The frenetic energy of Tokyo was keenly captured in Sofia Coppola’s Oscar-winning film Lost in Translation. Sprawling Tokyo (which dates from 1457 and was once called Edo) is actually a collection of distinct neighborhoods, all worth a visit. There’s Ginza with its high-end shops; Roppongi, the nightlife district; and Harajuki, where young trendsetters hang out.
But Tokyo is also filled with many serene spots such as Shinto shrines and peaceful parks. On a visit you can taste fabulous cuisine ranging from the freshest sushi in the world to French cuisine prepared by Michelin-starred chefs.
Couples will find that Tokyo is a romantic delight, as you’ll always find something new and exciting to discover. Tokyo has four seasons, with spring and fall being the most ideal time to visit (especially springtime, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom).
A Tokyo Sightseeing Visit for RomanticsIn Tokyo couples can take a stroll around the grounds of the Imperial Palace, where the Japanese royal family resides. While you can’t visit the interior, you can snap photos in front of the imposing gates, sprawling courtyards, and along the moat (yes, a moat!). You can also walk in the East Garden, which has a tea pavilion.
Step back in time with a visit to Meiji-Jingu, Tokyo’s most impressive Shinto shrine. Walk through the giant toril (wooden gate) and explore the simple wooden buildings built in honor of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken in 1920. On weekends, you might see a wedding party — it’s a popular nuptial site.
Visit some museums in Tokyo such as the Mori Art Museum on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower, which houses an impressive collection of contemporary Asian art, and the Tokyo National Museum, which boasts the world’s largest collection of Japanese art (porcelain, scrolls, masks, etc.).
Shopping on a Visit to Tokyo
You could be in Tokyo for a month and not scratch the surface as far hitting its various neighborhoods for shops. But you will find everything from designer boutiques with haute couture to kitschy stores brimming with Hello Kitty items.
Ginza is Tokyo’s high-end shopping capital. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Giorgio Armani outposts are here as are top Japanese brands like Mikimoto. The upscale departments stores Matsuya and Mitsukoshi are on Chuo-dori street. Be sure to visit Mitsukoshi’s gourmet food court where you can pick up lunch.
Another Tokyo shopping must is the new Tokyo Midtown, a sprawling complex of modern architecture and home of the city’s largest skyscraper. There are four levels of specialty stores as well as restaurants including a branch of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Café and on the lower level, noodle shops.
Other Tokyo areas include Shinjuki, a major transport hub (the train station is said to be the busiest in the world) packed with electronics and clothing shops, movie theaters, restaurants, and bars. Harajuki is known for over-the-top street fashions (Gwen Stefani is a big fan of the area). You can people-watch and shop for funky clothes and accessories along Takeshita-dori, a narrow pedestrian street.
Dining and Nightlife Visits in Tokyo
Don’t miss a visit Shibuya, a Times Square-like Tokyo district with huge television screens, dozens of neon signs, blaring pop music, and plenty of bars and clubs. There’s also Roppongi, the center for nightlife for foreigners in Tokyo. And don’t end a visit without jumping up on stage to sing your favorite song at a karaoke bar!
Another Tokyo can’t miss experience is dining in a sushi restaurant. There are several famous sushi houses including Kyubei in Ginza and Jiro in Roppongi. And if your stomach can handle it, have sushi for breakfast at makeshift stalls at the world-famous Tsukijii fish market, which opens in the pre-dawn hours.
A hot spot for Australian-Asian cuisine is Salt located in the Shin Marunouchi building and owned by celebrated chef Luke Mangan. Some of the standout dishes include Tasmanian trout with a ginger dressing and roasted guinea fowl with braised daikon. There’s also a large selection of Australian wines.
Tokyo visitors can also follow in the footsteps of Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansen at the New York Bar atop the Park Hyatt. Though the drinks are expensive, it’s a practically a pilgrimage for fans of the film. Even if you’re not, you can’t go wrong with the cool vibe, live jazz, and stellar city views — the ultimate romantic hideaway high above Tokyo.