Tokyo – where to stay, what to see, what to eat… everything you need to know. Tokyo is truly an incredible city, a bit like New York, but at the same time so much different. The food is insane and there are so many beautiful sights to see, including the views from most hotels which are absolutely breathtaking. My favorite stop was the fish market! If you can visit Tokyo during cherry blossom season (late March, early April) make sure to visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. I didn’t go during this time but highly recommend it. I recently visited this amazing place, so I put together a Tokyo Travel Guide with all of my favorite things.
WHERE TO STAY IN TOKYO
The Ritz Carlton – this hotel is in a great location with spectacular views (360-degree panoramic vistas of Tokyo including Tokyo Tower and Mt. Fuji) and one of the most gorgeous lobby bars that has live music!
The Peninsula – A 5 Star experience, the employees go out of their way to meet your needs and make sure you are happy.
Mandarin Oriental – this hotel also has absolutely incredible views of the city and their spa is one of my favorite in Tokyo.
WHAT TO DO IN TOKYO
Tsukiji Fish Market – My favorite part of the trip, it is a foodie’s heaven! I would recommend getting a tour guide and going early in the morning. Make sure to take cash with you because most places are cash only. The outer market is huge and you can taste many different foods like matcha cookies, green tea, sake, seaweed, miso soup, fresh seafood, sweets and Japanese omelette.
If you want to see the famous tuna auction, you can go at 3 am and get in line to enter at 5 am. They only allow 120 people, so the lines are crazy. You can go there straight from a night out if you are a huge foodie, but I passed on this one lol 😉
The Imperial Palace – The home of the Emperor, surrounded by beautiful gardens and parks.
The Senso Ji Temple – Located in Asakusa, it is the most popular Buddhist temple. From the gate to the main hall is the oldest shopping street in Tokyo where they sell Japanese sweets, rice crackers and souvenirs
Meiji Shrine – The biggest and most popular Shinto shrine in Tokyo. You can get there by taking a lovely stroll through Yoyogi Park. The shrine is surrounded by 100,000 trees that were planted 100 years ago. The Meiji Shrine is a just short walk from Harajuku (shopping area that a lot of teenagers frequent and that is known for its cat cafes).
Takeshita Street – Located in Harajuku, it is a cute street for teenagers that sells a lot of sweets like crepes, ice cream and cotton candy. They are well known for their famous cat cafes. You will literally see cats in the cafes and the teens love to hang out there.
Shibuya Crossing – A famous intersection that around 3,000 people cross at once. It is a must see. Either walk through it or go to the Starbucks to get a birds eye view.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden – The most beautiful green space in Tokyo. It is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season (late March, early April) and only lasts for about a week. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy lunch under the cherry blossoms.
Chidoriga-fuchi – A 700 meter long green pathway surrounding the Imperial Palace. It is popular to visit during the cherry blossom season and is absolutely breathtaking.
Shopping in Tokyo – Ginza (high-end shops) and Shinjuku (cute local stores, very cool). Make sure to stop by a local grocery store and pick up one of their famous dewy melons. It was THE BEST MELON I HAVE EVER TRIED. Super sweet and juicy! They are so tasty that they actually sell them in prepackaged gift box.
WHERE TO EAT IN TOKYO
Most of these restaurants have to be booked at least 6 months in advance. When my friends told me that, I started laughing thinking they were joking. Once I spoke with the concierge, I realized they were totally serious. I will list these in no specific order, but will not be describing each one as there is only so many ways you can describe an Omakase dinner, lol! Enjoy, and if you have any personal favorites please let me know in the comments below!
- Sushi Saito – 3 Michelin Star in Minato and very difficult to get a reservation so book in advance. Joel Robuchun has described Sushi Saito as the BEST sushi restaurant in the world.
- Sukiyabashi Jiro – 3 Michelin Star in Ginza, not easy to get a reservation, but the food is incredible!
- Sushi Yoshitake – 3 Michelin Star in Ginza, super fresh, no videos allowed and needs to be booked months ahead. The concierge at the Peninsula is very helpful if you let them know in advance.
- Sawada Sushi – 2 Michelin Star in Chuo, considered one of the very best!
- Hinokizaka – 1 Michelin Star located at the rooftop of the Ritz Carlton. Four styles of Japanese dining – kaiseki, sushi, tempura and teppanyaki. One of the best toro sushi I’ve had!
- Sushi Kanesaka – 1 Michelin Star in Ginza, among the finest restaurants in Tokyo.
- Sushi Iwa – 1 Michelin Star in Ginza, the chef was super friendly and even offered my friends blow fish!
- Tempura Kondo – 1 Michelin Star, the best tempura in Tokyo, but very hard to get a reservation.
- Tempura Masa – The second best tempura restaurant in Tokyo, 10 minute walk from Peninsula Hotel. It was insane. They serve uni wrapped in basil!
- Omotesando Ukai Tei – Upscale and elegant restaurant. Donald Trump has been spotted eating here when he visits Tokyo. The chef grills in front of you and the food is packed with amazing flavors.
- Towers – This contemporary grill is located at the Ritz Carlton and focuses on simple, seasonal ingredients including Akaushi prime rib and local seafood.
Steak in Tokyo
- Dons de la Nature – One of the best places for steak in Ginza, the meat melts in your mouth.
- Kawamura – Considered among the best steak restaurants in the world.
- WagyuMafia – One of the best wagyu sandwiches you will ever eat!
- Shima Steak – Well known for the Ultimate Steak Sandwich.
Tokyo Cocktail Bars
- The Ritz Lobby Bar
- Park Hyatt
- Ben Fiddich
- Bar Noir
- Mandarin Bar