A city filled with beautiful green and urban gems
When I imagined Tokyo, I originally thought it'd be a set of concrete high-rise buildings. It turns out the city is full of lovely trees and wonderful neighborhoods.
Where to go
Shibuya City is an incredible area of Tokyo. Daikanyama was immediately charming, full of cute shops and cafes and lovely walks. We spotted our favorite breakfast spot going to the center of Shibuya City from Daikanyama. It turned out to be an excellent pick, and the rest of Shibuya City feels like that.
Things to do
- Walk along Cat St. There are plenty of nice shops, and some cool drink machines like the Iyoshi Cola vending machine outside of the Iyoshi Cola 伊良コーラ渋谷店 shop.
- Yoyogi Park 代々木公園
- Meiji Jingu 明治神宮 shrine
- Shibuya crossing
- Tsutaya Books (Tsutaya Books Daikan-yama 代官山 蔦屋書店) for a nice entry point to some cool spots in Daikanyama
- Log Road Daikanyama ログロード 代官山
- Meguro River Park 目黒川船入場, where we saw egrets and cormorants and kingfisher birds
- RAGTAG 原宿店 for some nice, easy, high quality second hand shopping
- Musubi Tokyo Store むす美 for beautiful, modern furoshiki cloths
Chuo City/Ginza and Chiyoda
- The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace 皇居東御苑
- Yodobashi-Akiba ヨドバシカメラ マルチメディア Akiba for a huge selection of stationary and camera/technology gear
- Mandarake Complex まんだらけコンプレックス for a selection of anime, manga, models, etc.
- Akiba Cultures Zone AKIBA カルチャーズ ZONE for similar things to Mandarake Complex, perfect for an anime-lover. The area nearby is great to walk around at night to get a vibe as to that side of Japanese culture.
- Ueno Park 上野恩賜公園, and if it's early May and there's a Peony festival going on, Ueno Toshogu Peony Garden 上野東照宮ぼたん苑 is an incredible place to see gorgeous peonies.
- Sensō-ji 浅草寺
- Kappabashi Dougu Street かっぱ橋道具街 to look at kitchen wares
- Tokyo Sky Tree / 東京スカイツリー for really fantastic views of the city!
Places to eat and drink
Everyday foods and eats:
- Omusubi Cafe for an excellent Japanese kaiseki-like breakfast
- Shibuya Tokyu Food Show 渋谷 東急フードショー
- Nantoka Presso 2 なんとかプレッソ 2 for a delicious “+d'lu'c ti” square made of strawberry chocolate with pistachio and lychee mousse
- Garden House Crafts
- Togoshiya 戸越屋 渋谷道玄坂店 for unassuming and delicious onigiri
- GRANSTA グランスタ for some truly excellent katsu curry, but generally as a food hall excellent selections
Coffee and tea:
- The Roastery by Nozy Coffee for an excellently paired oat milk latte, and delicious cronut
- THE MATCHA TOKYO 表参道
- Sarutahiko Coffee 猿田彦珈琲 恵比寿本店 for excellent hojicha latte in Ebisu
- Sidewalk Stand
- Sushi Masashi 鮨 将司 for the most incredible sushi ever.
Chuo City/Ginza and Chiyoda
- Rokurinsha 六厘舍 for the most incredible tsukemen. We ended up waiting about 45 minutes, shorter than the stickers on the floor stated. It was worth the wait, truly.
- Tsukiji Outer Market 築地場外市場, and particularly Yamachō 山長(やまちょう) for great tamagoyaki
- e nikaita mochi, especially at the stand near Tsukiji Outer Market えにかいたもち築地店. The warabi mochi is excellent, and the mochi lattes were so good we went back again.
- I'm donut? is actually a spot that we didn't get to try, but the line was incredible and the experience of waiting in line for a supposedly excellent donut could be fun.
- WOODBERRY COFFEE 代官山店 for a pretty good latte
- Tempura Otsuka 天ぷら 大塚 has the sweetest owner and the most perfectly fried tempura I've seen.
If you're looking for something a bit different than the bustle of the city, a quick day trip into Nikko is a nice change of pace. We went to see the Nikko Toshogu 日光東照宮 Shrine, Nikko Futarasan Jinja 日光二荒山神社, and Taiyu-in - Taiyu-in Ryukō-in Temple Hall 輪王寺 大猷院 龍光院 for some lovely traditional temples. The latter was our favorite, the site of Tokugawa Iemitsu's grave. It was the most peaceful and tree-filled.