Japan has captured the hearts of foreign tourists with its cleanliness and hospitality. Tokyo, not surprisingly, tops most visitors’ list of cities to visit with its convenient transportation, fresh and interesting sites, and historical significance.
Here are nine spots to enjoy in and around Tokyo to enrich your travel experience.
1. An elegant afternoon at the Nicolai Bergmann Nomu café in Omotesando
Nicolai Bergmann Nomu was opened by world-class Danish horticultural decorator Nicolai Bergmann. Located near Omotesando Station its calm atmosphere is a striking contrast to the surrounding area. When you walk through the entrance, it feels like stepping into a secret garden.
The whole building is designed with flowers and greenery. The beautiful combination of floral decor and coffee attracts patrons with keen interest in both. One of the shop’s more eye-catching details is the flower arrangements found beneath the café’s glass table tops. Designed by Bergmann himself, they are just one element that makes visitors feel like they are in Wonderland.
Nicolai Bergmann Nomu also offers light-food dishes that emphasize both taste and health, such as the 1,700 yen Smorrebrod Open Sandwich. These Danish sandwiches come in two flavors: rye bread with a refreshing salmon fillet or chicken salad with apples, raisins, and onions.
There are also a variety of fresh juices and smoothies, for health-conscious diners. At Nicolai Bergmann Nomu, the aroma of the flowers and healthy ingredients can make people forget the troubles and fatigue of the day. Even in such a busy city center, you can steal a few moments of quiet leisure.
Nicolai Bergmann Nomu
5-7-2, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0062
Hours: 10:00 - 20:00
2. Amalfi Dellasera and the Enoshima Sunset
1. In good weather, Mt. Fuji is vsisble. 2. Lunch Set 3. Shirasu Pizza (1,750 yen) 4. Beautiful sunset view of Enoshima.
The Enoshima area in Kanagawa has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. Kamakura, with its long history, many tourist attractions, and natural seascapes, is definitely a must-visit trip to the suburbs of Tokyo. In addition to walking along the Shonan coast, you can also take the Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden) to Amalfi Dellasera.
Located on a small mountain, the restaurant has a panoramic view of the ocean even offers a glimpse of Mt. Fuji when the weather is good. The restaurant serves crispy pizza, pasta, and desserts starting at low as 1,330 yen. The lunch menu is available from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with 1,890 and 2,500 yen sets.
Even if you are unfortunate enough to encounter bad weather or heavy rain, there are indoor seats available. Also take note that since seating reservations are unavailable, there are often queues waiting to enter on weekends. Enjoying delicious food, while appreciating a wonderful view is what any vacation should be all about.
1-5-10, Shichirigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa, 248-0026
5-minute walk from Enoshima Electric Railway Shichirigahama Station
Hours: 11:00 - 22:00 (L.O. 21:00); Weekends and national holidays open from 10:30;
Hours subject to change according to weather, season, available seating, etc.
3. Products from the World Over at Centuries-old Itoya Stationery Shop
In addition to selling local Japanese stationery, Itoya, which has been in business since 1904, sells creative products from all over the world, and strives to maintain a spirit of tradition and innovation.
The main branch is located in Ginza, and has twelve floors, each with a different themes, from postcards and stationery, to the “Letter” area on the 2nd floor. Itoya postage stamps can purchased and postcards and letters can be conveniently posted on the spot. If you’re looking for a notebook, head to the “Schedule” themed 4th floor. The 5th floor is dedicated to “Travel, and 6th to “Home.” With such a wide variety of goods to choose from, Itoya is a excellent place to buys gifts and souvenirs.
2-7-15, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061
2-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Ginza Station Exit A13
Hours: 10:00 - 20:00 (closes at 19:00 on Sundays & National Holidays), 12th floor cafe 10:00 - 22:00 (L.O. 21:00); closed Tuesdays
4. Visit Gulicopia and Make and Eat Your Own Ice Cream
The candy and snacks of Japan’s Glico company have been loved by adults and children for nearly a century. In July 2017, Glicopia Chiba (グリコピア CHIBA), which gives visitors the chance to witness the ice cream manufacturing process first hand, was opened. Contrary to the typical impression of what a factory might look like, Glicopia Chiba is spacious, simple, and almost like coming to an art gallery and seeing the birth of a piece of art. During the visit, guests can learn about the company’s history the introduction of ice cream into Glico’s product line. After going through a brief sanitation process, you can entering the production area, observe the manufacture and shipment of products, and most importantly, sample some of the ice cream. Another area allows visitors to make their own Papico ice cream for an additional fee.
Entry into Glicopia Chiba free of charge, but there is a reservation system with five tours per day: 9:00, 10:30, 12:30, 13:30, 14:30, and each tour is about 70 minutes.
10 Bansho, Noda City, Chiba, 278-0041
9:00 - 16:00; closed Fridays, Mid-Autumn Festival, Dec. 31 – Jan. 1, Factory Maintenance Days
Tickets: Free (reservation system)
5. Venture Deep Into Local Shopping Streets for a True Taste of Tokyo Life
When you come to Tokyo, in addition to visiting famous landmarks like Tokyo Tower and Skytree, it’s also a good idea to visit local shopping streets. Traditional shopping streets are closely related to the everyday lives of Japanese people. Since many buy daily needs in the shopping streets near their homes, the streets offer an authentic taste of local culture.
Among the areas most attractive to foreign tourists, Kichijoji is home to three major shopping streets: Sunroad, Daiyagai, and Harmonica Yokocho. Jizo-dori, known as “Grandma’s Harajuku,” is located near Sugamo Station on the JR Yamanote Line, and only two stops from Ikebukuro. Togoshi Ginza is Tokyo’s longest shopping street at an impressive 1.3 kilometers and is home to over 400 stores including Goto Kamaboko – an oden shop you shouldn’t miss. Yanaka Ginza and Koenji Pal are also good examples of Japan’s shopping arcade culture.
6. Experience Japanese After-work Life in Ebisu
With its beautiful lights and atmosphere, Ebisu is a prime gathering place for young people. There are many restaurants, cafes, and gardens in Yebisu Garden Place, and due to its European style has become favorite dating site for couples.
In contrast to the high class sensibilities of Garden Place, Ebisu Yokocho breaks from the general impression of Ebisu. Converted from the older Yamashita Shopping Center, the district retains the the nostalgic atmosphere of the Showa Era within its narrow lanes. There are about 20 stores featuring oden, yakitori, yakiniku, Chinese cuisine, and Western-style bars, and more. Ebisu Yokocho’s sense of freedom and happiness makes it the perfect place to hang out after a hard day’s work.
7. Enjoy Happiness and Desserts at Mouffetard de Paris Shinjuku
The desserts offered by Mouffetard de Paris Shinjuku are hand-made by a chef with 30 years of experience. Many are made with seasonal fruits and ingredients, and will bring enjoyment both for their visual appeal as well as their taste. In addition to desserts, there are also main dishes including sandwiches, omelettes, and pasta. The dessert buffet is is 1,890 yen per person (drinks included) for 90 minutes from 17:00 to 21:00 on weekdays, and from 11:00 to 21:00 on weekends and national holidays (limited to 70 minutes).
Mouffetard de Paris
B1F, 6-4-1, Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0023
Hours: Weekdays, 11:00 - 16:00 (L.O. 16:00), dessert buffet 17:00 to 21:00 (L.O. 20:00); Weekends and national holidays, 11:00 - 21:00 (L.O. 20:00)
8. Japan's Largest Outlet, Gotemba Premium Outlets
Gotemba Premium Outlets, located in Shizuoka Prefecture, offers a spectacular view of Mount Fuji to enjoy while shopping. Japan’s largest outlet mall, there are more than 200 shops including international boutiques such as Celine, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Gucci, as well as Mitsukoshi and Isetan Department Stores. Apparel, accessories, daily necessities, and even wine are all available, and the Gotemba Premium Outlets can satisfy shopping needs for the whole family.
Buses from Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, and Tokyo Station make getting there simple, and there’s even a direct bus from Hakone. Or by train, you can take the Odakyu Line Romancecar express train from Shinjuku. It takes about 96 minutes to reach Gotemba Station, followed by a free shuttle bus ride to the outlet.
GOTEMBA PREMIUM OUTLETS
1312 Fukasawa, Gotemba City, Shizuoka 412-0023
Hours: Mar. - Nov., 10:00 - 20:00, Dec. - Feb. 10:00 - 19:00; closed 3rd Thurs. of Feb.
9. Stroll Through the Old Streets of Shibamata
The Shibamata area of Katsushika City features in the “Otoko wa Tsurai yo” movie series, and due the films’ popularity is often visited by tourists. Located on the banks of the Edo River, in northeastern Tokyo, it only takes about 25 minutes to get there from Tokyo Skytree on Keisei Electric Railway Oshiage Line. Leading from Shibamata station to Shibamata Taishakuten Temple, to the old streets are lined shops selling eel, mochi, and senbei where visitors can sample traditional snacks and browse through interesting retro shops.