Japan Part 1: Tokyo

Japan Part 1: Tokyo

Japan Part 1: Tokyo 1500 1235 Leah Digennaro

We started our journey in Tokyo – knowing that it was going to be high energy and that we’d want to wind down as our days progressed.

Stay
Hotel Koe

This is where we spent our first four nights.  It was a great spot for the beginning of the trip as the location is right in Shibuya, with tons of things to do all within walking (if you’re crazy and think that walking 10 miles a day is normal, like us).  For hotel guests only, there is a private lounge upstairs with a bar where you can get breakfast, or have cocktails.  The cozy, dark interiors are perfect for insulating you against the frenetic energy of Tokyo, which buzzes 24/7 outside.  We utilized this space to relax a plan our days over kale smoothies and eggs in the mornings, and then to have pre-dinner Japanese gin cocktails in the evenings.

Andaz

Our last night in Japan we returned to Tokyo, since we all were flying out of Narita. For a change of pace from the intimate Koe experience, we wanted a more expansive “final hurrah”. The Andaz, located 50 floors up, provides amazing views, a gorgeous pool, and a killer breakfast buffet (fresh fruit, yay!).
Note : if you have tattoos, they might want you to wear a rash guard or hide them when using the pool. They also make you wear a swim cap. Lots of rules in Japan!

Neighborhoods: Shibuya & Daikonyama
Meguro River / Harujuku

Shopping
Diakanyama Book Store

A beautiful building exterior, with thousands of gorgeous publications to peruse inside, in a cool neighborhood. If you arrive after 11am, go to the library / cafe upstairs – it is full of Flexform lounge chairs and leather sofas, aged to perfection. Relax and have your first glass of bubbles, because, hey, vacation!

ILDK

Men’s fashion

Mansion of Owls
Saturdays

same as NY, but a fresh location is always fun

M.U.G.
Minotour
The Army Gym
Neighborhood

Cool Men’s fashion

Rag-Tag

awesome vintage

Franky-Grow

adorable hand made kids’ clothes

WTW Surf Club

it smells like a beach holiday in there, kind of like Montauk in Tokyo?

Opening Ceremony
Rag & Bone

same as in the states, but located in a really cute house

Food & Drink
Trunk Hotel

coffee / drinks – kind of like an Ace Hotel vibe

Seirinkan Pizza

better than most pie you find in the states, but made with all locally sourced ingredients.  Get a classic margherita and a side of broccoli – you won’t regret it.

Higashi-Yama

A gorgeous little spot, tucked away, up a set of stairs.  It smelled like my godmother’s house – firewood and cold damp stone – so I instantly felt at home.  Go here for a quiet lunch, or if you’re lucky enough get a reservation for drinks and dinner.  The vegetarian pre-fixe lunch was outstanding.  They have a gorgeous little koi pond outside too.

Artless Coffee

Brad would have loved this place.  Even though they didn’t serve tea, they had these pretty little pots.

Sites
Shibuya Crossing

definitely a scene to be witnessed.  After work, it seems like all of Japan is crisscrossing this intersection.  Oddly enough it always appears to be perfectly orderly.

Neighborhood: Shinjuku

Food & Drink
Golden Gai area – tiny bars

Find one with good tunes (hard to find “not-jazz” in Japan) and non-smoking, and pull up a seat at one of these cozy spots.

Neighborhood: Aoyama

Shopping
Cibone
Muji Found
Bloom & Branch + Cobi Coffee Shop

beautiful home accessories and some clothing

Omnibus Coffee

apparently the coffee its was a little funky, but the spot was really cool and we needed a moment off our feet.

Architecture
Prada

don’t go to shop, (unless that’s your jam), go to see the Herzog & de Meuron building

Miu Miu

another Herzog & de Meuron – across the street

Sunny Hills Cake Shop

by Kengo & Kuma, we didn’t get to try to treats, since they were closed.

Food & Drink
Tokyo Whiskey Library
Sasha Kanetanaka + Sugimoto sculpture

a great spot for a glass of bubbles and a regroup

Neighborhood: Ginza

Architecture
Capsule Tower
Hamarikyu Gardens

the trees are just insane

Food & Drink
Sushi Tokami – Michelin One Star

Sushi Extravaganza – if you’re going to do this tasting menu, be prepared for the best sushi you’ll ever eat, and the MOST sushi you’ll ever eat.  I felt like a pelican after the first 10 pieces, and had to bow out early.  I could not swallow one more bite.  The spicy toro hand roll will forever be ingrained in my memory of epic deliciousness.

Aman Hotel

for drinks and an incredible view in a gorgeous setting

Neighborhood: Koto

Sites
Rainbow Bridge

you don’t actually want to walk over this thing.

Mori Digital Art Museum

for as far as we trekked, I would say it was a bit lack luster. A great article in the NYTimes sums up my experience pretty well. In general, this museum is best seen through your iPhone, and is not as exciting in real life as my Instagram photos might suggest.