Monday, July 18, 2011


(includes Chiba, Kanagawa & Niijima)

Bunkyo (Hakusan, Hongō & Yayoi)
Tsuta – 5-11-20 Minami Aoyama; 011-81-03-3498-6888;; ivy covered kissaten with Japanese garden view, run by Taiji Koyama; cotton-felt filters (cut & stitched in-house); only 1 bean (Brazil Santos #2, screen-size 19); baroque music only.

Chiyoda (Akihabara, Iidabashi, Jinbocho, Kasumigaseki, Marunouchi, Nagatacho, Otemachi & Yurakucho)
Coffee Erika – 2-1-1 Nishi Kanda; 011-81-03-3263-1551;; kissaten.
Ladorio – near Yasukuni-dōri & Meiji-dōri intersections (Jinbocho); 60 years in operation (try pomegranite “squash” soda).
Milonga – near Yasukuni-dōri & Meiji-dōri intersections (Jinbocho); Latin music kissaten.
Saboru – near Yasukuni-dōri & Meiji-dōri intersections (Jinbocho); mountain hut-like; entrance has hidden suzumushi box (provided each year by Nozaki Cutting Tool’s Mr. Takai), which usually start singing around 5 pm).
Takayama – 1-12 Kanda Sudacho; 011-81-03-3251-7790; kissaten.

Chuo (Ginza, Hatchobori, Kachidoki, Kayabacho, Nihonbashi, Shinkawa, Tsukiji, Tsukishima & Tsukuda)
Café de L’Ambre – 8-10-15 Ginza; 011-81-03-3571-1551;; Tokyo’s coffee house culture patriarch is Ichiro Sekiguchi, 96, who still roasts coffee beans everyday as he has for over 60 years; tiny coffee temple: no milk, no juice, no sandwiches.
Café Bechet – 2-2-19 Ginza; 011-81-03-3564-3176; kissaten near Printemps Department Store (which is near Yurakucho Subway Line, Ginza 1-chome station, #4 exit); named for Sidney Bechet, jazz clarinetist; offers Ginza respite; “neru” (felt) drip filter coffee; try with gateau chocolate (made with Valrhona chocolate) while listening to 1920s-30s jazz.
Le Café de Joël Robuchon – 2F, Nihonbashi 2-4-1 (Nihonbashi, at Takashimaya Department Store); 011-81-03-5255-6933; or; get your chic; petit boite café; simply laid out (black granite floor, dark mahogany walls, and sinuous red leather banquette; if just want cake, take seat at counter; excellent coffee; most famous dessert is mille feuille with raspberries and vanilla marscapone cream; also worth trying is jus de tomate, filtered to near clarity.

Kita (Akabane, Oji, Tabata)
Macchinesti – 5-15-14 Minami Azabu (Akabane); 011-81-03-5739-1852;; café and coffee bar; eggs Benedict and chef salad; original location.

Meguro (Jiyugaoka, Meguro, Nakameguro)
Higashiya – 1-13-12 Aobadai; 011-81-03-5428-1717;; exquisite sweets; mocha (gelatinous rice balls filled with edamame paste); minimalist décor.
Madeleine – 1-25-5 Aobadai; 011-81-090-3500-0560; coffee shop operating out of back of Citroen.

Minato (Aoyama, Azabu, Hamamatsucho, Odaiba, Roppongi, Shinagawa, Shinbashi, Tamachi & Toranomon)
Bar Del Sole – 6-8-14 Roppongi (Roppongi); 011-81-03-3401-3521; chain coffee shop.
Nyanda! Cafe – Decks Tokyo Beach Seaside Mall 1F, 1-6-1 Daiba (Odaiba); 011-81-03-3599-2828;; cat-petting cafe (18 different cats to love on); cappuccino.
Zoka – 3-2-2 Akasaka; 011-81-03-3560-7251;; coffee shop.

Bar Zingaro – 5-52-15 Nakano Broadway Mall; 011-81-03-5942-8382; or; owned by Takashi Murakami; 4 miniscule, satellite galleries on 3 floors.

Ota (Haneda, Den-en-chōfu, Kamata & Omori)
Coffee House Rouen – 1-36-2 Omori Kita; 011-81-03-3761-6077; short walk from JR Omori station’s east exit; also only 2-minute walk from Maru-ichi, among Tokyo’s best tonkatsu restaurants; kissaten; siphon brewing outpost; 70-ish master turns out exceptional cups; popular favorites include “Wiener Coffee” (in gaudy, gilded cup in which cool, slightly stiffened cream layer floats on surface) and cappuccino (in tall, narrow cup topped with foamed milk, cinnamon dusting, and orange zest slivers); each day different straight bean coffee (e.g., Kilimanjaro or Mandheling, offered at sabisu discount price.

Shibuya (Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Shibuya & Yoyogi)
Café Satei Hatou – 1-15-19 Shibuya; 011-81-03-3400-9088;; kissaten; on little street off Meiji-dori near Shibuya Station; each cup made using Kalita paper filter drip tailored by serving; oil paintings alongside modern lithographs, grandfather clock, armoire displaying antique vases, table lamps with stained glass shades; prices seem exorbitant but if you order 2nd, will cost half as much; sandwiches, roast beef or ham and cheese.
Fuglen Tokyo – 1-16-11 Tomigaya; 011-81-03-3481-0884;; Tokyo outpost of stylish, bar-coffeehouse from Norway, where even furniture for sale.
Lion – 2-19-13 Dogenzaka (Maruyama); 011-81-03-3461-6858; premier classical music kissaten; originally built in Showa Era’s 1st year (1926), but burned in WWII firebombing; restored to original design in 1950; miniature 19th Century European concert hall; 2 gigantic, high-quality speakers nestled in altar area; patrons sit in creaky wooden seats that face music; tables separated by high dividers; lights are low and air vaguely smells of pipe smoke; music is main event, so talking strongly discouraged (orders taken in whispers).

Shinjuku (Ichigaya, Kagurazaka, Okubo, Shinjuku & Takadanobaba)
Bon – 3-23-1 Shinjuku, Toriichi Bldg, B1; 011-81-03-3341-0179;; kissaten; specialty coffeeshop that roasts own beans; all coffee served in beautiful porcelain cups drawn from amazing collection; expensive.
Chez Nous – 3-15-2 Waseda; 011-81-03-3208.4037; kissaten.
New Dug – B1, 3-15-12 Shinjuku; 011-81-03-3341-9339;; kissaten; popular cafe-bar featured in Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood; in afternoons customers enjoy quiet jazz along with coffee, while at night place is packed with lively groups talking and listening to energetic bebop; often long lines; interior is relatively spacious, with brick walls; because basement location, though, can get smoky.
Tajimaya Kohiten – 1-2-6 Nishi; 011-81-03-3342-0881;; coffee shop.
Tsubakiya Kohiten – 2F & 3F, 7-7-11 Ginza; 011-81-03-3572-4949;; kissaten that recreates Taisho Era (1912-1926) atmosphere.

Suginami (Asagaya, Kōenji & Ogikubo)
Café Deux Oiseaux – 4-6-28 Asagaya (Asagaya); 011-81-03-3338-8044; open over 25 years ago and operated by Takao Sou and his wife; cotton-felt filtered coffee.
Monozuki – 3-12-10 Nishi Ogikubo Kita (Suginami); 011-81-03-3395-9569; kissaten.
Violon – 2-9-5 Asagaya Kita (Suginami); 011-81-03-3336-6414; cash only meikyoku kissaten (roughly “classic song coffeehouse”) just north of JR Asagaya station; littered with antique lamps, small framed prints and porcelain knick-knacks; classical music café that is relic from bygone Tokyo, enamored of continental European music; boasts meticulously recreated 1/25 scale Vienna Philharmonic Concert Hall replica, with orchestral pit filled with custom-made vacuum amps and speakers that thunder with handpicked classical music from owner, Teramoto’s, formidable collection; open since 1979; hosts irregular concert series, featuring both amateur and professional musicians, and regular “SP” (“short playing”) record concert" monthly 3rd Sunday; recent curators offer background and commentary to carefully-selected 1930s-1940s big-band and hot jazz program, as well as French chanson; perch on plush, velvet-upholstered chairs while sipping dark coffee laced with brandy.

Taito (Asakusa & Ueno)
“Coffee Western” Kitayama – 1-5-1 Kamiya (Ueno); 011-81-03-3844-2822;; from Ueno Station take Iriya exit and about 5-minute walk; Tokyo’s most unusual kissaten; proprietor, dapper, portly gentleman in crisp white shirt and black bow tie, may bar your entrance; sign outside states kawatta okyaku-san (“strange customers” only); expressly forbidden are laptop computers, photographs, reading, or talking about business; open since mid-1960s; on piano sits bronze jazz pianist bust (Count Basie); wife and son are staff; order A Set (“old beans”) brewed cup with Shizuku, chilled concoction that follows coffee; after finish coffee, served small kuchinaosu, palate cleansing hoji cha sip, and then chilled Shizuku, in tiny stemmed shot glass (dark, like coffee liqueur, with white foam top, which proprietor contends is his original product (only place in world).

Chiyoda (Akihabara, Iidabashi, Kasumigaseki, Marunouchi, Nagatacho, Otemachi & Yurakucho)
Old Imperial – 1-1-1 Uchisaiwai-cho (at Imperial Hotel); 011-81-03-3504-1111;; tucked away in handsome back room; whiskey bar.
Peter – 1-8-1 Yurakucho; 011-81-03-6270-2888;; sky bar that is maze of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking city.
PODO Marunouchi – 3-03-1 Marunouchi, B1F Shin-Tokyo Building (Marunouchi); 011-81-03-5218-5551; basement-level, friendly pub; try milky, pumpkin-flavored makkoli (Korean sake).

Chuo (Ginza, Hatchobori, Kachidoki, Kayabacho, Nihonbashi, Shinkawa, Tsukiji, Tsukishima & Tsukuda)
Bar Four Seasons – Ito Building 4F, 4-3-12 Ginza (Ginza); 011-81-03-3563-0808;; unrelated to hotel chain; somewhat formal; old-school speakeasy feel.
Bar High 5 – 7-2-14 Ginza, 26 Polestar Building, 4th Floor (Ginza); 011-81-03-3571-5815; 18 seat hideaway; try Bloody Mary; worth special trip given bartender ability to match innovation to customer spirit preference.
Doulton Bar – 6-6-9 Ginza, Soiree de Ginza Building, 4th Floor (Ginza); 011-81-03-3571-4332; very small bar with excellent whiskey selection.
Enji – 8-7-7 Ginza, JUNO Building, ground floor (Ginza); 011-81-03-5537-5300; tiny, plush izikaya & whiskey bar.
Hibiya Bar Whiskey-S – 3-3-9 Ginza, Kaneko Building; 011-81-03-5159-8008; whiskeys exclusively from Suntory’s distilleries.
Star Bar Ginza – 1-5-13 Ginza, Sanko-sha Building, B1 (Ginza); 011-81-03-3535-8005; nostalgic interior; bartender uses “perfect ice.”
Tender Bar – 6-5-15 Ginza, Nogakudo Building, 5th Floor (Ginza); 011-81-03-3571-8343; try Tender 10.
Y&M Kisling – 7-5-4 Ginza, 7th Floor (Ginza); 011-81-03-3573-2071; try Kaikan Fizz.

Minato (Aoyama, Azabu, Hamamatsucho, Odaiba, Roppongi, Shinagawa, Shinbashi, Tamachi & Toranomon)
Bar Rage – 7-13-13 Minami, Aoyama Jin & IT Building, 3rd Floor (Aoyama); 011-81-03-5467-3977; fruit-based drinks with homemade ingredients.
Nikka Blender’s Bar – 5-4-31 Minami (Aoyama); 011-81-03-3498-3338; offers only Nikka whiskeys.
Two Rooms – SF AO Building, 3-11-7 Kita (Aoyama); 011-81-03-3498-0002;; great bar; mojitos; skyline view.

Bar Zingaro – 5-52-15 Nakano Broadway Mall; 011-81-03-5942-8382; or; owned by Takashi Murakami; 4 miniscule, satellite galleries on 3 floors.

Setagaya (Karasuyama, Kinuta, Kitazawa, Setagaya & Tamagawa)
Blackmore’s – 1st Amuse B1F, 3-28-6 Ikejiri; 011-81-03-3419-1017; cozy bar dedicated to Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple’s lead singer.

Shibuya (Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Shibuya & Yoyogi)
Bar Ishinohana – 3-6-2 Shibuya, Daini Yaki Building, B1; 011-81-03-5485-8405; narrow and small; looks like ‘70s’ Hollywood apartment; bartender is reigning star of Nippon Bartenders Association; try Claudia.
Tombstone – Torimasu Building, B1/F, 2-6-11 Dogenzaka; 011-81-03-5428-3945;; So-Cal biker-themed place.

Shinjuku (Ichigaya, Kagurazaka, Okubo, Shinjuku & Takadanobaba)
Albatross G – 5th Avenue, 1-1-7 Kabuki-cho (in Golden Gai); 011-81-03-3203-3699;; sprawling pub (barely 2 ms w, yet somehow fits 2 tables, as well as engraved dark-wood counter on ground floor, with another bar on 2nd floor, and sort of balcony on 3rd, to which bartender underneath passes up drinks with outstretched arms; deep red hue, gives thrift-shop splendor impression: ceilings crowded with fake chandeliers, walls mingling crucifixes with stuffed animal heads and mirrors in ornate frames; ideal den for indie-rock crowd, with cooler-than-thou soundtrack and occasional art exhibits; staff can be surly and your cover charge gets you tiniest popcorn bowl ever.
Asyl – 3rd Street 2/F, 1-1-8 Kabuki-cho (in Golden Gai); 011-81-90-3910-0605;; run by “Abe-chan,” mid-40s, world music nut who also writes about Korean pop for Japanese magazine; haven for lovers of Desi beats, Algerian hip-hop, bhangra, K-pop and some even broader musical ephemera; cluttered with bottles and CDs; small walk-in closet size, still manages to squeeze in seats for 6 customers; autographs adorn walls (including those of Korean rapper and “Noel and Liam Gallagher,” though Abe says latter actually scribbled by visiting Mancunian pranksters); friendly.
Bar Plastic Model – G2 Street 1/F, 1-1-10 Kabuki-cho (in Golden Gai); 011-81-03-5273-8441;; shrine to plasticized 1980s, from toys that adorn its counter (Rubik’s Cubes) and Gundam and Urusei Yatsura figures, to period mass-market cartoon heroes (such as Doraemon, whose visage graces spirits tumblers); lovingly preserved records line bar itself.
Park Hyatt – 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku; 011-81-03-5322-1234;; lofty bar made famous by Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.
Le Quine Guine – 12-1-607 Tomihisa-cho (near Shinjuku-Sanchone subway’s C8 exit); 011-81-03-3358-0899;; members only, classical music bar.
Shot Bar Zoetrope – 3rd Floor, Gaia Building #4, 7-10-14 Nishi; 011-81-03-363-0162;; only bar withing Tokyo’s 23 wards dedicated to exploring Japan’s whiskey distilleries’ outputs; silent movies screened on back wall.
Square – 3rd Street 2/F, 1-1-8 Kabuki-cho (in Golden Gai); 011-81-03-3203-8450; fetish-wear lines walls; signed female pro wrestlers posters; music spans Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson; not gay bar, but attracts LBG and trans clientele alongside “straighties.”
Sumire no Tenmado – 2F, 1-1-7 Kabukicho (in Golden Gai); 011-81-03-3209-1204;; Tim Burton’s favorite Tokyo bar; tiny shrine to gothloli (Gothic Lolita) subculture; director’s skeletal drawings on pitch-black walls; eerie but friendly, dark but fun, and even signature cocktail (Ankoku Sumire le poison (Sumire’s pitch-black poison)) is as black as decor.
Tachibana Shinsatsushitsu – 3rd Street 2/F, 1-1-8 Kabuki-cho (in Golden Gai); 011-81-03-3208-4148; name means “Tachibana Examination Room”; among Golden Gai’s stranger haunts; tiny 2nd floor establishment in thrall to all things medical; walls festooned with biology diagrams, counter littered with model skulls and skeletons, real pickled baby rodent in vial, and gigantic, silicon penis statue that sways when nudged; barmaids in nurses’ uniforms fix drinks in glass beakers while food served in metal kidney dishes; original cocktails include Chounai Senjou (“colonic irrigation”), shochu-base drink with sour dried apricot stick designed to look like poop, and Kanchou (“enema”); bar has just 1 table, which you’ll share with other customers.

Suginami (Asagaya, Koenji & Ogikubo)
Club Roots – 3-22-3 Koenji Kita (Koenji); 011-81-03-3330-0447;; cozy and modern dance club with Okinawan feel; laid back with extensive drink list, highlighting awamori (Okinawan liquor fave).
Moon Stomp – 2-22-6 Koenji Kita (Koenji); 011-81-03-3310-6996;; basement club jammed next to reggae bar; kind of place where have to wait for band to break to use bathroom.
Penguin House – 3-24-8 Koenji Kita (Koenji); 011-81-03-3330-6294;; wood-paneled bar that feels like suburban rec room; open for over 30 years; 1 of Tokyo’s top indie clubs.

Toshima (Ikebukuro, Komagome, Senkawa & Sugamo)
Quercus Bar – 1-32-5 Higashi-Ikebukuro (Ikekuburo), Okuma Building; 011-81-03-3986-8025; Scottish whiskeys.

Niijima (Island south of Tokyo)
Habushi-ura – Windex-blue sea along fine beach; not “pristine”; more Spartan.

Bunkyo (Hakusan, Hongo & Yayoi)
Homeikan – 5-10-5 Hongo (Hongo); 011-81-03-3811-1181;; 3 separate houses, 1 almost century old.

Chiyoda (Akihabara, Iidabashi, Kasumigaseki, Marunouchi, Nagatacho, Otemachi & Yurakucho)
Aman Otemachi – 1-5-6 Otemachi (Otemachi); 011-94-11-203-5700 (Sri Lanka number); amanresorts; uber-private luxury resort on Otemachi Tower upper floors.
Imperial Hotel – 1-1-1 Uchisaiwai-Cho; 011-81-03-3504-1111;; founded in 1890 as lodging for international dignitaries.
Shangri-La Tokyo – 1-8-3 Marunouchi; 011-81-03-6739-7888;; reasonable option in city center; perched above Tokyo station; lavish; stone’s throw from Imperial Palace.
Tokyo Station Hotel – 1-9-1 Marunouchi; 011-81-03-5220-1111;; thoroughly modern update of original, 1915, Western-style hotel in landmark central rail station; 150 rooms; luxurious; rare relic of brief architectural period, largely obliterated by WWII; ask for king superior room.

Chuo (Ginza, Hatchobori, Kachidoki, Kayabacho, Nihonbashi, Shinkawa, Tsukiji, Tsukishima & Tsukuda)
Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza – 8-13-1 Ginza (Ginza); 011-81-03-3543-1131;; chic w/dark wood accents and dramatic glass and steel lobby; amazing views (1st choice).
Hotel Seiyo Ginza – 1-11-2 Ginza (Ginza); 011-81-03-3535-1111;; Rosewood Hotel; modern and luxurious.

Yama-No Chaya – 1-7-1 Tonosawa (Ashigarashimo, Hakone); 011-81-46-085-5493;; 45 minutes from downtown Tokyo; located on Tonosawa hot spring (among Hakone’s 7 great hot springs), by bridge crossing over Hayakawa River; comfortable rooms with open-air baths; beautifully presented food using seasonal ingredients.

Meguro (Jiyugaoka, Meguro & Nakameguro)
Claska Hotel – 1-3-18 Chuo-Cho; 011-81-03-3719-8121;

Niijima (Island south of Tokyo)
Minshuku Hamasho – 6-9-9 Honmura (Honson); 011-81-04-9925-1318 or 011-81-04-9925-0524; simple B&B; friendly owners, good seafood, great location.
Saro – 3-3-4 Honmura (Honson); 011-81-04-9925-2703;; guesthouse run by artsy, young crowd; shared bath; downstairs, hip cafe.

Shibuya (Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Shibuya & Yoyogi)
Capitol Hotel Tokyu – Shin-Nanpeidai Tokyu Building, 1-21-2 Dogenzaka; 011-81-03-3503-0109;; completely renovated; where Beatles stayed in 1966; 300 rooms; 3 restaurants; garden next door.
Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyu – 1-12-2 Dogenzaka; 011-81-03-5457-0109;; Spartan.
Shibuya Granbell Hotel – 15-17 Sakuragaoka-cho; 011-81-03-5457-2681;; clinical, with comfortable beds.

Shinjuku (Ichigaya, Kagurazaka, Okubo, Takadanobaba & Shinjuku)
Park Hyatt – 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku; 011-81-03-5322-1234;

Taito (Asakusa & Ueno)
Ryokan Shigetsu – 1-31-11 Asakusa (Asakusa); 011-81-03-3843-2345;; recommended for location and prices.
Sadachiyo – 2-20-1 Asakusa (Asakusa); 011-81-03-3842-6431;; traditional inn (ryokan); 65 years old.
Tokyo Ryokan – 2-4-8 Nishi-Asakusa (Asakusa); 011-81-90-8879-3599;; family run, with 3 rooms, typically booked long in advance; this is among best places to stay in Tokyo, not for elegance (this place is simple), for convenience and cost.

Jiro – multiple locations;; “White Castle” of ramen shops.

Bunkyo (Hakusan, Hongo & Yayoi)
Keisuke #4 – 1-1-14 Hon-Koma-gome; 011-81-03-5814-5131;; try pan-seared tsukemen.

Chiyoda (Akihabara, Iidabashi, Kasumigaseki, Marunouchi, Nagatacho, Otemachi & Yurakucho)
Ikaruga – 1-9-12 Kudankita; 011-81-03-3239-2622;; ramen; believe it or not, “ramen shops” have “macho” atmospheres; this is “girls’ noodle club” atmosphere; try pork with soft-cooked egg.
Mamemaru – 2-6-2 Marunouchi, 3F Marunouchi Brick Square (Marunouchi); 011-81-03-5218-0003; old Kyoto-style; restaurant and teahouse; once monthly, small-plate, kaiseki-style meals are accompanied by maiko (apprentice geisha) performing in traditional teahouse manner.
Rokurinsha Tokyo – Tokyo Eki Ichibangai B1F, 1-9-1 Tokyo Ramen Street (Marunouchi); 011-81-03-3286-0166;; tsukemen place (broth and noodles served separately); under Tokyo station.

Chuo (Ginza, Hatchobori, Kachidoki, Kayabacho, Nihonbashi, Shinkawa, Tsukiji, Tsukishima & Tsukuda)
Café de l’Ambre – 8-10-15 Ginza (Ginza); 011-81-03-3571-1551;; open since 1948; coffee shop.
Le Café de Joël Robuchon – 2F, Nihonbashi 2-4-1 (Nihonbashi, at Takashimaya Department Store); 011-81-03-5255-6933; or; get your chic; petit boite café; simply laid out (black granite floor, dark mahogany walls, and sinuous red leather banquette; worth trying is jus de tomate, filtered to near clarity.
Chuka Soba Inoue – 4-9-16 Tsukiji (Tsukiji); 011-81-03-3542-0620; try traditional shoyu ramen.
Daiwa Sushi – 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Tsukiji Market Building (Tsukiji); 011-81-03-3547-6807; open for breakfast at fish market.
Enji – 8-7-7 Ginza, JUNO Building, ground floor (Ginza); 011-81-03-5537-5300; tiny, plush izikaya & whiskey bar; famous for its smoked food made at own factory in Karuizawa; 26 seats; at lunch, people flock here for lunch specials (most popular is rice with egg topped with smoked soy sauce, olive oil & sesame seeds).
Ginza Kojimaya – Ginza Efflore Building 2F, 5-4-15 Ginza (Ginza); 011-81-03-3569-2911; serves horse meat in various forms.
Joe’s Shanghai – B1 Willow Street, 1-9-13 Ginza Building; 011-81-03-3535-5515;; famous for dumping soup.
Restaurant Sant Pau – 1-6-1 Coredo Nihonbashi Annex; 011-81-03-3517-5700;; 2 Michelin stars; Basque-ish.
Sawada – 5-9-19 Ginza, MC Building, 3rd Floor (Ginza); 011-83-03-3571-4711; 2 Michelin stars; highly-respected sushi restaurant, sourcing freshest wild fish from around Japan, using best quality rice, and deftly controlling flavor that neta gives fish (marinade impart flavor to fish); reservations are highly recommended because only 6 tables; very simple decor.
Sukiyabashi Jiro – 4-2-15 Ginza, Tsukamoto Sogyo Building B1F (Ginza); 011-81-03-3535-3600; Michelin gives 3 stars; basement location underneath business building; chefs make way out to Tsukiji every morning to find best ingredients, which are then kept at different temperatures in special fridges to ensure at best; interior is clean and elegant with lots of wood; only 10 counter seats and 3 tables; surprisingly quiet.
Tamahide – 1−17−10 Nihonbashiningyocho (Ginza); 011-81-03-3668-7651;; open 250 years; famous for oyako-don (2 kinds chicken simmered in sweet-&-salty soy sauce-based sukiyaki broth, sealed with custard-y egg & served in bowl over rice); restaurant invented dish 130 years ago, when royalty dined at Tamahide more often than everyday people; family that opened restaurant still runs it & Chef Kosuke, 8th generation owner, has been perfecting his recipe since he was little boy.

Kita (Akabane, Oji & Tabata)
Macchinesti – 5-15-14 Minami Azabu (Akabane); 011-81-03-5739-1852;; café and coffee bar; eggs Benedict and chef salad; original location.

Meguro (Jiyugaoka, Meguro & Nakameguro)
Curry Station Niagara – Kosaka Building, 2-1-5 Yutenji; 011-81-03-3710-7367;; combines 2 Tokyo obsessions: serves Japanese curries in locomotive shrine; small train delivers your food.
Higashiya – 1-13-12 Aobadai; 011-81-03-5428-1717;; exquisite sweets; mocha (gelatinous rice balls filled with edamame paste); minimalist décor.
Kijima – 1-23-3 Aobadai, Towa Building, 3rd Floor; 011-81-03-5720-7366; sliding doors, black walls, floor-to-ceilings windows overlooking cherry trees.
Sosaibou – 4-1-9 Meguro Honcho; 011-81-03-3710-4336; vegetarian ramen beloved by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who describes it as “monk-specific.”

Minato (Aoyama, Azabu, Hamamatsucho, Odaiba, Roppongi, Shinagawa, Shinbashi, Tamachi & Toranomon)
Bar Del Sole – 6-8-14 Roppongi (Roppongi); 011-81-03-3401-3521; chain coffee shop.
Crayon House – 3-8-15 Kita (Aoyama); 011-81-03-3406-6308; natural foods.
Din Tai Fung – 1-8-2 Higashi Shimbashi (Karetsuta Shiodome Store; 011-81-03-5537-2081;; excellent café chain that elevates street food into something elegant; try xiaolong bao (soup dumplings).
Down Stairs – 110 Palace Aoyama, 6-1-6 Minami Aoyama (Aoyama); 011-81-03-5464-3711;; both staff canteen for Arts & Science and restaurant open to all, selling design products as well; good for lunch.
Gogyo – 1-4-36 Nishi (Azabu); 011-81-03-5775-5566;; try inky-black, burnt miso ramen.
Hortensia – NS Azabu-Juban Building B1F, 3-6-2 Azabu-Juban; 011-81-03-5419-8455;; Asian-French fusion; chef formerly worked at Michelin-starred restaurant; best time to come is lunch.
Quintessence – 5-407 Shirokaneai, Barbizon 25 Building 1st Floor; 011-81-03-5791-3715;; 3 Michelin stars; only option available is chef’s tasting menu; 7 dishes at lunch and 13 at dinner; changes daily and may even change from table to table, depending on what is available and inspiration from kitchen; wine cellar holds over 500 bottles, which are on display by entrance; room has elegant and contemporary feel, which combined with dim lighting, creates romantic venue.
Sukiyabashi Jiro – 6-12-2 Roppongi, Roppongi Hills Residence, B Tower, 2F (Roppongi Hills); 011-81-03-5413-6626; branch of Ginza’s 3 star restaurant.
Sushi Cho – 7-10-31 Roppongi (Roppongi); 011-81-03-3402-7725; lilliputian place to which few tourists venture; stunning food.
Two Rooms – SF AO Building, 3-11-7 Kita (Aoyama); 011-81-03-3498-0002;; grill; skyline view.
Vegetable Sushi Potager – 6-9-1 Roppongi, Roppongi Keyakizaka-Dori (Roppongi Hills); 011-81-03-3497-8822;; vegetarian sushi.
Zoka – 3-2-2 Akasaka; 011-81-03-3560-7251;; coffee shop.

Ozushi – 3-23-10 Shimorenjaku; 011-81-0422-44-2921;; centuries old.

Setagaya (Karasuyama, Kinuta, Kitazawa, Setagaya & Tamagawa)
Basanova (Bassano-va) – 1-4-18 Hanegi; 011-81-03-3327-4649; specializes in green curry ramen.
Daisho Suisan – 1-32-6 Sangenjaya, 1st Floor; 011-81-03-3485-7991;; wonderfully hospitable, completely unprepossessing, affordable sushi joint.
Dill Fait Beau – 2-37-16 Kitazawa, 1st Floor (at Dirufebo Embroidery Shop’s back); 011-81-03-3467-4589;; miniature, utterly French bistro with 6 stools at counter; easiest directions from Shimo-Kitazawa Metro station is exit north and veer right, follow main street to T-junction (about 250 yards), turn left and go about 200 yards, restaurant on left, just past concrete, outdoor staircase.
Din Tai Fung – 3-17-1 Tamagawa Setagaya-ku (9F Southern Building); 011-81-5797-3273;; excellent café chain that elevates street food into something elegant; try xiaolong bao (soup dumplings).
Ivan Ramen – 3-24-7 Minami (Karasuyama); 011-81-03-6750-5540;; ramen shop operated by Ivan Orkin, New York native and former Lutece cook; try his “taco” ramen or rye-flour tsukemen.

Shibuya (Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Shibuya & Yoyogi)
Black Terrace – 1-1-2 Meguro-ku (Aobadai Meguro); 011-81-03-6416-3894;; American food in dog-friendly environment; beautiful atmosphere.
Din Tai Fung – 5-24-2 Sendagaya (10F, Shinjuku Takashimaya Department Store); 011-81-03-5361-1381;; excellent café chain that elevates street food into something elegant; try xiaolong bao (soup dumplings).
Maratan – Kitazawa Building, Level 1, 15-8 Sakuragaoka-cho; 011-81-03-3780-0066;; for Chinese-style harusame (yam noodle ramen).
Nagi – 1-3-1 Higashi; 011-81-03-3499-0390;; mini-chain ramen; looks more like exclusive bar; ask for bari (meaning wiry) noodles; try roasted pork with slow-cooked egg.
Nadaman – 2-24-1 Dogenzaka (in Shibuya Tokyu Department Store); 011-81-03-34773111;
Restaurant I – 1F Park Court, 1-4-20 Jingumae; 011-81-03-5772-2091;; Japanese-inflected, French cuisine by Michelin-starred chef.

Shinjuku (Ichigaya, Kagurazaka, Okubo, Shinjuku & Takadanobaba)
Ganka – 3-15-7 Nishiwaseda; ramen.
Kagurazaka Ishikawa – Takamura Building, 1st Floor, 5-37 Kagurazaka; 011-81-03-5225-0173;; 3 Michelin stars; discreet and pricey.
Robot Restaurant – Shinjuku Robot Building B2F, 1-7-1 Kabuki (in Golden Gai); 011-81-03-3200-5500;; celebrates gigantic fembots, that dance for diners while they eat.
Tajimaya Kohiten – 1-2-6 Nishi; 011-81-03-3342-0881;; coffee shop.

Suginami (Asagaya, Koenji & Ogikubo)
Dachibin – 3-2-13 Koenji Kita (Koenji); 011-81-03-3337-1352;; hip Okinawan restaurant with waiters who often are musicians.

Tachikawa (includes Akishima)
Din Tai Fung – 2-39-3 Akebono-cho (9F Takashimaya Tachikawa store); 011-81-42-548-1610;; excellent café chain that elevates street food into something elegant; try xiaolong bao (soup dumplings).

Taito (Asakusa & Ueno)
Fuji Kitchen – 1-20-2 Asakusa (Asakusa); 011-81-03-3841-6531; in Shitamachi, just short walk from Sensoji Shrine (instead of entering shrine under red lantern, take left-hand lane that parallels entrance; orange and brown awning about 60-70 ms down lane); 2 older women, dressed stylishly in black with pearl necklaces and gold chains, have been running this tiny establishment for over 40 years; eat at 6-seat counter or at 1 of 3 tables; perhaps beefiest beef stew in world; demi-glace sauce simmers for 1 week in preparation; bread or rice extra; clientele includes no youngsters.

Toshima (Ikebukuro, Komagome, Senkawa & Sugamo)
Joe’s Shanghai – Sunshine 60 Building, 59th Floor, 3-1-1 Toshima-ku (Higashi Ikebukoro); 011-81-03-5952-8835;; famous for dumpling soup.
Mutekiya – 1-17-1 Minami (Ikebukuro); 011-81-03-3982-7656;; famous for its pork-laden ramen; 45 minute lines.
Unagi Kabuto – 2-53-2 Ikebukuro (Ikebukuro); 011-81-03-3983-8608; specializing in grilled, fresh-water eel; friendly, charcoal-smoke-scented storefront; 2 small tables but counter is where you want to be; if you don’t speak Japanese, have concierge make reservation (which you need); once you arrive, at least 1 staff member will speak English.

Japan Rail –; pass.

Chiyoda (Akihabara, Iidabashi, Kasumigaseki, Marunouchi, Nagatacho, Otemachi & Yurakucho)
Mandarake Complex – 3-11-2 Sotokanda (Akihabara); 011-81-03-3252-7007;; Tokyo’s go-to store for anime and manga; Akihabara location is largest, with 8 storeys piled high with action figures, cel art, comic books & DVDs, just for starters; 5th floor is devoted to women’s comics, while 4th floor is for men.
Nozaki Cutting Tool – near Yasukuni-dōri & Meiji-dōri intersections (Jinbocho); for last 20 years, Mr. Takai (manager) has raised suzumushi, bell crickets so that in Septembers this hardware store alive with cricket song; along narrow passageway behind shop are 3 kissaten, coffee shops, each over 50 years old; exit Takai’s shop, take 1st right then 1st left and you’ll spot Ladorio and Milonga; and/or seek out Saboru.
Pass the Baton – 2-6-1 Marunouchi, Marounichi Brick Square (Marounichi); 011-81-03-6269-9555;; recycled culture boutique; carefully curated shop.

Chuo (Ginza, Hatchobori, Kachidoki, Kayabacho, Nihonbashi, Shinkawa, Tsukiji, Tsukishima & Tsukuda)
Kyukyodo – 5-7-4 Ginza (Ginza); 011-81-03-3571-4429;; centuries-old store; handmade cotton-y washi and incense.

Meguro (Jiyugaoka, Meguro & Nakameguro)
Cow Books – 1-14-11 Aobadai; 011-81-03-5459-1747;; rare, out-of-print 1st editions from 50s-60s.
J’Antiques – Emusu Minami Building 101, 2-25-13 Kamimeguro (Nakameguro); 011-81-03-5704-8188;; vintage stuff.
Research – 1-14-11 Aobadai, Cooperative House 105; 011-81-03-5459-4699;; clothes boutique that changes collection and name each season.

Minato (Aoyama, Azabu, Hamamatsucho, Odaiba, Roppongi, Shinagawa, Shinbashi, Tamachi & Toranomon)
Lisn – 5-47-13-202 Jingumae (Aoyama); 011-81-03-5469-5006;; incense in crayola color range.

Shibuya (Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Shibuya & Yoyogi)
Aozou Blue 3 – 7-8-102 Daikanyama-cho; 011-81-03-5458-2633; beach and casual wear.
Big Love Records – 2-31-3 Jingumae (Harajuku, in Houei Building, 3FA); 011-81-03-5775-1315;; also happens to have 3 Shiga Kogen (beer) taps; specializes in alternative music imports; quite compact.
Bonjour Records – 24-1 Saraguka-cho; 011-81-03-5458-6020; great mixes and compilations, including some made by fashion houses in Paris.
Crisp Shibuya – 1-17-19 Jinnan West 1F; 011-81-03-3496-9578;; vintage men’s-wear store.
Dog – Trinity Building B1F, 3-23-3 Jingumae (Harajuku); 011-81-03-3746-8110;; boutique that sells clothes only Lady Gaga could wear.
Etaminne – 26-8 Sarugaku-cho; 011-81-03-5728-1826; clothing.
FabCafe – 1F Dogenzaka Pia, 1-22-7 Dogenzaka; 011-81-03-6416-9190; or; you can have cup of coffee and laser-cut your own design; “fab” refers both to fabrication and fabulous; this fine designing-dining destination was created by Naruse-Inokuma Architects in minimal yet cozy Japanese style; digital media production company Loftwork also operates inside so if there are problems with machinery, or if you’re craving muffins with your latte, they cab help; laser-cutting machine will go through acrylic, felt, paper, wood and just about any material, so can spend day there making everything from furniture to clothes to simple greeting cards; all you need to bring with you is your design’s Adobe Illustrator vector file; using machinery is about $20 to share (with up to 3 people) for 30 minutes, or $50 to have it all to yourself for that half hour.
Kamawanu – 23-1 Sarugaku-cho; 011-81-03-3780-0182; tenugui (traditional dyed cloth); used for gift wraps, handkerchiefs, and napkins.
Ku USA – 27-4 Sarugaku-cho; 011-81-03-5457-2207;; several in city; sells flowing hippie-dippie clothing with sharp detailing.
Ne-Net – 20-23 Daikanyama-cho; 011-81-03-6662-7999; eccentric clothing.
Okura – 20-11 Sarugaku-cho; 011-81-03-3461-8511;; clothing.
Omnigod – 11-1 Daikanyama-cho; 011-81-03-5474-3625;; denim and casual clothing.
Pass the Baton – 4-12-10 Jingumae, Omotesando Hills West; 011-81-03-6447-0707;; recycled culture boutique; carefully curated shop.
Shibuya Tokyu Department Store – 2-24-1 Dogenzaka; 011-81-03-34773111;; food department; restaurant called “Nadaman.”
Tokyu Hands – 12-18 Udagawacho; 011-81-03-5489-5111;; beauty products; cedar-scented charcoal bar soaps and yuzu-rich bath salts.
Tsutaya – 17-5 Sarugaku-cho (Daikanyama); 011-81-03-3770-1900;; fashionable, modern, sleek bookstore; extensive collection.

Shinjuku (Ichigaya, Kagurazaka, Okubo, Shinjuku & Takadanobaba)
Comme Ca du Mode – 3-14-1 Shinjuku (in Isetan department store); 011-81-03-3981-0111;; mod fashion stuff for kids.
Isetan – 3-14-1 Shinjuki; 011-81-03-3352-1111;; luxury department store.

Kawagoe – old, picturesque village approximately 45 minutes from city.
Mount Takao – good for hiking and city views (mobbed on holidays and weekends).

Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art – 631 Sakado (Sakura); 011-81-04-3498-2131;; designed by Ichiro Ebihara; opened in 1990; collection contains more than 1K works collected by Japanese ink & resin manufacturer DIC Corporation; wide selection of American, European & Japanese artists, including special exhibitions of works by Mark Rothko & Frank Stella; around museum, 30-hectare park with over 200 kinds of trees, 500 kinds of plants and inhabited by many wild birds and insects invites for walking and enjoying nature.

Chiyoda (Akihabara, Iidabashi, Kasumigaseki, Marunouchi, Nagatacho, Otemachi & Yurakucho)
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum – 2-6-2 Marunouchi (Marunouchi); 011-81-03-5405-8686;; 3-story brick building that houses art museum, focusing on 19th Century.

Chuo (Ginza, Hatchobori, Kachidoki, Kayabacho, Nihonbashi, Shinkawa, Tsukiji, Tsukishima & Tsukuda)
Tsukiji Market – Tsukiji; fish market district.

Ghibli Museum – 1-1-83 Shimorenjaku (in Mitaka Inokashira Park); 011-81-05-7005-5777;; animator, Hayao Miyazaki’s, museum.

Bar Zingaro – 5-52-15 Nakano Broadway Mall; 011-81-03-5942-8382; or; owned by Takashi Murakami; 4 miniscule, satellite galleries on 3 floors.

Niijima (Island south of Tokyo)
Niijima Glass Art Center & Museum – Honson; 011-81-04-9925-1540;; world-renowned; hosts Niijima International Glass Art Festival every autumn; at center, visitors may create their own glass work to take home; next door is museum.
Yunohama Roten Onsen – Honson Mamashita; hot springs below Doric arches that create Las Vegas-y, faux Greek ruins; kooky but lovely.

Shibuya (Daikanyama, Ebisu, Harajuku, Hiroo, Sendagaya, Shibuya & Yoyogi)
Harajuku – common name given to geographic area spreading from Harajuku Station to Omotesando; weekend resort for Tokyo young; most romantic street in Japan & closest thing in Asia to Parisian boulevard — wide, tree-lined avenue that gently slopes down towards Meiji Shrine entrance.
Meiji Shrine – 1-1 Kamizono-cho; 011-81-03-3379-5511;; lovely;; Shinto shrine dedicated to deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and wife, Empress Shoken.

Shinjuku (Ichigaya, Kagurazaka, Okubo, Shinjuku & Takadanobaba)
Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens – 11 Naito-cho; 011-81-03-3350-0151;; constructed on site of Lord Naito’s private mansion; he was Edo era daimyo (“feudal lord”); completed in 1906 as imperial garden; re-designated as national garden after WWII; 144 acres; blends 3 distinct styles (English Landscape, French Formal, and Japanese Traditional); considered among Meiji era’s most important gardens.

Taito (Asakusa & Ueno)
National Museum of Nature & Science – 7-20 Uenokoen; 011-81-03-5777-8600;; large blue whale model; taxidermy.
Sensoji Shrine (also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) – 2-3-1 Asakusa (Asakusa); 011-81-03-3842-0181;; oldest temple in Tokyo, history going back to 7th Century; legend that in 628 2 local fishermen caught tiny statue in their net while fishing in nearby Sumida River; villagers recognized it as Kannon, mercy goddess, so build temple to enshrine and worship; established in 1631; moved to present site overlooking Shinobazu Pond in 1698.
Shitamachi Museum – 2-1 Uenokoen (Ueno); 011-81-03-3823-7451;; located on Shinobazu Pond within Ueno Park; Shitamachi, term translatable as Low City, is unofficial name given to Tokyo flatlands; although not necessarily poor, originally inhabited by Edo’s lower classes, including craftsmen, fishermen, sailors and merchants; area produced most of what was original in Edo’s culture and was capital’s entertainment and shopping center; dedicated to explaining this area and its distinctive culture through original artifacts; includes life-size merchant’s house replica, where geta (Japanese-style wooden clogs) made and sold.

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