Tokyo travel diary

A few friends are travelling to Japan soon (for the Sakura season, so jealous!) and I have been asked for tips and places to check out. So I got my act together and wrote a quick post based on my experience in Tokyo (I spent 7 days there in October over a year ago).

I broke down by suburbs which hopefully help in planning your day. These photos from my Instagram, please leave a comment if you have any recommendations or questions!

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Shinjuku

Robot Restaurant - I went to Robot Restaurant on my first night. Bizarre, surreal but above all, super fun! 

Isetan Food Hall - Other being one of the best department store for men/women in the word, I think they have the best food hall in the world! Endless choices of lunches, small snacks and gourmet snacks, plus a great place to buy wine/liquor

New York Bar, Park Hyatt Hotel - Even if you are not a guest at the hotel, head to their New York bar for the ultimate Lost In Translation vibe. I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend who was a guest there so I did not have to pay for the entry fee

Nightlife in general - Shinjuku is really fun to walk around at night. Tourists are generally not allowed into host/hostess clubs, but worth just walking around and be envied with their nightlife. I stumbled upon some small bars - cute and a bit punk rock for those who wants a drink or two

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Shibuya/Harujuku

Harajuku Gyoza Lou – The best gyozas in the world FULL STOP

Tokyu Hands - Buy gifts for yourself and everyone else here, there are a few across Tokyo. If you can pick one place to shop, this is it

Yoyogi Park - I did not get to see the rockabilly guys (sad face) but the Meiji Shrine is good enough. This park is the most popular spot for sakura sighting.

Cat Street - Hip shopping area, lots of sneakers shops, high end labels and NYC's import Opening Ceremony.

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Aoyoma/Omotesando

Shopping - Empty your wallet on high end and high street shopping here..

Maisen  - I can have the pork katsu all day everyday here. If I can recommend one dish in Tokyo, this is it!

Omotesando Koffee - If you drink coffee, check out Omotesando Kofee, a small café in a traditional home

Nomu by Nicolai Bergmann - Possibly the most beautiful florist/cafe in the world.

Café Kitsuné - Another great cafe by Maison Kitsuné.

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Daikanyama (possibly my favourite spot in Tokyo!)

Shopping - All the cool brands are here, A.P.C, Saturday's Surf and so on.

T-site - I would spend every Sunday here if I can, browsing for books at Tsutaya, the BEST bookstore in the world with a cafe and a posh bar for client meetings. We had a great brunch at Ivy Place while people watching (mostly just falling in love with cute Japanese toddlers and french bulldogs)

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Ginza

Dover Street Market Ginza - I prefer this than the one in London, this space is big enough for exhibitions and houses the legendary Rose Bakery. Go for the carrot cake.

Hankyu Men - An amazing high end men's department store, the reason why we went there is for the Monocle Café.

Mitsukoshi - Another amazing high-end department store, they have the one of the best beauty department here!

Katsuzen - This small family operations specialized in high-end pork katsu (located in the same building as Barney's). Rock up to book a seat the day before.

 

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Asakusa

Tokyo Sky Tree  - The best spot to see the entire Tokyo, the lines moved fast and the staff are efficient.

Asakusa Temple -  A beautiful temple and there is a food market along the way.

Chiyoda-ku

Imperial Palace - Worth checking out if you have a few hours to spare, regal and beautiful.

Rokurinsha - After a long walk to the Imperial Palace, head to Tsukemen at Tokyo Ramen Street's Rokurinsha at Tokyo Station. I promise, this could be the best tsukemen in Tokyo!

 

Roppongi Hills

Mori Art Museum - Worth going if you are in the area, the tower has a nice view but unfortunately it was so cloudy and grey so we didn't get to see anything.

Roppongi Keyakizaka Street - A high end mall in Roppongi Hills with a garden (Roppongi Hills Mori Garden) and beautiful open spaces.

 

Akihabara

Yodobashi-Akiba - The biggest tech mall in Akihabara. I think no trip is complete without checking out Akihabara. The mall also sells lifestyle and beauty products. Be prepared to be amazed and depleting your funds on fun and random purchases.

*And there is that sex shop ;)

 

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Food

Other than the ones listed above, here are other recomendations:

Ramen - When we were there, we just looked up Yelp on our phone for the closest ramen shops wherever we were. Every ramen shop is different, so worth eating as much ramen as possible.

Yakitori - We read that one of the best yakitori place is Shimonya in Nanako and yes it was good!

Sushi - We went to two high end sushi restaurants: Sushi Yasuda (near Shibuya), just because he is a superstar and Sushi Iwa (in Ginza). Booking required.