TRAVELLERS’ & LOCALS’ PICKS
Curated experiences from some of the 9+ million locals and 20+ million visitors each year to Tokyo.
Georgia Thompson, art director, Australia
Sento - to get deeply cleansed and extremely relaxed. These are Japanese public bath houses (like urban sento) are all over Tokyo. Eat curry pan ! donuts buns filled with Japanese curry, rolled in panko crumbs and deep-fried. Try Tenma in Aoyama, and get them while they’re hot. Go musical instrument shopping in Ochanomizu. There’s a street of new and used insturments, plus jazz cafes and bars to stop in at for a refreshment or 3. UNU farmers market sake festival.
Maxine Thompson, chef, Australia
Go to level 40 of Cerulean Tower for sky high views and martinis. Nightcap(s) sake at Kei in Gakugeidaigaku. Let the staff choose for you (”osusume”) and get the plate of assorted sashimi followed by the assorted tempura. Visit depachika - basement food wonderlands. Food festivals - there’s always something on.
Neil Thompson, retired, Australia
Cooking workshop with Savory Japan (the miso one is a lot of fun - just have to wait 6 months to taste the results!). Japanese class at COTO Academy. Hamarikyu Gardens - traditional gardens that are beautiful in any season, the emporer’s old hunting grounds. Yanaka chills - street sake drunk sitting on milk crates and watching the world go by
Tsukiji market for street eats.
Sofia Solamente, artist, Mexico
Sake at The Hangar by the river in Nakameguro. Kyu Asakusa House - beautiful and serene traditional house just a 10 minute walk from the madness of Shibuya crossin. Yakumo Sayro in Meguro-ku for eye-wateringly pretty wagashi and matcha whisked freshly for you. The building itself is worth going for, designed by Shinichiro Ogata. Modern wabi-sabi vibes.
Ros Thompson, retired, Australia
basement food hall to experience takeout food wonderland, then go to Hamarikyu gardens for a picnic.
Mori Art Museum (get a champagne after at the gallery cafe overlooking Tokyo). Nezu Museum for exhibitions on traditional Japanese arts and a walk through the beautiful garden. Jazz at The Cotton Club or Shinjuku Pit Inn. Wine at Mirie’s, Gakugeidaigaku or at JiP (all Japanese wines). Tsukiji markets for breakfast sushi and beer.
Devii Alderman, chef, Mallorca
Hokusai Museum and Edo Museum - right by each other and great insight into Japanese history and art. Nakameguro for riverside promenading. Yanaka - street eats and old buildings!
May I be a great big tree
so big I can’t see those taking shelter under me,
a deep green conical figure wrapped in serenity
Just as I dangle my bare feet in the water
may my roots joyfully draw
from an unknown subterranean current .
From, A Great Big Tree, 1947