Take on the bustling Japanese capital. New hipster-inspired hotels, luxuriously appointed bars and futuristic zoos await in this round-up of the five coolest things to do in Tokyo right now.
Walk through an urban forest
From late March to early April, Tokyo explodes into pink and white for Sakura, the cherry blossom festival. Hanami, the practice of flower viewing, is a national event and you’re invited. One of the best places to see the petals is at the Imperial Palace East Gardens in Tokyo. Access to the garden is free and here you’ll find Instagrammable vistas of the pink and white blooms framed by the palace beyond. Afterwards, explore the city with a 20-minute taxi to Yanaka Ginza, one of Tokyo’s famous shopping streets.
Sleep at a boutique hipster hotel
Airy rooms filled with natural light, timber, glass, black steel and stone add to the cool allure of Trunk Hotel. A few minutes walk from some of Shinjuku’s toniest streets, this boutique hotel has only 15 rooms, all of which pack a big vibe. Shared spaces include a record player and ceiling projector which adds to the hotel’s welcoming feel. The lobby pours almond-milk lattes by day and Espresso Martinis after dark while the main eatery, Trunk (Kitchen), combines European and Japanese flavours in dishes such as panko and herb-crusted chicken thigh.
Taste a new spirit in a classic bar
At Gold Bar, which opened in April 2022 in Tokyo’s Toranomon precinct, dark wood finishes and black marble from Spain are offset by (you guessed it) gold adornments and recessed lighting that glows from under the bar. It’s the kind of place James Bond would drink in, with cocktails like the Martini, Daiquiri and Manhattan reinterpreted through a Japanese lens that highlights local spirits and seasonal ingredients. The snacks menu follows suit, focusing on truffle and Wagyu beef.
Explore a futuristic zoo without animals
Take a walk on the wild side. Well, digitally, at least. At the Zukan Museum Ginza, in the heart of the Ginza district, this “digital zoo” lets you get up close to wildebeests and giant pandas thanks to immersive graphic animations and sound effects. Explore the Japanese seasons with the Stone of Recording, a tablet-like device that guides your adventure through the museum and records the animals you discover along the way.
Carb load in central Tokyo
Had your fill of sushi and izakaya bars? Flour + Water, near Nakameguro station, offers a different kind of fuel. This bakery produces loaves of shokupan (Japanese milk bread), sweet muffins, sandwiches and miniature pies. After 5pm, the eatery transforms into Dra7 – an Italian dining bar serving thin-crust pizza, such as the Reggiano with jalapeño, garlic and mozzarella.
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