Complex, contemporary and full of excess
Fast and furious, Tokyo nurtures the most exciting underground culture of the Far East, and yet still firmly rooted in its traditions. Simple and elegant, but also full of excess. To decipher Tokyo, or even to simply settle in with its patterns and categories, is difficult and perhaps even superficial. Tokyo should be embraced with an open mind, absorbing the deep sense of this unique city that has reinvented itself over the last 50 years, and continues to do so.
Inside a former geisha house
on a Kagurazaka back street,
Tenko has a beautiful, traditional setting:
a Japanese-only menu and a serene atmosphere
with just eight counter seats.
3-1 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tel. +81 3 3269 1414
About ten years ago, a new culinary movement was born in Japan, blending international techniques with the rising sun products and time-honoured traditions. Yoshihiro Narisawa has certainly contributed to this gastronomic revolution and, after having travelled to Europe where he worked closely with Joel Robuchon, Frédy Girardet, and Ezio Santin at Antica Osteria del Ponte, he has returned to Tokyo to open his own restaurant.
His favorite quote: "I want to capture nature and landscapes; each ingredient on my plate has to live and breathe".
Minami Aoyama 2-6-15, Minato-ku
BAR HIGH FIVE
Tokyo is a top spot for whiskey lovers. Many of its best whiskey bars occupy tight corners inside larger buildings, but High Five is a place where the ritual of whiskey tasting is performed in a liturgical way: slowly, involving sight, smell and taste.
The new location in Ginza is behind Hermès, next to the Sony Building and under the management of its owner Hidetsugu Ueno, a legend of the Tokyo bar scene. He displays a spectacular selection of bottles: over 200 are dedicated to scotch and whiskey.
Efflore Ginza5 Bldg. BF, 5-4-15 Ginza Chuo, Tokyo
Tel. +81 03 3571581
Eco-lodge, contemporary Olsen, modern Ryokan; the Hoshinoya Tokyo hotel is a true eclectic Japanese mix. Located between the skyscrapers of the city’s financial district, it is recognisable by its elegant, black-latex façade inspired by an ancient kimono pattern. The attention to detail is meticulous, from tatami floors to shoji screens in washi paper.
Pay a visit to the top floor and find an indoor/outdoor onsen, supplied by fresh spring water just 1,500 meters below the bustling streets of Tokyo.
1-9-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku
Tel. +81.50 3786 1144
Three years of planning, the British architect Mark Dytham's creativity, and the German practical vision of Astrid Klein. These are the main ingredients used to create this palace dedicated to reading. In a perfect world, all bookshops would be like this: a design concept of the literature related to the environment and sustainability.
17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku
Tel. +81 03 3770 2525
A bamboo screen, a cobbled street, and a wall with warm colours invite you to walk through the doors and dive in another world: a private selection of fine Japanese art just minutes from Omotesandō Avenue, the glossy showcase of big international brands. The Nezu museum and its beautiful gardens are an unexpected urban oasis in the heart of the city.
6 Chome-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku
Tel. +81 3-3400-2536
by Haruki Murakami
The story of Toru, Naoko and Midori, not yet in their twenties, in a charming Tokyo. Soundtrack: The Beatles, The Doors, Bill Evans and Miles Davis; a double-woven novel about the value of love and emotion in a city that lives and thinks outside the box.