I’ve just got back from a whirlwind weekend in Tokyo, which was great fun, and I’ve decided that at 5 and 6 years old my kids are definitely ready for it. I’m going to list a few of my tips here so you can check it out if you’re planing a romantic visit, or one with the kids.
Where to Stay
We were really lucky staying at The Aman Tokyo, which was absolutely beautiful, and flying in to Hnd, although not such a modern airport, meant a very quick 20 minute taxi ride into town. Air BnB Tokyo have some amazing apartments on their books, so it’s definitely worth a look there, if you’d rather not stay in a hotel.
What to Eat
The Sugimoto Tea House Tokyo was absolutely beautiful and very ‘zen’. A great place to go if you’re in to your Japanese teas.
Ice Monster – this is the new craze for all the kids in Japan, it’s flavoured ice shaved into a massive bowl which tastes a bit like frozen yoghurt.
Family Mart – this is a bit like a Tesco Express and well worth a visit. They’re all over the place! I love looking at all the fun products, especially the different flavours of KitKats. If you want to eat something in a rush, most of them have hot water counters so you can buy a pot of noodles and eat on the run.
Fred Sejal – 13 – 1 Log Road, Daiknyama… Spring Value Brewery, garden house crafts and the mart cafe. These are three brilliant cafes and restaurants in this amazing complex by Fred Segal. It’s loved by local fashionistas, but it’s also good if you want a bit of western grub. SVB had amazing beer, and a good burger, with some really delicious healthy salads. Garden House Crafts is an amazing bakery with fresh cakes and breads, and also yummy looking salads. The Mart is a normal cafe. They also have an awesome chip van serving up cones of chips with your choice of dip.
Pop-Up Toast at The Park my dear friend Hiroshi Fujiwara has opened a pop-up select shop in a basement parking garage, in Ginza. If you want a really original and very quick lunch, you’ll find Cafe De Rope on basement 3, which serves artisanal toast and coffee. My husband went mad for a door stop toasted with a slab of melted butter nestled on top, and I had one of the most delicious nut coffee I’ve ever tasted.
A good friend told me to go to Fukusushi but we just didn’t have time. She said it’s a bit of adventure to get there, but totally worth it. Booking is a must.
Where to Shop
The Park – one of my great friends in Tokyo has opened the ultimate pop-up concept store, in a basement parking garage, in the Sony building in Ginza. There’s a collection of Japan’s coolest apparel brands, awesome fragrance and beauty brands, and some fab denim. The amazing Poggy also has his own installation called Poggy’s Box which is well worth a visit, and I loved the Nike shop, and old school record store. This was the first place my husband took me to, and what a great way to start Japan.
Sacai – although you can buy Sacai in Dover Street Market, United Arrows and other cool stores, Sacai’s official store is well worth a visit and more like a museum.
Fred Sejal – they have everything from homeware, to men, women and children’s fashion.
Bathing Ape – my husband’s a huge Bathing Ape fan, and took me to the adult and children’s store, which was pretty cool.
Candy Showtime – in Japan, they’re still very in to their artisanal rock sweets, and these hand made sweetie shops are all over Japan. Kiddi Land – this is a must see for any parent or god parent. It’s literally a whole building full of all the toys you wanted as a kid. Hello Kitty galore, and the whole basement is a homage to Snoopy.
Tokyo Hands – this is the most weird and wonderful department store in Japan, and sells pretty much everything. It’s completely bonkers.
Yoda Bashi – this is one of my husband’s favourite stores in Japan, because it’s a true gadget shop. It’s Japan’s version of Dixons. There are whole floors dedicated to each area.
What to See
The Snoopy Museum – we booked in to the highly anticipated Snoopy Museum in Tokyo, it only opening a few weeks ago so you have to book your slot, but it’s well worth a visit for any Snoopy fans and the shop was really full.
Tsukiji Fish Market If you’re up early, the famous fish market is a must if your children aren’t too squeamish. I’ve only done it once, but it’s a real eye opener.
If you’ve had enough of the shops and want to take time out at a local park, there’s a great park behind Harajuku station, with beautiful trees, and the Meijijingu shrine, and Yogi park. It’s a truly peaceful refuge.
Getting Around Tokyo
My husband split Tokyo into three parts for our quick trip – being East (Ginza) West (Harajuku), and the trendy Daiknyama.
Luckily for me it was Golden Week which is a national holiday, and that meant getting around wasn’t too hard. Tokyo is a bit like a maze, but to explore, the best way to go is to walk. You can also take the train, or self drive, consider getting yourself an IC transport card, which are pre-paid cards that let you swipe in an out of stations really easily. You can also use them at lots of vending machines and local shops. You can pick one of these up at almost any train or subway station.
If you arrive early, the brilliant blog Boutique Japan suggest popping into Turret for coffee, which sell the best quality coffee in the area.
Kids Activities in Tokyo
If you’re planning on spending more time in the city, here are just a few fun things to do with the kids in Tokyo:
Looking for a place to stay? Check out HotelsCombined blog on ‘Where to Stay in Tokyo: Shibuya or Shinjuku’ for a comprehensive guide in Tokyo.