Aimee’s dear friend @iamconstantin recently took a trip to Tokyo, Japan. We really loved his Tokyo content and decided to feature his favorite food spots and all things kawaii in this city guide.
Japan has always been my dream destination. There was something about the mix of rich culture, tradition, cutting edge technology, of course the kawaai culture and the amazing food (can never have enough of it tbh!)
So last October I finally decided to travel on a very last minute trip to Tokyo which apparently is the best starting point for Japan rookies like myself. So here’s my guide on what you should do if you ever find yourself with 48 hours in Tokyo. Do note that this guide is a collaborative list from my expat friends’ advice, last-minute research, and local recommendations. Enjoy! Constantin x
If you are into flowers, tea and are in need of a zen break from the city’s traffic, this is the best place. This flower shop is literally a greenhouse at the back. They also offer great tea; try their cakes too for something sweet.
This is literally “bookporn” at its finest. This place is one of the biggest bookstores in Japan and it holds the widest selection of curated magazines, biographies and more. The area is extraordinarily cute – yhink Japan meets Amsterdam with lots of cute canals and cool design stores.
Go local or go home. I’m a huge sushi fan and since I planned this trip last minute, I wasn’t able to reserve any of the award-winning locations (note, most of the top restaurants require bookings months in advance and some are members-only!) If you are looking for fresh fish try Kanno Honten, no one really speaks English there but trust me the food speaks volumes. (Ps: it’s always a good indication if locals are dining at the restaurants and no queues of tourists in line – so opt for small and local every time).
If you want to see the world’s busiest crosswalk (or at least that’s what they say), the best way to experience it is via Starbuck’s first floor. Grab a coffee and enjoy the plethora of people crossing from four different angles at the same time.
EST bowling Shibuya
Perfect place for some selfies and fun! Test your luck in their arcade and enjoy a cute photo session in their photobooths. We can’t help but use their kawaii filters. (Don’t forget to add your email fast if you want the digital version of them!)
For the love of classical music, good coffee, and stillness. You can escape and stay alone with your thoughts, enjoy reading or writing in this spot. Note: there’s no visible sign outside so make sure to look carefully for the right lion statues.
This is by far the best way to discover the oldest town of Tokyo, Yanaka. Come here during sunset and rent a retro bike. Visit the Nezu – Jinja Shrine for meditation and check out some of their local markets. Stop by Kakimori for some personalized stationery.
This is one of the best teamLab experiences in town. It is visually stunning and offers a very immersive experience. Since it’s a big tourist attraction, be ready to queue and make your Instagram partners try all angles to take the best light photos.
This is the best Katsu sandwich. If you are vegetarian or vegan head to Mr. Farmer across the street.
“What surprised me the most about Tokyo was that despite the huge number of people living and working in this city, there’s a surprising quietness to it.”
Definitely a must-visit at night, especially if you are into alcohol and sake tasting. The vibe here is amazing! There are two streets that are worth checking out: Omoide Yokosho where small Izakaya (Japanese gastropubs) are lined up and Golden Gai street (where more than 200 mini bars are lined up).
This area is a heaven for street style. There are a lot of vintage stores for all budgets as well as cool Japanese designers. If you love people watching and street style hunting, this is the place for you. We spotted crazy hair colors to matching outfits and very extra personalities.
One of the most iconic museums in town. I fell in love with the gardens and the hundred shades of green. Wind down and order a Yuzu tea from their garden house.
This is the coolest area to stroll around. I saw a number of boutique stores, Brooklyn style cafes, hair salons, and design stores. Commune 2nd is a street market heaven where you can find everything from tapas, to amazing coffee.
This is for architecture lovers. The store has a great selection of limited edition styles including a big section on the revamped Linea Rossa.
This is the best department store especially for menswear, you will find a great curation of the best brands like my favorite, Undercover.
Call concept store
On the 3rd floor of the Spiral building, you will find the equivalent of the Merci concept store in Paris. They have a great collection of high-end fabrics as well as a cute café.
In central Tokyo, there are a few options, my personal favorite is the Meiji Temple, in the Yoyogi park. If you have time to explore more of Japan, Kyoto is the place to be if you are a zen garden and history lover. It’s a direct train away (approximately 2 hours from Tokyo’s main train station.)
If you are looking to grab a drink on a rooftop that is similar to Standard In NYC, this is the spot. The crowd also has a few expatriates.
What surprised me most about Tokyo was that despite the huge number of people living and working in this city, there’s a surprising quietness to it. No horns, no people pushing one another, no talking on the phone, everyone is in an almost constant meditative state and even with traffic, the city does not get stressful.