SD › Tokyo Travel Guide
Updated: January 29, 2021
The 94 best hotels, restaurants, shops, bars, clubs, cafes, tours, neighborhoods, and things to do in Tokyo, Japan.
1. Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo • Marunouchi • $$$$
This small luxury hotel offers contemporary design with impeccable, personalized service. Rooms are spacious and techy, all with 3D TVs and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Marunouchi skyline or Tokyo Station. Services and facilities include a Japanese onsen spa, a French-Hokkaido fusion restaurant, and a free greeting service at the train station on arrival. • (03) 5222-7222
2. Park Hotel Tokyo • Ginza • $$
A dramatic setting, including a 10-story, light-filled lobby atrium with views of Tokyo Tower and the city. Hip art is found throughout the hotel. There are 31 rooms designed and painted by Japanese artists, like the colorful Geisha Goldfish room. Across from the Conrad, on the edge of Ginza. • (03)6252-1111
3. Conrad • Ginza • $$$$
A gorgeous luxury hotel with spectacular views over a Japanese garden toward Tokyo Bay. Boasts one of the city’s largest spa and fitness centers plus fine dining. On the edge of Ginza but close to subway and JR lines and the monorail to Odaiba. • (03) 6388-8000
4. The Peninsula • Ginza • $$$$
Refined luxury hotel with a Zen-like contemporary atmosphere. Rooms are among the largest in the city. Superb service and amenities range from sake brewery tours to free use of bicycles. Across from the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park and just steps from Ginza. • (03) 6270-2888
5. Hoshinoya Tokyo • Near Tokyo Station • $$$$
Tokyo’s only luxury ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). This is an oasis of Japanese refinement and pampering, from its minimalist-style Japanese rooms that are also high-tech to its top-floor hot-spring bath with a ceiling open to the sky. A 10-minute walk from Tokyo Station. • (03) 6214-5151
6. Grand Hyatt Tokyo • Roppongi • $$$$
Located in the Roppongi Hills entertainment complex, this family-friendly, luxury hotel offers an indoor pool, spa, salon, and gym. Its 11 restaurants and bars feature a wide range of cuisine, from Japanese to Chinese and from French to Italian. Each spacious room features an enormous bathroom and contemporary amenities, making this an ideal choice for families or groups. • (03) 4333-1234
7. Sadachiyo Sukeroku-no-yado • Asakusa • $$
Tokyo’s top choice for experiencing a reasonably priced ryokan. Antiques throughout the 70-year-old property, a 10-dish Japanese dinner, and a location in Asakusa bring Edo-era Tokyo to life. Off an old-fashioned pedestrian shopping street, a 10-minute walk from Sensoji Temple. • (03) 3842-6431
8. Park Hyatt • Shinjuku • $$$$
Lost in Translation made this luxury high-rise hotel a celebrity. Stunning views from superbly designed rooms, the ever-popular New York Grill, and fitness facilities that include a sky-lit lap pool and gym offering free classes. Away from the action of Shinjuku (maybe a little too removed for some), with free shuttle buses to and from Sinjuku Station. • (03) 5322-1234.
9. Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower • Shinjuku • $$
A well-respected moderately priced hotel with easy access to Shinjuku Station and the Takashimaya Shinjuku shopping complex. 22nd to 35th floor rooms provide great city views. • (03) 5354-0111.
10. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho • Akasaka • $$$$
Hip, high-tech hotel with iPads that control everything in-room from lighting to temperature, plus a spa and fitness center with an indoor lap pool and state-of-the-art gym all capitalize on mesmerizing views. Underground passage to subway stations and easy access to Akasaka’s small nightlife district. • (03) 3234-1111.
11. The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo • Roppongi • $$$$
Arguably the best hotel views in Tokyo and the second-tallest skyscraper in the city. Humongous rooms, a health club with indoor lap pool, excellent restaurants, and first-class service. Connected to Tokyo Midtown with more choices in dining; Roppongi’s nightlife is also close at hand. • (03) 3423-8000
12. Shangri La Hotel • Tokyo Station • $$$$
Refined hotel with a full-service spa, fitness center with an indoor lap pool, Japanese and Italian restaurants, and two upscale lounges. The Shangri La offers spacious rooms, ranging from 50 to 269 sqm, all with elegant furnishings and views of the city or Imperial Gardens. Great location next to Tokyo Station and a short walk to the Iperial Palace and Gardens. • (03) 6739-7888
13. Imperial Hotel Tokyo • Ginza • $$$$
Landmark hotel dating back to 1890 and remodeled by Frank Lloyd Wright (though only a small portion of Wright’s work survived an even later renovation). The Imperial boasts 17 popular restaurants, cocktail bars, and lounges. In addition to the usual pool, spa, and gym facilities, the hotel boasts a soundproof music room, a baby room with certified childcare staff, and a traditional tea ceremony room. All rooms are spacious and well-appointed; choose a room on the Premium Tower Floor for spectacular city views. • (03) 3504-1111
14. Claska • Meguro • $$$
Tokyo’s best boutique hotel and a design-lovers dream. Just 20 rooms, decorated in one of four themes, from classic tatami to one-of-a-kind created by individual interior designers. Home to galleries and a rooftop terrace. In fashionable Meguro, a 12-minute walk from Gakukei-daigaku Station. • (03) 3719-8121
15. Andy’s Shin Hinomoto • Ginza
A throwback to post-World War II Tokyo, owned by a Brit. Located under elevated train tracks that straddle Ginza and Hibiya, this hole-in-the-wall is hugely popular for its seafood and vegetables bought fresh daily at market and for its signature stuffed gyoza wings. Reservations a must. • (03) 3214-8021
16. Waentei-Kikko • Asakusa
Seasonal bento lunch boxes and kaiseki dinners served in a traditional tiny house. Live performances of shamisen and other traditional Japanese music four times daily. Just steps from Sensoji Temple. • (03) 5828-8833
17. New York Grill • Shinjuku
Tokyo’s best restaurant for steaks and seafood or weekend brunch. On the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt, with stunning views, a bustling open kitchen, a 1,600-bottle cellar of mostly Californian wines, and live jazz wafting in from the adjoining New York Bar. • (03) 5323-3458
18. Tsunahachi • Shinjuku
Serving reasonably priced tempura since 1923. Occupying a modest, old-fashioned building, with a queue almost always out front hungering for delicacies deep-fried in sesame oil. A five-minute walk east of Shinjuku Station. • (03) 3352-1012.
19. Two Rooms Grill/Bar • Omotesando
One of Tokyo’s hottest restaurants in the city’s trendiest neighborhood. An open kitchen turning out excellent Continental fare, a sleekly modern dining room, and a bar with the city’s best outdoor terrace, overlooking an infinity pool and rooftops. On Aoyama Dori. • (03) 3498-0002.
20. Cicada • Omotesando
Tucked away in a mid-century mansion designed by a famous Japanese architect. Mediterranean cuisine (think tapas and lamb tagine with couscous), its own craft beer, and wines from Italy, Greece, Morocco, and other sun-kissed nations. Off Aoyama Dori, just a few minutes’ walk from Omotesand Station. • (03) 6434-1255
21. Maisen • Omotesando
Tokyo’s most famous tonkatsu restaurant. Occupying a former bathhouse and specializing in black pork from Kagoshima with its own special sauce, with various options for set meals. Popular with families. On a sidestreet off Omotesando Dori. • (03) 3470-0071
22. eatrip restaurant • Harajuku
A small house in a countryside setting serving farm-to-table Japanese and Western fare. Changing set meals feature whatever’s fresh, along with organic wine and homemade ginger ale. An oasis just steps from bustling Harajuku. • (03) 3409-4002
23. Fukuzushi • Roppongi
One of Tokyo’s best sushi restaurants. Founded in 1917 and under its fourth-generation owner who goes to market daily. It’s best to order the omakase, leaving it to the sushi chef to select the freshest morsels. • (03) 3402-4116.
24. Inakaya • Roppongi
Tokyo’s most memorable robatayaki restaurant. Seasonal seafood, vegetables and beef cooked over charcoal grills in front of you, with waiters shouting orders, and lots of conviviality around the U-shaped counter. Expensive, but worth it. • (03)5775-5040
25. Tokyo Shiba Toufuya Ukai • Roppongi
Tokyo’s most picturesque tofu restaurant elevates dining to a fine art, with beautifully presented dishes, traditional architecture, and immaculate Japanese gardens. Only seasonal set meals are offered. Located practically in the shadows of Tokyo Tower. • (03) 3436-1028
26. Jomon Roppongi • Roppongi
An understated but trendsetting kushiyaki restaurant, specializing in seasonal skewered meats and vegetables. Tiny, so reservations are imperative. No sign out front, but it’s on the left side of the street running downhill beside Almond coffee shop. • (03) 3405-2585
27. Cafe Legato • Shibuya
Fusion Italian cuisine, served in an airy, dramatic setting by a professional, mostly international staff. Reserve a window seat and top off the evening with a drink at the bar with panoramic views over the city. On Dogenzaka. • (03) 5784-2121
28. Basai • Ginza
A cozy, local favorite, Basai specializes in horse meat, prized for its soft texture, high protein content, and low calories. The menu offers several preparations, but the best dishes are the nigiri, yukke, and shabu-shabu. • (50) 5269-8984
29. Ninja Akasaka • Akasaka
One of Tokyo’s most popular themed restaurants. Staffed by “ninja” who lead diners through darkened and twisting passageways to private dining rooms. Shabu-shabu set meals and dishes like salmon grilled with saikyo miso. Fun for families, but see its website for restrictions for youngsters. • (03) 5157-3936
30. Gomaya Kuki • Harajuku
A sophisticated ice cream shop serving incredibly rich sesame ice cream. Choose white, black, or both, and top with sesame oil and sesame seeds. • (80) 7961-8516
31. Antique Mall Ginza • Ginza
Tokyo’s biggest antique mall. Two floors of vendors selling mostly Japanese but also Chinese, European, and American antiques and curios. Kimono, fans, scrolls, furniture, jewelry, watches, porcelain, glassware, and much more. • (03) 3535-2115
32. Dover Street Market • Ginza
The brainchild of fashion queen Rei Kawakubo. Seven rooms on seven floors showcase cutting-edge men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, displayed like works of art. Kawakubo’s own Comme des Garçons line features prominently along with brands that might include Miu Miu, Moncler, and Simone Rocha. Off Chuo Dori, behind Uniqlo. • (03) 6228-5080
33. Ginza Six • Ginza
Ginza’s newest and largest shopping complex. In addition to 241 boutiques, the luxury mall houses restaurants, a basement food floor, rooftop shrine, garden, and a Noh theater. But Ginza Six is especially proud of its temporary and permanent art installations, curated by the Mori Art Museum. • (03) 6891-3390
34. Oedo Antique Market • Marunouchi
Tokyo’s largest antique market and one of the largest in Japan. 180 vendors offer the sublime to the mundane, including Japanese glassware, lacquerware, hair ornaments, kimono, woodblock prints, jewelry, and more. The first and third Sunday of every month, in the courtyard of the International Forum Building. • (03) 6407-6011
35. Mitsukoshi • Nihombashi
Japan’s oldest and grandest department store. Founded as a kimono store in 1673, now housed in a stately 1935 building with many name-brand boutiques. A great place to experience why Japanese department stores are legendary. • (03) 3562-1111
36. BEAMS • Shinjuku
Japanese crafts, clothing, and other domestic products, but with a distinct hip vibe and a nod toward pop culture. The inventory changes often but can include pottery, T-shirts, boxes made with high-quality Japanese paper, and other items on six small floors. East of Shinjuku Station. • (03) 5368-7300
37. Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square • Aoyama
Top-notch traditional and contemporary crafts from throughout Japan. Everything from baskets and calligraphy brushes to fans, metalwork, textiles, and even Buddhist family altars. On Aoyama Dori. • (03) 5787-1301
38. Oriental Bazaar • Aoyama/Harajuku
Tokyo’s biggest souvenir shop. Three floors of yukata (traditional Japanese sleepwear), both new and used kimono, jewelry boxes, chopsticks, Imari chinaware, sake sets, Japanese dolls, wind chimes, antique furniture, and other items that make great gifts. On Omotesando Dori. • (03) 3400-3933
39. Chicago • Harajuku
Chicago specializes in used, mostly American clothing, but it’s also a goldmine for used kimono, yukata, and obi (sashes). So successful, it has expanded with three nearby branches, with the newest one also on Omotesando Dori. • (03) 3409-5017
40. Daiso • Harajuku
The Japanese equivalent of US dollar stores. This one, on Takeshita Dori, is one of 3,000 stores in Japan and abroad, with four stories offering housewares, cosmetics, toiletries, food, and other necessities, including chopsticks, plastic lunchboxes, and sake sets. • (03) 5775-9641
41. Kiddy Land • Harajuku
Hello Kitty, Star Wars, and Snoopy character goods, plus action figures, games, dolls, toys, and novelties for kids of all ages. Five floors, packed with young shoppers from around the world, on Omotesando Dori. • (03) 3409-3431
42. Don Quijote • Akihabara
A multi-story variety store packed to the rafters with household goods, electronics, clothing, toys, food items, alcohol, character goods, cosplay outfits, and much, much more. Also a nail salon specializing in anime characters or your own designs, a maid café, and games arcade. Hugely popular chain, with more than 30 branches in Tokyo alone. • (03) 5298-5411
43. Yodobashi Akiba • Akihabara
Akihabara’s largest store, offering phones, cameras, computers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, bicycles, games, watches, luggage, and many other items for leisure and home, plus 30 restaurants on the eighth floor. Right next to Akihabara Station. • (03) 5209-1010
44. Ameyoko • Ueno
Stalls and stores, ensconced underneath the elevated tracks of the JR Yamanote Line, selling discounted cosmetics, casual clothing, handbags, watches, shoes, and accessories. The closest thing Tokyo has to a permanent flea market. • (03) 3832-5053
45. Tokyu Hands • Shibuya
The go-to place for hobbyist and homeowner urbanites, whether it’s for rolls of fabric or for paper to repair shoji. Great for Japanese goods, from noren (Japanese curtains) and bento boxes to bathroom slippers, kitchen knives, and Japanese cosmetic products. At the top of Inokashira Dori. • (03) 5489-5111
46. Nakano Broadway • Nakano
Japan’s number-one mall for otaku (“geeks”) obsessed with popular culture, especially anime and manga. Somewhat seedy, with small stores offering retro pop goods, including cosplay costumes, figurines, games, and manga. • (03) 3388-7004
47. Broke City Gold • Harajuku
Streetwear brand known for one-of-a-kind jackets made from upcycled denim, traditional kimonos, and vintage heavy metal t-shirts.
Tokyo Bars & Clubs
48. High Five • Ginza
One of Japan’s most famous and sophisticated cocktail bars. There’s no menu per se other than the mixologists’ own creations, but rest assured they can make whatever you request. In the heart of Ginza’s nightlife district. • (03) 3571-5815
49. Old Imperial Bar • Ginza
A tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright and a Tokyo institution. A clubby atmosphere, with Wright originals and remakes that once graced the original Imperial Hotel. Order the Mount Fuji, first served here in 1924. On the edge of Ginza, across from Hibiya Park. • (03) 3539-8088
50. Shinjuku Pit Inn • Shinjuku
Tokyo’s most respected jazz club. Afternoon sessions feature up-and-coming performers, with established musicians performing evenings. In Ginza Ni-chome. • (03) 3354-2024
51. Albatross • Shinjuku
One of about 170 shoebox-sized bars in Golden Guy, a ramshackle warren of impossibly narrow alleyways lined with drinking establishments. Albatross, in business since 1997, is one of the most well known. • (03) 3203-3699
52. Arty Farty • Shinjuku
One of Tokyo’s longest-running gay clubs. Welcoming people of all persuasions, it’s located in Shinjuku ni-chome, Japan’s largest gay and lesbian entertainment district. • (03) 5362-9720
53. Crocodile • Shibuya
This live music venue has been around for so long, it’s older than many of its patrons. Rock, blues, jazz-fusion, reggae, salsa, and even American country music. On the last Friday of every month, the Tokyo Comedy Store troupe entertains with comedy acts and English-language improv. On Meiji Dori, halfway between Harajuku and Shibuya stations. • (03) 3499-5202
54. The Ruby Room • Shibuya
Local bands, house and techno DJs, open-mic Tuesdays, comedy shows, and poetry readings at this intimate live-music venue. On a side street off Dogenzaka. • (03) 3780-3022
55. A-Life • Roppongi
Roppongi’s largest and most sophisticated dance club, targeting partygoers in their 30s (men younger than 23 and women under 20 not allowed). Two dance floors plus a bar and a lounge. On Aoyama Dori. • (03) 3408-1111
56. Geronimo Shot Bar • Roppongi
A smallish bar packed with regulars and visitors alike makes this a party scene most nights of the week. Drink 15 shots in one night and your name is added to the Shot Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t mean you should. On Roppongi Crossing, the district’s main intersection. • (03) 3478-7449
57. R2 Supper Club • Roppongi
A snazzy hangout for expat professionals, with a large selection of mojitos, cocktails, and margaritas. Nightly electronic jazz created by DJs and often paired with live instruments. • (03) 6447-0002
Tokyo Food Tours
58. Tsukiji Outer Market: 3-Hour Food and Drink Walking Tour
Foodie-guided tour through the maze of stalls in Tokyo’s enormous seafood market. Find the best stops for tuna, fish cake, green tea, sake, and more. Begins with a brief stop at Hongan-ji Temple and ends with a sushi lunch.
59. Crazy Cute and Kawaii Harajuku Food Tour
An afternoon tour of the trendy Harajuku and Omotesando neighborhoods, sampling cute and colorful snacks in Insta-worthy settings. The main meal is a hearty, make-your-own okonomiyaki bookended by several stops for local candies, ice creams, and desserts.
60. Ninja Food Tours
A foodie’s dream. Five different experiences, from a sake tasting and a cooking class to visits to izakayas (Japanese-style pubs) in Shinjuku. • (50) 5240-8828
61. Japan Awaits: Adventurous Japanese Food Tour
Explore some of Japan’s unusual foods, including blowfish, horse meat, natto, and many more surprises. Guests have the option to add a Japanese whiskey tasting to this tour. • (70)-2301-4997
62. Tokyo Pub Crawl • Roppongi
A guided tour of three bars and one club in Roppongi every Friday and Saturday night. Hugely popular, with up to 100 people participating, making for a raucous night on the town. A great option for solo travelers. • (070) 1326-1423
Tokyo City Tours
63. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Tours • Shinjuku
More than a dozen free or low-cost guided tours led by volunteers. Conducted mostly on foot or utilizing public transportation, they range from tours of neighborhoods like Asakusa and Harajuku to strolls through gardens and even a hike on Mt. Takao. Tours depart from the Tokyo Tourist Information Center in the TMG Building No. 1. • (03) 5321-3077
64. Tours by Locals
More than 155 mostly private tour possibilities, from an architecture walking tour to trips farther afield like Kamakura and Nikko. Pricey, but this international organization offers something to fit almost every interest.
65. Tokyo Bicycle Tours
Cruise central Tokyo from Meguro through Shibuya and Harajuku to Roppongi, or take a spin over the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba. Trips last 4 to 6 hours, with stops along the way.
66. Tokyo Cruise
See the capital from a different perspective on sightseeing boats that cruise the Sumida River and Tokyo Bay. The most popular trip is between Hama Rikyu Garden and Asakusa, passing 14 bridges along the way. • (03) 0120-977311
67. Tokyo Helicopter Cruising • Urayasu
Surreal views of the megapolis, with day or evening flights that take in Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Tower, the highrises of Shinjuku, and Tokyo SkyTree. If money is no object, you can even charter flights to see Mt. Fuji. • (047) 380-5555
Things to Do in Tokyo
68. Kabukiza Theatre • Ginza
Gorgeous costumes, sparse yet stunning stage sets, plays written mostly during the days of the shogun, and a cast consisting only of men, including specialists who perform the roles of women. Kabuki is Japan’s most traditional performing art, and probably nothing like what you’ve seen before. Because programs can run four hours, consider seeing only an act or two if time is short, available on a first-come, first-serve basis. • (03) 3545-6800
69. The East Gardens • Otemachi
Tokugawa Ieyasu was Japan’s most famous and formidable shogun; his heirs continued to rule over Japan for 250 years. This was the site of Edo Castle, the mightiest in the land. Today, all that remain are the foundation of Tokugawa’s five-story castle keep, impressive stone ramparts, a few towers, gates, and a moat. But it’s a wonderful oasis in the city center and includes various gardens, like the Japanese Ninomaru centered around a pond. • (03) 3213-1111
70. Yasukuni Shrine • Kudankita
Japan’s most controversial shrine, founded in 1869 to honor the souls of war dead but viewed by Asian neighbors as a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past. More than 2.4 million war dead are enshrined here, but its grounds are also home to cherry trees, exhibits of bonsai and Japanese flower arrangements, and a small Sunday flea market. Most thought-provoking is the Yushukan, a war memorial museum with military gear and endless photos of mostly young men and women who died in battle. • (03) 3261-8326
71. Tsukiji Market • Tsukiji
Japan’s largest market for seafood and produce. Because Tsukiji, in operation since 1935, is too small and occupies space eyed for the 2020 Olympics, the wholesale market moved to Toyosu in October 2018, where tourists are restricted to viewing platforms over wholesale operations. There are, however, restaurants, shops, and displays in the old outer market and a rooftop garden with views of Tokyo’s waterfront. • (03) 3542-1111
72. Sensoji Temple • Asakusa
Tokyo’s oldest temple was founded in the 7th century in dedication to the Buddhist goddess of mercy and predates the founding of Edo (present Tokyo) by almost 1,000 years. With stalls selling souvenirs on the Nakamise pedestrian lane leading to the temple and with many traditional shops and restaurants, the atmosphere surrounding the temple is festive every day of the year. • (03) 3842-0181
73. Tokyo National Museum • Ueno
Japan’s top museum for Japanese art and antiquities. Approximately 3,000 items, culled from the museum’s collection of more than 113,000 treasures, are displayed on a rotating basis in four buildings. Ceramics, lacquerware, kimono, swords, woodblock prints, priceless Buddhist objects from Nara, art and archaeological artifacts from around Asia, and more, along with changing exhibitions that draw big crowds. In Ueno Park • (03) 3822-1111
74. Samurai Museum • Shinjuku
Everything a samurai used in battle, plus the samurai spirit and code of honor, are the focus of this small museum. One-hour guided tours in English are included in the admission price, with knowledgeable guides explaining everything from differences in samurai armor and swords to battle training that started at age five. At the end, you can don samurai gear or kimono for photos. In the Kabuki-cho nightlife district. • (03) 6457-6411
75. Shinjuku Gyoen • Shinjuku
One of Tokyo’s largest parks. Once the estate of a feudal lord and then serving as a private garden for the imperial family, it contains both French and English gardens, grassy lawns for picnics, a greenhouse, and one of Tokyo’s best Japanese gardens. • (03) 3350-0151
76. TMG Observation Decks • Shinjuku
Tokyo’s best free observatories, located on the 45th floors of both the north and south towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s No. 1 building. Expansive panoramas (including those of Mt. Fuji on clear winter days), plus the North Tower’s café/bar with some of the best views in the city. • (03) 5321-1111
77. Mori Art Museum • Roppongi
Tokyo’s top art museum, both literally and figuratively. Located on the 53rd floor with fantastic views over the city in all directions, it stages cutting-edge, innovative art in a state-of-the-art facility. While you’re here, check out the open-air rooftop Sky Deck and have a drink in the museum’s bar, The Moon. In the Roppongi Hills complex. • (03) 5777-8600
78. Meiji Jingu Shrine • Harajuku
Tokyo’s most famous shrine. Dedicated to Empress Shoken and Emperor Meiji, who oversaw Japan’s transition from an agrarian feudal economy to a modern industrialized nation. Nestled in a dense forest that also contains a renowned iris garden, the shrine is popular for Shinto weddings. • (03) 3379-5511
79. Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari • Odaiba
A hot-spring theme park that combines Edo-era architecture with indoor and outdoor baths, steam rooms, jacuzzi, and saunas. A food court, shops, game center, and spa round out the experience, but note that people with tattoos are not allowed, which is public policy at virtually every bathhouse in Japan. • (03) 5500-1126
80. Edo-Tokyo Museum • Ryogoku
A fun introduction to Tokyo’s dramatic 400-odd years of history. Beginning with the founding of Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1590, it covers everything from lifestyles of samurai and townspeople to natural and manmade disasters like the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and World War II firebombing. Models of a feudal lord’s mansion, a full-scale replica of a row-house tenement, a kabuki theater, portable festival floats, and lots more to see. • (03) 3626-9974
81. Sumo • Ryogoku
Japan’s national sport. Sumo tournaments are held in Tokyo in January, May, and September, featuring wrestlers weighing well over 300 pounds and dressed much like they did during the Edo Period. Ryogoku Kokugikan is also a sumo museum, and in the area are many sumo stables, some of which allow visitors to morning training sessions with advance reservations (ask your concierge for assistance). • (03) 3622-1100.
82. Tokyo SkyTree • Oshiage
The tallest free-standing broadcast tower in the world. There are two observatories, one at 1,150 feet and the other at 2,080 feet, both with 360-degree views over the megapolis. In the tower are also the city’s highest restaurant and café, while at its base is Solamachi mall with 300 restaurants and shops, including a Pokemon Center selling character goods. • (0570) 55-0634
83. Tokyo DisneySea • Urayasu-shi
The only DisneySea in the world. Based on the theme of ocean myths and legends, it’s divided into seven distinct “ports of call,” with attractions that include the Indiana Jones Adventure, Nemo & Friends SeaRider, Sinbad’s Seven Voyages, and 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Mermaid Lagoon has lots of kiddie rides, and shows are geared toward families, but adjacent Tokyo Disneyland offers more for very young Disney fans. • (0570) 00-8632
Japan’s swankiest and most famous shopping district. Home to department stores, art galleries, luxury hotels, designer boutiques, upscale restaurants, and sophisticated bars.
Best Stuff: Conrad Tokyo • Park Hotel Tokyo • The Peninsula • Imperial Hotel • Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi (near Ginza) • Kabukiza Theatre • Matsuya (department store) • Ginza Six (shopping complex) • Antique Mall Ginza • Ando Cloisonne • Kyukyodo (stationery/Japanese paper/incense) • Japan Sake and Shochu Information Center • Kamon (teppanyaki restaurant) • Basai (horse meat restaurant) • China Blue (innovative Chinese with harbor views) • Andy Shin’s Hinomoto (hole-in-the-wall eating and drinking establishment) • High Five (cocktails) • Old Imperial Bar.
Location: The heart of Tokyo, with Tokyo Station one station to the north, Hibiya Park and Imperial Palace within walking distance to the west.
Near Japan’s seat of government, catering mostly to businessmen and bureaucrats. Several hotels, like The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, and a small nightlife district make this an undeservedly overlooked neighborhood. Dubbed Little Korea because of its many Korean restaurants.
Best Stuff: The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho Hotel • National Diet Building (Japan’s parliament, with tours of House of Representatives and House of Councillors) • Hie Shrine • New Otani Japanese Garden • Akasaka Sacas (huge office complex with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment) • Sekishin-tei (teppanyaki in a garden setting) • Kikunoi (Kyoto-style kaiseki) • The Sky (revolving buffet restaurant) • Chungsol (Korean barbecue) • Ninja Akasaka (Ninja-themed restaurant) • Sky Gallery Lounge Levita • The Mermaid (British pub).
Location: Centrally located with easy access to the rest of Tokyo via 5 subway lines which provide direct access to Asakusa, Ueno, Ginza, Shinjuku, and other top tourist destinations.
Home to Japan’s busiest commuter station, with office skyscrapers, hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, and plenty of entertainment to keep commuters occupied. Within Shinjuku, Kabuki-cho is one of Japan’s most notorious nightlife districts, with countless bars and strip clubs: Golden Gai is a warren of tiny bars and Shinjuku Ni-chome is Asia’s largest gay nightlife district.
Best Stuff: Park Hyatt Hotel • Odakyu Hotel Century Southern Tower • TMG Observation Decks • Samurai Museum • Shinjuku Gyoen (city with Japanese garden) • Hanazono Jinja (shrine) • Isetan (department store) • Yodobashi Camera • New York Grill • Kakiden (kaiseki) • Tunahachi (tempura) • New York Bar • Robot Restaurant (robots and girls dinner show) • Albatross (bar in Golden Guy) • Arty Farty (gay dance club).
Location: On the western end of the Yamanote Line Loop.
Tokyo’s shitamachi (old downtown), with many shops and restaurants founded during the Ed Period (1603-1868). One of the city’s most popular destinations, with a lively, festive atmosphere every day of the year.
Best Stuff: Sadachiyo Sukeroku-no-yado Ryokan • Sensoji Temple • Free guided tours of Asakusa • Taiko-kan (drum museum) • Hanayashiki (Japan’s oldest amusement park, geared toward younger kids) • Kappabashi-dougugai Dori (kitchenware wholesale/retail street) • Waentei-Kikko (obento/kaiseki) • Chinya (sukiyaki/shabu-shabu) • Kamiya Bar.
Location: On the north end of Tokyo, just a short taxi or bus ride from Ueno.
A working-class neighborhood with a shitamachi (old town) atmosphere, but also many museums in Ueno Park, Tokyo’s most famous cherry-blossom viewing site. With lots of attractions also for kids, it’s a popular weekend getaway for families.
Best Stuff: Tokyo National Museum • National Museum of Nature and Science (Ueno Park’s best bet for families) • National Museum of Modern Art • National Museum of Western Art • Shitamachi Museum (dedicated to how Tokyo used to be before World War II) • Ueno Zoo • Free guided tours of Ueno • Ameyoko (discount/flea market) • Grill Fukushima (upscale French dining in Ueno Park) • Innsyoutei (kaiseki/bento in Ueno Park) • Izu’ei (grilled eel) • Warrior Celt (pub with free live music)
Location: A busy commuter hub, on the northeast end of the Yamanote Line loop.
An eclectic shopping mecca for electronics and everything manga/anime. On Sundays, the main Chuo Dori thoroughfare is closed to vehicles and becomes a pedestrian paradise.
Best Stuff: Yodobashi-Akiba (Akihabara’s largest electronics store) • Super Potato (shop selling vintage video games, plus retro games you can play) • Akihabara Radiokaikan (anime, manga) • Mandarake (Japan’s top anime/manga chain) • Don Quijote (variety store) • Kanda Yabusoba (noodles) • @home (maid café).
Location: Between Tokyo and Ueno stations on the Yamanote Line loop.
Tokyo’s trendiest address for moneyed yuppies, with upscale eateries, cafes, and international designer boutiques, centered mostly around the Aoyama and Omotesando streets.
Best Stuff: Tokyu Stay Aoyama Premier Hotel • Nezu Art Museum (pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art and a garden) • Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum (home and studio of Japan’s most famous 20th-century abstract artist) • Omotesando Hills (fashionable shopping mall) • Oriental Bazaar (Tokyo’s largest souvenir shop) • Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square (high-quality artisan shop) • Two Rooms Grill/Bar (upscale Continental fare) • Cicada (Mediterranean) • Maisen (tonkatsu).
Location: Connected to Harajuku via Omotesando Dori and to Shibuya by pedestrian Cat Street with its many clothing boutiques.
Teenybopper heaven, packed with stores selling cheap clothing and accessories, stalls offering sweet crepes, and inexpensive eateries. Its epicenter is Takeshita Dori, a narrow pedestrian lane that’s often a human traffic jam.
Best Stuff: Meiji Jingu Shrine • Ota Memorial Museum of Art (woodblock prints) • Yoyogi Park • Fuji-Tori (Japanese art and antiques) • Kiddy Land (novelty character store) • La Forêt (youth-oriented fashion department store) • Chicago (second-hand kimono) • Daiso (discount Yen store) • eatrip restaurant (organic farm to table) • Totti Candy Factory (giant rainbow cotton candy) • Design Festa Gallery (artists’ co-op gallery and gift shop) • Gomaya Kuki (sesame ice cream) • Jinguma Yai Yai (okonomiyaki) • Broke City Gold (original streetwear).
Location: On the western end of the Yamanote Line loop, between Shibuya and Shinjuku.
Tokyo’s premier nightlife mecca for Japanese, expats, and foreign visitors. A compact area filled with bars, restaurants, izakayas (Japanese-style pubs), and dance clubs, but also home to two of the city’s largest urban developments and museums.
Best Stuff: Grand Hyatt Tokyo • Ritz-Carlton Tokyo • APA Hotel Roppongi Ekimae • Roppongi Hills (one of Japan’s largest urban developments, with shops, bars, restaurants, and attractions) • Mori Art Museum (cutting-edge art in Roppongi Hills) • Sky Deck (open-air rooftop observatory) • Tokyo Midtown (urban development with shops, restaurants, museums) • Suntory Art Museum (Japanese antiquities, arts, and crafts in Tokyo Midtown) • National Art Center (changing exhibits) • Tokyo Tower (Japan’s Eiffel Tower, but with entertainment and shopping) • Fukuzushi (high-end sushi) • Ruby Jack’s Steakhouse & Bar • Tokyo Shiba Toufuya Ukai (tofu) • Jomon Roppongi (skewered grilled meats and vegetables) • Tokyo Pub Crawl (guided nighttime tour) • A-Life (dance club) • Kingyo (nightclub with live entertainment) • Geronimo Shot Bar.
Location: In central Tokyo, but accessible only via the Hibiya and Oedo subway lines.
One of Tokyo’s most important commuter hubs, famous for its statue of a faithful dog called Hachiko and for Shibuya Scramble, an intersection made famous in Lost in Translation. A lively restaurant and nightlife scene catering mostly to students, young office workers, and professionals.
Best Stuff: Shibuya Granbell Hotel • Tokyu (flagship department store of Tokyu Group) • Tokyu Hands (department store for homeowners and hobbyists) • Loft (trendy lifestyle goods for young professionals) • Shibuya Hikarie (34-story high-rise that’s part of Shibuya’s redevelopment, with shops, restaurants, theaters, and offices) • Shibuya 109 (huge shopping mall for young women) • Cafe Legato (fusion Italian) • Uobei (conveyor belt sushi) • Ichiran (24-hour ramen) • Sound Museum Vision (big underground club with live music and DJs) • Crocodile (live music) • The Ruby Room (small live music venue) • Kurand Sake Market (sake bar) • JZ Brat (live jazz in sophisticated setting).
Location: On the southwestern end of the Yamanote Line loop, with JR and private railway lines serving Yokohama and regions to the southwest of Tokyo.
Wide open spaces and plenty of attractions for families make Odaiba a favorite holiday destination. A manmade island in Tokyo Bay, with shopping malls, museums, game centers, and more, including great views of Tokyo’s skyline from its shores.
Best Stuff: Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari (hot-spring theme park) • Tokyo no Kaba (land/water amphibious tour of Odaiba and Tokyo Bay) • Mega Web (Toyota showcase) • Miraikan – National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (cutting-edge science and technology museum) • Tokyo Joypolis (indoor game center with VR, 4D motion simulators, and much more) • Museum of Maritime Science (main building closed for renovation, but some parts are open) • DiverCity Tokyo Plaza (shopping mall/entertainment facility aimed at families with a huge outdoor Gundam statue) • The Gundam Base (everything Gundam, from character goods to buying and painting your own figurine, in DiverCity) • Venus Fort (Italy-themed indoor mall with international boutiques, family-oriented stores, and discount outlets aimed at fashionable youths) • DECKS Tokyo Beach (shopping, dining, and entertainment mall) • Ocean Club Buffet (Japanese/Western food with bay views) • Kua‘aina (excellent burgers).
Location: Southeast Tokyo, on Tokyo Bay. Accessible via the Rainbow Bridge, Yurikamome Line monorail, and the Rinkai Line.
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