These recommendations are all for Tokyo and the surrounding area. There's oooh so many different ways to visit Japan, but that's one.



  • http://www.claska.com/en/ (hip AF)
  • Shinjuku Granbell or Shibuya Granbell (economy rooms are VERY tiny but great deal and nice, clean, hip place)


  • Numazukou sushi - conveyor belt place in Shinjuku - great
  • Ometesando Koffee - will change your life, holy crap PLEASE GO HERE
  • Life Son restaurants - brooklyny/kinda british little place, if you want some heavy western food in a hip atmosphere
  • Eatrip restaurant - farm to table set course menu. AMAZING but not intensely japanese
  • Yakum Saryo tea house for a traditional tea/breakfast. Very beautiful and peaceful. Reserve in advance http://yakumosaryo.jp/e/ 
  • near Ueno Park - Shabu Shabu lunch: 淺草今半 Asakusa Imahan
  • Maru restaurant - my fave in Tokyo- http://www.maru-mayfont.jp/
  • Tenka sushi - great, CHEAP conveyor-belt place - down a little set of stairs, on of a zillion little things on this strip but right across from Dubliners cafe and pub in Shibuya. I went 3 times.


  • Possibly Milk live venue/club - 13-3 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku (00 81 3 5458 2826). The only rock club in Tokyo. Frequented by celebrities.
  • Bar Albatross whiskey bar (and all the little bars and food places that seat about 5 people in that neighborhood. Famous neighborhood for all these TINY izakayas - food/beer places - where everyone goes after work to drink
  • Mikkeller bar - great little craft beer brand out of Denmark with only 3 bars in the world, super hip and nordic looking, cool crowd, great beer, mellow
  • Aoyama Tunnel bar/Hachi club - fashion people, very Brooklyny, hip night spot. The café is open from 7pm; club open 9pm-5am.



  • some of the arcades in Shinjuku and Shibuya - all weird adventures
  • if you want dope men's japanese-made clothing, go to Nest Robe, it is incredible (sorry Matt Japanese stores have 2 sizes which are basically Small and Medium, you can't shop there)
  • Tokyu Hands store (Shinjuku) - everything store, insane wonderland of japanese-made and international goods, great place to look for gifts
  • Nezu Museum + cafe (for lunch) - 1.5-2h museum visit plus time to have lunch in the cafe and/or enjoy the BEAUTFUL traditional garden. Very stunning museum with traditional japanese arts.
  • Muji and Muji Cafe, Sugamo 1-16-8, Atre Vie Sugamo 3F 3576-3212 - great japanese home goods and bath and travel stuff and basic clothes - better stuff in Japan than in NYC
  • Asakusa area (tokyo old east side) - all really touristy but worth a look. Visit the huge Buddhist temple Sensoji (v touristy), and walk around the pre-war style streets with lots of restaurants and tourist shops. Consider the little Hanayashiki Amusement Park, home to retro rides that include the country’s first (and possibly most sedate) rollercoaster. "Getting there is half the fun, by river-cruise up the Sumida from Hinode pier on Tokyo Bay. Near Hammamatsucho JR station."
  • Community traditional bath (will be all Japanese old people. Was fun.) Onsen Jakotsuyu, Asakusa, Downtown Tokyo - http://onsensoaker.blogspot.com/2011/06/jakotsuyu-asakusa-downtown-tokyo.html
  • the famous Tsukiji Fish Market - you have to go VERY early to see the auction but if not, try Daiwa Sushi, Chuo Shijo Building, No 6, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Tokyo (00 81 3 3547 6807) - the buzziest place to have a sushi breakfast or brunch. Queues form outside this little sushi bar in the market from as early as 5am until it closes at 1pm.
  • Ueno Park - Perfect for experiencing your fair share of Japanese culture it is home to a significant number of shrines, temples, museums and galleries.
  • Calico Cat Cafe - if you wanna do the cat cafe thing. Shinjuku I think
  • Harajuku and Aoyama for shopping (lots of American vintage but also other stuff)
  • great book store - Daikanyama T-site book store/cafe - http://real.tsite.jp/daikanyama/english/index.html 
  • Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi park - beautiful and moving. Do not miss it. Have a serene moment there. You may spot brides or families dressed up traditionally doing blessings
  • Tocho-mae - seat of government of Tokyo - very tall building with great observation deck for free. Also visit the cafeteria (on the 35th floor? 32nd? Somewhere in the 30s - it's marked in the elevators) - apparently GREAT and cheap cheap. Intended for gov't employees but recommended by all guide books
  • Yanaka neighborhood - old school neighborhood, low buildings and hilly, an hour or two to wander and feel a different vibe from insane Shinjuku + Shibuya. "Yanaka has survived numerous attempts at destruction by earthquakes and a world war to retain its authentic ‘shitamachi’ atmosphere and is a great place to glimpse what life would have been like in twentieth century Tokyo. Wander down Yanaka Ginza shopping street and watch locals trade handmade crafts and sweets while groups of children play with spinning tops – yes, it’s that nostalgic." From Nippori station, take the west exit and head up the hill. You can walk the short distance from Yanaka to Ueno Park or explore the rest of Yanasen (Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi combined) to get more of that traditional shitamachi feel.
  • Mori Arts Centre - huge modern art museum in the Roppongi Hills complex, which is a sight in itself
  • Consider a theme restaurant - @home cafe, Christon cafe, Vowz, Kagaya, Shinjuku 8-bit cafe, Kawaii Monster Cafe. Google them.
  • Meguro neighborhood is a pretty little joint to walk around, just kind of chill and residential and normal - sort of park slopey or something?
  • Tower Records - go to the big one. It's like traveling back in time

Day Trips:

  • Kawagoe - 1.5h subway/train ride from central Tokyo, "little Edo" - beautiful old buildings, look of old Japan. Go to the Katain temple and then walk around the downtown part and get food.
  • Kamakura and Enoshima - nice views of Fuji, pretty beachy area with surfing and expat culture and rich history and historic buildings. 1-1.5hr on the subway/trains from central Tokyo. Eat/get beers at Cafe Kamakura - cool little hip 
  • Hakone for ryokan (fancy baths) and outdoor art museum (Storm King vibes) - http://www.kuriositas.com/2010/07/hakone-japans-amazing-open-air-museum.html

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