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By Chris | November 26 2007
We asked Tokyo’s top concierges to share their personal recommendations for the perfect day
Masumi Tajima, Chief Concierge, Mandarin Hotel
+81 3 3270 8800
“Wake up early in the morning to start your day at the Tsukiji Fish Market, which is the largest fish market in the world.
Wander through the stalls then enjoy a fresh sushi breakfast. The Nihonbashi neighbourhood is the birthplace of the rickshaw, so take a trip back in time by taking a tour on a rickshaw to visit nearby attractions such as Edo Castle (now the Imperial Palace), beautiful Japanese gardens and inspiring temples and shrines. Have lunch at Sunaba, another long-established local restaurant, which specializes in fresh soba noodles. Made from buckwheat flour, these noodles are served in broth or can be dipped in a delicious side sauces which are available in many different flavors. Spend the afternoon soaking up some Manga (Japanese cartoons) culture in Akihabara where there are many Manga shops and cafes as well as electrical stores with the latest Japanese technology. Have dinner at the Michelin-starred Tapas Molecular Bar in the Mandarin Oriental. Guests can be a part of a unique ‘molecular’ experience, served sushi bar style, at this wonderfully distinguished tapas bar situated in the Oriental Lounge.”
The Tapas Molecular Bar at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo Signature at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo Sense at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
Mitsukoshi department store
Learn Bushido – the Soul of Japan – from a Samurai Master Bushido is the set of rules followed by the renowned samurai – a highly-skilled class of warriors. Today in Japan the memory of the samurai is still honoured and bushido remains a part of the country’s culture. At Nihonbashi’s samurai training facility you can take lessons from a samurai master If you learn to handle the sword well, you could even leave with a “way of the warrior” certificate.
Belinda Lawrence, Concierge Team Leader, Park Hyatt
+81 3 5322 123
Firstly, take a serene swim in the swimming pool at Club on the Park, 47 floors above the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku.
Go to the gourmet buffet at Girandole on the 40th floor, overlooking the city’s skyscrapers.
See Tokyo on foot and get some fresh air and exercise by walking from the hotel’s main entrance to the beautiful Meiji Shrine ten minutes away. Continue through its grounds to Harajuku Station and then down Omotesando Avenue, which is lined with brand boutique stores and smaller side streets, for a more “Tokyo fashion feel”. Pass Prada for its architectural appeal, then to the Nezu Museum to enjoy its small exhibition space and extensive Japanese gardens. Lunch – Go to Maisen for crispy tonkatsu cutlets or to Sakuratei for tasty okonomiyaki savory pancakes.
Return to the Omotesando intersection and then head down to Shibuya for the famous scramble crossing and Hachiko dog statue. Then take the subway to Asakusa and check out the Tokyo Tower, which is now over 400-metres tall and – as it’s still under construction – growing daily. Also check out Tokyo’s oldest temple Sensoji and the huge variety of lively souvenir shops along Nakamise Street. Squeeze in some shopping at fashionable Isetan or Takashimaya.
Return to the hotel for dinner at the New York Grill, which is the ultimate dinner venue, followed by live jazz and fantastic views from the New York Bar.
Robataya – a lively setting for freshly grilled vegetables, daily catch, Japanese beef and more.
Tsunahachi Tempura – a traditional setting for an amazingly light, crispy tempura which is served at the counter – and it’s only a 15 minute walk from the hotel.
Ishikawa at Kagurazaka – a tiny three-star Michelin-rated restaurant, serving exquisite seasonal kaiseki cuisine.
Mayako Sumiyoshi, Chief Concierge, Ritz Carlton
+81 3 3423 8000
Visit Tsukiji Fish Maret Inner and Outer Market followed by breakfast at Daiwa Sushi.
Visit Hamma Rikyu Garden and indulge in Japanese Green Tea at Tea House.
Take the water bus to Asakusa.
Visit Nakamise shopping street and take in Tokyo’s oldest temple, the Sensoji Temple.
Have lunch at Asakusa Imahan if you want sukiyaki or daikokuya or if you fancy tempura rice.
Visit the Akihabara shopping district, also known as Electric City, and you’ll find it is the place to go for electrical goods, computers or Japanese anime products. The biggest and best stores are electronics store LAOX and Mandarake.
Go shopping in Ginza where the Mitsukoshi department store is located or go to Omotesando to see new trends in Japanese fashion.
Arrive back at the hotel and relax.
A choice of dining experiences await you. Have dinner at Jomon, for a Kushiyaki dinner in the izakaya-style restaurant or at Tofuya Ukai, for tofu dishes with a beautiful Japanese ambiance, next to Tokyo Tower.
Enjoy the night life at Eleven in Nishiazabu or f-Bar in Azabu Juban.
Ms Akane Tanaka, Chief Concierge, The Peninsula
+81 3 6270 2888
After breakfast at the Lobby restaurant head off on the Imperial Palace tour.
The palace is located on the former site of Edo Castle, which was occupied by the Tokugawa Shogunate and visitors are shown around the grounds by the Imperial Household Agency.
The hotel’s chauffeur will then take you and your escort in either a Rolls-Royce or BMW to the Kikyomon Gate for an official excursion showing guests the centuries-old stone castle keeps and the ceremonial halls which are used by the current Imperial Family.
Participants will then return to the hotel for a lunch at Kyoto Tsuruya, a contemporary restaurant serving refined Japanese kaiseki and tempura. Then spend the rest of the day relaxing by the hotel’s heated indoor swimming pool from where you can enjoy the stunning views over the Hibiya Park, before returning to your room to get ready for the evening ahead.
For dinner, try the tucked-away Toufuya Ukai at the base of Tokyo Tower, which has been described as an ‘only in Japan’. It is a two-centuries-old sake brewery set in a beautiful garden with winding paths. Kimono-clad staff provide the best service possible and the garden views combined with refined traditional tofu cuisine make this one of Tokyo’s showpiece dining options.
If you feel like celebrating with a cocktail and cigar when you return to the hotel bar, Peter. Located on the 24th floor, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a nightcap with stunning views of Tokyo’s skyline.
1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku
Cuisine: Asian fusion
Side Roppongi Building, 1st Floor, 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato
Cuisine: Traditional Japanese
4-4-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Ito-ya (stationery store)
Tokyu Hands (department store)