TRAVEL GUIDE 2017
TOKYO TEASER BY LEANDA RATHMELL
Whether you’re in transit to another part of Japan or indulging in a quick city getaway, here’s an itinerary to help you make the most of your Tokyo time.
9AM: CITY CYCLE Bike tours are a great way to see a city; particularly a place like Tokyo where the backstreets, parks, and quirky nooks and crannies are where all the magic happens. Tokyo Miracle Cycling Tours offers a selection of cycling timings and routes; we opted for the Half Day Tour, showcasing everything from Ginza glamour to electric Akihabara, the Imperial Palace, and, my favourite, Ryogoku, the mecca of sumo wrestling. Our guide Soshi was passionate and knowledgeable. From history lessons to scouting out the best streetside chicken karaage , there wasn’t a question he couldn’t answer nor a pit-stop or hunger pang he couldn’t accommodate. 1PM: PIG IN THE CITY Apost-cycling appetite calls for something substantial. Tonkatsu (deep-fried, breaded pork cutlet) is a crowd-pleaser that’s available all over Tokyo. Try it at Maisen , a perennial favourite whosemain outlet is in a former WWII public bathhouse behind the Omotesando Hills shoppingmall. Don’t be deterred by the queue
2PM: SHIBUYA If anywhere is going to match your preconceived notion of Tokyo, it’s Shibuya . Famed as the hub for shopping and entertainment, this is the city’s most colourful, chaotic district. My advice? Start at Shibuya Station and literally get lost . The area is a sensory overload of bright lights, crowds, fashion, eateries and nightclubs; walk long and far, gaze up and down, duck into boutiques and side streets, marvel at the two-storey televisions and the wacky world of Japanese anime . If a whiff of street food catches your fancy, try it, and if you think karaoke could be your new calling, own it! 5PM: TEA TIME En route back to the hotel, the Hamarikyu Gardens is a great stop for those with a bit of gas left in the tank. Originally a feudal lord’s residence, this tranquil space holds a great deal of history against the backdrop of the Tokyo skyline. Its main attraction, the Nakajima tea house, was established 300 years ago and has been used to welcome respected guests; even Prince William has had a cuppa here! Relax beside the 300-year-old pine tree or enjoy some traditional matcha tea. 7PM: MAD FOR MARBLE O f K o r e a n o r i g i n , yakiniku (grilled meat) is one of the best ways to experience premium Japanese beef. Famed for decades, Yakiniku Jumbo Shirokane only serves the highest in rank: A5 Kuroge wagyu. Go for the kainomi (short rib) or noharayaki (thin marbled sheets of sirloin flipped for a three-second sear each side). Dip the beef in raw egg and chow it down with a kishu ume (Japanese plum) cocktail – I guarantee you’ll struggle to talk about anything else for days.
– it moves fast; try to snag a table upstairs, w h e r e t h e r e ’s traditional tatami floor seating. Many choose the Okita Kurobuta Fried Pork Loin meal, but we found the cheaper tonkatsu items on themenu to be completely satisfying.
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