Motorino Tokyo Guide 🌊

Tokyo is the greatest city on earth🗼It is, in my opinion, the 8th man-made wonder of the world. But to get the best of Tokyo you need to do a lot more than tick off the key sight-seeing spots. 

So I’ve made a list. Foods and local areas, places to see, shops to hit. Little tips. Everything I love to show friends when they visit. 🎎 Words don't do this city justice (and there's only so many photos we can include) so follow the #'s to explore for yourself. 

Happy travels! 

FAVOURITE LOCAL AREAS🚶‍♂️

Each suburb in Tokyo has a unique look and feel. It’s a huge city made up of a hundred little cities. If you only hit the main city spots (Shinjuku, Ueno, Tokyo, Shibuya) you are missing out. TIP: not much in Tokyo is open before 11-12.

 These are my favourite local areas...

#Shimokitazawa - Good vibes. Probably one of my favourite spots in Tokyo. A lot of vintage and second hand shops 🉐 An abundance of cafes, bars and restaurants. Bustley narrow streets, lots of sound and colour. A popular weekend hangout spot. 

#YanakaGinza old Edo style Tokyo vibes, similar to Kyoto🏮Lots of kooky museums, art galleries and cafes. You can find traditional Japanese culture here. Lots of small alleys. Recommend visiting on the weekend if you can. Bring your camera. 

#Shin-Okubo - Tokyo’s Korea town 🇰🇷 Korea dominates East Asia's pop culture, so Shin-Okubo is worth seeing. Lots of lights, noise, Korean stuff and karaoke. Great night time spot to visit. Good Korean restaurants, great spot to try Cheese Buldak (Spicey Korean chicken with cheese).

  

#Daikanyama > #Naka-Meguro A bit up-market but still cool/street vibes. Daikanyama is a different side of Tokyo, quite Western feeling. There’s good shopping in Daikanyama. After wandering through Daikanayama walk down the hill to Naka-Meguro. Stroll along the river in Naka-Meguro (popular cherry blossom spot 🌸 in April). Lots of good restaurants and bars in Naka-Meguro. 

#Nakano Broadway > #Koenji Nakano Broadway is a shopping street with restaurants and anime/weird Japanese shops. The next station over is Koenji (walking distance). Koenji is a popular vintage and second-hand shopping area. Kind of grunge atmosphere. If you’re in Tokyo at the beginning of August there is a huge festival in Koenji (definitely recommend).  

#Kichijoji - Very nice locale to stroll around. Great park (Inokashira Koen). Restaurants, cafes and bars. Lots of shopping. Popular gathering place for people in West Tokyo. Nice vibes on the weekend.

Other cool areas → Takadanobaba, Sangenjaya, Roppongi, Jiyugaoka.

SHOPPING AREAS 👘

There is a lot of vintage and second-hand stores in Japan. You’ll find everything from op-shop style to second-hand brand names (in very good condition). Best vintage shopping areas → Shimokitzawa, Koenji and back-streets of #Harajuku.  

Ginza is the best place to go for high-end shopping and fancy vibes. Wide streets, huge department stores and luxury brand shops. Ginza is a big city center but has a completely different feel to Shinjuku and Shibuya. TIP: The department store food courts are well worth your time. 

Ginza

#Takeshita-Dori in Harajuku is a must see. It’s very busy, colourful and a sensory overload. But it’s not a long street, so take a walk down and enjoy the kookiness. There’s also a big Daiso (100 yen store) just as you enter from the station side. 

Harajuku Nights

#Akihabara is the anime district of Tokyo 🤖 But you don’t need to like anime and manga to enjoy it. Good for seeing the weird side of Japan (apologies if you’re an anime/manga person). There’s also a lot of maid cafes - i think these cafes are gross 😒 but it gives a glimpse into that side of Japanese culture.  

For Japanese cool street fashion, #Cat Street and #Omotesando are the best areas to go. You’ll find a mix of street brands and high-end. Most of Japan’s most popular brands have stores here (like Issey Miyake). Omotesando is also home to Prada’s famous glass building, just across the road from COMME des GARÇONS. 

#La Foret Department store in Harajuku has a range of Japanese fashion stores. These small boutique stores will give you a good look into Japanese subculture fashion. 

Shops to visit for fun→ Don Quijote, Daiso, Loft, Tokyu Hands

MUST TRY FOODS 🥢    

Ramen

There’s a lot more to Japanese cuisine than Sushi! Here’s a list of foods you should try. And if you’re not in the mood for going out, head to a nearby supermarket and grab some of their pre-made food (made daily and good quality). 

Tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet)
Gyukatsu (deep fried beef)
Japanese Curry Rice  🍛
Karaage (Fried Chicken)
Gyoza 
Ramen  🍜
Tempura  🍤
Udon (cold udon in summer is a revelation!)
Sushi  🍣
Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ)
Bubble tea (Gong Cha and The Alley are good chains)

 

And the best Ramen chains: Oreryu Shio, Afuri, Ippudo. I recommend a visit to them all 

Ramen chain

You can’t talk about Japan without talking about Konbini (Convenience Store). There are more than 50,000 konbini’s in Japan. The main 3 players are 7-11, Family Mart and Lawsons. If you need a snack or drink on the go, then Konbini is your friend.  Best snacks at Konbini → Onigiri 🍙 and Fried Chicken (Family Mart is the best IMO). 

Feeling Brave? Buy some #Natto (🤢 see for yourself) at Konbini. This is Japan’s version of Vegemite - Japanese people all love it but it's disgusting to everyone else. 

DRINKING 🍻

Kanpai!! (Cheers) 

What’s good everywhere: Beer and Whisky - the most popular way to drink whisky is a Highball (whisky and soda). What’s not good everywhere: Cocktails and Wine 

Koenji

Traditional Japanese bars are small (5-10 people) and very quiet. It’s often just a countertop. A lot of people come to bars alone just to sit and talk to the bartender. Oh, and smoking is allowed in bars. Grandfather’s in Shibuya is a small record bar I love to take visitors to. TIP: Big groups and loud foreigners will not be welcome. 

If you’re in a bigger group or looking for something a bit livelier go to an #Izakaya style restaurant (kind of like Japanese tapas). Rowdier atmosphere and best of all, most Izakaya’s do Nomihoudai. Nomihoudai = 2-3 hours of all you can drink, usually $20-30. Izakaya’s are everywhere in Tokyo (I love Shirubee in Shimokitazawa). 

There’s also a good craft beer scene in Tokyo🍺 my favourite place is Oslo in Shibuya.

What about the Lost in Translation Bar? It’s at the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku 🏙️ Cocktails are upward from $30 and it’s very quiet. I personally think you can skip this! TIP: a few floors down is the Peak Lounge. A more relaxed atmosphere, just as great a view AND they do a 2 hours all you can drink menu (including cocktails and food) for about $80. Get there to watch the sun go down. It’s a much better experience, but make a booking

楽しんでください (Tanoshinde Kudasai) 
Have fun ✌️

 

Written by Adelaide Moore. 

4 comments

Fiona

Thanks for the really helpful advice. Great recommendations!

CC

This post beats the Lonely Planet guide hands down!

A.C.

Excellent review.
Thorough, detailed and concise. Next time I am in Tokyo will be my first and having this info will set me straight.
Played hard, done fine.
Arigatõ Adi-chan.

Tenza

This is so good. Wish I was there now what a hoot. Perfect chat for the traveler it’s a busy city. 😘👍

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