Tokyo can be overwhelmingly sensory overload, but there are pockets of surprisingly relaxed and serene spots to spend the day. There are some amazing little neighborhoods where the point is to walk around, absorb the environment and enjoy being lost in translation…
Here’s our neighborhood guide for great shopping in Tokyo:
Daikanyama: great for quiet neighborhood cafés, bookshops and restaurants. After a few hours of leisurely shopping around the area, relax at XEX Daikanyama and head up to the stylish Italian (Salvatore Cuomo Bros.) or Japanese (Aburiyaki & Sushi An) restaurants for a bite. The Bar is also open until 4am for cocktails.
Shibuya: loud, crowded but totally hip. After paying your respects to Japan’s beloved dog Hachiko, check out Loft and Tokyu Hands for cool household goods and gifts, and enjoy the hustle and bustle.
Aoyama / Omotesando: Omotesando Hills – home to cutting-edge designers and other high end brands. Graniph is great for graphic tees.
Ginza: super high-end. Old world posh Japan meets Chanel, Gucci and beyond. Recently renovated Mitsukoshi Ginza is great for post lunch browsing, and old world sweet shop Akebono is a must to try some seasonal sweets. On our trip the highlight was strawberry daifuku mochi which was divine. A great lunch spot for the ladies is Sala Amabile. Reservations are a must for the 10 course lunch, which is all you can drink for around $70 US. (Tokyo insider’s secret!)
Roppongi: You can spend your entire day here enjoying the shopping, architecture, booming art culture and then dinner and cocktails at any number of the sparkly new buildings. Check out Louise Bourgeois’s spider sculpture in Roppongi Hills before you head out to the expat bars in the area.
Shinjuku: Home to Isetan – the mecca for everything fashionably fabulous.
Harajyuku / Yoyogi: hipsterville. Explore the back streets and you’ll find Beams and United Arrows. Great people watching around Harajyuku for teeny bopper eccentric anime style. Yoyogi has some great little restaurants and bars in the beautifully designed indoor / outdoor space called Yoyogi Village. Check out the Music Bar for great DJs who spin all vinyl.