Tour de force: Tokyo

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29 July 2009
Shibuya, Tokyo. Photo: Getty Images.

A jam-packed 24-hour stopover, the city's best fashion, where not to go + some uniquely Tokyo tips from guide Charles Spreckley.

I would never waste a visitor’s time with…
Senso-ji. Tokyo’s biggest temple is shabby, tacky and overcrowded.

Best-kept secret…
Kagurazaka, an off-the-beaten-path area full of old-world charm and superb restaurants.

Best bar for cocktails…
Radio Bar; owner Mr Ozaki has spent 50 years perfecting his concoctions.

For good food, I send people to…
The basement of Isetan department store: a square kilometre of gourmet heaven.

Best boutique hotel in town…
Park Hotel for value. Claska for design.

Favourite hot spot…
The Kinfolk Lounge in Naka-Meguro for cool and cocktails.

Best place to see live music…
Red Shoes in Nishi-Azabu, for something unpredictable and unique.

Best fashion precinct…
Daikanyama, the best shopping enclave in the world – beautiful people, charming streets and unique boutiques.

If shopping for gifts and mementos, don’t go past…
Hakusan pottery shop in Aoyama; Ito-ya’s sixth floor in Ginza for fabric and washi paper.

For a unique Tokyo experience… Bon Jovi meets S&M at the Black Rose nightclub.

For a taste of history…
Club Edge for surreal ’80s [economic] Bubble Era revival.

For an unforgettable view of the city, head to…
Mori Art Museum: a world-class gallery. 

Best way to spend a 24-hour stopover…
7am:
a jog (or stroll) around the Imperial Palace. 9am: visit Meiji Shrine. 10am: Isetan department store at opening time. 11am: Ota Memorial Museum of Art for Japanese prints. Midday: Meiji Shrine. 1pm: soba noodles for lunch. 2pm: modern architecture along Omotesando boulevard. 3pm: boutique shopping in Daikanyama. 5pm: organised chaos at Shibuya crossing. 6pm: New York Bar for cocktails. 8pm: a lively izakaya pub for dinner. 11pm: karaoke. Midnight: Le Baron nightclub. 3am: have a power nap in a capsule hotel. 5am: visit Tsukiji fish market. 6am: have a sushi breakfast. 7am: sayonara.

Most unusual request from a visiting client...
A private performance of Ricky Martin songs.

Don’t forget to pack…
Slip-on shoes for temple visits.


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Source: Qantas The Australian Way August 2009

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