Things to do in Tokyo
Tokyo is an enormous city filled with ancient temples and palaces. The Temple of Senso-ji honors Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. While the statue is not on public display, the beauty of the temple itself makes the trip worthwhile. Senso-ji, meanwhile, is right across from Nakamise-dori, a street lined with craftspeople selling their wares.
Another Tokyo icon is the grand Imperial Palace. It's in the very center of the city and was actually built to replace the original, which was destroyed during World War II. The emperor of Japan and his family still live there and so it is only open to the public on January 2nd and December 23rd (the emperor's birthday). Book ahead to tour the spectacular imperial grounds.
But one of the greatest pleasures here is simply exploring the city on foot, not only wandering into Buddhist temples but also into funky boutiques, noodle shops, and farther-flung residential neighborhoods. Fashion is a huge part of the culture here and you can find some of the more cutting-edge getups on Harajuku's Takeshita Street where people play dress up to a delightful extreme.
A traditional onsen (hot springs) resort that dates back to the 1870's, Arai Ryokan has a serene, old-world feel, evoked by the traditional Japenese wooden-beam architecture, covered walkways and bridges, and wooded surroundings.
Escape the throngs of Ginza shoppers at this sleekly modern tearoom and shop.
Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, a uniquely Japanese art form, are the focus of this niche museum collection, bequethed by the estate of Seizo Ota, the late chairman of a major Japanese insurance company.
Jugetsudo Japanese tea house opened its doors in 2003 in the Tsukiji district of Tokyo, next to the parent company Maruyama Nori. There you can savor delicious green tea in an atmosphere of natural and harmonious Japanese decor.
Home to more than 200 shops, restaurants, and services, Roppongi Hills is one of Tokyo's premiere shopping destinations, located in the heart of an area that includes residences, a museum, hotels, theaters, and galleries.
Sushi chefs who arrive at the crack of dawn for the finest-grade tuna and yellowtail in the massive, centrally located Tsukiji-Jogai Market head to Sugimoto, sandwiched between other specialty stalls, to have their knives professionally honed.
To spot the Harajuku girls, stroll along this pereptually crowded, store-lined street.
The Japanese are obsessed with stationery, and Ito-ya is just the place to satisfy the habit, with 11 floors of paper, notebooks, photo albums, pens, pencils, markers, decorative boxes, office supplies, and other things you don’t need but soon find yourself craving.
Dog's Care Joker brings Roppongi Hills pampering to pooches.
A cross between a French patisserie and an American cupcake shop, Tokyo Sweets Factory is located on the basement level of a Jiyugaoka office building.
With its distinctive clock tower and curved granite façade, Wako is one of the most iconic department stores in Tokyo.
Around the corner from Hermès and Chanel, Sake Shop Fukumitsuya contains an informal bar that showcases fermented rice from the Fukumitsuya brewery, which was founded in 1625. The menu lists dozens o f premium sakes and mirins, including several rare or aged vintages, served by the glass.
Don't miss this sprawling mall known for cutting-edge Japanese labels.