Sunday, September 6

Awkward City Guide To Tokyo

Food!!!

Seirinkan / Pizza / Casual: I wouldn't recommend to get pizza in Tokyo unless it was perfection, and Seirinkan IS. He sells two kinds of pizza, a side of broccoli and that's it. If you don't trust me, take Alan Richman’s word for it or my spirit guide Food Sake Tokyo’s who recommended we go here and was oh so right.

Takazawa / Fine Dining / Expensive:  Four tables only, insane menu, everything is b-o-n-k-e-r-s. The philosophy generally tends to be "looks like one thing...but is actually another!" It was thoughtful, intriguing, and the most mind-exploding dining experience I've ever had, the perfect mix of innovation and execution. (This slideshow will give you a lil' taste.) Reservations necessary.

Sushi Bar Yasuda / Expensive / Semi-Casual: Best fish I've ever had, not only because his omakase started by asking us what our favorite fish was and built it from there. (We got three sea urchin courses!) If you have Japanese friends who can take you elsewhere, it may be odd to come somewhere so english-centric, but I liked this multiples more than Jiro. Best sushi I had in Japan. Reservations necessary.

Maisen / Casual / Inexpensive:: The place everyone recommends for tonkatsu (breaded chicken cutlet) is actually great, catering a bit to Westerners but still providing a mix between locals and visitors. The menu is full of pictures of cutlet, which you’ll surely get, but make sure someone orders the tonkatsu sandwich, which delightfully serves it between slices of white bread.

Fuunji / Ramen / Inexpensive: The line outside the door proves it's worth it -- it does tsukumen, dipping noodles style ramen, which you order from a vending machine entirely in Japanese. Very authentic, very cool.







Fun!!!

Tokyo DisneySea / This park is so insane and bonkers and oddly b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l that it teed off me making Disney parks my career. It's that good. Accessible by subway, easy one-day trip, my favorite part of our trip.

Japanese Baseball / Tokyo Dome (30 minute train) / Cheerleaders, women with kegs on their back and whiskey cocktails served to you at your seat. (Don’t miss the rollercoaster nearby if you have time!)

R.a.a.g.f. Rabbit Cafe / Shibuya / Play with rabbits, drink frighteningly good green tea, get dope instagrams. (there are plenty of other places like this too!)

Reissue Coffee / Harajuku / Sure, it costs $10 to get a cappuccino by the leading latte artist that looks like a dog, but where else are you going to get a cappuccino that looks like a dog?!



Shopping!!!

Tokyu Hands / Multiple locations / Has all the bizarre, weird Tokyo gifts you could want. Must-visit. Bought most of my souvenirs here!

Loft / Multiple locations / Stationery, pens, paper, and tape FOR. DAYS. Japanese goodies abound! This is the other major store you need to visit.

Matsumoto Kiyoshi / Multiple locations / The halfway point between Walgreens and a carnival game. Expect: loudspeakers, soberingly bright lights, and piles of cool Japanese cosmetics and products. Note: this is one of the only places to buy green tea kitkats.

Candy Stripper / Harajuku / Most clothing in Tokyo was w-a-a-a-a-y too small for me, but I was able to fit into some of the quirky items at this shop. Each season has a theme, with a variety of tops, skirts and accessories in that style. I ordered a beloved hamburger turtleneck from here after our visit, too!

Q-Pot / My absolutely favorite jewelry brand. High-end ($100-$200) food-themed jewelry that is cute and quirky, with a cheeky little store to boot. (If you have time, don’t miss the neighboring themed cafe!)

Va-Va / A solid men’s store with varying home goods that is slightly reminiscent of Steven Alan back home. http://va-va.shop-pro.jp/

Kiddyland / A massive multi-floor toy store that I find to be slightly overrated and overpriced, but worth a walk-through.

T-SITE / A multifaceted bookstore experience held inside a brilliantly designed building. Fun to browse through and people watch nearby; feels very West Village bookstore-meets-Tokyo.



Coffee!!!

Omotesando Coffee: The original location has since shuttered, but the coffee is available at a second location elsewhere in the city.

The Roastery by Nozy Coffee / Shibuya / Don’t miss the NY Ring — I hear they frequently sell out, which is no surprise, as they’re a thousand times better than cronuts.

Be A Good Neighbor Coffee Kiosk / Roppongi, Sendagaya and in Skytree / Solid coffee and espresso, but honestly, go to the Roppongi spot because it’s across from this place Fukushimaya Tasting Market which sells the best sweet bun I’ve ever had. I ate one, freaked out, and then bought a second one immediately. Best coffee-pastry pairing ever!

Little Nap Coffee Stand / Shibuya / So cute and sweet! Had a nice experience in this tiny little coffee hut. Sells ice cream too, which is pretty adorable. Close walk to Fuglen, which is good if you wanna coffee-hop. http://www.littlenap.jp/#2


Bars!!!

Bar Radio / Hands-down favorite. The walls are lined with old glasses, the drinks are named after dead celebrities, and if you go early, you can chit-chat with the staff. It’s glorious. If the limited-edition book of cocktails is available, consider buying a copy; we cherish ours. http://www.bar-radio.com/

Star Bar Ginza / Ginza / Another great famed spot with fancy schmancy cocktails in a dark and intimate downstairs place. Slightly fancy, but then again, these bartenders take their shit seriously so it always is. http://starbar.jp/english

Gen Yamamoto / One of Tokyo’s best bartenders holds court in his reservations-only, stamp-sized tasting menu bar. You order a flight of very fresh, very in-season tinctures akin to a tasting menu restaurant. I found it to be very quiet and stark in its minimalism, but many people love this place.

New York Bar / / The famed jazz bar at the top of the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Honestly, it’s nowhere near as good as Bemelmans, but you can smoke in here which is wild, and gives you the Park Hyatt experience which is essential, especially if you’re not staying there.





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