg
5-5-13 Ginza, Chuo

Specializing in tempura. Read my review here.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato

Joel Robuchon expertly incorporates Japanese ingredients into his renowned French menu. Read my review here.

Nicolai Bergmann
5-7-2 Minami-Aoyama, Minato

For a ladies lunch in a contemporary florist shop with a cafe serving an organic menu.

Nikko and…Navarre
1-2F, 6-12-20 Jingumae, Shibuya

Two-story shopping mecca for Tokyo’s chic set. Try Cafe Navarre for farm-to-table cuisine.

Oboro Saketen
5-29-2 Shinbashi, Minato

Sake boutique offering themed sake tastings to demystify Japan’s national drink.

Sukiyabashi Jiro
1F Tsukamoto Sogyo Bldg
4-2-15, Ginza, Chuo

Experience sushi created by a great master. Service is swift. There’s no fanfare. Booking Jiro’s Roppongi location is easier to secure.

Sushi Saito
1F Jidousha Kaikan Bldg
1-9-15 Akasaka, Minato

Only 6 seats. Considered the absolute BEST sushi in Tokyo. Hidden in a parking garage.

Sushi Sora
38F Mandarin Oriental
2-1-1 Nihonbashi, Chuo

Excellent sushi with English-speaking staff well versed in guiding novices and experts alike in the art of sushi. Read my review here.

Sushi Yoshitake
3F Suzuryu Building
8-7-19 Ginza, Chuo

Seasonal sushi expertly prepared and presented.

2F Sanyo Akasaka Bldg
3-5-2 Akasaka, Minato

Specializing in modern Japanese cooking. Read my review here.

Two Rooms
5F A O Building
3-11-7 Kita-Aoyama, Minato

Experience Tokyo’s cocktail culture at this see-and-be-seen hotspot.

palace hotel tokyo

Traveler’s Tip: Tokyo has a dizzying array of  hotels throughout the city ranging from opulent five-stars to chic boutique properties, I advise booking early and checking hotel websites for best-rate offers.

The Palace Hotel
1-1-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda

To say I’m obsessed with this hotel would be an understatement. Everything about The Palace from its location to rooms, amenities, service and lobby scene is perfection.

Aman Tokyo
The Otemachi Tower
1-5-6 Otemachi,Chiyoda

Tokyo’s newest modern luxury hotel designed in classic Japanese style.

Mandarin Oriental
2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo

Near the business district, MO offers beautiful rooms, stunning city views and fine dining to guests with a discerning eye.

The Peninsula
1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda

Only a short walk from topnotch shopping in Ginza with all the luxuries of a premium city hotel.

Ritz Carlton
9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato

In Roppongi. A classic hotel with beautiful rooms and a nice spa.

Photos: Zavvi Rodaine

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