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Planning Your Trip

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Perhaps nothing can prepare you for the amazing sights, tastes, and experiences of this city, but a solid packing list is a good place to start.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Pack

When packing shoes, remember that you’ll be taking them off frequently, especially at ryokans, temples and restaurants. Bring pairs that are easy to slip in and out of, and leave the lace-up boots and strappy sandals at home.


Business Travel

When doing business in Tokyo, looking neat and professional is a requirement — and a sign of respect.

  • It is customary to bring a small gift to a meeting to show your appreciation for the person’s time. Choose something that holds special meaning to your city or country.

  • Though work attire is decidedly conservative, during the humid summer months men often go without a jacket and tie to keep cool.

  • Many Japanese restaurants require you to take your shoes off before entering, so only pack your best pairs of socks.
Day Trips

Tokyo’s central location makes it easy to explore the region. Many sights are a bullet train ride away.

  • Wear comfortable shoes. Whether hiking up Mount Takao or visiting the beautiful Buddhist temples in Kamakura, you’ll likely be walking all day.

  • Travel light and carry a small bag for your necessities. Most public transportation offers limited space to store your luggage.

  • Japan’s rainy season is well-known for a reason. Bring an umbrella or raincoat when the forecast looks wet.
Evening Chic

The city comes alive when the sun sets, with sky-high restaurants, bars and nightclubs lighting up the night.

  • Dress to impress. Tokyo men and women always look elegant and stylish when going out on the town.

  • Bring accessories. Japanese style is modest and conservative, so handbags, jewelry and shoes add personal style.

  • Keep in mind that many fine dining restaurants observe strict dress codes. Check with the concierge for advice on what to wear.
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Reserve

Tokyo is the biggest city in the world, making the options for food, cultural sights, and activities seem never-ending. Here is what to book ahead of time so you don’t miss out on the very best this city has to offer.

Tokyo has the most Michelin-star restaurants in the world. If you are looking for something a little adventurous go to Usuki Fugu Yamadaya, a two-star Michelin restaurant that specializes in fugu (puffer fish). Chef Fumie Yamada has 13 years of experience preparing the potentially poisonous fugu for a safe — and totally delicious — meal. As expected, tables at these restaurants fill up quickly, making reservations essential.

Tokyo has no shortage of museums, but three are located right in the Roppongi District and make up what is known as the Roppongi Art Triangle: the Mori Art Museum, The Suntory Museum of Art and The National Art Center, Tokyo. Ritz-Carlton guests can book a personalized guided tour of these museums to get an intimate look at each one’s unique collections.

In Japan, a traditional tea ceremony is a spiritual experience. Years of training, studying and dedication go into preparing and serving matcha (Japanese green tea), but the process is about much more than just drinking tea. It is about what the ritual symbolizes — harmony, respect and tranquility. Hinokizaka at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo offers a relaxed Japanese tea experience in a 100-plus-year-old Japanese teahouse that features a bird’s-eye view of Tokyo. For a more authentic tea ceremony experience, contact the concierge.

If you are lucky enough to be in Tokyo in January, May or September, you can attend a sumo tournament.  Japan’s national sport began 1,500 years ago as a performance to entertain the Shinto deities. Today, sumo wrestling retains its religious roots, with training and competition steeped in ritual and reverence. Though each match lasts mere seconds, the fast-paced action makes it a unique and exciting event you shouldn’t miss. Plan in advance — tickets go on sale one month before each tournament.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image

Neighborhood Park. Even though it’s steps away from the high energy of Roppongi Hills, Hinokicho Park feels like a rural sanctuary. Hinokicho translates as cypress, of which there are many in the park. It’s a great place to start your morning and only a three-minute walk from the hotel.


A Grand Palace. The White House of Tokyo, the Imperial Palace is home to Japan’s ceremonial state head and his family. The parks surrounding the building are popular for locals exercising and those admiring cherry trees in bloom.

Soba, Mastered. Sitting inside Honmura An, you can view the chefs at work pulling and pounding the dough of soba noodles until they’re just right. Close to the hotel, it’s a great place to duck into for a fantastic tasting-menu lunch.


A Stroll in the Museum. The National Art Center holds 10 special exhibitions at a time. Admission is free, and exhibits can range from quirky Yayoi Kusama installations to sleek Giacometti sculptures. The building, which looks like an undulating steel wave, was designed by acclaimed architect Kisho Kurokawa.

An Authentic Rock Massage. Reserve a Hot Stone Massage at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Tokyo. One of the gifted therapists will apply hot volcanic rocks in long, lulling strokes. After, enjoy the private spa suite where you can unwind in the Amethyst Crystal steam room.


Sophisticated Tempura. Tempura Kondo proves tempura can be so much more than a simple appetizer. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant fries lotus root, conger eel and shiso leaves, along with the more familiar shrimp, achieving a most heavenly crispness.


A Hassle-Free Morning. Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the Club Lounge on the 53rd floor offers a view of Mount Fuji as well as a lavish breakfast: yogurt from the Hokkaido prefecture, cheeses, made-to-order omelets, and mimosas. If you need clothes pressed, bring them and they’ll be ready within an hour.


An Offbeat Cultural Experience. Japan is the epicenter of the world’s video game community. Akihabara is where those obsessed congregate. Wander the kaleidoscopic skyscrapers full of arcades and spot costumed anime fans.

Ramen for Lunch. Many of Tokyo’s best meals come with a bit of a wait, as is the case at Ippudo Roppongi, which serves exceptional ramen and draws locals who line up for the perfectly chewy noodles. Try the tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) for a spicier broth, and be sure to order a side of the pan-fried gyoza (dumplings).


Explore Daikanyama. Daikanyama is a lovely neighborhood that’s central but devoid of tall buildings and utterly peaceful. Its picturesque alleys are full of cafés and high-end boutiques, including Okura, where almost every item in the store has been indigo-dyed by hand using traditional methods.


Rocking Izakaya. The Japanese are music obsessives, as you’ll see at Tatemichiya, a rock ‘n’ roll-themed izakaya (tapas-style bar). Dine on grilled garlic cloves, chicken skewers and meatballs in a perfectly rustic setting of wooden tables and traditional tatami-mat floors.

Whiskey and Tunes. You go to the moody Bar Martha for three things: Japanese whiskey, jazz and rock oldies played over an arsenal of the warmest-sounding speakers, and a break from talking. Chatter above a whisper is frowned upon, as are phones.


Relax in the Gardens. Hamarikyu Garden was originally built for a feudal lord as a residence and falconry grounds. Today, it’s a serene public park where you can stroll among saltwater ponds, ginkgo trees and a variety of blooms.

Ferry Through the City. Catch a ferry from Hamarikyu Garden, and you’ll get a view of the city along the Sumida River. It will drop you off at Asakusa, an eclectic old neighborhood where many traditions are still alive.


Tokyo’s Most Impressive Temple. Ancient Buddhist landmark Senso-ji is the city’s most famous and colorful, and oldest, temple. Inside the vibrant red temple, you can take a moment of relaxation at the traditional contemplative garden or consult with one of the oracles from the stalls for a divination reading.

Afternoon Shopping. Outside the Senso-ji temple, on a narrow alley called Nakamise Dori, you’ll find a classic Tokyo market with nearly 100 stores that sell great souvenirs, including kimonos. Get lucky and you may score a find from as far back as the Edo period.


France, by Way of Japan. At the hotel’s Michelin-starred Azure 45, chefs use extraordinary ingredients from both Japan (the freshest fish from Hokkaido) and around the world (Kintoa pork from Basque Country) for elegant French-style dishes you can enjoy while taking in views of Tokyo Bay.


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 guide 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 Toyosu 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. Visit 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. Everyday from 2:30 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.