Anyone who has been to Tokyo knows how addictive it is. It’s not a city you fall in love with in the way that you fall in love with Paris or Rome. Rather, Tokyo is a place that gets under your skin. And once it’s there, you’ll find yourself obsessed with it.
Tokyo has definitely got to me, and my fascination with it only grows with each visit. And while I love to explore new neighbourhoods, museums and restaurants each time, there are three things I always do each time I return to this amazing city…
1. Yoyogi park and harajuku district of tokyo
Every Sunday afternoon at the entrance to Yoyogi Park, rain or shine, a group of rockabilly dancers set themselves up for a day of dancing and giving it loads with no sense of irony whatsoever. With Japanese rock’n’roll blaring from their speakers, they twist, leap into the splits and play air guitar like there’s no tomorrow. I never tire of their intensely serious performances.
After watching the truly awesome spectacle of the rockabilly dancers, I tend to take a stroll through Yoyogi Park where Tokyo park life is at its best: people practise choreographed dance routines with impressive enthusiasm, pet rabbits are taken for walks on a leash, cocker spaniels are dressed by their owner in matching sailor outfits. It’s bonkers and wonderful.
After a walk in the park, I usually switch it up a gear and venture into Harajuku. If it were possible for a place to take acid, then I would strongly suspect that Harajuku, the district beside Yoyogi Park, is perpetually tripping. It’s all technicolour, surreal and achingly fashion-forward. Insane shops and bizarre cafes (including a hedgehog cafe where you can hold little hedgehogs) can be found on an around Takeshita Street, as can the fabulous Harajuku girls and boys (young locals with extreme style). But further up the hill towards Omotesando there is some seriously quality shopping, with the most chic and hip local and international brands all located in this multi-faceted corner of the city.
2. naka meguro district of tokyo
Through the chic Tokyo neighbourhood of Naka Meguro runs a river. And on every visit to Tokyo, I make a beeline for this peaceful enclave to wander along its banks. In the spring, the trees that line the river form a wonderland of cherry blossoms which draw quite a big crowd. But in the quieter summer months, they form a shady green oasis… An oasis with shopping!
Yes, chic and unique boutiques and charming restaurants line the river, making it my perfect little escape from the intensity of the city.
3 tokyo coffee
Tokyo does bloody good coffee. And I love nothing more than to start each day in Tokyo with a flat white made by rock-star Yoshi, the resident barista at Deus ex Machina in Harajuku. Deus is a bit of a trap however, as each morning I find myself lingering longer in the low-key cool atmos of this very hip backstreet cafe. And on my last trip, I discovered they make a mean negroni come cocktail hour…
Of course, there is so much more to Tokyo. It can’t be covered in a single blog post. If anyone has any recommendations for my next visit, leave a comment!!