Tokyo

Senso-ji Temple framed by cherry blossoms, Tokyo

Where to stay

  • Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, 1-19-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku; shinjuku.gracery.com. This modern hotel stands out, quite literally, as a full-scale Godzilla head peeks out from its 8th floor. The 970 guestrooms are all stylish and well lit, with plush beds, free Wi-Fi and all the hotel goods you need for a cozy stay.
  • Hotel Metropolitan Edmont, 3-10-8 Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku; +81 3 3237 1111; edmont.jp. Strategically located near two train stations, as well as attractions like Tokyo Dome and Nippon Budokan. Its spacious rooms feature warm wood accents and modern amenities, such as flat-screen TVs.
  • Keio Plaza Hotel, 2-2-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; +81 3 3344 0111; keioplaza.com. A modern, upscale hotel offering sweeping views of the Shinjuku skyline. It also provides a free shuttle service to Tokyo Disney Resort.
  • Oakhostel Cabin, 1-16 Nihombashi-Hakozakicho, Chuo-ku; oakhotel.co.jp. This TripAdvisor-garlanded capsule hotel rents out bikes, so you can explore the city in style.
  • the b roppongi, 3-9-8 Roppongi, Minato-ku; +81 3 5412 0451; theb-hotels.com/jp. A cozy three-star hotel situated in the heart of lively Roppongi. Rooms are decked out in light wood, and are equipped with flat-screen TVs and extra-wide bathtubs.
  • The Edo Sakura, 3-2-13 Shitaya, Taito-ku; tokyoedosakura.com. This traditional Japanese retreat has a Zen courtyard, an onsen, and a tearoom where you can experience a tea ceremony at 10am daily.

Where to eat

  • Aoi Marushin, 1-4-4 Asakusa, Taito-ku; +81 3 3841 0110. A popular option for delicious and affordable tempura.
  • Blue Bottle Coffee, 1-4-8 Hirano, Koto-ku; bluebottlecoffee.com. An industrial-themed, third-wave cafe serving up excellent artisanal coffee.
  • Daihachi Takohanamaru, 3-5-11 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. This food stall in Harajuku serves up some of the best takoyaki (octopus balls) in the city.
  • Daiwa Sushi, Part 6 Building, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku. One of the best sushi restaurants in all of Tokyo, with snaking queues that form as early as 4am.
  • Dominique Ansel Bakery, 5-7-14 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; dominiqueanseljapan.com/en. Enjoy Instagram-worthy artisanal desserts at this outpost of the famed New York bakery, such as the frozen S’mores (ice cream enveloped in feuilletine and marshmallow) and cronuts (a croissant-donut hybrid).
  • Genki Sushi, 1/F Leisure Plaza Building, 24-8 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku; +81 3 3461 1281; genkisushi.co.jp. At this affordable sushi chain, you first place your orders via a touch-screen monitor; they’re then delivered to you within minutes on a conveyor belt.
  • Ginza Steak, 1-5-5 Shinbashi, Minato-ku; ginzano.jp/steak/en. Head to this tiny restaurant (it only seats 20) for unlimited A5 Wagyu, in the form of tenderloin, sirloin, shabu-shabu and sukiyaki.
  • Gonpachi, 1-13-11 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku; +81 3 5771 0170. Order the assorted tempura and charcoal-grilled skewers at this izakaya, where the atmospheric decor inspired one of the sets for the movie Kill Bill.
  • Gyukatsu Aona, 1/F Jun Building, 6-5-7 Ueno, Taito-ku; +81 3 6240 1979. For incredibly sinful deep-fried and breaded wagyu steaks.
  • Jangara Ramen Harajuku, 1-13-21 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Head to this popular noodle house for tasty Kyushu-style ramen from Fukuoka.
  • Kagurazaka Saryo, Ushigome Kagurazaka Station, Iidabashi, Shinjuku-ku; +81 3 3266 0880; saryo.jp/kagurazaka.html. An intimate café that specializes in all things green tea, from parfaits to fondue. There’s also a range of savory dishes available, such as udon.
  • L’ Atelier de Joel Robuchon, 2/F Hillside, Roppongi Hills, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku; +81 3 5772 7500; robuchon.jp. This two-Michelin-starred restaurant, helmed by renowned French chef Joel Robuchon, serves up exquisite French fare that’s worth the splurge.
  • Luke’s Lobster, various locations; lukeslobster.jp. For wallet-friendly (and utterly delicious) Maine lobster rolls. Other seafood rolls are also available.
  • N.9, 2-7-22 Asakusa, Taito-ku; +81 3 5830 3129; n9-asakusa.com. Head here for premium Matsusaka pork roasts and burgers, best paired with a glass of Suntory highball.
  • Ryu Sushi, Ichi-Gokan Building, Tsukiji Fish Market, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku; +81 3 3541 9517. Head here for incredibly fresh, melt-in-your-mouth sushi. Do, however, be prepared to queue for hours on end!
  • Sadaharu Aoki, Isetan Departmental Store, 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. It is an open secret that Japanese bakers excel at French pastries. This patisserie in particular makes amazing matcha croissants.
  • Toritake, 1-6-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku. This is where the locals go for addictive yet inexpensive yakitori. This casual, hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the heart of Shibuya features plentiful varieties of skewered meats to choose from, and at only JP¥300 to JP¥500 per stick.
  • Uoriki Kaisen Sushi, B1 Tokyu Department Store, 2-24-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku; +81 3 5625 4663. An affordable joint serving up sushi and sashimi that’s on par with other more upscale restaurants.
  • Ushigoro Bambina, 1/F RKF Ebisu, 2-1-2 Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku; +81 3 6452 2983; ushigoro-bambina.com/en/ebisu. A highly-rated yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant offering top-grade A5 Wagyu beef.

What to do

  • Akihabara, Chiyoda-ku. This district full of electronics shops and manga (Japanese comics) stores is a must-visit for for anime fans, toy collectors and gamers.
  • Ameyoko Market, between Ueno and Okachimachi stations. A busy market where you’ll find everything from clothes to dried food and spices.
  • DiverCity Tokyo Plaza, 1-1-10 Aomi, Koto-ku; +81 3 5927 9321; divercity-tokyo.com/en. This shopping mall, which offers many shops selling Japan-themed souvenirs, is home to world’s only full-sized Gundam statue.
  • Fire Museum3-10 Yotsuya, Shinjuku; + 81 3 3353 9119; tfd.metro.tokyo.jp/ts/ museum.htmlThe Fire Museum tracks the history of fire service in Japan, a country that’s had its fair share of raging infernos. If the fire engines and helicopters exhibited here don’t catch your little one’s fancy, then the films showing and models on display surely will.
  • Hachiko statue, 1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya Train Station, Shibuya-ku. Pay homage to the legendary Hachiko, the Akita Inu who would make his way to Shibuya Station every day to await his master’s return, even after the latter’s death.
  • Hamarikyu Gardens, 1-1 Hamarikyuteien, Chuo-ku. A sprawling landscaped park featuring seawater ponds that change level with the tides.
  • Himiko, suijobus.co.jp. Take a ride on this futuristic-looking boat. Designed by one of Japan’s renowned manga artists, Leiji Matsumoto, the boat’s panoramic windows offer views of Sumida River and its 12 bridges. There are three departures from Asakusa Pier daily, except for the second Tuesday and Wednesday of each month.
  • Imperial Palace East Gardens, Chiyoda-ku. These gardens were once part of Edo Castle. Explore the ruins of the moats, walls and entrance gates of the original castle compound. Entrance is free.
  • Keshiki, 6-19-16 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; keshiki-tokyo.com. Shop for trendy fashion pieces at Keshiki, a bargain paradise that offers chic pre-loved clothing and quirky accessories in top-quality condition. Try on some dainty frocks, vintage rock T-shirts, or tailored items.
  • Legoland Discovery Center3/F Island Mall, Decks Tokyo Beach; +81 3 3599 5168;  legolanddiscoverycenter.jpThe kids will want to spend hours on end at this Lego heaven. Attractions here include Miniland, where Lego models of familiar Tokyo attractions can be found, and screenings of The Lego Movie 4D: A New Adventure.
  • Marronnier Gate, 2-2-14 Ginza, Chuo-ku. A popular shopping mall that also houses an enormous branch of lifestyle store Tokyu Hands.
  • Meiji Shrine, 1-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku; +81 3 3379 5511; meijijingu.or.jp/english. A serene place of worship that’s dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. If you visit on a Sunday, you’re likely to witness traditional wedding processions taking place on the grounds.
  • Mount Fuji. Take a day trip to Japan’s monumental peak. Head up to Fuji Subaru Fifth Station, undoubtedly the most popular sightseeing spot in the region. Located 2,300m above sea level (about halfway up the mountain), the station offers sweeping views of the Fuji Five Lakes area, as well as several shrines, torii gates, souvenir shops and restaurants.
  • Roppongi Hills, Minato-ku. This city within a city is home to apartments, shops, offices, restaurants and more. Head to the 238m-tall Mori Tower for great views of the city.
  • Senso-ji Temple, 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku. Completed in the year 645, this ancient Buddhist temple is the city’s oldest temple.
  • Shibuya Crossing. Watch hundreds of people surge across the road in all directions at this famed scramble crossing. The sight is most impressive at night, as the intersection then becomes illuminated by the neon lights from the surrounding malls.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku. One of the city’s largest and most popular parks, with three different gardens – a Japanese landscaped garden, an English landscaped garden, and a formal French garden.
  • St. Mary’s Cathedral, 3-16-15 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku. Designed by world-renowned architect Kenzo Tange, this modern, stainless-steel church – a far cry from traditional cathedrals – is a sight to behold.
  • Sumida Park, Mukojima, Sumida-ku. This popular park is home to more than a thousand cherry trees, so it’s one of the best places in the city to catch the sakura.
  • Tokyo Disneyland, 1-1 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba-ku; +81 45 683 3777; tokyodisneyresort.jp. The kids will go wild with the array of rides here, spread across seven themed lands. The colorful parades will surely capture the little ones’ attention as well.
  • Tokyo DisneySea1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba-ku; +81 570 008 632; tokyodisneyresort.jp. Bring out the child in you at this fantasy theme park inspired by the myths and legends of the sea, with seven themed ports like Mermaid Lagoon and Lost River Delta.
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, 2-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; +81 3 5321 1111. Head up to the 202m-high observation decks on the 45th floor of the main building for panoramic views of the city.
  • Tokyo Skytree Tower, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku; +81 5 7055 0634; tokyo-skytree.jp. The best place to get a bird’s eye view of the metropolis. The tower also houses a large shopping complex and an aquarium.
  • Tsukiji Fish Market, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku; tsukiji-market.or.jp. This world-famous wholesale market is one the largest fish markets in the world. Browse and buy fresh seafood at the inner market, and enjoy authentic sushi at one of the local restaurants at the outer market. If you’re an early bird, consider queuing from as early as 4am for the tuna auctions – only 120 visitors a day are permitted to enter.
  • Ueno Park, Taito-ku. The grounds of this popular park is home to many museums, such as the Tokyo National Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.
  • Yoyogi Park, 2-1 Yoyogikamizonocho, Shibuya-ku. Take in the beautiful lawns, ponds and forested areas at this city park, located adjacent to Meiji Shrine. You can even watch costumed folks performing original dances.
  • 21_21 Design Sight, 9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku; +81 3 3475 2121; 2121designsight.jp. Appreciate modern art at this design museum, which was created by architect Tadao Ando and fashion designer Issey Miyake.
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