A Concierge’s Guide to the Best of Tokyo

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Jul 28, 2017

Discover Japans buzzing capital with these insider gems around the city, as recommended by Masako Ito, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo.

For the city’s best sushi

Make your way to Sukiyabashi Jiro. This is a Tokyo institution; the master sushi chef is 90 years old. Visit the branch in Roppongi Hills. It’s a tiny place and getting in can be hard so make sure you book ahead.

For the ultimate tempura

You can’t go past Tempura Mikawa. I love the atmosphere and attention to detail, right down to the utensils. 

If you’re in the mood for something traditional

Head to Tokyo Shiba Tofuya Ukai, which is located near Tokyo Tower and specialises in delicious and healthy tofu dishes. It’s housed in an old-fashioned building with beautiful gardens so it’s a lovely spot for a romantic dinner.

For families

I recommend Robataya, a Japanese charcoal grill where the chefs cook in front of the guests. It’s popular with children – they can help out with making mochi, sticky rice cakes traditionally made with a hammer.

For a business meeting

I book a table at The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo’s lounge. It’s practically a custom in Japan to host meetings in a hotel lounge.

No trip is complete without...

A visit an izakaya, a Japanese pub serving snacks. My favourite is Omoya (1-12-6 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima). It looks like just another house on the street but inside is a lively pub and restaurant. 

For breakfast

Bills by Australian chef Bill Granger is very popular with locals. There are a number of branches and you can expect queues at all of them.

Get your caffeine fix

Again, Blue Bottle Coffee have a number of outlets. They have been around for more than a decade and are still the best.

The most popular food market

Stroll around the inner and outer Tsukiji Market, where more than 1000 specialty shops offer fish, seaweed, dried beans, vegetables and kitchen utensils. The tuna auction is an experience; you’ll be required to queue for 30 to 45 minutes to get admission, which, even with a guide, is not guaranteed.

Find the perfect gift or memento

The third floor of Tokyo Midtown is home to great stores selling local artefacts as well as Japanese homewares.

For designer fashion

Go to the Aoyama area for independent boutiques and trendy cafés. Also worth visiting is the Harajuku district to experience Japan’s most extreme pop culture and fashion styles. It’s packed with local boutiques and upcoming designers.

If it’s raining

Visit the Art Triangle of Roppongi, three relatively new art centres: The National Art Center, Tokyo for blockbuster exhibitions; Mori Art Museum for modern art; and the Suntory Museum of Art.

SEE ALSO: One Perfect Day in Tokyo