Tokyo Tips & Recs
My tips and recommendations for Tokyo following my recent visit.
I recently spent 3 weeks in Japan last month and shared snippets of my travels on Instagram. I had lots of requests for tips and recommendations so here they are. In the interest of brevity, I’ve kept this post focused on Tokyo only.
I stayed at the Muji hotel in Ginza. I love Muji products and as soon as I heard there was a Muji hotel in Tokyo I wanted to stay there. I booked through Booking.com. It's a popular hotel so definitely book in advance. The room comes with lots of handy items such as pyjamas, hairbrush, toothbrush and skincare. Helpfully, there is a note in the room that tells you which products are complimentary. If you stay there, don’t forget to take the slippers that come in the dustbag. I was so chuffed that the slippers were complimentary and ended up coming home with 4 pairs! The hotel is situated on the top floors of the Muji flagship store.
Cash or card
Although Japan is still largely a cash-based society, all the places I went to accepted cards or contactless. I used cash mostly so I could budget easier (and not get card fx transaction fees). The majority of places accept card though. I used contactless a few times and it worked fine. I definitely recommend taking a bit of converted cash (Japanese Yen (¥)) with you just in case, but you should be fine with contactless if you’ll be staying in Tokyo.
There’s so much great shopping that I don’t really know where to start, but here goes.
Ginza is my favourite area in Japan. It’s where there are all the fancy flagship stores like Celine and Chanel. I recommend visiting there at the weekend as they close the main streets to traffic so you can walk and sit on the road. They put out chairs on the road so you can sit and people watch. The people watching is incredible.
Uniqlo and Muji are Japanese brands so their pieces are a lot more affordable to buy in Japan. The Muji flagship store is over 6 floors. It’s pretty overwhelming as they stock clothing, homeware, food and there’s also a bakery and restaurant. You can easily spend hours there. Uniqlo and Muji products converted to half the price of what we pay in Sterling. If you’re tall (like me) you’ll probably struggle with some of the clothing. Women’s jeans and trousers were a no-go for me because they were too short. If you’re 5’8 and under you’ll clean up over there. Definitely visit the Uniqlo flagship store in Ginza, it's conveniently located across the street from Muji. In the Uniqlo building there is also a Standard Products concession. They sell homewares and their products convert to around £2.00 each. I bought a bag which I've used every day since.
Beams Japan was a new discovery for me and a new favourite. They have stores across Tokyo. The store in Ginza is over two floors but the top floor is mens formalwear. They stock their own pieces as well as carrying other brands. I bought a Danton tote bag.
If you are wanting to stock up on stationery, definitely check out Loft and Itoya. Both are in Ginza and each over six floors so give yourself time.
Miyashita Park has incredible shopping and food. Check out High Tide for stationery and homewares. The Cafe Kitsune there is cute and not as busy as some of the other places to eat.
Jingumae/Cat street has some great vintage shopping. I recommend popping into Ragtag. They have an incredible selection of vintage Chanel handbags and jewellery.
B-Side label is a brilliant sticker shop. I have so many stickers from there.
Think’A coffee in Ginza is worth a visit. They have brilliant coffee and their homemade tacos and lemon tart are the best I’ve ever had. They don’t take cash though so card of contactless only.
I’m not a big fan of Starbucks in the UK but Starbucks in Japan is on a different level. They have so many seasonal drinks. If you can get it, try the Earl Grey Bouquet Tea Latte and Melon of the Melon (yes that's actually what it's called).
These are huge in Japan and are everywhere. The main three are 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson. They usually stock similar products but I found that 7-Eleven's were better stocked. They’re great for snacks. Try the seaweed rice triangles. They’re super tasty and have lots of different fillings from plum to tuna so you can find something that suits your taste. I love matcha lattes; you can get them in cans and cartons ready-mixed.
Tax free shopping
Most of the larger shops and department stores offer tax-free shopping. You have to show your passport and you have to spend over 5,500 yen (~£32). I bought a lot of things from Muji and Uniqlo but because those shops are much cheaper in Japan than here, I didn’t always hit the 5,500 yen each time I shopped there. I definitely recommend batching your purchases (rather than having multiple smaller purchases) so you can take advantage of tax-free shopping.
Google Translate is handy for asking questions in shops and restaurants as English is not always spoken.
Converting yen to sterling is a pain if you try to do it in your head. So the XE app is handy for converting prices back to Sterling so you know how much you’re taking.
I hope this was helpful if you’re planning a trip to Tokyo or know someone who is. I’ve not been great with posting on the blog recently and have been sharing more on Instagram. I’ll try to do better with posting on here but if you want to keep up with my my regular content follow me on Instagram.
In other news, I was featured in a style-related piece by the TB&Co a couple of months ago which you can read here.