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P Johnson's guide to Tokyo
Image: Film still from Lost in Translation, Sofia Coppola, 2003
Words: T.B.Riley

July 2018

Tokyo is one of the cities that we've visited the most, but still know so little of due to it's incredible scale. Every time we travel it feels like we're arriving for the first time, which is why it's such a great place to go. We've put together some tips picked up over the years.


Sarashina Horii
4 11 3, Motoazabu, Minato, Tokyo 106-0046, Japan
A great soba noodle house in Roppongi, think traditional, sit on the floor cross legged Japanese experience. It’s best to go for lunch or a snack. The cold soba is exceptional, the owner’s family has been making it for centuries. The surrounding area is also nice for a stroll around.

Sushi Sho
Yorindo Bldg 1F, 1-11 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku , Tokyo
In Yotsuya and Sushiya for really good, but not three Michellin star sushi.

Ginza IWA
8-4-4 Ginza | 1f, Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo Prefecture
An excellent sushi experience without the Jiro hype.  

2-14-3, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
The tsukemen here is supposedly the best in the world. I’ve never eaten here but a friend travelled through Tokyo with with David Chang and they ate here all the time.

4-4-3 Roppongi | 1F Field West Kyowa Bldg., Minato 106-0032, Tokyo Prefecture
This is a super fun robata grill, where you point to the food you want and then they grill it and serve it to you on a long paddle. Robataya is quite expensive for what it is and can be a touch touristy, nevertheless it’s lots of fun. There are two locations, make sure you go to Roppongi. 

Toriyoshi or Shinka
4-2-6 Nishiazabu | Ryowa Palace Nishi Azabu B1, Minato 106-0031, Tokyo Prefecture 
1-4-4-1F, Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-0031
For outstanding yakitori.

XEX Teppanyaki
I.K.N. Roppongi Bld., 7-21-19 Roppongi Minato-ku Tokyo
One of Morimoto’s Tokyo restaurants. Think high end teppanyaki, the food was incredible. There are a few restaurants under the XEX banner so ask the concierge to book for you, make sure it’s for the teppanyaki.

1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan (Tokyo Station Ichibangai Basement Floor, B1F Yaesu South Exit)
There are very long lines for the ramen here, but it is worth the wait if you’re a ramen fan. 

Tsukiji Fish Market
5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo Prefecture
This fish market is such a memorable experience, try to get up early enough and watch the tuna auction. All of the little sushi bars around here are world class. There are also lots of knife shops around this area so if you need knives for home definitely check them out, these guys have been doing it for generations and are some of the best in the world. 

Maisen Tonkatsu
(Aoyama restaurant): 4-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
This is a chain and they are everywhere, so if you see one definitely go and get a little tonkatsu sandwich, they’re delicious. There’s a high end restaurant version in Aoyama which is also excellent.

2-24-9 Nishiazabu, Minato 106-0031, Tokyo Prefecture
Butagumi is a cooler boutique tonkatsu place that only does pork tonkatsu. It’s super traditional.

2-5-2 Kyobashi, Chuo 104-0031, Tokyo Prefecture
One of the best tempura restaurants in Japan, it has a Michelin star.

Isshin Rice House
30-3 Sarugakucho, Shibuya, Tokyo. Basement of the Twin Building Daikanyama
A laid back, comfortable restaurant with excellent home-style Japanese food.

Charcoal Grill Anko
Ebisu 4-4-8, Shibuya-ku
This is a local Izakaya chain with three branches located in Ebisu, Shibuya and Mishuku. Delicious food with a great collection of shochu and sake.

Afuri Ramen
1-1 Ebisu Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 117 Building 1F
For excellent ramen, try Afuri. With multiple locations around Tokyo, this ramen shop specialises in yuzo shio broth, a lighter broth made from chicken. Be prepared for a queue, this place is popular for good reason. 

Kaikaya by the Sea
23-7 Maruyamacho, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0044, Japan
A super fun, casual, loud restaurant with only a handful of tables, tucked away in the streets of Shibuya. Visit for excellent traditional Japanese seafood.  

Hayashi Ramen
1-14-9 Dogenzaka, Shibuya 150-0043, Tokyo Prefecture
This place serves incredible ramen, it’s a tiny place that only seats seven at a time, with three ramens on the menu. 


Golden Gai Bars
I love these so much, they are super casual so go in and have one or two drinks at each and move to the next. The Golden Gai district is a short walk from the east exit of Shinjuku Station, between the Shinjuku City Office and the Hanazono Shrine.

New York Bar, Park Hyatt
3-7-1-2 Nishishinjuku | Park Hyatt Tokyo 52F, Shinjuku 163-1055, Tokyo Prefecture
One of my favourite bars in the world, it also has a fantastic view. This was made famous by the film ‘Lost in Translation’. 

Tokyo Prefecture
A great bar with walls full of records - and the owner knows where each one is. Ask for any type of Jazz, Blues or Soul and he’ll play it for you.

Grandfather’s Bar
1 Chome-24-7 Shibuya
A fantastic bar where they play records from the 50s through to the 70s, and you can request songs on a slip of paper. Be careful, for some reason the sake here is particularly strong, its dangerous.

Jus de Peche
3-13-3 Roppongi Minato Tokyo
For absolutely incredible cocktails. 


About Life Coffee Brewers
Shibuya-ku Dougenzaka 1-19-8, Tokyo
A friendly coffee spot that offers a range of espresso and cold-drip coffee.

Koffee Mameya
4-15-3 Jingumae, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
If you’re looking to buy some beans, stop by Koffee Mameya, they stock up to 20 blends. They serve coffee too, but their two option menu is as simple as it gets: ‘coffee’ or espresso.


Walk through Yogogi park through the Meji Shrine to Harajuku. I usually stay in Shinjuku so I’ve only ever entered through that entrance, and then made my way through Meji to Takeshita street. Harajuku area, Takeshita is the main road and it’s great to just wander around.

Omotesando, all the high end stores are here and it’s really beautiful. It’s very close to Harajuku so you can walk through both in one day.

Daikanyama is a super trendy area with heaps of Japanese hipsters.

Ginza, again this is a high end area and there’s a great market under the train station for food.

Dog is a vintage store in Harajuku that is super hectic but very cool.

Super Mario Kart go karting is a lot of fun, you need an international driver’s licence to go. It’s amazing being able to cruise around Tokyo in a go kart.

Shimokitazawa, for some great vintage finds. 


Mori Art Museum
6-10-1 Roppongi | 53f, Minato 106-6150, Tokyo Prefecture

National Art Center, Tokyo
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato 106-8558, Tokyo Prefecture

IMA Gallery
5-17-1 Roppongi | Axis Building 3F, Minato 106-0032, Tokyo Prefecture

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT)
3-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-8322, Japan

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