Tokyo is an ultra modern utopia with touches of traditional Japanese culture – a city waiting to be explored. The food scene is nothing short of outstanding, with moreish bites on every street corner.
- A traditional onsen experience involves bathing in a natural hot spring bath. Due to all the volcanic activity, Japan has plenty of onsens. the only catch is that NO bathing suits are allowed ! This is quite daunting, but once you dare to bare, you will lose all you self – consciousness and feel truly liberated.
2. If you are going to choose one Buddhist temple to visit while in Tokyo, make sure it’s the Sensoji Temple. the rich history,sacred gardens and red lanterns at the majestic gates make it a total OMG experience.
3. Party in Shibuya, Tokyo’s buzziest neighbourhood. Explore the back streets and the unbeatable record shops. JBS Bar has a collection of more than 11 000 records ! there are only 13 seats available so don’t be afraid to go alone for a few hours of listening bliss.
4. Harajuku is the home of Japanese pop culture, and has spectacular street art. Takeshita street is lined with futuristic cafes, bars and cosplay shops. Just a short walk down the road from Harajuku station you will find Santa Monica Crepes, which serves the cities the best Japanese Crepes.
5. Shinijuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest parks. It’s a short walk from Shinijuku Station The park is breathtaking during the cherry – blossom season, and defiantly worth the visit. Take some time out from the big-city bustle and enjoy a picnic under the mesmerizing cloud-like trees.
What To Eat
It would take months to navigate the various eateries that make it the most Michelin – starred city in the world. Sushi Bars and Yakitori (skewered chicken and vegetables) joints are located on almost every street. Tipping is not customary in Japan, and in fact, can sometimes be considered as very rude. Most restaurants require customers to pay at the front till, rather than leave the money on the table.
Elle Cafe – This health focused cafe offers organic, gluten – free, vegan and low carb options. Definitely try the fruit parfait and the home – made granola.
New York Bar – If you are a fan of Lost in Translation, be sure to stop by the Bar in the Park Hyatt Tokyo Hotel where Bob ( Bill Murray) met Charlotte (scarlet Johnson) first met in the movie. The relaxing ambiance, spectacular views and mouth-watering food make it the perfect lunch spot.
Tsukiji Fish Market – Arrive at 8am for the typical Japanese sushi breakfast, be sure to try Chutoro (fatty tuna) and grilled scallops.
Tsuta – No Trip to Japan is not complete without trying an authentic Japanese ramen soup or noodle dish. This restaurant is very popular and it’s signature dish – the truffle oil blended shoyu soba – is a must try.
Peanuts Cafe – Snoopy lovers will dig this quirky spot, Peanuts cafe is tucked away in the beautiful quiet neigbourhood of Nakameguro. Order the vanilla ice cream sandwiches or milkshakes, they are the absolute best.
Shirohige’s Cream Puff Shop – Take a walk through Shimokitazawa’s quaint streets to get to this bakery. The adorable signature Toronto Cream puffs are the bomb!!
Where to stay
For the first time visitors we recommend staying in Shinjuku,Ginzaor shibuya. Being close to the Yamanote line will help make it easier to get around Tokyo.
Nine Hours – a cheaper alternative and unique experience, situated in Shinjuku- North. Fresh towels, toothbrush and lounge wear are provided in the closets.
Park Hotel Tokyo – Ideally situated in Shiodome, a flourishing center of business and culture. The logo reflects the Park Hotel Tokyo’s warm at-home hospitality, blue represents clean comfort, green is for nature, and red representing warm at-home hospitality. With its ART (Atrium, Restaurants and Travel) concept, and offering traditional Japanese hospitality stimulating the aesthetic senses of tradition.
Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho – Situated a minutes’ walk away from Akasaka-Mitsuke Station of the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Marunouchi Line, The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho boasts free WiFi throughout the entire property. There is a sake bar, a sushi restaurant and a teppanyaki restaurant on site, as well as a fitness center and a 24-hour front desk. The hotel is directly linked to Nagatacho Station of the Nanboku Line. It is a 10-minute drive from Tokyo Station, and a 30-minute drive from Haneda Airport. Narita International Airport is a 100-minute drive away. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho features a spa and wellness center and a sauna facility, and the front desk offers currency exchange. Laundry services are offered at an extra cost. All rooms are air-conditioned/heated and feature a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms come with a desk, minibar, electric kettle, a coffee machine, personal locker and a refrigerator. The en suite bathroom comes equipped with a bathtub and shower. Hairdryers, free toiletries, slippers and bathrobes provided. Guests can enjoy a variety of Japanese cuisine on site, and there are several restaurants within a 3-minute walk from Akasaka Mitsuke Station.
Where to shop
- You don’t know the meaning of retail therapy until you have shopped at Tokyu Plaza Ginza. you will find traditional crafts and souvenirs on 13 floors of shopping paradise, the 8th and 9th floors are Tax free zones – score !! Ginza has some of the best boutique stores and is a fashion mecca in Tokyo.
- Be sure to pay Ginza Maison Hermes a visit if you are in the area, there is an art gallery located on the top floor with monthly exhibitions.
- You will find a great collection of secondhand clothing at Kinji, and vintage high end brands at Ragtag in Harajuku.
What to Pack
- comfortable slip on shoes – You will find yourself stepping in and out of your shoes a lot in Tokyo so defiantly pack comfy sneakers.
- linen clothing – Japanese culture is quite modest, locals often cover their shoulders. In the heat of summer linen clothes is best, it keeps you cool.
- Universal power adapter and charger – You will be out and about during the day so ensure you can charge your phone when you on the go.
Fly with Singapore Airlines, Qatar airways, Etihad Airways, or Emirates. Depending on the time of the year flights can cost anywhere from R7000 and R15 000.
Take Care Safe Travels
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