What we've learned: there is no better opportunity to capture Instagram-worthy images, than when you’re exploring a new city. When we travel we point our lens in the direction of the very best food, design, and landscape possible and our Spring holiday to Tokyo was no different.
Visiting Tokyo is what we imagine it's like to explore a new planet. At first, it might seem like any other sprawling metropolis, but soon enough the city demands you “look closer" and, to us, that mini mantra sums up the city. Tokyo reveals itself to you in layers: some subtle, some graceful, others gauche. No doubt, it would take 100 lifetimes to see everything that Tokyo has to offer. Thankfully, we have compiled the very best, Instagram-and-experience-worthy places so you can take your picture and like it too.
The ultimate concept-shop
Spend a sleepy, sunny afternoon at this nearly-hidden concept shop in Shibuya. Half restaurant and half florist, the space itself is an Instagrammer’s dream. But add to that a feeling like you’re having dinner in someone’s home where that someone knows a thing-or-two about gorgeous gardening and finessing French-inspired, seasonal plates. The setting makes it with Ikebana-style florals floating on farm tables while the meticulous chef and discerning bartender create hand-crafted tonics and your meal, all in the open air.
Eatrip + Little Shop of Flowers,〒150-0001 Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 6 Chome−31
Afternoon tea in the clouds
For a special treat and an unforgettable view, arrange afternoon tea on the 38th floor at Mandarin Oriental in Ginza. Tea sandwiches, sweets, and scones adorn a triple-tiered tower that looks fab from any angle. Tea service runs from noon until 5:30 PM, and, if you arrange for a later reservation, you might just find yourself transitioning from tea to bubbles while you watch the sun set over the Imperial Palace.
Mandarin Oriental, 2 Chome-1 Nihonbashimuromachi, Chūō-ku, 103-0022
A little LA in Daikanyama
It might seem strange to seek out a western concept while in Tokyo, but we've learned that when the West moves East, the Japanese find a way to leave their mark. That’s why Fred Segal’s deserves a spot on this list — in the emerging neighborhood of Daikanyama, it has gems like counters lined with green-tea doughnuts, a food truck pouring malty draught, and the chicest local clientele. All that adds up to endless photo-opps — no filter required.
Fred Segal Daikanyama, 13 Daikanyama-cho Shibuya-ku
The Canal Shops of Nakameguro
Rent a bicycle and escape the frenetic energy of the city-center for the canals of Nakameguro. And, if it’s in April, you’ll find the trees along the canals bursting with cotton-candy cherry blossoms. The area is picturesque and for more than just the landscaping. Quirky boutiques, coffee stands, and bakeries line the street, and you could spend hours weaving in and out of storefronts peeking at the expertly curated merchandise.
Nakameguro, Meguro River
Somewhere in between the Rockabillies in Yoyogi Park and falling in love with Shibuya, we snuck in this thimble-sized coffee den tucked under the shade of an amber-flecked Japanese Maple. The barista serves up sublime iced coffee and a selection of cubed cannelés in a 60-year-old, traditional Japanese house. Suffice it to say every precious detail demands a snap.
Omotesando Koffee,〒150-0001 Shibuya, 神宮前４丁目１５−３
Tea Time Up High
Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson cult-classic Lost In Translation made the Park Hyatt Tokyo into a pilgrimage for film buffs. But for our Suntory Time, we opted for a high ball of Japanese whiskey at the brand new Andaz in Toranomon Hills. Modern and over-the-top, this skyscraper is now the tallest building in Tokyo, and absolutely breathtaking. As Tokyo prepares for the 2020 Olympics, this property is a peek at what's to come in this neighborhood over the next few years.
Andaz Hotel Tokyo, 1-23-4 Toranomon, Minato, 105-0001
Gift Giving and Gourmet Lunch
It’s no surprise that the Japanese know their rice and no place in Tokyo exemplifies this more than the Akomeya Rice Shop in Ginza. Apart from being a gourmet shop, they also have a restaurant that serves a more traditional Japanese set menu and daily special. The presentation of lunch alone is exquisite, spread out before you amongst a baker’s dozen of tiny, precious bowls and after lunch you can complete all your gift-giving in the shop upstairs.
Akomeya Rice Shop, 2-2-6 Ginza, Chyuo-ku
Thimble-Sized Whiskey Bar
Bar Gen Yamamoto is the name of the establishment, proprietor, and sole artisan and the owner, Gen, has created an experience that is uniquely Tokyo. If you can manage to find the hidden location, you’ll discover a dimly-lit cocktail bar with no more than 6 seats. The quiet of the space makes the mood reverential, which is fitting as you’ll regard the bartender pure awe as he thoughtfully prepares cocktails with local, seasonal ingredients.
Bar Gen Yamamoto, 〒106-0045, Minato 麻布十番1-6-4 アニバーサリービル 1F
The Essential Fish Market
No food-lover's trip to Tokyo would be complete without stopping by the world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji. Although they have restricted the public admittance to the famed, early-morning tuna auctions, it’s still worth the journey to experience. The fact that nearly every piece of fish you’ve ever consumed has probably been through this very place is quite awesome. Go before your jet-lag wears off and snag sushi breakfast before the line gets too long at Sushi-Dai. Oh, and everything is cramped here, so leave your selfie-stick at home.
Tsukiji Fish Market, 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, 104-0045