Good food is never hard to find in Tokyo. In fact, the harder task would be to find bad food. The baseline quality of the produce, meat and other goods is simply exceptional. Talented and creative chefs use all of that to their advantage when crafting traditional cuisine — ramen, yakitori and, yes, sushi — and creating unforgettable dining experiences. And don’t pass on the sweets! The Japanese may be better at pastries than the French.
- Excellent Pastries
The Japanese masterfully execute French pastry methods. Case in point, the Maison Kayser bakery below The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo in the Midtown mall. Samples are
provided but make sure to get one of the flavorful and chewy baguettes.
- Coffee, Scandinavian Style
Entering the Tokyo location of Norwegian coffee shop Fuglen Roasters feels a bit like stepping into an Edward Hopper painting: vintage seating, dark woods and perfect lighting. And the coffee — lightly roasted to bring out the flavor — is superb.
- A Walk in Yoyogi Park
Once a site of the 1964 Olympics, Yoyogi Park is fantastic for people-watching. Spot effusive Harajuku girls, Rockabillies, and a multitude of other subcultures toward the south end. To the north, a quieter scene: trees, ponds and bike rentals.
- Tasty Dumplings
The tiny Michelin-starred restaurant Anda Gyoza has an inventive update on the traditional dumpling. The kitchen adds roasted oats to the dough and fills it with ginger, cilantro and curry before forming and then steaming the tortellini-like treats.
- Shop in Shibuya
The lively streets around Shibuya Crossing contain thousands of shopping options. The Japanese have a finely tuned dial for trends, which you’ll see represented everywhere from future-thinking boutiques to vintage stores.
- Extra Tasty Ice Cream
Silkream serves cremia, a rich Japanese soft serve made with whipping cream and milk from the northern prefecture of Hokkaido. It’s extra milky, almost like denser whipped cream, and served with a freshly baked cookie.
- A Cocktail Just for You
The bartender at the cozy, dimly lit Ben Fiddich will ask you to select a spirit, then spend 10 or more minutes burning twigs, muddling herbs, and looking for the perfect vintage liquor to perfect your drinkable masterpiece.
- A Modern Icon
The world-famous Narisawa excels at thoughtful, playful dishes — bread that rises at the table as you are eating your meal, delicious soup made from soil — and hearty crowd pleasers like top-of-the-line cuts of Kobe beef. The tasting menu takes about three hours.
- Sushi, For Breakfast
No trip to Tokyo is complete without a visit to the legendary and energetic Tsukiji fish market, the largest in the world. The city’s best kitchens purchase their fish here, as do the sushi restaurants in the alleyways. Brave the line at Daiwa for morsels of fatty tuna and amberjack that will melt in your mouth.
- Wander the Market Stalls
After breakfast, visit the various stalls that line the crowded market. Shop for traditional teas, sample mochi (sticky rice dumpling) and grab bites like octopus topped with urchin torched to order. Home goods stores stocking Japanese souvenirs (like cups and chopsticks) abound.
- A Standout Buddhist Temple
Near the fish market stands Tsukiji Honganji Temple, a gorgeous architectural feat. The intricate curves of the building are a blend of Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic styles, which give it a unique look and calming effect. Inside, you can listen to the large gongs ring.
- Hidden Snacks
Ginza is packed with high-end department stores. Shop at any, such as Mitsukoshi, and then head to the basement level, a wonderland of chicken meatballs, shrimp tempura, chewy soba noodles, mochi and hundreds of other delectable bites.
- Afternoon Tea
Every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 3 to 4:30 p.m., the Club Lounge on the 53rd floor of the hotel serves afternoon tea—with views of Mount Fuji. The lobby also hosts an entertaining, kids-friendly tea experience in the afternoon.
- A Well-Preserved Park
Standing in the blissful Hinokicho Park, it’s hard to remember you’re steps away from the busiest block of Roppongi. Take kids to the playground, walk along the streams and admire the gardens offering views of Old Tokyo.
- An Authentic Teppanyaki Dinner
Have the concierge reserve spots at the intimate 10-seat teppanyaki counter of Hinokizaka restaurant. The chef will present a variety of high-quality meats — pick your favorites and watch them prepared and grilled in front of you.
- Venture to a Sake Pub
With its warm lighting and high-back wooden chairs, Sasahana is a most comfortable setting to enjoy traditional sake — probably why it’s been open for over 30 years. Don’t miss the Daiginjo, the highest premium sake of Japan.