Tokyo is vast. Every time I travel here I’m amazed by how big the city is. Even coming from a metropolis like London, this place seems to go on forever. Which is great, because each time I visit I find more to do. On this particular trip, I have 3 days in Tokyo and I know just how I’m going to spend them.
3 Days in Tokyo: Day 1
I start where every good journey starts: a room with a view. I’ve been offered a complimentary stay at the The Prince Gallery, Tokyo Kioicho and my 32nd-floor room comes with sweeping views across Tokyo. I can even enjoy them from the glass-enclosed shower (with a button I can press to add some privacy).
My room is spacious, luxurious, and has all the amenities I could want, but with only 3 days in Tokyo I can’t spend all my time here. In an effort to combat jet lag, my boyfriend and I spend our first day in Tokyo walking as much as we can.
Our initial stop is the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, a large green space in the city center that’s perfect for exploring on a sunny day. With greenhouses, classic footbridges over idyllic ponds, and tree-lined avenues, it’s just the place to get some fresh air and help us adjust to Tokyo time.
From the park we walk to Harajuku, a neighborhood full of hip boutiques and trendy restaurants. While exploring, we walk down a side street and find ourselves in the funky dining room at Sakura Tei for a lunch of thick okonomiyaki pancakes that we cook at the table.
Fueled, we take a long walk from Harajuku to the Imperial Palace, popping into shrines as we go. The buildings shine in the afternoon sun, and I’m every bit as impressed by their imposing presence as I was on my first visit 10 years ago.
At night, we have dinner at a tiny ramen place where we order from a vending machine outside and sit at one of the few seats at the counter. It’s just the local experience we’re looking for, and a great quick meal before our jet lagged bodies beg to drift off to bed.
3 Days in Tokyo: Day 2
The next morning we tour a market and experience a cooking class in the home of a local woman in Tokyo’s Komazawa. Makiko takes us through a vegetable shop and a supermarket, pointing out local produce and Japanese specialties as we go. Afterwards we cook a feast in her kitchen as she shows us how to make everything from miso glazed fish to sweet egg desserts.
Stuffed, we take the metro to Shibuya to experience the famous pedestrian crossing. Said to be one of the busiest in the world, the intersection brims with people each time the lights change.
After braving the crossing, we walk from Shibuya to Aoyama. The pretty side streets and tempting coffee shops keep our eyes and noses alert with their sights and scents as we wander.
Later we pop into a sushi restaurant near Tokyo station for dinner, reveling in the fresh fish and enjoying a glass of sake at the end of another great day.
3 Days in Tokyo: Day 3
On the last of our 3 days in Tokyo my boyfriend meets with his friends and I catch up with fellow travel bloggers Jess and Hai from Notes of Nomads. They kindly take me around Ginza, one of the city’s chi chi shopping districts.
We start with coffee on the Kiriko Terrace, which graces the roof of the Tokyu Plaza Ginza department store. From there we have great views of the surrounding streets and a bird’s eye look at the busy intersection below.
After drinks we head back into the streets and wander through Ginza to soak up the futuristic signs and stunning contemporary architecture. We pop into the Ginza Six shopping complex to see an art exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s legendary pumpkins, then wander over to admire the facade of Kabukiza, the city’s primary kabuki theater.
Our last stop is Itoya, a 7-floor stationery store in Ginza that gets my inner paper lover excited. We wander the aisles and ride the escalators through a dream world of cards and cutouts, and I swoon when we get to the travel floor.
In the evening, I have dinner back at the hotel. An 8-course tasting menu with a view goes down a treat, and some of the dishes are almost too pretty to eat. The grilled scallop sandwich and fried whitefish are particularly delicious, and I drift off to sleep dreaming of the plum sauce tuna.
Which pretty much sums up how I feel about my 3 days in Tokyo. It’s been a whirlwind of tastes, sights, sounds, and scents (the lobby of the hotel has the most amazing floral aroma) in a city so big I could keep coming back and discovering new neighborhoods and things to do every time. And I hope that’s exactly what I will do, over and over again.
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