After traveling to Tokyo two times prior to my most recent journey, I have finally found a metropolitan city that eludes sophistication, organization, and style. A city that is made for exploration, and neighborhoods that seem to have never ending coffee shop corners & hidden concept shops created for those who crave visual hierarchies. I guess the saying third time's a charm pulls through yet again.
This time around I skipped the traditional aspects of Tokyo, and decided to do some super niche research beforehand...for once. I usually wander around mindlessly until I find something that looks appealing.
My goals: coffee shop corners, architectural & artistic spaces and conceptual boutiques. Although I only had 24 hours before leaving for Shibu Onsen, I covered nearly 35 walking kilometers throughout this tranquilly chaotic city.
After traveling 12 hours from Dusseldorf to Tokyo (direct on ANA airlines), I arrived to Narita airport at 3 in the afternoon. While most would battle to keep their eyes open after such a long haul, the excitement of the unknown had me wired - not to mention, the Dreamliner 787 was an absolute pleasure to travel on.
Regardless, after collecting my luggage and making my way through customs, I left baggage claim and entered an airport slightly more chaotic than Dusseldorf International. In typical fashion, I had done no research on how to make my way into the center of Tokyo. After meandering around a couple of magazine shops (my guilty pleasure), and grabbing a green tea, I made my way on the express train into Tokyo which in the end took an hour to arrive at my hotel.
the tokyo metro
Prepare to have your mind blown. I have never been so impressed with a country's public transportation system. Tokyo's metro is organized both alphabetically and numerically all while being color coordinated to help its millions of users get to their final destination right on time. Many people have asked if it is difficult to get around considering the language barrier, but most signs are in English, which makes it very easy (if you know where you are going). A few things to note: unlike the US and Europe, one must stand in an orderly fashion before entering the subway (genius), there is wifi just about everywhere, and keep calm while the fish of people can get overwhelming at times.
coffee shop corners
niko & ... tokyo
Nobody I Know Own, the acronym for niko & ..., is an all encompassing store for those who easily fall for chunky knit sweaters, cafe latte art, the trendiest magazines & all things interior. Not to mention, this double decker store front has an organic cafe overlooking the bustling streets of Tokyo. I am usually one to browse through a store rather quickly but not this time! I spent 4 hours in this store; ate breakfast & lunch without even leaving.
the roastery by nozy coffee
Right in the heart of Cat Street (a district so fashionable it seems as though each and every local has walked straight out of a Monocle magazine editorial spread) lies The Roastery. Another coffee shop that was on my list of places to discover. With its simplistic menu, ever changing coffee beans from around the world (stronger than strong), I knew I had to give this place a shot. My favorite aspect other than the oh so kind hipster baristas, was the option to choose which coffee roast was put into my cappuchino. They give you two jars for the chance to smell two different roasts depending on your preference while ordering.
Table Convivale in the Shibuya district is a quaint and cozy Boulangerie Cafe with delectable goodies that seemed hard to surpass. Its concept prides its focus on "tradition and packed break of innovation" and it certainly does not disappoint. Just look at that foccacia bread below. Talk about dreamy.
architecture & artistic exploration
red bull studios
dinner reservations at Joumon
After wanting to find a delicious place to eat that was a mix between traditional Japanese and something else, I was suggested by a Swedish friend to make a reservation at Joumon. Typically a place that could easily be overlooked, this small restaurant fuses japanese tradition (sitting on the floor, sake, etc.) with small tapas style ordering. The atmosphere is young and hipster, the grill is smoking and the sake is coming in hot (pun intended).