Tour Tokyo Like a Local
Did you know Tokyo has more neon signs than any other city in the world? Even with more than 13 million people, it is one of the world’s cleanest cities.
If you’re headed to Tokyo sometime soon, local experts Kay Abe, Grand Hyatt Tokyo concierge, and Adrian Fautt, Park Hyatt Tokyo chief concierge, have the best tips on what to eat, see and do. They also say Tokyo has some of the most courteous residents who are always willing to spare the time to help a stranger, so don’t hesitate to ask!
For first time visitors, a perfect way to soak up Tokyo’s culture is to visit some of the Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, including the Hikawa Shrine, or Asakusa Shrine, one of the most famous Shinto shrines in the city. Kay suggests taking a stroll through Arisugawa Memorial Park to see the different embassies that are spread throughout the park grounds or checking out Tokyo Imperial Palace, the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. For history and art lovers, Adrian recommends visiting Edo Tokyo Museum, or UKIYO-E Ota Memorial Museum of Art to see one-of-a kind popular art unique to Japan.
For a true Japanese dish, stop by Tenichi Ginza for delicious tempura or Kanesaka for some mouthwatering sushi. Carta Bianca and La Bisboccia serve up some of the best modern Italian in the city, while Jisaku and Banrekiryukodo offer a more traditional Japanese cuisine experience, otherwise known as Kaiseki, which is a coursed meal with precise presentation. For some Japanese comfort food, check out Kurosawa for delicious soba noodles or Saketomo, which is an Izakaya, or a drinking shop known for serving sake and shareable food dishes.
If you’re a night owl, wait until the sun goes down and the neon signs are lit. New York Bar on Park Hyatt Tokyo’s 52nd floor has some of the best views of the city, complemented by stiff drinks and live music. Velours, Le Baron de Paris and Vanity are great places for drinks and dancing, while Fiori bar is the perfect spot for soccer and sport fanatics. If you want to catch a show, Kay recommends getting tickets for Kabuki Theatre, or Gekidan Shiki. Finally, end a night filled with drinks, dancing, and entertainment with a nightcap and desert at Oak Door Bar, Maduro or Quil Fait Bon Aoyama.
Tokyo is one of the leading cities in style and fashion, so shopping is “must-do” on any tourist’s list. Kay and Adrian recommend checking out Omotesando, a popular street for stylish fashion, shopping and entertainment. They also suggest Roppongi Hills, a new urban center and one of Japan’s largest integrated property developments that is known for having great shopping, fun night life, and even an outdoor amphitheater. Azabu Juban and Center Gai are also other popular shopping streets where locals hangout often.
No matter where you go in Tokyo, the only way to feel like a true local is to navigate the city by foot or by train. Kay and Adrian both recommend steering clear of cabs, and instead hopping on the public transportation from JR-Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station in the world!
No matter what you end up doing, make sure to stop in and say hello on your next visit!