After a few days in Kyoto it was time to head to Japan bustling capital. Tokyo blends ancient traditions and edgy modernism like no other place and although a 2.5 hour train ride from Kyoto, it evokes a completely different vibe. Dotted with countless Michelin starred restaurants and roof top bars offering jaw dropping views, Tokyo has what it takes to please even the most fastidious foodies.What’s more, countless stores ranging from edgy to elegant make it a shopping paradise.
Where to stay: The Conrad offers perfect luxury, spacious and tastefully decorated rooms and world class concierge service.
What to do:
The Sensoji is Tokyo’s unique landmark. The Buddhist temple is located in Asakusa. Completed in 645 it is also Tokyo’s oldest temple. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon.
Meji Jingu is a Shinto shrine devoted to the spirit of the late Emperor Meiji and his wife located amidst a serene park.
Tokyo’s Skytree is an unmissable sight in Tokio. The world’s tallest free-standing broadcast tower offers fantastic views of the metropolis.
Yasukuni Shrine is a Shinto shrine which commemorates Japan’s war deads. The shrine was founded in 1869. Yasukuni Shrine is however a controversial sight as 14 war criminals have been enshrined here. The televised visits by several Japanese prime ministers including Shinzo Abe lead to regular hot debates on the issue.
Sake Tasting: If you can spare some time head to a Sake tasting to explore the variety of Sakes and apply your newly gained insights when selecting a Sake to go along with your dinner. A good place to do so is Meishu Center. You don’t need to reserve and come by anytime within their opening hours. Although the name might suggest otherwise this is a small, simple standing bar with with English speaking staff.
Where to eat:
Let us turn to the quintessential – Food. Tokyo does have a lot to offer however if you’d only come here for one night to feast on Sushi, you’d be forgiven.
Japan’s food and its Sushi restaurants are simply unrivaled and will leave your taste buds in euphoria. Yes, it is that good. I’ll admit that during my 3 day stay I had sushi every night but je ne regrette rien!
Sushi Sora: For spectular food and views, head to Sushi Sora. Situated on the 38th floor of the Mandarin Oriental. With only 10 seats, the Sushi Sora provides an intimate and elegant atmosphere. The counter, made of Japanese Cyprus is a work of art and so is the amazing array of makis and sashimis all artfully prepared by our charming Sushi Chef.http://www.mandarinoriental.de/tokyo/fine-dining/sushi-sora/
Prior to Dinner, have an aperitif at the hotel’s bar located on the 37th floor and indulge in a variety of fantastic cocktails. My personal recommendation is the Grand Bamboo, a cocktail served with a rather unusual ingredient; smoke.
Ding Tai Fung:
For me, no vacation in Asia is complete without a Dim Sum meal at my favourite restaurant “Din Tai Fung”. With outlets in many large cities in the world, Ding Tai Fun initially started at an unassuming outlet in Taipei and has since become THE restaurant for dim sums which will leave you longing for more. We ventured to a branch in one of Ginza’s shopping centers but there are a couple of them in Tokyo. Do not miss the truffle dim sums and pair them with a refreshing Bellini – Absolute perfection!
The Hyatt’s New York Bar has been famous ever since “Lost in Translation” was filmed here. Nonetheless, the great life music and cosmopolitan atmosphere are reason enough to come here.
Secret Spot: High Five is a hidden gem. Located in the basement of a quite street of Tokyo’s posh Ginza district this tiny bar has a Woody Allenish feel to it. Most surprisingly there is no menu. Instead, you will be asked for your preferences and the bartenders will whisk up something for you. Enjoy their spectularly innovative cocktails while chatting away with the international bartenders and other guests. We had a delightful evening here.
How to get there: We flew KLM Business with a stop-over in Amsterdam. Although this will take you slightly longer than a direct flight from Zurich, it is somewhat more price savvy and the service and food are excellent.