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TOKYO DESIGN GUIDE | 25 Best Places to Visit in Tokyo Year-Round

Travel to Japan with our Tokyo Design Guide! This Tokyo city guide will help you plan your visit, sharing 25 of the best places to eat, drink, shop, and experience in Japan.

 

Tokyo is not simply a sight by day and night, but a city steeped in culture, cuisine, and history. No matter your reason for visiting, this list can help get you started in planning your trip to Japan. It’s one thing to see mages of sakura blossoms or Shibuya Crossing, to truly experience Tokyo, you must see it in motion.

I took a holiday in Japan after Milan Design Week and was so fortunate to receive some Japan travel tips from Elisabetta before flying to Tokyo. She has plenty of recommendations from her own travels, including this 10 day itinerary to Tokyo and Kyoto.

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@chai_1003 | @yusuke_046 | @regmmendoza | @yusuke_046


 Where to Eat in Tokyo / Tokyo Design Guide 


You can definitely find something to eat in Tokyo at every different price point, from delicious street food to Jiro Dreams of Sushi-master-sushi-chef levels. Take a note from Japanese culinary culture and seek variety! Eat many different things with diverse colors, textures, and certainly flavors.

1/ Higashi-Yama
This is a delightful design restaurant in Tokyo that Elisabetta discovered last year during her trip to Japan.
1-21-25 Higashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

2/ Ichiran-Ramen in Shibuya
Choose your own ramen adventure by selecting the level of spiciness, noodle hardness, broth richness, and more. This is a great option for ramen in Shibuya. You can also look at Worth It Tokyo Ramen videos to get your mouth watering.
Japan, 〒150-0042 Tokyo, Shibuya City, Udagawacho, 13−7 コヤスワンB1F

3/ 太陽食堂
I left my phone at home and went for a wander in the backstreets of Shibuya one night. While looking for dinner and I stumbled upon this yakitori restaurant with lanterns beautifully lit around its facade. I imagined it was a place you could have casually seen Anthony Bourdain eating in Tokyo. The people there were very kind and helpful, plus the food was great and reasonably priced. Find your own hidden gem, but if you’re in Shibuya, don’t miss this spot!
2-chōme-8-10 Hatagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 151-0072, Japan

4/ Genki Sushi
This is one of the places Elisabetta recommended and it was really yummy for a casual conveyor sushi experience. Worth It Japan Sushi video shares a couple higher end price points if you’re looking for something extra.
24-8 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan

5/ Pablo
If you want to eat something absolutely scrumptious, find one of Pablo’s locations and order the original cheese tart. Then thank Rie of Buzz Feed’s Worth It for the heads up!
Pablo Akihabara Japan, 〒101-0025 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Sakumachō, 1-chōme−6−5 アキバ・トリム 1F

ITALIANBARK | @jayy.hill | @taylorvaz | @pablo_cheese_tart


Where to Get a Drink in Tokyo (Tea, Coffee, & Cocktails)
Tokyo Design Guide 


Catch a view from the Park Hyatt American Bar in Tokyo, where Lost in Translation was set and filmed, or at a local izakaya. Rest and replenish with your choice of beverage at one of these delightful locations.

1/ Café de L’Ambre
This place seems like a place I would like to go and drink a fabulous specialty coffee in Tokyo. I’m not a coffee drinker, however, so browse this Tokyo Coffee Guide to discover the best places for coffee in Tokyo!
8-10-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061

2/ CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice
This chain isn’t originally Japanese, but if you’re looking for bubble tea or fresh juices in Tokyo, it won’t be hard to find a CoCo!
1-13-21 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 1500001, Japan

3/ Whales of August
I started planning our next trip to Japan before we had even left. A bit ahead of myself, but oh well. One of the places I will definitely check out next time is this amazing bar that serves film-themed cocktails. Needless to say, the owner is a movie buff. What movie would you want to taste?
28-13 Udagawacho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0042, Japan

4/ Bar la Hulotte
Head here for a fancy evening drink or two, perfect for a romantic date or casual treat.
3 Chome-12-34 Motoazabu, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0046, Japan

5/ Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience

Shinya Sakurai is an actual tea master, so if you’re going to trust your Japanese tea experience with someone, choose him! The ambience is modern, striking a balance between the traditional tea ceremony.
Spiral Building 5-6-23 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

 @tapi_boy | @ki.bbum | Sakurai


Where to Shop in Tokyo / Tokyo Design Guide 


There is always more to see in Tokyo, and certainly more to shop! Take a stroll in Ginza and window shop designer brands or stop into independent stores to connect with locals. Discover more design shops and boutiques in Tokyo.

1/ Itoya
This is a must for anyone who appreciates art, crafts, or letter correspondence. Give yourself some time to dedicate to each of the 12 floors of one of the best stationary stores in Tokyo. Elisabetta also recommends Tokyo Hands or Kiddy Land.
2 Chome-7-15 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan

2/ Daiso
There are plenty of this 100yen shops around to pick up some souvenirs for friends or stock up on your favorite strange Japanese candy flavors. Seria is another 100 yen shop that has nice options.
1-19-24 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

3/ Muji
This mega-Muji in Shibuya has all of the Japanese products you know and love from stationary to clothing and even a cafe with yummy treats.
〒150-0042 Shibuya Seibu B1F, 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

4/ Daikanyama T-Site Tsutaya
Book lovers, manga aficionados, letter-writers, unite – this unique location offers something for everyone on a few different levels.
17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

5/ Cat Street
While we did come here in ignorance looking for cats (of which there are none), what we found instead was some great Cat Street shops as well as restaurants.
5 Chome-10-10 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0001, Japan

 

@rubysparks___ | @thesassydentistph | @hhhhhong_edesignboom | Compathy


Where to Find Kawaii in Tokyo
Tokyo Design Guide 


I probably could have made an entire Tokyo Kawaii Guide (maybe next year!), but here are some places to satiate your desire for everything cute from coffees and cat cafes to characters and desserts.

1/ Pokemon Cafe
Whether you grew up playing Pokemon or not, this place is a pretty cute option for lunch.
Japan, 〒103-0027 Tōkyō-to, Chūō-ku, Nihonbashi, 2-chōme−11−2 日本橋髙島屋S.C.東館 5階

2/ Hedgehog Cafe & Pet Store HARRY Harajuku
Why stop at a cat cafe (though I did) when you have owl and even hedgehog cafes to choose from in this unique city?
Japan, 〒150-0001 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingūmae, 1-chōme−13−21 シャンゼール原宿2号館

3/ Taiyaki by Maneki-ya
If you’re looking for the best taiyaki in Tokyo, there are definitely several locations with the fish-shaped treat to choose from… but what about cat-shaped taiyaki? Make sure to check which days and hours they’re open to coordinate your visit in advance. Don’t go all the way when they’re closed like I did!
3-chōme-9-15 Yanaka, Taitō-ku, Tōkyō-to 110-0001

4/ Cream Puff Factory
Sweet treats and cutie pie characters, if I need to say more, this might not be the place for you!
5-3-1 Yoda, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo Japan

5/ Tokyo Character Street
A basement level of Tokyo Station will help you find gifts for all your favorite kawaii and anime character lovers.
Japan, 〒100-0005 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Marunouchi, 1 Chome−9−1 東京駅一番街 B1

 

@oceane_inshanghai | Time Out | Tokyo Story | @nonnnnnnnnnnon


What to Experience in Tokyo / Tokyo Design Guide 


Whether you’re looking for culture indoors or outdoors in Tokyo, you’ll find plenty of optional activities to do solo, as a couple, or with your family. Here are some of the best places to go in Tokyo to explore and experience something new.

1/ MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless
You may have already read about Elisabetta’s visit to the new digital art museum in Tokyo, also known as teamLab Borderless, a digital art experience inside the Mori building. This is a must for anyone and is a family-friendly activity in Tokyo. Reserve tickets in advance to avoid missing out!
Odaiba Palette Town 2F, 1-3-8 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan

2/ Tokyo Skytree
While this is easily the best view in Tokyo, it comes at a price tag as well as swarms of international and Japanese tourists. I really enjoyed seeing the expansive city from this vantage point after walking the streets and touring by bus, train, and taxi. If you’re looking for a free option, check out the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatory
1 Chome 1-2 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan

3/ Senso-ji Temple
This Buddhist temple is the oldest in Tokyo. It’s an easy landmark to find and hosts an annual festival called Sanja Matsuri.
2 Chome-3-1 Asakusa, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0032, Japan

4/ Mukōjima-Hyakkaen
If you burn out on the city, spend some time in this beautiful flower garden!
3 Chome-18-3 Higashimukojima, Sumida City, Tokyo 131-0032, Japan

5/ Kaiseiyu
Try something new and ease out of your comfort zone (unless you are naturally comfortable being naked around strangers, then hey you’ll still enjoy it!) by taking a Japanese-style sento or public bath. This one is featured by an official sento ambassador, so check out her page for other recommendations.
Nishikuta 5-10-5 Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan

 

ITALIANBARK | @bazzospo | @tokyo_skytree__ @_stephaniemelanie_ | @_stephaniemelanie_

Bookmark our Milan Design Guide and Paris Design Guide for upcoming adventures!

Feel free to write me (grace@italianbark.com) if you have any suggestions for other cities you’d like to see. Happy travels!