Tokyo, Japan, the city that has helped shape us all by bringing us the likes of Pokémon, Karaoke, instant noodles, videotapes and emojis.
I have travelled to Tokyo many times and intend on visiting many more. The rich culture, distinctive food, endless shopping and polite people are just a few of the things that keep me coming back. Tokyo is a very large city; in fact, it is the worlds most populated metropolis and, the thought of creating any sort of ‘guide’ is truly overwhelming as what I have experienced is merely a drop in the ocean of all that is mind-blowing city has to offer.
With the Australian tourist count on the rise and the 2020 Olympics just around the corner, it seems likely that you will end up in Tokyo sooner or later. Here is a list of some of my favourite things in Tokyo.
Being an Australian the first thing I research when travelling is for coffee locations that aren’t Starbucks. What I love about the Japanese is their pursuit of excellence and their coffee is no exception, particularly the pour-overs.
- The Roastery by Nozy Coffee Café, Harajuku – One of the original specialty coffees in Tokyo. Make sure you try their NY Rings.
- About Life Coffee Brewers, Shibuya – My personal favourite! It’s a hole in the wall in central Shibuya. Don’t expect to sit.
- Streamer Coffee Company, Shibuya – Local’s vibe, great place to work.
- The Local Coffee, Shibuya.
- Verve Coffee Roasters, Shinjuku.
- Blue Bottle Coffee, Shinjuku – Try their pour-over!
- All Seasons Coffee, Shinjuku.
- Lattest Coffee, Omotesando.
- Frankie Melbourne Coffee, Shimokitazawa – It’s a super hipster suburb with great vintage shopping close by.
- Food & Bars
How good is a chicken, avocado and Japanese mayo Sushi roll? Well good luck finding one in Tokyo! Though if you do, let me know.
- Sushi Daidokoyo, Shibuya – I didn’t like raw fish and wasabi until I tasted it here. I highly recommend the Maguro (tuna) or Salmon Nigiri.
- Kiraku Ramen, Shibuya – Hearty Raman and Gyoza in what feels like someone’s home.
- Hayashi Ramen, Shibuya – Rated the best Raman’s in Shibuya by locals – It’s a 10 seat bar they have three options. One of my personal favourites.
- Kameya Soba Noodle, Shinjuku – Buried in a dark alleyway in the middle of busy Shinjuku, these guys do a killer Soba Noddle. Order the ‘Tem Tama’ and make sure you slurp the noodles as loud as possible.
- Mr Farmer, Omotesando – Western brunch with Japanese influence (vegan-friendly)
- Hiroki Okinomiyaki, Shimokitazawa – The best Japanese pancake I have ever had (Hiroshima-style) .
- Ue Coma Shibuya – You can’t go wrong with this cozy stand-up bar where pizza and wine are $5 each.
- Tavern Bach, Shibuya – $1AUD for a Whisky Highball. If you have ever wanted to shout-a-round for everyone at the bar but can’t afford too, this is your place.
- Bar Bellovisto Shibuya – Located on the 40th floor the Cerulean Tower the bar boasts one of the best views in the city.
- JBS (Jazz, Blues, Soul), Shibuya – One old Japanese Man, a few simple drinks, a couple of seats and thousands of Vinyl’s that you can peruse and request (Personal favourite).
- Shopping & Experiences
There is too much to see and do in Tokyo. One of the best things I have discovered is the vintage stores and secondhand designer market. I purchased an unused Velvet Salvatore Ferragamo Jacket with the $2000 tag still attached for $350AUD – this is just one of the MANY bargains we have come across.
- Vintage and secondhand Designer – My picks are: Komehyo (High-end designer chain), Ragtag, Chicago, Flamingo. There are multiple locations scattered throughout Tokyo.
- Shibuya Crossing – Located outside Shibuya Station, Shibuya Crossing is the busiest pedestrian crossing in the world.
- Visit a Cat Café – Cat haters gonna hate.
- Train and Subway in Peak Hour – You think your peak hour commute was busy? This will give you some perspective. Particularly Shibuya and Shinjuku Stations between 8 & 9 AM.
- Tsukiji Fish Market – The Tsukiji Fish Market is one the largest wholesale food markets and seafood markets in the world. Seeing this age-old economy in action is something to behold – make sure you get in early.
- Takeshita Street and Cat Street, Harajuku – Great for photos, these streets are so Japanese it hurts.
- Hang out in Shimokitazawa – In Sydney, we have the Bondi Hipsters, in Melbourne, the hipsters of Fitzroy and in Brisbane, those in West End. In Tokyo, this is where you will find them.
GETTING AROUND: There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different train and subway lines in Tokyo. Keep it simple – buy a Suica Card and stick to the JR East Yamanote Line (green). It goes in a big circle and stops at many of the main hubs in Tokyo. Narita AirPort to Tokyo: use the Narita Express.
STAY: My location picks are Shibuya, Harajuku or Shinjuku. Recommended accommodation: Cerulean Tower, Shibuya or the Dormy Inn, Shibuya. You can also pick up a cozy AIRBNB for a good price.
If you have any feedback or questions feel free to leave a comment or message me directly in the ‘contact me’ link.
Thanks for reading.