Time for a tasty trip to Tokyo and a top ten list of things to do in this amazing city, as recommended by locals. Not only is the food something to shout about – as we at Yutaka are delighted to comfirm – there is also some stunning scenery and great shopping too.
Yakiniku is a culinary experience all to itself; you order the raw ingredients and grill them yourself at your table, making it a great option for dinner with friends and family.
This spot in the Shinjuku area has remained a firm local favourite for over 40 years and has more than earned its reputation.
Ueno is a downtown area perfect if you feel like checking out a more off the beaten path neighbourhood. There’s loads of cultural spots to discover like the Ueno-onshi-koen Park, Ameya-yokocho Market or the Yushima Tenman-gu Shrine, but one of its main attractions are the great izakaya found there.
Izakaya are tiny neighbourhood bars where you’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with a local or two.
Most of the bars serve food and many have gained an international reputation for their cuisine so even if you can’t read the menu, just order like the locals do and you won’t be disappointed!
Although Kayoso is actually a kimono shop, it also functions as a teahouse and is one of the local favourites. In a quiet, residential area inside a century old Japanese home is this beautiful teahouse, complete with a traditional garden.
It’s the perfect place to spend a peaceful few hours sipping tea, munching on some delicious wagashi and watching customers try on kimonos. You might even be lucky enough to watch a kimono maker at work too!
Hidden away in the Shibuya area, you’ll find Attic Room, which unsurprisingly is in an attic of sorts.
This tiny cafe is frequented by locals and is a great spot for lunch, some tea or a cocktail while you people watch. You’ll have to climb a ladder to get to the best table in the house, but it’s worth it!
If you’re serious about your ramen, make the pilgrimage to Tanaka Shoten; you won’t be disappointed with the tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen served here. It is a bit of a trek to get there but is mainly frequented by the locals since it’s so far off the beaten path and not technically in central Tokyo.
This makes it all part of the adventure and you’ll be rewarded with a steaming bowl of ramen topped with spiced ground pork. And even if you get a little lost on the way, true to tradition they’re open until 4am so you won’t miss last orders!
This residential area is one of the best downtown districts for shopping and is certainly popular with people who live in Tokyo.
You’ll find just about anything here, but keep an eye out for some of the gourmet food being bought by the locals and follow suit! This district is always bustling but less crowded than nearby Shibuya, and the cherry blossom here is second to none in spring.
If you just need to escape the city and spend a little time away from the bustle of central Tokyo, head to Lake Okutama-ko, an artificial lake found located in the Chichibu National Park.
The lake itself might be man-made, but the landscape surrounding it is nature at its most sublime. The view really will take your breath away and leave you feeling renewed and ready to hit the city again.
Tucked away in Setagaya in the southwest of Tokyo is a kilometre- long path that winds its way along the edge of a small river through lush woodland.
It might sound too good to be true, but it’s a great outdoor space for a little peace and quiet. What makes it even more enjoyable is its unexpected location.
Nakano Broadway has it all. Below ground is a market where locals go to stock up on fruit, veg, meat and seafood.
Next level up are clothes and shoes, but it’s the second and third floors where you’ll find yourself in anime and manga heaven. There’s everything from collectables, idol merchandise, video games, manga magazines… the list goes on.
Yakitori is a traditional street food of skewered chicken grilled over charcoal and served with a salty sweet sauce, and often washed down with a glass of beer or two in a yakitori bar.
Sumire Yakitori is more of an izakaya and is a favourite spot to try out these little skewers of deliciousness at a price that won’t break the bank!