After a recent trip to Japan, we've created the Lumira guides to Tokyo, to show you where we shop, play, relax, stay, eat and drink when in town.
TOKYO IS A neon-lit playground every bit the sophisticated, modern global capital we imagined it would be. It’s a surreal mix of polite society, pockets of serenity (via tucked-away temples) and breathtakingly beautiful minimalism, all shot through with pulsing perpetual motion, whirs of color and streaks of bright light. It's an utterly foreign yet comfortingly familiar urban landscape. It’s not unlike New York City… set to the highest volume. For us, it was love at first sight.
Go to Aoyama for all your high end retail therapy with Prada, Stella McCartney, Issey Miyake et al. If not to shop, then you must visit simply to marvel at the the architecture, including the Prada boutique by Herzog & De Meuron.
This West Hollywood staple quietly opened its first international store in Tokyo recently, housed in the converted railway shopping area Log Road Daikanyama. It's where hip Tokyoites stock up on cool brands, coveted beauty products and American West Coast-inspired food and drink dished out from an antique Citroen and the Mart. It melds LA relaxed luxe with a Japanese aesthetic where you can get a doughnut and Lanvin all in one place.
This is proto-Muji, where you'll find Muji-esque items before they become Muji-fied as one New York Times writer put it. The flagship Found Muji shop is situated in the birthplace of the original Muji, championing the hard-wearing, beautiful everyday tools and items that inspire the brand. It should appeal to those of us bucking the trend for cheap products and planned obsolescence.
Maybe Tokyo's coolest boutique, at least according to Vogue. Based in Tokyo Midtown's Galleria, RESTIR hand selects coveted brands from around the world yet expertly mixes both high and low fashion. Straight-from-the-runway looks co-mingle with athleisure. It's also where Lumira is stocked in Tokyo.
Isetan Department Store is as impressive as it gets. It’s a destination in its own right for the global fashion set, even housing an incredible fashion museum. Tours of the Japanese Women’s Brands will reveal a whole world of gorgeous labels you probably haven't heard of yet. The food hall is a work of art. All we can say is that it’s a shopping wonderland that makes Europe's finest pale in comparison.
NEW YORK BAR
Have a Suntory whiskey on the rocks while blissing out to live jazz at the New York Bar, perched 52 floors above Tokyo in the Park Hyat. Recreate scenes from Lost In Translation while reveling in the vast vistas over the glinting Shinjuku cityscape.
A trip to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without a couple of boozy hours with friends spent in a karaoke room. All tastes and price points are catered for. Small rooms, big rooms, karaoke from a hot tub, ladies rooms, live instrumental accompaniment, high-end cuisine, fast food, drinks and open until the wee hours of the morning. It’s all there so that you can sing Oops I Did It Again in style (and privately). Karaoke Kan is everywhere (and recognisable by its bright blue sign) and the Shibuya branch was made famous by Bill Murray’s musical stylings from Lost In Translation. Fioria and Hug are high-end for the more discerning karaoke fan. No matter what neighbourhood you find yourself in, or the time of day, karaoke is available.
DAIKANYAMA TSUTAYA BOOKS
Get lost for hours in this rabbit’s warren of a book shop. Stock up on Japanese fashion and design magazines while browsing washi tape and paper goods. Spread across three buildings and more than 5,000 square metres, you can do everything from cosy up with a book in the plush leather chairs at Anjin cafe to buy a CD (remember those?) or possibly test ride a bike.
April is cherry blossom season in Japan, when city parks blush the palest pink for a few weeks. The art of cherry-blossom viewing is locally known as hanami. Instead of taking time out to smell the roses, sit and view the blossoms in Ueno Park. Better yet, hold a hanami party like a local.
Tokyo Eats & Drink | Tokyo Relax & Stay | Perfect Weekend Away with Kenta Wanatabe of BUAISOU